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High Rankings Advisor - Inktomi's Search Submit Pay for Inclusion - Issue 001

March 6, 2002
~~~High Rankings' Advisor - Issue No. 001~~~

________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->  Where's Rank Write?

*Search Engine Marketing Inside Scoop:
---->  Inktomi's Search Submit Paid-Inclusion

*This Week's Sponsor:
---->  The Buyer's Guide to Search Engine Optimization Firms

*Grand Finale:
---->  Archives coming soon!
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Welcome to this first edition of the High Rankings' Advisor!  The
Advisor is Jill Whalen's weekly email
newsletter replacing Rank Write.

I'm Jill Whalen, your moderator.  I'm the owner of HighRankings.com,
an Internet consulting firm specializing in search engine optimization
since 1997.  I co-moderated Rank Write for nearly two years and had a
blast every step of the way.  If you're a hardcore Rank Write junky
(and I know you're out there because I met a few of you this week at
the SES conference in Boston!), you should know me pretty well by now.
For those of you who recently signed on, you'll get to know me very
quickly.  I y'am what I y'am as Popeye used to say.  I tell it like it
is, and plan to give you as much of the inside scoop on search engine
optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) as I can.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Today, I have a great interview for you from Barry Lloyd of
Microchannel Technologies Ltd. (Designers of MakeMeTop)
<www.microchannel-technologies.com>.  Barry has tons of experience
submitting his clients' sites to Inktomi through their paid inclusion
program.  Since I've not used this program much, I thought we could
all benefit from Barry's wisdom.  Please note that Barry has no
connection with Inktomi and is simply giving us his perspective as a
long time SEO consultant.  To me, this information is even more
valuable than the info (propaganda?) I might have received had I done
an interview with someone from Inktomi.  I'll let you be the judge.
Feel free to send in your own experiences with Inktomi or any other
search engine, for that matter.  I'm looking for all the inside scoops
I can get!

So without further ado...on to the good stuff! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Inside Scoop~~~

Jill:    Welcome, Barry.  Thanks for taking the time to answer my
questions for the Advisor readers.  Let's get right to it!  Do you
recommend that your clients use Inktomi's paid inclusion program -
"Inktomi® Search Submit"?

Barry:   Yes.  In fact, it is included in the prices I quote to a
client.  I no longer view it as an optional extra - certainly as far
as the main pages of the client's site are concerned.  Apart from
using pay-per-click (PPC) engines like Overture, it is currently the
fastest way for a client to get indexed in a broad spectrum of search
portals.

Jill:    Inktomi's program ensures that sites will be spidered every 48
hours. In your opinion, what advantage does this frequent spidering
provide to your clients' sites?

Barry:   The first advantage is fairly obvious.  You have the ability
to adjust your page content to enhance your rankings knowing that you
can see the results of your efforts in a few days.  With other search
engines taking weeks or even months to show results, this feature is
of great help in fine-tuning your web pages to improve your rankings.

Jill:    Are there any other advantages to using the paid-inclusion
program?

Barry:   An advantage, which I have not seen exploited frequently, is
to include (or remove) special offers or short-term product offerings.
As an example, I was asked to promote the sale of an Irish hotel and
Pub.  Within 72 hours of the brief, the property appeared on all the
major Inktomi partners in the top five results for "irish pubs for
sale," "hotels for sale ireland," etc.  The client received several
serious inquiries every day from around the World and stopped taking
offers one month later when the pages were removed from Ink.  As a
result, the pub sold for more than the asking price - yet the cost on
Inktomi was less than $100 (plus my modest fee)!  Apart from using
PPC, which can prove expensive, I know of no other method that can
have such an immediate effect and response.  Waiting for the pages to
be spidered and included on their own would not have been an option in
these circumstances.

Jill:    Are there times or situations when it is not necessary to use
Inktomi's paid-inclusion, or where it might even be detrimental to do
so?

Barry:   If your page(s) are already well listed, paid inclusion will
not do anything for you!  Indeed, it could possibly be harmful, since
adjustments can damage your current position.  Sites that have been
included naturally into Inktomi are ranked by on-page and off-page
