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The New Teoma 2.0: Best Search Ever?

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The New Teoma 2.0: Best Search Ever?
The “Teoma” search engine (www.teoma.com) is a part of the Ask.com / Ask Jeeves search portal. It delivers search results on a large number of portals and websites that use Jeeves search boxes, as well as delivering a substantial and growing number of searches through Teoma.com itself. In fact, it is now the #3 search engine database, in terms of the audience it reaches, behind Google and Inktomi.

Teoma search also incorporates the formerly independent “Direct Hit” technology, purchased last year by Ask.com, which allows them to improve their search results based on the links that surfers actually click following each search. If a particular listing gets a lot of clicks, it is assumed to be more relevant, and those that get fewer clicks are assumed to be less relevant to that particular search term.

Teoma’s rapid growth has been fueled in part by the dramatic improvements the technology has made in the quality of search results on the Ask Jeeves portal. According to a press release yesterday (January 21, 2003) the number of searches where the visitor actually clicks on a result has risen by a whopping 42 percent since Teoma search was integrated into AskJeeves.com.

One of the most innovative features of the Teoma search interface is a listing of related terms that allow the searcher to refine their search. For example, if you search for “chevy parts” it will offer such helpful refinements as “chevy truck parts,” “restoration parts,” or “classic auto parts.” When you click on one of these, they are added to your query, thereby reducing the total number of results and making your search results more relevant.

Prior to the release of version 2.0 this month, Teoma’s ability to suggest refinements was in need of a little refinement itself. In my experience, the suggestions rarely had very much to do with the search. In contrast, Altavista’s “Prisma” system has been delivering useful suggestions for almost 2 years.

That weakness has been addressed with Teoma version 2.0 search, and the overall quality of their search results has improved at the same time. In the “Search Engine Watch Perfect Page Test,” Teoma now scores an “A” along with Google, Yahoo and MSN search. In my opinion, at least on a limited number of test searches, the quality of Teoma’s results was superior to any of these. I am not ready to declare this “the best search on the web,” but if they aren’t #1 yet, they are certainly on their way there.

Teoma, like Google, offers a “search toolbar” that plugs into the Windows (Win98 or newer) version of Internet Explorer (version 5.0 or newer). This toolbar, in addition to conducting searches for you, is also capable of instantly highlighting the search terms that appear on the page that you are viewing.

Getting Your Site Listed By Teoma
Teoma is a crawling search engine like Altavista, FAST/AllTheWeb, Inktomi, Google, and Wisenut. This means that they crawl the web, following links, and build up an ever larger database of indexed web pages. Like Inktomi, Teoma does not offer free web page submissions. If you want your website to be included in their index, you can either pay them ($30 per year for the first page, $18 per year for additional URLs) or wait for them to find you.

Given the rapid growth of Teoma, it is likely that more and more website owners will choose to pay them. If you don’t want to pay, the same advice I have been giving for two years applies here – work on getting more sites to link to yours. Since they crawl the web, it’s a simple formula – the more incoming links you have, the sooner they will find you.

Don’t assume that 20-30 links is a lot, because it’s just not. Teoma is in a rapid growth phase right now, so you can expect them to be a couple months behind on crawling the web, at least for a while. If you absolutely have to be in Teoma today, pay them the $30 and get your home page included – you can sign up for this service at http://ask.ineedhits.com/

I wish you success…

Dan Thies is a well-known writer and teacher on search engine marketing. He offers consulting, training, and coaching for webmasters, business owners, SEO/SEM consultants, and other marketing professionals through his company, SEO Research Labs. His next online class will be a link building clinic beginning March 22

The New Teoma 2.0: Best Search Ever?
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