Tips to Improve Your Search Ranking

Since the launch of the new search, we’ve had lots of Residents ask for more tips and information on how to improve their search relevance and ranking within the Search All results.

Over the last few months, we’ve compiled some of the best practice tips and guidelines to help improve the relevance and search ranking for your classified ads, parcel listings, object descriptions, profiles, etc.

[EDITED 3/31: After comments from several Resident in the below comments, we have researched how the Google Search Appliance uses “stemming” and included it here. If you’re really curious about how this works, read more at Google. The top search results most closely match the search term you type.  If you enter “shoes” as your search term, results for “shoes” are listed first, since they match the term entered.  Results for “shoe” are not omitted; they are just listed after the results for “shoes,” since “shoe” less exactly matches “shoes” as the user entered.  If you look at several pages of search results, you will be able to see this.  This is a difference between priority, or rank, and relevance.]

Keywords Matter – Think about which words Residents might type to find your listing or products and make sure to include these words in your listing. Include various forms of your keywords and emphasize specificity. For example, if you’re selling swimming pools, include “swimming pools, hot tubs, diving boards, pool supplies, fountains” instead of just “pools”.

Phrases Matter – Phrases count – “pool, swim, board, dive” is not as good as “swimming pool, diving board”. Be specific, if you sell “Olympic sized lane pools” say so!

Grammar Tips – Avoid using “all caps” or non-traditional spellings in your listings. Also, be sure you’ve got the correct spelling!

Search is Smart – There is no need to include both “pool” and “pools” in your listings because our search appliance does stemming and automatically adds -s, -ing, -ly and similar to search terms.

Lying Sucks – When you’re writing keywords for your listings, don’t deceive your potential customers by listing things that have nothing to do with what you actually sell by providing deceptive descriptions in your keyword listings. An example of this would be to use a popular keyword, such as “dancing” to describe your dance-free pool store.

Traffic Matters… kind of – Traffic is a number for each parcel which is based on the amount of Residents who visited, and the time spent on that parcel out of their total time inworld that day. It’s calculated using a complex algorithm. Read more about traffic in the Knowledge Base (KB). Traffic is still used to help determine relevance with the new Search, but not as much as in the old version.

Picks Matter – Having links in other Resident’s Picks tab counts, but creating bots/zombies stuffed with top picks doesn’t help. The more active Residents Picks that reference your parcel/profile the more relevant your listings will be in the overall search.

Branding is Important – If you haven’t already, think about creating a specific brand for your inworld business, including a unique name and/or logo to draw new customers. When thinking about branding, keep in mind that some words are used frequently in the title or description of objects inworld (“object” or “perm”) and try to avoid incorporating these words into your brand. Also, be sure to include your avatar name in your parcel description or classified ad as this may help increase the relevancy (this also helps people find your store if they remember your avatar name, but not your store name!); this is especially important if your parcel/store is owned by a group. Read the Second Life Grid site for more tips on starting a Second Life business.

Advertising Works – Don’t underestimate the power of advertising, even in the virtual world! In addition to the official Second Life Classifieds (which run along side all relevant search results), some Residents have also set up advertising services inworld and you can work directly with them. A simple search returned the following services: OnRez, SLExchange, SLads, Subscribe o Matic, SL Agency. I’m sure there are more – feel free to post your favorite to the comments below!

Classifieds – Classified ads are currently served alongside all relevant search results, sorted by amount paid. We also hope to offer further improvements to the Classified system in the future. Learn more about the Second Life Classifieds system in our KB.

Be Careful when Dividing Land Parcels – As previously reported, changing the boundaries of your land parcel can impact your ranking, remember when joining two parcels, the largest parcel keeps the parcel ID/rankings.

Be Informed – Read more information on the new Search in the KB or watch Torley’s fun search focused Tip of the Week videos: Week 10 and Week 13. A more permanent version of these tips are also located in the KB. Also, be sure to watch this blog for more information and statistics on how the new search is impacting classified sales, inworld businesses and more.

Sharing Time! Do you have other tips and tricks for working with the new search? Add them here as blog comments or send them to search-feedback@lindenlab.com

About Jeska Linden

Product Manager, Instigator
This entry was posted in Community, Tips & Tricks. Bookmark the permalink.

150 Responses to Tips to Improve Your Search Ranking

  1. o.h. says:

    Search is Smart – There is no need to include both “pool” and “pools” in your listings because our search appliance does stemming and automatically adds -s, -ing, -ly and similar to search terms.

    that one is a lie, sorry, but i tested this earlier today and the results arent even remotely similar 😉

  2. Ravanne Sullivan says:

    Search is Smart – There is no need to include both “pool” and “pools” in your listings because our search appliance does stemming and automatically adds -s, -ing, -ly and similar to search terms.

    No it does not. I have tried this out and when I do a search on say “dance pole” it does not return results that contain only ‘dance poles’. I had to explicitly add ‘dance pole’ and ‘dance poles’ in order to get a search return on both. The new search is seriously flawed.

  3. sachi Vixen says:

    You state here that cloaking sucks. Is it illegal in second life? A lot of businesses suffer from people using their keywords, specifically using their store name as a keyword. Can we have some specifics onthe legality of this within SL?

    Also you say traffic is a factor. So when will you be doing soemthing about those who are heavily cheating the traffic system with bots and camping? Only then will traffic applying to search be fair on the rest of us.

  4. Broccoli Curry® says:

    free beer seems to help sales

  5. Rem Beattie says:

    Search is Smart – There is no need to include both “pool” and “pools” in your listings because our search appliance does stemming and automatically adds -s, -ing, -ly and similar to search terms.

    Got to agree with the others here, surf and surfing get different results too, I checked. Please stop claiming things that just aren’t true SL, we do check you know.

  6. Dante Tucker says:

    Google really ripped off LL on this search solution. 😛

  7. OH YES!

    Now THIS is a *good* blog entry 🙂

    Thank you, Jeska!!!

  8. —“Be Careful when Dividing Land Parcels – As previously reported, changing the boundaries of your land parcel can impact your ranking, remember when joining two parcels, the largest parcel keeps the parcel ID/rankings.”—

    Is that for certain now that the larger of the two parcels will retain the Parcel ID? ..Or is it still using the ID of the oldest parcel as reported on the 7th?

  9. Pingback: Is the great mystery of “search ranking” finally solved? « SL Review™

  10. Jeska Linden says:

    oh & rem – Thanks for the information, we are currently investigating the issue you reporting on stemming and hope to provide more in-depth information shortly.

    Since the Google appliance should be supporting stemming, this sounds like an error!

    Will report back with my findings.

  11. Blinders Off says:

    A suggestion: Since cloaking is so common and is totally dishonest… Linden Lab could really help by making it a Search offense, on pain of removal from search.

    There are dishonest people who will use whatever unethical method they find to get people to their place. The only thing that keeps such people in line is enforced ethics (which is what RL “law” is all about).

    So declaring cloaking “illegal” might stop that deceitful practice. And only LL can enforce such.

  12. Broccoli Curry says:

    *sigh* I see my impostor is still here.

    To make search *really* useful, how about cracking down on keyword spamming so that you don’t get thousands of totally irrelvant results because someone has loaded up their entry with common search terms to get exposure?

    Oh, and whilst we’re on about “irrelevant”, any plans to crack down and tidy up the events calendar which is next to useless because of all the duplicates and non-events? Adding a ‘report’ button to each entry so we can at least alert you to bad entries would be a big help.

  13. Kittrannia Cassini says:

    It’s a nice informative post but please sort out the issue of camping bots having such a huge influence on traffic numbers. It is simply a way of artificially inflating your traffic numbers and bares no relation to actual “REAL” shoppers and popularity.

    Not to mention the lag all these bots cause to your servers.

  14. Hjelmen Oh says:

    @ Sachi Vixen:
    Having camping on your parcel to boost the traffic isn’t cheating. I used to have 6 camping pads at my main shop to create traffic. It worked in the sence that it got me to the top 5 search, but it also cost me close to 15000 L$ a day. So I really can’t see where the cheating comes in.. it’s just another way of advertising.

  15. Linda Reddevil says:

    If we all just admit that both searches are lousy we’d be much happier. The old search used traffic numbers that weren’t based on REAL traffic and the new search has no rhyme or reason whatsoever. Yet, LL always has us scrambling when they go & change something that wasn’t really broken to begin with. I fear the day when LL takes away the old search.

  16. David Free says:

    When are the anti camping mob going to join everyone else and actually give newbies Lindens to spend in their shops? thats what camping is about, it feeds the economy and gives people money to spend on items (maybe in your shops too)

    Camping is not gaming the search, its part of SL life – without it the whole economy would suffer. Yes the traffic gives you a higher search ranking, but why shouldn’t it? you are giving the community lots of money.

  17. Jeska Linden says:

    @ Alicia, yes as of 1.19.1 server update, when combining two parcels, the parcel id remains that of the larger parcel. I’ll add that to the earlier post as well!

