Both of these search tools are databases and do basically the
thing (they help people find the information they are looking
for on the internet) but they are very different in both the
way they are used and in the way information is recorded in
their databases. The main difference is that search engines
use "spiders" to populate their databases and directories
Spiders are computer programs (applications) that sort, evaluate,
record and retrieve information in a database. This type of
software got its name because it figuratively "crawls"
the web seeking its prey (information). Search engines use spiders
and submissions from web site administrators to enter information
into their databases.
Directories rely on submissions for web site administrators
and research by their staff in order to build their databases.
Directories are in reality more like a book's table of contents
or an outline. Each item is categorized and sub-categorized
into a "directory tree."
Users "drill" down from general to more specific
information until they find they information they need. Even
though directories usually have a "search" feature,
which delivers the required information in a similar format
to search engines, they operate very differently. For now, we
will leave directories behind and concentrate on search engines
What do spiders like to eat?
Internet spiders don't actually eat anything but the content
of a search engine is mainly dependent on their activity and
their preferences. Each search engine's spider has its own secret
algorithm (formula) that it uses to judge which sites get the
top listings and those who don't. It's our job to find out what
the spider likes and to give it what it likes. This is how we
outperform our competitors and get our site listed before theirs,
preferably at the top.
There are substantial differences in the characteristics and
effectiveness of spiders depending on this algorithm, size of
the database and how current the information is. The faster
a spider is affects how well it can handle the size of the database
as well as its ability to supply the most current information.
The web's hypertext linking mechanism provides the links to
other pages. From a single web page is the spider begins to
access other web pages. Basically it confirms the existence
of the web page, indexes the content of the web page, identifies
all of the hyperlinks to other web pages and then proceeds to
follow those links repeating the process over and over with
each new web page.
As you are probably well aware, submitting to the search engines
is not enough to get large numbers of visitors to your web site.
We need to be listed in the top one or two pages in a search
otherwise our chances of being found are greatly reduced. Just
to give you an example, someone once told me that mathematically
if you were selling a million dollars worth of products or services
from being on page one of a search engine, your revenue would
drop to about $18,000 from slipping to page two. That's a big
difference. Obviously, we want to be on top.
Well, you are probably asking yourself, "If the formula
is secret, how do we find it out?" The answer is to do
our best to figure out what the spider like to eat and feed
it the information it wants. How do we do that? How do we figure
out the mind of a spider? We need to study the spider and see
how it works.
Internet search engines consist of two major components: query
term and database. Lets take a brief look at each:
Query Term - An expression or research topic in a format
that can be processed by the search engine. Query terms usually
consist of "keywords" or "key phrases" which
are matched against results in the engines database. A key word
is a single word where as a key phrase is appropriately a "phrase"
or a series of words.
Keyword phrases allow you to provide a more specific target
by which someone can find your web site. Your chances of becoming
highly ranked in a search engine database using keyword phrases
are significantly higher than when using keywords alone. You
type in your query term into a form on the search engine and
the database's records are searched based on (1) predefined
logic and/or (2) specific instructions from the individual doing
Database - is basically a collection of information,
which is indexed by the spider. The content of databases vary
from search engine to search engine depending on the "secret
formula", the size of the database and how current the
information is and what web pages have been submitted as a starting
point for the spider.
The database delivers the results from its search to the "hit
list", which is the form that shows the hyperlinks, titles
and/or descriptions of the web pages that it found. Hit lists
also vary from search engine to search engine. Some only display
the title of the page while others also give a description.
Exercise 1: Keyword Phrases in WebCrawler
As stated earlier, the best way to find information on the
Internet is to use keyword phrases. In this exercise you will
use WebCrawler to see how individuals might find your site when
they surf the web. We also see what kind of information they
see when they find it.
1.) Go to www.webcrawler.com
2.) Type in a keyword phrase that you think describes your
business or offer into the search box and push submit.
For instance, type in commercial real estate and see what you
When I did it, I got 4,192,890 sites found for commercial real
estate. Notice the format under "Web Site Results."
The only description of the site is the site title which is
defined in the site's <TITLE>Title Goes Here</TITLE>
3.) Type the same keyword phrase using quotation marks around
For instance, type in "commercial real estate"
(use quotation marks).
