Deconstructing Matt's Google blog spam example

Matt Haughey reinforces the over-hyped idea that blogs are ruining the Google index: "Tonight I started to write up a review of a product and found that a search for the product name gives my photos of said product as the #1 result, with the actual product in second place. My site is days old but outperforming the more useful site that has been around for a couple years."

That sounds bad, right? Well, consider this: The product name Matt searched for was "hinsdale upgrade drive." A search with quotes reveals that no one else on the web refers to the product by that name. And that was the title of Matt's page. What's more, the second result—what Matt refers to as "the actual product," and thus more useful page—does not appear to be an official product page from the manufacturer. In fact, one doesn't appear to exist.

If one were to try other searches, which aren't the phrase Matt uses, but seemingly as likely or more likely to be used—off the top of my head, let's try: "hinsdale tivo," "hinsdale upgrade," or "tivo drive hinsdale"—they all return Matt's preferred result on top. And only one of them has his PVR blog in the top ten.

I don't think Matt was trying to be deceptive here. And this was just one example. But it illustrates an interesting point. Most of the people who I've heard, anectdotely, say that they think blogs sometimes get undue ranking, mention coming across their own blog for searches. They don't necessarily complain about about coming across other blogs. Could that in part be because: a) They're using phrases to search that are natural to them (and, therefore, the words they use to write) but that aren't quite as likely to be used by others as they might think? b) They're not going to learn anything from their own blog, so they consider that result useless, while another blog's contents they may find valuable?

I dunno. I'm sure there's more to it. I don't work for Google quality, and I don't really know that much about this stuff. And no one argues there isn't room for improvement. But you can demonstrate anything you want with a single example. Remember, there are hundreds of millions of searches per day on Google. I doubt this really comes up as much as bloggers—and blog haters—would like to think.