methods, including inward links and quality of linking sites.  Paid
inclusion works better for pages which have not already been included
and should not really be viewed as a way to fine tune pages that
already rank well through Inktomi's main algorithm.  I've learned this
the hard way; losing a #1 position I had held for over a year and
taking a long time to climb back up to the top five - and I'm still
not back at #1!

Jill:    Which of Inktomi's Search Submit partners have you used and
which would you recommend to others?

Barry:    All partners I have used have resulted in pages being
included in the Inktomi index within a reasonable time. Once included,
all partners are very much in the hands of both Inktomi's spider and
the update schedules of the various Inktomi search partners who may
not (for various reasons) update from the Inktomi database as quickly
as hoped!  I have used Network Solutions (Verisign)
<http://www.inktomi.com/partners/verisign.html>, Ineedhits
<http://www.inktomi.com/partners/ineedhits.html>, and PositionTech
<http://www.inktomi.com/partners/position.html>.  Of the three, I have
found PositionTech to be the easiest for me to work with.  Their
customer service has been superb and their key staff both approachable
and helpful - even though some things that occur may be out of their
control. This is not to criticize the service provided by the others,
at all.  I have never had to contact Ineedhits, and only needed some
simple questions answered by Network Solutions.

[Moderator's note: Outrider
<http://www.inktomi.com/partners/outrider.html>, and Trellian
<http://www.inktomi.com/partners/trellian.html> are Inktomi's other
Search Submit partners.]

Jill:    I've always been nervous that if I pay to submit a URL, Inktomi
will remove all the URLs from my site that I didn't pay to be
included.  In your experience, have you ever seen this happen?

Barry:    No, never!  There seems to be a lot of confusion about this.
Inktomi has a number of spiders - only one of which is their paid
inclusion spider.  The paid inclusion spider crawls paid inclusion
pages only.  However, this does not prevent the standard Inktomi
spiders from finding your site independently and crawling it
completely.  On my own site, I only pay for two pages to be spidered
which have regular new content - but over 100 pages of my site are
included in the Inktomi index.  But just as Inktomi can spider a site,
it sometimes decides to drop a site from its index.  This could be
misunderstood as being a consequence of entering the paid inclusion
program, when it is not.  Usually I find that sites that have been
added to Inktomi naturally, have good content and are well linked to.
These are remarkably "sticky" and can retain their positions for long
periods of time.

Jill:    What happens when you remove a URL from the paid program?  Does
the URL get permanently removed?

Barry:   If you remove a URL from the Paid Inclusion Program it will
be dropped from the paid inclusion database.  That URL will disappear
from the listings, BUT - if you are in the standard Inktomi database,
the URL will reappear in the next update of the full Inktomi database
range, which seems to occur about every four weeks. Of course, most
people don't know if they're in the standard database - so it could be
a worrying few weeks to see if your URL reappears!  Few will risk it.
You can only be sure that your URLs will STAY in Inktomi by paying for
them.  The standard Inktomi databases are comparatively small and are
constantly refreshed.  If you have the confidence to feel that your
site is going to be well linked to and has good content, then you can
wait for Inktomi to include it.  It will take several months, though,
and you may not get included at all - and in my experience, most
clients don't want to wait.  However, if you have the patience, are
getting good links to you and have a well prepared, spider-friendly
site - it may be well worth the wait!

Jill:    What do you know about Inktomi's different databases?

Barry:   Well, let me prefix this by saying that Inktomi are the only
people with the full answers regarding their databases!  However, I
can give some observations that I have made over my years of dealing
with Inktomi.  Inktomi has its own Map of the Web that includes some
1.7 billion documents.  Through this web map, Inktomi selects data,
which it includes in several databases.   These are Best of Web (BOW),
which is some 110 million documents, GEN3™ which is around 500 million
documents, their Eurocluster, which is 110 million documents and the
Asia Pacific cluster (APAC) of around 55 million documents.

I will be concentrating here on BOW and GEN3.  Aside from paid
inclusion, Inktomi can find sites that are submitted through add URL
pages via one of their search partners like HotBot.  They can also
