WordCamp Europe 2022 — it’s Coming Up!

Preparing for WCEU … I think I will be asking a lot of questions … I want to know what people think, how people think, where they see possibilities, opportunities, goals, dreams, … for their own future, for our future together, for collaboration, for networking, for the entire marketplace of ideas.

Will you be there in person, will you participate online? Will you answer my questions?

  1. How would you define “search engine”?
  2. More questions / issues here (if you want): “Language & Community — Some More or Less Clearly Defined Definitions

Hope to see you there! 😀

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WordPress Cafe: How to define “Search Engine”?

As I will hopefully be attending the WordPress Cafe @ WordCamp Europe this year, I also hope to participate in the discussions related to “Search Engine Optimization”. In my humble opinion, the “first and foremost” question here is: How do you define a search engine? (as otherwise you wouldn’t know what you’re trying to optimize or even talking about in the first place).

Half a decade ago, at WCEU in Paris, I raised a very similar question to Matt in the Q&A session after his talk with Om Malik. In case you missed it, I posted a link to the video of the event here:

please feel free to watch it! 😀

WOOHOO — WordPress Advanced Search!! 😀” [ http://fun.freezine.org/2018/02/22/woohoo-wordpress-advanced-search ]

To cut to the chase, I believe every website is a search engine (yet not every search engine need be a website). Generally, a lot of technologies function as search engines or finding tools without any requirement of being connected to the Internet (also known as “online”). For example: in many applications, <ctrl>+<F> is encoded as a search tool, or the Windows “Menu” key provides access to search functionality, or even an old-fashioned “card catalog” (or the “index” and / or “table of contents” in other paper-based media). Dictionaries and encyclopedias are search engines. Maps. Pedestrian crossings or crosswalks. The McDonald’s “golden arches”. Your eyes, your ears, your nose. Many things are search engines.

In the meantime, WordPress.COM has continued to expand the search capabilities available to the users of WordPress.COM … and yet by and large, they still continue to remain quite basic.

Even if a website has no “search box”, every website (as long as a website exists at all) has a so-called “homepage” … which is the default starting point (sometimes they are even referred to as “start page”).

On the WWW, the optimization of search engines is really the responsibility of those people who maintain websites. About 15 years ago, I would sometimes get into discussions with people who had such responsibilites (e.g. with Matt Cutts or Marissa Mayer via twitter.com ). Over time, I have come to understand that quite often the people who maintain websites have other things on their minds than whether or not the information on their sites is easily accessible or not (see, for example, “This is just a load of crap” [ https://podcasts.video.blog/2022/01/08/this-is-just-a-load-of-crap ] ).

Shortlisted Hacks in Topical Search for WCEU 2022

I have been mulling over ideas for the WCEU 2022 conference, and it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to open this up to collective review.

I suggest that people should brainstorm ideas , review each other’s hacks and so on. My proposed tags to identify this quasi-thread are #WCEU , #WCEU2022 and #SHiTS (for “Shortlisted Hacks in Topical Search” 😉 ) … I’ll let someone else figure out a tagline for an alternative “Giggles” thread (LOL 😉 ).

Let me now introduce a couple of examples, introducing the types of hacks I have been thinking of — neither of these are very complex, and I expect they can be both achieved in a couple lines of code without interfering with any other code out there. The first is so simple, I am kind of amazed no one has introduced it before.

On the wordpress.com/tags page there is a search box (presumably in order to search for tags, but in fact it does nearly nothing — it merely appends whatever is typed into the search box to the URL wordpress.com/tag/ … as if the user weren’t able to do that themselves). A much better solution would be actual search results — for example if the user searched for “online” the SERP would list actually used tags like “online banking”, “online marketing”, “online gambling” or whatever.

Another hack I have thought of seems a little more involved, but I think it must also be quite simple & straightforward. The idea is to enhace tag pages to include not only the correspondingly tagged posts, but also to include related tags. What I mean is that a tag could be considered related to another tag insofar as both tags appear on the same posts (and the more posts both tags commonly appear on, the closer the relationship). Some additional number-crunching might be useful, but that is the basic idea.

I have several more ideas, too … but here & now I want to mainly focus on how to organize such a distributed style of hacking. I am kind of new to this, so perhaps I am missing something rather important — and I would be happy if people could help me (and others — each other, or whatever) out. Also, I do not consider myself well-versed in php, and my “coding chops” in general are quite insignificant.

I hope people will enjoy the idea of brainstorming ahead of the conference — maybe something like that has already been done before? Please, support such collaboration either by contributing your own ideas or feedback … or by simply sharing the idea to brainstorm more ideas!

Thanks for your interest! 😀