23 December 2006

Is this relevant?

Someone has just taken a look at the blog following a search on Google. Nothing newsworthy there, I can hear you say. In general you would be right - what makes this search so unusual to me is the length of the search string. It was 18 words! That is a searcher who knew exactly what kind of results they were looking for. They obviously didn't find it - this blog was the first result out of the box and I wouldn't have started looking in here to find the results of that search.

So, search results are still capricious even when we use long search strings. Relevance is difficult for organic search engines to deliver with precision day after day. Relevance is even harder to deliver when there are relatively few searches for the algorithms to work with and this 18 word term would be an isolate in anyone's distribution curve.

Search is getting better, but it is a long way from being perfect - the fact that it is satisfactory for most of our requirements blinds us to the imperfections.

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