    @ sachi – cloaking is not against the Community Standards at the moment, but it is considered bad practice in the search world. In the future design of classifieds and parcel listings, we hope to limit the keywords to make both cloaking and keyword stuffing less appealing.

  18. Christos Atlantis says:

    Traffic Matters… kind of – Kind of? are you kidding it MATTERS ALOT, thats why a big % of the top stores either use bots or campers, you need to get your facts right.

    It is a bloody shame though that both practises give comsumers the wrong impression, oh look 20 camping chairs this store must have good products! NOT! Real soon the seach engine results will be based on how much you can pay for the ad and or how many campers you can afford, non of which give us good search results, in my humble opinion the search engine follows alot of other SL areas, it fails… and that really is a shame because we want SL to succssed becuase, we do love it.

  19. Davina Glitter says:

    Will there be an added feature to the system to retain the parcel ID for the space specified? What happens if you slice a small section of land from the primary land? What would happen if you divide/join two equal portions of land? I think my search got all messed up when I cut off a foot of land to square up the space, no way to recover the old ID right? No way to find out what the parcel ID is?

    Alicia Stella remember to add me to your friends list please. Thanks!

  20. Ann Otoole says:

    you could kill the bot problem by eliminating traffic completely. we all know what the real story is with all those bots making the product look more popular than it really is. who is fooling who? there has been enough press coverage on this for a long time now so it is pretty obvious there must a reason bots are flourishing. why not make bot use result in a business/parcel being completely excluded from search?

    put my name in my parcel description? thats a new one on me. interesting concept.

    the main thing you can do is to NOT be involved in any business that is saturated. there is no way to beat out the people paying 500 dollars USD a week in ads. they are going to get top billing no matter if they are deceptive or not. it really shows.

    get rid of official LL(TM) endorsements of businesses when you won’t allow anyone else to be recognized. I.e.; drop the endorsement of certain merchants on your website or publish advertising rates and programs so others have the opportunity to get there.

  21. Sling Trebuchet says:

    @14:
    It’s cheating. The idea of traffic is that it indicates places where avatars go to socialise or buy good products. Paid camping is a complete subversions of that – particularly when the campers are bots.

    What about those skyboxes/basements full of zombies? Now there’s an absolute abuse of traffic.

    Overall, there has to be a special channel to finger people who abuse the search facility. The big offenders are probably to be found in the top rankings of popular search terms. Big fish in a small pool. Fish in a barrel.
    Keyword spamming, cloaking, etc. It’s a no-brainer when you see it.
    It’s like an ad-farm. It’s unmistakable.

    Anyone abusing search should be wiped from the search index for a period – that period should get exponentially longer for each repeated offence.

  22. Ciaran Laval says:

    What exactly is an “active resident” when it’s all at home? There was a big discussion on the forums regarding whether non payment info on file av’s are being counted when picks are considered.

    Traffic, for the love of God eliminate traffic from relevancy. Leave it as as a factor in the old search all.

    Classifieds are a waste of time unless you’re paying silly money to get on the first page or two. The column is too small to grab a viewer’s attention, the information is too limited and as there’s no suggestion a high classified ranking adds to relevancy then inworld classifieds start to look like a huge money pit.

  23. Darien Caldwell says:

    The link to the knowledge base articles doesn’t work. I guess the new support portal makeover broke linking.

  24. Fleche xeno says:

    Advertising Works – Don’t underestimate the power of advertising, even in the virtual world! In addition to the official Second Life Classifieds (which run along side all relevant search results), some Residents have also set up advertising services inworld and you can work directly with them.

    Is this an informed tip based on data and research? Most of the researches I have seen doesn’t rank Advertising very effective on the grab bag of results.

  25. Betony Greggan says:

    @Hjelmen Oh:
    Yes, camping may in some ways help the land owner who hosts the campers, but it does a real disservice to other land owners in the sim. Why should we all be driven to private islands to enjoy the benefits that should be a “given” in SL–i.e., access to one’s own land. Case in point: My partner and I own most of a new sim, with the remaining three 4K parcels occupied by a new dance club that advertises vigorously and uses camping chairs. Lag is common, and we are sometimes kept from entering the sim due to overcrowding. And we had to put up ban lines to keep the overflow off our own property. Wish we had known the club was to be built when bought in–that was misrepresented to us, but that’s life (SL). Our land is strictly a residential playground for us, and it’s a good thing, as we would not otherwise be able to compete with this server hog. **Camping needs to go!**

  26. Veronica Quackenbush says:

    I have to agree with o.h. and Ravanne: stemming does not work at all. For example, “texture” and “textures” give very different results, and what common hits I found are entirely due to the owner’s foresight in using both keywords.

    Moreover there is a somewhat similar phenomenon with incomplete keywords, especially when used in combination: “bamboo textur” will find just ONE hit, whereas “bamboo textures” will find several hundred. This may not seem critical in this example, but when searching on longer keywords and stem combinations such as “dance” and “dancing” it would save considerable time to be able to search only on the first few letters of a keyword–a feature I clearly remember from the old Search system, so it *can* be done.

  27. mikeD Streeter says:

    #20 actually to get on the bottom of the top classified list its now well over $800 u.s. a week and over $1,1000 a week for #1, LL needs to put more on the first page as this is getting crazy if 20 where displayed then maybe $500 bucks could be possible.

  28. Bikey Bekkers says:

    I’m off to Broccoli’s for some free beer. I hope they dont sell motorbikes or I might die on the way home. 🙂

  29. Julia Ceres says:

    There is so much of this cloaking that searches are worse than useless, wouldnt these idiots prefer a customer to buy something rather than gain a little fake traffic.

  30. Toy Halfpint says:

    strange part is I have never used classidieds, new search or looked at ads since they came out and it hasnt even deserved a second glance. I still am capable using the old way and can find whatever I want or need. So to me its simply another waste of time. Completely irrelevant.

  31. nika talaj says:

    RE: picks. The use of picks in ranking is borked by these two facts:
    1. a huge number of residents use picks for “tribute” posts about their friends, and 2. The location of that pick depends on where they were when they typed it. Thus, a popular garden can show up in a search for “eyes” because a lot of people made reference to their partners’ lovely eyes. See SVC-1704.

  32. If only the search would work correctly with Unicode characters. A search for “Test” and “test” will deliver the same results, a search for the German “Überraschung” (correct word) however will give different reults than for “überraschung” (wrong case, but typical – lazy – search query).

    Another thing: Businesses not large enough to buy a parcel of their own (like most services for example) are at a disadvantage.

  33. Ann Otoole says:

    NPIOF accounts that are real active accounts are totally excluded from search. So please… don’t label all NPIOF as bots. We can easily ask someone to add a pick and then search for them in a week and see they are non existent. So exactly what makes a NPIOF account “active”? your denying thousands, if not millions, of residents a voice in what is popular.

    Sorry. next?

  34. Qie says:

    Please remove any traffic metric as a factor in ordering results, both in New Search and in Places–and Popular Places is now completely useless, so it may as well be removed altogether. At this point, the *only* way for traffic to affect a business’s search results is to “game” it with bots; regular camping just can’t compete. Moreover, the world has simply outgrown traffic as a useful metric, even if it weren’t gamed to meaninglessness. Now it simply indicates which places to avoid, either because the lag is too intense, or the parcel owner is too invested in “search optimization” with fake traffic to produce anything of any possible interest.

  35. Revel Rau says:

    Thanks for the post, Jeska; the suggestion to include one’s avatar name in your parcel description is a new one for me. I do have to agree with those who complain about bot zombie pits and skyboxes: these are abusive and pointless, with none of the newbie-encouraging upsides that camping can have. Those who use them should be penalized. If you simply issued a call to have them reported, you’d generate a quick list from aggrieved SL businesspeople. . .

  36. ac14 Hutson says:

    wait so you announced about the trademark issues with your logo and use of “Secondlife” “SL” and ect, yet 3 of the 5 advertising suppliers you mentioned has “SL” in the name?

    wut?

  37. Veronica Quackenbush says:

    Given the raging extremist tenor of some of the comments on traffic here, let me inject some moderation: yes I have camped in the past and I still occasionally camp, at present mostly because it’s just about the only thing I can do when SL grinds along at five freaking frames per minute (all you well-meaning people who are about to give me advice on lag control: yes I have my draw distance dialed down to 64, particles switched off, and all that stuff, it’s still not enough).

    The point is, honest campers (yes there are some of us) hate bots and zombies, probably more passionately than most complainers here, because in addition to one rl person taking up 300 spots that could be used by 299 *other* people, they are giving honest campers a bad name. By honest camper I mean someone who does not use more than one account at the same time to camp, who does not use any resit devices to hog camp chairs, and who tries not to be afk more than necessary (going to the bathroom is fine, parking your av on a dance pad for 2 weeks while going on a cruise to the Seychelles is not).

