Research for a new site about Jails, Prisons and Inmates has us doing searches all day and night, but when looking up a new county, results often include the words I WANT to see, not words that are REALLY THERE at the destination.
After running a few thousand searches for the same subject, the biggest change noticed is title manipulation. Don't know if there's a technical term, but when searching for something, they showed me what I wanted to see, not what was really there. Over the last month or so, Rumors, Speculation and a Spark of Truth have been seen hanging out all over the web discussing Google and the new search features and behaviors. Another change with Google search include what's called real time search. Without going into what that is, I'll tell you what I've seen it do, an article by Jennifer Horowitz of eComBuffet on real time search
gives the important details, but basically, Google has been tracking our habits and studying them to appeal to users more.
How is it? It's deceptive. While the Sheriff of "Coleman County" might operate a Jail, thier website doesn't have a page about it or himself or inmates or his job title. Google sure shows a page or two with "Jail", "Sheriff" or "Inmates" in the link. It wasn't until doing a few extra searches that it was noticed they must be using synonyms because a small number of the sites (real and made up) didn't even have the key words occurring in them...ANYWHERE. To it's credit, it must be said we were almost forcing Google to tell us what we wanted to hear at gunpoint.
Can you trust this article? No more than any others, judge for yourself, we did. The research work can be seen at http://www.countyjailinmatesearch.net, you can decide if that's enough searching to form an opinion. You can test this, but there are no guarantees. Our browsers are in, on and around very specific subjects and connect with Google in several ways during the process, through ads and tracking, so we see the effects more than the causal surfer and you would almost expect this, just not from Google. As far as being a marketer and SEO fanatic, it seems that genuine effort and relevant content are still what's being served up on the whole, so why not just build better sites for people and let Google do what they do, send traffic to relevant sites.
Keep it Str8!