Can someone 'disappear' certain of my blog posts from a particular Google search?
August 12, 2008 5:42 PM   Subscribe

I used to be able to Google my blog and find past blog posts using a certain search term; now when I do it, these posts aren't found (though they do come up when I search using other keywords). How can I find out why, and if it was deliberate? (the posts were civil, but quite unpopular with certain parties...)
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
If you can find them at all, then they haven't been suppressed. More likely the relevance has fallen, and they've dropped in position.
posted by Class Goat at 6:10 PM on August 12, 2008

Maybe the default search engine setting on your blog has changed (robots.txt)?
posted by dunkadunc at 7:19 PM on August 12, 2008

Yeah google drops pages up and down all the time
posted by norabarnacl3 at 7:20 PM on August 12, 2008

You don't mention whether the terms actually appear in the post. If not, they might just have appeared in links to the post, which (if they're on someone else's site) might have changed. It's also possible, like other people have said, that your posts still come up with those keywords but they're lower in the result list -- you can generally check that by restricting the search to your site, which you can do by adding to the list of search terms you type into google.
posted by inkyz at 12:50 AM on August 13, 2008

This will only be useful to you if you trust Google/take them at their word, but I once emailed Google regarding the top hit for a particular search term, and they responded (basically) that their policy is not to interfere with the natural results of the pagerank system. This was also a politically-charged issue, and changing the top hit probably would have brought the results more in line with most Google employees' beliefs/opinions.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:41 AM on August 13, 2008

What needs more cowbell said. Those search results are being driven by the PageRank algorithm, which is notoriously opaque and fickle. Whenever Google gets wind of there being a new way to game their results, or when they make enhancements to their core search technology, they change their search algorithm to compensate. In practice, that means that you can drop from the first page of results on a term to the twentieth literally overnight, with no warning or recourse. It's extraordinarily unlikely that some third party had any influence over the change--for them to do so, they would have to have the cooperation of hundreds of well-trafficked sites who were willing to try to Googlebomb you (a practice which Google has hamstringed in recent years), or they would have to hold sway over a company that wasn't willing to hand-tune their search results so that George Bush stopped showing up as the first match for "miserable failure."
posted by Mayor West at 4:45 AM on August 13, 2008

I'm not sure your specific situation can be answered through the Google Webmaster Tools, but they might be a good place to start. You can easily see, for example, if certain pages are no longer being indexed or if there is a problem with the robots.txt file.
posted by pants at 5:26 AM on August 13, 2008

That the posts are old would be enough, alone, to change their ranking. No other agent need be at work.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:45 AM on August 13, 2008

Do they show up in Google Blog Search? If PageRank thinks something is a blog (I'm not clear on the criteria), and has low enough relevancy, it will sometimes only appear in Blog Search.
posted by dmd at 8:30 AM on August 13, 2008

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