The results from my search are significantly lower. My search
Display 35,895 found.
4.) Add a city to your query string this time inside the quotation
marks and search again.
I typed in "commercial real estate Champaign" using
the quotation marks. This time I only got 3 listings.
5.) Repeat steps 2-4 from this exercise only this time use the
name of your business as the keyword phrase.
I typed in the keyword phrase James Burch for each of the preceding
steps. Step 2 got me 1,438,260 sites. Step 2 showed 494 sites
and Step 3 got none.
6.) Type in your URL instead of the keyword phrase. You don't
need to use quotation marks this time. Did your site come up?
If it did, what does it say? Does your title accurately describe
the keywords you originally searched for?
I typed in www.jamesburch.com and the results said: 1. Home
What have we learned so far? Here are the obvious:
1.) WebCrawler only displays the pages title and no other information.
2.) The more specific the search is, the more likely we are
to find the information that we are looking for.
3.) Our web site, www.jamesburch.com is listed on WebCrawler.
4.) The only possible way to find www.jamesburch.com on WebCrawler
is to type in the domain name (if we already knew that, we wouldn't
need the search engine.)
5.) Only 3 listing came up for the key phrase "commercial
real estate Champaign"
Please don't be discouraged by these results. Number 5 is actually
very encouraging. Since only 3 listings came up under the key
phrase "commercial real estate Champaign", we can
be assured that after we optimize a page, we can be at the worst
be listed number four. The number one spot is within striking
this is easier than you thought.
Now let's for a moment, think about what else we have learned
so far. Remember to keep your notebook. Write down any other
observations. Think about what factors might be important for
WebCrawler's "secret formula?" Don't you think that
the title is likely to weigh very heavily in its decision making
If you want to continue with the experiment, do these steps:
1.) Make a copy of your home page or the page that best describes
your keyword phrase and rename it commercialrealestateWC.html
or whatever you want. Just be sure to use some code so you know
it's a page for WebCrawler. I used WC. (Using your keywords
in your file name won't hurt either)
2.) Change the title tag to your keyword phrase.
<TITLE>Commercial Real Estate Champaign</TITLE>.
3.) Upload this new page to your server.
4.) Go to the bottom of the search page you are on in WebCrawler
and click on Submit a Site.
5.) At the very bottom of the Add URL page that comes up, click
on submit where it says, "You may also submit your site
to WebCrawler's continually refreshed database of URLs and it
will be considered for inclusion in our index."
6.) Fill in the form with your URL (the URL of the new page
you just created), your email address (Important: always use
a junk email address other than your "real email address"
for email from search engines otherwise you will be sorry),
the primary language (leave the default, "English"),
Geographical location: (leave the default, "United States")
and use the pull down menu to select a category. (In this example
I would choose "Home/Real Estate).
7.) Push the Send button.
8.) Come back and try your keyword phrase in a few weeks in
WebCrawler and record your results in your notebook.
9.) If you have a stats package on your server, keep an eye
on the hits for this page. Write down you findings.
Exercise 2: Comparing Search Engines
As stated earlier, each search engine has its own unique characteristics.
Some also have similarities. In this exercise you will use several
search engines to see the similarities and differences for yourself.
- Go to www.excite.com
- Type in the same keyword phrase that you used in step 2
What happened? Did the same page come up in the number one
spot as it did in WebCrawler? What kind of information is presented
You should notice several differences and at least one similarity.
The similarity is easy. Excite also uses the page title. It
also adds additional information not available in WebCrawler.
Right below the title, you will see the "page description".
We will talk about this more later but for now, this information
is contained in one of the pages "meta-tags." Meta-tags
are hidden code that you put into your website that spiders
read and place here on the page.
- Make a mental note of the description of the page in the
number one listing.
- Click on the hyperlink for that page and wait for the page
- Click on "View" in the menu bar.
- Click on "Source" in the pop up menu.
