Search Engine

Why Did A Particular Site Appear in a Search?

SUMMARY: A few reasons why a result from a search engine may not have anything to do with what you are looking for.


Ever perform a web page search, visit a resulting site, and find absolutely nothing on the page relevant to your search query?

First, use your browser's find tool to search the page for the keyword(s) in question - press Ctrl+F, or Command+F if you are on a Macintosh. You should then be able to see if the page references your search word or phrase directly.


Using the popular Mozilla Firefox browser to search for text inside a webpage



If you do not see anything matching your original search text, here are a few reasons why this may occur:

* Perhaps the page at one time had your desired text, but it has since been edited and no longer contains what you are looking for. In some cases you can go back to the search engine results page and look for a "Cached" link that takes you to an older version of the page.

* If you are using a multi-word search, the search engine may have found a page that contains some of your words, but not all of them. In this case you may wish to go back to the search engine and put plus signs in front of each of your words. For many search engines this forces them to to only display results that contain your entire query.

* If many other web sites have links to the page you are currently viewing, the links may reference your search query. Thus, search engines may decide that the page must have something to do with what you searched for - even if the page does not include the phrase or keyword in question! Thus, your page may contain synonyms of or related words to your search query.

However, in some extreme cases (somewhat rarer now due to search engines trying to counter this technique), a technique called a Google Bomb may be in play. This is an attempt to link a webpage with an undesirable word or phrase, such as a politician with the word "failure"

* The web page may contain image description text that you do not ordinarily see that references your search query. An image of an apple may contain the description "Granny Smith Apple" even if the page never references the term directly. Or, other internal parts of the web page (metadata) may contain your search text. If you are comfortable viewing web page source code (HTML markup), try that.

* Still no luck? In some cases, you may be the victim of a "black hat" technique that some Internet marketers use to draw people to their sites. They may try sending search engines one web page with a bunch of random keywords that attract searches, and then show you and other visitors a different page that points to just a bunch of advertisements.

Return to the Search Engine page.

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About MalekTips and the Author

The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language.