On Internet Search Engines

I can't wait for search engines to get a bit more selective at directing people towards what they actually want. I'm sure it will eventually happen in my lifetime, though it's taking longer than I would have hoped.

Surely it ought not to be beyond the wit of man that if someone puts in search terms which suggest that they are looking for time-sensitive information - if one of the words in the search is "today" for instance, you programme search engines that any results from weblogs like this one bring up recent posts rather than old ones.

What provoked this thought was looking at today's traffic stats for the posts on my blog and realising that search engines had obviously directed people who were looking for details of school closures in Cumbria today to a post which had gone up in January on a previous occasion when snow closed a lot of schools.

The really annoying thing is that I posted a few hours ago the details of the schools in West and Central Cumbria I knew to be completely closed, or closing early, on the current date e.g. March 22nd.

Unfortunately the last 24 hours' traffic stats for this blog show that a post with equivalent information for January 22nd got four times as many hits as the one for March 22nd. This has to be search engines picking up the page with the wrong month's information.

So if anyone now reading this had been looking for up-to-date information on which schools in Cumbria are closed, and found themselves directed by a poorly performing search engine to the page on this blog which had the equivalent data for exactly two months ago, I can only apologise.

Memo to Google: perhaps it might be a good idea to devote 1% of the profits you have been remarkably successful in not paying much tax on, to employing a few clever programmers to ensure that if someone types "today" into your search engine, it translates it as the character string which corresponds to the current date. 


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