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Search Engine Leeches?

? New Stars of Indie Content? |


| How Apple could mess up again: a special report ?

January 09, 2006

Search Engine Leeches?

Heather Green

Instintively I agree with Jakob Nielsen's analysis that search engines can be leeches. I know that there are plenty of people, including John Battelle, who advocate allowing search engines to crawl every service, whether it's delicious or Craigslist, because it gives users access to more information. But at the end of the day, I have to wonder whether that unhampered crawling can destroy innovative services. I haven't done enough reporting to validate this notion, but it's something I am intereted in looking into.

11:08 AM

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A good bit of the online content today is low in value which is why it is being given away. It's all just an ad game to lure buyers, clickers or create buzz. All of which is fine.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at January 9, 2006 11:35 AM

You aren't obligated to make your content or service available to the search engines.

If you don't want your content or service crawlled, then put an entry in your robots.txt file and tell the search engines not to crawl it.

Posted by: Ray at January 9, 2006 07:39 PM

I agree mostly with what Jakob says, since he is my mentor and teacher, via his books and Use It dot com site.

I have not fully digested his latest Alertbox, though I've responded in a post and commented on it.

What I got most out of his new proclamation is that "stickiness" is outdated. An online entity, like a blog, should generally seek to increase visit frequency of readers, rather than visit duration.

What matters is not necessarily how much time any blog visitor spends, nor how many page views. Rather, the most important consideration, to build into your business model, is how to keep them coming back, over and over, loyally.

This fits in with my idea about the Blog Portal.

You ultimately want to get people to use your site as a starting point, a portal to other web locations. Not as a default home page, but as a site that contains not only great content, but links to great destinations for further web surfing.

Posted by: steven streight aka vaspers the grate at January 10, 2006 01:13 PM

I agree.

"Rather, the most important consideration, to build into your business model, is how to keep them coming back, over and over, loyally." Porn! Bodcasting is big business.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at January 10, 2006 01:58 PM

I am against online porn, sir, and am refering instead to increasing the practical value of a site. I am not advocating hypnosis, addiction, nor any craving, other than for immaterialistic perfection.

One thing we see, as usability analysts, is the proclivity toward blog bashing, often from within the blogosphere itself.

Off the cuff dismissals, clever comments, and zany scenarios, like the recent Washington Post article on Wal-Mart and bloggers, allegations of racism.

When anti-bloggers wish to attack the blogosphere, we see "the dark side of blogging" and the "dangers of echo-chamber web sites and blogs".

Buzz Word Watch: "echo-chamber blogs" = blogs that say things you don't like.

Posted by: steven streight aka vaspers the grate at January 10, 2006 04:03 PM

Search engines have limits. One seems to be that they can be manipulated by competitors. I believe in optimizing for your customers, not optimizing for search engines. Make the search engines do the work to find your site and index it. They have the resources. Just take care of the customer and you will develop loyalty. If Google isn't your customer, you shouldn't focus on Google. Buzzwords: Customer Satifaction Optimization (CSO). GM, for example, is suffering from low customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are a good source of future sales.

This is from Aug. 2001.

"But just as loyalty is becoming the mantra on every executive's lips, customer satisfaction rates are plummeting."


Posted by: Jim Dermitt at January 11, 2006 11:29 AM

Customer Satifaction Optimization, oops I spelled that wrong. Sorry! One mistake and the whole echo chamber is all screwed up and perfection is shot.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at January 11, 2006 01:42 PM

Playing with fire in Pennsylvania.

Old economy.

Zippo "It works or we fix it free."

New economy.

"Toss it and search for a new one."


Posted by: Jim Dermitt at January 12, 2006 10:53 AM

Search engines aren't 'leeches'. They are simply word-of-mouth on steroids. They all give you the opportunity to include yourself out. In a way, they are the very opposite of activism.

But I think it ironic and prescient that this was the last post of Blogspotting that I chose to read before unsubscribing you from my feedreader.

The reason is that you only include the first bit (what's the technical term for 'more than the headline but less than the full monty'?)

I took a decision this week only to subscribe to feeds that offer the full monty. For the part-monty I rely on search engines.

I'll read you willingly, but only when I stumble on you in my browser. It's too inconvenient via a feed; I need a web connection, more effort and more time.

Doubly ironically, I still subscribe to your podcast, which doesn't have the part-monty.

Posted by: Andrew Denny at January 16, 2006 03:12 PM

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