Thursday, July 25, 2024

Gaining Rankings within AltaVista

Frames
If you have information inside frames, you probably face a challenge gaining rankings in AltaVista, but it is not an absolute barrier. AltaVista indexes the outside of the frame as a distinct page. It will also index each pane of the frame window as a separate page. That means that if the content matching a query is in a pane, then visitors clicking on those links will see only the pane, not the full page as it was originally designed. So if you want visitors from AltaVista to experience your pages in a certain way, you should have non-frames as well as frames versions of those pages, and submit the non-frames versions.

“Being Well Indexed” – AltaVista.com

This source is a very helpful tutorial provided by AltaVista. I highly recommend that SEO practitioners read it, if they haven’t already. It is filled with useful information.

META Tags
AltaVista has a firm view of META data, keyword repetition and comment tags, which is discussed in more detail on their site at “Being Well Indexed.” AV declares “basically, META tags are a band aid to help you deal with pages that don’t state what they are about in clear text, right up front. Do it right to begin with, and you don’t need META tags at all. Many webmasters think that by using the keyword META tag, they are gaining some advantage in the ranking or making up for the fact that their pages have very little text content. But, according to AV, those words are worth little more than any other word in the main text of the page: “There is nothing ‘key’ about it. You have simply added a few more words to the page in a place that is not visible.”

This statement clearly suggests that AltaVista places little value to the Webmaster assigned META data section of a site and therefore assigns low-weight to META data in their ranking algorithm.

Keyword Repetition
Be very cautious of how many times you choose to repeat your keywords either on the page or in the meta tags. AltaVista does not reward Web pages that practice useless repetition. AltaVista only counts each unique word twice.

Comment Tags
Comments, that is, text between the open tag symbols in the source code, are not indexed at all. AltaVista feels that they are intended as private communications, not viewable by Web site visitors, except by using View/Page Source and as such are not considered by AltaVista’s algorithm.

Link Popularity
AltaVista considers the links pointing at your site from other sites across the Web in determining relevancy. However, the text describing the link (anchor text) is very, very important in deciding if the link is pertinent. I asked my interviewees if it was possible to be negatively affected by a link pointing to a site. For instance, if, for malevolent purposes, someone points a link to a site indicating that the site is a great source for adult material, when, in actuality the site sells greeting cards, will this negatively affect the site’s ranking? I was informed that if the anchor text in the link pointing to your site does not appear on your Web page, the link will not be considered and therefore will not harm a site’s ranking or relevancy within AV.

Consider that AV is so concerned with the anchor text contained in the link pointing at your site that they validate the destination text before they reward the site for the link. It emphasizes the importance that AV places in the content of the anchor text of the links that point to your Web site. When you’re out soliciting links to your Web site to improve your rankings in places like AV and Google, remember to ask not just for a link but specifically request that the link contains one or more of your targeted keywords or phrases in the anchor text.

Dynamic Content
AltaVista recognizes that for both malicious and unintentional purposes, some Web users may create dynamic content that causes robots to get stuck in an infinite trap of page generation. As a result, AV typically does not crawl dynamically generated sites. However, if someone submits a dynamic URL through the manual submission process, it has an opportunity to be indexed in the database. Submitters, if your Web page has great content but contains a query string, go ahead and submit it by hand as it still may be indexed. Dynamic content is not an absolute roadblock in submitting to AltaVista.

Refreshing the Database
Both of my interviewees agreed that the latency between spider visits to sites within the AltaVista database is growing shorter and shorter. In order to compete with the exponential growth of the Web, AltaVista has enhanced their technological capabilities to spider on a more frequent basis. While no specific waiting time was indicated that a site should expect a spider to revisit, it was noted that AltaVista makes every effort to ensure that they revisit “the most popular pages the most frequently.” We infer that they’re referring to link popularity here.

The above article, or portions of it, have been reprinted with permission from the MarketPosition Newsletter and FirstPlace Software, Inc. and is copyright 1997-2001. FirstPlace produces WebPosition Gold, the award-winning software product to track and to improve your search engine rankings. You may download a FREE trial copy of WebPosition Gold from: http://www.webposition.com

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