Now that's an odd snippet. It's not from my document, it's from Stanley Wong's reference to my post:
I just read Rick Skrenta’s great blog post,
“Winner-Take-All: Google and the Third Age of Computing”
Rick is right on the money with a lot of his observations, especially the fact that Google has built their huge lead on the backs of the Search and Advertising dominance.
Why did that snippet come up instead of one from my document? I think it's because 'third age' doesn't actually appear in the body of my blog post. But why not just show the beginning of the post? Maybe the little blockquote table with IBM and Microsoft and the dates threw it off? Hmmm.
If I search for 'google insect overlords' I get the appropriate snippets from the body of my post:
So it looks like Google hasn't just added the text within the anchor href to the target document index material, it has gone quite a bit outside of the anchor to pull in surrounding text, and added that as well.
index material for a page =
text on page + anchors to page + relevant text surrounding anchors
This could boost relevance in cases where anchors aren't optimally formed from the point of view of the search engine, but sufficient confidence can be gained that the nearby text is relevant to the link. e.g.: "The text for the U.S. Constitution can be found here." Clearly 'here' is not very valuable anchor text, but "U.S. Constitution" is tantalizingly close...
This isn't just for snippet purposes, words from that extended snippet/anchor work on the query side. "rick's great blog post" turns up my post, even though 'rick' doesn't appear in the link proper or anywhere on my site (I go by 'Rich', not 'Rick').
Maybe Google has been doing this for a while but I've never noticed it
before. It could certainly lend a whole new angle to Googlebombing,
if you can not only spike the searches for someone, but actually
write their site's snippets for some queries.