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Have you ever noticed a page being ranked “too high” – a page in the top 10 search results which seems to be too “weak” in terms of backlink power and on-page optimization?
Well, WebmasterWorld thread has a good theory explaining this: this is another type of “blended” search. Top SERPs blend listings from various “clusters” of meanings trying to give the surfer a wider range of various result types.
This blending might involve:
- Forcing fresh result to top SERPs;
- Mixing navigational pages with informational ones;
- Mixing pages describing different meanings of one of the same word (e.g. abbreviations); etc
…Google sometimes forces a result onto page 1 that is taken from some more diverse user intention cluster – even though that url would not normally rank so high…
As a side track, there was a somewhat revealing bug a few years ago, when Google was evolving the technology to force certain results into certain positions (see the Position #6 ‘Penalty’)
This theory is based on Google patent Automatic taxonomy generation in search results using phrases which seems to describe the following algorithm:
- search results can be blended to include representatives from different clusters;
- a search phrase is associated with several clusters of web pages. Each one of those clusters is a group that includes some other phrase, in addition to the requested keyword phrase. This assumes that the phrases that create a cluster are groups of words that offer what the patent calls “information gain”.
A good example of this happening is personal name search. When the name is held by a celebrity “normally” all the top ten would be for the famous person. But a page about the less-famous person who happens to have the same name now sometimes shows up, too – even though backlinks, anchor text, PR and so on would not normally see that page ranking well.
Have you ever noticed this type of blended search results? Please share your opinion (and examples).