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Google Blog Search – First Look Review

Google-Blog-SearchMy initial reflections on Google’s Blog Search:

  • the basic bones of the technology seem to be there.
  • basically it seems to be using similar (or the same) technology as Google News.
  • they seem to be indexing new posts very quickly which is great.
  • the pool of blogs that they are indexing seems smaller than I’d have expected. Of course they’ll be adding new feeds to track over time
  • they will have a big challenge of filtering spam – I’ve already seen quite a few spam posts in it both in the ‘related blogs’ and the actual posts that they are indexing
  • I’m disappointed with the ‘related blogs’ results – I’ve seen spam blogs, blogs that havn’t been updated for 6 months and know it’s omitting major blogs in certain niches. It seems from testing that the blogs served here are very related to the title of the blog concerned rather than the content in my initial tests.
  • The ability to subscribe via RSS to search terms is fantastic – top marks Google.
  • Being able to see results both ‘by date’ and ‘by relevance’ is a good thing.
  • The Advanced search functionality seems to offer more options than most other blog search tools that I’ve seen.

Overall – the technology is promising. It is in beta so we can’t expect too much I guess but I hope they make some improvements on some of the above areas.

I’ll also be fascinated to see how this impacts blog’s search result positioning in the main Google index. Will it lead to them being indexed faster and higher? Or is this a step towards downgrading their importance in the main index.

Update: Which indexes posts quicker – Google Blog Search or Technorati? The first one to index this post was Google in 50 minutes. The strange thing is that when I entered the index I entered it way down the page and not as the most recent post. Technorati is yet to index this post – however it has indexed considerably more in the mean time than Google.

Update II: Other reviews and first looks of Google Blog search can be found at:
- Anil’s first look at ProNet
- Paul’s Predictions
- Duncan’s Review
- Chris Pirillo has a massive list of posts from around the web on Google Blog Search

Intereseted to hear your reviews of Google Blog Search in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Paul Short says:

    I’ll also be fascinated to see how this impacts blog’s search result positioning in the main Google index. Will it lead to them being indexed faster and higher? Or is this a step towards downgrading their importance in the main index.

    I think blogs will stay the same in the main index as they are now. IMO, this blogsearch is Google’s way of indexing the ‘live web’ more quickly so time sensitive content will now show up within minutes rather than a couple of days.

    The blogsearch is more ‘time relevant’ than the regular search results.

  2. Stuart says:

    The search seems a little ‘off’.

    A search for “home office guide” complete with the inverted commas turns up a post from Martin’s Home Office Voice where he laments that he’s feeling unwell.

    Could it be that they are only recognised blogs that actually use blog software?

  3. Khurrum says:

    Stuart > Google Blog search crawls XML feeds to find blogs. Does your site have an XML feed? When I browse to your site FireFox does not seem to detect one.

    As far as I know it seems that if you start generating one you’ll get google to index your site as well :)

  4. Stuart – I think one big problem is that you’re not using any blogging software, you’re basically updating the same page with new content. C’mon go for a real blogging software and utilise rss .. it’s not that hard to do ;-)

    strange how your search came up with my little post about me being sick (although that post did include a link to one of your articles/post – which must explain it.)

    For me, it’s working fairly good. A search on “homeofficevoice” brings up most results I’d expect.

    A search on one of my main keyword phrases shows nothing from me for at least 20 pages (which is no good – gotta work on that) except a link to me on the related blogs (which is quite nice seeing that it’s above the fold and quite clear).

    I too see spam as being a real issue here once all those blackhaters get goinig.

    Also, the rss feature is a great inititative.

    Still, gotta wait and see over coming weeks – all we want is relevancy when searching, hopefully Google has been working on it. If it turns into a spam fest then it’s a wasted tool.

  5. Mike Sansone says:

    This is another reason for companies to start a business blog. Rather than looking at who as the best Yellow Page ad or swimming the results of a regular search, I can do a blog search first.

