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Minor Oops in Google's additional results

alek [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
11 years ago2,885 views

For sites that are especially relevant to the search terms, Google shows additional results which not only highlights the site, but also allows you to more easily jump to the specific piece of information you want. This is useful to users and "makes sense" IMHO.

So recently my son asked when a Colorado Rockies baseball was being played. A Google Search for "Colorado Rockies" yields the expected result as discussed above ... so I simply clicked on "Schedule" which brought up a monthly calendar showing who they were playing.

But we were confused looking at it ... until we realized that it had popped up the March/2007 calendar of games – D'OH! Presumably, Google had somehow determined this was the most relevant page on the site that related to Schedule. Interestingly enough,on the Google Results page there was also a "Full Schedule" link which does go (at least for now) to the current month.

Again, I think Google's approach of showing additional results is a good one, but this example highlights some challenges in handling it "right", especially it comes to time-sensitive information.

Just an oddity that I happened to notice and thought I'd share with Blogoscoped Readers – I'm sure there are others.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Interesting pitfall. The full title of the original page is "The Official Site of The Colorado Rockies: Schedule: 2007 Rockies Schedule". So the information is there but as we know Google makes their own algorithmic decisions as to what to name the site link, and perhaps this one got pointed to from the site's navigation using the word "schedule" for a long time (for 2007...).

PS: It looks like the webmaster of the site could remove that specific site link via the Webmaster tools (not that that's a scalable thing): google.com/support/webmasters/ ...

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

If you search Google for Uclue, you also get one of those results with eight extra links:
google.com/search?q=uclue

The problem is, those eight links lead to an apparently random collection of minor pages. I would have thought Google's algorithms would have managed to at least find the "Frequently Asked Questions" page or even "Ask a Question", as these are high-traffic pages linked from every other page.

I went into webmaster tools and removed all eight useless links, but Google just replaced them with eight new useless links. When I removed the links, Google presented me with a box asking for more details, so I gave more details, and suggested a list of eight relevant pages so that they could see what I was getting at. No luck though.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

If you search for "Google Blogoscoped"
google.com/search?q=%22google+ ...
you do get slightly better links.

There's a link to the forum, a link to the "About" page, a link to the Archive, and links to a few big news stories. But there are also links to minor pages such as "Cutts Joins Yahoo".

Interestingly, there's no collection of links displayed if you search for google.

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

I'll ask a few folks about this, but in general we don't expect that our Sitelinks will be 100% perfect, because they are generated algorithmically.

alek [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Roger that Matt ... nor do I expect it to be a 100% accurate.

However, this is a good example case where perhaps there might be something tunable that could address this issue.

After all, "You can tune a file system, but you can’t tune a fish" ... so what about a Search algorithm?!? ;-)

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

[put at-character here]Matt: we're not expecting anything approaching perfection, and the sitelinks feature is certainly a useful one.

One benchmark of the quality of the sitelinks is whether they are more or less useful than the first eight pages for that site in the organic search results (using the "site:" operator).

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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