Why Search Engines Cannot Answer All Your Queries?

Partha Bhattacharya
 


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Do you search with an embedded syntax? If you do, you’ll be able to mine valuable information from search engine repositories. Let me take an example. Suppose you’re looking for non-reciprocal link-givers for your web pages. What will be your search syntax? It may be something like “Suggest a link” +”keyword”. If you are looking for links for the keyword phrase “clay art”, your search query will be “Suggest a link” +”clay art”.

Now, I am not a search syntax expert. I’ve learnt the above technique from Bill Hartzer’s article here . Bill provides good suggestions on how to look for potential link partners.

What becomes apparent is that if you are not a search expert, you stand to loose out on valuable information from search engines. Many of us suffer from this disadvantage despite search engines’ help, such as this one from Google.

While reflecting on this some time back, I started to realize that it is indeed less than often that I am really able to unearth solid relevant information from search engines. There are 2 main issues here. First is our ability or inability to squeeze out information from search engines. The second is search engine’s ability or inability to provide relevant information in response to your query. Listed below are some obvious hindrances that I’ve faced in my ‘search experience’. Readers are welcome to offer their experience.

  1. Search engines produce results based on search terms. If your search term doesn't match that of a product's website you ought to see, it'll altogether elude your attention.
  2. Search results are in fact prioritized web pages. Since a webpage does not describe the full website, it is often possible that though you’ve arrived at the right website, yet you’re unaware that your information is available in another webpage. You may probably give the page a miss.
  3. Even if the ‘most-suitable’ product's webpage does find its way in your search results, it may be embedded deep inside the results that appear. It's hopeless to sift some 260,000 results or more to get your pick.
  4. Search engines are constantly in a flux, altering its algorithm now and again to remain in reckoning for maximum usage by surfers, thereby affecting search results. What are there today, are gone tomorrow.
  5. Many web pages are not optimized for top search results. After all, how many keywords/keyphrases can one optimize for? And then, once begun, one has to cling on to it, lest others ‘snatch’ the prized positions. Clearly, for many, such exercise is time-consuming and costly.
  6. All search engines are not equally popular everywhere. If Google is numero uno in US, many in continental Europe prefer MSN. Besides, many websites opt for PPC ads or other online ads in various lesser-known search engines and directories. Therefore to find your best deal, you need to extensively search at many places, which clearly is not a practical solution.
  7. In places where internet awareness is high, mass emailing, classified ads, press releases, etc. are some of the preferred promotion techniques for many, instead of search engine marketing.
  8. To economize cost vis-à-vis quick return, many websites with excellent products prefer offline advertisements to online promotion.
  9. In fast-changing web-scenario, if products or brands are sold and/or re-branded, or if the owner-companies loose focus, even best-selling items get heaped at the bottom, though still available online. It's virtually impossible to locate them in search results.
  10. Many websites are too large to be fully indexed by search engine crawlers, or may be too slow to obvious discomfort of the crawlers.
  11. Just aiming top search ranking simply doesn't ensure a product's usefulness vis-à-vis your need. With proper optimization techniques, it is not difficult for any webpage to come on top in search results. Then again, for many websites, there is a mistaken priority to rank high in search results instead of providing quality information to the viewers.

The bottom-line is that unless you plough through your searches with dogged determination and armed with a fine comb, chance is that search engines may not fetch you the answer you want, and want it now! In my experience, on an average, 6 times out of 10, I don't get the *ONE* I want.

And then consider the time it takes. Not many of us can or will spend an entire evening or two for just one nagging query. Also, few searchers are able to query intelligently since searching with requisite syntax is a specialization itself. To add to woe, this varies from one search engine to another. No wonder, even Google charges you for specific searches.

In an extension of this article, I plan to next look at the various options that are now available to get information on the web.

Partha Bhattacharya is an experienced web content provider . Partha's blog on web marketing is a big help for small website owners.

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