Eight Hundred Pound Gorillas

Question: Where does an 800 pound gorilla sit?
Answer: Anywhere it wants.

The 800 pound gorilla is the big tech/media companies and Google in particular. Google uses computer programs to find content on the internet for indexing and processes that information to decide what content rises to the top of the page of results when you do a Google search (page ranking).* Page ranking is a big concern for businesses who want to come out on top of the list and are willing to pay Google for the privilege. One of the results of this "pay-for-play" system is you often get a lot of irrelevant matches. That said, it wouldn't bother me if what I am looking for (what's relevant to me) is near the end of the results list if their index finds it. But what is bothersome though is that Google decides the 'worthiness' of content before it will add it to their index. Basically Google won't index some pages even though they might contain exactly what a user is looking for. I was dismayed to to learn that only about a sixth of this website was indexed by Google.

Like many websites, this one provides a file called a site map with links to ALL its pages that an indexing company can access and add to its index. Google is not using the site map but instead applying other criteria that they dictate (the 800 pound gorilla). For example, websites that use the https protocol get higher ranking than those using the less expensive plain http protocol. Frequently viewed or frequently linked to pages get a higher ranking. Websites that provide both desktop and mobile versions are also ranked higher. For mobile devices, they want to get rid of tables because the poor user would have to swipe left/right to see other columns. It's like telling me that because people have teaspoons, the foundation of a house has to be dug with teaspoons instead of a backhoe! Google decides whether to index a site's content or not. Not everyone has the money and technical know-how to play Google's game. The takeaway is that Google is NOT always providing the most relevant links for YOUR search criteria.

With respect to this website, you can always use the search box in the upper right side of the home page of this website to search for various topics. If you are looking for specific names, please check in one of the Databases. I haven't used it much yet, but https://duckduckgo.com/ appears to have read the site map file and done a better indexing job. So the other takeaway is that you might want try other index providers who may provide more relevant links than Google does.

*I speculate that some rankings might get amplified or quashed for political reasons. There is a lot of talk these days about artificial intelligence (AI) used by tech giants that make decisions about what we can see on the web. While AI can be a useful tool, I think we also need to be concerned that it may end up promoting biases that run counter to free speech rights and the free exchange of ideas.