Tag optimization

Tag optimization

: Today there is an industry devoted not just to search engines but also to search-engine optimization.

Jenny the librarian points to a post that makes me believe that tag optimization will be the next big thing in distribution and marketing of content: Googlejuice meets Del.icio.usjuice. Kevin Hale at Particletree writes in an article that extols the data virtues of RSS because it’s free of spam and design and other distractions for search engines:

I donít think Google really feels threatened (or has ever felt threatened) by portal strategy. I think what theyíre afraid of is the rise of applications that seem to be tracking importance and trends better than search. In the race to find what deserves face-time, services like Del.icio.us, Technorati and Digg.com in combination with the rapid adoption of web apps like bloglines, newsgator, feedster and kinja are making Googleís search seem very, very slow. And itís all being accomplished with RSS technology.

Google vs. Del.icio.us

Let me give a concrete example based on our experiences here at Particletree. When we launched this site, we knew that the tutorials and information we were gathering and creating were goodóthat they would be somewhat valuable to the web development community. The problem was that we didnít want this useful, time-sensitive information to sit around for days (or even weeks) waiting to be picked up by search bots and then found by people accidentally or when they were desperate for a solution.

So I proposed that we turned to Del.icio.us to expand our readership. Every time something went up on the site that I felt would be good enough for a wider audience, I added it to my Del.icio.us account with the appropriate tags and descriptions. Our goal was to try and get a feature on del.icio.us/popular by the end of July and to our surprise, we accomplished it in less than a week. After two weeks of diligent posting and tagging, Google gave us a little over 50 referrals while Del.icio.us gave us over 700.

I think the reason Del.icio.us is so successful at bringing the appropriate audience to good material is because they track the changing web by using people to calculate what is essentially ìpage rank.î They get access to decent fuzzy logic for a fraction of the cost and the democracy of the system allows anyone to get their idea of what deserves face-time into the system almost immediately.

Basically, tagging systems are wonderful breeding grounds for the principles contained in Malcom Gladwellís The Tipping Point. They do a great job of gathering Salesmen, Mavens and Connectors all in one place. Mavens stalk the new entries on the front page and certain tag pages to filter through the chaos and find the latest treasures. The RSS feeds act as a sort of technological bridge/pseudo-connector to get the information to the real Connectors and Salesman. From what Iíve noticed, a good idea can make it into del.icio.us/popular in about 5 days, a good Salesman/Connector/Maven like Dave Shea or Jeffrey Veen can get a good idea into del.icio.us/popular in less than two hours.

He also predicts that RSS AdSense will be Google’s next pot o’ gold.

  • http://www.topix.net Chris Tolles

    So — what happens when there’s economic incentive to SPAM tags?
    If you’re having problems with comment SPAM on your blog, what do you think is going to happen when the dark hordes discover tags — when I think about the “breeding ground” tags provide (and applying some of the lessons from running the ODP community), you’re going to need better systems to deal with relevance.
    You have to remember what happened to search engines prior to Google’s big trick, and also what happened to USENET once the Internet went mainstream.
    *None* of the current fascination with tagging has stood up to a nice good round of mass popularization yet….

  • http://www.topix.net Chris Tolles

    So — what happens when there’s economic incentive to SPAM tags?
    If you’re having problems with comment SPAM on your blog, what do you think is going to happen when the dark hordes discover tags — when I think about the “breeding ground” tags provide (and applying some of the lessons from running the ODP community), you’re going to need better systems to deal with relevance.
    You have to remember what happened to search engines prior to Google’s big trick, and also what happened to USENET once the Internet went mainstream.
    *None* of the current fascination with tagging has stood up to a nice good round of mass popularization yet….

  • http://taghop.com Steven Livingstone

    Yep – this is why taghop occurred to me. In fact i had been thinking about this and ran into del.icio.us and then some thoughts started to come to be. Add social bookmarks, wiki and a community and you can maybe address the concept of spamming.
    In fact QA (quality assurance) for me in THE biggest issue on the web as although i may have many reliable sources of information, actually looking at them all the time is near impossible – i’d like to be much closer to the kinds of things i really want to read. Often filtered by people i follow and trust. Tags can be like that. They will have to.
    steven
    http://taghop.com

  • http://www.advancinginsights.com/mybiz/?q=summary_of_site jim wilde

    Great post! I’ve been trying to introduce these concepts/services – Ideascape – to businesses in order to help them find/discover new ideas as well as connect the wisdom of their employees to corp strategy. Funny though, the process reminds me of AA and dealing with drunks that are in denial.