Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I often notice that when I use the SE cross-site search engine (which is powered by Google), I get just a small subset of the results obtained by searching Google with the operator:

In many cases the additional results found by Google are meaningful appearances of the search term, which are not duplicates of the appearances found by the SE engine.
Here are a few examples for the number of search results obtained by each method, at the time of writing of this question:

║   Search term    ║ SE ║ Google ║
║ football manager ║  6 ║   1120 ║
║ roomba           ║  3 ║   1490 ║
║ papercut         ║  8 ║    180 ║
║ treehouse        ║  2 ║    552 ║

Is there a good reason for this discrepancy?
Is this a bug?

share|improve this question
Well, one possible reason is that the custom site search we build (with Google) excludes per site metas. It is a list of just the main site urls as well, nothing else, no blogs, etc. So is pretty broad considering all the stuff that is under that domain. – Jeff Atwood Jul 15 '12 at 16:51
That's a possible reason, but it doesn't account for all the missing results. Here is one example of a question about a treehouse, which is a question on a main site and not a site meta, but which doesn't appear in the search results of the SE engine. A quick scan of the search results for the terms in the above table will reveal many such examples. – Joe Jul 15 '12 at 19:55
Sure, that's fair, just pointing out some obvious differences. – Jeff Atwood Jul 16 '12 at 2:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .