Google Settles On Finding Related Site, But Not Specific Page?

Mar 16, 2009 • 9:00 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics

Googlers know they have to be very careful what they say in public forums when I am watching. In a recent Google Webmasters Help thread, Googler, JohnMu replied to a thread, and I am going to beat him up for his response. Before I do so, let me say that John has provided so much value to the forums and to webmasters, that I admit, he does not deserve this, but I know Googlers have thick skin.

The Google Webmasters Help thread was complaining that Google was ranking his site well for a keyword phrase, but the page Google returned was not the page that best suits the searcher for that query. He asked why doesn't Google show the page that is the best result from his site for that query.

From the looks of it, there are some SEO issues with the site that might explain why this is happening. But John's response is what I felt was a bit non-Google like. Let me quote him:

As long as users are coming to your site because they're finding it in the search results, I wouldn't worry about the actual page they're landing on. If they come in and read your content (regardless of whether it's the page where just one post is or if it's your homepage), I think you've pretty much won the first part. They made it to your site. The actual URL shouldn't really matter too much.

Really John? So if they even land on the home page, but there is a better internal page about the query, shouldn't Google show that? Relevancy is key. Now, in this case, there may be SEO issues or relevancy is in the eye of the searcher, so who is anyone to say page A is more relevant than page B. But to say landing on the site is good enough, I am not too sure about that.

Striving for the actual URL is key. Usability consultants know this all too well. I assume landing on the best page possible would lead to higher conversions. I assume it would also make for a happier searcher.

I am not done beating up one of Google's most helpful Googlers.

Forum discussion at Google Webmasters Help.

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Neil M Hancock

03/16/2009 02:04 pm

Great find! Taking his comments a step further, if Google believe that you do not need to land on the most relevant internal page for the search query, why have any internal pages rank in the SERPs? Apparently the user can browse from the home page to the required page themselves...

Michael Martinez

03/16/2009 08:20 pm

It's an argument that makes it easier to justify Web Apartheid (which Google enforces through its Supplemental Index).

No Name

03/17/2009 06:11 am

in the world of internet today we can find so many SEO guru, attacking Google with there best tricks that Google yet to find a solutions how to repair it.I think Google need to repair there algorithm so that the search pattern is changing, I just wish Google has something new ,to relevance there result .rather then just,showed the result time effective only-"fast with no trust result"


03/17/2009 10:26 am

There are some details which matter in a case like this -- they're mostly mentioned in the actual thread. Taking one of the statements regarding this specific site out and trying to argue the merit of it on a general level doesn't really work that well :-) (apart from attracting even more general comments...). Andy Beard left a great analysis in the thread, it's definitely worth reading.

Barry Schwartz

03/17/2009 10:28 am

True, I am sorry John.

Michael Martinez

03/18/2009 05:19 pm

Andy's advice was tailored specifically to the one autoposted blog with what appears to be hundreds of links on its home page. It's not generally good advice for all bloggers. However, though Andy danced around the issue, he was basically advising the blogger on how to get more of his pages into Main Web Search (out of the Supplemental Index). Again, it's all about Web Apartheid. Maybe if Google didn't serve up 40 pages that link to the article in Web search but rather served the actual article people would be a little happier with their Google search results. Fixing the problem rather than misdirecting people's attention away from it is a much more effective course of action, in my humble opinion.

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