Improving Search engine results through user feedback
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jun-25
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Disclosed is a method to improve the quality of results that a search engine generates in response to a user query, using metrics based upon prior usage by other users. Currently when a user searches for a phrase or word on most search engines, the user doing the search cannot easily determine prior user satisfaction of the components of the database and the URLs returned. Prior users' responses and utilization of the results are an important indicator of the effectiveness of the individual components of the results. In this disclosure we propose a mechanism for incorporating prior user feedback as a response to the query results generated. It is clear that not all the links returned by a search result are of equal value. A typical user of a Search engine will find that some links are useful while others are not. We are proposing a mechanism to communicate a particular user's view of the quality of information returned, back to the search engine. The user feedback would also be valuable to the Search engine administrator in evaluating the database, in assigning priorities or weights to the components of the database, and in reorganizing and deleting useless information etc. Such a facility would enable the Search engine to respond to customer queries with more pertinent information thereby resulting in improved customer satisfaction. When the user submits a query to a search engine, the search engine generates its response and sends back to the user a list of URLs in the form of hyperlinks. When a user clicks on a hyperlink, a software agent resident on the search engine will update a usage count or number of hits for that URL. A proposed implementation of such an agent would be a Java* servlet running on the search engine. The agent on the search engine can also estimate how useful a link was to a user by keeping track of the user's visit time A long visit by a user implies that a user found the URL to contain useful information, while a short visit implies that the visit was not useful. To obtain a better metric, the user can also be persuaded to provide an online evaluation (through promise of improvement of better on line experience as well as other incentives) by filling in a form regarding the importance of the returned links to reflect more accurately how useful a given hyperlink or a service provided by the Search engine is. The key idea is the enablement of a feedback mechanism by a user of a search engine to measure the quality of information provided by the search results and the ability to incorporate that feedback into the database and search engine for future use.