SETH GODIN POSITS some practical search engine strategies in a quest to help Internet users to find what they really need. He is right to deflate the current state of search. Sure, we’d be lost without it. I certainly would. But it does, in its current state, require us to spend more time than we should to find what we’re really looking for. At the moment, the use of keywords and inbound links as a method to retrieve relevant results for the searcher/consumer can be manipulated – and is manipulated by many to gain position. Often, the top 10 results for something aren’t necessarily the best, most relevant results for the searcher. We’re casting nets out into the Internet and skimming the surface of available content. So how can Seth find a place to take his 6 friends for a midweek retreat, near a lake, within an hour of his house? He knows when he wants to do it, he knows about how much he wants to spend, but he doesn’t know where.
The current trend seems to be developing a tag system of search and other Search 2.0 frameworks as Richard McManus discusses in a post on his blog ReadWriteWeb.com. And that may well be the way that we’re headed. But will it make it easier for Seth to find his retreat? Perhaps all that is needed is more information from content providers. If you consider that search engines are basically extremely large databases of content, maybe they need to add a few fields to their database. At the moment, if I want to add my website to a search engine directory; I basically need to give them my url so that their spiders can visit my page and reteive the keyword content for their system to digest, rank and regurgitate to users when they search for something. But what if I could provide a form of information to search engines when I’m adding my site to their directory? What if I could specify the towns, cities, states or countries in which my products and servcies were avaialbe. What if I could specify whether my products and services were available online or offline or both? Perhaps the only way that search engines will be able to provide users with more accurate matches for Seth’s request is if their databases contain that regional information from content providers so that searches can be performed regionallly (by town, city, state, country). In essence, you would conduct your search as usual, but would have the option of searching 1. The Internet 2. Bellingham 3. Washington 4. United States 5. Offline.
Perhaps we do need more technology to get us there? I don’t know. Maybe more widgets and aggregators can get us there? But maybe, just maybe, it’s something that can be done with what we already have. Maybe we just need to communicate better using the technology that is available today? What do you think?