|Search Engines Tips
The purpose of this document is to provide you with background information on search engine technology and some tips on how to get your Web site to appear on the result pages of search engines and directories. We are by no means promising any miracles. However, this information will help you better understand search engines and directories and will hopefully serve to put you in a better position than you currently are in now.
Search engines utilize indexing software agents often called robots or spiders. These agents are programmed to constantly "crawl" the Web in search of new or updated pages. They will essentially go from URL to URL until they have visited every Web site on the Internet.
When visiting a Web site, an agent will record the full text of every page (home and sub-pages) within the site. It will then continue on to visit all external links. Following these external links is how search engines are able to find your site regardless of whether or not you register your URL with them. Submitting your URL, however, does speed up the process. It notifies an agent to visit and index your site instead of waiting for it to eventually locate you through one of your external links.
Robots will then revisit your site periodically to refresh the recorded information. The revisiting of links is the reason why some search engines don't require you to inform them of dead links. Eventually, their robot would try unsuccessfully to update the information on a dead link and realize it no longer exists.
Finally, an easy way to tell whether a Web index is a search engine as opposed to another type of directory is by the information it requires when adding your URL. A true search engine will only need the Web address. The indexing agent takes care of the rest.
Guides & Cool Sites:
1. Use keywords in the <TITLE> of your document making it as descriptive as possible. When visiting your site, an agent will go first to the <TITLE> tag. For clarification purposes, the <TITLE> tag is what a browser will display in its title bar and is not simply the first line of HTML that shows up on your page. (Although your first words of introductory text should be descriptive as well). Search engines will display the text located between the <TITLE> tags when your web page is listed in a search. By making your <TITLE> descriptive, you'll be better off than those who only have keywords within the text of their page. It will also be helpful when people bookmark your web site. If a more descriptive name appears in a person's hotlist, it will be easier to find your site at a later date.
For example, instead of using <TITLE> Suncorp </TITLE> as the title of Suncorp's home page, <TITLE> Suncorp: Tanning Supplier </TITLE> would be much more descriptive. It would also place greater emphasis or relevancy on "Tanning Supplier" when calculating keywords.
2. Descriptive Page Text Search engines assign greater relevancy to text located at the top of a page than to text located in the middle or at the bottom of the page. The search engines assume that web page authors will present their most important information first. If your page has a main graphic at the top, you should place some descriptive text either underneath or beside the image. The search engines will index this text and assign it a high level of relevancy.
3. Use <META> tags which allow you to provide even
more detail about your Web pages and thereby gain greater control over how your pages are
indexed. Not all search engines make use of <META> tags, but adding these tags to
your pages will make them more accessible to the search engines that do.
<META name="description" content="a health and fitness center located in Atlanta">
This will control what appears as the summary of your Web page and will be displayed after the title of your document in the index listing. The content of the description should clearly convey what one can expect to find when linking to your site.
<META name="keywords" content="running, weight control, nutrition, aerobics, cholesterol, Georgia">
This will allow you to provide extra information about your page to the search engines without it being visible to the reader. While search engines do take these keywords into account when indexing your page, they are still going to index the entire contents of your page as many sites do not include <META> tags. Since this is the case, there is no need to be redundant. Include keywords that will not necessarily be derived when a robot visits your site. In other words, "health" and "fitness" need not be included in your list of keywords as it is part of your <TITLE>. Robots index both the description and keyword <META> tag contents as searchable words. Hence, your site will come up in a search if someone typed in "nutrition" or "health center" from your description. One way to maximize the usefulness of keywords is to incorporate singular and plural cases of words as well as active and passive verbs. For example, diet, diets, and dieting will yield similar but somewhat varying results in a search. Since you're able through <META> tags, why not guarantee you come up on all of them.
Do not, however, excessively repeat keywords in a keyword <META> tag as search
engines may penalize you for this. At present, InfoSeek and Lycos are two such examples
and others may adopt similar policies in the future. The penalty will most likely be the
spider disregarding the <META> tag and extracting keywords from the content of your
page- as is usually the case. However, some Submit It! users have reported being dropped
from a search engine's database and felt keyword repetition played a role in the removal
of their listing.
Who should definitely make use of <META> tags?
4. Use ALT tags especially if your site contains multiple photos or
graphic-image maps at the top of your home page. Some search engines will take into
account the text within an ALT tag when creating your site's description and keywords. In
addition, you will be greatly appreciated by all people who visit your site with their
Auto Load Images option turned off or by those who prefer to use character browsers.
<img src="/images/submits.gif" alt="Submit It!" >
5. If your site utilizes frames, you should be aware that search engines treat frames as if they are links within your main page. As a result the engines will review and index your main page and, at a later date, return to index each individual frame just as it will return to index all other internal links within your web site. Therefore, in order to have your main page (typically titled index.htm or default.htm) indexed accurately and efficiently, we recommend that you add some descriptive text between the <noframes> and </noframes> tags of the HTML source coding of your main page. The noframes tags are usually placed below your frame set information. The frame set information is designated by <frameset> and </frameset>. This text should include your most important keywords and keyword phrases. Adding this text will provide the search engines with content from which to derive keywords for indexing. After this change has been made to your Web site, the page itself will appear exactly the same to anyone using a browser that supports frames. However, users of browsers that do not support frames (i.e. Netscape 1.0 or lower) will now be able to successfully view your home page.
