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 firstname.lastname@example.org