Problems With Steemit's Built-in Search & How AskSteem Can Help

in asksteem •  last year

Retro-Search-Box.jpg

Introduction

About a month ago, an amazing Steem tool was introduced by @thekyle: Ask Steem - STEEM Search Engine. AskSteem is a unique tool that makes searching Steem's blockchain fairly easy.
There are just so many ways that you can query the blockchain. From simple queries that you normally use when searching on Google, like:
How to train your dog
to more complicated queries like:
((bitcoin OR tags:bitcoin) AND (net_votes:>500 AND children:(>50 AND <100))
For a more in-depth guide on how to use AskSteem, you can check the introduction post here: Introducing AskSteem - A steem search engine

Steemit's Built-in Search

If you've been on Steemit for a while, then more than likely you've used the Built-in Search tool more than once. To me personally, I was never impressed with this search tool as it normally brings old, usually irrelevant results. But why?

The current Steemit built-in search is powered by Google Custom Search. This is basically a tool that focuses on bringing the results for your queries from just 1 website, not the whole Google database. This is very similar to using the "site:" search operator:
site:steemit.com keywordgoeshere
However, using the Google Custom Search, you tend to get more results as fewer results are filtered out. IE: tag pages.

Now, let's do a quick comparison between using the "site:" operator on Google and using Steemit's Built-in Search for the same query steem power:

1- Using the site: operator:

google operator.png

Returned results: 118,000 results

2- Using Steemit's Built-in Search:

built-in search.png

Returned results: 168,000 results

Now, comparing the two searches, you'll notice that the Built-in search brought in more results. It exactly returned 168,000 results while the "site:" operator only returned 118,000 results. That's 50,000 LESS returned results, which is HUGE!

So let's just stick with the Built-in Search tool, it works really well. Right? I don't think so!

But why? Well let me show you the results we should be expecting:

asksteem query.png

Returned results: 172,177

These are the total results for steem power in Steem's blockchain. Google Custom Search was close to the number of returned results but it failed in returning all of the results. It showed 4,177 fewer results and that's for just 1 keyword!

The problem with the Built-in Search tool is that it only brings the 'indexed' results in the Google database. For a page to be indexed, it requires the Google bot to visit that page, and it's up to Google to decide whether they want to add that page to their index or not. While I believe that Steemit.com holds a lot of authority and almost all pages are indexed within a few minutes of posting, but we're still relying on Google to make the decision.

So let's say a new post was made less than one minute ago, it's guaranteed to be found on AskSteem, but there's no guarantee at all that it'll ever be found on Google.

Another problem is the way that Google sorts the results. Let's check the first returned result for the same query steem power:

1st returned.png

Now let's take a closer look at the post:
closerlook.png

Now while I think it's a great post by @donkeypong, it's still a year old! So this doesn't exactly count as a 'fresh' result.

Another problem appears when we try to look for 'fresh' results. We can attempt to do so by sorting the results by date. Here's what we get when we try the sort by date option:

re.png

As you can see, the returned results have nothing to do with our query, NOT AT ALL! They were only returned as Google thinks they are fresh. And that's it.

The Solution

I believe we should all, as a community, start supporting AskSteem as I believe this is the way that search should be done. At the moment, AskSteem is no where near perfect as it still lacks a lot of things that would make the experience of searching a lot better.

For instance, the returned results by AskSteem are generally displayed in a random order, where in a perfect world (or a perfect search engine), some ranking factors should be introduced and used, like:

  • Post date.
  • Number of upvotes.
  • Number of comments.
  • Resteems.
  • Author reputation / rank.
  • Views.
  • Social signals: facebook likes, twitter retweets, etc.
  • Backlinks weight / number.
  • On-site post mentions.

So I believe that an algorithm that takes into account all of these 'ranking factors' should be included in the development plans for AskSteem, as it will take the search experience to a whole another level. But this won't happen overnight and it won't happen without supporting the project.


That's it for today folks. And of course, if you like this post, please resetem, upvote and leave a comment.

Until another post, Steem on..

All the best,
@moataz

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Thanks for mentioning us, just wanted to let you know that our current ranking algorithm does take into account the number of votes a post has, the number of followers of the author, steem rep, etc. and we're working on other factors such as AuthorRank and ranking new posts higher.

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Hey @thekyle

It didn't look that way when I tried it. For instance, please check this query: https://www.asksteem.com/search?q=steem+power

The results looked all scrambled to me. Would you demonstrate how the algorithm is currently working?

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Great post! I've been wondering about the best way to search here...

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Hey @jenlavallee thanks so much for the support. I hope this will help a tiny bit :)

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It does! I'm only a week into my account so I can use all the help I can get ;)

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Awesome! Welcome aboard btw! :)

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Thank you! So far, I'm loving it. I've had some success with a few posts so I can see it's going to be a fun adventure here ;)

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Cool. You should come by at www.SteemSpeak.com sometime, you'll find many of us socializing there :)

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Thanks! I will definitely check that out :)

Such a great post @moataz. Well presented and thought out. I had "forgotten" about asksteem, and this has clarified a lot of things for me. I'm with you on supporting asksteem. Glad you guys know what your doing, for the sake of the rest of us like me...who don't have a clue :) Definitely gets my vote

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Hey @madein-hisimage thanks dear for your continued support :)

Yeah I've been involved with search engines for quite a while now so I thought why not toss in my two cents :) Hope this gets noticed though; my posts don't get that much attention

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Me too !!! I will re-steem tonight (NZ) time. I never quite know when to post or re-steem...can't do any harm :)

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Thank you!! Oh and you should come by at SteemSpeak some time too! :)

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Yet to investigate that

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Haha sure sure

I have used the search engine once, didn't like it so haven't used it again

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I've had all kind of bad experiences as well, AskSteem however is a bit better at finding posts, you should give it a try

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I'll Check it out tomorrow, Thank you :)

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My pleasure :)

amazing post @moataz ! I'm still reading it! :)

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Hey @steemitqa thanks mate

Congratulations! This post has been upvoted from the communal account, @minnowsupport, by moataz from the Minnow Support Project. It's a witness project run by aggroed, ausbitbank, teamsteem, theprophet0, and someguy123. The goal is to help Steemit grow by supporting Minnows and creating a social network. Please find us in the Peace, Abundance, and Liberty Network (PALnet) Discord Channel. It's a completely public and open space to all members of the Steemit community who voluntarily choose to be there.

If you like what we're doing please upvote this comment so we can continue to build the community account that's supporting all members.

hi i just started blogging in steemit @willinvestph but when i tried to search my blog using the steemit search engine it doesn't show up. anyone who knows why this is happening?