Author Topic: Search Engine Role on the Web  (Read 188 times)

BoL

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Search Engine Role on the Web
« on: October 05, 2019, 11:30:42 PM »
Posted in on WMW https://www.webmasterworld.com/webmaster/4966813.htm

Much wisdom here.

Sort of feels like this kind of question is asking a flogged horse, but I hope not.

As a caveat, I was a teenager when I first joined Wmw, almost 40 now. Most of you guys were there throughout. I'm asking this through the lens of Mojeek, who are about to announce they've had a few mil investment. We have conversations about the role of a search engine, and where it ends - i.e. the ten blue links, knowledge graph answers and beyond. For me, it's a 50/50 question, a 'rewind' of where Google went wrong, or maybe not.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 11:37:33 PM by BoL »

rcjordan

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Re: Search Engine Role on the Web
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2019, 12:06:21 AM »
IMO, algo-wise, G was superior from the beginning.  Business-wise, they didn't have traction until they stole the search ad idea from GoTo.

BoL

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Re: Search Engine Role on the Web
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2019, 01:06:46 AM »
Yeah their PR algo blew everything away.

I'm coming from an opinion that might be 20 years out of date. Do search engines serve stuff beyond the 10 blue links or not?

The impression I'm getting (from webmasters) is that it's a given they serve what answers they can, and the rest of the web comes after that.

rcjordan

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Re: Search Engine Role on the Web
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2019, 01:44:06 AM »
>the rest of the web comes after that

If, by the above, you mean that a huge number of sites fail to be found for a related term, I'd agree. But I think it is probably the users' lack of search capabilities. Most searchers I know approach search as monolithic, simple, cut-n-dried. Put in 1 query, get 1 answer. Users simply do not know how to do deep searches or alternate phrase searches. Of, if they do, they loathe using it.

BoL

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Re: Search Engine Role on the Web
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2019, 02:02:14 AM »
>the rest of the web comes after that

If, by the above, you mean that a huge number of sites fail to be found for a related term, I'd agree

ciml taught me that line of thinking!

Seems like it's hard to present the agnostic user/se/contentprovider angle.

Seems like a lot of opinions have shifted over the years gone by.

rcjordan

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Re: Search Engine Role on the Web
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2019, 02:17:39 AM »
>Seems like a lot of opinions have shifted over the years gone by.

I think that's because during that time G has gone from "one of" to "the" search engine.  We tend to resent winners who win absolutely.

But I still blame much of perceived se faults on the users.  "Less than 2% of searchers use advanced search parameters." -- straight from Tim Mayer.

This is where I think Amazon showed some brilliance with their "Customers who viewed this item also viewed" section.  IMO, search engines should offer related searches in a similar "push" fashion.

BoL

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Re: Search Engine Role on the Web
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2019, 02:29:23 AM »
I get the impression they're just dialling down on the commercial angle.

Does that align with how you think search engines should function in general?

Obviously G has shareholders to answer to - but on the plutonic scale - search engines, is there only that direction?

BoL

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Re: Search Engine Role on the Web
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2019, 02:45:24 AM »
Is there any mileage in disabling all the 'knowledge type boxes' for [everything imaginable] and just serving up the web?

Not meaning to detract, just seems that G has contorted the original question!
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 03:10:36 AM by BoL »

Brad

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Re: Search Engine Role on the Web
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2019, 12:14:49 PM »
We're talking about two different types of search engine:

1. An information retrieval engine.  This is what search engines have evolved to: Google, Bing, DDG.  You get answers quick without having to go to web pages.  Finding web pages is secondary for many types of query.

2. A web research engine.  This is a classic search engine (ie. Google in 2001) it helps you find information located on websites not instant answers. It takes you right to the cake ignoring the frosting.  This is probably easier to produce while protecting users privacy since you don't need to suss out a users location. (I'm guessing here.)

For me, when I'm acting as a directory guy looking for pages to populate categories, or when I'm looking for obscure stuff like information on webring info, I prefer #2.  When I'm out and about on my phone I tend to drift more towards #1.

My bias is towards #2 because I think #1 has damaged the Web as an institution.  But is that what the great unwashed masses want?  I can't tell you.  One of the reasons I like Mojeek is because I don't have to scroll to get to organic results, but at the same time I get easy access to Wikipedia when I need a general overview.

Algo plays in here:  I keep thinking Google and Bings organic serps are too similar or are too predictable.  I see the same "warhorse" sites favored in the serps for each engine.

You also need to consider the types of queries: ie. many of my queries are navigational because a company like "Honda" has so many sub websites so I'll type "honda cars" or "honda motocycles" when I just want to browse the lineup.

General on Search Engines:

IPO's are the kiss of death.  Even Google, changed and not for the better, after their IPO, even though the founders retained voting control.

As a webmaster - if a search engine dose not send me traffic, it's worthless to me.  There is no incentive for me to continue to make and expand web pages that are invisible to searchers and get no readers. 

As a searcher - whatever gets me the information I want in the fewest clicks and minimal scrolling is generally best.  But privacy is a factor there and so too is how deep I'm looking.