A Way for Search Engines to Improve

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A Way for Search Engines to Improve

By: Richard Zwicky

Wouldn't it be nice if the search engines could comprehend our impressions of search results and adjust their databases accordingly? Properly optimized web pages would show up well in contextual searches and be rewarded with favorable reviews and listings. Pages which were spam or which had content that did not properly match the query would get negative responses and be pushed down in the search results.

Well, this reality is much closer than you might think.

To date, most webmasters and search engine marketers have ignored or overlooked the importance of traffic as part of a search engine algorithm, and thus, not taken it into consideration as part of their search engine optimization strategy. However, that might soon change as search engines explore new methods to improve their search result offerings. Teoma and Alexa already employ traffic as a factor in the presentation of their search results. Teoma incorporated the technology used by Direct Hit, the first engine to use click through tracking and stickiness measurement as part of their ranking algorithm. More about Alexa below.

How can Traffic be a Factor?

Click popularity sorting algorithms track how many users click on a link and stickiness measurement calculates how long they stay at a website. Properly used and combined, this data can make it possible for users, via passive feedback, to help search engines organize and present relevant search results.

Click popularity is calculated by measuring the number of clicks each web site receives from a search engine's results page. The theory is that the more often the search result is clicked, the more popular the web site must be. For many engines the click through calculation ends there. But for the search engines that have enabled toolbars, the possibilities are enormous.

Stickiness measurement is a really great idea in theory, the premise being that a user will click the first result, and either spend time reading a relevant web page, or will click on the back button, and look at the next result. The longer a user spends on each page, the more relevant it must be. This measurement does go a long way to fixing the problem with "spoofing" click popularity results. A great example of a search engine that uses this type of data in their algorithms is Alexa.

Alexa's algorithm is different from the other search engines. Their click popularity algorithm collects traffic pattern data from their own site, partner sites, and also from their own toolbar. Alexa combines three distinct concepts: link popularity, click popularity and click depth. Its directory ranks related links based on popularity, so if your web site is popular, your site will be well placed in Alexa.

The Alexa toolbar doesn't just allow searches, it also reports on people's Internet navigation patterns. It records where people who use the Alexa toolbar go. For example, their technology is able to build a profile of which web sites are popular in the context of which search topic, and display the results sorted according to overall popularity on the Internet.

For example a user clicks a link to a "financial planner", but the web site content is an "online casino". They curse for a moment, sigh, and click back to get back to the search results, and look at the next result; the web site gets a low score. The next result is on topic, and they read 4 or 5 pages of content. This pattern is clearly identifiable and used by Alexa to help them sort results by popularity. The theory is that the more page views a web page has, the more useful a resource it must be. For example, follow this link today -

http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q= & url=http://www.metamend.com/

- look at the traffic details chart, and then click the "Go to site now" button. Repeat the procedure again tomorrow and you should see a spike in user traffic. This shows how Alexa ranks a web site for a single day.

What Can I Do To Score Higher With Click Popularity Algorithms?

Since the scores that generate search engine rankings are based on numerous factors, there's no magic formula to improve your site's placement. It's a combination of things. Optimizing your content, structure and meta tags, and increasing keyword density won't directly change how your site performs in click-tracking systems, but optimizing them will help your web site's stickiness measurement by ensuring that the content is relevant to the search query. This relevance will help it move up the rankings and thus improve its click popularity score.

Search Engines Can Use the Click Through Strategy to Improve Results

Search engines need to keep an eye to new technologies and innovative techniques to improve the quality of their search results. Their business model is based on providing highly relevant results to a query quickly and efficiently. If they deliver inaccurate results too often, searchers will go elsewhere to find a more reliable information resource. The proper and carefully balanced application of usage data, such as that collected by Alexa, combined with a comprehensive ranking algorithm could be employed to improve the quality of search results for web searchers.

Such a ranking formula would certainly cause some waves within the search engine community and with good reason. It would turn existing search engine results on their head by demonstrating that search results need not be passive. Public feedback to previous search results could be factored into improving future search results.

