David Charles: Vanity Project

I was sucked into doing this after accidentally searching for my own name, without quotation marks, on Google. I was astonished to see that I am on the first page.

I can think of no good reason for this, other than the fact that I’ve run a blog for a number of years and that it is hosted with Google themselves. I’ve done a few things here and there, but nothing to really imprint my (absurdly common) name on the collective consciousness of the world.

search: david charles

Fascinated, I looked on the other big search engines to see if this was indeed a case of Google favouritism. Here are the results:

Google (84% share of the search market):

10th result. Bottom of the 1st page.

Yahoo (6%):

91st result. Top of the 10th page. That’s more like the mediocrity I was expecting!

Baidu (Chinese language search engine. 4%):

Nowhere to be found in the first 25 pages, or 250 results. Why not? Have I been censored?

Bing (4%):

42nd result. 5th page. Solid mediocrity.

Ask (<1%):

9th result. 1st page. Suspiciously similar to the Google results. No complaints.

Aol (<1%):

10th result. 1st page. Have you been copying at the back there?

O Vanity, you spoil me!

Where it really gets interesting (for me) is when you start throwing in random words. Because I’ve written quite a lot over the years, on quite a number of diverse subjects, random words send me catapulting up the league table.

david charles travel

  • #1 and #2 on Google. 
  • #6 on Yahoo!

david charles supermarket

  • #1 – #3 on Google. 
  • #3 and #4 on Yahoo!

david charles cycling

  • #1 – #4 on Google. 
  • #3, #5 and #7 on Yahoo!

david charles palestine

  • #1 – #6 on Google. 
  • #1 on Yahoo!

david charles hitch hiking

  • 7 of the top 8 on Google. Only Larry David at #6 keeps me from a Beatles-esque domination of the charts.
  • #1, #2 and #9 on Yahoo!

Now those are not really that random. I have written quite extensively about those topics. You would expect me to score pretty highly on them. But what about these?

david charles lights

  • #3 – #5 on Google.

david charles massive

  • #2 on Google.

david charles teenager

  • #5 on Google.

Yahoo!, however, dismisses my name from it’s pages. It does seem to be better at picking up relevance, dare I say it.

And yes, that last one there was a random word from: http://watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWordPlus.aspx

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

4 thoughts on “David Charles: Vanity Project”

  1. You may well be aware of all this, however…
    AOL is powered by Google
    Ask is powered by an unnamed third party (hmmm, I can think of a name beginning with G)
    Yahoo was independent but is ‘transitioning’ to Bing power
    Bing is independent.
    Google is Google.
    And as for Baidu, trying injecting a bit more Chinese into your site?

    (and please find away of sorting out the comments not working thing – there are people desperate to comment!)

  2. Ok, i had a go at this.

    According to various internet sources there are 2 people with my name in the UK (1 of which is me I assume) and according another source there are just 12 in the world. That is not many, that is very uncommon.

    However, as I am well aware, one of those 12 just happens to be a Hollywood actor (mainly voices for animated films, as it goes) so he had the search engines sewn up.

    I can live with that. So when I had a look a few years ago I was able to comfort myself by appending “Tennis” (as I play a bit and know that is about the only thing that will ever get me published dans le net) to the search term, and BOOM! there I was.

    I have just tried again, and guess who did a voice for Bee Movie, playing the part of… “a vain tennis player”. Evidently I no longer exist.

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