    So I do agree that bots and other camping abuses need to be curtailed somehow, but I do not agree that camping should be banned altogether. I am with David Free on this one: there should be some way to give a little boost to people who are new to SL–or, for that matter (and I am surprised that this is not mentioned more often, because there are a *lot* of them) people who have been in SL for a while but have fallen on hard times and need something to tide them over. Once upon a time, I was worth a quarter million L$. Ginko ate it (no told-you-sos *now* please, I was *not* told when it mattered). Without camping to tide me over the resulting penury, I don’t know what I would have done.

    There is a lot more I could say about this, but I want to give others a chance (which in a way is what this is all about) so let me just say this: NO all-or-nothing solution to the traffic question is going to be satisfactory. We need to find a middle ground where abuses are curtailed without ruining the chances of honest but inexperienced or unlucky residents to build up seed money to make it in SL.

  38. Jeska Linden says:

    @Darien – sorry the links should work now!

  39. Bolek Amat says:

    #20, You are aware that when searching for something, using the ads, you usually restrain your search by using keyword (ie : sport for example) and specific category.

    You can be in 1st page with only 50L$.

  40. Jeska Linden says:

    Re: Stemming, I found further documentation about how stemming works with the search (from this google blog)

    The Google Search Appliances include a query expansion feature which performs the same function as stemming, but just does it smarter. Anybody can do things like taking “park” and make it “parks” — but in a lot of cases, we’ve seen that unintelligent stemming actually will make results worse. Drawing off of the intelligence derived from billions of queries, we know that a good solution will detect context, and expand a query like “city park” to also include “public park” but not “city parking.” So, whether you want to call what the appliance does “smart stemming” or “Context Sensitive Query Expansion” (the latter being what our marketing team chose) it’s a core feature of our product.

    Which means it’s a bit more complicated than the example above, my apologies! We’re doing further research and will update the tips asap. 🙂

  41. Qie says:

    @36: While there are still businesses offering camping, the problem is that “real” campers just aren’t nearly as efficient as bots at generating traffic. And the cost of paying the campers is the least of it. Rather, compared to bots, “real” campers are *much* laggier: they have to download each others’ textures, anims, sounds, etc., their numbers are hard to control as sim performance varies, and they do all sorts of laggy things like sort Inventory or change clothes–so a business simply can’t afford the lag from enough campers to compete with bots. And with trafficbots so easy to use now, I’m afraid camping is obsolete, whether or not traffic remains a metric relevant to Search results.

    That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be more opportunities for new residents to earn L$s. But the argument that this justifies the traffic metric through the relatively ineffective means of camping is the tail trying to wag a now missing dog.

  42. Ciaran Laval says:

    #38 the cheapest classified ad on page 1 of the word “sport” for the category places is 20000.

  43. Happi Homewood says:

    I still use the old search system, because it’s much more difficult to find what you want with the new search.

    It was much easier to drive traffic to your parcels before the new search system, even without campers/bots. I could easily find the (relevant) keywords that wasn’t spammed by parcel owners with bots.

    Traffic to my parcels took a serious dive when the new search system was implemented, and camping devices are still a major key in getting a top placement.

    Another thing is, the Top Picks are also being gamed. Quite a few are paying people to include their parcels in the top picks, so now the picks are also becoming irrelevant.

    And Classifieds are not getting nearly the same amount of traffic as it used to. The only positive effect here is, that now it’s cheaper to advertise in the Classifieds, because they are not as effective anymore, so ppl are not spending as much on them, at least not in my line of business.

    The new system sucks, it’s worse than the old search system!

  44. Cincia Singh says:

    @5 you could do a little less flaming of Jeska and stick to the facts. There was no need to accuse Jeska of posting falsehoods when it was simply a matter of semantics. In general you get a better response to your issues if you post them in a polite way. Also, did anyone who found an issue with the stemming file a ticket?

  45. Ann Otoole says:

    what if Linden Lab (TM) took it upon themselves to take a stand against internet spam operations using Second Life (R) as a way to perpetuate email spam fraud and made it a TOS violation to use Second Life(R) as a platform for internet spam operations?

    That would take a couple of heavy hitters off the top of the list eh?

  46. Dizzi says:

    I just encountered this. (I suppose I will be filing an AR)

    Places using the name of Other peoples Businesses in SL as a key word.

    Any Linden care to comment on this dirty tactic.

  47. Ringo Starr says:

    I have a shop, and removed a certain product from my resell side. This person was so upset, they took my name and added it to their search keywords and now appear before me in search of my own shop name. This is scandelous and SL has done nothing about it. One more show of favoritism on the Grid… if i was a furry I wouldnt be treated as such. Considering dating an animal so I get treated better by LL.

  48. LL: Just end traffic now. It’s a dead horse, let it rot. Take some time to really think it through again and then, only if you’ve really got it game-proof, quietly re-instate some ranking mechanism that measures real traffic (but don’t let people know how it works) the way Google stays on top of the search game is they keep it difficult to game the results and change things up when people figure it out.

    I’ve noticed several replies to other inquiries here by Jeska, but none regarding traffic, which is one of the most discussed items here.

    Face it, traffic is dead as a metric that is useful to the user population and at this point is simply a computational drain on the entire system that could be taken away. It’s a horse with 3 broken legs and internal bleeding, you’re simply prolonging everyone’s misery if you let it stick around. It’s been useless for years now.

  49. Guys,
    At least recognize the improvements and efforts being made here. Although the new search is not top nothc just yet, it is far better than the old one. Granted it will take some time to get used to the new tips and tricks to get back up to parr, but it’s not that bad.

    I do agree with traffic having any influence on parcel listing. It should just apply to perhaps clubs and hangouts. I actually sell MORE on days I have LESS traffic, so my business having a lot of visitors has no impact on my sales really. I do want to know if a club is popular though, cause I don’t want to end up in an empty place.

    Also agree calssifieds is getting out of hand with the high prices. Good for those who can afford it, bad to those who cannot. I will patiently wait for the new classifieds before going on.

    LL, we do bitch and moan a lot, but I am sure we can all agree that you are doing your best to give us an improved experience. Keep up the good work.

  50. Happi Homewood says:

    Tip: Parcels smaller than 144 sq.m. are not included in the new search!

    @47: Dropping the traffic metric would be a bad idea. It’s a good way to measure how well you advertising is doing. Dropping traffic as a search ranking criterium is another matter, but isn’t really necessary. You just have to be smart with keywords, to beat the bots.

  51. Isablan Neva says:

    Traffic SHOULDN’T matter – unless you plan to do something about fraudulent traffic generated by bots.

  52. Nother Glitch says:

    Another glitch in the new all search is that for some parcels only the keywords in the parcel name are picked up, while for others description & name of parcel are picked up. Already raised a ticket once and learned it shouldn´t be picking up the description. While i don´t understand why that is supposed to be like that, i know for certain it´s not working and putting different people into advantage/disadvantage over others

    Also the new search is a desaster when your sim was down for a while, because you will be off search for the offtime, just a few hours later. Very unpleasant side effect

    Classifieds are not picked up at all sometimes, not seen a theme there just seems to happen occasionally and also agree to lots of comments from others, they simply lost any meaning if you cannot effort to be in the top paid 8.

    As to picks…the way they are handled doesn´t make sense…As mentioned above, the parcel description is not supposed to be picked up by the all search. Now, for the parcels where this works, i don´t find my specific shop in the all search, but i do find my shop in various peoples picks. Why was this desired?

    And just a quick word to you Jeska, while it´s good to educate people on the new search, you´re just softly scratching the surface and also your responses here show, that you are not the expert per se on the new search…No offense btw

    It´s a long way until this system is fully mature

  53. Mezz Lykin says:

    “we hope to limit the keywords to make both cloaking and keyword stuffing less appealing.” Jeska Linden

    You’re going to shorten the space for parcel descriptions? Please say that isn’t so. There’s barely enough room to make a coherent description of a place as it is. You have to use keywords because there’s not enough room to describe your store using keywords. You have to choose one or the other.

  54. JB says:

    nika talaj Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 12:14 PM
    RE: picks. The use of picks in ranking is borked by these two facts:
    1. a huge number of residents use picks for “tribute” posts about their friends, and 2. The location of that pick depends on where they were when they typed it. Thus, a popular garden can show up in a search for “eyes” because a lot of people made reference to their partners’ lovely eyes. See SVC-1704.

    You hit the nail on the head Nika. I would guess 80% of the picks are this way. Perhaps making it so you can’t change the picture or name of the spot would help. Only the ad picture, name of the business & one line comment should be allowed. “Tributes” should only be in your personal area anyway. Join or start a tribute group, make a web page or write a book to pass out if you feel it necessary to advertise your friends & loved ones. True friends don’t need to be advertised to the world in my opinion. We don’t make ads in the newspaper in RL, why are you doing it here really? Save it for people who really care and use the area for what it is intended ….. PICKS

  55. Tawney Bian says:

    Jeska Linden Says: March 26th, 2008 at 12:54 PM
    Which means it’s a bit more complicated than the example above, my apologies! We’re doing further research and will update the tips asap.

    Hi Jeska,

    another example on the stemming issue: with the word “statue” in the search box, my store sometimes doesn’t show for pages and pages and a few times I haven’t found it at all. But if I put in the word “statues” I come up 2nd or 3rd on the 1st page everytime.

