Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Search commands aren't always off the beaten track

Google - especially Matt Cutts - sometimes talk about what is on and what is off the beaten track. The prinicple is simple; the beaten track is one that people walk often.

This applies to bugs, glitches or features that "common" people are likely to encounter and therefore those bugs, glitches or features that interest Google the most.

In the world of SEO we sometimes care about features off the beaten track. This might be quirks of the site: command, the order of the link: command or whether we can chain together multiple negatives in a query.

It's tax season in the US of A. As a result we can see one of the search commands entering the hot trends. It is the first time I've noticed it but that doesn't mean it is the first time that it's happened.

Yep. We have people using the site: command to search IRS.gov for information on an extension. In fact, there are a few other extension related queries trending as I write this.

Is the IRS site search powered by Google? Results are similar but different. If Google is involved in the search then are searches on the IRS contributing to hot trends? If so does that devalue the information in hot trends?

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