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Keywords in the URL and file names
It’s generally believed that Ask.com gives some weight to keywords in filenames and URL names. If you’re creating a file, try to name it with keywords.
Keywords in the ALT tags
Ask.com indexes ALT tags, so if you use images on your site, make sure to add them. ALT tags should contain more than the image’s description. They should include keywords, especially if the image is at the top of the page. ALT tags are explained later.
There’s been some debate about how long doorway pages for AltaVista should be. Some webmasters say short pages rank higher, while others argue that long pages are the way to go. According to AltaVista’s help section, it prefers long and informative pages. We’ve found that pages with 600-900 words are most likely to rank well.
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AltaVista has the ability to index frames, but it sometimes indexes and links to pages intended only as navigation. To keep this from happening to you, submit a frame-free site map containing the pages that you want indexed.
You may also want to include a “robots.txt” file to prohibit AltaVista from indexing certain pages.
Ask.com Search Features
Ask.com offers a wide range of search features. Most of these options are available in its “Advanced Search” section.
Boolean search – Limited Boolean searching is available. Ask defaults to an AND between search terms and supports the use of – for NOT. Either OR or ORR can be used for an OR operation, but the operator must be in all upper case.
Unfortunately, no nesting is available, so term1 term2 OR term3 is processed as (term1 AND term2) OR term3. Try the advanced search, but it is still difficult to do a term1 AND (term2 OR term3) search.
Phrase – Available. Put quotes around the phrase, such as “New York Times” Ask also supports phrase searching when a dash is used between words with no spaces as in cd-rom-drivers.
Proximity – Available. NEAR operator means within ten words of one another. Can be nested with other tags.
Word Stemming – Available. You cannot use the wild card (*) at the end or in the middle of a word.
Field Search – The following options are available:
- Applet: searches for the name of an applet
- Domain: specifies the domain extension, such as .com
- Host: searches for pages within a particular site
- Image: searches for an image name
- Link: searches for pages that link to the specified site
- Object: search engines – searches for the name of an object
- Text: excludes Meta tags information
- Title: search in the HTML title only
- URL: searches for sites that have a specified word in the URL
Date Searching – Available under Advanced Search section.
Search within results – Available. This option is offered after each search.
Media Type searching – Available for Images, Music/MP3, and Video.
Language Searching – AltaVista has very extensive language support. It supports around 30 languages.
Ask Owns Ask.com Technology
Ask.com adds a new dimension and level of authority to search results through its approach, known as: Subject-Specific PopularitySM.
To determine the authority—and thus the overall quality and relevance—of a site’s content, Ask.com uses Subject-Specific PopularitySM. Subject-Specific Popularity ranks a site based on the number of same-subject pages that reference it, not just general popularity. In a test performed by Search Engine Watch, Ask.com’s relevance grade was raised to an “A” following the integration of Ask.com 2.0.
Ask.com 2.0: Evolution and Growth
In early 2003, Ask.com 2.0 was launched. The enhanced version represents a major evolution in terms of improvements to relevance and an expansion of the overall advanced search functionalities. Below are detailed explanations for the improvements made in this version:
Like social networks in the real world, the Web is clustered into local communities. Communities are groups of Web pages that are about or are closely related to the same subject. Ask.com is the only search technology that can view these communities as they naturally occur on the WebThis method allows Ask.com to generate more finely tuned search results.
In other words, Ask.com’s community-based approach reveals a 3-D image of the Web, providing it with more information about a particular Web page than other search engines, which have only a one-dimensional view of the Web.
Web-Based Spell Check
Ask.com’s proprietary Spell Check technology identifies query misspellings and offers corrections that help improve the relevance and precision of search results. The Spell Check technology, developed by Ask.com’s team of scientists, leverages the real-time content of the Web to determine the correct spelling of a word.
Dynamic Descriptions enhance search results by showing the context of search terms as they actually appear on referring Web pages. This feature provides searchers with information that helps them to determine the relevance of a given Web page in association with their query.
