The Small Mention
How many times have search engines taken you to pages containing text that matched your query, but that matched it in such a small way that the page wasn’t helpful? I call that the Small Mention and it happens all the time.
Being a blog about search, I use query examples to test engines. I’ve noticed several instances where users have come to the Lounge thinking my posts are relevant to their searches, but of course the Search Lounge doesn’t satisfy user missions, but rather points out my own experiences searching for whatever it was. It’s a vicious circle of self-perpetuating queries.
It’s not such a big deal. I’m just getting a handful of people coming for most of the query examples I’ve used. But it’s interesting because it points out a common shortcoming of search: contextualization. Or to put it another way, the Small Mention.
Blogs are the biggest innocent culprit of this. (Whereas there is nothing innocent about spam pages designed to lure you in for obscure queries.) But with so many people writing so many things, it’s inevitable that phrase matches will happen and that on the open web the Small Mention will live and grow as it feeds on so many words.
I noticed in my search logs that someone got routed to the Search Lounge for the query “cookie recipe for diabetics”. If that’s what you’re looking for here are a couple of sites (I haven’t tried the recipes so I can’t speak to their quality) that are hopefully what you’re looking for:
American Diabetes Assocation dessert recipes
diabetic-recipes.com cookie recipes
I did a review of Ask Jeeves a while back using that query as a sample query.
The #1 result on Yahoo.
#1 on Google.
#2 on MSN.
And ironically it doesn’t show up on Ask, which only has 2 web results at all. See them? Look closely, they’re sandwiched between the north and south sponsored results.
Want to learn how to jumpstart a motorcycle? Go here: http://motorcycles.about.com/cs/maintenance/ht/howtojumpstart.htm
In my referral logs I frequently see people coming from search engines for the term how to jumpstart a motorcycle. And also for similar queries like jumpstarting a motorcycle.
This is because I used that phrase as a test query for a couple of search engine reviews I did. But obviously people who end up on the Search Lounge looking for instructions on jump starting their bikes are going to be disappointed when all they find is a review of how some search engine handled that query.
So with that in mind here is a decent article from about.com about How to Jump Start Your Motorcycle. I hope this helps.
If you’re a blog writer and search engines are referring traffic for terms that have only a small mention on your site, how about being helpful and posting a good link to send people on their way.