How did Google do that?
14 July 2007
If you search Google for 'yogurt' www.dannon.com comes up second in the search results. Neither the title nor the URL contains any reference to the word yogurt. The word "Yogurt" is the 37st word of all (55) non-HTML English words that appear in the crappy table-inside-tables-nested piece of crap source code.
A SEO expert would immediately count Dannon.com as doomed on the search term Yogurt but clearly Google had other plans. According to my Google toolbar the Dannon website has a measly 5 out of 10 PageRank™ only, so that's not the explaination either.
So how did Google do that?
Rumours have it that PageRank and keywords in the URL and title is just some of about one thousand so called "signals" that determine a web sites order in the search results. There are also some rumours, some from Google herself, saying that they don't ever manually intervene with the ranking of sites (except rare political exceptions).
Again, so how did they do that? I have to admit that I'm very very impressed by what Google has achieved with Dannon. I definitely can imagine that people search for "yogurt" but want the Dannon website. One possible answer is that they cleverly record what people search for and then later click on. They even filed a patent on this about two years ago which was more related to searchers changing their mind. Basically, if you search for "bengtsson" followed by clicking the first link and then hitting the back button and returning to the search results and click the second result item, then that second site gains in Google's index.
How else can Google know that people related word "yogurt" to "Dannon"? Obviously apart from manually entering an alias for the Dannon website. Interesting.