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Google can't find simple phrase

4:21 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Google seems to have "blown" a simple task. About ten days I updated a web site home page with text that includes [a very unique phrase]. About 4 days later DuckDuckGo, WOT Safe Search, Yahoo and Bing found the phrase and showed a link to my page. To this day, Google returns with "No results found for [a very unique phrase]. '
Google is supposed to be the leader here, so I ask "how is this failure to be explained"? Any suggestions on why this happened? Thanks in advance.

[edited by: Andy_Langton at 4:54 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]
[edit reason] No specific keywords, please - see forum charter [/edit]

5:09 pm on Sept 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Theordore :)

There are few things that might explain this, but perhaps the most likely is that Google simply hasn't revisited your site since you made the change. You can estimate the last visit time by clicking on the "cached" link in search results next to your listing or directly searching for cache:www.example.com/URL

While Google is pretty fast at visiting some things, it also assigns "crawl budget" as it believes is appropriate, so if you have a site without many links that does not change frequently, Google may have a slow schedule for you. If you're the BBC news, Google is visiting pretty much constantly.

If that date in the cache is after you made the change, report back and we can look at other possibilities.
6:27 pm on Sept 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I will concur with the OP on this. I have over the past 2 days have posted a unique phrase also. It's a very strange situation actually. This isn't "normal" Google behavior at all. Non english occurrences are showing, but I don't see my site which is english for this new unique phrase. It does make me wonder if something substantial is going on behind the scenes. Odd behavior for sure. It's possible Google doesn't like my site the way they did say a week ago due to some algo update, but I'm sure I'm not the only english site who has recently used this unique phrase.
6:31 pm on Sept 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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In both cases, Theodore and MrSavage, has G-bot visited the page?
6:43 pm on Sept 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Andy, and your explanation seems good, for the following reason. A few days after updating the page in question I was looking at my site stat's at my web-site host and I noted that "Google.bot" had been at my site a couple of days earlier.
My site is an odd-ball site from the viewpoint of SEO principles (as I understand them); because the common key words/phrases in my business would never get my site listed on the first 30 pages of a search engine's output. (There are many thousands of vendors with products for which those more common key words are appropriate -- many are big-name financial services firms and many already have a ton of traffic to entice the Google.bot to revisit them soon.)
On checking at the Google Adwords tool while updating my site I found that phrases which point much better to my content are in **very** low usage around the world -- which means there is no traffic out there to be driven to my site by simply doing my SEO very well (exaggerating a bit). That ties in with your explanation.
Thanks again; because your reply means that my SEO strategy has to go beyond trying to optimize for Google, given my special business, I think.
11:37 pm on Sept 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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A quick follow-up, please. Google is so big and successful, it's almost too audacious to question their business model here. But look at this -- they have enough "fire power" to digitize "all the books ever printed", and yet the guy who is selling "Chinese crocodile-meat pizzas" can't get Google's attention except about once per month, while he can get DuckDuckGo's attention in a few days. (And that guy dare not use any of the usual pizza-related key words to get web traffic because his site will be on page 999 of the search engine report.)
The world is getting to be more and more multi-lingual and diverse, so we are looking at a big growth of odd-ball sites like mine. Question -- given the way they have the G.bot programmed, why would I bother either buying a Google advert. or even promoting Google among my friends? (I know, Google couldn't care less whether I do -- they are already making billions in profits.)
Right now, what I will say to my friend is this: "Sure use Google, they're Number One; but make sure you check at DuckDuckGo for things Google may have missed." Does that sound like Number-One performance?
12:29 am on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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These days, search is less about showing the searcher what he is looking for, and more about showing the searcher where the search engine wants him to go.
2:59 am on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed on one site where the articles got indexed within minutes has now seems to take days to index articles. This pretty much happened post panda 3.9.2. Interestingly Google thinks the site is good enough to be in Google news. Yet has slowed down article indexing to the slowest of any of my sites.
3:44 am on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This pattern (not finding a particular uncommon phrase) is something that has affected a few sites over the past year. It's not very common, but it's common enough to know that it's a kind of pattern.

What creates the pattern is the question for me. I wonder if it's an intentional filter, a kind of manual action to generate only partial indexing, or an unintended data bug.

I've seen the situation clear up in a couple cases - so please let us know if you see any changes, or get any insight into what's going on in your case.