New Search Magic Formula

As promised, as soon as I have a beginning idea how to rank higher in the new In-World Search, I would blog about it so others could benefit. Well, I still haven’t succeeded in getting anywhere adapting my SEO Tools to the new Search, but I’ve figured out how to make it work for you anyway. So, you wanna learn the “Magic Formula”?

The Stuff That Matters

Any Search Engine has a number of factors that it considers when calculating the “Rank” of various documents. In the case of Second Life, a “Document” is a Parcel Listing. In order to be considered for ranking in In-World Search, you must mark your Parcel to “Show In Search” (which also puts L$30 per week into Linden Lab’s pocket). In those listing pages, there are certain bits of data (text) that the Search Engine considers very important (highly relevant) and some it considers pretty much noise. The secret to ranking well then is to understand what the Search Engine considers “Relevant” and what it considers “Noise” then construct your Parcel data to boost your relevance.

When Second Life was using the Google GSA for In-World Search there were a lot of different factors that went into calculating the Parcel’s relevance. Over time, the Search Dev Team wiped out most of them, leaving only a few that really mattered. For the past few months, it’s been basically a game of “cram as many instances of a keyword into your listing as you can without getting a negative boost.” A lot of folks consider that Spamming … apparently so does Linden Lab. So they changed the Search Engine completely, and thus changed the rules too.

SOLR/Lucene

The new In-World Search uses a package search engine called SOLR. It is a wrapper for the well-known Lucene Search Engine. They’ve crafted a special interface that adds all sorts of visual zip and have announced that Search is now “fixed” and is much more relevant than before.

So I bet you want to know what they consider most relevant, huh? (I see you drooling! Wipe your chin before you read further.)

The Three Relevant Details

With the new SOLR/Lucene search system, they’ve given three specific details very high ranking in regards to relevance. Those are:

  1. Parcel Name
  2. Parcel Description
  3. Parcel Owner Name

What this means is that in order to rank well in the new In-World Search, all you have to do is:

  1. Name your Parcel with your preferred Search Phrase
  2. Enter a Description for the Parcel that has the Search Phrase once or twice more
  3. Deed the Parcel to an Avatar or a Group with the same name as your Search Phrase

In other words, if I wanted to win for Teleporters, I would do the following:

  1. Rename my store Parcel to “Teleporters”
  2. Change the Parcel Description to something like “Teleporters – Best in Second Life, easy to install, easy to configure, travels ground to 4096m. The most popular Teleporter ever.”
  3. Create a Group named “Teleporters” and deed the Parcel to it.

Bingo! I win.

Umm .. I Gots Issues Wit Dat

There’s a few things that immediately cause me great consternation. First and foremost is the issue with Land Owner Name. What on EARTH does the name of the Land Owner have to do with Relevance? My name is Darrius Gothly, but I make Teleporters and SEO tools. Where is the relevance to my products in the words “Darrius” and “Gothly”?

Then I get into the fact that they seem to be pretty much disregarding the items listed to show in Search when calculating relevance. What if your store is named “Gothly’s Neat Stuff” and you sell Sculpted Toenails? Does that mean you need to name your store “Sculpted Toenails”? According to the new Search Engine it does.

My final concern is the “King of the Hill” syndrome. By limiting the most important factors to just those three and disregarding everything else, they create a situation where only one or two people can rank well for a specific phrase or keyword. And once they own it, they OWN it! There won’t be any way to shake them loose, to make a new entrance into the market and outrank them. If you haven’t already gotten your Group Name and set up your Land Name and Description by the time you read this .. you’ve lost already.

(It appears that there’s a number of names already at the top of most Search Results using these techniques. If you happen to be in one of those niches that’s been owned already, might I suggest another line of work?)

Conclusion

Hopefully, as time moves along, the Search Dev Team will begin changing the relevance calculation, design the system to allow a good amount of “churn” and keep things moving so it remains fresh. Otherwise … this game is over folks … and 99.999% of us have already lost.


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Comments

3 Comments on New Search Magic Formula

  1. Cerebrus on Sun, 19th Jun 2011 6:03 AM
  2. Thanks a lot for this, but there may be more at work. Following his theory, my 2 stores with exactly the same name, description and group should rank equally in the search listings. It turns out though that one is second in the search term list (a term I would consider highly searched) and one is miles down.
    The day after the new search was released, the one now not in the top 30 was about 10th and the other was nowhere.
    To top it off, the group name the land is deeded to has absolutely no relevance to the store itself.
    So, given your information, I’m not expecting it to stay at the top too long unless I create a new group for it.
    Again, thanks a lot 🙂

  3. Cerebrus on Sun, 19th Jun 2011 7:10 AM
  4. Edit to my last comment. The search differentiates between terms like “Women’s” and “Womens” Turns out this is why I was getting wildly different results. My apologies.

  5. Maximillon Lefavre on Fri, 24th Jun 2011 1:51 AM
  6. Now I understand why my parcel isn’t showing up in the first thousand results for rental land, land for rent, land rentals, etc…. My parcel owner isn’t named properly seems like a LL plow to steal even more L$ from us hard working SL business owners by making us create additional groups just so we can try to get a higher search ranking.