REBOL Technologies

Singing the Search Engine Blues

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
7-May-2010 17:55 GMT

Article #0475
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Recently, you've been seeing various notes from me regarding issues about how search is performed on our website. Recently, we switched from Google to Bing because we thought it did a better job indexing REBOL 3 documentation. Now, after a short period, I'm dissatisfied with Bing as well.

I don't know how you find your REBOL related documents, but I use the search field in the upper right side of our web pages. Unfortunately, and perhaps it's just because I know what pages actually exist, search results often don't show the page I know to be the best result.

The REBOL.com website contains 10'794 pages (and that does not include the pages on REBOL.net, REBOL.org, or various other REBOL websites.) Perhaps that's simply beyond the capabilities of the public search engine systems? Meaning that they internally limit how many pages they index for a site. Probably makes sense, from their perspective.

I can give you an example of this problem. Using Google's webmaster tools, I see that Google has indexed only 217 of the 851 pages in the REBOL 3 documentation. Yes, it has an XML-based sitemap which you can see is accurate and up-to-date. Google reads it successfully and flags no errors.

I suppose it might be possible to divide the site into separate sub-domains... assuming search engines do better that way (which may not be true, I don't know.) There could be a docs.rebol.com, blogs.rebol.com, and downloads.rebol.com, etc. Again, not sure if that would help or not.

Perhaps an even better solution would be to use the RIX search engine which did a good job indexing REBOL in the past, but I'm not sure if it's supported these days (and it's gotten a bit on the slow side.) Does anyone have information about RIX or know how to contact its author?

Well, that's the situation. Let me know if you have some ideas or insights.

Update 26-May-2010

We've tried various search alternatives, but so far nothing better has been found. We've reverted to Google because it produces satisfactory (but not great) results, keeps the search properly local (does not link off to another URL), and integrates best with the website templates and CSS.

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