Advanced Search Tools
Ask.com’s Advanced Search tools allow searchers to search using specific criteria, such as exact phrase, page location, geographic region, domain and site, date, and other word filters. Users can also search using 10 Western languages, including Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. A link to Ask.com’s Advanced Search tools can be found next to the search box on Ask.com.com.
The Ask.com Algorithm
In addition to utilizing existing search techniques, Ask.com applies what they call authority, a new measure of relevance, to deliver search results. For this purpose, Ask.com employs three proprietary techniques: Refine, Results and Resources.
First, Ask.com organizes sites into naturally occurring communities that are about the subject of each search query. These communities are presented under the heading “Refine” on the Ask.com.com results page. This tool allows a user to further focus his or her specific search.
For example, a search for “Soprano” would present a user with a set of refinement suggestions such as “Marie-Adele McArther” (a renowned soprano), “Three Sopranos” (the operatic trio), “The Sopranos” (the wildlypopular HBO television show) as well as several other choices. No other technology can dynamically cluster search results into the actual communities as they exist on the Web.
Next, after identifying these communities, Ask.com employs a technique called Subject-Specific PopularitySM. Subject-Specific Popularity analyzes the relationship of sites within a community, ranking a site based on the number of same-subject pages that reference it, among hundreds of other criteria.
In other words, Ask.com determines the best answer for a search by asking experts within a specific subject community about who they believe is the best resource for that subject. By assessing the opinions of a site’s peers, Ask.com establishes authority for the search result. Relevant search results ranked by Subject-Specific Popularity are presented under the heading “Results” on the Ask.com results page.
In some instances companies pay to have their Web sites included within Ask.com’s data set, otherwise known as the Ask.com Index. Like all Web sites, these sites are processed through Ask.com’s search algorithms and are not guaranteed placement in the results. This ensures that relevancy is the primary driver of results.
Finally, by dividing the Web into local subject communities, Ask.com is able to find and identify expert resources about a particular subject. These sites feature lists of other authoritative sites and links relating to the search topic.
For example, a professor of Middle Eastern history may have created a page devoted to his collection of sites that explain the geography and topography of the Persian Gulf. This site would appear under the heading “Resources” in response to a Persian Gulf-related query. No previous search technology has been able to find and rank these sites.
Search results appearing under the heading “Sponsored Links” are provided by Google®, a third party provider of pay for performance search listings. Google generates highly relevant sponsored results by allowing advertisers to bid for placement in this area based on relevant keywords.
These results, which are powered by Google’s advanced algorithms, are then distributed across the Internet to some of the world’s most popular and well known Web sites, including Ask.com.com and Ask Jeeves. Other factors
Limited Boolean searching is available. Ask.com defaults to an AND between search terms and supports the use of – for NOT. Either OR or ORR can be used for an OR operation, but the operator must be in all upper case. Unfortunately, no nesting is vailable.
Phrase searching is available by using “double quotes” around a phrase or by checking the “Phrase Match” box. Ask.com also supports phrase searching when a dash is used between words with no spaces. Until Nov. 2002, Ask.com’s help page stated that “Ask.com returns results which exactly or closely matches the given phrase” which meant that not all phrases matches will necessarily be accurate. As of Nov. 2002, that appears to have been corrected and phrase searching now works properly.
Truncation No truncation is currently available.
Searches are not case sensitive. Search terms entered in lowercase, uppercase, or mixed case all get the same number of hits.
Ask.com technology as do most search engine technologies, do ignore frequently occurring words such as ‘the,’ ‘of’, ‘and’, and ‘or’. However, like at Google, these stop words can be searched by putting a + in front of them or by including them within a phrase search.
By defaults, sites are sorted in order of perceived relevance. They also have site collapsing (showing only two pages per site with the rest link via a “More Results” message. There is no option for sorting alphabetically, by site, or by date.
