Google have, seemingly, been working feverously in the background for the last few months on a ‘few modifications’ to its search engine which they have made available. These search results modifications are currently in a beta and can be viewed here. The explination as to the changes can be viewed here. They have made alterations to the way in which some sites will rank in their “new modified search engine results”. And they quote that:

The new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine, which means that most users won’t notice a difference in search results

Won’t notice the difference – only if you have absolutely no interest in search engine optimisation or where your site will line out on the new order! So to highlight theses difference, I looked at one of my ‘pet expression’s’ – “Dublin Hotels”. The reason I use that term is that it’s nice and competitive and there’s plenty of jockeying for search results positions. So, I compared the top ten results under Google.com for the expression ‘Dublin Hotels’ against the same search using their proposed ‘sandbox’ results (which are only .com. Admittedly after a few days off and a disengaged brain this morning – I posted results comparing .ie to .com – sorry – amended below!)

Web address Google ‘Sandbox’
www.dublinhotels.com 1 1
www.laterooms.com 2 2
www.goireland.com 3 3
www.visitdublin.com 4 – (30)
www.easytobook.com 5 4
www.dublinhotelreservations.come 6 6
www.tripadvisor.com 7 – (43)
www.lastminute.com 8 8
www.arlington.ie 9 – (13)
www.dublinsbesthotels.com 10 10

I was surprised by these test results and find myself in a bit of a quandary as to how the ‘sandbox’ version determines why some sites are now deleted and some entered the top ten out of near obscurity. What’s ‘wrong’ with the current results that necessitates this re-examination of the pecking order. Spam or spamish results in their opinion? A case in point is the The Dublin Tourist Board site “visitdublin.com” which in the beta is proposed to be nearly delisted, moving from a position of prominence in 4th place currently in Google to a traffic hungry 30th if the sandbox remains the same. Personally I can’t see the logic there. The Dublin Tourism site is a booking site as well as a site packed with information for the potential visitor unlike its proposed usurper easytobook.com – which is all but a booking site. The new Google eyes are now saying that it is not a site that should be seen for ‘dublin hotels’ – but what’s the proposed change and thinking on that one? I know what the results are in beta – but some more guidance as to the rational of these changes would only be fair so that sites can amend their fire. I did append the results with the ‘&gl=ie’ parameter. I am none too confident that the results were actually something that could be considered “.ie” results for the sandbox – so I am reticent to show them here. I will say that the top ten stayed ‘more or less the same’, but again the information rich visitdublin.com was no where to be seen. It’s a bit disconcerting for all the individuals that the toiled and worked the SEO only to be tossed away in the new results. We’ll be doing a bit more scratching around this one!