Ask.com Feeds the Needs of RSS Readers, Bloggers

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Ask.com today announced its plans to launch a new blog and RSS feed search, which will be available both on Ask.com and IAC’s Bloglines Web-based feed reader.

The blog search feature is just the latest tool on the newly redesigned and rebranded Ask.com. The new search results could impact traffic to blog publishers of all stripes, including ad-supported players and authors of corporate blogs.

According to reports, this is the first time since IAC acquired Bloglines a year ago that it will feature Ask.com’s ExpertRank algorithm in its search. ExpertRank, formerly known as Teoma, improves relevance by giving more weight to links to a page from other sites within the site’s category, which presumably would be more relevant links from subject-matter experts.

“We look at the Web by breaking it down into subject-specific categories,” Kaushal Kurapati, director of search product management, said in a statementat ClickZ. “A site that ‘pops’ within its own category would be considered more useful.”

Ask.com will also weigh subscription data from Bloglines, including historical data going back five years. That should also increase the relevance of the results, Massie said. “When a blog or feed has a number of subscribers, it lends a certain authority and quality level to the content,” he said.

The blog search tool will pick up a feed that has even one subscriber in Bloglines. But Ask.com notes that to get the best results for a blog post, a publisher should first make sure the content is useful and worth linking to others in order to improve rankings.

Ask.com’s new tool will also include links to subscribe to the blog or feed right from the results page, using Bloglines, Google, NewsGator, Yahoo, or another RSS reader. Users can also post the results to their own blog, or to social media sites like Digg, del.icio.us or NewsVine.

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