12 March 2019

A Not So Googly Gadget

A few months ago, in a post titled A Googly Gadget (October 2018) on my chess960 blog, I wrote about a Google search result called 'Your Site on Google'. Everything I wrote about it is still true and I won't repeat it here, but this week I received the same result for a search on 'chess'. The following image captures what it looks like.

Google search on 'chess'

I know that chess960 is a very small topic and I wasn't too surprised to see my site had a search presence there. Chess is a much larger topic, with thousands of relevant pages, and I'm certain that my site isn't appearing for a simple query on 'chess'. It might appear for 'origin of chess' or 'chess setup', but not for 'chess'. The most important info in the image above says,

See how your site has been showing for this query for the past 90 days and compare to the previous 90 days:
- Clicks 3
- Impressions 116
- Average position 9,7

'Average position 9,7' means that the site is shown on the first page of results. That's where you normally see big chess sites like chess.com, wikipedia.org/chess, lichess.org, etc. etc. Little sites like mine are buried many pages deep, if they show up at all. I double checked this by clicking to the second page of results, the third, etc. etc., and, as I expected, there was no trace of my pages. The results stopped at 17 pages, where I received the message,

In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 170 already displayed.

That sort of message is normally shown at the end of queries that produce only a few pages of results. Now we go from the first page ('About 262.000.000 results') to the last page ('Page 17 of about 168 results') with a few million pages ignored along the way. Have I stumbled on a temporary discrepancy or has Google changed something fundamental to its search?

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