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Acheiving AOL Rankings
frustration
David




msg:470210
 1:40 am on Jan 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi, I am tring to figure out how AOL is using the ODP directory. My ODP listing has some of the key words I needed but it is clear that the search results in my catagory are coming from the spidering of my default page. When I search for things outside of my catagory like (pots and pans) all the top results come up with the "more like this" link at the bottom of the listing. When searching in my catagory very few listings have that link. So I cant figure out where these results are coming from, I rank well in Inktomi so it doesnt look like its from there. If I need to have my entire site spidered. Who is that spider? How long does it take? I hope someone can shed some light on this for me, Its driving me crazy.
Thanks
David

 

tedster




msg:470211
 3:08 am on Jan 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

David, AOL runs a rather mysterious database. My guess is that the bulk of their non-ODP data is from Inktomi, but Ink allows partners to customize their ranking algorithms. So a "good" ranking on Inkktomi is a relatively vague term. I've had #1 on HotBot and number 75 on MSN at the same time.

I also have a hunch that AOL starts with this ODP/Inktomi mixture and adds in some portion of its own proprietary information, especially click-tracking data.

Laisha




msg:470212
 6:58 am on Jan 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

>I also have a hunch that AOL starts with this ODP/Inktomi mixture and adds in some portion of its own proprietary information, especially click-tracking data.

That's my sense of it as well. I'm still guessing, but I believe that mess we watched AOL produce for a couple of weeks last month was the result of AOL tweaking their proprietary algorithm.

David




msg:470213
 9:27 pm on Jan 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the responses, It makes sence that they would use inktomi since they use it when you ask for web pages. The web sites return only has my default "main data base inktomi" page. My paid for "poisition technology" pages are not there. I can't compete unless I get more pages in their data base. Any suggestions on how I go about that?

tedster




msg:470214
 10:01 pm on Jan 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Laisha:

>> I believe that mess we watched AOL produce for a couple of weeks last month was the result of AOL tweaking their proprietary algorithm

I think so as well. One page I watched closely through that period went from number 7 to number 86 and now came back at number 5. I know they were getting a ton of AOL traffic, so that's why I assume that AOL clicks are making the difference. The #86 was a mere hiccup.

David:
>> I can't compete unless I get more pages in their data base. Any suggestions on how I go about that?

One way to compete is to buy GoTo keywords. AOL users are responding very well to the GoTo "Sponsored Links" listings at the top of the page.

Other than that, it's keep on tweaking. The various options that Ink offers partners for their data, and what settings each partner uses are mysterious.

AOL may be taking only a relatively small slice of data to augment their returns. For instance, on one search I monitor Canada.com returns 13,050 pages, but AOL returns 405. If my conclusion is correct, this would mean that getting multiple pages into AOL could be difficult -- or even impossible.

David




msg:470215
 10:30 pm on Jan 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster,
>>One way to compete is to buy GoTo keywords AOL users are responding very well to the GoTo "Sponsored Links" listings at the top of the page.

Very true, I have been using them from the start, Its one of the reason's I am so anxious to come up under search results.

>>AOL may be taking only a relatively small slice of data to augment their returns.

They must be using a older data base, one of my competitors has 6 pages in the top 20 for one of my search terms.

Thanks I'll keep tweaking
David

Laisha




msg:470216
 11:11 pm on Jan 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

>My paid for "poisition technology" pages are not there.

AOL updates using new data from both ODP and PT at their own leisure. If you have paid PT for an Inktomi subscription, AOL will pick it up, when they're ready.

Unfortunately, only AOL have control over when that is. :(

backus




msg:470217
 2:06 pm on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

I just started promoting a site for the top 8 SEs. I submitted to ODP to achieve a good position in Netscape and AOL. It worked! Now, bare in mind that this is a clean site, only now being promoted. This was the first submission. Now, I promote another site, which, for its keywords, comes top ten in *all* the top 8 SEs except AOL! In ODP it is marked as an editors pick. Could that be affecting it?

bigjohnt




msg:470218
 4:59 pm on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

backus - Yup, it could be. Or it could be the "new" bonus that AOL has been giving for the first 3 - 4 weeks.