Notepad should open and the html code from the page should
Notice the tags. We talked about the <title></title>
tags in the previous exercise. Look at the tags that start with
<meta. The one that says <meta NAME="description"
CONTENT= is what you are reading on the page. While you are
here, note the other meta tag that starts with <meta NAME="keywords"
CONTENT=. We will talk more about this but these are the keywords
that the spider uses to index your site.
Did you notice that the keyword phrase we used (in my example,
the phrase "commercial real estate") is used in three
separate places here.
It's in the title:
<title>A to Z Commercial Real Estate Resources</title>
It's in the meta description:
<meta NAME="description" CONTENT="Commercial
real estate listings, statistics
And in the keywords:
<meta NAME="keywords" CONTENT="Commercial
real estate, listings, loans
- Close Notepad.
- Click on your browser's back button until you get back to
the hit page from www.excite.com
- Notice the other differences. The URL is listed. Example
Excite includes [more from this site] which contains more
pages from this site and Directory: Home and Real Estate >
Commercial > Commercial Property > Guides and Directories
which includes other sites in the same category.
Next we will look at one more search engine for this exercise.
- Click once in the URL field of your browser and type in
- Type in the same keyword phrase that you used so far in
Notice how the content is arranged and what information is
listed. Be sure to keep notes that you can refer back to later.
Popular Search Engines
There are hundreds of search engines. Later I will show you
how to find and submit to them but here are some of the more
popular ones for you to take a look at:
Northern Light www.northernlight.com
Note: Yahoo - www.yahoo.com
is a Directory (subject tree) and not a search engine.
Keywords are most important to the success of promoting your
web site. We have already learned that keywords are query terms
that describe what is on your web page. They can be used in
combination to form keyword phrases. These words or phrases
are the query terms that search engine users use to locate information
on specific web pages on your site.
In order to best maximize your efforts; we need to think like
the users of the search engines. What words or phrases might
they type in to find your specific web page.
Most people use keyword phrases comprised of two or three keywords
to search for a particular topic or product. They do this because
as we found out in exercise 1, they want specific information.
If their search is to broad, they either get too many or mostly
irrelevant matches for their query.
Especially in the beginning, don't use general keywords. Try
to be specific. If your keywords are to general, your chances
of being found are much more unlikely. For instance, in exercise
1 we searched for commercial real estate and got thousands of
listings but when we narrowed our search down to commercial
real estate Champaign, we got less than a half a dozen. You
can be successful with generic (general) keywords but be aware
that it is much more difficult to get top positions in the search
engines with general keywords.
Here is a list of considerations when selecting keywords.
Be specific with your keywords
When you begin to optimize your site for keywords, start with
specific keywords and work your way over time to the more general.
As already mentioned, the more specific your keywords are, the
more likely that your site will be found. Depending on your
keywords, you may never achieve top ten ranking but with more
specific keywords your chances are much greater.
Use keyword phrases
As stated earlier, keyword phrases are simply multiple keywords
strung together to form a single query term. Keyword phrases
allow the person doing the search to narrow down his or her
target topic to a manageable number if listings. Just because
the keyword phrase is specific that doesn't mean that you won't
get very many hits. Many keyword phrases using specific words
will generate thousands of hits for you.
Put yourself in the customers shoes
Think like your customer. Ask yourself the question, "If
I were one of my customers (or potential customers), what would
I type in to find my particular page?" If it's possible,
ask your customers what they would type in to find your service.
You might be surprised what they might say.
Use a thesaurus and other periodicals
Look up your keywords in a thesaurus and you might find some
ideas that your never would have thought of. If you don't have
one, you can find one at your library, your bookstore or sometimes
there is even one in your word processing program. There are
even a few on the web. Try www.thesaurus.com.
If you belong to a trade organization, industry group or other
business related group, chances are that you receive periodicals,
magazines and other printed matter from these sources. Skip
through these to see what terms you might come up with.
Use your goals to select your words
Select your keywords in relation to your business goals. Use
your existing mission statement or business plan if you have
one. Write out a description of you business, the products or
services you sell, your objectives and market and use that material
for your inspiration. Sit down and brainstorm. Just start writing
everything that comes into your head. You can sort them out
later. Try association. What words do you associate with your
keywords? Use related words and ideas to guide you.