  56. shockwave yareach says:

    Simple solution to the whole “add every word in the dictionary for Keyword” debacle. Have two text blocks instead of one. The top one is the existing text field and can have anything in it at all. The bottom one is Keywords field and the business owner puts in their keywords there – at a cost of 25L per keyword over 15 (the first 15 keywords are included in the price of the ad) per week. People then have two search fields to use – anything goes or specific searchwords.

    And all of you who cry that your mall/club/whatever needs more than 15 keywords — the current anything goes method is the reason I cannot find and shop at your store in the first place.

  57. Noisey Lane says:

    Let’s be clear, there is a big difference between regular camping and “traffic bots” that infest most popular places. These are landowner run bots who are usually not camping or earning lindens at all. They are often hidden from view or difficult to get to. They are simply there to ‘game’ the system at the expense of all other honest landowners and their renters. Therefore ‘time spent in sim’ statistics will be biased towards these static and lifeless colony’s of parasitic traffic bots.
    Make it one unique traffic count per visitor per 24hrs and the bot farms become instantly irrelevant.

  58. Ryanna Enfield says:

    Camping Bots are a serious issue, I agree. However, it is far more appealing as a Customer to purchase items from a Retailer that does not spice up their numbers with camping, thus giving them more accurate traffic. If I arrive at a location that is obviously a ghost town with bots up in a skybox somewhere, I can tell. The lag and mysterious green little dots gives it away. It is a complete turn off and I usually leave as soon as I identify the reason for the horrendous lag. If you stand at the TP point, you will notice most people will do the same exact thing… TP right out. If you consider wasting your money on camping bots to put your name at the top of a list, also consider if it is really helping you in the way it is supposed to, with sales. At one point, there was a very creative camping idea out there. I believe it was a bug stomper, where you actually had to run your avatar over the bugs and would receive $L according to how many bugs you stomped. Although I’m sure someone has already found a way to bot this kind of camping as well, I thought the idea was helping towards a solution. This is the kind of camping that LL should be encouraging if they intend to stick behind their helping out newbies and spurring the SL Economy. A camping that involves actual active participants and not just one person on 300 plus alts milking the system.

  59. Tawney Bian says:

    I forgot to add my opinion about picks as a search indicator. I personally don’t see the relevance of someone having you in their picks increasing your place in “search” if that search is for a particular product.

    I have nothing against campers, in fact I camped to make enough in world money to buy hair and things my first few months in game. Camper bots to increase traffic are irritating, take up bandwidth, although I suppose they help your 60K people online numbers, but I also would take traffic out of search.

    I’d rather have “search” be a relevancy search rather than a popularity contest.

  60. Carlo says:

    nice post. thanks for sharing your traffic tips

  61. Johnnie Offcourse says:

    “In the future design of classifieds and parcel listings, we hope to limit the keywords to make both cloaking and keyword stuffing less appealing.”

    Why??

    If I sell “elephants, hippopatumuses and rhinoceroses” (42), I’ll be penalized because I don’t sell “dogs, cats and fish” (20)? That person would get 22 extra characters verses me. And that’s more than enough for them to add “puppies and kittens” to their description.

  62. Dizzi says:

    @56

    You do realize that all the item pictures also cause tremendous lag,
    probably more then any campers them selves(unless there is a lot of them).
    So i guess you also like to avoid stores with a lot of choices too,
    or any place with decent pictures of the items so you can tell what your buying.

  63. Bryon Ruxton says:

    Jeska, Since you are mentioning:
    “Be Careful when Dividing Land Parcels – As previously reported, changing the boundaries of your land parcel can impact your ranking, remember when joining two parcels, the largest parcel keeps the parcel ID/rankings.”

    Be aware that the knowledge base article ID 4417 entitled “How do I join & split land?” is in fact the old one and is still inaccurate because no one has bothered to complete that task nor answering questions as to how the function works when dividing them (vs. joining them), which is what the title implies.

    Concierge has been reminded twice of such (3/12/2008 12:30 PM PDT & 3/17/2008 2:08 PM PDT) and yet nothing has been corrected/completed.
    I see that Stephany Linden updated the Search Ranking Update post with [UPDATE – Mar 26] As of the 1.19.1 server update, the larger of the two parcels selected keeps the parcel ID.
    Yet the rest and all related questions seem being ignored to this day after 3 weeks.

    So FYI you are referring to misleading and/or incomplete information Jeska…
    Can you PLEASE have this completed? sigh

  64. Hu says:

    Bots are awesome. There are better uses for them than just pumping traffic numbers – they’re great for automating tasks that only avatars can do (e.g. group invites), or for displaying wearable products. If people really want to whine about traffic numbers, then use use new search.

    If they lag you, then don’t go where they’re used, no need to be a pill about it.

    Domo arigato, SL roboto!

  65. David Free says:

    @Hu

    Bots are awesome? how so when they are used to game a parcel’s search ranking that means that parcel owner makes RL money from placing their own avatars on it?

    New search uses traffic so it applies to that too.

  66. Puppet Shepherd says:

    “…some Residents have also set up advertising services inworld and you can work directly with them.”

    Good Lord, PLEASE don’t tell me that you’re now advocating the use of the 16 sq.m. lot advertising networks! Everyone I know avoids the businesses they see on the billboards because they’re such a nuisance.

    Whatever you do to change the search ranking, people are going to find a way to game it. That’s just how it’s gonna be. Witness the explosion of “picks camping.” The best you can do is hit on a method that will cause the least negative side effects to the community – getting rid of traffic counts would eliminate the extra lag associated with campers and bots, for example.

    I like the idea of giving people a fixed number of words to use for keywords instead of a character limit. Do you recommend separating keywords with commas in order to make the phrases more searchable, or will two words in a row regardless of the punctuation have the same effect?

  67. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Hu: you don’t need 30 bots sitting in a skybox lagging everyone on a sim just to handle group invites.

  68. Tater Todd says:

    Something that I always thought that would be a good idea (to help with things such as ‘cloaking’) is if we could actually rate *certain* search results, such as classifieds/event listings, and filter our results by rating. I can see how some might abuse a feature like this, but, I think its something worth thinking about.

  69. What is not emphasized clearly enough is this: PICKS ARE THE STRONGEST INFLUENCE IN RANKINGS FOR ANY GIVEN KEYWORD.

    Each pick by a resident other than your alts is one incoming link to the webpage built for your parcel. The more incoming links you have with the same keyword, the better it is. This is also why changing the pick text is bad – the parcel will appear in search results that are completely irrelevant, and LL is complicit in the cloaking. Please look at the SVC-1704 Jira and do something about it. There are far too many irrelevant picks that are clogging up the search results.

    Traffic, however, can only give you a maximum of 12 incoming links, based on the popular places pages, and is largely not worth it. If you have traffic score over 150 or so, you’ve already got I think 3 of the maximum 12 links. The amount of lag induced by bot farms is not worth the 11th or 12th link. Make better stuff for sale!

  70. Jeska Linden says:

    @ Bryon – I will pass along the request to update the out of date Knowledge Base article with the most current information. Apologies for any inconvenience that may have caused, keeping all of the documentation up to date is a marathon, not a sprint 😉 As far as the future of land joining, we hope to add a more visible display of the parcel id during parcel joining so that you are able to tell what is happening. There are no further changes planned at this time to land joining.

    @ nika & JB – Agreed! We’re very much aware that Picks are often used for “Tributes” which have nothing to do with a particular location or place and have everything to do with a person. I’d love to see a “My Friends” space incorporated into future versions of the profile to help allow people to both show off their favorite friends and locations.

  71. Jeska Linden says:

    RE: Traffic, camping bots, zombies and other unique methods of increasing the visibility of your parcel.

    I’m not ignoring the questions, I just don’t have a good solution to present here and this blog post is not specifically addressing the future of these complex issues. I appreciate the passion that these topics raise and know that we are listening.

  72. sirhc deSantis says:

    Jeska (and also JB) – we’re supposed to be creative types (love that) which is why – yes you will find tribute entries in picks. Give us an alternative and we will use it. if not we run with the tools we have.

  73. coventina dalgleish says:

    Well when we look at new locations for vendors the first thing we check is bots and campers they immediately negate the location for our vendors.
    There is no sense using a site that generates traffic in the tens of thousands by camping or bots, they buy nothing just use server time.

  74. Thank you Jeska,

    On “Advertising Works” here is one more:

    Advertising services in world are also available on the SLearth Network

    PS: SLearth Advertising is not using, nor supporting or advocating the use of the 16 sq.m. lot for advertising networks.

  75. Stephe Ehrler says:

    #43

    I agree, this new search all but killed off my ‘skate and date’ skate park. IDK what exactly was the reason but as soon as this came out, numbers started dropping. I went from 4500 to double digit traffic over a month’s time with nothing changing about how it was run. Then we were forced to go from 3 fun events a week to 1 and a handful of people at most find it. The fact they do nothing about people spamming the event calender doesn’t help.

