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It sometimes happens that if you do a Google search with a few keywords you get some really poor top results because some of the keywords match the actual question page and others match words that are found in the related links on the right.

For example, when searching for the term: nodejs forever status 255 the following question page appears to be Google's top result (at least for me): How to exit in Node.JS

However, it's a really bad match. The only reason it comes up is that the first Related link is this: enter image description here

which points to some unrelated Perl question: Why is the exit code 255 instead of -1 in Perl? which "contributes" the 255 keyword.

The problem stems, I suspect, from the fact that the same html page contains keywords from unrelated questions, thus yielding a false positive match. I'm no search expert, but it's probably a good idea to think of a way of directing crawlers away from the links in the related pages...

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1 Answer 1

the same html page contains keywords from unrelated questions

No, the related questions are indeed related to the main question, which is why the column is titled "related questions".

Also, the following paragraph in an email to me from Rich Skrenta, the CEO of Blekko, a web search engine:

I would create a "related questions" box on the sidebar, that linked to 5 other random related questions. You have the tag data to drive this, but it goes into /tag/, so the related leaves are a 2nd hop away -- after another pagination barrier.

We already do -- we weight match by title, body, and tags, with tags having extremely heavy weight. see the "related questions" sidebar. It's really funny because (some) users hate it too.. maybe you could chime in here:

Google Search should not index "Related questions" lists

Therefore, even if related questions was random (it is not, they are related based on text, title, and tag matches), that would actually be desirable from the perspective of a guy who wrote a web search engine that tries to rival Google's.

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But this is a clear case where the top result is flat out wrong and very much a false positive... how is this desirable? –  Assaf Lavie May 17 '12 at 11:26

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