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New Search Engine Ranking Algorithm - An Interview with ExactSeek.com's Mel Strocen

By Shelley Lowery
Posted Monday, September 20, 2004

ExactSeek.com has teamed up with Alexa to provide a brand new search engine ranking algorithm that ranks sites based on content relevancy and Alexa user popularity data.

This unique ranking system not only provides relevant search results, but it also enables website owners to increase their site's ranking in ExactSeek simply by increasing their Alexa ranking.

ExactSeek.com, a Jayde Online company, is a search engine and directory that indexes over 25,000 websites each day. It currently indexes over 2 million websites and is expected to exceed 5 million by the end of the year.

Alexa Internet, an Amazon.com company, provides the Alexa Toolbar -- an invaluable tool for the Internet marketer. This little browser plug-in provides a wealth of information, including site statistics, traffic data and contact information for every site you visit. Best of all, it won't cost you a dime.

You can download and install the Alexa toolbar here: (http://download.alexa.com/?amzn_id=websource0c)

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jayde Online's CEO, Mel Strocen. The Jayde Online Network includes ExactSeek.com, GoArticles.com, SiteProNews.com, AllBusinessNews.com, EzineHub.com and FreeWebSubmission.com. Jayde Online Inc. has been internet-focused from its inception in 1998 and primarily involved in the publication of email newsletters and the development of niche and general search engines.

Here's what Mel had to say about the new ExactSeek search engine ranking algorithm...

Shelley: Mel, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me.

Mel: Shelley, I appreciate the opportunity to provide some insight on recent developments at ExactSeek and our new site ranking algorithm.

Shelley: Now that ExactSeek has teamed up with Alexa, how exactly will websites be ranked?

Mel: The main factors in determining website ranking will be page content relevancy and the site traffic data provided by Alexa Internet with the emphasis being on the former versus the latter. It will be several weeks, or possibly even longer, before we finalize the exact weight we give Alexa data. What this means is that for the short term webmasters might find their website ranking changing fairly frequently. Think of it as ExactSeek's version of the "Google Dance" :)

Shelley: Prior to the new partnership, ExactSeek ranked sites according to keywords displayed within the Title, Meta Description and Meta Keywords tags. Will these tags still play a role in ranking a website? Or, will sites be strictly ranked according to content and their Alexa ranking?

Mel: Yes, Title and Meta tags will continue to play a role, but not to the extent they did previously. The information from these tags will be shown in the actual search result listings and will also be compared to page content as an additional check of overall relevancy.

Shelley: As I'm sure you're aware, some "experts" may make a case that Alexa rankings can be manipulated. How would you respond to this analysis?

Mel: As mentioned, Alexa traffic data will be an integral part of the ExactSeek ranking algorithm but not the dominant factor, that being page content. Essentially, we've opted to emphasize user popularity over link popularity. Either one can be manipulated by savvy webmasters or SEO experts but, in our view, user popularity is less subject to manipulation over the long term because it is more difficult to manipulate the surfing public than it is to manipulate SE crawlers. The bottom line is that people will always be able to better evaluate content than search engine spiders.

Shelley: Will an increase in traffic from other sources affect how a site ranks in ExactSeek?

Mel: Yes, the good news for webmasters is that regardless of what they do to promote their websites, their efforts will result in a better ranking on ExactSeek. So, increased traffic from any source, be it ezine advertising, PPC campaigns, search engine marketing, etc., will help boost site ranking in our search engine.

With other search engines, webmasters have been forced to learn what is important to each engine and tailor their sites accordingly. The beauty of ExactSeek is that webmasters can focus on making their sites relevant to people, not our search engine.

Shelley: How does ExactSeek's new ranking algorithm compare with other search engines?

Mel: With the exception of Google, the major search engines have offered little in the way of innovation. Factoring user popularity into a ranking algorithm is ground-breaking. User popularity is a far more reliable indicator of where websites should rank and gives the surfing public some input on the search results they see.

Shelley: How will this new ranking system benefit website owners?

Mel: I've already mentioned the most obvious ways that webmasters will benefit as a result of our use of Alexa traffic stats. Indirectly, they will also benefit as searchers recognize the importance of user popularity in delivering quality search results. More search traffic for us will translate into more traffic for webmasters who have listed their websites in ExactSeek. In addition, we will be introducing other ranking factors specifically geared to webmasters which will give them an opportunity to boost site ranking in some very unique ways never before employed by any search engine.

Shelley: Is ExactSeek.com the only search engine that will be utilizing this new ranking system?

Mel: No, the new ranking system will be implemented on 6 search engines, those being ExactSeek, Aesop.com, OnSeek.com, SitesOnDisplay.com, MaxPromo.com and Best- SearchEngine.com. Four of these are using the new ranking algorithm now and the remaining two will be within a week or two.

Shelley: What are your submission policies? Should a webmaster submit just their main page or can they submit additional pages? How often should they submit and how?

Mel: We prefer that webmasters submit primary URLs, but additional pages can be submitted if they have unique content and title and meta tags that reflect that unique content. Once a URL has been incorporated into the ExactSeek database, follow-up submissions are unnecessary. All URLs in our database are recrawled monthly. We also provide webmasters the option of scheduling their own recrawls with our recrawl tool (http://www.exactseek.com/srank.html). Using this tool, a webmaster can have sites recrawled on a weekly basis.

Site submissions to ExactSeek can be made at: (http://www.exactseek.com/add.html)

Shelley: It's been a pleasure talking with you, Mel. Thank you for allowing me to interview you.

Mel: My pleasure, Shelley. Thank you.

Since Alexa site rankings will play a major role in determining how well your site ranks in ExactSeek, I highly recommend that you download the Alexa toolbar -- not only to track your site's status, but also to locate quality sites for joint ventures and link partners. It's a win-win proposition no matter how you look at it.

Copyright © Shelley Lowery 2003.

About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of Web Design Mastery - An in- depth guide to professional web design. And, Ebook Starter - Do-it-yourself ebook design kit. Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a free subscription to Etips and receive a free copy of the highly acclaimed ebook, Killer Internet Marketing Strategies. (http://www.web-source.net)