    Not sure if them removing events from search and replacing them with the paid classifieds is what did it? I wish I could generate enough USD with an ice skating park (that is free for people to use and used to attract a lot of new residents) to pay enough classified money for people to find me, but I can’t. I had to fire 2 employees and lost most of my income (tips and trick skate sales). Good thing I can build or I’d be broke from this. I have a feeling I’m not the only place, besides the money island camperbot places or people about to afford hundreds od USD for ads that has gone under from this new search fiasco 😦

  76. Medhue Simoni says:

    LL, if you check your issue tracker, all these flaws in the search are already listed there, and many more not mentioned. I think fixing the bugs would help people more than this blog.

  77. Medhue Simoni says:

    You know Jeska, i did notice this the other day while searching. I kept wondering why it was giving me things that i didnt ask for. It is not a good way to run a search engine, its like search engine for dummies. I know what I’m looking for. I dont need the system to guess for me. Maybe if you took that out i could find something right away. lol

  78. Phil Deakins says:

    1. There seems to be a misconception about stemming. I haven’t checked if stemming is actually working, but even if it is working, you will *not* get the same results back for ‘swimming pool’ and ‘swimming pools’. The reason is that a page containing ‘swimming pool’ matches the searchterm ‘swimming pool’ better than a page that contains ‘swimming pools’, and vice versa. What stemming means is that both pages will be included in the results set. The set is sorted according to relevancy, and the matching phrase is the most relevant of the two.

    2. Jeska is mistaken about cloaking. Cloaking in the search engine world means something completely different to what Jeska described.

  79. Bronte Wade says:

    Recently we purchased our neighbours land and we were hit with a bug and we were wiped from search.

    This then rendered all the picks that had been created useless (club established 1year) and we had to ask everyone to come in and redo.

    We do no beleive in camping, we want people to walk into a ‘living’ club and for our vendors to have genuine customers, but as we sit and watch our traffic plummet helplessly I can totally understand the temptation.

    I apprecaite keyword play a huge factor in the search, but none of ours have changed so why are we pages and pages away from our origional position prior to the merger….I beleive that the length of time you have been established on that land plays a significant part …if its …no one will ever move again

  80. PM Sands says:

    jira SVC-1823

    Classifieds weekly rate must go. Charge for actual Click-through.

    In order to improve SL classified search.
    In order to not charge residents when changes to the classified process fail.

    Industry standard search engine advertisement fee is based on actual click through. For example, Google allows the advertiser to set how much is paid per keyword. If no one clicks on the ad, there is no charge. The weekly classifieds rate was a billing standard used by print newspapers. All internet search engines charge per click through.

    This proposal is for one new component feature and one related new policy:

    1) Detail advertisement payment box to individual keyword fields

    2) Change fee from prepaid week to Click Through instance.

  81. Winter Ventura says:

    but is the search smart enough to tell that “Furry” and “Furries” are related? is it smart enough to connect “jetpack” and “jet pack”?

    And why in the world would you make your search CASE SENSITIVE?

  82. concerned says:

    Smart search?I just searched for Mall,no camping and got pages of mall,with camping on every hit i bothered to browse.

    There are reasons its allowed,camping means online stats look good,Strangley total residents removed from main page and residents logged in in last month etc.Now if you click almost any region on the map that has a lot of avatars on there and teleport there 3 out of 4 will be full of campers.

    I would expect that total residents probably are around 5 million now but if only 300,000 residents were logged on in a month would not be so attractive to buisnesses looking to come in to sl?or am i being cynical?

    So will search ever be relivant if this is how things really work?.

  83. Miles Beck says:

    #12 (Broccoli’s post) ~ Speaking of the Events page: Please fix the online events page’s Category popup. It hasn’t worked for almost 3 weeks. (At least, not on either of my Macs running Safari or Firefox and not on a friend’s Windows machine.)

  84. concerned says:

    Well it turns out we have 13 million residents and 1 and a quater million log ins in last month,slightly less than 10%

  85. Bryon Ruxton says:

    @80 Phil,
    Cloaking is indeed somewhat mis-characterized here. However, you could argue that the idea conveyed by Jeska is not to misrepresent a product by its object name or description. While it’s not really cloaking, the object data could present a different information to the search engine from what the user might see in world on the product texture and in the notecard given by the box. Let’s call it SLoaking™!. SLoaking sucks. 😛

  86. Phil Deakins says:

    @85 Bryon

    LOL. Ok. SLoaking it is 🙂

  87. IF you want a FREE search engine that shows a title, description , and a landmark back to your spot in SL.. please contact ” ECOM GIANT” or visit KRYTEL region, and get your gimmeweb HUD search client to add on your land, and start building your FREE search listing today.

    http://www.gimmesl.com is the main search engine that has its on search engine on SL today.. #1 pick this year for FREE search on SL

  88. Puppet Shepherd says:

    “SLoaking” would actually be a violation of the new usage policy, since you’re making up a new word using the trademarked “SL”. 🙂

    What is up with the advertisers plugging their services in the blog comments??? That’s inappropriate – the Linden blog is not intended to be free advertising for you.

  89. Cherry Czervik says:

    Sacha said this near the start – when will bots be able to be eradiacted from SL?

    Cloaking should be a ToS violation.

  90. Claire Kelly says:

    @79

    You hit the nail on the head! Every time you create a new parcel or buy an new Island, it puts your search ranking back to square one. It will take you weeks or months or years to build up the picks, keywords and popularity again.

    What LL have effectively done (once people realise this) is stopped the “new” land market. People will just want to buy old parcels for their ranking. Parcels have a unique key so it does not matter who the owner is, that key is what is related to the new search. So for example I could buy a parcel completely unrelated to my business that has a search rank 1, change the name of the parcel to my business and then within 24 – 48 hours, I will be search rank number 1.

    Its now completely irrelevant to how businesses and land owners are doing, its all linked to the parcel key and what happened on the land prior to owning it!

    So you are absolutely right, the older and more established businesses are top of the search because of their length of service in SL and the number of people that over time that have added them to their picks.

    Thats why new businesses and land owners are struggling.

  91. Jessy Miles says:

    @Jeska Linden re bots and no solution.

    The solution is simple – I am guessing that LL know the accounts and how many accounts are registered under an address, email address or payment account. Normally the amount of bots / alts is limited to 5 unless you are a business. If people are making up email addresses, this should be easy to spot too i.e. bot1@hotmail.com, bot2@hotmail.com

    I also cannot believe that there are that many individuals with more than 5 alts. Maybe a few hundred or few thousand.

    Therefore get a list of each account holder that has more than 5 (businesses included) and have a LL employee spend a week or two going through the list and visiting those people’s parcels. If the parcel has lots of accounts (more than the allowed 5) sitting on the parcel, then close the accounts down.

    The solution is actually simple – you have the rule for only 5 alts unless you are a business, then police it and take action! BTW I also know of businesses that are using their business status, just to get multiple accounts to bot farm.

  92. Ann Otoole says:

    @90. 79… i recently moved my main store. but i will have to keep the old store location forever because of this search thing. just goes to show you that people that do not actually make a living *InSL* should not be making all the decisions about how things should work *InSL*.

    If your not eating the dog food then you are poorly qualified to be making major decisions about it.

  93. I hate abuse says:

    A resident used my name in their search results. I am not related with this persons business, and don’t want to be. I asked them to remove it but they don’t. I filed abuse but nothing happend. I submitted a ticket which took a MONTH to get an answer, and it was closed with a newbie answer “how to file abuse”. I wrote back that the add still was there, and asked if it was legal, since the add was still there. It took another MONTH to get an answer, and it was again a “newbie answer”, no answer to my question.

    So my question is, is it legal to use another avatars name in your advertisements? I guess it is.
    Question two: is it legal to place a counter advertisement saying “I am not related to this resident”?

    Please help me, because the live help and support tickets do not know the answer!

  94. Ann Otoole says:

    Actually.. I retract that. Only the owner of Secondlife (R) knows what direction they want to take it. It doesn’t really matter what I think. I’ll just continue to struggle with the changes that keep happening that have negative consequences on this business i set up under a vision that is just over a year old now and no longer appears to mesh with things the way it used to back then. All I am is a content creator that is not owned by a major corporation. Thus I am the one with no input.

    But i do appreciate the tips. Even getting any tips on this topic is a nice change of pace.

  95. Happi Homewood says:

    #57 Noisey Lane has got a point:

    “Make it one unique traffic count per visitor per 24hrs and the bot farms become instantly irrelevant.”

    YES !!! What a great idea. That would even make the Money Tree popular agian, which I think, is better than camping devices 🙂

  96. Lane says:

    @ Happi: camping bot creators will simply create a script that logs in new bots every 10 minutes 😉

  97. Cat Gisel says:

    Don’t forget the old favourite:

    Get lots of people to come to your place (legally of course)!

    *grin*

  98. Happi Homewood says:

    #99 Lane,

    You would need 144 alt accounts, just to login 1 new bot every 10 minutes in 24 hrs.

