GoogleGuy reiterates that the data shows that there are not more PDFs showing in the SERPs - and that his request for specific reports has not resulted in many.
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Napoleon, thanks for your follow-up posts. The folks on this thread all want better Google results, and I appreciate any feedback on stuff that looks good or bad. In my mind, I'm grateful anytime that people raise potential quality issues for discussion.
Here's how things stand from where I sit. After talking to a crawl engineer and another engineer, I'm relatively convinced that we're not crawling/returning pdf/doc files more than before. That's from looking at actual stats, histograms, etc. that we keep internally as we do our crawl and monitor the quality of our results. If I wanted to go back and raise this issue with them again, I would need some data. That's why I asked for people to send me actual reports that demonstrate the issue.
So far, I've gotten one spam report in the last day with the keywords pdf or doc. For the search in that complaint, there are no pdf's in the search results. Instead, the complaint was that the pdfs on that site don't return the content that the site promises. I'm pretty sure that it was just chance that that person happened to mention "pdf" in their complaint. :)
Where do we go from here? I am happy to dig into this some more--but I need data. Anecdotal reports without specifics won't do me any good. If folks are willing to help, just drop me a spam report with a query and the word pdf in the text of the description. If I get any reports, I'll check it out.