SEO Focus: Optimizing for Ask Jeeves
The search engine Ask.com (formerly known as Ask Jeeves) has recently scored a major surge in popularity. This shift in traffic source for organic search has caused a stir throughout the SEO community. From in-house SEOs to the large SEO firms, everyone is scrambling to keep up.
SEO guru Danny Sullivan was quoted as saying “At this point, I think everyone understands that people just want answers to their questions. The recent spike is a sign of the times, and Google should take notice.”
Luckily for our clients, I’ve never given up on Ask Jeeves and have, in fact, been optimizing my own websites for it all along. I’d like to offer some advice to all of those SEOs looking to gain an edge in Ask Jeeves’ SERPs.
Should I make sure my H1 tags are formed as questions? Yes. This might seem obvious, but I can’t emphasize it enough. The reason Ask Jeeves is so popular is that you actually ask it a question. This means the search queries are structured as questions and, as we all know, exact matches for our search terms will rank higher. This remains true with the current Ask Jeeves algorithm, Butler 4.1.12. While it’s crucial that your H1 tags use the question structure, I recommend employing the same format for at least 3-5 keywords or keyphrases on each page of content.
You may need to adjust your keyword research and tracking tactics, but I guarantee that optimizing for and tracking longer-form keyphrases - including a question word and question mark - will guarantee that your website maintains traction in the rapidly expanding Ask Jeeves search environment.
Another technical aspect that you’ll want to address (if you haven’t already) is the implementation of a hit counter. This is the box, typically located in the footer of your site, that tracks and displays the total number of visitors your site has had. Why is a hit counter so important? It’s not just ‘retro’ and cool. Ask Jeeves actually uses that number when calculating your websites domain authority. Therefore, your placement in the SERPs is dependant on the number of hits in your hit counter.
If your site doesn’t currently use a hit counter, I recommend searching “Where can I get a hit counter?” and adding the script to your footer section. Most hit counters will have a number of styles and there’s almost always something that will complement your site’s design. This service is also available through our SEO department and will be included on all new Blue Tent website builds as of April 1, 2012.
Keep Ask Jeeves in mind when optimizing your site and never underestimate the power of well placed question mark. And don't forget to optimize the "alt text" for your animated .gifs! Next month we’ll touch on GeoCities and Altavista.