You can learn a lot about how search has improved over the years by reading Matt Cutts. Recently he highlighted how search was irrelevant in the past due to a lack of diversity:
Seven of the top 10 results all came from one domain, and the urls look a little… well, let’s say fishy. In 1999 and early 2000, search engines would often return 50 results from the same domain in the search results. One nice change that Google introduced in February 2000 was “host crowding,” which only showed two results from each hostname. ... Suddenly, Google’s search results were much cleaner and more diverse! It was a really nice win–we even got email fan letters.
Thanks to those kinds of improvements, in 2011 we never have to look at search results like this.*
* And by never, I mean, unless the results are linking to fraternal Google pages, in which case, game on!
Why should Google result crowding not apply to Google.com? Sure they can say those books are from different authors, but many websites are ran by organizations with multiple authors. Some websites are even built through the partnerships of multiple different business organizations. Who knows, maybe some searchers are uncomfortable with every other listing being an out of context book highlight.
In the past I have been called cynical for highlighting stuff like the following image
I saw it as part of a trend toward home cooking promotions. And I still view it that way. The above books promotion is simply further proof of concept.
- other Google owned and operated sites
- a branded website ranking for its own brand
Can you show me *any* occurrence of a result where a site is listed 5 times in the search result? Bonus points if you can find it where the 5 times are not grouped into 1 bunch via result crowding.
Other than a home cooking override, how is it possible that this problem fixed years ago suddenly re-appears?
As a thought experiment, ask yourself if that Google ranking accident would happen if the content archive being served up was promoting media hosted on Microsoft servers.
A friend of mine summed it up nicely with:
well, it's not everyday you see that kind of power and the fact that other sites aren't afforded the same opportunity makes me think that they are being anti-competitive. Google literally wrote the book (ok scraped it) on anti-competitive practices.
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