Google Alerts are a popular way of keeping up with favoured topics on the Web. However, they are not comprehensive or complete, so I’m also in the habit of doing daily searches for specific topics, and narrowing down by date. Unfortunately, it is very easy for website owners to manipulate things so that their pages reappear in search results day after day, even when the user restricts results to pages changed in the past 24 hours and the pages haven’t actually changed. It is possible to bypass this problem, to some extent, by using browser plugins or Google’s block feature; although the latter doesn’t always work.

Based on my experience, while most of the sites whose pages are “updated” every 24 hours appear to do this as a deliberate strategy to pull in more visitors, some seem to be legitimate sites that are just badly designed.

This past week or so, my daily searches have become unusable. From a fairly consistent set of 30 or so results every day, I’m now getting 150 or so results using the same search parameters. All due to one very legitimate site. I won’t mention the name of the site or the strategy it is using as I don’t want to provide information that may be used to trick users. (Although I’ll tell you if you email).

Anyway, I’ve blocked this site from my searches; shame, as it often contains very relevant information.