find sites by crawling the web and following links.  When a site is
initially found (by whichever method), it usually winds up in the GEN3
database.  If it has been submitted via a search partner as a free
submission, the URL may be subject to a penalty due to many free
submissions being spam.  However, if the penalized URL is found later
by Inktomi spiders crawling the web via another link (or if you opt
for paid inclusion), the penalty is lifted.  The GEN3 index is
generally refreshed monthly.  Sites may be dropped out if other sites
have been submitted or found which appear to be of higher "quality."
Sites are likely to remain if the number of "quality" sites linking to
your site increases.

If you do fall out, it is possible to get back into GEN3 as Inktomi
continues crawling and finds more quality sites which link to you.
The more sites of high quality that link to you, the "stickier" your
site becomes.  Hopefully, after a period of time, your site is
considered by Inktomi to be of sufficiently high "quality" and have
enough "stature" to be considered a "Best of Web" site.

The best way to become a BOW site is to have other BOW sites link to
you. Unfortunately this is easier said than done.  Although links from
directories such as Yahoo, ODP and LookSmart are important and help -
they will not guarantee inclusion.  You need sites that are already in
BOW to link to you, which are on a similar theme and of high stature.
The advantages of getting in BOW are enormous!  If you are in a
situation where you have (in paid inclusion) done everything to
optimize your site and still can't get into the top ten - the odds are
that the sites in front of you are in BOW - where a lot more than just
on-the-page criteria contribute to the rankings.  Sites in BOW are
very "sticky," although (like GEN3) the BOW index is refreshed
regularly.  If links to a site begin to fall (or lose quality), the
site will fall from the index.  Paid inclusion neither helps (nor
hinders) inclusion into BOW.  Selection is purely done on the "merit"
of the site as viewed by Inktomi through its map of the Web.  In many
ways, this is similar to the way Google looks at sites through its
PageRank system - but Inktomi's BOW is a slightly more "exclusive"
club.  If you are in paid inclusion and suddenly notice your site has
leaped up in the rankings without doing many changes - then you may
have hit the jackpot and managed to get into BOW.  If you are in BOW
and are also in paid inclusion - you do have a chance to adjust your
pages and compete on slightly advantageous terms with others in BOW
who are not in paid inclusion.  You can also have time for a slight
smile as you watch other sites try to beat your rankings and fail.  My
advice would be to leave well enough alone and look for more good
links.  If you are in BOW, odds are you will find it relatively easy
to get them.

Jill:    How do links from the major directories such as LookSmart, Yahoo
and DMOZ affect your Inktomi listings?

Barry:    As I said above, all good links are important - but Inktomi
has a particularly close relationship with LookSmart.  Like all
crawler search engines, Inktomi views sites that have been reviewed by
a real human being as a vote of confidence in your site.  Having a
good description in LookSmart can do wonders to your rankings.  Often
you will find sites in Inktomi use the LookSmart Title and Description
and I have seen (what I call) the "Double Title and Description"
effect!  If a site is in LookSmart, it seems that not only is your
on-page Title and Meta description used towards your rankings (as well
as your main content), but the LookSmart content as well.

Remember that Inktomi can be a big provider of traffic on AOL and MSN
(provided that you focus on phrases that are not going to be buried
under MSN LookSmart listings).  Good research on phrases can be more
than worth their weight in gold and worth the work (and wait) to get
them high on Inktomi.

Jill:  Thank you very much, Barry, for sharing your knowledge and your
time!  I hope you will all check out Barry's site at:
<www.microchannel-technologies.com> for more information about his
company.

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----------------------------------------------------------

~~~Grand Finale~~~

Did you find this premiere issue of the High Rankings' Advisor
valuable?  Drop me an email and let me know!  I'm hoping to post each
newsletter quickly in the archives at:
</archives.htm>.  So if you're looking for
a link to this or any future issue, please check there.  All
newsletters should be posted within 24 hours after they're sent out to
the subscriber list.  If you find that I start getting lazy about
that, please email me a virtual kick in the butt and I'll get them
posted asap!

Catch you next week!

Jill

 
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