What if you had the power to remove unwanted pages from Google’s index at the mere click of an icon? Well, times like these are in the forefront as we speak, as Google is beta testing a control panel that allows you to reorder search results based on your personal preference.
The way it works is, you simply log in to your Google webmaster tools account and after you are logged in, the personalized search algorithm takes that as an invitation to show you the web with new eyes.
If you use the site:websitename.com search command, you are presented with search results that have an arrow (Pointing upward) or and (X) to denote removal.
The text states, “You’re viewing an experimental feature. Click the icons and to reorder and remove results. Learn more”. Here is the page that covers the details of the experiment.
In addition to that, at the bottom, there is a field that allows you to suggest a better web page in the event that you are dissatisfied with the results. According to Bill Slawski of SEO by the SEA, this beta test is reminiscent of a Google Patent he reviewed in the past. Follow the link for additional details.
It does appears that you have to be logged in to webmaster tools to see this exclusive data, just make sure you don’t lose your password or a competitor may have a hay day at your expense in suppressing your content.
There has already been a backlash from some webmasters regarding the Google search in search function which allows the top site for a competitive search their own search box to explore addition content from that site.
Now, with this new feature, giving the opportunity for the competition or consumers to reorder search results based on subjective factors, much like Digg or Pligg based sites, may not be in the interests of the masses.
Although it is too early to tell at this point, the true value of this feature may have pro’s and cons and repercussions that disrupt a near perfect algorithm that works just fine on it’s own without user based interaction.
Another thing to note when logged in to Google webmaster tools is, personalized search is rising to new levels and it seems like even though the supplemental index may be a thing of the past, it appears as if partial de-indexing appears to be the new penalty on the block.
Instead of 700+ pages showing up, our site only displayed 130. Is this a new type of internal duplicate content filter with more stringent rules about theming, or a side effect of the beta test? At this point, it is too early to say.
The pages that were missing in action were displayed that way (using a site:website.com command) as long as I remained logged in, which I must admit had my heart soaring as I thought a true penalty had been introduced on our pages.
Apparently Google sees your site differently based on if you are logged in or logged out (which may or may not be a good thing). However, when logged out from webmaster tools all of the pages appear to be there and all is well again, but perhaps this could also be a side affect of this new beta test.
Anyone else experiencing this across other data centers or is it just me? Feel free to comment below and report any other anomalies you may have experienced.