The idea of search on the internet is a topic that captures my interest. When I used Yahoo! for the very first time (way back when) I was fascinated with the idea of finding new sites on the internet. Think about it- without search engines how would you find anything on the internet? Would you have to memorize the exact URL of every site you wanted to see? Or rely on friends to tell you about new sites?

It’s also interesting to think about it from the other side. If you build a website- how do people searching on the internet find you? I used to work for a search engine optimization firm, and our CEO asked us, “What if I knew the past 100 searches you did on Google? How much would I know about you?” It’s kind of scary to think about, but it shows you how powerful search is. Search connects people to what they want to find (or something they weren’t looking for).

For this assignment I thought I would focus on Web 2.0 articles that spoke on the topic of search. First, I checked out the infamous article by Tim O’Reilly. This was obviously a very well written article, and it helped me wrap my head around the idea of the concept of Web 2.0. I found it interesting when O’Reilly spoke about the basis of the internet and how it was formed around hyperlinks. Here’s an excerpt:

“Hyperlinking is the foundation of the web. As users add new content, and new sites, it is bound in to the structure of the web by other users discovering the content and linking to it. Much as synapses form in the brain, with associations becoming stronger through repetition or intensity, the web of connections grows organically as an output of the collective activity of all web users” (O’Reilly).

Hyperlinking is how search engines got their start and still plays a big part in how pages are ranked. Like O’Reilly’s article that was linked to over 20,000 times in Google when we looked in class on Friday, linking is how people show an article/idea/work is valid and worthy of looking at. With Web 2.0, the more something is linked to or used, the more popular and better it becomes. It is amazing to me how as a collective internet community, we decide what is a good idea, what’s reputable, and what is popular.

The next article I checked out was from Click Z. This article focused on search within Web 2.0. The article talked about how it was not enough now to just inform or amuse your audience. In Web 2.0 you have to build websites that engage people and keep them coming back. This truly interactive quality of Web 2.0 definitely intrigues me. I like the idea that people would use and interact with a website that I create and in turn make it better.

I also thought it was interesting that article spoke about how many Web 2.0 elements are great for web interactivity but not for searchability, “Interactive elements such as AJAX, widgets, Flash, podcasts, and video are inherently inhospitable to search engine spiders, rendering them dazed and confused” (Fusco). For the near future it seems like using these elements on a site is not great if you want your website to be found on search engines. I wonder if in the future these types of applications will be able to be crawled by search engine spiders easily. Otherwise, would you have to use these elements sparingly in order to remain highly ranked?

Another article I checked out talked about the concept of “social search.” This is another concept in Web 2.0 that explores searching in a different way. The article admits there is no exact definition, but says, “Social search takes many forms, ranging from simple shared bookmarks or tagging of content with descriptive labels to more sophisticated approaches that combine human intelligence with computer algorithms” (Sherman). This idea has many flawed ideas surrounding it, but is still intriguing to me. Right now, companies have ways to get their sites to rank higher in search engines (even though they don’t have that much control). With social search, users are in complete control over how sites are ranked and found, which is interesting.   


Work Cited

Fusco, P.J. “How Web 2.0 Affects SEO Strategy.” Click Z Network. 23 May 2007. < >

O’Reilly, Tim. “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.” O’Reilly Media. 30 Sep. 2005. < >

Sherman, Chris. “What’s the Big Deal With Social Search?” Search Engine Watch. 15 Aug 2006. < >