Linden Lab Official:Search Guidelines

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Overview

Second Life Search strives to make easy for Residents to discover the incredible array of content, experiences and people in Second Life by providing the most relevant search results. These guidelines will help you create listings for Second Life Search that will allow us to properly index your listings, match your listing to relevant searches and help you avoid hurting your search rank.

This information is specifically about those parts of Second Life Search served by the Google Search Appliances (GSAs), including:

For information on other aspects of Search, see the Search FAQ.

Search policies

Any attempt to artificially inflate your rank in search results could result in penalties to your rank, de-listing from search and disciplinary action against your Second Life account. This includes but is not limited to inappropriate use of traffic bots or Picks.

Other things that may cause your listing to receive a lower search rank include: Keyword stuffing or false representation (for example, saying that your store sells skins when it only sells furniture). Remember that failure to follow the Maturity ratings and inworld search guidelines may cause your listing to be excluded from some or all searches.


General guidelines

Appeal to humans, not search engines

Help people understand what you offer by providing useful, clear and accurate descriptions that communicate what’s valuable and unique about your place, group or event. Know who your target customer or audience is and speak to their interests as specifically as possible. This will help you stand out from the crowd and help new Residents in particular become long-term members of our community and economy.

Be specific and descriptive

Avoid filling descriptions with nothing but a list of keywords. Use phrases and sentences that are human-readable. The search engine will return results for words that are based on the linguistic root of words in your description. This means that if you sell tango dance animations, your description does not need to include every version of the word dance (dances, dancing, and so on). Searches on the word dancing will include your listing in the results.

Also, a large portion of searches include more than one keyword (in fact, many searches are for phrases), so including common phrases that apply to your product or interests in your description can help your listing be found.

So, for example, if you sell Jazz-age clothes and accessories, say so. If your location also looks like a speakeasy and hosts events, let people know.

Create a brand

Top merchants and events in Second Life are successful in part because they have created a unique feel around their product that helps people identify what’s valuable or appealing about their offering versus a long list of similar offerings. Communicate the vibe of your store or group through its name, imagery, and targeted descriptions.

For more info on advertising opportunities, see the Classifieds FAQ and XStreetSL. Read the Business and Marketing article for more tips on starting a Second Life business or bringing your business into Second Life.

Maturity ratings matter

Be sure to mark your listing with the maturity rating appropriate to the content and location. Listings that are not marked appropriately will miss their target audience and may be blocked from search results. See Maturity ratings and inworld search for more info. Note that all searches on secondlife.com return only Parcel lght G.png General results.

Be a good sport

Be advised that any attempt to artificially inflate your rank in search results could result in penalties to your rank, de-listing from search, and disciplinary action against your Second Life account. For more information, read the "Search Policies" section below.

Stay current

Second Life is a changing world, and Resident search behavior changes too. Based on our monitoring of user behavior and satisfaction, we will continually update our relevance and rank algorithms to serve the broadest user base possible. New releases to Search will be announced in advance, whenever possible, on the Second Life Blog Technology channel. You can also log-in to the wiki and click the "watch" option on this page to be notified of any changes to this document. As user behavior changes, so too should listing strategies change -- ask your customers what drew them to your listing, and learn from others you admire.

Technical guidelines

Check Show in Search

Click the Show in Search check box to include your listing in the search index. This option is available on places, profiles, groups, and objects. If it is not checked, search results will not return these items. Events are automatically included in the search index. Note that items in the Search index are also available to be viewed on the web and may be indexed by web search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo! NOTE: None of your personal information is available on the web unless you write that information in your listing descriptions.

Relevance and rank: what are they?

On top of the Google PageRank algorithm included in the GSA software, Linden Lab monitors and fine-tunes a wide variety of Second Life-specific data signals to weigh the relevance of listing for each search request. We first determine if a listing is relevant to a particular search query, then we determine the importance of that listing relative to other relevant results. Searchers can then refine their results with filters or sorting features.