    I still think it’s a great idea 😉

  99. Happi Homewood says:

    To clarify:

    It’s easy to setup 20 alt accounts and put them on your parcel as bots. That would give you a traffic count around 30,000.

    It’s much more difficult to setup 100’s of alt accounts just to boost traffic stats.

    My point: make it difficult to use bots to boost traffic, that will discourage most ppl form doing it. You will never be able to make a search system that can’t be gamed, but you can make it difficult. Even Google is gamed.

  100. Laura Boram says:

    Camping…nothing wrong with it. We use it as a way to increase our traffic and as a way to help new people earn a bit of money. It’s in no way a “cheat” on other residents who aren’t willing to spend the money to do the same. It’s part of SL and so we adjusted accordingly. We also have trivia that pays, a fishing tournament that pays, and a money booth that pays. If bots infiltrate your camping system, do what we do…shoot em. It’s great fun for the other campers and might even generate a little traffic for you if you use “target practice” for a search keyword. heh

  101. Happi Homewood says:

    #103 Laura Boram:

    The problem with camping is, that it creates lag for everyone on the same server. So, your neighbours are also affected, in up to 4 regions, unless you own a private island that is run on it’s own server.

    The problem with bots is that those using them to boost their own traffic, besides creating lag, is not contributing to the SL community the same way as camping devices. They are only used to fill the pockets of the person using them.

    #57 Noisey Lane’s suggestion:

    “Make it one unique traffic count per visitor per 24hrs and the bot farms become instantly irrelevant.”

    … would make camping devices different. You would pay ppl for a short visit once a day, kind of like the money tree. That would take away most of the the lag issue, because ppl wouldn’t have to stick around all day.

  102. Sean Heying says:

    /me laughs as Anne is pwned for selling ripped skins. Are you Brazilian Anne?

  103. Lane says:

    @ happi: hahh true. It would be a great thing for cloakers though. A lot of residents come in, go away fast: high traffic. And it’s legal 😉

    The search will never be honest. Google the worlds biggest search engine is 90% gamed and dishonest. If you can’t beat them, join them!

  104. J. Criss says:

    i don’t believe that someone like ann otoole who posts so often and knows everything didn’t know the skins were stolen because everyone knows

  105. Devon Criss says:

    Ehh people… think a bit! LL can’t do anything with camping bots/cloaking! Only way to do it is to check all land description, go there and see if there are such things. Well, other way it might check with name of objects on land, but not always people call them other than “Object”.

    Also, LL forgot to say that in the old search its good to place spaces before the name.

    And Lane: Google IS honest, they have best searching engine (googlebot).

    Regards,
    Devon ^^

  106. Lane says:

    95% of their search result are made with dishonest ways to get up thigh in the searchengine. I used to make pages for google its impossible to get high without cheating.

  107. Celty Westwick says:

    The search engine is being gamed far beyond word spam,and traffic as being discussed. Look at the top results on many popular competitive search terms. You will find that many 1st page results link to shops with two common patterns.

    Some of the top results will be places that make a bit of sense, i.e., full sim stores, paid camping, paid personal picks, high traffic, lots of merchandise. – sort of a brute force top ranking. Is it “gaming” the engine? Sure but in a way that is pretty obvious.

    The second type is a bit more mysterious in how they are gaming things. They often have shops that are on land cut up into a number of parcels, often all 512, though some use larger. They keyword each parcel name and description. Often the shop is a skybox which does not allow tping to the ground below.

    Traffic is often actually fairly low, the number and quality of items is often sub-par, there are not campers nor pay for picks. Some use a number of small classifieds some use none at all.

    It is glaring that the search is being gamed, as there is no “normal” reason for it to be anywhere near a top result. For example visit some of the first page results for a search on terms like “sex bed” or “furniture”. Try to discern why some of these are getting top search results.

    Track back the owners and if group owned, the avatars in the group. Some will be emerge into patterns where a few avatars are generating top results for a number of shops.

    None of the so called “tips” on ranking account for these results. If anyone can decipher the method being employed by these folk, I’d be interested to know.

    That the new search is messed up is undeniable when you start looking at the results with some analysis. Either the Lindens have not done that analysis or are turning a blind eye to the gaming going on.

  108. Taft Worsley says:

    After reading this post, i sit and wonder how many people are going to pull their ads as worthless, i have, because this shows they are and nothing but a waste of money. It seems to me it makes no sense to spend 10,000L a week or about 35$US to complete for an ad spot location that will never been seen by anyone or very few people because of the lack of integraty of this search engine.

    Search is an important part of any data driven platform, but to spend 35$ a week for no one to find you or to have 3 clicks at the end of the ad campaign, you might be better throwing up a simple 1-2 page website and spending this money with google ads words and having a SLURL off you page to your inworld location.

    While i agree camping is an important part of the economy, LL’s free for all approach to handling things in world has almost forced most honest business people to try dirty tactics just to compete with the dirrtbags in world. It makes no difference what LL does to improve search, you’ll lose everytrime – if not to the camping alt’s and bots but also to LL sink for wasted linden dollars on a seach engine which is serious flawed, due to the lack of integraty of LL itself.

    Fix the policy that are being abused, before you try and fix something technically. Without fixing the underlying cause just like search this conversation is useless.

  109. Phil Deakins says:

    @88 Puppet.

    “‘SLoaking’ would actually be a violation of the new usage policy, since you’re making up a new word using the trademarked ‘SL’.”

    hehe. SLoaking doesn’t work, anyway, because what Jeska described isn’t remotely like cloaking. FTI, cloaking is something that’s done when search engine spiders crawl a website. They are recognised by the website and they are served different pages to those that are served to people. The ‘real’ pages that people see are hidden from the engines – cloaked. There isn’t a word for what Jeska described.

    @90 (Claire) and 92 (Ann)
    There is no need to lose rankings when moving a store, and no need to keep the old place forever just for the rankings. The process is straight forward:-

    1. Create the new store while the old store is still operating.

    2. Get people to add it to their Picks until it ranks right underneath the old store.

    3. Set the old store not to show in search, and the new store will take its rankings.

    That’s how I did it, it was seamless, and it only takes a few days..

    BOTS
    Getting rid of bots is very simple – remove the Places tab. Of course, it would get rid of camping in the process, which may or may not be desirable. It wouldn’t need the Places category to be removed from the new search, because traffic counts for very little in that search, so using bots would be worth very very little and, on the whole, they would disappear. It’s not a complex problem at all, unless LL *really* want to keep camping.

  110. Phil Deakins says:

    @109 Lane

    “95% of their [Google] search result are made with dishonest ways to get up thigh in the searchengine. I used to make pages for google its impossible to get high without cheating.”

    You are mistaken, Lane. The ways of getting top Google rankings are well-known in the search engine world, and openly recommended by Google. Yes, you often have to jump through hoops, and yes, just having an extremely relevant website is often no longer enough, but the things you need to do cannot be “cheating” when Google themselves suggest that you do them. It would only be cheating if Google doesn’t want you to do them.

  111. Dizzi says:

    @ 112
    And how would people find places, especially since the new search seems to leave some out randomly, and give other screwy results, plus you have to go through pages & pages.

    Do you expect people to fly around the grid searching for stuff?

    Maybe after the new search is fixed and enhanced.
    Which will probably take at least 2 years, if ever (going by recent track records on fixing stuff).

    Changing the way it works might happen, removing place tab completely, I can’t see it happening for several reasons.

  112. Phil Deakins says:

    @90 Claire

    “What LL have effectively done (once people realise this) is stopped the ‘new’ land market. People will just want to buy old parcels for their ranking. Parcels have a unique key so it does not matter who the owner is, that key is what is related to the new search. So for example I could buy a parcel completely unrelated to my business that has a search rank 1, change the name of the parcel to my business and then within 24 – 48 hours, I will be search rank number 1.”

    That’s not quite how it works, Claire. If you buy a parcel that currently ranks #1 for a particular searchterm, and you change its name, its ranking power for that searchterm will change. The old Picks will hold it up to a great extent, but they will disappear over time as people find that the orginal place is no longer there. Any new Picks won’t help to hold the rankings, because of the name change. So a currently high ranking parcel can be bought, but its rankings will deteriorate.

    Your example wouldn’t work in quite the way you said. You could buy a parcel that ranks highly for some searchterms, and you could change its name to that of your business. Presumably you would place items on the parcel that are related to your business. You *won’t* get top rankings for anything concerning your business – that’s the main point. You will have top rankings for searchterms concerning the old business, but they will deteriorate over time. So you may get some people to the parcel who are looking for what you don’t have – maybe not, since you’ve changed the name/Title and they can see the new name in the results. Most won’t buy anything from you, and that traffic will deteriorate.

    Buying top ranking parcels to put a different type of business on it, won’t get top rankings for the new business.

    Just out of interest, it is very much like RL search engines. Domain names change hands, and are used for new websites, but all the original IBLs remain, so the ranking power of its IBLs is maintained. The content of the new website will spoil things though, unless it is designed specifically to maintain the power of the old IBLs.

