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Understanding and Optimizing for Inktomi
By Eric Lander - February 28, 2002

One of the most valuable pay-per-inclusion options available to web site optimization specialists as well as growing online businesses, is an inclusion to the Inktomi search engine.

What is Inktomi?
Despite the odd name, Inktomi is simply one of the most powerful search engines available. Inktomi itself is not a standalone search engine portal site like Google or AltaVista. It is however, an engine that is used on a number of other popular search portals including (but not limited to) the following:

• LookSmart
• HotBot
• iWon
• Corporate Yahoo!
• (aka: Lycos)

How do I get my site in Inktomi?
You can get your website into Inktomi through one of two ways. You can ask any one of their partners' sites to include your URL, or, you can contact Position Technologies for more reliable (paid) inclusions. (See for more information.)

How Quickly can one Notice Inktomi Optimization?
Inktomi sorts through its indexes to provide those searching with results that are accurate and up-to-date. In many cases, it is not uncommon to have Inktomi's user agent, "Slurp" accessing your site's URL's as often as every 48 hours.

Since Inktomi comes around so often and reviews a URL's contents, it also serves as a great tool to watch how well your new optimization plans work. With newer results pages for most keywords updating every few days, fine tuning an Inktomi optimization campaign can become a very efficient process - and create some serious results quickly.

Analyzing how Inktomi Provides Search Results
While no one can perfectly describe how the Inktomi search algorithms really work, a lot of information can be acquired through a number or resources. When compiled, this information becomes very helpful when optimizing for Inktomi's purposes.

First and foremost, are the primary factors. In this case, primary factors are considered to be the most influential attributes of a URL that will have an effect on the optimization results.

While many search engines have completely abandoned the usage of META tags, Inktomi has not.

Analyzing a Search Example Result
If you are to search within their database (Use this site for direct Inktomi access: ), you will see that the listings appear in the following format:

[Example Search for "loans"]

Countrywide Home Loans - Real Estate Mortgage Lender - Equity Loan Mortgages
Nations largest independent loan lender. Real estate mortgages. Pre-qualify for maximum mortgage home equity loans. Current interest rates online. Countrywide.

If you were to visit the URL that is listed within the above search example, and review the source code, you would find the following:

<TITLE>Countrywide Home Loans - Real Estate Mortgage Lender - Equity Loan Mortgages</TITLE>

<META name="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Nations largest independent loan lender. Real estate mortgages. Pre-qualify for maximum mortgage home equity loans. Current interest rates online. Countrywide.">

<META name="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="Countrywide Home Loans, Countrywide Mortgages, Real Estate Mortgage Lender, Equity Loan Mortgages, Home Equity Lender, Real Estate Loans, Online Mortgage Lender, Home Equity Loans, Real Estate Equity, Home Loans, Real Estate Mortgages, Interest Rates, Mortgage Calculator, Online Loan Applications, Online Mortgage Rates, Best Loan Rates, Lowest Rates, Closing Costs, Home Mortgages, Online Loan Rates">

In order to better understand how these listings are generated and displayed for users, one must begin to dissect the rather simple process- to see where search results come from.

First off, the title of the link result is "Countrywide Home Loans - Real Estate Mortgage Lender - Equity Loan Mortgages". If you look closely at the page's source code - you will see that exact same line of text within their title tag too. No, this is not a coincidence; it is simply the standard for establishing a title for an Inktomi search result.

Next on the list to dissect, is the description of the web site provided by Inktomi by those searching. Again, and certainly not surprising - all of this data is easily found within the document heading, under the META - Description tag.

Of course, the URL listed at the bottom of the listing is simply the URL that is indexed.

Factors that Affect Ranking
While the primary factors in establishing an Inktomi result are very straight forward and simple, some secondary factors exist as well. They are listed below, with their relationship to search results:

• Link Popularity
Both private and public research shows that Inktomi factors in Link Popularity, or, the amount of links that do not exist on the same domain name that point to the target (listed) URL. The more links that are established, the more popular the page is seen through Inktomi - and thus, is given an advantage.

•Keyword Density, Relevancy, and Importance
Residing in both your document text as well as within your META tags, are the keywords you are looking to target. While these would seem to be the most important factor of any optimization campaign - it is not as important for Inktomi as it may seem.

It has been researched within WebMasterWorld often, and recently - and the general consensus is that the keyword density of a page should fall somewhere between 5 and 10 per cent for any given page.

• Content
With an elementary algorithm like that used at Inktomi, playing your way to prominent rankings can become fairly easy. While Inktomi is an easy engine to understand and see working though, they do claim rewards for sites that offer unique and targeted content.

Interestingly enough, smaller pages (those with minimal amounts of content) often appear more prominently than other, more lengthy pages. Despite the claims that content will dictate some affects on Inktomi - simply offer about 300 words of text on your page - and you will at least fit in with the norm.

How to Get Optimized for Inktomi
Once you have a site that features unique content, and you have decided upon what keywords will yield the most qualified site visitors for that site's purpose - make sure that Inktomi knows that you exist.

Of course, the best way to proceed in that direction is to know that your site will in fact be spidered every 48 - 72 hours by Slurp, Inktomi's spidering bot. In order to know it will be coming around, subscribe to have the most resourceful URL's spidered through Position Technologies -

Once it has been spidered, make sure to check back within the Inktomi Pure Search available at and monitor ranking for all of your keywords as well as other possible searches that would result in your URL being displayed.

Tune the META tags and page titles over time, but do so carefully. Thankfully, no matter how much you change - you can always refer back to what worked. Use the fact that Inktomi updates so often to your advantage to maximize clickthroughs, and be sure to find your URL listed within affiliated partners of Inktomi. Often, they use click-popularity in sorting their results.

Good luck, and of course - If you have any questions about this article simply email us at