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Re: A question for Max the Algorithm Man
From Max on 09 June '98
adding to A question for Max the Algorithm Man posted by Nicholas

Reposting this because it doesn't show in the index of posts:

>Do you have any sense of the Yahoo
>search protocols? How many words from
>a site are indexed? Whether they are
>indexed manually or in a hybrid
>of human and automated process?

Jim might kill me for this - the question
apparently was so common he banned it, but
here's an approximation of their process:
Yahoo uses real people and a robot. You submit
your site, the robot does a check to make sure
the URL is live and not multi-submitted, then URL
goes to the queue for the humans.
A real live human uses the queue as a "hotlist"
and sends their browser to fetch the page. Impress
that person and they click the "accept" button.
Fail to impress that person by having little content,
submitting to the wrong category, etc. and they click the
"Reject" button. If the site is not clearly in either
category, they shunt it to the "needs more checking queue"
for another human to look at. This is a BIG slow queue,
the equivalent of Web purgatory or limbo.

Here's the best method:
You have 5-10 seconds to impress that first human enough to
make them click the "Accept" button. The immediately visible
part of the URL you submit has to make these things perfectly
clear to that human:
1. What the site/page is about.
2. What sort of GOOD information is contained in the non-visible

If you don't make the listing on the first view, it can
take weeks/months to get them to come back. I have a 100%
success rate with Yahoo (so far) because I make their
job as easy as possible.
I make sure their first glance at a submission is loaded
with content, links to content, and a minimum of puffery.
I also make sure the submission is to the best-fit category
and that the description is very precise.
If the category is crowded, I check out the others and make
sure that my client's site offers more and better stuff than the
others before I submit. For example, Granny's Garden Gnomes may
be in a crowded category of "garden accessories" ... so I have
Granny give me tips on preserving the Gnomes from weather damage,
Gnomes used by famous people to decorate their gardens, etc. Only
then do I submit.

And from personal observation: Yahoo's humans seem to be fond of the
slightly off-beat, humourous approach. They read hundreds of submissions
every day, so give them something to lighten their load with.

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