Relevant? More Often Than Not... No


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This morning I'm combining one of my favorite activities (catching up on my ezine reading) and one of my no-longer favorite activities, trying to figure out the search engines.

In doing so, I had a thought to check out a service that, as ezine readers, we often see. I speak of the service, a good service where you can take those really long links and tighten them up.

First let me start by saying it is a good service, and based on how often I see them in use, you'd think a very popular one, right?

Well, not according to Google. . .

I've been driving myself nuts over the last few months trying to figure out, or stay ahead of, Google's algorithm changes (and I dare say many of us are doing something similar, yes?).

So, instead of looking at my website,, I decided to check out something I was 100% positive would appear in its rightful spot on Google,

I typed in the following using my Google toolbar:

Keywords: Shorten url

No evidence of in the 1st 10 pages of Google - at least as of this writing (August 2004).

Keywords: tiny url

You’d think that would do the trick, right? Well you’d be wrong.

One reference to an About article but not the website itself, along with a geocities free website with an inside page link to this service. No domain name in sight.

Keywords: how to shorten a long url

Finally, the site itself turns up on page three of Google, but it's use and popularity suggest something isn't quite right about this placement. And we all know what that is, right?

Google suggests at that point that I type in:

Keyword: tinyurl

Only if I specifically typed in tinyurl (as one word) could I find it listed in the Number 1 spot at Google. Well duh!

So, how relevant are your searches? If you're like me it's becoming more and more a game of who's willing to pay for placement (whether they belong there or not in most circumstances), and those who've been working their little fingers to the bone to be in the right spot, for the right keywords to provide the right service.

Popular, oh yes! But is Google (or Yahoo or MSN, etc. , for that matter) currently the best way to get the best results?

Evidence says no.

What I have found is that the obscure search engine (as long as it is not “pa'id to place") returns the most relevant results I'm looking for when I go hunting. There are a ton of them out there (type in search engines at Google and see for yourself, but if you're looking for the lesser-known ones, start at page 6 and higher, LOL!).

Someday it would be nice to see a mainstream search engine tweak its algorithm to the point where both the keywords and the content have something in common - and the returned results are targeted.

I know it's impossible, but it sure would be nice to take the insect out and put the human-touch back into search engine searches.

I know I’d be able to locate what I’m looking for a heck of a lot faster.

In the meantime, the frustration continues.

© Theresa Cahill - All Rights Reserved. Feel free to distribute this article. Please keep it intact and with the resource box included below.


Theresa Cahill, a two decade veteran of marketing, is the owner of and invites you to take a look at the services of MWA and download fr. ee helpful information and more at


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