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A Few Observations/Questions

Thread began 2/10/2010 4:41 pm by robert222776 | Last modified 2/24/2010 6:55 pm by robert222776 | 1948 views | 8 replies


A Few Observations/Questions

I implemented BOSS on my own site (without any customization of the search results content) to better understand how it works, My conclusions are admittedly empirical (no search theory involved here) since they come from my own testing. Perhaps they are obvious to those familiar with how Yahoo (Web) or Google search works.

1. I compared BOSS search with Yahoo's Web search. modifying the search terms slightly for the Web search case. The results were nearly identical for the Web search and my site search.

2.As an interesting side note, (for some reason) one page on my site was never indexed by Yahoo spiders. Consequently a search for keywords within the content on that page did not show any results for either my site search or the web search. BTW, Google did not miss indexing the page.

Conclusion: For the BOSS search to work, a page(s) must already have been indexed by Yahoo. The BOSS API itself does not initiate or do any indexing of the site. Hence the real meaning behind your marketing statement, "Add the power of Yahoo!'s search engine and extensive search index to your website". It seems obvious to me now, but I really did not give this point much thought before.

3. The search results displayed (most of the time) come directly from the meta tag for description content (BOSS calls it "abstract"). If the meta description content="", then search terms from the page content will be displayed prominently in the search results. This is true for both BOSS and Yahoo Web. In one test case, results displayed page content (instead the description content). My site is not large, only about 13 pages, so experimental sample sizes were small.

4. Most of the time, if there is meta description content, then the content on the actual page is ignored for a BOSS search, i.e "no results found". When I searched for the same phrases from actual content on my pages with Yahoo web, I got positive results.

Question: I am interested to know if others see this too, or if Web Assist has seen this? I do not really know if the page contend was not indexed, only that it was not displayed in the results.

Question: Is the length or number of words in the meta description a factor, such that long descriptions effectively leave no room for page content to be displayed, and short descriptions do leave room?

Question: What parameters control the amount of results displayed?

Question: What are the drivers that determine the BOSS results content that is actually displayed (beyond what I see in the Dreamweaver bindings)?

I do not see any Dreamweaver bindings for "page content" even though the content has been indexed by Yahoo.

Inconsistency in what seems to be driving the results makes it hard to have confidence in BOSS, especially for larger sites. The concern, obviously, is that BOSS is leaving out pages that should be counted in the site search results, even though Yahoo has indexed them.

Question: What might cause this to happen? Is this a fundamental limitation in BOSS, or a limitation in my understanding/implementation of BOSS?

Question: How should (can it?) the BOSS_include.php file be edited such that page content is always included in the search results?

I hope I have not bored everyone with these questions and observations. I am admittedly not a search guru.


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