How to rank in Ask.com?
Are you getting targeted traffic from Ask.com ?
Some of you may have noticed the traffic coming in to your site from ask.com. Although the traffic is “just a trickle” compared to traffic from Google, Yahoo, and MSN, it is extensive compared to other search properties.
In this post, we’re going to talk about why it’s important to pay attention to and begin optimizing for Ask.com We will give you some information about how their algorithm works and tell how you to do SERP research to improve your rankings.
First of all, it is important to know that Ask Jeeves was recently purchased by Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp, making them “players” and giving them more funding and a wider reach than they’ve had before. IAC has plans for Ask.com:
Ask Jeeves is one of four world-class search technology providers, with approximately 42 million U.S. unique monthly users, and is one of the largest generators of online advertising in the world. Barry Diller, Chairman and CEO of IAC, said, “Ask Jeeves was founded almost ten years ago based on the idea that simple text search results alone are not sufficient or satisfying - but, rather, that consumers want answers to questions - and questions posed in natural language and answered with spot-on accuracy were especially desired and appealing. Of the many search engines launched during that time, Ask was one of the very few that established itself … and we believe that in the future it has the potential to become one of the great brands on the Internet and beyond, and by beyond we mean in wireless, in the search for anything on any device. It is that belief, powered by IAC’s wealth of resources and thriving businesses, together with the continuing strong management of Steve Berkowitz and his team, that is the impetus for this transaction.”
Additionally, although Ask only has a small share of search traffic, it is enough to warrant some attention:
Including Ask owned properties Iwon and MyWay, Ask represents 5.3% of searches, just behind AOL. This could result in decent traffic, especially if you are already well established in Google, Yahoo and MSN and are looking for additionally sources of relevant visitors. Also, if you offer a niche product or have a very large website, Ask can result in more traffic to your site.
How does Ask.com rank websites?
First, we have to establish that Ask.com uses technology that they purchased from Teoma. Teoma’s claim is that although it scans only a fraction of the content covered by major engines like Google, it produces well ordered and relevant search results by initially eliminating all the irrelevant sites and then considering the popularity of only those that relate to the search subject in the first place. It also provides other ways to sort through thousands or millions of search results by allowing users to refine or expand their search. Teoma was created initially from research derived from Jon Kleinberg’s HITS.
The HITS algorithm focuses on identifying communities, and and authorities within those communities. You can read our review of HITS here: Hubs and Authorities.
Based on this model, Teoma works by responding to a query. In real time, they match the query with relevant pages by using Term Vector analysis (matching the query with words on the page). Then, they expand the set of sites by including sites that link to or from the initial set of about 200 sites. Subsequently, they analyze the linkage structure and determine which sites are hubs and authorities. They determine this by checking the total number of outbound and inbound links – if a site has many outbound links to sites that have many inbound links, it’s considered a hub. If a site has many inbound links from sites that have many outbound links, it is considered an authority. Results are then re-ranked to include these calculations.
Also, Teoma owns the patent for DirectHit, so they also include clickthrough counts in their algorithm.
They also may be using many other modifiers to their core algorithm. The best way to understand the rankings is to analyze the SERP’s for various keywords, particularly your own keyword sector.
Getting listed in Ask.com
There is no way to submit to Ask.com They discontinued their Site Submit program, so there is no way to pay for inclusion and there is no free “add url” form.
The only way to get listed is to get Teoma’s spider to find your site by following links from other sites. After you get links from other sites, you can watch your server logs to see if the spider is visiting your site and grabbing your pages.
Here’s the information for finding Teoma in your server logs:
The crawler comes from the IP address of 65.214.xx.xx and will be called egspd433.teoma.com. The user agent shows as Mozilla/2.0 (compatible; Ask Jeeves/Teoma).
For more information, please visit this page: http://sp.ask.com/docs/about/aj/teoma.htm
How to Optimize for Teoma
First, it’s important to ensure that your site has regular on-page optimization and your keyword is included throughout the code of your page. Teoma uses regular Term Vector analysis to determine what your page is about and it is used when constructing the first set of results. So make sure your keyword is included in your title, text of the site, meta keywords and description, and other relevant areas. The meta description tag is important for Teoma, so make sure you have your keywords mentioned in your meta tags, and make sure that every page has a unique set of keywords in the meta keywords and descriptions tags. Also, remember that Teoma indexes the entire text on a Web page and does not ignore the stop words like “on”, “the”, “and” etc, so craft your on-page campaign accordingly. Basically, use standard on-page SEO techniques – the same approach you have been taking with Google, Yahoo and MSN.
Having ensured that your site has proper onpage optimization, you then have to conduct a very focused link popularity campaign. Instead of working on a non-relevant reciprocal link or buying generic links, it’s important for you to get links from sites that are within your “community”. Remember that Ask works by identifying communities and ranking the top, most authoritative sites in that community.
Who is part of you community?
To optimize for Ask, you first have to determine what sites belong to your online community. Who are the experts? Which sites receive a lot of links from other relevant sites? Which sites have great lists of relevant sites in that community? You have to do the research and have a very clear map of your community. You can perform this research simply by typing your top
keywords into ask.com and making a list of the sites that rank. Then, visit those sites and become familiar with the community. Take notes when you visit them, listing things such as, do they have a lot of links out to other sites in the community? Do they only have a few links out to other sites? How can I encourage them to link to me? Don’t forget to visit the sites that are related to yours by clicking on the keywords that appear under “refine” or “expand” your search on the right side of the SERP’s.
Then, you have to start establishing yourself in your community. Imagine you just moved to a new area and wanted to make friends. What would you do? You would bake your famous oatmeal cookies and go knock on the door of your neighbors to say hi and introduce yourself. Same with your website. You would visit established sites that belong to your community and ask them to mention you in their websites. Ideally, you have something unique to offer, something that other sites in your community don’t offer, this way they’ll be happy to link to you.
If you are offering a product, try to get other sites in your community to review your product. Pay them to post your review, or give htem your product for free. If you are competing in a competitive area, try to find a niche for yourself where you can establish your site as the “big fish” in a small pond.
Offer something unique
You will have an easier job getting listed on other sites from your community if you offer something unique that is not currently available in your community. Also, you may consider finding an incentive for other sites to link to you, like offering them a discount if they buy your products, giving them free advice if you’re an expert on something, or offering a free tool that they can add to their site with a link back to yours.
Finally, try to generate new content on a weekly basis. This advice is good for all search engines in general, and will also help you with Ask. This will also encourage people to link to you, as they see you are constantly developing content and are offering “value” to the community.
Once you have established yourself as an expert in your community, it’s important to continue building your reputation by getting other related sites to link to yours. Also, use keywords that belong to their “refine” or “expand” search feature, on the right hand side of the SERP’s, to get your site listed in those SERP’s to link to you. All the sites listed under those keywords belong to your community. If you continue growing your site, adding content, and getting links from other sites, you will see your rankings increase and stabilize in Ask.com
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