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The Comprehensive Guide to Optimizing Parcels for Search

Cristalle Karami
Lady of the House
Join date: 4 Dec 2006
Posts: 6,222
04-09-2008 09:53
Designed for sticky-ness. Please add relevant stuff. To start with:

From: Phil Deakins
The idea of creating hundreds of prims, all with different names and descriptions, to gain in the All search is limited. The webpage has a limit on the number of object details that it contains. E.g. mine has 148 objects listed, and there are a lot more there that are set for sale. 148 is a strange number to choose, but I have to assume that it's the limit. So not every object is listed, and taken account of in the ranking algorithm.

Somebody mentioned that the Title is an important ranking factor, and that's true. But it's nothing to do with object names/titles. It's the HTML page's Title which isn't seen by the user. SL repeats it at the top of the viewable page, adding to its ranking power because it's in an HTML heading tag, and it's the parcel's name.

Google puts very heavy weight on page Titles (that's an HTML tag, and isn't seen in a browser), and on inbound links (IBLs), to the extent that those 2 things are all that is needed to rank pages very highly in Google. In fact IBLs are all that is needed. I won't go into the technical reasons for it in this post - unless asked. A page has just one Title (in SL, it's the parcel name), and multiple IBLs (that's why IBLs have more ranking power than Titles).

In Google, page content isn't even looked at if they can get a large enough set of results from those 2 things.

The SL system will be a bit different. There are 4 basic ranking factors that I can see:-

HTML page Title tag (parcel name)
HTML page Description tag (parcel description) - (the Google engine ignores this)
HTML page content (names and descriptions of objects on the parcel)
IBLs (a simple count of IBLs)

SL will be able to adjust the weight given to each of the factors. They said that they would be tweaking it, and I'm sure that's what they mean.

SL mentioned things like word proximity (how close the words in the searchterm are on the webpage), and they may have adjustment knobs for things like that as well, but those are the 4 basic ranking factors.

Since the number of objects listed in the webpage for a parcel is limited, and since the heart of Google's concept is to put a great deal of weight on IBLs, effort is better spent by increasing the number of IBLs, although using objects shouldn't be overlooked, because it does get rankable content onto the webpage - up to a certain limit.
from /327/12/227413/2.html#post1803371
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Cristalle Karami
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Join date: 4 Dec 2006
Posts: 6,222
04-09-2008 09:56
From: Phil Deakins
From: Oryx Tempel
Originally Posted by Oryx Tempel
Would "inbound links" in this case be picks in profiles? Doesn't that just allow for gaming of profiles, e.g. "I'll pay you to put my shop in your profile?"


Yes - profile Picks, and LMs that people have. SL said that they come from groups too but I haven't seen how that can be done, unless it's group owned land and group members count as IBLs.

SL searches have been gamed for ages - Places - so this isn't any different. But since it's Google technology, it provides more ways to game it


from /327/12/227413/2.html#post1803553
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Cristalle Karami
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04-09-2008 09:57
From: Phil Deakins
How it works, in a nutshell - I hope:

There are a number of ranking factors, and each of them can be given a different weight. For instance, a single IBL could count for more than the searchterm (the words you searched on) in the page, and it probably does. A score is calculated for each matching page, and they are listed according to that score.

A simplistic way of looking at the page score calculation is something like this. For every link that points to the page, add 1. For every instance of the searchterm in the page, add 0.75. If the full searchterm is in the page's Title, add 5. And then list the pages in score order.

That should give you an idea of what's going when a search query is being processed but, in reality, it's not as simplistic as that :)

This is Google technology, and Google weighs page Titles (the parcel name) heavily, so the chances are that SL does too, and it's likely to be a default weighting. Also, pages will match if they have only 1 of the words from the searchterm in them, and if they have more of the words but not continuous, and so on. The proximity of the words in the page is calculated and pages that have the exact phrase, for instance, will score better than those that don't.

In Google, the weight of a word or phrase is decreased with each instance of it in the page, until any more instances of it won't add anything to the score. I.e. the score for the page increases by a smaller and smaller amount with each instance of the word, until any more instances add nothing to the score. Imo, that's likely to be in the SL system, so adding hundreds of prims with the same phrase in them is likely to be a gross waste of prims. Adding some for various phrases - yes.

So the way to improve rankings is:-

1.Craft the parcel's name and description carfeully, with the most important searchterm(s) in the name, and *the* most important one at the front, because that's what is put into the page's important Title tag.

