Continued from page 1
When I asked if we could show we're not trying to hide anything - - perhaps form a partnership aimed at quality control within framework of cloaking? His reply, "I agree with that. That is best option."
The rest of our dialogue went like this...
Robin: Does it have to be PartnerSite IV -- some small companies couldn't quite afford that option.
Baker: Currently, it would be through PartnerSite IV. However, we do plan to extend that offering to other PartnerSite versions in future.
Robin: Since redirects are frowned upon, what should you do if you've moved your entire site, for example, and you need to direct traffic to new domain?
How to score at top of FAST . . .
Now let's get down to nitty gritty. What does it take to achieve a top ranked page with FAST?
Here are some tips from FAST rep himself: Baker suggests,
"Good content that is unique, not general, always has 'authoritative' effect and people begin to link to that site. This achieves good scores in two areas we care most about:
1) Static Rank, which is link analysis, and 2) Dynamic Rank, which is keywords and content."
Also . . .
"Get a handful of authoritative sites linking to you. Link popularity plays a large factor in determining rank. If your site is diverse, with multiple focuses, make sure pages are well written, keywords are appropriately placed, and have a handful of authoritative sites linking to site."
Baker added, "The trick, in my experience, is to get a handful of really good sites to link to a site that is non-thematic."
How important is link popularity with FAST? As with most engines, link popularity is an extremely important factor in determining relevancy.
Baker explains as follows, "Be concerned with links in, not links out. Link score is part of relevancy calculation and has a formulaic impact on ranking. However, if a site has no link score, ranking is negatively impacted."
I asked him, "Is link popularity is based on entire site, or on individual pages? In other words, if one page has a high link popularity, will all pages of a site be boosted, or only that one page?"
His reply, "Just that one page."
So, if your site has no links pointing to it, you'll likely rank poorly but site can still be indexed provided FAST spider can find it.
Robin: Does FAST make allowances for brand new sites?
Baker: "Not currently, but we are beginning to work with some of new domains that are popping up."
Robin: Do links from pages on your own site count toward building link popularity?
Baker: "No . . . that would be too easy." ...he said with a smile.
Robin: How does FAST deal with asp and database-generated pages?
Baker: "As long as they are not forms and they are linked to, we can crawl them. Of course, PartnerSite service has ability to index dynamic pages as well."
Conclusive remarks . . .
As with most engines FAST sees spam as public enemy number one. They've identified two-thirds of servers in world as spam servers. The best way to gain entrance into FAST index is to make certain that your site does not fall into any of their spam categories.
We suggest you take a few minutes to review their spam policy.
For guaranteed indexing and respidering every 48 hours, give their paid inclusion a test. The primary benefit being that you can experiment with keyword factors that boost relevancy and see results of your tests in 48 hours or less.
Remember, paid inclusion guarantees your space in directory and provides you opportunity to experiment endlessly with relevancy factors within your page for a whole year.
Focus your attention on gaining high quality incoming links. Doing so will increase what FAST calls your "link score" (aka, link popularity). Remember also that sites with no incoming links are actually negatively impacted.
All other factors being equal, freshest (most recent) page wins by an ever-so-slight boost in relevancy. There are many ways to maintain site "freshness," such as using server side includes.
For shades of things to come, keep an eye on alltheweb.com -- we'll be watching to see how query analysis develops as a determiner of page relevancy in near future.
Copyright 2002 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.
Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists, has trained several thousand people in her online search engine marketing (http://www.academywebspecialists.com) training courses. She also teaches 3-day hands-on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe with Search Engine Workshops (http://www.searchengineworkshops.com).