While googling around to help my sister Dahlia because her Gateway PC broke down (again … I think she got that 1/1,000,000 that makes it through QC when it’s a lemon), I saw the following search result. It’s entirely made up of forums, which is the first time I’ve ever seen such a thing (at least, when not searching for forums or info about them). Screenshot after the jump.
A few thoughts come to mind.
1) This is a response to longtail queries. Forums have traditionally been a great place to learn subjects in depth, online. The first social media I really got into were forums around 2002-2003, when I was really into hiphop and Counter-Strike. Both had some amazing forums around where you could soak up information to your heart’s content.
2) I think this is part of the May Day update. It’s interesting to see how effective the update probably is in some cases, as I explained in point 1.
It’s also interesting how ineffective it can be.
- I still have no idea what the hell a RAID access failure is, except that it’s something to do with the motherboard, graphics card, or hard drive. And that’s virtually the whole computer, so not narrowing things down much.
- I’m also not sure really how to fix it. I got some idea it’s to do with the drivers, so I had my sister get the latest ones, but the other points were about reconnecting SATA cables etc.
- All these forums are by techies – for techies.
It’s like expecting my mom to come here and understand this post.
I don’t blame the forums mind you – they claim to be for an advanced audience and that’s fine.
- Any search engine that directs a non-techie to them, however, has some important questions to ask.
“How technical is a particular page?”
“Does this query need a more technical or more generalist response?”
3) I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Nvidia’s #1 ranking is [mostly] because they have the most posts/authors and thus the richest discussion. By extension, that would often make it the most authoritative thread.
Two arguments suggest that other ranking factors may be predominant, here.
a. From reading other forums, I think this is something that specifically has to do with Nvidia hardware, so it may be some kind of brand association. I could be totally wrong on that – please correct me in the comments if I am wrong.
b. The PC Help Forum has more posts and authors than HP’s forum – yet it ranks lower.
(The counter argument to “b” is that HP.com has both a load of link juice and brand factors pulling for it, which overcomes the lower post/author count.)
3.2) Recency also does not seem to be the driving factor in rankings here, though Google does seem to find it important enough to display.
My guess is because this is not a query that deserves freshness, though some people may have a slight preference for it.
Consider the low – and constant – search query numbers – a newsy item would have seen a spike in searches.
This also supports my earlier suggestion that this is to do with solving the constantly refreshing long tail …
Raid access failure doesn’t even chart on Google Trends…
What do you guys make of this search result?
Have you seen it before? If so, how long?
What explanations for it do you have, and do you think it ties into May Day?Algorithms, Google