Google Search Preview Bug


Taking a closer look at an odd bug in Google search snippet preview of an indexed Google+ post.

Every day I run a brand search query to see who is talking about us. I checked one particular mention by John Mueller which refers to a short little article/observation I posted in March. It seemed odd that such an old article is still being shared so I went to see what the deal is. I could not locate that particular article on John’s recent post timeline and thought this was strange.

On closer inspection, I realised that the entire search snippet is wrong in Google search results and the preview pane.


In the above image we see a normal scenario:

  1. User enters search query.
  2. Search query displays in the result snippet.
  3. Preview shows the location of the content in a red border
  4. Tool tip style display zooms in the text to a readable level

Note the original search query:

“We knew it already but now Google confirms. Pages which give errors such as 404 or 500 eventually drop out of index and lose PageRank”

(Try it yourself)

Now look at the preview pane text, it borders a totally different message and zooms in on a different piece of text:

“I hate the original, with a vengeance, but this version is infinitely better.”

That was from John’s share of a post by Pierre Far.


Any idea what’s going on? Have you seen any other examples of this type of snippet hijacking? Please let us know on Google+

Dan Petrovic is a well-known Australian SEO and a managing director of Dejan SEO. He has published numerous research articles in the field of search engine optimisation and online marketing. Dan's work is highly regarded by the world-wide SEO community and featured on some of the most reputable websites in the industry.

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