Ask.com displays the title (roughly first 60 characters), a two line keywordin-context extract from the page, and the beginning of the URL for each hit. Some will also have a link to “Related Pages” which finds related records based on identifying Web communities by analyzing link patterns.
Two other sections displayed are the “Refine” section (formerly folders) that suggest other related searches based on words that Ask.com uses to identify communities on the Web and the “Resources: Link collections from experts and enthusiasts” (formerly “Experts’ Links”) which are Web pages that include numerous links to external resources – meta sites or Internet resource guides. Some “Sponsored Links” may show up at the top. These are ads from the Google AdWords program.
Ask.com will only display 10 Web page records at a time; however, up to a 100 at a time can be displayed through a change in the preferences and on the advanced search page. Ask.com may also display up to 10 metasites under the “Resources” heading and up to 6 Refine suggestions.
PositionTech is one of the most popular crawler based search engines. PositionTech is a crawler-based search engine. However, it does not make its index available to the public through its own site like other crawler-based search engines, such as Lycos or Alltheweb.
PositionTech licenses other companies to use its search index. These companies are then able to provide search services to their visitors without having to build their own index. It uses a robot named Slurp to crawl and index web pages.
Slurp – The PositionTech Robot
Slurp collects documents from the web to build a searchable index for search services using the PositionTech search engine, including Microsoft and HotBot. Some of the characteristics of Slurp are given below:
Frequency of accesses
Slurp accesses a website once every five seconds on average. Since network delays are involved it is possible over short periods the rate will appear to be slightly higher, but the average frequency generally remains below once per minute.
Slurp obeys the Robot Exclusion Standard. Specifically, Slurp adheres to the 1994 Robots Exclusion Standard (RES). Where the 1996 proposed standard disambiguates the 1994 standard, the proposed standard is followed. Slurp will obey the first record in the robots.txt file with a User-Agent containing “Slurp”.
If there is no such record, it will obey the first entry with a User-Agent of “*”.
This is discussed in detail later in this book. NOINDEX meta-tag Slurp obeys the NOINDEX meta-tag. If you placein the head of your web document, Slurp will retrieve the document, but it will not index the document or place it in the search engine’s database.
In general, Slurp would only download one copy of each file from your site during a given crawl. Occasionally the crawler is stopped and restarted, and it re-crawls pages it has recently retrieved. These re-crawls happen infrequently, and should not be any cause for alarm.
Searching the results
Slurp crawls from websites to the PositionTech search engines immediately. The documents are indexed and entered into the search database in quick time.
Slurp follows HREF links. It does not follow SRC links. This means that Slurp does not retrieve or index individual frames referred to by SRC links.
Slurp has the ability to crawl dynamic links or dynamically generated documents. It will not, however, crawl them by default. There are a number of good reasons for this. A couple of reasons are that dynamically generated documents can make up infinite URL spaces, and that dynamically generated links and documents can be different for every retrieval so there is no use in indexing them.
Content guidelines for PositionTech
Given here are the content guidelines and policies for PositionTech. In other words, listed below is the content PositionTech indexes and the content it avoids.
Original and unique content of genuine value
Pages designed primarily for humans, with search engine considerations secondary
Hyperlinks intended to help people find interesting, related content, when applicable
Metadata (including title and description) that accurately describes the contents of a Web page
Good Web design in general PositionTech avoids:
Pages that harm accuracy, diversity or relevance of search results
Pages that have substantially the same content as other pages
Sites with numerous, unnecessary virtual hostnames
Pages in great quantity, automatically generated or of little value
Pages using methods to artificially inflate search engine ranking
The use of text that is hidden from the user
Pages that give the search engine different content than what the enduser sees
Excessively cross-linking sites to inflate a site’s apparent popularity
Pages built primarily for the search engines
Misuse of competitor names
Multiple sites offering the same content
Pages that use excessive pop-ups, interfering with user navigation
Pages that seem deceptive, fraudulent or provide a poor user experience
PositionTech encourages Web designers to focus most of their energy on the content of the pages themselves. They like to see truly original text content, intended to be of value to the public. The search engine algorithm is sophisticated and is designed to match the regular text in Web pages to search queries.
