Fun With Google: Searching for Pacman

google girlAs we all already know, Google unveiled its own Google Pacman game a couple of weeks ago to celebrate Pacman’s 30th anniversary. In just one day, it became so popular that Google decided to give it its own permanent home (link above) so people can waste even more time at the office.

Here’s what’s puzzling. Pacman is already on the web in multiple places, and it’s not the cheesy version that has the maze that spells GOOGLE. So why would people want to keep playing that when they can play the real Pacman?

I searched for the answer to that on Google but found nothing. Then I tried to find the Google Pacman game using Google and noticed something odd. It’s not as easy to find as you’d think.

Currently, a search for “Pacman” in Google yields these results: The first three links are to Flash Pacman, Free Pacman, and webpacman.com, all of which have the original playable Pacman game. The next set of links goes to Google News, with articles that contain the word ‘Pacman’ (one of which is about Pacman Jones). Then we get Google Images of Pacman. Then pacmangame.net, which has yet another playable Pacman game. Then Pacman on Wikipedia. Then yet another playable Pacman on neave.com. Then there’s this:

Picture 11As you’ve noticed, the title, which is pulled from the title field of the page, only says “Google” and not “Google Pacman.” I doubt Google really cares, but anyone who is searching specifically for Google Pacman can tell you that this is not the ideal way a search result would present itself. The word Pacman is only in the url, but not the description or title, where it ought to be.

Let’s remember that good search results aren’t just a matter of the Google algorithm doing its thing – it’s also a matter of websites properly labeling their material for search engines. Google happens to fail in this respect, which is ironic, no?

Now, keep in mind, if you search for “Google Pacman” you’ll get the same result that I just showed – only higher up in the results.

So the lesson today is that if you have a website, LABEL IT PROPERLY SO PEOPLE CAN FIND IT!

Great one, Google.