Is any search engine employing such a ranking formula? The answer is yes. Exactseek recently announced it had implemented such a system, making it the first search engine to integrate direct customer feedback into its results. Exactseek still places an emphasis on content and quality of optimization, so a well optimized web site, which meets their guidelines will perform well. What this customer feedback system will do is validate the entire process, automatically letting the search engine know how well received a search result is. Popular results will get extended views, whereas unpopular results will be pushed down in ranking.

Exactseek has recently entered into a variety of technology alliances, including the creation of an Exactseek Meta Tag awarded solely to web sites that meet their quality of optimization standards. Cumulatively, their alliances combine to dramatically improve their search results.

ExactSeek's innovative approach to ranking search results could be the beginning of a trend among search engines to incorporate traffic data into their ranking algorithms. The searching public will likely have the last word, but webmasters and search engine marketers should take notice that the winds of change are once again blowing on the search engine playing field.

Did you find the information in this article useful? Feel free to pass it along to a friend or drop us a line at comments@metamend.com.

About The Author

Richard Zwicky is a founder and the CEO of Metamend Software, a Victoria, B.C. based firm whose cutting edge Search Engine Optimization software has been recognized around the world as a leader in its field. Employing a staff of 10, the firm's business comes from around the world, with clients from every continent. Most recently the company was recognized for their geo-locational, or GIS technology, which correlates online businesses with their physical locations, as well as their cutting edge advances in contextual search algorithms.



ajhe_82 01.06.2007. 11:51

What is the latest development and trend in search engines ? Hi ,

What is the latest trend in Search engines -- besides SEM ?

How have search engines improved ? Are there any examples ?

What are the latest news and developments ?


Admin 01.06.2007. 11:51

http://ontheavenues-diy-seo.blogspot.com/ has 2 sections on new SE developments, and search engine news. Over 50 such articles as the SE's change and update often so there is much to read and keep current with.

Some examples of latest developments and trends








Julie S 08.05.2008. 14:17

Does a tag cloud help with search engine optimization? All other things being equal - does anyone know if adding a tag cloud to a web site is viewed positively or negatively by search engines? Would it improve chances of being listed for a popular term in the tag cloud? And if so, do the search engines put more weight on the "larger font" results that come from a high number of people using a particular tag?

Julie S

Admin 08.05.2008. 14:17

There is no proof on this, but tags are links and if they are with good words (your targeted keywords) then they will get points when crawled.


Aaron 31.12.2010. 16:52

Should I submit my site to the search engines? I had someone add keywords to my site. Should I now submit my domain name to some
search engines to improve my chances of showing up on peoples searches?


Admin 31.12.2010. 16:52

They'll find it regardless.


William J 07.02.2007. 05:21

How can I increase my page rank on Google and other search engines? Looking for good advice, and possibly website/article links about improving my search engine placement and page ranks. I've already got descriptive meta tags on all my pages, descriptive alt tags on my images, clean code, and a good site map with text links to all pages on the site.

Anything more I can do? Anyone have some great tomes of knowledge regarding the subject that they could link to?

William J

Admin 07.02.2007. 05:21

Here is what we did (it worked better on Yahoo):

1. Metatags, keywords on every page.
2. Good content
3. sitemap
4. Verification by Yahoo and HTML (use of search engine provided files placed on your site...)
5. Search for "submit your web site for free" and go at it.
6. SEO submission
7. Place free ads/classifides/directory entry on free sites
8. Create other similar sites (preferrably free) and have them point to your site, mention your site
9. Include your web site in various sites (craigslist, linkedin...)

Best Regards,


sharma_shikhar 03.07.2009. 13:38

How to optimize your site and how much time it takes to index a new website in search engine? i have just launched a site. but the search engines have not indexed it yet. generally how much time does it take to reflect your site in search engines? and what are the ways through which we can optimize a site so that it can reflect in search engines and the ranking can be improved.


Admin 03.07.2009. 13:38

There are too many ways of optimising your site to explain it here. Google "Search Engine Optimisation" and read the articles.
Go to submitexpress.com and test your meta tags there (free). Correct accordingly.
Submit your site every month (but NOT MORE!).
Preferably, change the contents of your home page regulalry (ie extracts of articles, RSS etc).
Subscribe to as many social networks as possible, and "slide in" your URL (external links to your site).
That's for getting "known".

As far as "how long" is concerned: it can take two to eight months (average), but if you are on a niche, very well optimized, you can get it on a few days.

