Google BlogSearch: forget authority, trust, link ranking and dust off the old tricks ?

Like a good portion of the blogosphere (it sounds like) I have been playing with the new Google blog search – which technically speaking should be referred to as FeedSearch since feed content is the basis of the indexing – but no matter. Danny Sullivan has been playing as well apparently.

The index contains about 2/3 months worth of posts, and Google claims that it will be backfilled as time goes. Since many feeds only list the latest n posts (10, 20, 50 ?), I am not sure how they will be able to do so – besides scrapping blog pages or extracting posts from the cache of their main index (?).

A few things caught my attention:

  1. Tags and categories seem to be ignored in the indexing or the ranking algorithm.
  2. The content of the title field for both the blog and posts seems to have a high (if not disproportionate) degree of importance in the relevancy algorithm.
  3. Updates are caught up pretty quickly, I’d say in less than 10 minutes after an initial ping.
  4. Searching for your name gets your blog to appear as a featured one – nice.

Google SearchThe one thing I have the biggest issue with is that if you enter a keyword like “Venture Capital” in BlogSearch, a few blogs will be featured – and it is because they have “Venture Capital” in the blog title tag. Checking these, and I really don’t mean to pick on the bloggers writing them, they have a very limited number of incoming links, if any at all. And none of the “established” VC bloggers show up in this list.

What does that mean ? That anyone can create a blog that contains “Venture Capital” in the title, and after some time (?), that blog becomes feautured as an authority ? That reminds me of old (1995 ?) tricks of SEO, doesn’t it ?

Even though counting incoming links is not the best/sole measure of authority, it is better than patching a few keywords in a title tag. And how is PageRank playing (or not) here ?

For the sole purpose of testing, I have opened up a feed for one of my Blogger experimental blogs (Software Only – The Cousin), and have added a few keywords to the title to see if that blogs becomes featured for these keywords after a while. I will not leave it up more than one fortnight, since this is really close to spamming in my book.

Talking about spam actually: less than 5 mins after pinging for the first time ever, my Blogger blog started to receive comment spam from automated bots – at least three times quicker than the Google crawler. Insane.

There are apparently some issues of staleness, Richard reports that his feed has not been indexed for almost 4 months…

Let’s not forget that this is just "out of the oven", and can’t be perfect from the outset…

  • David Hornik

    Ironically, now when you search for “Venture Capital,” among the top search results is this post. Alas, VentureBlog is still nowhere to be found.