How Google ranks web pages in a subject of great interest to those who care about such things. Unless someone is completely ego-less (which I’m certainly not), this includes most people who desire that others see what they put on the web. So attempts to fathom Google’s mysterious page-ranking methods abound. Here’s an example.
Today I found something interesting. I’d be interested to hear from anyone with more knowledge in this area of Googleology about whether my experience truly reflects a Google Law of Ranking. Is my conclusion in this post correct, that changing the wording of a Google excerpt that appears in a search result can be dangerous to the health of your ranking?
As I wrote about yesterday, my collected Christmas letters have been on my www.brianhines.com web site for several years. Periodically my ego would lead me to check on how my Christmas letter page fared in the “Christmas letters” Google search ranking. I noted that it gradually ascended as time passed, seemingly not so much because of links to the page, but mainly from its stability and longevity.
Then I became Google-greedy a few weeks ago. I saw that the page excerpt which appeared on Google was rather bland. So I added a few flowery (and entirely accurate) adjectives so that the excerpt would read: “the wonderfully amusing and wise collected Christmas letters….”
Is it possible that Google punishes displays of ego? No, that can’t be true, or you wouldn’t see what you do when you type a single “p” in the beta Google Suggest search box.
I thought this, though, when I saw today that my beloved collected Christmas letters page had plummeted in the Google page rankings after the revised page had been found and indexed. Google didn’t like my adjectives! Or, more likely, Google didn’t like that the key words on this page had changed.
So on the one hand Google is known to reward web page stability. But on the other hand Google seems to punish certain types of changes. Go figure. Google giveth and Google taketh away.
I’ve read that Google likes weblogs because they tend to have numerous links and are updated frequently. I certainly have found, as other bloggers have noted, that a simple weblog post on some subject will quickly become a Google favorite. For example, I was pleased to find today that the #1 result of a search for (Salem) “Mayor Janet Taylor” turns up a recent ranting by yours truly about Salem City Council shenanigans.
I love Google because it is so powerful, wise, and mysterious. Such a being deserves to be worshipped. And I do.
I just wish I could better understand what pleases you, Almighty Google, so that I could serve you better. Not selflessly, of course, but so you can reward me and elevate my writings above less deserving acolytes.