The Never-Ending Search For Wine
It’s hard to ignore the impact of search engine technology. Without it the Internet doesn’t exist and without great search technology the Internet’s vast resources are fairly useless. Needless to say, everyone who used the Internet as a utility spends a great deal of time with the likes of Google, Yahoo and MSN.
This bestows GREAT influence on the top search engines. The ten links they return for any given search will be exposed to large numbers of people.
What about wine?
Below are the top five links provided by the top 3 search engines when the world "wine" is search upon:
There is something very iconic and very powerful about being one of the top-five links for any single term, be it "wine", "potato chip", "government", "sex" or anything else. Clearly there are forces at work here that are beyond organic. There are very sophisticated technologies and even industries that strive to place web sites as high up in the searching food chain as possible…for a price.
That said, there is something to understanding the impact of have particular sites come to the top of the search list, if only because they are seen by so many people.
What we have here is a fairly consistent set of sites that are viewed by literally millions of people who type "WINE" into their search engine of choice. We have the top wine retailing website, the largest circulation print publication on wine, the best searching site for wine, an old and well established wine portal with emphasis on its bulletin board, and a hi tech site with nothing to do with wine at all, but with a catchy "wine name".
I’ve always wondered about what those people expect who type, simply, "wine" into a search engine. Google brings up 142,000,000 pages for one to browse though. Presumably the most "relevant" are near the top. This still doesn’t explain why one would search on the word.
This does not imply that the results of search engines are generally insignificant and offer nothing of substance to think on.
Consider that when you type "The Greatest Wine in the World" into the Google search engine the first of the 266 links is an homage to Chateau d’Yquem. On the other hand, type in "The greatest wine blog in the world" and Google will return exactly ZERO Links. (this post may change that)
I’d say this response is a pretty good indication of a fairly uncontroversial idea: d’Yquem has far more recognition in the wine world than wine blogs do.
In the end, the point here is about relationships. Search engines build relationships between ideas, words and phrases and their presence out on the net. Learning about and investigating wine on the Internet allows you to to understand relationships.
For example, search Google with the following phrase: "Most Famous Winemaker".
What you get are links to a variety of opinions not only on who is the most famous winemaker, but what made them famous. Pretty interesting stuff if you are a wine geek or if you are actively trying to learn about wine in more ways than gurgling and spitting the stuff.
And that’s the point of this post. The Internet has completely changed the way we are able to learn about wine and any other subject for that matter. We have at our disposal not merely a huge compendium of information, but technology that allows us to explore it in a number of knew and innovative way. Heck, Google even offers a "blog search engines" that allows you to search only the opinions of bloggers. How great is this technology?
Gush about Google to any librarian, however, and you’re likely to get an earful. I’ve seen countless diatribes about the limitations of Google’s search (which stems largely from the very small amount of content they index, something that even non-librarians have commented extensively on).
On the other hand, it’s not like anyone goes to a different search engine. I use Google all the time, despite the known limitations. And all the search engines just have different sets of problems (less well-documented than Google’s however).
Iconic? Maybe, Tom. But who would ever search for “wine” and not something more specific such as best this or that or a wine by name?
Google is great for some things but not for others. If you’re looking to buy a certain wine, it’s not going to help you (whereas winesearcher will; I had a recent post on this: http://drvino.blogspot.com/2005/09/google-wine-by-price.html ). But if you want a description or some factoids about a wine or winery, google is usually great.
I’m now going to tag the bejeezes out of my blog with the term, “the greatest wine blog in the world.” Thanks for the tip Tom! 🙂
Change your tagline from “The Daily Wine Blog” to “The Greatest Wine Blog in the World!”
As a techie, I’ often asked by my winemaking friends how to get traffic to their Web site. So, there’s not only wine lovers looking for wine, but winery owners trying to figure out how to capitalize on the power of search engines.
Google returns 2+ million results for “pinot noir” (without quotes). So, it still comes down to how to you get people to remember your name (or at least something more than pinot noir) when they decide to go looking for you. My November column for Northbay biz (hits newstands on October 20th) talks more about this.
(PS – comment preview does not display correctly in my browser)
Ask and ye’ shall receive.
It looks like that Google link to “The Greatest Wine Blog in the World!” above now returns exactly one result – this site.
I saw it on the internet. It must be true.