Therefore, no special treatment needs to be done to the text in the pages. They do not guarantee that your web page will appear at the top of the search results for any particular keyword.
How does PositionTech rank web pages?
PositionTech search results are ranked based on a combination of how well the page contents match the search query and on how “important” the page is, based on its appearance as a reference in other web pages.
The quality of match to the query terms is not just a simple text string match, but a text analysis that examines the relationships and context of the words in the document. The query match considers the full text content of the page and the content of the pages that link to it when determining how well the page matches a query.
Here are a few tips that can make sure your page can be found by a focused search on the Internet:
Think carefully about key terms that your users will search on, and use those terms to construct your page.
Documents are ranked higher if the matching search terms are in the title. Users are also more likely to click a link if the title matches what they’re looking for. Choose terms for the title that match the concept of your document.
Use a “description” meta-tag and write your description carefully. After a title, users click on a link because the description draws them in. Placing high in search results does little good if the document title and description do not attract interest.
Use a “keyword” meta-tag to list key words for the document. Use a distinct list of keywords for each page on your site instead of using one broad set of keywords on every page. (Keywords do not have much effect on ranking, but they do have an effect.)
Keep relevant text and links in HTML. Placing them in graphics or image maps means search engines can’t search for the text and the crawler can’t follow links to your site’s other pages. An HTML site map, with a link from your welcome page, can help make sure all your pages are crawl(ed).
Use ALT text for graphics. It’s good page design to accommodate text browsers or visually impaired visitors, and it helps improve the text content of your page for search purposes.
Correspond with webmasters and other content providers and build rich linkages between related pages. Note: “Link farms” create links between unrelated pages for no reason except to increase page link counts. Using link farms violates PositionTech content guidelines, and will not improve your page ranking.
PositionTech’s Spamming Policies
Sites that violate the PositionTech content guidelines may be removed from the index. These sites are considered as spam. PositionTech considers techniques such as tiny text, invisible text, keyword stuffing, doorway pages, and fake links as spam.
Pages with no unique text or no text at all may drop out of the index or may never be indexed. If you want a page to appear in web search results, be sure that page includes some unique text content to be indexed.
PositionTech, however, does index dynamic pages. For page discovery, PositionTech mostly follows static links, and the avoidance of dynamically generated href links except in directories disallowed by a /robots.txt exclusion rule is recommend(ed).
Embedding deceptive text in the body of web documents. Creating metadata that does not accurately describe the content of web documents.
Fabricating URLs that redirect to other URLs for no legitimate purpose.
Web documents with intentionally misleading links
Cloaking/doorway pages that feed PositionTech crawlers content that is not reflective of the actual page
Creating inbound links for the sole purpose of boosting the popularity score of the URL
The misuse of third party affiliate or referral programs
Click popularity measurement
As mentioned earlier, PositionTech measures the click popularity of web pages while deciding the rank of a web page. Click popularity is the number of times the surfers click on your web page listing and how long they stay in your site.
The text in the title and Meta description tag appears in the hyperlink listings on the search engine results page. If the text is attractive to the net surfers, the chances of getting more clicks is greater.
Another factor which decides the click popularity factor of your web site is the time that the visitors spend in your site. The secret behind retaining visitors in your web site is the content of your site. Informative and useful content relevant to the search terms will help to retain visitors to your site and make them come back again.
PositionTech’s Partner sites
PositionTech provides search results to many search sites. The different search portals may also use results from other information sources, so not all of their results come from the PositionTech search database. These search portals also apply different selection or ranking constraints to their search requests, so PositionTech results at different portals may not be the same.
Following are PositionTech’s partner sites:
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