Consider common misspellings
Sometime people consistently misspell certain words. When typing
on the Internet mistakes are often made. Try typing your keywords
real fast on your keyboard so you make some mistakes. Other
might do the same. If you have keywords that are commonly misspelled,
try them. It might bring in more traffic than you think.
Use Regional Information
Don't forget to use regional information. Don't just use your
city and state as individual keywords but also make them part
of your keyword phrases. Many people search this way. Don't
forget this important way fo getting regional visitors to your
Think about word stems
A large percentage of the search engines use stemming or stems,
where the search engine searches based on the root word and
variations of that term. Especially if you are trying to narrow
down the number of keywords you will be able to use, consider
this technique. For example, add and "s" to make your
words more accessible in case people type in either the singular
or the plural. For instance, the words foods and food both contain
the stem food and the words teach, teaching, teacher, and teachers
all contain the stem teach. You get the idea.
Avoid Kill Words
Search engines ignore certain words because they are so common
that they just take up space and slow down searches. These words
are called kill words. You should avoid all kill words in your
keyword phrases. Common kill words are, a, an, and, at, by,
for, in, of, that, the, to, too, Web, and with.
Check out the competition
Look at the keywords that your competition is using especially
if they are getting top listings on the search engines. Don't
think that they won't do the same. Use the view source mentioned
earlier to see their meta-tags, which contain the keywords and
description that they are using.
Titles are Real Important
As we learned earlier, your title is very important for several
reasons. All search engines display the page's title so every
surfer will read it an make a decision whether to click on your
link or not. You want to have you keywords or keyword phrase
in the title because this is one of the major "weighting"
techniques that the search engine uses to evaluate the relevancy
of you page. The more relevant that it considers your title
goes along way to pushing your page's listing closer to the
But there is also another reason that you want to have the
perfect title. You want the surfer to click on your link once
he or she sees it. Therefore, your title must not only contain
your keywords and phrases but it also must sound appealing to
the surfer. You need to use some salesmanship.
It's a little hard to fit a sales pitch into just a few words
but it's worth a try. The maximum length of your title will
vary depending on which search engine you are optimizing. The
maximum length of the title will range from about 40 characters
(Yahoo) to 115 characters (HotBot). Below are the approximate
maximum lengths of titles allowed by each search engine:
· AltaVista - 78 Characters
· Excite - 70 Characters
· HotBot - 115 Characters
· InfoSeek - 75 Characters
· Lycos - 60 Characters
· Northern Light - 80 Characters
· WebCrawler - 60 Characters
· Yahoo! - 40 Characters
Let's say we need a title of 60 characters maximum. Which of
these two titles would you rather click on?
1.) James Burch Commercial Real Estate - Champaign Illinois
2.) James Burch Commercial Real Estate - Champaign's #1 Agency
Like I said, it's a fine line between writing for the search
engines and for the surfers but you should try. If the title
wasn't for the main page, which would require the business name,
it would be a little easier but you get the idea. Right? Both
examples would be very similar as far as the search engine rating
but the second title should be more effective because it's more
When you are writing your title, try to put yourself in the
surfer's shoes. What would he or she most prefer to click on?
Another reason for keywords in the title
Yesterday, I was on the phone twice with representatives for
goto.com buying keywords for some of my clients who wanted them
(we will talk more about buying keyword in the next lesson).
Even though the search engine wasn't going to use the keywords
in the title for ranking (that's what you pay for), both representatives
stressed the importance of having my keyword in my title and
description. They said that their statistics show that the surfers
are much more likely to click on a link if the keywords are
prominent. They ought to know!
Think about these ideas while formulating the title and description
of your site:
Sometimes it's hard to he number one on the search
engine hit list. You might try hard and only reach number three
or even lower if the engine has a lot of paid for keywords in
your category. If your title and description are compelling, it
makes up a little for being a little farther down the list. After
all, the people who are paying for those keywords are probably
rich and lazy anyway therefore their titles will suck. Yours won't
and you'll win the hits and the customers.
In any advertising media, the importance of differentiating
your marketing message from your competitors is paramount. In
1960, the chairman of an advertising agency named Rosser Reeves
came up with a term he called the Unique Selling Proposition
The idea behind the USP is that each advertisement must offer
the prospect a specific unique benefit. This benefit differentiates
the company from all of its competitors in the form of a proposition
thus the term USP, Unique Selling Proposition.
