Inktomi SEO

A guide to optimizing for Inktomi.

Inktomi currently powers parts of Overture, HotBot, MSN, LookSmart and a few other sad search sites.

Inktomi is Backfill

Inktomi does have a wide distribution. But this does not mean that Inktomi drives a lot of traffic. In most cases – Overture, LookSmart, MSN, ETC – Inktomi’s results are not the primary results. Inktomi is used as backfill. On most of these search sites, paid listings are backed up by sponsored listings, and then you’ll see more paid listings. Being included in Inktomi at this point in time does very, very little in the way of increasing traffic.

It wasn’t always like this. At one time, Inktomi powered AOL. One site we owned back then, Just-Contractors.com, had a top ten spot on Inktomi for the search term contractors. In fact, it was placed well for several search terms on Inktomi. Inktomi, via AOL, generated close to one-quarter of all search engine referrals for that site.

Then, on a great and joyous summer day in 2002, AOL dropped Inktomi and switched to Google.

Referrals from Inktomi-powered search engines dropped to less than 5% of all referrals across all sites where we are monitoring traffic.

Here is a sampling from one such site:

Google referrals – 58.8 %

Yahoo – 27.7 %
AOL (Google) – AOL 6.6 %
Netscape (Google) – 0.9 %
AltaVista – 0.6 %
MSN – 0.4 %
Ask Jeeves – 0.4%
EarthLink (Google) – 0.4 %

Other search engines delivering under 0.4% of the search engine referrals include: AllTheWeb, Teoma, Excite, Dogpile, Virgilio, DMOZ, MetaCrawler, Fireball, Hotbot, Mamma, WebCrawler, Kvasir, Hotbot, Seznam.cz, InfoSpace, Lycos, Sympatico, Bluewin, Go.com, Ask Jeeves UK, WISENut, Jubii, Mirago, Looksmart and Overture.

So then

We address Inktomi optimization at this time due largely to the speculation that Yahoo, having purchased Inktomi in a round-about way, will be using Inktomi’s search technology in place of Google sometime in the near future.

If that does not happen, please forget all about this and go back to business as usual.

Inktomi Isn’t Google

The Google ranking algorithm is extremely simple – it all revolves around anchor text. In Google’s SERP’s, it’s common to see a page ranked for an extremely competitive keyword on the sole basis of anchor text of inbound links.

Inktomi, on the other hand, prefers to place weight on the on-page elements commonly referred to as SEO copywriting; particularly the page titles and the keyword density of the body copy.

It should be stressed that even though the Google ranking algorithm and the Inktomi ranking algorithm are as different as day is from night, it is still possible to achieve top rankings on both engines for the same page.

The Descriptive URL

One element which ranks prominently in the Inktomi algorithm is the keywords in the URL.

Let’s compare a few searches Inktomi to Google.

Google search Computers:

  • http://www.apple.com
  • http://www.dell.com
  • http://www.gateway.com
  • http://reviews.cnet.com/reviews/0-9870989.html
  • http://dmoz.org/Computers/
  • http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet
  • http://www.attworldnet.com/g/c/te.html
  • http://www.computers.com
  • http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/ciltop.htm
  • http://www.aip.org/cip/

    Inktomi search Computers:

  • http://dmoz.org/Computers/
  • http://www.dell.com
  • http://www.computers.com
  • http://www.apple.com
  • http://www.gateway.com
  • http://www.yahoo.com/Computers
  • http://www.howstuffworks.com/category.htm?cat=Comp
  • http://computers.yahoo.com
  • http://www.compaq.com
  • http://www.computer.org/tc

    Or take a peek at Inktomi’s top ten for search term Contractor:

  • http://www.contractormag.com
  • http://www.cslb.ca.gov
  • http://www.contractors-license.org
  • http://www.las-vegas-contractor.info
  • http://www.contractoruk.co.uk
  • http://www.contractor.com
  • http://www2.cslb.ca.gov/CSLB_LIBRARY/license+request.asp
  • http://www.lni.wa.gov/contractors/contractor.asp
  • http://www.just-contractors.com
  • http://www.cehandbook.com

    The most revealing listing in this SERP is the inclusion of www.las-vegas-contractor.info at the #4 spot for this search term. The page has no quality inbound links, and a PageRank of 0 (zero). This goes to the core of the Inktomi algorithm.

    Link popularity is Google’s fetish, not Inktomi’s. You do not need link popularity to rank in the top of Inktomi’s SERP’s.

    Meta Description

    Inktomi does rank pages solely on the basis of words found in the meta description tag.

    Body Copy

    The bulk of the weight appears to be placed on body copy. H1 tags do not appear to be specifically weighted over other body copy. As far as keyword density goes, the sky’s the limit. In other words, the higher the density, the better.

    Page Titles

    A couple years ago, I submitted a page to Inktomi. Inktomi at first liked the page – www.Just-Contractors.com – and placed it in the top ten for contractors. Then we added a few words to the title element. Inktomi dropped the page entirely.

    Having paid for submission, and being pig-headed, I wrote several emails to Inktomi. After being referred to PositionTech several times, I was finally able to get in touch with an Inktomi representative who looked into the situation. His reply?

    “Your page was dropped for keyword abusive page titles.”

    Keep this in mind, and keep your page titles short.

    Summary

    Inktomi likes body copy, page titles, and descriptive URL’s.

    1. toddwtoddw12-07-2006

      I thought I’d update saying that Inktomi has been hitting some of my sites harder with their bots than other SE’s have lately. They may be doing a big PUSh to get stuff spydered/added to their index to compete for the holidays with the increase user traffic??? Dunno just guessing.

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