Is DuckDuckGo doing Google better than well Google?
* Don’t read any further if you don’t have a sense of humour *
Ever since the daft Panda update, and even dafter Penguin update one could be mistaken for thinking Google have bet on the wrong zoo animal. Contrary to their claims to be tackling webspam, Google actually seems to be promoting it in many of their results, with people finding so many anomalies, that it can hardly be put down to an isolated incident.
For those that don’t know DuckDuckGo is a new-ish hybrid search engine developed by Gabriel Weinberg that produces results by incorporating search APIs from several vendors, instead of its own algorithm (source: wikipedia).
The claim on their about page to have less spam seems to hold true, at least in the simple search instance I did last week.
So last week, after feeling particularly stressed I pulled out my chinese meditation balls, hoping to chill myself out but I had forgotten exactly how to get the chiming stress relievers to work… So I went to Google and did a search for Meditation Balls Instructions (I was looking up the instructions on how to roll chinese meditation balls in your hands correctly) Google’s results totally flopped.
* Google’s #1 result is an expired domain (something Matt Cutt’s refers to in a recent video as “spam”) – Penguin was supposed to take care of webspam results like this.
* Google’s #2 result is an eHow article (that also doubles to take out the #3 result) – Panda was supposed to take care of content farms like this.
Bing didn’t fare much better. It had the 2 eHow results but managed to skip the expired domain.
DuckDuckGo however skipped both the expired domain, and eHow articles and just presented a solid result in the #1 spot. Even more interesting was that the youtube result (which sat midway down the page at 4th in Google) was in its own box at the top of the SERPs.
I found DDG to be absolutely refreshing. I didn’t have to wade through garbage to find what I was looking for (something that has always been a problem with Google).
Is DDG beating Google at its own game? It’s hard to say based on 1 simple result. I’m certainly not saying they are, but want to highlight that the Panda-Penguin-Combo really is as bad as everyone says it is (it’s more like a cross Zebra!). It hasn’t cleaned up spam at all. It’s ironic that Google chose two black-and-white animals to represent their cleanups. Because the zany results have been anything but black and white.
What is your experience with their results?
NB: Google has just announced a Penguin Algo refresh via Matt Cutts. This refresh has affected the search result I was using for this blog post. The expired domain no longer appears in the #1 spot. However, the 2 eHow articles now remain (occupying 1st and 2nd place).
Update 28th May 2012: This blog post now ranks 10th on Google for the search term meditation balls instructions. What makes that interesting is that it highlights the huge weighting that Google gives to blogs and blog posts. I have done absolutely nothing to try and rank for that particular term. It was just a real example, used in this particular blog post, to highlight the obscure results I was seeing. Now, with absolutely no authority on that search term topic, and very few (if any) in-bound links to this article, it just shows the huge amount of weight Google gives to blog posts. I suspect over time as the article dates, and Google’s relevancy filters kick in that it will drop, but for now it ranks. Bing shows this blog post at 5th spot for the term. DuckDuckGo is showing the post at 17th, and this to me is further evidence that in the DuckDuckGo vs Google battle for producing relevancy in the SERPs, that DDG is winning. DDG don’t have me ranked on their 1st page, whereas Google do, for a largely non-relevant post. Pages, interestingly enough, are something we shouldn’t really talk about when referring to DuckDuckGo as they utilise zero-click information which is just a fancy way of saying that they only have one results page, and that as you scroll the additional entries appear.
Update 01st June 2012: Just wanted to recap on the meditation balls instructions search term, now that it is a full week since I wrote the original blog post.
Google has re-organised its results (remembering they’ve also done a penguin refresh this week):
- The two eHow articles are still in 1st and 2nd place
- The youtube videos are now 1 spot higher in 3rd place
- This blog post entry is located in 6th spot
Bing has reorganised their results:
- The two eHow articles are still 1st and 2nd place
- This blog post sits at the #3 spot
DuckDuckGo have reorganised their results too:
- The youtube video still sits at the top of the SERPs in its own box.
- The top couple of instructional results have been overtaken by eBay and Amazon based entries.
- Despite ranking pretty solidly on Bing and Google, this blog post resides at #12 on DDG, so I suspect DDG weights blog posts well below wikis and ecommerce-based sites.
I find it very interesting that my blog article ranks 6th for a term which I have no authority on, have no information on, and have no in-bound links for. Does Google (and also Bing) give far too much weighting to blog post entries?
I’m also concerned that DDG would take the two most relative results for the search term (instructional sites that show step-by-step how to use the chinese meditation balls) and push them downwards in favour of eBay and Amazon based sales listings… Weakens their SERPs significantly in my opinion, and takes away a lot of the positives they had since Google doesn’t do the same.