2. Get people to add the place to their Picks, and to LM it. That increases the IBLs, which probably weigh heavier than the words on the page, simply because they can be seen as votes for the place - that's something that Google's whole system is based on. I've tested the words in people's Picks, and they aren't used, so getting them to change the place name to suitable target phrases is no good. IBLs are merely counted, as was stated in the blog.

3. Add various searchterms in the names and descriptions of the objects on the land, and make sure that the objects are set to show in search. That gets those phrases onto the page where they will improve the page's score, so add at least several instances of each phrase. Existing objects can have the names and descriptions modified for the purpose. It doesn't necessarily need a load of extra prims.

Keep on with 2 and 3 until you move up the rankings. Don't forget that there may be quite a gap before you catch the ones ahead of you, and they may be doing the same things too :)

The All search is updated every 12 hours, so it never takes long for changes to show any effect.

from /327/12/227413/3.html#post1803898
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Cristalle Karami
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Join date: 4 Dec 2006
Posts: 6,222
04-09-2008 09:59
From: Kitty Barnett
At the risk of exposing yet another way to keyword spam: that doesn't seem to be true. You can "Google bomb" the new SL search.

Consider this search for "future perfect" (exact):
http://secondlife.com/app/search/search.php?hl=en&q=%22future+perfect%22&s=All

If you look at the two places matches (Bliss Gardens and HooterVille Saloon), you'll notice that neither has "future perfect" in their title, description or objects.

The reason it turns up is because two people have a pick named "Future Perfect" that links to "Bliss Gardens".

The reason it's associated with HooterVille is because someone else has a pick named "Future Perfect" that links to "HooterVille Saloon".

If you're selling skins, you'll want people to name their pick "skins" rather than your store name to increase your ranking for that keyword.

from /327/12/227413/3.html#post1803936
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Cristalle Karami
Lady of the House
Join date: 4 Dec 2006
Posts: 6,222
04-09-2008 10:15
Re: joining parcels:

From: Solomon Devoix

From: Oryx Tempel

Hey Phil,
Am I to take this to say that LL has worked out a specific join order for parcels, so that an owner can know which parcel to link in which order in order to maintain search listings and/or picks/landmarks? If so, which order is correct? Is it like prims, i.e. the last parcel selected will be the parcel associated with all the picks and landmarks?


According to the blog, it's the LARGEST parcel whose land settings get used; so it's size, not order, that determines it.
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Cristalle Karami
Lady of the House
Join date: 4 Dec 2006
Posts: 6,222
Traffic & New Search - Marginal Utility
04-09-2008 12:24
Many thanks to Kitty for pointing this one, very important factor out. Traffic!

from /327/86/224252/1.html#post1792268:

From: Kitty Barnett
*sighs* I had a whole response typed out and then my stupid puter ate it :(.

What they seem to do is create a list of *all* parcels listed in search across all of SL, sort it by traffic and cut it off at a certain point to make a "top xx" page (there's 12 of them apparantly):

http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.10.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.20.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.50.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.100.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.200.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.500.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.1000.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.2000.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.5000.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.10000.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.20000.html
http://world.secondlife.com/start/traffic.50000.html

So if you're #5 on the "most traffic in SL" list, you have 12 traffic webpages that reference you, giving you an extra of 12 inbound links, boosting your search ranking. If you're #2004 you get 4 extra inbound links. If you're not in there at all, no boost for you.

On the other hand, profile picks count as an inbound link as well (cue the armies of disposable alts who are logged on just to set a pick and then never to be seen again). Whether it counts as much as being on a "top" page is anyone's guess probably.

If you ever had (or have) a website, it'll make more sense than if you're still trying to look at search from an SL perspective because all places, classifieds, profile are just a collection of webpages now and searched the same way as you use Google to search the web.

(Disclaimer: the above is my guess on the whole search thing, not a summary of anything "official" :))
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Phil Deakins
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Join date: 17 Jan 2007
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04-09-2008 12:48
From: Phil Deakins
The idea of creating hundreds of prims, all with different names and descriptions, to gain in the All search is limited. The webpage has a limit on the number of object details that it contains. E.g. mine has 148 objects listed, and there are a lot more there that are set for sale. 148 is a strange number to choose, but I have to assume that it's the limit. So not every object is listed, and taken account of in the ranking algorithm.
That's totally wrong. It was posted in the very early days when we were trying to get to grips with the new search.

