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Below are a few gripes for August 2010! These are my own personal grumpy old SEO engineer moans and may not reflect anyone else’s experience, but for what it’s worth here they are:
Google Gripe no.1 Advanced Search
If you select an advanced search to display 100 listings per page then it generates different results in the form of double listings not seen on the “10 listings per page” option. Why is this? If you have a new client and you want to see their recent positional movements, 100 listings per page is so much easier to use when manually looking at positions, but not if they are different to the “normal” 10 per page Google view.
There are other tools such as SEOSERP, Rank Checker and WebCEO. But when I use SEOSERP it seems to be down half the time (perhaps just my own bad luck) and I get a similar experience when using Rank Checker. So, for the time being, I’d rather investigate my search listings manually to ensure accuracy.
Google Gripe no. 2 Search Saturation
Google’s search saturation also seems to fluctuate all the time. If last month’s result was 40,000, then this month it’s guaranteed to be 4,000! This is crazy – do I sound frustrated? Obviously! OK, this is probably something to do with changes Google are planning to implement, but, what if there aren’t any new changes planned? Something is going wrong somewhere...
Also: previously, pages indexed in .com were different to those indexed in .co.uk, but now they are giving exactly the same results. To the client, this makes it look like previously indexed pages have somehow been dropped or added for some reason in the space of 30 days or less sometimes.
Google Gripe no 3. Personalisation
Personalised results obviously affect SEOs around the world. Results seem to differ depending on whether you are using Firefox, IE or Chrome to view search results on the same keyphrases. Even if you turn off your browser history you can still experience a degree of bias due to personalised results. You can avoid this by adding &pws=0 in the parameter manually. Example shown below:
‘Non personal’ URL when searching for “example”:
Personalised URL when searching for “examples”:
Google Gripe no. 4 Snippet
When searching for brand names Google generates the ODP title rather than the page Title tag. This is often difficult for an SEO engineer to understand let alone explain to their clients. You can add NOODP code on the robot.txt to avoid this.
Well, those are my gripes. And some suggested fixes. Anybody got any others?