I’m going to write about something completely trivial because it is and has been annoying the hell out of me. I am wondering what the hell the qualifications are for a word to “become” a word by Google’s standards. What the hell am I babbling about?

If you do a search on google for sugarrae you will see that Google responds with results, but a query at the top saying, “Did you mean: chsugar”. Now, I had never heard of chsugar, but apparently, it is a company that develops everyday cane sugar. And for several reasons, this annoys the shit out of me…

– A search for the term chsugar returns 1900 results. Even a search for “ch sugar” returns only a little over 5,000 results. Yet a search for sugarrae returns over 130,000 results. Well, let’s look at some other things that may or may not be factors.

– If you go to the overture keyword tool and query chsugar you get a result of 80. Do a query ch sugar with a space and you get a result of 69. Do a search for sugarrae and you get a result of 45. Now, they have a bit more volume than sugarrae, but sugarrae is still “enough of a word” to be on the inventory tool’s radar.

– I can’t believe I am even going to mention toolbar PR, but I am trying to be thorough here. According to the toolbar that means nothing, chsugar.com is a toolbar pagerank of 4. The main page of sugarrae.com is a toolbar pagerank of 5 and the blog is a toolbar pagerank of 6.

– Taking a look at allintitle and allinanchor doesn’t do much more to help google’s chsugar cause. Allintitle for chsugar returns 22 results and the allintitle for “ch sugar” returns 164 vs. the allintitle for sugarrae showing 382 results. The allinanchor for chsugar produces about 1800 results and the allinanchor for “ch sugar” produces about 4,700 results vs. the allinanchor search for sugarrae showing about 25,000 results.

– Next, we can look at backlinks in Google. Not that they’re accurate, but for the sake of argument. Google shows less than ten backlinks for chsugar.com and shows over a thousand for sugarrae.com. But, we know Google’s backlink command doesn’t show you near what they know about, so to be fair, we’ll check Yahoo too. Yahoo says that chsugar.com has a bit over 1300 backlinks while reporting that sugarrae.com has about 43,000.

– Another item harder to quantify would be trust. With links from Yahoo, General Mills and wikipedia, chsugar.com has definitely established some authority for themselves. But, sugarrae.com is no untrusted soul either, with multiple links from some of this industries top and most trusted sources. Whether or not sugarrae.com is more trusted than chsugar.com, the fact remains that it is indeed by all apearances a trusted site.

So, to review… the term sugarrae has more general mentions on the web than the term “chsugar”, it has enough volume to show up on the overture keyword query tool and is not far behind chsugar, the sugarrae.com site has a higher toolbar PR (seriously, I am gagging here), more people use their word sugarrae in their page titles than they do chsugar, more people use the word sugarrae when linking out than they do to chsugar and sugarrae.com stomps chsugar.com in backlinks and is trusted (whether or not *as* trusted shouldn’t be an issue).

How the hell does it make sense that “sugarrae” is not a word in Google’s mind if a word like “chsugar” is? How are they deciding on what is a word and what isn’t? I’m not so much annoyed that sugarrae isn’t a word, but annoyed at how chsugar is.

And how the hell are they are connecting sugarrae to chsugar. Did you mean sugar, ok. Did you mean Sugar Ray the horrid band, ok. But “chsugar”? How does that even make sense?

Edited to add:

Of course, five seconds after I publish this, I realize the official wikipedia entry has it listed with an ampersand. So, I do a quick look…. a search for C&H sugar produces about 54,000 listings, an overture query produces about 700 results combined, an allintitle for “c&h sugar” shows about 1100 listings and an allinanchor search for “c&h sugar” shows about 11,000 results. So, they are beating the term sugarrae, with the ampersand on allintitle queries and overture search volume. So, it would seem one of those must be the culprit, right? Well…

Let’s take the overture search volume into play… a search on google for Todd’s term stuntdubl shows that Google does not correct what you’re searching for. Stuntdubl is a word by Google’s standards. A quick check on the overture tool though shows no searches for the term as one word or two. Aaron’s term seobook is also considered a real word – Google does not ask you if you meant the two word version. A search on the overture tool shows about 100 requests for it as a singular word. So, it would appear that they search volume may not be the obvious answer it looked like.

Next we’ll take a look at allintitle queries. An allintitle query for stuntdubl shows about 500 results and an allintitle query for seobook shows about 1,100 results. I’m a bit behind Aaron, but not trailing far behind Todd at all.

Even more annoying is that Google also tries to correct a sugarrae.com domain query, even though by all accounts I have a stronger domain in terms of pure seo value than chsugar.com.

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