I have been waiting for Google to provide a way around an obvious problem with their search results for a long time. They choose to provide results that do not display matching content when you click on the result link. Since this was such an obvious failure to meet the needs of web search customers I figured a solution would be quick.
After a time I decided I should tell them I don't want "results" that don't display the content when I click on the link results Google provides. So I suggested, I, and many others, would like a way of indicating we don't want those results returned to us. It has now been more than 6 months and still nothing. I get an increasing number of these bad results. Combined with the improvement great improvement of Yahoo and MSN searches I am now willing to give them a try as my primary search and see how they preform.
In this case, I am not referring to pages where the site owner has deceived Google by providing false content to Google's bot. For those cases, see improvement suggestion 2, below. What I am talking about are pages, such as:
Google search result link goes to this page which has no relevant content.
Link to the page shown in the image.
Where Google, I have to believe, knows has the content not available from the search result they provide but hidden away behind free, or paid, registration. I can understand some people might want such items returned. I can't imagine people would choose that as the default option but even if Google wanted that to be the default option that would be fine with me as long as they provided a way for me to only get search results that returned links that linked to a page with the content Google found to match my search. It appears Yahoo! doesn't provide this option either. If there is a way to accomplish what I want that you know of please let me know.
Improvements I would like to see:
- Ability to restrict results so only those links that will display the content are returned.
- Ability to restrict sites from the search results in my preferences (Google doesn't seem to be able to restrict certain obvious spam names databases from results, so let me do so myself. It would be best if there could be filter lists that are maintained by various communities that I could choose to apply. I can imagine there are technical hurdles to overcome to make this a reality).
- Ability to restrict types of results by file type in my preference (such as power point or pdf files). I would like to be able to have more obvious indications when the file is one of those types. Again I can appreciate this might not be what everyone wants. I have no problem with the current default option remaining, I would just like the ability to set my preferences and have those used for my search results.
- Easier way to have results restricted to certain sites (including site lists). It would be nice the search engine could retain a list of sites I have used in the past and let me select from those. Also I would like to be able to select multiple sites. And I would like to have groups of sites (site lists - so I could just select, for example, the "management improvement" sites) and the search results would be filtered only for those have included in my list of management sites.
- With the ability to filter results list above, an appropriate interface to make such options easy to use on the search result page. The current preference page works ok, for its purpose of setting long term preferences. It is not very good for one time search changes and certainly would not work well for quickly manipulating the results based on the options shown above. I would imagine smart, talented people could design a toolbar that would meet this need well.