A friend of mine, Mike Rouch, implemented an interesting search solution for RealAge.com. The RealAge library consists of articles and other reference material on a wide variety of health and medical topics that have been selected by their researchers as relevant and reliable. The search engine lets you treat individual search hits like Roman gladiators. You give the thumbs-up to results that were helpful and the thumbs-down to results that were not. Over time, the system uses your preferences to adjust your results.
I think this is an interesting approach, and will be interested to see how well it works.
As an enterprise search guy, I'm not so interested in SEO for marketing as much as for helping employees find what they need and helping the company make their information investments worthwhile. However, I found SEOmoz's advice on pricing SEO work very interesting, particularly for the helpful lists of deliverables.
Putting the price tag right out there is great too, but leaves me wondering who has that kind of money?!
From the willful ignorance department...
Noonan said this today:
Ummm, yeah, Peggy, the scientists held that meeting, and ummm, they came to a conclusion. The reason you didn't catch what they were saying is because you were too busy demonizing them, remember? From your article on the 2004 tsunami, for example:
I'll bet you already knew, Peggy, that tsunamis don't actually have anything to do with climate! But that wouldn't stop you from making your own cheap points, would it? No, if The People fail to act in the face of a clear warning from climate scientists, the paid political obfuscators -- like you -- who duped them, should bear much of the blame.
Microsoft is getting all Ballmerish about enterprise search.
When I read that Microsoft is serious about competing with Google in the enterprise search arena, I couldn't help but snicker, knowing that their enterprise search solution is SharePoint.
Well, it prompted me to do some reading, and it looks like they've been busy. This could get interesting.
SharePoint portals seem to be wildly popular for departmental collaboration, but from an intranet search engine administrator's perspective they can be a bit of a nightmare. They have some crawling gotchas that you need to be aware of, and they also seem to encourage the posting of lots of large Microsoft Office documents.
Norvig the Heretic
Peter Norvig, whose challenge to Tim Berners-Lee regarding the Semantic Web was reported by CNET News only because he works for Google, listed three important problems for the meta-utopian dream.
While we're somewhat shielded from that last problem in the enterprise search world, the first two, incompetence and lazyness, are enough to keep us busy. If you have multiple authors to work with, prepare to spend significant resources correcting all the different ways they devise to screw up structured metadata.
One of my favorites is the "template" method. You may never see the original document it comes from, but you'll suddenly get lots of Word documents that all have the same title (unrelated to the visible content of the document), or lots of HTML pages with the same meta tag block. You either have to fix these or exclude them from your index, or you ruin the good times for everyone.
The most effective solution I've seen to this problem so far is better authoring tools, combined with as much automation (adding metadata without pestering the user for it) as possible. While entity extraction is improving and can add some value, it would sure be nice if it were implemented like spell-checking software, in cooperation with the author. I've only seen it used too far down stream.
I can relate to the way Norvig began his comments. "What I get a lot is: 'Why are you against the Semantic Web?' I am not against the Semantic Web."
I get the same crap about similar stuff.
Them: "We're authoring everything in such-and-such XML schema."
Me: "Great, here's the best way to transform it to standards-compliant HTML and publish it so it's accessible and useful to people and search engines."
Them: "What do you have against XML?"