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Google is Suboptimal

Let me give you some background first ...

So I'm programming with Eclipse and its Ant plugin and ran into a problem -- it didn't work. It complained:

[javac] BUILD FAILED: file:C:/[ECLIPSE_DIR]/workspace/[PROJECT_DIR]/build.xml:32: Unable to find a javac compiler;
com.sun.tools.javac.Main is not on the classpath.
Perhaps JAVA_HOME does not point to the JDK

So I did a search on Google. Nothing useful. I did some digging and finally found the answer. I thought other people might appreciate the answer so I blogged it. From my hit counter I noticed I was getting about 30 people a day with the same problem, reading my solution. Great -- I'm helping people and Google was the vehicle.

Nuh uh, says Google. As soon as the blog post left my main page, it left Google's index. Gone completely. Not on page 100, just gone. There was even a direct link to that post on my Recent Entries list (until this post because the list only holds 10) and Google still didn't find it.

The funny thing is that the next time Google scans this index page people will be able to Google for the problem again because I reproduced the error text on this post. Sheesh.

So what is Google up to? Do they know my site is a MoveableType blog and they are ignoring my entire archive (which is linked off the index)? Is this their way of reducing "blognoise"? If it is, it's not working too well. Even people that want to find REAL help from a blog can't find it anymore and strangely my index is still in the Google index and still blognoise. I understand that blog noise is a big problem but this is no way to fix it.

My mission isn't to crap on Google -- I love Googling. I just want them to know something is definitely wonky. If you need motivation to fix it, how's this: The MSN search doesn't filter my blog archives and people can find the Star Wars kid. Wait, is that a good thing? :)

Posted at June 15, 2003 at 10:39 PM EST
Last updated June 15, 2003 at 10:39 PM EST

Hmmm, I wonder people rarely link to your archive pages that they have a really crappy page rank... but lots of people like (and link) to your main page - so whatever you talk about - your score will be good... once a post loses the limelight - it's gone :-(

Ayana would have some excellent insight this... she was the search queen back when she dabbled in internet commerce stuff (aabeka.ca and cooldeals.org)

» Posted by: andrew at June 15, 2003 11:04 PM

I guess that if you want anyone to be able to find this issue, you'll have to post the text all the time... maybe put it under you "syndication" section on the main column...

it's a work around, sort of feels like a hack, but it would probably work. :-|

» Posted by: JimboJones at June 16, 2003 12:48 AM

Check that your individual archives are valid HTML, and make sure they are linked from (preferable) several places; maybe a set of monthly archive pages + a "search engine only" list of all posts ever. I have one linked from my root at www.jacobsen.no and Google finds ALL my individual archives...

Also work on boosting your "Googlejuice" - some tips here:

» Posted by: Anders at June 16, 2003 07:37 PM

Hi Ryan. I think the braintrust over at Google is still trying to figure out how to handle blog searches. I think you were correct in your analysis on blognoise--the web is rapidly changing shape. What is a search engine to do when bloggers comment back and forth on their sites and thereby "falsely" raise their pagerank?

I've been tracking our pagerank for the phrase Ken Walker for some time now. After making the top-ten in April, I was dumped to #32 in May. I tried on a whim yesterday and discovered that Google now places Our Story at the #1 spot. Nothing's changed on our site, so I think Google is still going through some growing pains about this issue. After all, my site is (should be, anyway), the most-linked website having to do--legitimately--with "Ken Walker." Why should I be penalized just because I link to MovableType (or however they determine a "blog")?

» Posted by: Ken Walker at June 18, 2003 03:54 PM

Search scope: Web ryanlowe.ca