Problems with Google Answers

Google’s expanded use of answers at the top of search results has some problems.  As always, the searcher has to know enough to vet the results received from a search engine.

When Google Gets It Wrong: Direct Answers With Debatable, Incorrect & Weird Content, Search Engine Land (June 17)

The addition of more direct answer content is fraught with problems as Google’s algorithms attempt to find answers to tricky queries. With no human review process in place for the results, the opportunity grows for debatable, incorrect and sometimes completely inappropriate content showing up as a top search result.

Google gives preference to mobile-friendly

ResearchBuzz picks up the darnedest items — What Google’s Algorithm Change Means for Library Websites (Public Libraries Online, June 9) —

“On April 21, Google changed its algorithm to give preference to mobile-friendly sites on searches performed on mobile devices. This means that sites that aren’t designated as “mobile-friendly” by Google sink to the bottom in mobile search results while sites that do pass the test appear toward the top.”

Article advises libraries on what to do to make their websites more mobile-friendly.

Of interest – “WordPress, for example, offers WPtouch, a plug-in that automatically enables a mobile theme for visitors reaching you by way of their phones”

Changes with Google Cache

Google Operating System describes the New Interface for Google Cache (June 19).

Cache holds the page as Google indexed it.  Viewing it  can often help when a link goes dead or there are very recent changes.  Click on the down arrow beside the link in the search result and select “Cached”.

Google lets you switch between:

* the “full version”, which is displayed by default
* the “text-only version”, which doesn’t load images, scripts and other resources
* the page source – a new feature that shows the source code of the HTML page.

Google Search Operators

Jeremy Gottlieb gives some pointers on using search operators at Google for researching competitors in the SEO industry.

Competitor Research Using Search Operators | A Launch Point For Beginners, distilled (May 21)

He recommends

  • searching for keywords in the title – using intitle:
  • limiting the search to a particular site – using site:
  • limiting the search to part of the url – using inurl:

All are good, but you may run into problems with inurl. Repeated use of inurl: triggers Google’s anti-hacker system that will drive you crazy with captcha to prove you are human.

Google removed reading level

One by one Google strips itself of the features that made  the Google search engine  excellent for web search. This time it’s the reading level search filter. Presumably it wasn’t used much, but that is hardly a good reason – not when it was a feature valued by a key segment of the user population.

Google Drops Another Search Filter: Reading Level, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (May 8)

Karen Blakeman, a professional searcher, is one who feels the loss. She commented in – Google dumps Reading Level search filter that feature helped to separate the technical, serious articles from “consumer or retail focused pages” – which I think we could call the trivial. She wonders, as do I, which of the few remaining advanced search features Google will drop next. Pray that it won’t be number range.

Google Search on a Timeline

This slideshow – A History of Google Algorithm Updates – reminds us of the ways Google search has changed over nearly 15 years. It’s quite stunning and we can only wonder – what next? The timeline was created by DPFOC, an online marketing agency offering SEO services.