To create the best search tool for everyone, we are constantly improving the relevance and rank algorithms work. Following the guidelines, policies, and tips in this document will help you create effective listings that can be found by your target audience. We will continue to revise this document to include the most up to date information to help you be successful with Search.

Some tips

  • Spelling and grammar matter. Avoid using non-traditional spellings. Also, be sure you've got the correct spelling. Avoid over-use of capital letters or symbol characters.
  • Internationalize. Second Life is an international community, where many languages are spoken. If you are targeting non-English speakers, be sure to use their language in your listing name and descriptions.
  • Indexing. The collection is crawled daily. Updates are usually available within 24 hours, but can take up to 72 hours.
  • Parcels. Take care when changing parcel boundaries. A variety of parcel data is used in calculating search rank, and changing the boundaries of your land parcel can cause that data to be reset or lost. When joining two parcels, the largest parcel keeps much of the parcel data.

Frequently asked questions about search rankings

Why does my store’s ranking change when maturity levels are checked and unchecked?

GSA calculates relevancy relative to the other results; it’s not an absolute ranking. Your store may be ranked high when adult and mature listings are included, but can be lower when listed with G-only results. Conversely, having a lot of mature and adult listings that are relevant to your search query may mean that your parcel is pushed several pages down.

Why did my listing move in the search results?

The previous, older GSA servers were static. The only way that results changed were when new content was included in the index. One of the best features of the new GSA technology is that it automatically analyzes searcher behavior to fine-tune relevance and scoring. The GSA leverages advanced statistical regression to determine the statistical significance of user behavior, and adjusts for trust bias (i.e., users clicking on the first result solely because it's first). Put more simply, search changes as people use it.

Also, until recently, listings would fluctuate when the index was being crawled. This could cause several hours of movement in listings. We replaced this crawl system with the more stable feed system to minimize disruptions during updates. Updates now happen in under an hour and movement is much less impactful.

If I have zero traffic, do I drop from search results?

No. This rumour is not true. The amount of traffic (that is, the number of avatars on your parcel over time) has a small effect on search ranking, but it will not cause you to drop from search results altogether.

How do I boost my ranking in search results?

Read the Search Guidelines. These guidelines are the best resource for improving your visibility in search.

What is traffic and what role does it play in search rankings?

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Traffic is a numerical metric calculated for every parcel of land inworld. This score can be summarized as the cumulative minutes spent on the parcel by all visitors to the parcel within the previous day (PT). It is calculated by taking the total seconds spent on the parcel, dividing by 60, and rounding to the nearest whole minute. For example, if your parcel has a cumulative seconds total of 121s over the course of a day, the traffic score is 2.

Traffic has a mild influence on the relevance of search results. It's one of many factors included in the search logic.

To see the traffic score for a parcel, right-click on the ground in the parcel and choose About Land; or choose World > Place Profile > About Land. The General tab shows the traffic score for each parcel.

How does size affect search rankings?

Search treats very small parcels as less important in Search; especially parcels listed that are smaller than the size restriction allows.

How else is ranking determined?

In addition to traffic and size, and the GSA ranking mechanisms, we also apply a small negative boost related to how spammy a listing appears to be. We determine this using software that evaluates content and gives it a rating. This spam ranking is viewable on the source code of your world page listing and there are several in-world merchants with free objects that will tell you if your parcel has been flagged for spam. Adjusting the title and description text associated with your parcel will affect your spam rating and that new rating will be picked up in the next update.

Also, in Viewier 1, the Places tab is sorted in descending order by traffic, Classifieds is sorted in descending order by price, and so on.

Are inworld business owners subject to a periodic re-shuffling of search criteria?

Search is a very important tool for users and business owners, and we will constantly strive to improve that tool to meet all our Residents' needs. We will release periodic updates, new features and bug fixes that may affect the performance of particular listings in the search results. Whenever possible, we will communicate about these releases in advance on the Second Life blog or in Search Release Notes.

Do classifieds that have paid more for inclusion always appear at the top of results?

Ads shown in both the Classifieds tab and in All Results and Groups search results are ranked by a combination of keyword relevance and price paid.

Learn more