Look Again at Ask Jeeves and Teoma

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Recently, Jim Lanzone, Vice President of Product Management with Ask Jeeves, attended a chat session with students from the Academy, and he answered a lot of very interesting questions about Ask Jeeves’ Web properties.

So, let’s look at this interview with Jim, and learn more about Ask Jeeves and their relatively new search engine on the block, Teoma.

Question: In your FAQ’s for Ask Jeeves/Teoma’s pay inclusion program (http://ask.ineedhits.com/faq.asp), it states that you can’t change URL’s. Why?

Jim: “Because it’s considered a new submission. We’re not able to put enough resources against it yet.”

Question: So in the future, we’ll have the ability to swap out URLs?

Jim: “We’ll see, but I hear you. We are aware of Inktomi’s program.”

Question: What’s the difference in traffic between the premium listings and the “regular” search results?

Jim: “Do you mean between Premier Listings (Featured Sponsor) and Paid Inclusion? There are two differences: 1) You are guaranteed that your listing will show up; 2) You are guaranteed that it will show up in a specific location on our page.”

Question: Are Premier Listings twice as likely to be clicked on, for example?

Jim: “Premier Listing is really just an ad. With Paid Inclusion, you aren’t paying for anything other than being included in the index and then being subjected to the same relevance algorithms that give us our other results, but with the other benefits that I mentioned earlier.

“In terms of click ratio, I suppose it depends on how relevant your site is to a given query. The match rate of a site that buys ad space on our site is much more significant than one that purchases via paid inclusion for now.”

For more information about Premier Listings, visit: http://static.wc.ask.com/docs/advertise/premier.html.

Question: Let’s say that I have a Web site: http://myownwebsite.com, and let’s say that my goal is for it to become an “authoritative” site in Teoma. Could you give us some tips on what we can do to try to be considered by Teoma as an authoritative or expert site on a particular subject?

Jim: “Our recommendations are as follows: 1) you allow people to link to you; 2) you offer quality content so that you become popular among other sites of the same subject (i.e., experts). Basically, that’s it. None of our expert sites or authorities are manually decided. It’s based on our algorithms.”

Question: On Teoma, are Teoma and Ask Jeeves results combined?

Jim: “Well, there really is no such thing as an Ask Jeeves result. There are pre-fab, editorially selected `answers’ to certain queries that may appear at the top of the page if we have a high level of confidence that we have the right answer. But as far as the actual search results go, it’s all Teoma…and we’ll layer in the Direct Hit click-pop at some point soon.”

Question: But Teoma results ARE being shown at Ask Jeeves?

Jim: “That’s exactly right. The part of the AJ page that says, `You may find these search results helpful’ has the Teoma results. They were launched in January (and by no coincidence, we immediately saw a 30% increase in picks to those results.)”

Question: The “Featured Sponsor” section of Ask Jeeves, is that the Premier Listings?

Jim: “Yes it is.”

(End of interview/chat session)

Let’s take a longer look at Teoma

If you haven’t visited Teoma yet and performed a few searches, you need to do so (http://www.teoma.com/). It’s a really cool engine with some very interesting and helpful features.

For example, it’s a no-nonsense engine like Google with one purpose only: search.

When you search at Teoma, you’re given three sets of results:

* Results, which are relevant Web pages from the Teoma index;

* Refine, which are suggestions for narrowing your search;

* Resources, which are link collections from experts and enthusiasts.

So with Teoma, if your search results are too broad, you can immediately narrow them down by choosing one of the suggestions in the Refine section.

And, in the Resources area, you’ll find “experts” in that particular focus area. This is an excellent place to find related and important sites that might be good candidates to contact about swapping links.

More on Ask Jeeves

Ask Jeeves is the “question answering” search engine, which puts it into a class of its own. (http://www.askjeeves.com)

At the top of the search results, you’ll see a “featured sponsor” section, which is their Premier Listing advertisement that we’ve discussed previously.

With some searches, you’ll see a “sponsored links” section, which are results currently being provided by Overture. However, on September 3, Ask Jeeves will be switching to Google for their paid listings.

Then, you’ll find search results from Teoma, followed by a section called, “Other people with your search have also asked:” In that section, you’ll see additional questions that may help answer your initial question, with results coming from Ask.com.

Like at Teoma, you can narrow your search down by choosing one of the search terms on the right-hand side of the page.

Ask Jeeves recently entered into an agreement with Google to display their Google AdWords in Ask Jeeves results effective September 3, 2002. Those results will be shown at both Ask Jeeves and Teoma as “sponsored links.” For more information, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technology/AP-Ask-Jeeves-Google.html

In Conclusion

Teoma has taken over the old Direct Hit site, and I believe we’ll see some big things out of this fascinating engine in the future.

Ask Jeeves is as it’s always been: unique – a place where you can go and ask a question and be presented with several possible answers.

If you haven’t submitted your site to Ask Jeeves/Teoma, and if your site isn’t found in the Teoma index, I strongly suggest that you consider their pay inclusion program and become a part of their index.

Robin Nobles conducts live SEO workshops
(http://www.searchengineworkshops.com) in locations across North
America. She also teaches online SEO training
(http://www.onlinewebtraining.com). Localized SEO training is now
being offered through the Search Engine Academy.
(http://www.searchengineacademy.com) Sign up for SEO tips of the
day at mailto:seo-tip@aweber.com.

Look Again at Ask Jeeves and Teoma
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