A study by researchers from Compaq Computer, Web portal AltaVista and IBM concluded that the Web has distinct regions, including some that are inaccessible to one another. The layout, researchers said, resembles a bow tie with four sections: a "strongly connected core," "origination" pages, "termination" pages and "disconnected" pages.
Within the core, the knot of the bow tie, Web surfers can travel smoothly between sites through hyperlinks. One side of the bow contains origination pages that allow surfers to reach the central knot. The other side of consists of termination pages that can be accessed from the core but are not linked back to it.
The final region consists of disconnected pages, which are cut off from the core but are connected to other areas peripherally.
"Webmasters and people doing e-commerce need to understand how to position their sites," said Andrei Broder, vice president of research for AltaVista. "If you want to have more international traffic, you need to be in a better connectivity position. It's always better to be in the center of the town than far out."
According to the researchers, the goal of the study was to understand how the Web is connected to help better design sites and search strategies.
"This study can help us predict how big the Web will grow and what kind of strange things can show up," said IBM researcher Ravi Kumar.