At the present time, Excite does not make use of tags. Since keywords and summaries are automatically generated by Excite, you have less control over their creation. However, there are still a few things you can do. Excite's software looks for common words or themes within a page. It then selects sentences for the summary that either contain these words or convey the overall theme. The words within these sentences are also used as keywords for which the site can be searched.
HotBot / Inktomi
The syntax for an <IMG> tag code is:
InfoSeek Ultra will make use of <META> tags allowing you to control the description that appears in a search result as well as guide its web indexing in the selection of your site's keywords. If you do not make use of <META> tags, Ultra will simply use the first few words it comes across as your Web site summary.
Lycos creates Web site titles and descriptions from the text of your Web page. Lycos' search agent selects a portion of the site that well represents its theme. It then displays this section as the site's description.
The keywords are also chosen via artificial intelligence by Lycos' spider. With this in mind, do not open your page with an image map. If you do, Lycos will not be able to take an abstract for your document.
WebCrawler relies on the statement within the <TITLE> tag to use for the name of your page. While other search engines will derive a summary from the <BODY> text of the document, Web Crawler will default to the URL if you fail to include a title.
In conclusion, do not make it your goal to appear in the top ten list of every search engine. This would not only be a very difficult task, but would most likely end in disappointment. You are virtually guaranteed to have varying success rates with different search engines due to the collection of variables that play a role in every search result. These variables include size of database, method used for determining relevancy, policy on spamming, use of <META> tags and more. Hence, optimize your listings by capitalizing on the indexing criteria shared by search engines. If you have a favorite or preferred search engine that you feel strongly about being yielded as high as possible in a search, customize your Web pages accordingly. Just keep in mind that this might lessen your perceived relevancy on another.
How do I optimize my registration with a directory? Since directories are hierarchical databases organized by subject, subject category selection would logically be the most critical aspect of linking your site to a directory. Give some thought to which category(s) your URL should be placed as this location will ensure the right people (those interested in your site) will be visiting your link. URL registrations can quickly become complex process when every directory contains a different sub-categorization scheme.
There unfortunately is no formula or exact method for correctly placing one's site into a subject-oriented guide. However, here are a few tips:
Yahoo: Since Yahoo! is well ... Yahoo!, it will be discussed separately from the hundreds of other directories included in the Submit It! Service. It actually is unique from all other directories in that you could be listed on Yahoo! without having submitted your URL. They make use of a robot that searches for new sites at certain Internet locations (i.e. announcement sites, etc.). Despite Yahoo!'s implementation of this search robot, mostly all of their new additions still come via their "Add URL" form.
Your Yahoo Submission Made Easy
For Internet users, Yahoo! is one of the more notoriously difficult submission forms to successfully complete. In actuality, the Yahoo! submission form is far from a mind-numbing experince. We have outlined the necessary steps below. If you follow them, it will not only simplify the process for you, but also enable you to gain the greatest advantage possible through your submission.
1. Find your Yahoo category.
TIP: Yahoo requires commercial sites to be placed within a Business and Economy subcategory - either under Companies or Products and Services. Personal Home pages must go in the Entertainment/People category. If your site is regionally specific, add it to the appropriate subcategory under the Regional heading category.
TIP: If suggesting more than one category, press the ADD URL icon when on the
category of your first choice. Then enter the string of the second category into the
Additional Categories field. To avoid making a typo to a long string, copy the URL located
within the Address or Location field of your browser. To do this, highlight the text after
http://www.yahoo.com/ with your mousse. Right mousse click and release the mouse over
2. Click the Add URL icon at the top of the screen.
3. Fill out the ADD URL Form
Example of a poorly constructed title:
Example of an optimized title:
TIP: Your title should not exceed 50 characters (including spacing).
Example of a poorly constructed Comment:
Example of an optimized Comment:
TIP: Your comment should not exceed 20 words or 200 characters (including spacing).
Yahoo has employees visit the URL of submissions to verify that the category you selected is appropriate and that the title and comments are accurate. As a result, do not exaggerate what is located on your site. In the end, your site will simply not get listed.
4. Click the Submit button.
5. Check your listing
Here are some general rules and indicators for knowing when you need to make updates to your listings. For more detailed information on the process involved in making updates to each directory, consult the Submission Hints and Tips accessible within the Submit It! Gold and Pro versions.
For search engines: Make updates to listing:
For directories: Make updates to listing:
Do not make updates to listing:
There are several "tricky" things you can do to try to get your URL listed higher or more times on a search engine results page. We are listing these alternatives, but are in no way recommending them as these Web site promotion methods may be viewed as "cheating" by some members of the Internet community. In fact, some of the search engines are starting to penalize people that use these tricks. The reason why we list these tricks is to help you understand why some sites always show up multiple times or always at the top.