Danny comments on my ego (search)

Danny Sullivan comments on my ego search. He's the world's search authority (runs the most popular Search Engine Web site and conference series). John Battelle, the other authority (he wrote a book on the topic) chimes in too.

Says we shouldn't judge search engines by our egos. Heheh. True, true, but the thing is we judge search engines through what we know. I remember trying to get my dad to use Google in the late 1990s and he refused. He has a PhD in Electrical Engineering and he'd keep showing me searches for Electrical Engineering. Alta Vista was better in his mind purely because of a handful of searches. He finally switched when he saw Google was finally better for those searches.

I watch my referer page like a hawk. Looking for new bloggers who link to me. But WordPress also shows how people use search engines to get to my blog. #1 term? Scoble. By far. So, it's very important to me that a search for "Scoble" finds my current blog. Today 83 people searched a search engine for the term "Scoble." Another 29 searched for "Robert Scoble" and another 17 searched for "Scobleizer." So, ego searches, today alone, brought me more than 100 visitors.

But, Danny's right. We need to look at more than just ego searches to define whether an engine is good or not. His post is a good one to read because it demonstrates the thoroughness that got him to #1.

Comments

  1. Probably, a fair amount of these people arrived here by “searching” your name because they use it as a “Google keyword”. I find that concept interesting, because I memorize these Google keywords much more easily than some long nasty URLs, for example.

    Maybe you have a bunch of regular visitors who are used to coming to your blog by typing “Scoble” in Google or in their FireFox navbar.

  2. Probably, a fair amount of these people arrived here by “searching” your name because they use it as a “Google keyword”. I find that concept interesting, because I memorize these Google keywords much more easily than some long nasty URLs, for example.

    Maybe you have a bunch of regular visitors who are used to coming to your blog by typing “Scoble” in Google or in their FireFox navbar.

  3. Robert, consider yourself lucky. Do search for “Tofel” (my last name, which isn’t common) and you won’t easily find me OR my blog. Instead you get hundreds of misspellings of “TOEFL” or the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Kind of ironic that we have a test for English and hundreds of misspelled results when not searching for it, no? ;)

  4. Robert, consider yourself lucky. Do search for “Tofel” (my last name, which isn’t common) and you won’t easily find me OR my blog. Instead you get hundreds of misspellings of “TOEFL” or the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Kind of ironic that we have a test for English and hundreds of misspelled results when not searching for it, no? ;)

  5. I agree with them and you, Robert, except if/when your name is part of your brand :) And nobody — including the search engines — know what you like better than you do, so what makes Google or Yahoo or any search expert smarter than you when it comes to what you are looking for and like?

    Asking the search engines to figure out that level of subjectivity is not an easy task. At the same time Google has something that MSN and Yahoo don’t: they send more traffic back to websites.

    Look at your own stats Google and tell me honestly that MSN sends you more traffic? I know they don’t and I don’t even have to look at your stats.

    Ask any webmaster what one of the most important things they need at their site (beyond the content, of course) and they’ll tell you traffic. No eyeballs, no money.

    Across all our websites Google sends more traffic than MSN and Yahoo combined. That is going to be a tougher nut for both to crack and they aren’t going to do it through “our search is more relative” discussions. They need to do it by giving up some of their traffic and redirecting through the search. I think MSN might be willing to do that but I doubt Yahoo ever will.

    The discussion that MSN should be having is: how can we get more traffic to third party websites through our search. They nail that problem and they will become a true threat to Google. Until then, keep the second fiddle tuned.

  6. It’s still pretty cool to tell people to just Google my name in order to find me. If I have anything I can contribute to someone’s work, they just need to remember my name.

    Down in the blogosphere at “C” level (or is that Z-level), vanity searches is not something I do all that much any more, though I try to check the referrers daily to see if anyone likes what I have to say enough to link to it. Which actually brings me to an intereting observation I made the other day.

    I love MeasureMap, but it seems it is undercounting post views and missing referrers. Am still working on a thorough review of the data, but it seems that Performancing Metrics and MeasureMap disagree on stats by around 30-40%. Granted, this is for the lame’o BlogSpot account which I still need to migrate to WordPress, but still…

  7. I agree with them and you, Robert, except if/when your name is part of your brand :) And nobody — including the search engines — know what you like better than you do, so what makes Google or Yahoo or any search expert smarter than you when it comes to what you are looking for and like?

    Asking the search engines to figure out that level of subjectivity is not an easy task. At the same time Google has something that MSN and Yahoo don’t: they send more traffic back to websites.

    Look at your own stats Google and tell me honestly that MSN sends you more traffic? I know they don’t and I don’t even have to look at your stats.

