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If you do a search for "alternative to Dropbox" or "alternative to spotify" we get listed in the Google SERP.

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There is a nice little list there and so on but the problem is that Google isn't starting from the top of the list.

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It seems to start from right after our first banner in the list. And this is consistent of all results that gives this list view in the SERP.

Anyone have any idea what could be wrong. I've tried to look at out markup and can't find any real issues. Can you report stuff like this to Google in some way, i suppose they would be interested cause it's kind of a bug.

Is there anyway to tell Google not to use this list view thing btw?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

My guess is that it looks for a long list of similar items, and discards the first three because the fourth item doesn't look like part of the list. To solve it I would find a way of getting the advert in without interrupting the list. Alternatively you could use schema.org markup to indicate all the items in the list. ItemList seems to fit the bill.

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I could try to add the ad as part of the third LI instead of adding it in it's own LI. That could maybe solve it. I will be back with the result :) Thanks! –  Stuck Feb 14 '12 at 6:21
    
That worked! I moved the banner inside the third LI instead and now it list from the top of the list. Still don't really like that list though. –  Stuck Feb 22 '12 at 12:52
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Google picks the content it feels is the best match for the search query, obviously as you can attest they don't always to the best job at it. The best way to solve this would be to put content on the page that is easily understood by Google to be a better match.

You can also run your site through a tool such as seo-browser.com to get an idea as to how Google sees you site, you'll notice that although the title spells it out and the content is a list of alternatives, there's not much content that a machine would easily recognize in that respect. (IE as humans we see a page called "alternatives to spotify" and a list of products with descriptions of the products, we can make the jump that each of these must be an alternative to spotify even though it's implied rather then spelled out. Google on the other hand sees a string of text that matches the search, then sees no other matches on the page so it just guesses).

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