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Search Words Not Bolded in Results

     
11:25 am on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



This is strange, something I have just noticed.

A site of mine, ranking 3 for our 11M target phrase (so 100% happy no penalties) Good clean, all round content site

As of today, the search returning the results now does not bold the keywords in the title of our listing.

In fact, it isn't just our listing affected about 50% of the listings do not have bolded keywords despite them apprearing in the titles / descriptions.

Is this new or did I just totally miss this before?

2:09 pm on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)



I don't know if there's any significance of this, but the word highlighting function has always been a bit buggy. It's separate from the actual algorithm that matches results in the index (by comparison it's an extremely basic function), so I wouldn't worry too much about the effect on performance.

There's a chance that it might say something about Google's interpretation of the search query, but I've not really seen much to suggest that.

9:28 am on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I noticed the same for one of my websites,

The keywords is not highlighted in title, when investigating this further I saw that it happens to amazon also and some other well build sites.

I'm going to further test this phenomena as keyword in bold on serps means higher click rate.

11:41 am on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Can you specify the data center you are on?
12:37 pm on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi Rustybrick,

Try 209.85.129.147

sent you a keyword string that shows the phenomena

12:45 pm on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Not IP based, so must be keyword specific.
3:17 pm on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I just noticed this too over the last few days and was about to post a topic about it.

In my example, none of the keywords searched on are highlighted in the title. In the snippet only some of the keywords are highlighted.

For example: If the phrase searched is "Widget1 Widget2 Widget3 Widget4"..

None highlighted in the title even if all are there. In the snippet Widget1 is NOT highlighted while Widget2, Widget3, and Widget4 are all highlighted separately and as a phrase.

It's a very odd phenomenon and I'm wondering if it is indicative of something else.

[edited by: Philosopher at 3:18 pm (utc) on Aug. 13, 2008]

3:37 pm on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I too have been seeing this since the beginning of August.

Initially I wa paranoid and seeing only my sites affected but I am noticing it in other verticals.

From my own sites point of view I am seeing this effect most on newer sites or on new pages on older sites for about the last 8 days.

4:08 pm on Aug 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I've been doing a bit more research on this. The bolding issue does seem to either have an affect on, or be a symptom of a ranking issue.

In one area I watch, an article appeared on one of the social network sites that caused it to rank quite well for a few phrases. When it was ranking well, the keywords in the title of this result were all bolded as they should be.

Now, a few days later, that listing has dropped significantly in the SERPs and when looking at the listing, the keywords in the title are no longer bolded as they were/should be.

So far, I've seen two similar examples and it doesn't seem to just be new sites/pages. While it seems to happen more to newer pages, I have some pages on my affected site that are over a year old that this has recently happened to.

In going through some WW searches, I do see this thread [webmasterworld.com] back in '03 started by soapystart that seems to be similar in nature to what is currently happening.

7:40 am on Aug 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I noted repetitive use of the phrase more so on the results that were not showing bolded keywords in the titles when, normally, they should have been.
2:55 pm on Aug 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The certain phrase I was noticed is now bolding the keywords in my listing again, however I have dropped to the bottom of the 1st page (previously #3) It would make sense, if we get less clicks, but that is just a symptom - WHY in the first case did we become "unbolded"

I am still researching this.

I have found no reason to believe so far this could be "penalty" related. Although it may be user relevancy related.

Perhaps it is google trying to understand the difference between their #1 and a users prefered result. Is google trying to manipulate clicks to gain understanding in this?

 

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