The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, May 19, 2003

All kinds of websites rely on search engine rankings to build an audience. Getting listed on Google isn't the be-all end-all in promotion and visibility--ultimately, if you're serious about pulling in lots of visitors, you need to advertise offline, get press exposure, etc. But especially for non-commercial sites, the exposure that comes with search engine indexing is vital for getting word out about what they've got. Blogs are at the top of the list.

The explosion of blogging has been duly indexed by all the search engines out there. In fact, they've accounted for blogs so well that a lot of people conducting searches for information are getting deluged with hits from blogs that sometimes have little or nothing to offer them in the way of substantive information. In response, it appears that Google is preparing to exclude blog hits from standard Web search results.

As a professional researcher, I endorse this approach. Of course, I don't use Google as my engine of choice, but I'm sure others will follow the 800-pound gorilla's lead on this. I should also note that I haven't really experience a problem of blog-overload in my search results; I know how to conduct fairly specific, targeted searches, with the aim of avoiding undue clutter. But with every passing day, that gets harder. It's not just blogs by any means. But as noted, the nature of blogs, with their high frequency of updating and preponderance of cross-links, are just the kind of objects that exploit the way search engines work. (The underlying issue, of course, is finding something beyond the increasingly-outdated text-based search syntax that all search engines use... but that's a whole other ball o' wax.)