The Rhinalnesc Challenge

This is a challenge I’ve set for myself: try to understand how search engines deal with a nonsensical word such as “rhinalnesc” and then see if I can index it into as many search engines as possible!

First step: understand how search engines deal with nonsensical words.

For search engines words are very important and are weighted by the volume of search queries that users type in . So basically some words are more popular than others like “dresses”, “harry potter” or “weather”. If you have a website which answers one of these specific queries, what you really want is to be on first page so people find you straight away and click on your entry. But what about words which don’t exist like rhinalnesc ? So let’s take a look at what the most popular search engines do and what comes up in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Google Banner

Well it’s simple, Google can’t find it:

Google SERP

 

Interestingly Google assumes that I made a spelling mistake and promptly suggests other queries all containing the string “rhin”, the beginning of my query. So Google understands that something went wrong. The fact that it suggests words starting with the same group of letters is quite clever and keeps me in the SERP.

Bing Banner

Bing seems to be more reactive and at first I found almost 5000 results but most of them showed me sites with “rhinal” and “NESC” in bold. So definitely not what I wanted:

Bing 1st SERP

Then I decided to narrow down the results by filtering sites only in the English language and sites only located in the United-Kingdom:

 

bing2These results have nothing to do with what I asked for! Worst when I checked the first page in this listing there is not a single reference to rhinalnesc, rhinal or rhin. However 3 words contain the string “nesc”: Eminescu, reîntâlnesc, Ionescu. At the end of the day, it’s quite interesting as it gives me an indication of how Bing algorithm might work. It seems to scan on-page copy and not necessary look at words but group of letters within words. So if your query contains the same group of letters as found by bots on a site, the site has a chance of coming up in the SERP. To be honest, that’s why I can’t trust Bing to serve me the most accurate and relevant site for my query! There will be a lot of garbage in there.

Yahoo Banner

With Yahoo! I was expecting to find the same SERP as Bing because Yahoo is “powered by Bing”. But the result was slightly different:

Yahoo SERP

In the top four, the sites contain reîntâlnesc – this means “reunited” in Romanian as I’ve now found out. There is a bit of a mix between Google’s misspelling assumption and Bing’s full on results. Here the Search Engine assumes I am Romanian and was actually looking for sites containing the word reîntâlnesc. As a user I find it quite poor though. But because it uses the Bing algorithm getting a web page containing rhinalnesc indexed shouldn’t be too difficult.

Duckduckgo Banner

This is a less known search engine but the SERP is quite interesting:

Duckduckgo SERP

Haven’t you noticed? It’s exactly the same as Yahoo! There is no results for my query but instead it’s giving me results for reîntâlnesc in the exact same order as Yahoo!  Once I switch to a region like France, the SERP becomes empty though. Somehow I prefer this experience even though the SERP is the same. Interestingly there is no evidence that the site is “powered by Bing” but after a bit of digging I found that DuckDuckGo use other search engines to fill their SERPs, primarily Yahoo! So if a webpage containing rhinalnesc get indexed in Yahoo! it should also get indexed with them.

Qwant Banner

Have I mentioned I was French? Well Qwant was started in France and is a little bit different from the other big search engines. How about the SERP on rhinalnesc:

Qwant SERP

Again no much difference with Bing or Yahoo! That’s because like DuckDuckGo, they have been known for using Bing to partially fill their own SERPs. However they have their own crawlers and that’s why results are slighly different compared to others. So again, shouldn’t be difficult to get indexed with this one.

Ask Banner

It’s a bit of a dead zone here:

Ask SERP

Not even a single suggestion to put me back on track. That’s definitely a bounce from me. Unfortunately on the other hand it doesn’t give me any clues on how I can get my nonsensical word indexed in this search engine.

Yandex Banner

There are absolutely no signs of rhinalnesc here!

Yandex SERP

However if I want to, I can take a look at the results in Bing and Google! No thank you. Yandex is a very specific and regional search engine mainly catered for the Russian-speaking audience and the Cyrillic alphabet, so no surprise here to be honest.

Baidu Banner

Like Yandex, I am not surprise at all that it can’t find any results – I assume that it is what it says though:

Baidu SERP

Baidu is the number one search engine in China and to be indexed in this search engine, you need your site to be hosted in China. However, note that in the alternative suggestions, you can find words and web addresses containing “rhinal” and “nesc”. This would suggest that Baidu works a bit like Bing, looking at group of letters instead of words.

Second Step: index this web page and chronology of events

As you imagine, all of the above screenshots have been taken before this page was published. One might hope that once a page is published it will get indexed in search engines. But the reality is different and you need to do quite a few things in order to get a page indexed in Google for example. My aim is to get it indexed in as many search engines as possible so in the next few weeks I will keep this page updated with progress.

Please note: in order to make things a little bit more harder, a disallow command has been added in the robots.txt as follows:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /
Sitemap: https://www.abandonguild.com/sitemap_index.xml

This means that the site cannot be crawled by search engines. It was removed on the day this page was published on 29th February 2016.

By the way whilst doing this I came to realise that nonsensical words can sound funny and I don’t seem to be the only one:

 

What?When?Comments
The domain / site goes live05/02/2016
The webhost chosen is GoDaddy. A disallow command is added in robots.txt
Wordpress CMS is chosen
07/02/2016
After looking for a free, fast and responsive theme, I settled for GeneratePress
Verifying Google Search Console and Google Analytics07/02/2016
In order to get the site ready for data collection, this was an essential step.
Preparing site for search engines
07/02/2016
Used the Yoast plugin to create an XML sitemap
Site speed improvement
21/02/2016
Using various tools such as W3 Total Cache and Speed Booster Pack, the homepage now loads under 2 seconds.
Publishing this page
26/02/2016
The page is published with a noindex,follow tag. This is to be removed once disallow command is also removed from robots.txt. Separate speed tests show that the load time for the page is just above the 2 seconds mark (webpagetest & pingdom)
Removing disallow command in robots.txt
29/02/2016
The command Disallow: / was removed at 12:00pm
Indexing the content in Google29/02/2016To index the content in Google the following steps were taken:
- Removing noindex,nofollow meta robot tag
- fetch and render in Google Search Console and submitting the URL
- submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console
First Result: page is indexed in Google29/02/2016At 12:15pm the page was indexed
rhinalnesc-indexed-google
De-optimisation - 1st round01/03/2016Discovered that the page was not ranking for its own query. Decide to de-optimise. There were more than 130 occurrences of the keyword, now only 78- removed them from H2, social buttons and OpenGraph
De-optimisation - 2nd round03/03/2016Removed more keywords by changing filenames and alt attribute. Now only 30 occurences of the keyword. Read this blog post for more info.
Robots.txt message in Google SERP04/03/2016 to 09/03/2016For almost a full week, the following message could be found in the SERP: "A description for this result is not available".
Meanwhile in the other Search Engines21/03/20163 weeks on, I review the results in the other SERPs. There is SEO beyond Google you know!
The site is ranking #1 on Google for the query Rhinalnesc!28/03/2016It took a month but finally there was a result! Full details of the positions week by week available here
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