  113. Phil Deakins says:

    @112 Dizzi

    “And how would people find places”

    What’s wrong with the new search? You don’t even need to select the Places category to find places that have what you are looking for. According to my limited experience of using search, places are ranked very well for the searchterms.

    I haven’t heard anything about places that are set to show in search not being included. More info please?

    From bot-type posts that I’ve seen, including in this blog thread, the only valid reason to get rid of bots is because of the Places tab, where rankings are based solely on traffic. There is no other valid reason that I know of to outlaw them all. Get rid of the Places tab, and you deal with that objection to them.

  114. Claire Kelly says:

    @ Phil Deakins

    You seem to know everything about everything.

    Sorry but you are wrong about the land parcel not retaining its ranking!

    I have several parcels that I have renamed businesses for and swapped around and they all retain the search ranking of the previous one.

    Its a symptom of the new search picking up the unique ID of the land, not of the owner. Of course when the person has bought the new parcel its up to them to maintain its ranking. But that doesn’t mean that when they purchase the land it isn’t ranked at the place when it was bought.

    Picks for the new search do not pick up on search words, again they relate to the ID number of the of the land.

    Thanks for your opinion though!

    Your not a land merchant are you? rlol

  115. Phil Deakins says:

    @114 Claire

    “I have several parcels that I have renamed businesses for and swapped around and they all retain the search ranking of the previous one.”

    That’s exactly what I said, Claire. The old rankings will be held up by people’s old Picks, but those rankings will deteriorate as people who have the old place in their Picks find that it’s no longer there.

    The point I made is that you *don’t* get top rankings for the new business on the strength of the top rankings for the old business. So buying a parcel for its rankings won’t work – unless the new business sells the same things as the old one.

  116. Phil Deakins says:

    @ Claire

    “Its a symptom of the new search picking up the unique ID of the land, not of the owner. Of course when the person has bought the new parcel its up to them to maintain its ranking. But that doesn’t mean that when they purchase the land it isn’t ranked at the place when it was bought.”

    The new search system uses page IDs, not parcel IDs.

    What I think you’re trying to say is that LL should incorporate a system where something is done when the ownership of land is changed. It’s the power of Picks that hold the old rankings up, so I imagine that you’d like them to be changed. There are a number of reasons why that wouldn’t be good:-

    1. It would change or remove personal Picks that are not intended to recommend a particular place.

    2. It would mean that a business couldn’t change the land ownership and still continue, without losing rankings; e.g. make the land group owned, or change the group, or buy from the group.

    3. It would mean that you couldn’t sell a successful business without causing it to lose some of its success, until the new owner got the rankings back.

    The other side is that there is nothing wrong with leaving things as they are. The idea that the new land market will be killed if things stay the way they are, doesn’t stand up. The *only* time when suitable rankings can be acquired from a land purchase is when the new business is in the same field as the old business, and the chances of coming across a piece of land for sale, that just happens to have high rankings for the business you want to build on it, is very slim. Of course, if the new business is the same as the old business, then all’s well and good.

  117. Claire Kelly says:

    @ Phil

    Thanks for putting words into my mouth again.

    This will over time affect new parcel sales as people will value where the parcel is ranked on search and then land value will flucuate depending on where it is in search. People will rather buy something that has a starting place in search, than something that they are starting from scratch.

    On the solution side, I don’t see why LL cannot reset the parcel ID / page ID when the land is sold to another owner. That wouldn’t affect anyone and would create a level playing field for businesses. It won’t solve the problem of the new search favouring long established businesses or businesses that don’t move. But its a start and will stop the impact of the new search on land sales. Which it will do in its current format.

    I don’t agree that is has to be the same business line, its not keyword generated on the picks side – if the pick unique ID matches the parcel unique ID then it will create a page ID match and boost the rankings. For example I could change all the description and title details on my customers picks tomorrow, but it won’t change my ranking.

  118. Jeska Linden says:

    Just a gentle reminder – please keep blog comments civil and on topic. If you want to have personal conversations, there are much more suited spaces (including inworld, forums, im, etc).

  119. Jeska Linden says:

    @ Puppet – I’ve heard back from our search team in regards to commas, it should not matter whether or not there are commas separating words in your descriptive text.

  120. Phil Deakins says:

    @ Claire

    I’m not aware of putting any words into your mouth. You said that LL has effectively stopped the new land market because people will want to buy old land for their rankings. Since the only thing that keeps the rankings is Picks, I responded accordingly. I also said that “I imagine that you’d like …”, and carried on with that. So you’ve lost me on the words into your mouth bit.

    Now you’re saying something different – that land prices will be affected if the land has top rankings for something, and that people will rather buy well ranked parcels. I don’t disagree with that, but there are only two ways that I can see it happening to any significant extent. (1) People buy land, get it high up the rankings for a particular range of searchterms, and offer it for sale at a higher price because of the rankings. That could happen, but I doubt that it will happen to any any great extent. For one thing, why not open a store to cover the searchterms, instead of selling the land? (2) Someone has a failed enterprise that has some high rankings, and decides to sell the land. Both of those possibilities would be dwarfed by the amount of land being sold on the grid, imo.

    I already wrote several reasons why resetting anything on a change of land ownership wouldn’t be a good idea, imo.

    >>> I don’t agree that is has to be the same business line, its not keyword generated on the picks side – if the pick unique ID matches the parcel unique ID then it will create a page ID match and boost the rankings. For example I could change all the description and title details on my customers picks tomorrow, but it won’t change my ranking.<<<

    That’s not how it works, Claire. The words that are in the Picks title matter A LOT. If you buy a piece of land that is highly ranked for a particular searchterm, you won’t get high rankings for new searchterms just because you change the name and decription of the land. You simply won’t. The words in the Picks titles are so *very* important. That’s why using your business name, and nothing else, as your parcel name won’t do much for you at all. Naming a parcel that is used for business needs a good deal of thought.

  121. Monavie Voight says:

    In the RL world… it matters how much you spend on advertising… you get what you pay for… word of mouth just doesn’t cut it in the RL world so why are you expecting different results in SL? I have to spend money to advertise and I run classified ads, I use some of the other inworld advertising places, I have two unique camping sets I created for two *2* campers to be at my place all the time, and I encourage people to place my place in their picks. In the RL you run surveys (should run them!) before you start a business to see if what you are wanting to create/sell will actually be something that people will want to buy. Are you filling a need? Is what you have to offer exactly the same as someone else’s out there? What sets you apart? What makes your product unique? Focus on that… put your energy into that in your advertising or find a way to make something that isn’t out there yet.

  122. Claire Kelly says:

    @ Phil

    I am not going to entertain this conversation anymore as per Jeska’s advice.

    But I do want to end on this note – I am a top business owner in SL, that knows exactly how this works and that has experimented with everything. Have a great day.

  123. Phil Deakins says:

    @ Claire

    Np, Claire. I’ll end on a note too 🙂

    In RL, I’m a well-known search engine specialist, even though I no longer work in that field. Well-known enough to be invited onto a Microsoft team of search engine specialists to assist them when they were developing thier own search engine. I also get interviewed on search engines by such publications as the Wall Street Journal. So I do know a thing or two about it – including how Google search engines work.

    In SL, I have a successful business that provides me with a very nice RL livelihood. I guess you could say that I too am a top business owner. In the SL forum, I explained how LL’s Google system works, and people were successful in achieving high rankings because of that.

  124. Ciaran Laval says:

    @Monavie, in SL the top eight get great exposure for their classifieds, beyond that the focus in the new search is on the column on the left, the bigger column, the more informative column. You’re not really getting much value from your classified in the less eye catching column on the right.

    Advertising has been treated very poorly by this new search.

  125. spankmy Boucher says:

    I love the new search but Im a little disapointed that the most popular list is still there , Its a complete waste of space and gives people the oppertunity to get as much publicity through the use of bots as someone that pays a high price for classifide ads . at best the most popular list is just camping sites but I have also found that many are just full of traffic bots ( check out THEhood/ capital mall on the robin hood sim) . I pay for advertising and get very little from it so it makes me bitter to see people cheating the system with bots and getting a free ride . Its a real shame that the Lindens seem to ignore the creative people in SL and support the use of bots to effectivly steal publicity from us. Please remove the most popular list or atleast replace it with something that reflects where people actually go and not just the sim with the most ugly grey bots.

  126. UNHAPPY OWNER says:

    I’m curious like a couple others on this post why it’s allowed to use other peoples names,buisness names,club names,or products in there key words in land description.I’m guessing here with the new brand name thing only using sl in keywords is a TOS viloation us common folks who acctually have spent time in SL building up are names and brands are not protected?Any reply would be welcome seeing how no one seems to know the anwser.

  127. Jeska Linden says:

    @ unhappy and others – Linden Lab is not now, nor do we plan on actively policing listings submitted to search. It’s just too much information. If you find a parcel listing that you believe is violating the Community Standards, please follow the abuse reporting process.

