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Yahoo Chief Scientist Andrew Tomkins Interviewed by Eric Enge

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SEW Expert Eric Enge published a terrific interview on his Stone Temple blog with Yahoo Chief Scientist Andrew Tomkins, who keynoted SES New York. What makes it a great read? Eric asks spot-on questions that cut to the heart of the matter.

Eric Enge: In New York you talked about the future of search, but the thing that really struck me in the conversation was the notion of “webmaster supplied content” communicated essentially directly to the search engine. Maybe you can tell me whether that notion resonates with you in just your general thoughts on the concepts that you laid out in the presentation?

Andrew Tomkins: I'll start by saying that characterization of webmasters and publishers sharing more structured representation of their content is exactly what we are talking about. I guess it's easy to think of it as sharing it with a search engine.

The exchange that really impressed me was late in the interview when Eric and Andrew discuss a site's authority:

Andrew Tomkins: Understanding how authoritative a site is, then specifically for each part of the site; what they are about, how much you should trust them and how much people tend to believe them. How deep they go; all of this is very valuable from the ranking standpoint.

photo credit: Marc_Smith in Flickr

Eric Enge: You could have a site that has a million links, and that has many sections like I talked about, but the tennis section for some reason has very few inbound links from third party sites. Whereas, the camping section has half a million links, where you would actually allocate trust differently by site section.

Andrew Tomkins: That's a great example of a good cue that you would want to pay attention to.

If you care about how search enignes work and where they're headed in the future, this interview is a must-read.


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