Traffic can be forgotten about. Its effect is the same as a few Picks, and it's so much easier to get a few extra Picks.
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Cristalle Karami
Lady of the House
Join date: 4 Dec 2006
Posts: 6,222
04-09-2008 12:52
What exactly is wrong about the segment you quoted? The limit on objects? The number of the limit?
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Wildefire Walcott
Heartbreaking
Join date: 8 Nov 2005
Posts: 2,156
04-09-2008 12:57
From: Phil Deakins
That's totally wrong. It was posted in the very early days when we were trying to get to grips with the new search.

Traffic can be forgotten about. Its effect is the same as a few Picks, and it's so much easier to get a few extra Picks.

It's also changed a bit... for example, this place has hundreds, if not thousands, of search-spam prims on its HTML listing:
http://world.secondlife.com/place/95e2faa3-daca-292c-7e4a-e7105b964f83
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Wildefire Walcott
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04-09-2008 12:58
Also, has anyone verified whether Landmarks actually make a difference? I have my doubts about this one. I know Lindens have said it's a factor, but I'm not buying it at the moment.
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Phil Deakins
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04-09-2008 13:46
From: Cristalle Karami
What exactly is wrong about the segment you quoted? The limit on objects? The number of the limit?
I don't know if there's a limit, but my reasoning for stating that there is, was completely wrong.
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Phil Deakins
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04-09-2008 13:47
From: Wildefire Walcott
Also, has anyone verified whether Landmarks actually make a difference? I have my doubts about this one. I know Lindens have said it's a factor, but I'm not buying it at the moment.
They originally said that it's a factor, but I'm with you (and Kitty) on it. It can only be a factor if they are included in html pages, with links to the parcel pages, and I'm not aware of any such pages.
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Scott Hifeng
Anywhere But Here
Join date: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 112
04-10-2008 12:12
Thanks for this excellent summary!

There's one thing I don't understand, and that is about setting named objects out on your parcel to affect search ranking. Do these items have to be for sale? And could one, for example, rename various trees and building-part prims to search-relevant keyword names, and that doing so would have an impact on search ranking?

That's what you seem to be saying, but it sounds so nutty :p I have to ask for a confirmation or clarification.
Vittorio Beerbaum
Sexy.Builder Hot.Scripter
Join date: 16 May 2007
Posts: 516
04-10-2008 12:45
From: Scott Hifeng
Thanks for this excellent summary!

There's one thing I don't understand, and that is about setting named objects out on your parcel to affect search ranking. Do these items have to be for sale?


No.

From: someone
And could one, for example, rename various trees and building-part prims to search-relevant keyword names, and that doing so would have an impact on search ranking?


Exact, it's actually common pratice to unlink the whole buildings (or any other thing) and uses each prims as keyword spammer savving prims.
Johan Durant
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04-10-2008 13:49
I recall Phil explaining somewhere that keywords are less valuable with each occurrence, so while having a keyword show a few times would help, because additional occurrences of the keyword stop mattering after the first few, spamming a keyword on hundreds of prims has no effect.

Anyway, these keywords would only appear in the body of the page, and the page body is less important a factor than the title or links.
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Cristalle Karami
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04-10-2008 14:01
From: Johan Durant
I recall Phil explaining somewhere that keywords are less valuable with each occurrence, so while having a keyword show a few times would help, because additional occurrences of the keyword stop mattering after the first few, spamming a keyword on hundreds of prims has no effect.

Anyway, these keywords would only appear in the body of the page, and the page body is less important a factor than the title or links.

I have found this to be relatively true. I think there is a top number (and it's very small) that you can use a keyword before it's considered spamming. As such, I shortened my parcel description significantly from the original description and found it gave a moderate boost.
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Scott Hifeng
Anywhere But Here
Join date: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 112
04-10-2008 14:19
Okay, got it. Thank you for these clarifications.

New question: Could somebody give an example of an optimally named parcel?

Or tell me if this is correct: Let's say I have a furniture store called HiConcept Designs. As I understand it, anything in the parcel name field is of high weight AND the first word matters more than the second or third words. So to maximize search, if I believe people will be looking for what I sell more than for my company name, what is an optimal parcel name? "Furniture Modern HiConcept Designs"?

Or do 'modern' and 'furniture' belong in the land description field?

