Posted Sunday, August 1, 2004
This article takes an in-depth look at some of the innovations introduced at ExactSeek.com (http://www.exactseek.com), including, most recently, the implementation of a unique ranking algorithm that factors in Alexa traffic data.
Search engines basically cater to two audiences - webmasters and web searchers. Although there is an obvious overlap between the two groups, the latter dominates in numbers and most search engines bend over backwards to keep web searchers happy by continually tweaking search result algorithms. Webmasters, on the other hand, are more or less left to fend for themselves.
ExactSeek was founded 2 years ago on the premise that webmasters/site owners are the driving force on the Web - not in numbers, but in terms of ideas, development, enthusiasm and innovation. The goal for ExactSeek, then and now, was to build a major engine that catered to this audience and web searchers more or less equally. Part 1 of this article deals with ExactSeek's focus on webmasters.
FREE SITE LISTINGS
ExactSeek's belief in the importance of the webmaster audience to search engine growth and traffic resulted in the rapid introduction of three types of free site listings, each geared to helping webmasters give their websites maximum exposure within the search engine.
Here's a short explanation of each:
Standard listings: As the name implies, this site listing is just a basic website listing in the ExactSeek database, comprised of Site Name (taken from the Title tag), description (taken from the Meta Description tag) and Site Link (the website URL).
These basic listings show up numbered 1 to 10, etc. in ExactSeek's search result pages. Any webmaster can obtain a Standard Listing simply by filling out the form at: (http://www.exactseek.com/add.html)
* Embed audio, video or Flash.
* Include logo, product or service images.
* Include links to secondary site pages.
* Use font enhancements (size, color, style).
* Include more detailed information about their websites.
Simple examples can be seen at: (http://www.exactseek.com/enhanced.html)
Priority listings: Introduced for those webmasters who wanted something in return for adding an ExactSeek search form to their websites. These listings appear in the first 10 to 100 ExactSeek search results, highlighted against a light blue background. Visit the link below to see an actual example: (http://exactseek.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?term=perl)
Obtaining a priority listing is a simple 3 step process outlined at: (http://www.exactseek.com/add_priority.html)
The three types of listings noted above offer any half way knowledgeable webmaster a means to maximize site exposure with minimal effort. Best of all, any site meeting ExactSeek's submission guidelines is added within 24 hours. No pointless weeks or months of waiting. In 24 hours, websites are either indexed or not. If not, the most common reasons are:
1. The site submitted lacked a Title tag. The ExactSeek crawler ignores sites without Title tags.
2. The site submitted was pornographic or contained illegal content.
3. The site submitted was dynamically generated and its URL contained non-standard characters like question marks (?), ampersands (&), equal signs (=) percent symbols (%) and/or plus signs (+).
4. The submitting webmaster failed to respond to the submission verification email message sent out by ExactSeek. Or, as is becoming more and more common, the webmaster failed to receive the message due to sp@m and ISP filtering and, thus, could not confirm submission. Webmasters using AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo email addresses may soon find it impossible to have their websites added to any search engine using a verification system.
THE DO-IT-YOURSELF APPROACH
One of the most irritating things about many search engines is that it can take weeks or even months for free website submissions to be indexed. And once sites have been added, it can take weeks for changes to content and/or tags to be re-indexed and for webmasters to see if those changes had a positive effect on site ranking.
ExactSeek opted to put a measure of control back in webmaster hands by introducing a do-it-yourself approach. Early on, two simple online tools were made available which allowed webmasters to quickly check the positioning of any website in the ExactSeek database for any keyword(s) relevant to that site and then, if necessary, do something about it.
(a.) Site Ranking Tool
Tracks the top 10,000 site rankings for all keywords in the ExactSeek database, allowing a webmaster to find his site ranking for any keyword(s) relevant to his website.
(b.) Web Crawler Tool
Allows webmasters to schedule recrawls of their websites as often as once per week. Self-scheduled recrawls and instant site ranking checks provide webmasters with a quick read on which optimization strategies work and which don't.
Both of the above tools can be found with additional explanation on the following page: (http://www.exactseek.com/srank.html)
DO-IT-YOURSELF - THE NEXT STEP
More recently, ExactSeek implemented a simple free membership system that takes the do-it-yourself approach one step further. Any webmaster who has successfully submitted a website to ExactSeek is automatically a member and can obtain a Member ID and Password for login purposes by using the appropriate form at the ExactSeek Member Login page. (http://www.exactseek.com/member.html)
After logging in, webmasters can access a Member Account Manager which allows them to edit, enhance, delete and/or recrawl their site listings as often as they like. Revolutionary? Maybe not, but a big step away from total reliance on search engine scheduling.
Part 2 of this article will look at how traffic data from Alexa Internet was incorporated into the new ExactSeek ranking algorithm, the algorithm's impact on delivering quality search results and at how ExactSeek's new paid inclusion program stacks up against other paid inclusion and PPC programs.
About The Author
Mel Strocen is CEO of the Jayde Online Network of websites. The Jayde network currently consists of 14 websites, including ExactSeek.com (http://www.exactseek.com), SiteProNews.com (http://sitepronews.com) and SEO-News.com (http://SEO-News.com)