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                                  Search Engine Tips

Understanding Search Engines

There are three important elements to search engines: information database, the user search, and the presentation and ranking of results.

The Information Database is a container of indexed description of  Web pages. Historically they were a link list, later became a huge link list with small description for each link and now they have special Search algorithm to find needed Web pages by using keywords.

A Search engine can send back just the title and URL of each Web page it visits, or just parse some HTML tags, or it can send back the entire text of each Web page. Alta Vista, Excite, and OpenText has 30 million Web pages indexed.

The time between submitting your URL and getting it into the database can be as long as 6-8 weeks. In addition, a submission may expire very rapidly, no longer appearing in searches after a month or two, apparently due to insufficient site updating. Most search engines check their databases to see if URLs still exist and to see if they have been recently updated. In addition, a submission may expire very rapidly, no longer appearing in searches after a month or two, apparently due to insufficient site updating. Most search engines check their databases to see if URLs still exist and to see if they have been recently updated.

 

There are no easy tricks or secret formulas for optimum search engine placement, there just isn't. Each search engine uses different criteria to rank relevancy in a search. Some use META tags, while others do not. The best single factor we can identify to get a spot closest to the top, is to use your most important keywords in the text, and the closer to the top of the page, the better.

What are the words or phrases people will type into a search box of a search engine when trying to find a site like yours? They are the "keywords" you need to identify and use in the HTML <META> tag <KEYWORDS> that some of the search engines use to index web pages. The robots that do not use the <META> tags will index pages based on the content of the text. That is why you want your most important keywords included at the beginning of your text. Any ranking strategy has to revolve around your keywords.

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Ranking

Search engines give each document they find some measure (ranking) of the quality of the match to your search query - a score. Relevant scores reflect the number of times a search term appears, if it appears in the title, if it appears at the beginning of the document or HTML tags, and if all the search terms are near each other; some explanation are given in each search engines help files. Some engines allow the user to control the relevance score by giving different weights to each search word. One thing that all engines do is to use alphabetical order or date stamp in their display algorithm. If relevance scores are not very different for various matches, then you end up with default list . A good summary is useful too. The summary is usually composed of the title of a document and some text from the beginning of the document.

Review the information below. It will help get your site nearer the top of the results of a search started by your potential customers making it easier for them to find you.

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<Title>

Give your title a lot of thought. The <TITLE> is the text that appears on the title bar of the browser. It also appears in bookmarks that someone might use to identify you. Search Engines consider a Web page title to be the most telling description of the content of a Web page. This does not mean the first major heading on the Web page itself, it means the caption which appears on the title bar of your browser and is controlled by the <TITLE></TITLE> tags within the <HEAD> of your HTML document. It's important to put a few of your major keywords in the title of your page.

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How To Use Meta-tags

You can control how search engines catalog your site with two types of HTML tags. These meta tags are part of the HTML code that search engine crawlers look for but visitors to your pages never see.

1 - Title tag: This is the text that you normally see in the top left hand corner of the browser when you visit a WebPages. It is also used as the highlighted link that you click on in search engines. It should be about 5 to 15 words in length and include your most important keywords / key phrase.

<title>WebPages title</title>

2 - Description tag: This lets you specify a short summary that appears below the WebPages title on a search engine listing. This is what the person sees to decide if your website is worth visiting. Again, your most important keywords / Key phrases as close to the beginning as possible. You should expand the title concept here. The description should be no longer than 160 characters.

<meta name="description" content="Short description of your WebPages.">

3 - Keyword tag: Lets you specify the keywords that a search engine should give precedence to when cataloging the page. Keywords are typically given less importance than words in the title, but more importance than words found in the page's body.

<meta name="keywords" content="this is where your keywords go, separated by commas.">

Here are some guidelines and tips for selecting keywords:

1 - Make a list of relevant keywords that you think people will search for when they are looking for a website like yours.

2 - Make sure your keywords include both general and specific words related to your site. Your keyword meta tag should be less than 1000 characters in length, including spaces and commas.

3 - If you are finding it difficult to think of keywords that people will enter in their searches, then use a thesaurus and copy some from your competitor's Web sites. By the way, I didn't tell you that!

4 - Make your keywords plural, where possible. Add a "s" to the end of keywords. Otherwise if someone searches for, lets say "forms", it will not match the keyword "form" in your meta tag. But if the person searches for "form", it will match it with "forms", as the whole word is contained with your keyword.

5 - List the most important keywords first as some search engines give precedence to keywords near the beginning.

6 - If your keywords are difficult to spell, list various misspellings of the keywords. People will often misspell a search word. So if the misspelled words matches your misspelled keyword then your website will appear in the listing, whereas your competitors won't.

7 - Some search engines are case sensitive. So, if you some of your keywords are names, such as London or Michael, and people are likely to enter in the keyword, with the first letter capitalized, list them with the first letter capitalized.

8 - Don't repeat keywords too often. Only repeat it about 3/4 times, otherwise you may be penalized.

9 - Don't hide keywords in the background. In the old days, people used to hide keywords by displaying it the same color as the background. So you can not see it on the screen, but it is listed in the page.

This tactic worked when search engines were unsophisticated and judged a keyword's relevance only by the number of times it appeared on a page. Now, most search engines know about this trick and count only the first few occurrences of a keyword or phrase.

Search engines will penalize your page, by placing it further down the list or not listing it at all.

10 - Go to the search engine, www.goto.com, and use their free keyword suggestion tool. Enter in a search term and it will return similar search terms that their visitors have entered to search with. It also gives the number of times that it has been entered, so you also know how popular it is.

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Where Do These Meta-Tags Go?

These tags typically go between the head tags of an HTML page, like this:

<head>
<title>Webpage title</title>
<meta name="description" content="Short description of your WebPages.">
<meta name="keywords" content="this is where your keywords go, separated by commas.">
</head>
<body> Main body.
</body>

Some people list the keywords tag before the description tag. I haven't found any evidence that this matters too much, although it is said that keywords found nearer the beginning of the document have more importance attached to them.

What Are The Rules For Effective Search Engine Cataloguing?

Title: Max. 60 characters (including commas, spaces, etc.) Description: Max. 160 characters Keywords: Max. 1,000 characters

The number of characters allowed by the various search engines vary, and the above figures are only a general guideline.

Although you are allowed anywhere up to 1,000 characters in the keyword tag, I don't recommend that you use up all 1,000 characters. As too many keywords can dilute their effectiveness.

Patience

Wait until your site is complete. Many search engines will not register sites that are inactive.

It can take from a few hours to up to 6 to 8 weeks to get listed in the bigger search engines and directories.

Once you indexed in a search engine, check your URL at least once a month. If your listing is deleted, resubmit the URL again. Resubmitting every two or three months will ensure that your Web site's content is kept current.

 

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