Since 1960, large companies have become that way by spending
millions defining, creating and perpetuating their USPs. What
is your USP? It's the thing that makes you different. It's what
sets you apart from the crowd. Offer your customers the ultimate
advantage or make a powerful promise. Be professional, but make
your message as strong as you can.
Two examples that emphasize the importance of effective titles
and descriptions follow:
Which do you think will prove most effective?
TITLE: James Burch Commercial Real Estate
DESCRIPTION: James Burch can help you find the business or
commercial property you need in Champaign Urbana.
TITLE: 10 Questions to Ask a Champaign Commercial Real Estate
DESCRIPTION: An interview with James Burch, licensed Commercial
Real Estate Broker and life long Champaign resident. Learn how
to be in the "right" location and spend less so you
can invest more.
Here the UPS is a little hidden but it's there. Can you find
The title offers a benefit. Advice. It gives search engine
users a reason to click, to find out what questions they should
ask and the answers to those questions. The description builds
trust (credibility) and offers another teaser (benefit), to
learn how to spend les and get more. Who could resist? It screams
that James Burch is the expert you want to help you when you
purchase commercial real estate in Champaign.
Search the Internet for you keywords. Make a special note of
which titles and descriptions get your attention and those that
don't. Don't get to wild here though with your promises. You
want them to click, not to scare them off.
Analyze Your Title and Description, keeping in mind your USP.
- Are your title and description attention getting yet appropriate?
- When a search engine user reads your page's title or description
will they feel compelled to visit your page?
- Are your title and description interesting? Will the search
engine user to want to learn more what you are offering?
- Does your title and description offer help to solve a problem
or reach a goal?
<TITLE> is one html tag you should learn
The Title tag (<TITLE>) is the most important HTML tag
because all search engines consider the keywords in the Title
tag and give these keywords substantial weight in their rating
systems. Search engines display the Title tag as the title of
your web page on their search lists plus it is displayed in
the browser once the surfer visits your page.
Luckily the html is very easy to learn. Although most web editors
have a little box somewhere you can change the title and most
of the time I enter it this way but many times it quicker just
to type it in.
It should be the first pair of tags after the initial <html>
tag. The format is <title>title goes here</title>.
Jus type your title between the two tags. What could be easier?
What about Multiple Keywords in your page's title?
Even though this seems like a good idea it can actually make
your site register lower on the hit list. Several search engines,
Infoseek and AltaVista for example, penalize pages that list
keywords multiple times within a single Title tag.
The problem is some search engines actually prefer two or even
more in the title. If are having trouble getting high rankings,
it might be because you have repeated a keyword in your page's
title. This is also true of the other elements of the page (we'll
get into that later) but in this case "more is not better".
The way I think of it is when a search engines counts to many
words it assigns you an X. Each X denotes a penalty of negative
percentage or so many positions down. The more Xs you get the
farther down the list you are pushed.
The way I do it is I start out with the keyword once in the
title and if that doesn't get me the rating, I'll add change
it to contain a repeated keyword later. My rule of thumb is,
put the minimal (or optimum) amount of keywords in each part
of your page (I'll explain more about the other parts in the
next lesson). In some cases, you might find out that a one keyword
title yields a better rating, such as: <TITLE>Keyword</TITLE>.
Prominence means how close a keyword is to the beginning of
a title (or within another page element). It's best to position
your most important keyword(s) or keyword phrase(s) at or near
the beginning of your title. This is what is known as "improving
a keyword's prominence."
The closer your keyword is to the beginning of a HTML tag,
Web page, or other HTML element, the higher the search engine
will rank your page during its database indexing process.
Tips for Writing Titles
As you probably realize by now, getting a high listing for
your web page can very competitive and is definitely worth understanding.
Understanding of the way the surfers and the search engines
"think" is typically the key to a successful search
engine position for your pages.
- Since you have more words to persuade and entice a surfer
to your pages, a longer title is often better.
- Don't overuse your keywords within a title (or in the rest
of your page).
