10 January 2017

The Battle for No.1

No.1 chess web site that is. One of the advantages of blogging about all sorts of chess topics that interest no one is being witness to the history of those same uninteresting topics. Take, for example, Google's opinion on the top chess web site. Almost ten years ago, in Wikipedia Chess the New Google No.1 (February 2007), I observed,

Today, for the first time I can remember, the Wikipedia Chess entry is appearing at no.1 in the results. The previous no.1 was Jon Edwards' site, Chess is Fun, now appearing at no.3. Going back a few years, I remember that the USCF's USchess.org held the no.1 position for quite a while.

Wikipedia Chess has been climbing the top-10 for many months and it was just a question of time before it came in at no.1. Although it may bounce in and out of the top position over the near term, I expect it will eventually occupy that spot for years to come.

I should know better than to be so categorical, because a few months later another powerhouse chess site burst onto the scene. Chess.com was introduced in May 2007, and within a year it had supplanted Wikipedia Chess as the top web site. I recorded this change peripherally in My 15 Minutes of Fame? (February 2008).

Let it be known to all interested parties that on or about 9:00 AM GMT on Friday, 15 February 2008, chess.about.com, aka About Chess, reached no.4 on a Google search for 'chess'.

The associated image, a snapshot of top Google search results, showed positions no.1-2-3 as

  • Chess.com
  • Wikipedia Chess
  • Chess is Fun

A week later I wrote another post about Chess.com as no.1: Google Redirects on Chess.com (February 2008)

For the last week or so, Google has been displaying Chess.com, the no.1 entry on a search for 'chess', in a format that I've seen used elsewhere, but never for a chess site.

And so the ranking continued -- no.1 Chess.com, no.2 Wikipedia Chess -- until mid-November 2016, when I noticed that the two sites had switched positions.

Don't be fooled by that Chess.com ad in the first spot. It's a paid placement. Wikipedia Chess is sitting at no.1, followed by Chess.com at no.2. The switch was short lived. The next time I looked, the two sites were back to their historical order with Chess.com at no.1.

Yesterday I noticed that Wikipedia Chess was again at no.1, followed by Chess.com at no.2. It appears that both sites are in a close battle for top ranking among chess web sites. What will Google's ultimate decision be?

No comments: