How to Optimize for Inktomi in 2004

Search Engine OptimizationInktomi is becoming a rising star in the search engine wars, and it is very likely that this heavy weight contender with give Google some jabs at the title of the most relevant search engine results. While the majority of webmasters these days would rather optimize for Google, and hope for the best in Inktomi, this strategy will need to be shifted for the year 2004. So be warned, if you are not in Google and not in Inktomi in 2004, then you might as well remain invisible.


Introduction

Inktomi is becoming a rising star in the search engine wars, and it is very likely that this heavy weight contender will give Google some jabs at the title of the most relevant search engine results. If you think Google is doing a good job at relevancy, buckle your seatbelts, because the people over at Inktomi are very serious about giving Google a run for its money. While the majority of webmasters these days would rather optimize for Google, and hope for the best in Inktomi, this strategy will need to be shifted for the year 2004. No longer should Google optimization be the only method for which webmasters promote their sites. As seen in past Google updates, we have discovered that reliance on one search engine for unique visitors is a short sighted and bad strategy: if your rankings tank, then so does your traffic, and ultimately your profits. In order to take the sting out of lost rankings you will either have to work real hard to get the rankings back or redo your strategy altogether. So be warned, if you are not in Google and not in Inktomi in 2004, then you might as well remain invisible.

How to Win with Inktomi

The Inktomi engine has been a long time contender in search, and the way it does business is about to get much better. This is good news for SEO’s and webmaster’s alike; now that the playing field will be more open for possibilities of achieving organic free traffic from Inktomi. While the topic of optimizing for Inktomi has been put aside by most, in this article it will receive a thorough overview on what you should do to prepare for ranking high in Inktomi. So if you are ready to take the challenge, get ready for a fun ride, there is a whole landscape of keywords ready to reward the most dedicated optimizer out there with loads of free traffic.

First and foremost, learning the best way to submit to Inktomi is going to be the best bet to test the new optimization you do. For this there are several options that webmasters can undertake in order to submit their site to the Inktomi index and partner sites. It needs to be emphasized that the best way to get found by Inktomi is by natural linking. If this is not an option then one should consider pay for inclusion.

  1. Pay For Inclusion (PFI) – This is by far the best way to ensure your pages get into Inktomi. The benefit of pay for inclusion is that you can be ensured that your pages will get refreshed every 48 hours instead of waiting game that is played with other engines that have there own ideas when pages should get updated. So any changes that you make will instantly be reflected within 48 hours of then being uploaded. Also, the more pages that you submit to Inktomi the better, so if you can afford to submit more than your homepage, then do so. Where should I submit my pages for inclusion? Inktomi has several partners that exclusively handle the PFI feed.

    Submit your website through one of the following sites: Positiontech.com & Ineedhits.com

  2. Submit to Inktomi for Free – The problem: Its unreliable, no guarantees, and does not update within 48 hours. While this method is surely not as effective as pay for inclusion, who can beat the price? If you are strapped for cash then this might be a temporary option to get your pages into Inktomi until you can pay for more reliable methods.

    Submit your website here: http://submitit.bcentral.com/msnsubmit.htm

  3. Submit to Inktomi through one of its Web Search Partners – This is one of the Inktomi backdoors many are not aware of and all it takes is a little searching to find them. I have used these on multiple occasions in order to test how effective they are and as well get pages into the Inktomi index for free. One of things I discovered was that taking a look at a list of Inktomi partners (http://www.inktomi.com/customers/index.html) was not only good to get a feel of where their search engine results would appear, but also where I could find submit fields for inclusion into the Inktomi database. Note: These pages do not stay up for long, so do not be surprised if you find they no longer exist.

    Submit your website here:                                            http://search2.msn.fr/suggestions/ch/

  4. Getting crawled by Inktomi – This is one of the next best and most effective ways to getting found by Inktomi. The most effective way in order to pull this off is obtain links from sites that are contained in the Inktomi Best of the Web or BOW index, which is a selective index of top sites on the web according to Inktomi. The index is usually the sites that come up in searches for very popular and competitive terms because Inktomi wants to give you the best it has to offer in its database. Interestingly, if you have ever noticed that some sites get spidered by Inktomi and others do not, this might explain that those sites that got spidered completely for free by Inktomi were perhaps linked from a Best of the Web site.