- Place your most important keywords or a key word phrase
near the beginning of a title.
- Never be tempted into using text in ALL CAPS. This is considered
rude and annoying in the world of the web. It is tantamount
to screaming at someone. Plus, words in ALL CAPS are more
difficult to read.
Don't think you are in a phone book or dictionary.
You might think that starting your title with a number or the
letter "A" will improve search engine placement like
in a phone book or dictionary(arranged alphabetically). Search
engines don't give you a better rating for starting your tile
with an "A" or a "Z." They do give you a
better rating if your keyword starts the title though.
Directories are different though. Normally computers sort the
alphabet differently than you may think. The letter "A"
does not come first. A space comes first. It is followed by
the characters on the top row of keys on a keyboard, then by
numbers, and finally by letters.
Do it for real: Titles & Descriptions
- Create an effective title for your web page.
Review the following questions:
Write at least five titles for your page; analyze and compare
them and put the one you think is best on your page.
Write at least five descriptions for your site; analyze
them and choose the one you believe will be most effective.
Review the ideas from question one. Add the description to
the meta tag.
- Are your title and description attention
getting yet appropriate?
- When a search engine user reads your page's
title or description will they feel compelled to visit your
- Are your title and description interesting?
Will the search engine user to want to learn more what you
- Does your title and description offer
help to solve a problem or reach a goal?
Resubmit your pages to the search engine you have been practicing
on to see what changes your new title and description make
to your placement.
<meta name="keywords" content="put
your keywords here">
Are You Ranked TOP 30
You have learned in this course that some search engines judge
your Web site according to the number of sites that link to
it (its popularity). You have also been working to establish
reciprocal links. You should work to establish additional reciprocal
links each week.
Frequently check the number of Web sites that link to yours.
Increasing your Web site's popularity is a process that is important
enough to warrant the attention of you or others in your organization
on a continual basis.
Increase Your Ranking
Have you made changes in all the suggested areas?
· Title tags
· META Description tags
· META Keyword tags
· Heading Level tags
· Anchor tags
· body text
· <IMG> tag ALT attribute values
· Comment tags
· Input hidden tags
- reduce the amount of text in your doorway pages to increase
- make the Title tag the first element in the source code
of each page
- do not make your keywords and keyword phrases too general
Consider these areas, as well as other areas outlined in the
previous lessons. Try to achieve a top 30 ranking for most of
your Web pages.
Successful Web Promotion Strategies
Creating Top Ranking Pages
The following actions can help you improve your Web site's
search engine ranking.
1. Create short, focused doorway pages regarding a particular
topic that emphasize a keyword, phrase, or select group of keywords.
Do not allow a single doorway page to encompass several topics;
keep each doorway page focused on one point (keyword).
2. Begin your pages with the <TITLE> tag. Ensure that
the Title tag immediately follows the <HEAD> tag and is
not placed after other META tags.
3. Add META tags, particularly META Description and META Keyword
4. Add keywords to Comment tags. A Comment tag is used to describe
something within your HTML code that is not displayed within
a Web page. Some search engines do not consider Comment tags
for relevancy, but others do.
5. Add keywords to Heading Level tags. Do not make the mistake
of simply using a larger font size for your page's headings.
Use the official HTML Heading Level tags (<H I>, <H2>,
6. If your pages incorporate frames, use the <NO FRAMES>
tag to include 1) links to your other pages and 2) one or two
sentences describing your site (that include keywords).
7. Make the first words in the body text of your pages keyword
rich; many search engines focus on the first 25 words within
a page to determine relevancy.
8. Add keywords to your hyperlinks that link to your other
9. Add keywords to <IMG> tag ALT attributes. In some
cases, Web viewers with older computers or slow Internet connections
turn off images, resulting in viewing Web pages with no pictures
or graphics. The purpose of <IMG> tag ALT attributes is
to describe these pictures. Use the ALT attribute to your advantage
by inserting your keywords, either after you describe the pictures
or simply by themselves.
