With all the hullabaloo about the rebranding of Ask.com yesterday, I began to look at it more seriously than ever before. I mean, frankly, I've ignored it completely all these years. So yesterday, I began to evaluate the new Ask.com, and I realized that we, as seos, probably evaluate search engines much differently than most folks.
To an SEO, what makes a good search engine? Good design? Ease of Use? Features? Relevant search results? Well, no. Ok, those things are on the list, but they aren't at the top of the list. And one could argue that those things contribute to what is on the top of an SEOs list, but that requires thinking, and logic, rather than gut evaluation. And any SEO will tell you, it's all about the gut. 🙂
Let's face it. There are only two things that immediately come to an SEO's mind when he or she evaluates a search engine.
1. How much market share does it have? Or put another way, is it going to send me any traffic or make me any money, even if I have #1 rankings across the board?
Even if the answer to question #1 is "The search engine will send me NO traffic", question #2 is inevitable, as the SEO's curiousity and ego overtakes him.
2. How do I rank in the search engine?
So, as any good SEO would do, I tackled those two questions first, when I began my evaluation yesterday of the new Ask.com.
1. How much market share does Ask.com have? Well, I frankly didn't bother to find out the actual percentage, because I already know that none of my sites get diddly squat traffic from Ask, and from everything I've read from others' comments, the same could be said for just about everyone. Yeah, yeah, I'm sure there are exceptions.
So, ok, in its present state, Ask gets a big fat X for this evaluation score. However, Barry Diller is the man in charge, and he does want to throw money at the thing, so who knows? Maybe a year from now, the answer to question #1 will be much different.
2. How do I rank in Ask? Since I have quite a few sites, and lots of keywords to track, it took a while to compile all the data. The consensus ended up being that I do ok. Not so good for some terms, very good for others. But for my big, money-making terms, I do quite well. Basically, if Ask grabbed 100% of the market share, because all of the other search engines went belly-up, I'd probably still make about the same amount of money as I do now. So, Ask gets a big fat CHECKMARK for this evaluation score.
Whew! Now that the two major questions have been answered, let's move on to the less important ones (for SEOs anyway).
3. Is Ask's design nice? Yep, sure is. CHECKMARK
4. Is Ask easy to use? Yep, sure is. CHECKMARK
5. Does Ask have great features? Yep, they sure do. CHECKMARK
6. Are Ask's search results relevant? Well, I don't know. I need more time to evaluate that. I've had Ask as my primary search engine since yesterday morning. So far, I'm neither over nor underwhelmed by the results. Evaluation score? TOO EARLY TO TELL.
Final Evaluation Score: Ask has potential, but only if they increase their market share will it matter one iota to SEOs.