Re: [htdig] Optimal html-page layout for best hit results ?

Gilles Detillieux (
Fri, 6 Aug 1999 15:17:21 -0500 (CDT)

According to Dr. Thomas-M.Stein:
> A few things are still not very clear to me...
> On Fri, 6 Aug 1999, Geoff Hutchison wrote:
> > "Dr. Thomas-M.Stein" wrote:
> > > Any other idea on how to best build up the pages to get best results and
> > > satisfied users ?
> >
> > Since the META description is used in the search results themselves,....
> Is it actually 'presented' in those few line of description
> collected from the meta tags like:
> <meta name="author" content="Thomas-M. Stein
> <meta name="description" content=
> "This site describes the use of sprinklers in Citrus under arid ....">
> So searching for 'sprinkler' and 'citrus' would result in something like:
> Page Title So and So *****
> --------------------------
> This site describes the use of sprinklers in Citrus under arid ...
> ...................... etc.

This will work if you set use_meta_description to true in htdig.conf.
The default is false, which means the document excerpt will always appear
in the results, if one is available.

> > ... this is often a very good way to indicate relevance to a user. A
> > short summary often provides excellent results and can be indexed with
> > high weight...
> This would mean to give more weight to the "meta_description_factor: ??"
> or would the default of 20 be enough.

I believe the default is 50. I'd suggest trying it with that and see if
it works well for a few of your test cases.

> If I am using 'keywords_meta_tag_names: keywords' as well
> the search would look for the keywords and present
> the contents of the results as a summary.
> I know there are no general rules but experiences would help.

The search will include documents with the keywords you're searching for,
but those won't be displayed in the search results. The results will
show document excerpts or meta descriptions, but not meta keywords, so
it's possible that some of the results won't show any highlighted text.

> > ... This would essentially fall along the same lines as
> > carefully picking a page title.
> But still we would have the problem that the highlighted link of that page
> would be "Page Title So an So" if someone doesn't choose it properly. And
> thats the first thing which probably will be read.

All the more reason to pick meaningful page titles! :) Seriously, though,
if you have a problem with pages with titles that aren't descriptive of
their contents, there's not a lot htdig can do about it.

Gilles R. Detillieux              E-mail: <>
Spinal Cord Research Centre       WWW:
Dept. Physiology, U. of Manitoba  Phone:  (204)789-3766
Winnipeg, MB  R3E 3J7  (Canada)   Fax:    (204)789-3930

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Fri Aug 06 1999 - 13:17:58 PDT