    Ask any webmaster what one of the most important things they need at their site (beyond the content, of course) and they’ll tell you traffic. No eyeballs, no money.

    Across all our websites Google sends more traffic than MSN and Yahoo combined. That is going to be a tougher nut for both to crack and they aren’t going to do it through “our search is more relative” discussions. They need to do it by giving up some of their traffic and redirecting through the search. I think MSN might be willing to do that but I doubt Yahoo ever will.

    The discussion that MSN should be having is: how can we get more traffic to third party websites through our search. They nail that problem and they will become a true threat to Google. Until then, keep the second fiddle tuned.

  8. It’s still pretty cool to tell people to just Google my name in order to find me. If I have anything I can contribute to someone’s work, they just need to remember my name.

    Down in the blogosphere at “C” level (or is that Z-level), vanity searches is not something I do all that much any more, though I try to check the referrers daily to see if anyone likes what I have to say enough to link to it. Which actually brings me to an intereting observation I made the other day.

    I love MeasureMap, but it seems it is undercounting post views and missing referrers. Am still working on a thorough review of the data, but it seems that Performancing Metrics and MeasureMap disagree on stats by around 30-40%. Granted, this is for the lame’o BlogSpot account which I still need to migrate to WordPress, but still…

  9. Google takes the longest to get it right but when they do you do well in their engine. The problem with me is that I got more than one blog, talk about confusing the hell out of these stupid robots! ;)

  10. Google takes the longest to get it right but when they do you do well in their engine. The problem with me is that I got more than one blog, talk about confusing the hell out of these stupid robots! ;)

  11. I actually just switched to using MSN search (the one at search.msn.com) like a month ago. Maybe it’s because I just got hired out of college and am becoming proud of my (soon to be) company, but I’ve found I really like it now.

    A few months back you could really tell a difference between Google and MSN. Heck even a month ago I searched for ‘Omar Shahine’ and on msn he was the second result with the first being a particular entry in his blog. Thats fixed as of now. I myself have actually used both google and MSN to find your blog and as you said MSN gets it right(er).

    I will say though that the news search on MSN is still very poor. And I always go back to google to double check really obscure searches (old habits die hard).

  12. I actually just switched to using MSN search (the one at search.msn.com) like a month ago. Maybe it’s because I just got hired out of college and am becoming proud of my (soon to be) company, but I’ve found I really like it now.

    A few months back you could really tell a difference between Google and MSN. Heck even a month ago I searched for ‘Omar Shahine’ and on msn he was the second result with the first being a particular entry in his blog. Thats fixed as of now. I myself have actually used both google and MSN to find your blog and as you said MSN gets it right(er).

    I will say though that the news search on MSN is still very poor. And I always go back to google to double check really obscure searches (old habits die hard).

  13. I’m trying to rationalise why you have to explicitly state that your dad switched to google because it was better. Dont you work for Microsoft ?

    I found that information very irrelevant in the context of what you were really trying to explain.

  14. I’m trying to rationalise why you have to explicitly state that your dad switched to google because it was better. Dont you work for Microsoft ?

    I found that information very irrelevant in the context of what you were really trying to explain.

  15. Actually, we both should and shouldn’t judge by our egos, Robert.

    I really do agree with you that for many people, that’s going to be the first thing they do. And you’re a good combo — an ego search that’s also a navigational search. People want to navigate to you and should get to the right place.

    Ask definitely falls down on this front. But making the further step that failure on this one search means Ask isn’t in the same neighborhood as the others — that’s a big declaration to make :)

    But if it’s important to you that people find your new blog on a search for your name, you really should redirect your old blog over to the new home!

  16. Actually, we both should and shouldn’t judge by our egos, Robert.

    I really do agree with you that for many people, that’s going to be the first thing they do. And you’re a good combo — an ego search that’s also a navigational search. People want to navigate to you and should get to the right place.

    Ask definitely falls down on this front. But making the further step that failure on this one search means Ask isn’t in the same neighborhood as the others — that’s a big declaration to make :)

    But if it’s important to you that people find your new blog on a search for your name, you really should redirect your old blog over to the new home!

  17. Paul: he switched back around 2000, long before I was a Microsoft employee. I use him as an example because it took him a long time to switch search engines even though I was constantly trying to show him how good Google was.

  18. Paul: he switched back around 2000, long before I was a Microsoft employee. I use him as an example because it took him a long time to switch search engines even though I was constantly trying to show him how good Google was.

  19. [...] Robert on Danny and John on Robert’s Ego Search. Got that? Guys ego searches are the bread and butter of blog search (remember what I used to do?). Ego searches may well be a lousy way to evaluate search engines but users are going to do it every time. If I ran Technorati I’d revel in a frothy sea of ego searches and make Technorati even better at ego searching. [...]