Google Mum revisited

by | Dec 19, 2015 | Translators' Column

It’s a numbers game with Google.mum

I have ranted before about Google not being willing to spit out search results for terms like “Iolante”, on the basis that it considers the spelling incorrect. (See my earlier blog post on “Google.mum”.)

When asking Google to search for “Iolante” (original Greek spelling), Google would continuously divert the search to “Iolanthe” without the user’s say so.

There was merely a button at the top of the page where it was possible to switch back to the original search word. I doubt, however, that every Google user even notices this option. They simply don’t find “Iolante”, give up in disgust and go elsewhere.

Success at last

About a month ago, finally, when I asked Google to search for Iolante, it actually came up with search results for the term I asked it to search for without diverting me to “Iolanthe” first.

I do not believe that Google has changed its nannying policy. What I believe happened is that our site now has so many references to it on the web that Google has decided to allow it to be visible.

What’s the magic number after which “Google.mum” may consider an unusual spelling like “Iolante” result-worthy?

Naturally, Google will never tell you what the magic number is. But, when there were around 15,000 references to Iolante, Google would always switch the results to Iolanthe.

At 25,000 it seems to have conceded defeat!

Today, there are more than 36,000 results for the search term “Iolante”. So, hopefully, future clients searching for “Iolante” will not be sent on a wild goose chase into opera land any more.

Why should this be interesting to you?

If you have a similar problem with an unusual spelling of your website or company name on Google, persevere! Perseverance may overcome Google’s obstinacy.

The good news is that not all other search engines follow Google’s example. Some of them actually show you the results for your search term, even if it’s an unusual spelling. Pity really that Google has cornered the search engine market.

Nota bene

Having said all that. Users do have to press the return key for the “Iolante” results to come up. One final hurdle remains…. 🙁

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