Hyperlink Indexes Links

Hyperlink Indexes Links

From The Search Engine Report
Aug. 5
, 1997

A unique search engine that indexes only hyperlink text debuted in July and is operating as a demonstration site for the technology. Hyperlink indexes hyperlink text, then associates the text with the linked page.

For example, imagine the text below was a hyperlink to the Search Engine Watch home page (http://searchenginewatch.com/):

Click Here for Search Engine Information

All the words in the hyperlink text would be associated with the home page URL. That means that when someone searches for "search engine information," there's a chance the Search Engine Watch home page might appear.

None of the major search engines indexes only hyperlink text (also called anchor text). AltaVista does allow searches to be limited to hyperlink text by using a command like:

anchor:search engine information.

Entering that into the AltaVista search box would perform a Hyperlink-style search. However, the results would not be ranked in any particular order, and it would list pages that contain the links, not the pages that the links point toward.

Hyperlink suggests that its search mechanism is more democratic, in that people vote on good sites by linking to them. There's validity to this idea, which is why several search engines already use link popularity in terms of boosting some pages higher in the rankings or in determining which pages to list.

However, the Hyperlink configuration depends heavily on people creating descriptive links for its particular voting mechanism to work. For example, Netscape could have a million links pointing to it, but if they only say "Netscape," then with Hyperlink, the site is not going to do well if someone searches for "browser."

Robin Li, the scientist behind the search engine, says that many people do create descriptive links.

Hyperlink is not meant to be a competitor to the traditional search engines. Instead, it's meant to be a demonstration site for the technology. The index has information from over 5 million web pages in it, and it's planned to be updated every two months.

However, IDD Information Services, the company behind Hyperlink, is hoping to license its technology as an enhancement for those already running search engines.


A Democratic Way to Search
Wired News, July 25, 1997