Many thanks, once again.
Johan Durant
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04-10-2008 14:32
Personally I would go with "Modern Furniture from HiConcept Designs" because that's a pleasing balance between optimizing for search and having a grammatically correct name.
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Vittorio Beerbaum
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04-10-2008 17:38
From: Johan Durant
I recall Phil explaining somewhere that keywords are less valuable with each occurrence, so while having a keyword show a few times would help, because additional occurrences of the keyword stop mattering after the first few, spamming a keyword on hundreds of prims has no effect.

Anyway, these keywords would only appear in the body of the page, and the page body is less important a factor than the title or links.


I've found that mixing different keywords (position) would have a different effect (result), so we say (in example) that the limit is just 1 repetition per keyword, and we have two keywords "worda" and "wordb", if you use two prims with a name: "worda worb" and the other with "wordb worda" both would be considered because the search engine does not keep just the word alone but the algo has a sort of word association function (for simplification: it keeps "phrases";). I agree on the point of how much weigth (scoring) those objects have, it is very limited, the title and the parcel description does counts greatly more. But the key to score high in the search it's the backlinks (it's the same for the real google too): more page you have referreing back to yours (your land page) more you would score, so "picks" (of your customers) playing an important role, but none seems to have talked yet how to boost your search position paying for it, it's the classified: each classified (50L$) is gonna give you a backlink, it's the same "trick" used with the "events" (LL eliminated that "exploit";), where ppl were gonna spam fake events to generate fake backlinks "for free".

To respond to the OP question (wich name to use), i agree with Johan, a fair name would be: "Modern Furniture by HiConcept Designs" ...good compromise between "looking" and the main keyword position, then you would start your parcel descrition again with the word "Forniture".
Cristalle Karami
Lady of the House
Join date: 4 Dec 2006
Posts: 6,222
04-11-2008 11:07
In a nutshell:

From: Phil Deakins
The Google system that LL uses *expects* certain things:-

1. It expects the html page's Title tag to contain what the page is about.

2. It expects the clickable link text to the page to contain words that describe the page, and in an unbiased way.

3. It expects the page content to be normal and genuine.

By "expects", I mean that it is designed with the assumption that those things are true. The new search ranks pages, assuming those things to be true. If they are not true for your parcel's page, not only is it bad for searchers because they won't find your place, but it's also bad for you for the same reason.

In normal (web) circumstances, they would be true, because website owners make the webpages, but LL makes the pages for the parcels - not the parcel owners, and LL has no way of making those things true. It is up to parcel owners to make them true, so that their parcels are ranked according to the way that the search system is designed.
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Strife Onizuka
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04-11-2008 15:06
*attacks thread with the sticky stick*
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Scott Hifeng
Anywhere But Here
Join date: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 112
04-12-2008 11:01
I don't sell, anything but this whole Search thing interests me, so I tried these steps on two keywords and my parcel went from Page 19 to Page 1, Position 1.

Totally cracks me up!
Cristalle Karami
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04-12-2008 16:57
Thank you Strife!
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Kittyn Fuhr
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Join date: 29 Jun 2006
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04-17-2008 05:32
I have found also, it helps with having those same blocks at other places. I went around to all of my markets, and changed my sign and LM giver to say "House of the Axe Gorean Market Treasured Lily Designs" (and set for search). That brought be from about 55 to 48 in the new searchfor the word "gor" (my land has the word "gor" in the description). when I added the word "gor" to those same prims...it jumped to page 8.

Now...I have noticed something...not all of the parcels that I have placed prims on, are showing up when i do a search for "house of the axe" (and yes, they are set for search). I have 2 private parcels of land, and several markets that don't show. Any idea why some show, and some don't?
Phil Deakins
Prim Savers = low prims
Join date: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 9,537
04-24-2008 15:05
Word repetitions on the page:
The way that Google stated how they treat them, it didn't sound like the number of repetitions, before any further instances are of no value, is anywhere near as low as 2. AlatVista used to count only 2 instances of a word on a page, but Google counts more - lowering the ranking value for each one.

Proximity:
Proximity is how close together the words in the searchterm occur on the page. The closer the words are together, the better they will score. Perfect proximity is when the exact searchterm (phrase) is on the page, and we can ensure perfect proximity by naming and describing the parcel and its objects accordingly.

Prominence:
The nearer the top of the page a word/phrase is, the higher its prominence, and the better it scores. In the case the the parcel name (as used in the page's Title tag), the nearer the front of the name, the higher its proximity is, and the better it scores.
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