Exact Match Query Bug in Google

Here’s an interesting glitch in Google exact match search. The bug breaks down into two parts, one directly related to the exact match search and the other to suggested search feature.

We searched for the following (in quotes): “Today we’re improving the performance of the +1 button and the” and the results seemed normal, but upon closer inspection it was clear that an exact match was missed. As you can see from the screenshot below, there are two results fully matching the query, yet the snippet only highlights segments of it and omits the “of the” part of the query. It also says that it’s showing us the query with “were” instead of “we’re” yet it highlights the “we’re” part in the search snippet:

Google Search Bug

Clicking on the suggested query (which includes “were”) leads to a completely different and more remote result, far removed from our original search intent.

Our guess is that the ‘ symbol had something to do with breaking this exact match query. We haven’t seen this type of behaviour before so it may in fact be related to the recent set of character handling updates announced in March.

Update: Pedro Dias has discovered and reported that the “+” sign is the cause for the exact match query bug.

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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