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From everything you are saying, I guess I should tell the client not to get too excited, but just enjoy however many hours they get in the upper reaches.
Also I just looked at the "most popular sites" list. This is a third AOL list, ranked differently than Web Sites or Web Pages, and it also shows GoTo results at the top.
I'm guessing this is AOL's own clicktracking data -- since you can see tracking codes when you look at their page source.
Jilly, any changes in your listings? Is it just a problem importing the GoTo kws, or does it affect your regular standings as well?
Actually, my first idea after running a ranking report for a client today was to simply close the program and go watch TV. *sigh*
Frankly, anything I have to say would be sheer conjecture. I notice that the GoTo listings have disappeared, so my guess would be that it's temporary while they tweak their database.
HUH? Search for new york tax planner [search.aol.com]. Must be nice if you're the New York Times.
Numbers 12-17 are:
Number 19 is:
Then we see guru.com with similar results.
I had 3 sites in the ODP targeted at 3 of my most competitive phrases. These sites ranked number 1 on AOL for some great phrases and I got traffic by the bucket load. One of the editors at the ODP decided in her wisdom, I'm not bitter honest :), to remove them. They were only in the main AOL listings for 2 months maximum, and were dropped at least 4 months ago. However 2 of them are still listed at #2 in most popular sites category.
Trouble is I now only get a couple of hits a week compared to 100s a day.
Incidently I can see the GOTO sponsored listings on all of the different search pages.
The Web Site rankings I see on the AOL are still the unusual ones that first showed up last weekend. For instance, on one keyword AOL says they have results of 366 sites. However, page 2 of this results list kicks you to an ODP category list -- and ODP only shows a total of 184 sites.
Since AOL owns them, I thought I'd check in on Netscape Search. For the same kw, Netscape Search shows only 154 results from ODP. Don't know what Netscape did with the other 30 ODP sites. Also, the Netscape ranking is way different from either ODP or AOL.
AOL has been known, recently, to weave Inktomi data into the Web Sites returns page. But that wouldn't explain what I'm seeing either -- Inktomi has completely buried these particular clients, yet one of them is now number one on AOL.
All in all, it's quite a hodge podge. It's also one I'd like to understand better since, right now, AOL really likes several of my clients a LOT. I'd like to keep that traffic, but it doesn't look like a stable situation.
If it is click data, I wonder if they're factoring in the GoTo clicks from the top of the page. That would explain a lot of what I see, anyway. And it would be a very intereting situation as well. Improve your AOL rank by purchasing a GoTo keyword!
Jilly, how are your kws looking?
I still don't recognize these results.
The total number of sites returned is several times more than ODP only, so whence come these other sites? Theory was they were including some Inktomi, but I see some top tens that I don't recognize from any place else, definitely not Ink.
Internal click data? The AOL proxy server records? Just guessing, of course. AOL traffic means a lot to many clients, and I'd like to dig this out.
It is at the editor's discretion to choose to make your site an editor's pick, and America Online relies on the judgment of the volunteer editors to determine this. There are no "tricks" to getting your listing higher in our Web search results. We review Web site submissions to filter out "spam" efforts, and in other ways, to prevent false ranking in AOL Search. Your site is ranked based on relevance, as determined by our engine.
Please let me know immediately about any further inquiries or comments you may have. I will always be ready and happy to assist you."
At the top of the list there is a disclaimer that their editors have not reviewed all the material and somthing offensive might be included.
What I get from this is that AOL is not about to help usunderstand how they determine relevance.
Not that it matters, we're in the top two for our primary keyword phrases, and we see virtually NO traffic from AOL. I guess their users aren't too interested in alternative energy (and/or they don't have many Alaskan users)... I was just curious.
Sad to say it happens in any organization, but they stay on top of it pretty much at ODP, so usually if your description is changed it's because you either added too many keywords making it look spammy or because they are trying to keep things consistant in their category.
AOL applies their own algos to the data they get from ODP as all of the other search engines do.