Do NOT count on search engines to make your site known! Even on first page for some given keywords, it will only be shown to people ALL OVER the world: If your visitor's capture area is local, you have wasted your time.
Advertise your site by every other means (paper, radio, TV, leaflets, emails etc...)
THAT is what brings visitors!


thewater8oy 24.09.2008. 04:24

How to improve search engine ranking? When search engines decide which which sites are relevant to the search, does it look at the keywords used in a web page or only the meta-tags?

What else do you need to consider to improve search engine ranking?


Admin 24.09.2008. 04:24

Search engine spiders have a very complex system for determining page relevancy and only Google knows exactly what they all are.

Some have been figured out but in time many of them can suddenly change. The copy on your page and how it is used is extremely important. Once upon a time you could just "load" your page with reoccurring keywords but as the spiders got "smarter" they now look to see if your words appear natural.

There are over 100 different aspects to search engine rankings so learn and test as many as you can. Remember, no site is ever perfect you can only strive to make it better with each change.


John 08.11.2012. 13:58

how to improve my website key word rank in search engines after penguin? I have a health related website. I do not understand how to improve my website key word rank in search engines after penguin.


emmshazi 02.10.2006. 16:15

How can I add my website to search engines like yahoo and google? What is the simplest way to do this process? I have created my website, now I want it to be available for searching on all search engines specially yahoo and google. What should I do for doing such operation? How much it costs? Need to know complete details.


Admin 02.10.2006. 16:15


? You need to submit your site to many search engines. Search engines will not accept your site if it is listed on free-for-all list sites. They will not accept it if it is a newbie site that is about them only. Think of a subject and write about it. It can take 2 weeks to 6 months or more before they list you. Even if they do accept your site you'll need to check your listing occasionally to make certain it is still listed. If a site gets no traffic or isn't updated regularly they will delte your listing. If you are a serious webmaster you will need to read about site optimisation at http://www.searchengines.com/ Another great site is http://www.searchenginewatch.com/ Search engine submission tips (lots of info) http://www.searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/

? You'll find about 400 search engines here.

? http://dwight.clickthesky.com/search/

? There are web sites that claim to submit your site to hundreds of search engines at once. The only one I recommend is http://www.dmoz.org/ The other search engines use this directory to supplement their own directories. Youdd it to google here http://www.google.com/addurl/

? If you have a Geocities home page list it in Geocities Homepage Directory http://pages.yahoo.com/ You'll find help for that here http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/geo/gmembers/

? Read about Google's unique page ranking system.

? http://www.googleguide.com/pagerank.html

? Improving search engine positioning (ranking) with other search engines.

? http://www.google.com/search?q=improving+search+engine+rank+position


Vivek Randhawa 27.06.2011. 11:09

How can I improve my search engine ranking? I made a website recently, and i need to improve its search engine rankings... i need to know some of the techniques that can help me in that.

Vivek Randhawa

Admin 27.06.2011. 11:09

First of all working On page optimization

here is step
Verify by Google webmaster
HTML and XML site map
XML site map submit to Google web master
Robot.txt (You can create this txt file at google webmaster )
Content optimization
Meta Tag (Title,description,keyword) Title and Description 100% Original not copy paste other Site
Image ( You can optimized image with Alt Tag if any image missing this tag)

Now Working on Off Page optimization (Link building)
Social bookmark Submission
Press Release
Blog comment
Forum posting
Blog post reviews
Guest book
One way link
two way link
twitter marketing
Face book marketing

Lots of more way

Thank you


Quinn 02.11.2012. 16:23

What are the factors involved to improve search engine ranking? I would like to know more about the steps to enhance the page rank in search engine.


Admin 02.11.2012. 16:23

Search engine ranking factors are some of the most closely guarded secrets in online business. Google and other search engines don't publish exactly how they rank webpages in search results, because that would lead to massive gaming of the system and produce non-useful results.
Here are the top 10 factors that positively affect your search engine rankings:

Keyword Use in Title Tag
Anchor Text of Inbound Links
Global Link Popularity of Site
Age of Site
Link Popularity within the Site's Internal Link Structure
Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site
Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community
Keyword Use in Body Text
Global Link Popularity of Linking Site
Topical Relationship of Linking Page


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