This is a brief discussion of how the search engine
on the malls works.
The search engine works to evaluate the words that
the customer entered against our database. If you have the
unique item that best suits the customer's information request, it
will be listed first. How is this done?
The search engine compares the terms that the customer has entered
against a combination of information (title, category description,
item description, etc.) for each item in the database. Each item
is assigned a 'relevance' score by the search engine. Entries
that come closer to matching the terms that the customer used, are
considered to have a better relevance. If we have two
entries with equal relevance, the one with the higher price is
presented first. Why? Because everyone is looking for a
bargain and we have found that if we present the more expensive items
first, the customers tend to look at more items. If
you want to see the relevance score of any item, you can use the 'view
source' option for the page of search results. The relevance
score for each item is displayed in the HTML in a comment at the
beginning of the item. Its in this format:
<!-- Relevance score: 0.2457
The lower the score, the better a 'fit' the search engine
considers it to be to the customer's query, so an item with a relevance
score of 0 is the best match that the search engine can find.
Note: The best strategy for getting found is to be the sole party
that has what the customer wants. In the case where there
are two dealers with items that appear identical to the search engine,
price rules. We do understand that you'd like to have your
product show up first in response to any query, but your competitor
feels the same way. The advice below will help you tune your
descriptions and titles to get the best possible listing.
The search engine indexes several fields and these are all
considered in your item rating: your category name, the title of your
item and the description. Using titles is not mandatory on TIAS, but
if you are not using them, you are quite severely impacting the
likelihood of your item being found by people using the search engine.
Given two items, both with identical descriptions, and only one with
the title where the title and the descriptions match the search
criteria, the search engine will give the item with the title
a much higher rating than the one without and will display the one with
the title first.. So be sure to use
titles for your items.
The category description is used as part of the
search criteria. So if you are using something that really does not
describe your category, your item will be rated lower than ones where
the category matches the search term. For instance, we had one site
that had nice silver flatware, but titled their section 'For the
dining room'. Other sites titled the category for similar items
'Sterling Silver'. When customers searched for 'Silver', the second
dealer's products were more likely to be found.
category titles explicit. Note that this does NOT apply to the
category groups ('types'). So if you have a lot of things for a dining
room -- flatware, plates, etc and want to create a category group called
'For the Dining Room' and have categories under it like 'Flatware', that
will work very well and your items will be found by the search engines.
The search engine also matches on words in your
descriptions. It uses spaces and standard punctuation to determine
where the end of a word is. If you use dashes to separate words thusly
"cool jewelry----gold, emeralds, rubies" because the dash is
not a word separator, neither the term 'jewelry' nor 'gold' will be
found because the search engine is seeing the word 'jewelry----gold'. Use
standard spelling and punctuation.
The search engine matches partially on the ratio of
the searched words to the number of words in your entry. So if you
have an extremely verbose entry where the word 'diamond' appears once
or twice, and the customer searches the word 'diamond', your entry
will score worse than someone who has a 30-word description in which
the word 'diamond' appears twice. Describe your items exactly
and with only those superlatives that you think are really necessary
to close a deal
Although the preceding is important in getting your
items presented in the search engine, in the final analysis, the
choice to view or not view is made by a person who is looking at what
you have in your title and description. If your product does not sound
interesting and you don't have an attractive image, the customers are
not going to click on your item. So an ultimate point is one of
those basics of retailing: If your product is not
attractive, and its not what they want people won't buy
it. So spend some time on your images and make sure they are
clean and attractive. For more help with this, read the
tutorial on taking
good pictures and on editing images to make them look good.
Major catalogs spend a lot of their investment in image
preparation and do so because it pays them back.