The best way to optimize for Inktomi is relatively simple and follows many of the basic SEO principles. Being able to formulate effective relevant meta-tags and on page elements is important to pulling a ranking in Inktomi off well. Always keep in mind the following as you optimize for Inktomi:

  1. Make each page unique and its meta data different for each page.
  2. Make your pages meaningful for the visitor and that they contain good relevant content.
  3. Create search engine listings that communicate to the searcher what the page is about.

Title

The title is vital to identifying the document and should be created to describe the document in a meaningful way. Think about what a searcher might input in, in order to search for a document.

  1. The title should be a maximum of 10 words total or a maximum of 50-70 characters.
  2. Make your titles clear and specific to what the page is about. Do not stuff keywords in your title just to put something there.
  3. Ask you self a question on each page, “What is this page communicating to the searcher?”. Format the title to answer that question.

There are several ways to craft a good title, but follow some of the examples below. You will notice the title contains what the pages are about, where the page is from, and possibly a location as well. Note: You may either include or exclude the use of your company name in the title. Inktomi however recommends its use and is advised if you can include your company name then do so.

Example:

Grass Lawnmowers in Texas from John Deer Ranch Equipment
OR
First American Bank – Job Openings

Meta Description Tag

The description tag is the best place to formulate a more detailed explanation of the page that is being optimized. Keep in mind the following when crafting your description.

  1. The description tag should be a in between 15-20 words and should emphasize the keywords used in the title tag.

  2. Keep the description concise and specific to the contents of the page.

  3. DO NOT use the same description for every page, make each one unique.

  4. Not all descriptions are going to be the same length, some will require more words and others less.

  5. Use keywords or topics found in the body text of the website to enhance the description.

Example:

Gas powered grass lawn mowers in Sometown, Texas. Check out the lawn movers and lawn tractors from such manufacturers as John Deer, Murray, Black & Decker, MTD, and Yard Man.

Keywords Tag

Use of the keyword tag in Inktomi should be utilized. This tag serves as the location for your key terms and phrases on topics that are covered in the document. The best advice for use when utilizing the keywords meta tag is to highlight QUALITY keywords in your list. Keep in mind the following when creating the keywords tag.

  1. Use quality keywords that are specific to the page

  2. Avoid board keyword uses such as, “internet”, “news” or “mp3″.

  3. Formulate the keywords tag as if someone would be searching for information contained within. Do not randomly stick in keywords for the sake of filling up the keywords tag.

  4. Include misspellings and other ways keywords could be used in the keywords tag.

  5. DO NOT use the same keywords tag for every page of your website.

  6. Begin you keywords tag with the primary keywords you are wishing to target. For example if your page is targeting “lawn mowers”, being your keywords tag with “lawn  mowers, lawn tractors, etc…..”

  7. DO NOT use punctuation in the keywords tag such as “Harry Potter’s Wand”. Instead, think of how a search would be performed: “Harry Potter Wand”.

  8. USE COMMAS in the keywords tag. While these are not necessary for other search engines, Inktomi recommends their use in separating keywords or keyphrases.

Robots Tag

While not the most important tag inside the head of the document, its fair to mention its role in guiding the Slurp robot to the correct pages that you wish to be spidered and those that you do not. If you are not using Robots.txt on your website then I would consider inserting the Robots Tag in the page you optimize for Inktomi. The following robots tag will tell the Slurp robot to INDEX the page into the database and FOLLOW all links contained within.

<meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow”>

URL and Page Names

Big points can be scored when the url or domain name has the primary target keyword contained within. Inktomi places good reward for webmasters that correctly structure there website to have a meaningful and effective navigation. One of the best ways I found to explain how to do this correctly is think of your website as a tree with many branches. The trunk of your tree is your URL, such as: www.lawnmowerwebsite.com. Then imagine each page and subdirectory as a unique branch that has its own unique set of leaves. Since each branch is unique, each branch needs to be identified so that other people can bask in its glory and know what its about. So follow some of the example below when creating new pages or subdirectories.

Example:

http://www.lawnmowerwebsite.com/tractors/new/john-deer.html
OR
http://www.lawnmowerwebsite.com/articles/tires/how-pick-tractor-tires.html

On Page Elements

On page elements that are contained within the document are also of paramount importance to ranking well in Inktomi. By correctly formatting the page to be as specific and accurate as possible in combination with optimized meta-tags will create an awesome formula for ranking high in Inktomi. Keep the following in mind when optimizing your document for Inktomi.

