Saturday, May 16, 2009

Do Google Rankings Mean Anything

I originally wrote this entry on October 1, 2004, and published it on

Simple errors and break-downs often lead to new discoveries . . . The type of break-down is almost immaterial.


A few days ago, I accidentally removed all records of referers and hits on my weblog, all 106,500 of them.

This simple push-of-a-button dropped me out of the hot list you see at the bottom of


Before this incidence, I'd never thought much about the referers list but deleting all the hit records made me curious. So, I have now gone back to the gradually accumulating referers list for this weblog and have tried to learn something about the referer URL distribution. A significant majority of the hits on this weblog are direct and an equally significant minority are from Google (and competing search engine) searches.


Although I'm not sure how persistent this sort of system behavior is, this weblog is currently (as of early Octobor, 2004) receiving high (Google and other) search rankings on subjects in which the author is barely a novice.

The rankings this weblog is receiving from Google (as well as other competing search engines) for certain specific queries, for example queries on Oliver Williamson (see Ref.1) and on Chester Barnard (see Ref.2) truly amaze me. As of earlier this week, I've consistently been ranked third on both (and their varient orderings) on Google. See Ref.1.1 and Ref.2.1 for the relevant Google searches.

I may have had the good fortune of having studied with Oliver Williamson for a very short period of time but I'm still a novice learner of his ideas. I may have studied portions of Chester Barnard's classical book, because Williamson recommended it, but I do not deserve to be read diligently as serious commentary on either. So, why is it that what I have written about both is receiving high Google rankings. Surely, I myself know better written material on both topics.


What's broken down? What's amiss about search, whether of the Google variety or not? Why do we even feel that we get anything relevant when we perform a search on the Web? How much better material are we actually missing if we limit ourselves to the findings of a search engine?

A Modest Discovery:

Web search and information retrieval fails us more often than we know or realize !

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