Google gives dead wrong search result

I’ve been dealing with this issue at work, where a Google search takes you to the wrong site.

I work at Siena College. We use Blackboard for our course management.

Students nowadays don’t type URLs into the search box, but instead do a Google search then click on the links that comes up.

When you search for “Siena Blackboard,” you get a Blackboard site in Ireland ( Students try to log in and, since it’s not our site, can’t.

I can’t figure out how this happens. There’s nothing on the site to connect it with Siena, and it’s not like we changed our IP address or anything.

Google may not always be 100% right, but I’ve never seen it so completely wrong; in this case, it’s even worse than

They should be able to figure out that the correct result is the one with Siena in the URL (I assume this is the right site, second result), even if the first result is nonsense (I am thinking that Google includes it because there are external links to the site, even if it doesn’t contain the search term(s), but you’d think that Google would give pages that actually have the term(s) first).

Actually the correct site is If you type “blackboard siena” and search, you get the wrong site, but if you type “” all is well.

Then your students are idiots … and need to learn to either memorize URLs that they need to be using, or they need to bookmark the damned things.

/mutters something about laziness and lawns

Although I’m not familiar with Blackboard, these sites probably all look the same to Google and it may be directing search traffic to the one with the most links.

Two suggestions:

  1. If you are able to customize the homepage, add the text “Siena Blackboard” on the page and make that the site title as well.

  2. Get setup with Google Webmaster Tools and make sure your site is getting indexed properly.

Think of it as another pop quiz, or IQ test.

And yeah, I’ve had problems similar to this, I try to Google something and get results which are really wrong.

That might be so, but the “siena” should differentiate and go to the correct site. It also worked several months ago.

It does a 302 redirect which does not transfer pagerank/link credit. It is te exact saw content (and not very original) as that other site.


Because Google has determined the Irish site deserves a higher ranking. Or the Irish site paid Google to be ranked higher.

This, too.

What does a 302 redirect? The Siena blackboard site? Why would that matter as long as people are going to the landing page? Nearly all https sites do a redirect from the http–that doesn’t normally make the site invisible to Google.

No, but if anyone is linking using the non https address (and the first site I tried (etrade) does use a 301 to redirect to https) then any credit for that link will not count. When you are dealing with a page that basically has no content on it (and that which it does have is a copy of other sites) - every little bit helps.

Plus it gives a 302 redirect to
Which gives a 302 redirect to

I think I saw a 302 on the ie site as well, but I am doing this on my iPad, so it is a pain.

Anyway - cant say the 302s are causing the problem. But it recommended to use 301s for SEO purposes.

There is a 200 ok site on the root of that subdomain - which is what the non https should be redirecting to anyway. The fact that it only seems to show up for navigational queries (using the domain name) - means google basically isn’t listing the page for some reason. Even searching for “siena college blackboard login” brings up that ie site and this discussion before the site they seem to want listed.

Just to be clear (as I don’t think my message even really implied this) - a 301 redirect passes link credit - a 302 does not.

It seems to me this a good learning experience for your students. They will learn not to rely so heavily and uncritically on Google in future. They may even get the hang of typing URLs.

So you’re saying that the redirect needs to be fixed? The site is hosted, and the link is a redirect to a site on the Blackboard servers. So they should switch to a 301 redirect?