    Right now, there’s a lot of seaweed out there (I tried “roofing contractor” Des Moines and couldn’t find a legitmate blog), but I think that will get cleaned up.

  6. jon says:

    Spam seems to be the key issue here. I searched on some terms of interest to me relating to mountaineering equipment and hit mostly junk. Much of it seems pretty crude with long lists of keywords repeated over and over again. This is the nonsense that has succesfully been screened from the main Google search, so I’m not sure why they’re struggling with similar content in the blog search.

  7. Hmm, they haven’t gotten my last couple posts indexed yet, but then again, that’s probably because I don’t have a frequent, regular posting schedule.

  8. Stuart says:

    Khurrum – yes there definitely is an RSS feed on my blog.

    Martin – If anyone can tell me that I can use SSI to pull in ads with blogging software I would change – but at the moment I haven’t had time to do any experimenting myself.

  9. Athomemama says:

    Neat. Here’s my review.

    When I searched for one of my blogs, I was gently reminded that an image cannot be your title. The actual title of one of my blogs came up on another site with a lower page rank because my title is NOT ON MY PAGE. What the heck was I thinking? Ugh.

    I know better. Moron.

  10. pcunix says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see the point of it at all. I’ll post the article I wrote here (I think it’s short enough not to need a link):

    Huh? What the heck is the point of Google Blogsearch?

    The first question I had was “Is anybody going to use this?”. I think the answer is a pretty definite “No”, although there may be rare occasions when you’d want to. But that brings us to the next question: wouldn’t this be just as well served by adding “Sort by date, most recent first” and “Only show rss enabled sites” (which could be bundled into a -blog flag if you like) to ordinary Google?

    What the heck is a blog anyway? Is it still a blog if you haven’t updated it in months? Apparently Google sometimes thinks so, but I sure don’t. Does a blog HAVE to have rss? I’d say no – it’s better for everyone if you do, but I don’t see that as part of the definition.

    In reality, blogs are whatever people think they are. I had someone insist the none of my sites are actually blogs because they are all “techy”. So, in that person’s mind, I have to talk about my personal life to qualify as a blog. Fine, but of my six sites, I consider four to be blogs because they are focused on specific subjects and I write original content for them daily. If I were only providing links at a site, I wouldn’t consider that a blog no matter how often it is updated, but other folks have different feelings about that, too.

    In short, I thing the whole “blog” thing is too ill-defined to bother with a “blog” specific search engine. I predict it will be a seldom used feature that eventually disappears.

  11. Andy Beard says:

    One thing I find glaringly missing is tag support

    Is that a statement from Google that it will never be adopted?

    I do like the new operators.

  12. Damien says:

    Ok, so my site is only a couple of months old, so I do not expect a whole lot of traffic from search engines at the moment. I get some, but it is mostly from Yahoo and MSN, with only 2-3 hits from Google a day.
    Now, I am quite interested in how the BlogSearch from Google will play out… especially as it is bringing traffic to my site (8 hits so far today). Considering the percentage of people who know about the new service and actually are using it, when compared to something like Technorati, for me it looks like it could be a good thing…. It just needs a few more features.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I’ve noticed that Darren Rowse of ProBlogger  has also commented on most of what I’ve said above. He also wonders what affect this might have of blog listings in the main Google index and whether they will drop in importance at some point in the future. I wonder about that too, but I would think that what is more likely is a scheme where you can omit blogs in advanced searches. But all this is well into crystal ball territory and comes under “wait and see”. [...]

  2. [...] From Darren Rowse who mentions “they will have a big challenge of filtering spam – I’ve already seen quite a few spam posts in it both in the ‘related blogs’ and the actual posts that they are indexing.” [...]

  3. [...] ProBlogger.net My initial reflections on Google’s Blog Search: [...]

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  5. [...] They are introducing Blog Search. The functionality of the beta blog search has been well covered in the Blogoverse already, consult ProBlogger for an excellent summary of the ins and outs of googles new baby. [...]

  6. [...] Google Blog Search – First Look Review: Blog Tips – ProBlogger [...]

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