May 29, 2008

Google is idiosyncratic about what it displays

I was testing the new blog theme installed on Software Memories, specifically to see whether the title and description in the search engine results reflected the metatag title and description I’d just put in, which are

History of the software industry, its companies and its personalities

and

History of the software industry by Curt Monash, who’s been in the middle of it since 1981

respectively.

Well, the answer turns out to be a resounding “Yes and no.” To wit, the query string softwarememories.com turns up both, as in

History of the software industry, its companies and its personalities

History of the software industry by Curt Monash, who’s been in the middle of it since 1981.

Software Memories yields the description but not the title, as in

Software Memories
History of the software industry by Curt Monash, who’s been in the middle of it since 1981.

And the first one I tried, Cullinet wikipedia, yields the title but not the description, as in

History of the software industry, its companies and its personalities
Wikipedia‚Äôs current article on Cullinet is long, detail-laden, and slanted. The difficulties are not of the sort to be fixed with my usual pinpoint …

(OK, I really was hoping the post and category page would come up on that one, and it is to be hoped they will very soon. But apparently Googlebot didn’t go that deep on its most recent visit, so all that was showing up in the SERPs was the blog home page.)

As usual, it seems SEO doesn’t come with any iron-clad guarantees.

Many thanks to @status_girl for helping me figure this out.

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