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is Google this Smart?

6:18 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have three keywords I target with a specific site.

Recently, this site began appearing in the #1, #4, and #7 position for these keywords. So, I got all fired up and called my client to show him what was happnening, but on his computer, he was seeing the exacat same results as I did expect for his site.

Needless to say I was baffled. I could see his site in the top 10 on my system, and as we spoke on the phone, he read off his top ten, which corrosponded perfectly, except his site was skipped over. (Hitting the refresh didn't help)

So, I tried my search on a different computer. I typed in keyword #1, and I was nowhere to be found, just as my client saw. Then I typed in keyword #2 and #3, and i was listed in the top. I went back and typed keyword #1, and this time I was #1, but a minute earlier i was missing!

I'm wondering if google has a way of using cookies or something to show you results that are favorable to what you want to see? If this is the case, I'm seeing my site listed in the top 10 on my main system, but on my mac I had to do multiple searches for the same keywords in under a 2 minute period before my site appeared in the top 10. Somethings up here.

6:56 pm on July 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

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What you are likely seeing is different results being served from different servers or data centers. Due to load-balancing, every time you hit search, the search results could be served from a different data center with a different index. Seeing "different indices" like this has been quite common recently. For example, sometimes some indices have new Fresh data, while others don't -- perhaps this is what you are seeing.
8:10 pm on July 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Transition periods are frequent on Google. During these periods results are not consistent. If yours is a new site it will probably settle at or around the higher positions. However, this could take anything up to three months.

Welcome to the Google Rollercoaster.


There has been speculation over the last few weeks that Google is moving to a rolling update from a monthly (ish) 'dance'. You should check out threads on this subject.

11:27 pm on July 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

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For more info, there is an excellent site. I'd like to tell you how to find it but due to the different data centres it might appear somewhere else when you look ;))))

Search google for "technical background of the google dance"

Hopefully it will be the top site.

1:06 am on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Another explanation is that Google serves results based on IP addresses. Some serps I watch are dramatically different depending on the country that they are searched from. Try surfing the SERP through a proxy.
3:45 am on July 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Another possibility is that the search results are cycling based on allintitle, allintext, and allinanchor results. If you type in each of these before the keyword and do a search, I would just bet you will mimic the results you were finding.

I found out about the cycling recently when I did a search on the keyword gardening. The allinanchor:gardening search on Google gets a glitch result of a non-gardening website (a company selling videogames without the word gardening anywhere on the site, in the meta tags, or anywhere else that I could find) as the #1 result. Prior to doing the allinanchor search, I had been getting this videogame company as the search result by just typing gardening (when earlier in the day, I had the typical #1 result of NGA). I mentioned this bizarre result to Google, but have never heard back from the company...It wouldn't be so disturbing, if my e-mail to them had corrected the situation. Up to 3 weeks after the glitch results, the allinanchor search still results in the wrong #1 result.

Personally, I think that Google needs to stick with one set way of serving up the results so that people can depend on their validity. If you are searching for information and the company providing the results keeps changing the selection criteria on you, would you trust that company's content? And, I will admit, I am basing this opinion on my belief that Google is cycling content based on what I said above. If I am wrong and the results are cycling based on the center from which the information is collected, then maybe I should say instead that Google needs to have one universal center providing the results. Basically, I think results should only vary based on actual user visits/linking changes not based on Google changing the collection/selection method (allintext, allintitle, etc.) or changing the collection center. Just my humble opinion.