  1. Keep you target KEYWORDS at the TOP of the page

  2. BOLD keywords that are important and unique to the page. Inktomi places more importance on words that are bolded.

  3. Inktomi prefers LONGER KEYPHRASES then short generic terms. If you really want to rank well, then focus on finding the best keyphrases with the most amount of traffic.

  4. HEADINGS are important as well, and should be used on each page to identify sections of content. Be sure to create heading in a meaningful manner, such as beginning  with and H1 tag, and following with H2 and H3 tags that start smaller sections of content.

  5. LINK TEXT is also very important, and perhaps on of the most important on page elements of a good Inktomi optimization. Again be sure to include keywords in meaningful links to other pages on the site. DO NOT use the keywords in more than 50% of the links however, because this could be identified as spamming.

This is also another important step to successfully ranking well in Inktomi. Keep in mind the goal is not necessarily about ranking high for certain keywords, it’s about selecting keywords that allow you to rank well but also have the valued prized to begin with: unique visitors. As most have said before, rankings are nothing without the visitors to back them up. Selecting appropriate keywords for your pages can depend on several things:

  1. What the page is about to begin with.

  2. Your ability to find keywords that work well for your pages.

If you decide to describe your page with generic keywords but do not do research to find the best key terms or phrases that do well in Inktomi then you have not done the best job you can do. If your ability to find keywords is limited to using the Overture Suggestion Tool, then rethink that strategy; there are many other ways to find good keywords. The most important part to finding keywords in Inktomi is to combine the several suggestion tools and to use Inktomi results to find those keyword combinations that have the LEAST amount of sponsor ads or directory listings but also good amounts of traffic. This may be more difficult than what most are accustomed to, but what’s the benefit of doing whatever everyone else is doing in order to find keywords? None, because you will all be competing for the same keyword phrases.  Here are ways to find VERY GOOD keywords and ways to use them.

  1. Locate keywords that have the least amount of sponsored listings or directory listings.

  2. Use longer keyphrases that a user would use to narrow a search to a specific document, such as “john deer lawn mower parts texas”.

  3. Find keyword phrases or chucks of words that are contained in a product, service, or page description. Users not only search for the products themselves, but the attributes and qualities a product or service has to begin with.

  4. Link to other internal pages using these longer keyphrases. Sometimes the only thing needed to rank well for these phrases is keywords placed in the document as well as linked to from other internal pages.

  5. Locate keywords that get the highest bids in Overture, these are sometimes the best converting keywords.

While optimizing for Inktomi is pretty straight forward for most, there are several little strategies that can be implemented for the most daring of search engine optimizers and webmasters. Most these days look at Inktomi as a singular database of documents that are feed to its many partners around the web. The common philosophy follows that “if I can create a well optimized document it shall rank well in all of Inktomi’s partner websites.”

Wrong!

This is shortsighted because many of Inktomi Web Search Partners use proprietary algorithms to further enhance the ability for users to find a particular result based on which web search partner they are using. This makes it even harder to rank across the board for a targeted search phrase. If you are daring, setup a goal to rank in the top 10 for whatever search phrase you are targeting, but make it a priority to rank high in each of Inktomi partners sites. While this may be work intensive, it will surely teach you a lot on how to optimize for Inktomi better than most can. You will not only be able to differentiate between the different search partners, but also their particular likes and dislikes regarding what metas and on-page characteristics they prefer. This is surely the stuff the best SEOs will most likely keep to themselves.

What to Avoid

There are several things that can affect your ranking without you really even knowing about them. They are sometimes design related and have to do with issues that are caused when the Inktomi robot, Slurp can not get the information it needs from the page. Locate and find these problem areas in your pages.

  1. DO not use image or javascript navigation to link together pages of the site. The robot may not be about to follow these links or gather information that is contained within text links.

  2. Cascading Style Sheets can present a problem for Inktomi. While this is generally neither good or bad news, you should consider how you use CSS and what the robot will read once it spiders your site.

  3. Affiliate links can also present a problem for robots, in that they might not be able to follow them and penalize the page for such use.

  4. Dynamic URL’s are also a problem of Inktomi, the robots do not favor these and adding session id’s, affiliate id’s, and the link can be cause for a penalty.

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