Here's a novel idea: What if you could tweak your web pages to *reduce* their search engine ranking for specific keywords and phrases? In other words, deliberately make them all but impossible to be found for your "anti top-ten" list of search terms?
Web analyst and information architect Nicholas Carroll thinks it's an excellent idea. I agree -- and I think most search engine optimization specialists will wholeheartedly embrace the idea as the next "big thing" that could, paradoxically, help their clients achieve even better results.
Here's what Carroll has to say:
"In the continual struggle between search engine administrators, index spammers, and the chaos that underlies knowledge classification, we have endless tools for 'increasing relevance' of search returns, ranging from much ballyhooed and misunderstood 'meta keywords,' to complex algorithms that are still far from perfecting artificial intelligence.
"Proposal: there should be a metadata standard allowing webmasters to manually decrease the relevance of their pages for specific search terms and phrases."
Why on earth would any sane webmaster want to deliberately cripple their rankings for some search terms and phrases?
Location, location, location.
Let's say you are a botanist, and have created the world's best site about asparagus. To your dismay, search engines are swamping your site with traffic from teeny boppers who have zero interest in your beloved vegetable. Why?
Because one of the most common queries is Britney Spears. Using Carroll's proposal, it would be a simple matter to emphasize "asparagus spears" and reduce to zero "Britney Spears" as your preferred keywords. It's almost like applying the Boolean NOT operator to a web page, rather than to a query.
Carroll's proposal is an interesting read. Whether anything comes of it is another matter, but it's certainly an idea worthy of considering by standards committees and search engines alike.
A Proposal For Improving Internet Search While Reducing Unnecessary Traffic Loads
NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.
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