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How To Optimize Your Website For Ask

Dec 12, 2007
While Ask's share of the search market is comparatively small, it offers some great features that are sure to catch on. Consider grabbing a good ranking now before the word gets out and a tidal wave of webmasters start clamoring for top spots.

While Google has been grabbing a lot of press recently for their new universal search model, Ask has been providing it since day one. So here's a great place to get your feet wet and, shall I say, "practice" for optimizing for universal search. Consider these tips:

Optimizing images for Ask's universal search model is a little more complex than simply adding an alt tag. Yes, you still need to use an alt tag, and the alt tag should contain the target keyword. But in addition, the image's actual filename should also contain the keyword AND the page text near the image should include the keyword.

Create an account at Bloglines and add your blogs and feeds to your profile. Unlike most of their competitors, ranking in Ask Blogs is determined by relevance, not date. So be sure to maximize all your blog posts for your keyword phrases. Another feature of Ask Blogs is the ability to sort by popularity, so stickiness and incoming links become extremely important.

Ask Mobile is a neat feature that provides mobile users with search results by reformatting websites into one column. Ask Mobile returns local search results to cell phone users (genius, isn't it?), so be sure to include your address with city, state and zip on every page of your site to improve your possibility of being listed. And get yourself listed in Ask City by sending an email to askcitybusiness (at) help.ask.com. The email should contain the subject "Ask City Feedback - Business" and should include your business name and full address, your area code and phone number, your web address, your business category, your name and email address. Expect about one month before your listing in Ask City is approved.

Be sure to submit your sitemap to Ask to ensure your site is thoroughly crawled. Without a sitemap, chances are your deep content will not be indexed by Ask. Put your sitemap in your root folder and add it to your robots.txt file. Then submit it to Ask by pinging it in your browser.

Ask provides users with a website preview, so they can glance at the site before clicking the link. To guarantee maximum clickthroughs, make sure your best content is above the fold and that your site preview looks compelling.
About the Author
Karen Scharf offers several whitepapers, free reports and checklists, including her FREE Optimize Your Site For Ask Checklist. Download your FREE copy at http://www.modernimage.com/freereports/optimize-ask.htm.
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