Skip to Main Content (press enter)

Archive for June, 2005

Case studies, blog postings, research papers, tools info and eBook notes

Google Mini arrives in UK

Google has finally brought the Google Mini search appliance to the UK. For web sites of up to 100,000 documents this is the most remarkable value.

£1995 buys you a rack mountable server and the ability to generate search results on your web site in XML format so you can present them any way you like. It will also allow you to run the equivalent of sponsored links, i.e. pages that wouldn’t feature in the relevance ranking, but that you want to promote in association with a particular search. And a synonym function enables you to associate product groups.

For anyone that has ever wrestled with developing search code across web pages and databases, knows that this job has just become redundant. For the equivalent of 2 or 3 days worth of developer time from a typical agency, you get, out of the box, the power of Google; I consider this irresistible!

(Filed in Blog, June 17th, 2005)

Google Sitemaps Introduced

Google presents Google Sitemaps. An answer to a few prayers, it is. Google has embraced/created a protocol for defining the URL structure of a site and invites webmasters around the world to place their site definitions in a public spot for their crawlers to come collect. Have a look at the information this Sitemap file will include:

The XML Sitemap Format uses the following XML tags:
changefreq — how frequently the content at the URL is likely to change
lastmod — the time the content at the URL was last modified
loc — the URL location
priority — the priority of the page relative to other pages on the same site

Many of us who have worked tirelessly to get the search engine crawlers deep into sites – particularly dynamic e-commerce ones – this truly is an answer to a prayer. Google is saying, show me where it all is and which bits are the most important, and I’ll come and get it all.

Some practitioners, who utilise questionable techniques on their clients’ sites will baulk at the necessity to register with Google to submit these pages, so the optimist in me will hope that Google will take some steer from webmaster willingness to register – albeit only with a Gmail account – as a sign of authenticity (perhaps I am just being a bit too kind-hearted on this one).

I will let you know how I get on with our first experiments in using Google Sitemaps.

(Filed in Blog, June 6th, 2005)

Google trademarks TrustRank

Google have recently trademarked the term TrustRank.

Google’s proprietary PageRank system has long been held as a differentiator, but many in the search engine community consider it well on the way out, if not already pretty meaningless, – and I find myself on their side of the fence, which includes the recommendation to do your best to ignore the green pixels in your Google Toolbar – with TrustRank it’s natural successor .

TrustRank concedes the need for human intervention; the process requires the identification of seed sites that are considered ‘good’ and the evaluation of the relationships between them and the rest of the web. The conclusion is that relationships with ‘good’ seed sites confer authenticity on the other linked sites. The assumption being that no ‘good’ site would link to a spam site. ‘TrustRank’ as a term appears in this Stanford University research paper, and many believe it is on its way in already.

An interesting facet of the concession that humans have to get involved could be that of Google offering a ‘reset-my-TrustRank’ fee-based service. A kind of manual intervention that is missing from the current Google everything-is-automatic mantra.

Oh, by the way, a Google representative stated today that Update Bourbon ain’t over yet.

(Filed in Blog, June 1st, 2005)