Laisha




msg:470219
 5:31 pm on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

>In ODP it is marked as an editors pick. Could that be affecting it?

Congratulations!

I don't believe that this will affect it in most search alogrithms, although I could be mistaken.

It will definitely, however, affect it in directories (as you can probably intuit) since it is above the alphabetical listings, on top of the fact that even my mother could see that it has a "special" rating. :)

backus




msg:470220
 8:54 am on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

Erm, Laisha? Are you per chance being a little bit sarcastic? Just out of interest :-)

Marcia




msg:470221
 10:18 am on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

backus, Laisha's mother is an AOL user :)

To understand the implications of that, and for a highly informative look at how people actually use search engines, check this thread out:

[webmasterworld.com...]

backus




msg:470222
 10:36 am on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thank you, once again I may say, for enlightening me. All becomes clear now. Though after writing to AOL, one more thing bothers me. I received an email from a guy named Gin. He tried to answer my question but he was well off the mark, in fact, it was as if he hadn't even read my original e-mail! So I did a reply, tried to inform him of my current situation, blah blah, and got a reply from a Linda or somebody, which was word for word the same as Gin's e-mail. Answer? Computerised responses! I really grow day by day more and more cheesed with people who leave computers to answer for them. IT IS NOT CUSTOMER SUPPORT!!!!!!! But then again, what do you expect from AOL? What was it I read? "Most unfriendly firm, ever"?

Laisha




msg:470223
 12:02 am on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry. I was unexpectedly delayed from logging on for awhile.

Thanks, Marcia, for explaining about my mother. :)

>...IT IS NOT CUSTOMER SUPPORT!!!!!!! But then again, what do you expect from AOL? What was it I read? "Most unfriendly firm, ever"?

Another thing you may not know about me is that I was once phone technical support for AOL, so I am probably qualified to answer this question -- or at least comment. :) (No, I'm not kidding.)

First, the turnover at AOL is horrendous. Dealing with AOL members, many of whom have no computer savvy whatsoever, is trying to say the least. I distinctly remember spending in excess of 10 minutes trying to get a member to understand where the space bar was. The jokes about cupholders and the "any" key are not exaggerated much.

Secondly, there are time limits an AOL CS rep has to meet -- for instance, an average of 7 minutes per phone call -- which make it impossible for them to really do their jobs.

Thirdly, the search engine "department" is a miniscule one, and AFAIK, the only employees who deal with them are in Virginia. My guess is that your question does not go to them at all, but to a regular Customer Support person who is trained for a short period of time to answer questions about connectivity, error messages, and busy signals.

I said all that to say this: The chances are that you will almost always end up with an inexperienced and/or harried respondent who is not very knowledgeable about search engines.

They rely not on computerized responses but rather on form letters. My guess is that they read your email, and then scanned their list of form letters to find the form letter which most closely fits the occasion of your question. :(

You may get lucky and get someone whose hobby is SEO, but the chances of that are not likely. (Techs used to forward calls about searches to me in my call center, but that was only because they happened to know what I did, at that time, as a side business.)

I am not defending what happened to you at all. I am merely trying to explain what probably happened. (I know plenty of employees of AOL, and I can't get a straight answer either! :( )

Moreover, you are not likely to get any explanation from any search engine or directory that I know of as to anything that is likely to help you rank better.

That's why we're here. :) (AND why we make the big bucks. :) )

backus




msg:470224
 8:55 am on Jan 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks Laisha, but that is no excuse. You of all people should put your foot down and say, "You can't do that!" I would have already been up in the manager's office. I had the same type of problem with British Telecom, you sometimes get people who don't know what ADSL is, or don't even realise they are working in the ADSL department! I lodged a complaint with BT management and didn't rest till it was solved. And it did get solved! Please try to do something. In the words of that Princess from Star Wars, "Help me Laisha, you're my only hope!"

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