The search engine feedback loop

Andy has written an entry I’ve been meaning to write for a while now about the information WordPress supplies on web searches through which people have visited his blog.

I find these searches a source of constant interest and check them daily. It’s always interesting to see what brings people to this blog. Naturally, entries I’ve written about currently “hot” topics provide the most search hits. For instance my most popular post so far is about the BT HomeHub and I get a number of search hits daily on this, mostly to do with how to configure it.

As Andy points out in relation to the hits he gets on WebSphere Message Broker, it is interesting to see what the searches are in relation to, and it gives a hint as to what experiences people have with products. As the recent release of data regarding Google searches made through AOL shows, the search engines are in possession of an huge source of information which can be pieced together to produce some amazing insight into people’s lives. Of course this is disturbing, but maybe with the right safeguards the search engines could sell their data on specific keywords within searches to the companies that would be keen to receive feedback on their products and services. The feedback that search engine data can yield on the experience people have with a particular product could be extremely useful in making that product better in the future, and would provide much more honest and representative data than the usual efforts of user experience testing.

Of course, as a company that doesn’t tend to miss many tricks, I’m sure Google have thought of this one already.

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