Using Google

by john on June 10, 2003

Elwyn Jenkins of Microdoc News has been in great form lately as he continues to explore the use of Google and the ongoing changes within the weblog and searching world.

In The New Librarians: Google Inc’s Free Labor Dr. Jenkins addresses the idea that others have espoused that Google results are somehow less accurate because of the prevalence of weblog searches rising to the top of the search result set. His conclusion is that in fact the results are more accurate as you tend to get pointed to sites deemed by the “New Librarians” to be the best resource, where they are offering the benefit of the time they spent in researching a particular topic – ultimately saving you time and getting you pointed quicker to what you are looking for.

I think a good example of this is the search on catfish noodling. Prior to my having written on the topic the number one search result on that topic was an ESPN Outdoors article that discussed the topic but didn’t go any farther – like a typical “regular website” article it’s content is self-contained, no links, no feedback, no added value beyond the content itself (which was actually quite good, and I linked to it in my article). Because I’ve now acted as the role of a new librarian and because webloggers tend to include the results of that research as links the new #1 result, which is now my article on the topic, is more relevant and helpful to someone because it has acted as a consolidation of links that I found useful in my research. Even better, because my weblog is interactive the searcher can now benefit from the people around the world who have contributed additional information.

Key to being able to leverage this is that you need to be aware of how to properly use Google to find what you are looking for. Over the years we’ve been used to using simple keywords for search, but as he discusses in When Google Searching Little Words Sometimes Count, Dr. Jenkins has discovered that the searchers choice of phrases versus keywords can make a difference in the search results, even if Google says that it is ignoring certain common words like the or in.

Finally he ties both points together to take another weblogger to task in Don Park’s PageRank Noise Problem, where he manages to convince me (maybe not Don) that weblogs are good for Google and you can benefit from their high pageranks, if you are sure to be effective with your searches.

It’s fascinating stuff. If you’ve never read Microdoc News before bookmark it, subscribe to his feed, or just remember to visit often – you won’t be disappointed in his style, his energy, his completeness or his content.

And no I’m not being paid to write that.


Joe Grossberg June 11, 2003 at 11:06 am

And don’t forget — as people are apt to — that bloggers do more than just link with a witty one-sentence summary.

We also create original content. Someone is looking for a free “dirty eggs” recipe? Thanks to John’s Jottings, they can find one. Some Linux geek wants to do a recursive grep with syntax highlighting, but doesn’t want to write his own, he finds it at my site.

john June 11, 2003 at 12:09 pm

I hope I’m about more than dirty eggs. 🙂

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