  128. Shaylynn Shepherd says:

    @ Spankmy – I have to agree – as a land owner, active, dedicated player – why the owners or managers of places on the Popular List are allowed to run 56 – 60 bots to generate false traffic numbers. This cheats their vendors who rent in the malls, it hurts me because why should i spend hard earned Lindens generating traffic flow when all they did was pay for a bot license. I have witnessed them all stuck in a skybox at 750m – all ruths – and LL is giving the THE HIGHEST form of advertising by being on the popular list that they pay not 1L for – i pay for all my classifieds. I am totally sick over watching that project allowed to continue.

  129. Galt Hax says:

    Is it just me, or does the link to how traffic is calculated take you to two out of date and contradictory knowledge base articles? Is it based on “dwell” and factor in the percent of time one spends in a particular place, or was that discontinued?

    If Linden Labs would rather not say how its calculated, that would be a better response than being obtuse and presenting multiple answers that contradict one another.

  130. Most Popular Owner says:

    Hey Guys,

    I am a “Most Popular” owner, and I don’t use bots. Don’t let some sim owners actions cloud your judgement over everyone on the most popular.

    I do however pay out thousands of lindens to people a day in camping, something that I will defend to the hilt. I am supporting the SL Newbie community and people earning money at my place are free to spend that wherever they want – including other people’s businesses.

    @ Jeska – Actually I am shocked that LL are allowing people and sim / business names to be named on this blog in the way they are. This blog is full of accusations against people and sim owners.

    If you ask me this blog should be shut down as there are some really defamatory remarks on it.

  131. Dizzi says:

    @ Jeska (post 127)

    I would not expect Linden Labs to search all listings for such violations. I would hope we can expect action though if someone submits an AR about such listings.

    It seems to me however that such ARs relating to using other peoples name are not acted on.

  132. Shaylynn Shepherd says:

    @ Most Popular Owner

    Hurrah for you!! I too spend thousands of lindens paying the new players to generate traffic. But – and i did not mention any names – or the number of pops spots i found abusing – rest assured the proper AR’s are filed – these that are allowed to do this – knock ‘someone’ off somewhere. And IM me in game – i used my real SL name.

  133. spankmy Boucher says:

    @ “most popular owner” You have actually made my point for me , If your a sim owner that plays fair and your on the most popular list then you are most effected by traffic bots as the sims that use them will eventually push you off the list as the use of bots becomes more popular , thats is when both you and the newbies will lose out .

    Anyone can buy a viewer that allows you to run unlimited accounts at a time, This is available inworld ! Id say thats a good place to start acting on the problem and Im sure the Lindens know where it is , If not poke me and Ill point you to it ( only Lindens , Im not advertising it for them ! )

    Also , I only named one place as it is the only one that I have a good set of photographic evidence to back it up. send me an IM and Ill pass it on to you.

    And if the list is replaced by something more accurate like a vote system or counting one person as 1 point for traffic then you will still get recognition for your efforts.

  134. Argent Stonecutter says:

    I have an idea. How about expanding the classified entry that we’re paying for into an actual hosted web page, set up from a notecard? It wouldn’t be hard to take a notecard that had internal IMG references pointing to textures in the notecard itself and do the minimal rewriting needed to make it work. If you limit it to hrefs to “secondlife:” URLs (which would be mapped to references to the web pages for those parcels if they also had classifieds) that would give people the ability to set up real web pages.

    These notecard-pages could also be usable for HTML-on-a-prim because they would void the security and privacy issues, since the HTML would all be rewritten and the only people who had access to the logs to stalk people by their referrers would be Linden Labs themselves… and tehy alerady know who you are.

    And, best of all, that would give the google appliance the kind of “traffic” information it was really designed to work with.

  135. Phil Deakins says:

    @ Argent

    “And, best of all, that would give the google appliance the kind of “traffic” information it was really designed to work with.”

    Traffic is an LL aspect, and not a Google system aspect. That’s why it’s difficult for LL to produce a search category for it in the new search.

    All that’s needed is for traffic to be continued as it is (for the traffic html pages), and the Places tab to be removed. It would do away with camping as well as bots, and I am sure that LL wants camping to continue, so it’s unlikely to happen.

  136. Ciaran Laval says:

    Just remove traffic as a factor in search all, keep it the old search. The new search all should be about finding items. Picks, landmarks and keywords will deal with that. I’d rather they used the amount paid for a classified as a factor instead of traffic.

  137. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Phil@135: The word ‘traffic’ is overloaded – on the web, it means visitors to a website, and the google appliance is basically a web search engine, I put the word in quotes because I was talking about the “web” meaning of traffic, not the “SL” meaning.

    As an aside: if I thought LL really wanted camping to continue, I would be terribly depressed.

  138. Phil Deakins says:

    @ Argent

    “As an aside: if I thought LL really wanted camping to continue, I would be terribly depressed”

    I can think of two reasons why they would want to continue with camping:-

    1. To keep the numbers up (due to camping bots), and looking better than they would without them.

    2. Camping is beneficial to users.

    Whatever their reason, I feel sure that they prefer camping to remain, or they would surely have done something about it by now.

  139. Phil Deakins says:

    @ Argent

    Sorry, I forgot about this bit…

    “The word ‘traffic’ is overloaded – on the web, it means visitors to a website, and the google appliance is basically a web search engine, I put the word in quotes because I was talking about the ‘web’ meaning of traffic, not the ‘SL’ meaning.”

    Traffic on the web and in SL are pretty much the same – visitors – except that SL counts visitor time, whereas as web traffic is unique visitors. The Google engine doesn’t factor traffic into the ranking algo – it can’t – it has no way of knowing what a webpage’s or website’s traffic is. It could count click-throughs from its results, but that would be grossly biased, so it’s not really possible to use traffic at all.

  140. baz says:

    Boy ,this is just what i needed,as a novice i have learned so much.Thank you all

  141. Khamon says:

    SL Universe sells advertisements that appear on Snapzilla!

    http://www.sluniverse.com/advertising/

  142. Most Popular Owner says:

    Well done Linden Lab,

    You tell everyone on this blog what NOT to do for the search i.e. cloaking and repeated keywords as its unethical.

    So what does everyone do in the past 24 hours. Do exactly that and game the search system. If you look at all the new search strings now, everyone has adopted Cloaking and put things like “hair hair hair hair” in their descriptions.

    I think you just signed the death warrant for an already gamed and inaccurate search engine.

  143. Phil Deakins says:

    I can’t see where it’s stated not to use repeated keywords, but if people are doing things like putting “hair hair hair hair” into their description, it ain’t gonna do much for ’em. It might have helped 12 or 13 years ago, but not since then. Even back in the days when pages were ranked according to content, AltaVista only counted the first 2 instances of each word in a page, and other engines would have done similar things to avoid spam being successful. Google does a little differently. The weight of each instance of a word decreases until the point where any further instances of the word have no weight at all.

    Presumably the hair place will have more instances of “hair” in their objects’ names and descriptions, so including “hair hair hair hair” anywhere is a waste of the limited characters, that could be used in much better ways.

  144. Phil Deakins says:

    Incidentally, cloaking isn’t possible in the SL search. Jeska was wrong when she used that word.

  145. UNHAPPY OWNER says:

    Sadly none of you on here seems to even care if your name or products name is used in someone elses land description to steal your traffic to worried about stupid one word keywords thats been going on in sl ad’s forever.But oh well from the reply i got on here from Jeska sounds like doing that is allowed which i find to be very unethical all together but like i said on my last post lord help you if it was SL in your land description!

  146. Jeska Linden says:

    As has been described above, the term “cloaking” is not directly akin on the Web as is inworld, but it has similar traits.

    Cloaking is used to describe behavior which involves presenting different content to search engine spiders than is presented to the browser when you visit the actual Web site.

    While cloaking doesn’t happen exactly the same within Second Life as it does on the Web (because nothing happens exactly in Second Life as it does on the Web), we felt that the process of listing different content in your description than is included in your parcel was similar enough to include a link to a full description of cloaking (on wikipedia) for those who were curious instead of making up our own word for the behavior.

    The Search Team thought about using Key word Stuffing to describe it as well, but felt cloaking was closer to what is occurring.

  147. Phil Deakins says:

    Actually keyword stuffing is more akin to what you described in the original post, and in the KB, but it isn’t that either, Jeska. What you described isn’t even remotely similar to cloaking.

  148. Jeska Linden says:

    I agree that it’s different, although similar in desire to deceive people and “trick” them into visiting their site/increasing their ranking. To prevent any confusion, we should just call it “Deceptive Descriptions” and leave it at that. These tips are by no means an attempt to describe all of the many ways humans attempt to fool search engines.

  149. Why make search case sensitive? Well… if you’re looking for Polish sausage, would you be happy if you got results for shoe polish?

  150. Phil Deakins says:

    Now, I can agree with that 🙂

    Although targetting brand names and keywords that websites have nothing to do with has been going on since the brith of search engines, there isn’t an accepted word or phrase to describe it. “Deceptive targetting” would suit it, since it can happen in Names as well as Descriptions.

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