How a Search Engine Might Rank Bookmark Sets, Playlists, Directory Pages, and other Collection Items

Search engine optimization is an ever growing and ever changing field, and as search engines and the Web change, so does SEO.

There are no classrooms, nor college courses, no single one site or conference series or book that can help you keep up with those changes.

Paying attention to a lot of blogs, news reports, press releases, and other sources of information can help provide some insights about changes in SEO, and discussions at forums and conferences and social sites can present a lot of signals and noise about what might be new in search. It’s not always easy, and not always even possible to distinquish between the signals and the noise sometimes.

I look at a lot of patent filings and papers from the search engines here because they can provide views of how search engines may work from the perspective of the search engines. I consider them primary sources because they come directly from the search engines, but even those sources often only provide glimpses of possibilities rather than actual insights into how search engines function.

Perhaps the best value that may be taken from search engine patent filings isn’t so much the processes that they describe, but rather the hints of assumptions behind some of the methods and systems that they present.

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How a Search Engine May Expand Search Queries Based upon Popularity Measured by User Behavior

Have you ever searched at a search engine and received results that weren’t very good matches?

You may have searched again after changing the query terms that you used, or you may have given up on the search.

For example, you perform a search, such as “pizza in Elkton, Maryland,” and you don’t receive any actual matches on “pizza” in the locality of “Elkton.” It’s possible that there may be “pizza” results in nearby areas.

Should a search engine display those results from the nearby area, even though they weren’t quite what you were looking for?

How would a search engine go about expanding your original query, to return results to you that might be relevant, but that don’t match the words that you used when searching?

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