Inktomi Improves International Search

Searchers using Inktomi's regional portal partners should see an improvement in results thanks to enhancements announced at the Search Engine Strategies conference this week in Copenhagen.

Regional search has often been a matter of simple filtering results by language or domain. The problem with this approach, however, is that different countries may share a common language, but have disproportionate amounts of content.

For example, although both Spain and Latin American countries share a common language, the sheer amount of content generated in central and south America overwhelms the amount of content in Spain, leading to skewed results when language is used as the primary filter.

Spanish users may have little interest in Latin American content, just as searchers in France are often not interested in getting French Canadian web results.

Inktomi has addressed this problem by looking at the link structure of a particular region. Most web pages can be assigned a regional ID by examining links pointing to the page, and determining whether they come from local directories or other content hubs within a region.

"The benefits include more regionally relevant results for the most common queries," according to Tim Mayer, product manager, Inktomi Web Search. The approach also affords the benefit of a larger overall index, since there's no longer a need to exclude content based on language or region.

This means that documents with "global" relevance can still be included in results that are primarily focused on narrower regions or languages. It's a best of all worlds approach.

Inktomi's portal partners can fine-tune results to match the specific needs of their users. "It allows the portal to define the level of weight to give to a particular region," said Doug Cook, Director of Engineering, Inktomi Web Search. This means that multiple portals within a single country could be configured to deliver entirely different results, despite using the same underlying Inktomi index.

Inktomi's long term plan is to unify its numerous "clusters" maintained around the world. "Our goal is to get as much content as we possibly can and keep it as fresh as possible," said Cook.


Inktomi OEM/Web Partners

A partial list of web portals using the Inktomi search index, including a number of international sites.

How Inktomi Works

Search Engine Watch members have access to a detailed How Inktomi Works page.

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.