It's now been ten days since the launch of our first website--PoetsandQuants--in the network. Thanks much to everyone who suggested ways to get noticed by Google's mysterious algorithms. There were quite a few very good ideas, some of which I put into effect. Thanks to a suggestion, for example, I have now submitted my URL for PoetsandQuants directly to Google as well as Google News. Several days later, I did the same at both Bing and at Yahoo. Interestingly, Yahoo tries to make this a business, charging newcomers to the web $299 for expedited service, or more if you sell porn.
I haven't heard from any of them, except Google News, which rejected my URL in a computer-generated email on the basis that we don't produce news, even though new stories and features go up daily. Oh well.......
So what has happened since my last post a week ago now that we've been live for ten full days? Type in "PoetsandQuants" in Google's search box and what do you get now? Not a single direct link to the site (see below), at least through the first ten pages of results (I just couldn't put myself through the trouble of digging deeper). You can find PoetsandQuants on the first page of results but only because of our Twitter feed, Facebook page, YouTube channel or coverage of our launch (we were written about by BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, MediaBistro, MINonline, among many others. Strangely, a blogger from Pune, India, who wrote a post on how we published something from him, appears as the fifth item on page one--well ahead the stories by The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek. One improvement from the last time we did this a week ago: the weblog link for Viagra fell to page nine from page five and now resides with all kinds of other irrelevant results, including links from livingwithyourdog.com.
Google the headline of the most-read story on the site to date: "Our New MBA Ranking of the Top 50 U.S. Schools." What comes up? No direct links from Google. The page one results do include a link to Tweetmeme, which obviously swept up Tweets on the story, and there's a section Google now calls "Results from People in Your Social Circle," that grabs posts from Facebook and Twitter.
So let's try Googling the latest article published on PoetsandQuants just this afternoon: "My Story: From an Army Ranger in Iraq to Harvard Business School." You already know the answer. Google has no direct links to the story or the site. Yes, the search engine did pick up our Facebook post along with a tweet that is, respectively, the number one and two results on the first page. So at least you can find it, even if it's not a direct hit.
What about Bing? We tried PoetsandQuants and a direct link immediately pops up as the number one result on page one (see below). We tried "Our New MBA Ranking of the Top 50 Schools" and Bing serves a direct link to the story as its first result on page one, even ahead of the BusinessWeek rankings which have been around since 1988. How about the latest story about the Harvard MBA who was an Army Ranger in Iraq? You guessed it. Bing provides a direct link to the piece, again the number one result on the page. Obviously, Yahoo Search delivers the same results because it's now powered by Bing.
Colleagues have told me that it could easily take Google 45 days to find our site. So perhaps I have at least another 35 days to wait. But somehow Bing already has found the needle in the Internet haystack. I'm surprised by the speed and the quality of their search results as much as I am mystified by Google's inability to deliver on the expectation that it is the world's leading search engine.