Ask was founded with the hopes of becoming a powerful natural language search engine. It all started in Berkely, California, USA. Originally, it was known as “Ask Jeeves” with a theme character known as Mr. Jeeves who was supposed to be a virtual gentleman-like personal assistant. He retrieved and delivered the answers to your questions just as a gentleman would. The search engine is powered by the ExpertRank technology (formerly known as Teoma). ExpertRank is a unique algorithm in that it uses clustering by subject methodology In order to group websites together. In many ways it is like other search engines when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but there are differences. Let’s examine what you should consider when working on optimization for Ask.

The ExpertRank algorithm applies additional criteria when getting relevant search results. Other major search engines focus on the popularity of websites when ranking and providing relevant search results. With other search engines, webmasters and SEO specialists try to get a high volume of backlinks on sites relevant to the one being optimized. While backlink volume is not the only favorable factor when ranking a site, it is very important. Ask goes a step further in that it evaluates related sites determining if they can be considered experts in the subject area. Determining the expert level requires an additional level of sophistication in the ranking algorithm and this is what ExpertRank is capable of.

Content containing keywords is just as important in Ask as it is in the other search engines. But considering the extent that the ExpertRank algorithm analyzes content, it should be well-written. Ask also advises webmasters that their pages may take longer to index because of the quality checks that must be done.

Keywords are not the only consideration for SEO with This is because Ask uses and is continuing to develop what is known as semantic search technology. The aim of semantic search technology is for users to be able to enter a search query and find the results the first time without having to rephrase. The components of’s semantic search technology include DADS (Direct Answers From Databases), DAFS (Direct Answers From Search), and AnswerFarm. Also part of’s search technology is a database of 300 million question and answer pairs.

The purpose of DADS is to provide search results from structured data. DADS was made possible because of the numerous XML structured data feeds from the various websites. It is easy to parse and load into the DADS database from this type of information. Structured data such as this can also be stored in terms of time. This allows a user to search for television, movie, entertainment, sporting events, and other time-sensitive information and have answers returned as to what is current for these areas. However the important thing to remember is that part of the SEO process for Ask is to make sure your site provides an XML feed of current information.

DAFS is similar to traditional keyword search technology but goes a little further. With DAFS technology, the content of your website is read and the Ask software tries to figure out what the topic is plus determine if it can link to any of the questions in’s question database. It is one thing to have keywords but Ask looks at the keywords in their context—a more complex job. This is why it is so important to have content written that answers some of the questions people have on

AnswerFarm looks for question and answer pages. A common form of questions and answers on a website is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions page). This technology links an Ask user query to relevant FAQ pages. It also gives the SEO specialist one more avenue (the FAQ page of a website) to pursue in trying to get established in Ask SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

Ask will not automatically index a new website. There are two main triggers that get a website submitted to Ask. One is that there are backlinks to the new website and the other is that a sitemap has been submitted. But keep in mind that if your site has been indexed by the other major search engines then it will more than likely get crawled by However you should always submit a sitemap as this is the way to directly petition Ask to crawl your pages.

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