PostHeaderIcon SL Search: Any Keyword = Keyword Spam

You have likely by now read the news about how Linden Lab is revamping policies and terms of use at XSL (XStreet SL, a.k.a. SL Exchange, a.k.a. SLX) to bring it in-line with the Content Management Roadmap.
Certainly it was planned all along, but now the Lab has finally updated the X Street SL policies to bring them in-line with in-world policies

[From Blackthorne inSL™, Ker-Punk!]

In other words, Linden Lab is finally going to take a little responsibility at enforcing some of the rules they've been harping on us all these years. Good for them. Of course there is a long thread of talkbacks (a.k.a. "comments" for all you blogodicts out there) and one in-particular that caught my eye - and I won't post the name of the poster, but rather simply repeat their statement:
Can you clarify use of keywords? When the search was revamped a couple of years ago, I seem to recall the Linden giving advice to business owners on placing ads, to use proper keywords to make their ads stand out and get more hits.

Here is the AD to the store we have in our sim.

High quality low priced Kitchen living room bedroom couch sofa lamp table entertainment center rug carpet chair animated bed art plants curtain drapes vase pottery dresser

Is this keyword spam?

The bold emphasis is mine. That is their advertisement in-world verbatim (according to them) - I ask you to read it again.

What is wrong with that picture?

Okay, first of all, most of the keywords aren't. They are bland, generic, fuzzy words. Do you have any idea what you would get in a results list by search for "bed"? Even worse if I searched for "bed room" because the search treats it as a search for both words, returning entries that contain either.

A tip to all merchants and enterprising business persons on the Second Life grid: don't put keywords into your parcel descriptions or classified advertisements at all.

Rather, how about actually stating what you have, what you offer? Actually put in a description that...well, describes your stuff. For example, what if the person whose advert above actually described what they are selling:
Home furnishings in Asian, Medieval and Contemporary themes, each theme available in multiple styles. Furniture to fill-out all rooms of your castle or home.

Hmmm... so, if I were searching for a bed do you really think I'm going to put the word "bed" in the search all box? And even if I did, where do you think you'll end-up in the results? If I were looking for rugs or a dining set, would I not look for "home furnishing" or "home furniture"?

So, if I plopped "Asian Furniture" into the SL search, which of the above classified do you think will appear first... the original "keyword" version above, or the example I created?

One word to describe most of those keywords used and here's the kicker: the original 'keyword' classified won't appear in results at all. Neither word I searched on appears in their keyword list. The best keyword list you can create is to simply describe your product.

That's why even though I sell rugs and beds and fountains and kitchens and bathrooms and so many other things along with my thrones.... I don't try to cater to everyone all the time. My advert and parcel name and description reads this way... as a description, not a mindless list of words that say nothing. I don't use "keywords" at all and it works wonderfully.

Now an assignment for you: go in-world.


Right now. Go ahead, do it.

(Okay, if you can't get in-world, then go here before you continue)

Open the search widget, it doesn't matter which tab you use: "Search All", "Search Places" or "Classifieds"... enter the following into the search field:


Press the search button and what comes up first? Click on it and you get the full text of my parcel name and description, which also is the same title and description in my dinky L$50 classified advertisement:

Place: ~ Blackthorne Throne Store~

Category: SHOPPING

Region: Croix

Best thrones in Second Life. Allow us to prove it: visit our showroom floor and see for yourself. Satisifaction is always guaranteed or your money back on transfer items*.

*Original owner only, requires proof of purchase.

And here's the funny thing, it costs me L$80 per week. L$50 for the classified and L$30 to have my parcel appear in search places. I do not ask people to add my place to their picks and neither do I ask them join any groups and so on and so forth. Not campers, no traffic bots - in fact the lower the traffic the better. It helps provide as lag-free-as-possible an experience for my shoppers.

I simply describe what I sell and I sell the visit, not the product. The object of your classified is to get people to bother to teleport to you and endure the rezzing process. After that your product should sell itself. I average 30 to 40 visitors a day and I am fortunate that I am getting almost a 10% return on those visits (1 in 10 are actually making a purchase - and not always a throne.)

How do I know? I use tools that help me to keep track not only of how many are coming through (like your typical visitor tracker) - but also where they are coming from. And so far, 27 in 30 are coming from the "Search All/Places".

Next source after that is "Shared Landmark" then "Pre-sales Landmark" and then finally "Profile Picks". The way I know this is through the "Visitor Source Tracker" by Kerhop Seattle (XSL Link) - I'm not saying it's the best or the only. I am saying it's what I use and it has paid for itself countless times over just in the way it has helped me to understand my customer - and to know which marketing efforts work and which don't.

Here is an actual example (email version - with name and key redacted):

The object 'Blackthorne Source Tracker' has sent you a message from Second Life:

[firstname lastname] (Age: 621 Days, Profile: secondlife:///app/agent/7e509388-d30f-4e1c-a3d5-5d787e01234/about ) arrived from (9)SearchAll/Places landing location in AboutLand

I can set-up nine separate "landing points" and if I need more, I simply rezz a second unit.

The point is this: if you're going to be in business in first life or Second Life, work smarter, not harder. Start by dumping any and all "keywords" that actually are not only useless to your potential customer, but actually make you harder to find.

For business success, you really need to understand the "Golden Rule" triumvirate, a part of which is allowing potential customers to find you.
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