I’ve recently changed my search tactics for the Internet. After combing through blogs for some time and using Google’s Blog Search or Technorati to do it, I’ve reached the conclusion that there’s often a lot less Spam in the blogosphere than there is in the more general web. This tends to make my searches more efficient.
We’re all very familiar with how much dross is retrieved by the average Google search. I’m doing well if more than 2 or 3 of the results on a page are actually useful, while the rest turns out to be shopping bots, sites having nothing to do with what I was interested in that happened to have the same words, and so on. The blogosphere seems to pack a lot more useful results into a typical blog search in my experience. In fact, I’ve tried a lot of the Alternative Search Engines, and nothing has come close to being as helpful as searching blogs instead of the Web!
I knock on wood about this, because if the world switches, the marketing folk will turn from SEO to BEO (Blog Engine Optimization!?!!) and we’ll be back in the same boat.
Think of Blog Searching as a Hyper-Amplified version of Google’s famous Page Rank algorithm. Page Rank is the secret sauce behind why Google yields better searches. It was invented at Stanford by Larry Page (hey, that’s why it’s called Page Rank, not because it ranks Pages!) and Sergey Brin seized on it to build an empire. The basic insight behind Page Rank is that if someone links to a page, it is an implicit vote in favor of that page. Ergo, having lots of links to the page means the page is a far far better page than one that has the same keywords but no links to it. Think of it as Web Democracy in Action, where the links are like votes. Imagine how much loftier the rank should be if some individual has actually labored to produce content about the topic in the form of a blog? And what if said page of blog content is also then Page Ranked? As Donald Sutherland-character Oddball said in Kelly’s Heroes, “Like wow man, how can we lose with so many positive waves?”
Here is the other cool thing about blog searching:
I may be the exception, but I find that the majority of my searches involve things I will be interested in for a long period of time. I’m not just looking for some throw-away bit of information. When you find a blog that has valuable info on one of these topics, you can throw it into you Blog Reader and get high quality content from the same source coming at you in the future without the need to revisit the search. That’s been really helpful when you need to mainline some information right into the old brain cells and make sure you stay up to date on it.
You can’t get away from Googling the web altogether, because you may want information that is not typically found in a blog. For example, you want to find the corporate web site (although, here again, I’ve taken to finding a company’s blog before bothering with the corporate site when I am researching a new company) or when you are shopping. Shopping, BTW, has gotten so painful on the net recently because there are so many middlemen who want to get between you and finding someone who is actually selling or reviewing your product. They add no value to me, but they certainly are an impediment.
I’ve heard it said that one of the great advantages of the Web 2.0 is access to Spam-free (more like minimal-Spam) channels of communication that you know are coming from or going to individuals who are part of your Social Network and that are therefore trusted.
Now here is the bad side of my experience with doing this. The darned blog search engines are buggy! Technorati’s woes in this respect are well known. However, Google recently threw me for a loop by presenting this message:
People who’ve watched me online say I type really fast, but I had no idea I was fast enough to trigger this nuisance! It seems to take 15 minutes or half an hour to reset, and it seems to come back pretty easily once you set it off. I am assuming it has something to do with how frequently you search, but maybe something else triggers it. In any event, it had me revisiting Technorati for search which I hadn’t done in a while!