Some weeks ago I read Rand Fishkin’s post about Google capping its index and retiring a lot of old content. I didn’t think any further about that topic until I was writing my monthly column for APC Mag (April 2010). I was checking some search counts for some old news and found the numbers a bit low. So I thought I’d try some truly big news stories, taking care to choose a phrase most likely to be used only for the next 24 hours and not some recent coverage:
Then the puzzler:
I had missed the terrible tragedy by going to bed (in Australia) just five minutes before the first plane hit, but I woke to the clock radio newsreader opening with “The twin towers are no more”. It took me a few seconds to absorb this apparently bizarre news bulletin and subsequently I heard that phrase many times that day. Surely, numerous print media also used it, so I am puzzled to find just 31 instances today in Google.
Bing is not a lot better – we are used to Bing counts being a tiny fraction of Google’s for a given search term:
Finally, an unambiguous phrase, not date-restricted (there are lots of these namesake buildings around the world), spelt the American way to avoid counting many of the others:
Is Google becoming more relevant or pruning the index? I tend to think it’s the latter. Is this Caffeine?
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