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Google search: learned something

I’ve long been perplexed by the occasional Google search that returns pages without the keywords I specify. Here’s an example of a Google query that returns 5 pages, none of which have either of those two words:

("obama" OR "zullo") site:reedwrite.com

I posed this a question on the Google search forum, and I got an informative reply from Thomas P:

When you’re doing a search like

 "obama" OR "zullo" site:reedwrite.com 

- then you’re asking for pages under that domain, where either of those exact words are relevant.

 
When you’re doing a search like

 intext:"obama" OR intext:"zullo" site:reedwrite.com 

- then you’re asking for pages under that domain, where either of those exact words are found in the text of the pages.

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5 Responses to Google search: learned something

  1. avatar
    Comrade Fogovich June 7, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Oh, cool.

  2. avatar
    bgansel9 June 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    I’ll have to remember this technique. I get caught up in that same trap quite often.

  3. avatar
    Dave June 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    The original innovation of the Google search was to return pages where many pages containing your search terms had links to that page. Thus the returned page did not necessarily contain the search terms.

  4. avatar
    RanTalbott June 8, 2014 at 2:10 am #

    and I got an informative reply from Thomas P

    Souds a little like the “informative reply” I got from them a few years ago, which was “if you want to search for exact words, don’t use the plus-sign prefix that we’ve spent so much time conditioning you to use that’s it’s almost a heritable trait: put them in double quotes”.

    Add in stuff like the way they arranged the Chrome address bar so it’s different from every other browser’s, and the abomination of a web UI they inflicted on gmail users, and it really does look like they’ve been infiltrated by Microsoft moles intent on sabotaging the company.

  5. avatar
    JPotter June 8, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    And are the pages returned indeed actually ‘relevant’ for your purposes, only only relevant according to arbitrary Google algorithms?