Lycos Ranking Glitch

Lycos Ranking Glitch

From The Search Engine Update
March 17, 1998

Some of you may have noticed that during the past two weeks or so, Lycos was ranking many sites alphabetically, by URL. For example, a URL of would come before

Don't rush out and start creating strange domain names to take advantage of this. It was a glitch caused by some experimentation that Lycos was doing, the search engine reported.

This is also a good time to mention that generally, the inclusion of a keyword in a URL or the use of alphabetization does not increase the odds of a page being highly ranked.

For example, some people feel that if they want to be found for cars, they should have a URL with the word "cars" in it, such as:

I have never found that including a word in the URL as shown above has made a difference. As always, if it works for you, stick with it. It certainly won't hurt to include the words. But don't expect it to be a miracle solution. Chances are, it will do nothing to improve your ranking.

Similarly, people sometimes assume that alphabetization in the title field can help a page do better. They will make the title begin with a number or a letter high in the alphabet, such as:

1. My Page Is Best For Cars
A1 Page About Cars

This makes no difference at all. Sometimes you will see pages using this technique doing well in the top results. However, this is always because of other techniques they are using, not because they employed alphabetization.

This myth seems to have emerged out of the fact that Yahoo used to list sites alphabetically in search results, and it still does within sub-listings. However, Yahoo is not a search engine. It does not read your web pages the way a true search engine such as AltaVista does.

Consequently, alphabetization in the title field does not help you with Yahoo, nor does it provide a boost with the major search engines. Once again, if you personally find it working, carry on, but those who experiment with it should expect disappointing results. Don't forget, it can also make your titles look so unattractive that people will fail to click through.