I have been meaning to write something about this for a long time. The idea came to me a while back when I was watching Veronica Mars and in one episode the kids at school were tested in the IT lab for search competencies. The challenge was who could find the information pitched by the teacher the fastest. The information was the name of a local basketball player who has surprisingly saved the day in a match by scoring a final 4 pointer.
Eventually, Veronica Mars wins simply by looking up the names of the players and then cross referencing the lower scoring ones with the word 'surprising'.
This to me is a perfect example of how search actually works. I have previously said that the fastest way to find something on google is to simply "ask" like you were asking a normal person. The reason behind this is that most people do not take a scientific approach to searching. They behave naturally towards online and have no search strategies, like inputing keywords and tags or using punctuation. For them conversations online are much like conversations offline, they rely on simple speech patterns and simple thinking patterns and when they write they write like they were talking about it. So, the largest number of indexed information sounds like that. In the case above people would not mostly be interested in the scores of a game but rather in the human story of an underdog who suprises everyone.
So, search is always about the simplest and most human context. Find what is the key, common story around a term and search it just like that, like you were talking about it. Generally, it gives the best results.
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.