Social Media's untapped search potential

[Riya](, a visual search company just launched a new visual image search engine called []( A few months ago I did a post on [Riya]( and how they were making a lot of usability and search engine optimization mistakes. The CEO acknowledged my blog post and said that they were working on fixing these issues with Riya. With they have definitely improved the usability of their search engine compared to the old Riya design, but they have made most of the same search engine optimization mistakes. The reason that search engine rankings are more important with is because “[this site - in its current incarnation - will be most interesting to women and non-geeks](”.
Because of the “mass” non-geeky appeal of, it is extremely important for’s search results to show up in other search engines. When someone types “[red shoes](” in Google,’s results for “[red shoes](” should show up. Here are some fundamental reasons why they won’t show up anytime soon:
###URL Strings
Most of the URLs on contain extraneous characters.
If you want all of your pages to get indexed, it is important to make sure you use clean URLs on your site.
###Meta Tags
Most of the pages on contain generic meta tags which can really hurt search engine rankings.
Current: Like Visual Search. Find things by Appearance with our new Likeness technology.
Better: Find red shoes using’s visual search. Find things by Appearance and our new Likeness technology.
The search engines will see most of a website’s pages as duplicate if the same meta tags are used on each page. Search engines don’t want to show searchers duplicate pages so it is important to use unique meta tags on each page of your website.
###Sitemap has thousands of pages however only a [handful are currently indexed]( A sitemap can help get these pages indexed which would ultimately increase search engine traffic. In most cases having thousands of pages indexed by a search engine instead of only a few can increase your odds of getting search traffic.
The design of may look decent but the code is very messy. They need to stop using tables and start using table-less CSS. Why would you want to make a search engine crawl 1000s of lines of code versus 100s of lines of code? To maximize your search engine visibility, make sure your website is using as little code as possible and is [XHTML]( and [CSS]( compliant.
###Section 508
At the current moment is not [Section 508]( compliant. Many people ignore Section 508 compliancy but all things can add up and make an impact in your search engine rankings. It might be difficult to get your website fully section 508 compliant but when it comes to search engine rankings it is important to try to get as close as you can.
These are just some of the search engine optimization mistakes is making. They have been getting a lot of [backward links]( from the buzz in the blogosphere but it is clear that very little thought went into search engine rankings when Riya was reinvented into A few months ago, Cameron wrote a post about [Technorati's success]( at having their search results show up on other search engines and he also followed up with a [post]( when they implemented some of the changes that were suggested in his first post. I love the idea of and it’s non-geeky appeal, I just hope that they learn from Technorati and do something about fixing their SEO related issues so they can maximize their potential for success.

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Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at Quick Sprout.

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4 thoughts on “'s untapped search potential

  1. What you say makes a lot of sense but what is Google’s position on other engines search results being included in natural listings? I remember a few years ago they specifically nailed directories with an algorithm change. If can’t optimise their results they could run Adwords campaigns targeting their individual search results pages.

  2. Anthony, at the current moment other search engines such as Technorati are being listed in the natural listings. If Google can index the page and if it is relevant to a specific search query, it can be displayed in natural listings.

  3. Wow, I’m simply amazed at seeing a website of this caliber still using tables and such cluttered code.
    Great article Neil, thanks for the insight!