10. Determine your page's keyword weight. Count both the number
of times you use a keyword and the total number of words in
the viewable text of each page. (Hint: you can cut and paste
the viewable text of a Web page into your word processor to
easily count for you.) Then, divide the number of occurrences
of your keyword phrase by the total number of words on your
page. The result is your page's keyword weight. For example,
if you use your keyword phrase five times on a page and there
are 50 words on the page, your keyword weight is 10%.
Try to maintain a keyword weight of between 3% and 8% (note
that different engines have different preferences regarding
11. Resubmit your page if you need an extra boost in ranking.
Several search engines are known to score newly submitted pages
slightly better. You might make a minor change, such as changing
the "last revision" date at the bottom of the page,
so the content is considered new by the search engine's spider.
Optimize Your Pages
When you optimize your pages for a search engine, you are actually
optimizing your pages based on that search engine's ranking
criteria (indexing scheme). This means that what you do to improve
your ranking in one engine may actually harm your ranking within
After your pages are optimized and submitted to the appropriate
search engines and you are pleased with your rankings, continue
to check your rankings as frequently as possible. If your rankings
slip, attempt to determine why and make the necessary changes.
Continue to tweak your Web site; the difference that a professional,
successful Web site can make to your business can be remarkable
(and displayed prominently on your bottom line).
Need to Block Spiders from Indexing Your Site?
If you have reasons to want to block search engine spiders
from indexing your site, read Robots Exclusion at:
In brief, the META Robots tag allows you to specify that a
particular page should not be indexed by a search engine. An
example of a META Robot tag appears below.
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX">
The only problem with this tag is that not all search engines
support it. As an alternative, all the major search engines
support the ROBOTS.TXT convention of blocking indexing.
Use Software to Track Site Traffic
Common ("C") logs, or referrer logs, are important
to Web designers. These logs provide valuable information regarding
the visitors to your site. Most Web servers provide C logs,
but you may have to ask your Web hosting service to establish
this service for you.
More Success Strategy Information
FrontPage 97 and 98, Microsoft Word, HoTMetal, PRO, and other
HTML editors insert the < T I T LE > tag after other,
less important, ME TA tags. This can hurt your Web site's rankings.
Always check the HTML code generated by these editors; if your
HTML editor is inserting its own tags (which are basically advertisements
for the HTML editor itselt), simply delete them.
Factors Regarding a Successful Your Web Site
Regretfully, the length of this course does not allow the review
of all factors regarding successful Web site promotion. However,
remember the following points:
· update your site on a regular basis
· check often for broken links
· add new material to your site
(entice your visitors to return often)
· offer sales and promotions
· ensure that your site hierarchy and navigation scheme
Check Links of Your Web Site
NetMechanic can locate broken links at your site (free of charge).
You can also subscribe to the NetMechanic services. For a fee,
it will monitor your Web site 24 hours per day.
Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
Search engines sort, or index, web sites and pages in their
databases according to the keywords contained in each page.
Because of this, it is crucial to ensure that the keywords you
have chosen are implemented throughout your site (on each page).
Consider this: people visit search engines to locate information
or specific Web sites. They enter keywords or keyword phrases
to fine?tune their searches. Search engines then sort through
the web sites in their databases according to the keywords contained
in a web site in order to produce the search results (hit list).
As you learned in the previous Lesson, the frequency with which
your Web site is listed in a search engine's hit list and its
proximity to the top of the hit list is called relevancy.
Relevancy is determined by two primary factors:
1. The exact keywords by which each search engine indexes your
site and references pages from your site during a user query
2. The frequency with which your keywords are searched for by
Regretfully, relevancy criteria differ from one search engine
to another. This is another reason why it is so important to
be familiar with the unique features of each major search engine.
If you organize your keywords in a consistent manner with a
search engine's relevancy criteria, your ranking with that particular
engine will improve.
Prominence of your keywords: Ensure that your title and/or
description begin with one of your keywords. Sometimes it is
difficult to write an effective title and description by beginning
with your keyword phrase, but doing so is worthwhile regarding
the relevancy of your Web pages.
Frequency of your keywords: Try to include your keyword
several times in the title and description, but do not get excessive.
Some search engines will penalize you if you repeat a keyword
too many times (this is called keyword stuffing). Be sure to
read each search engine's submission guidelines.
Repetition of your keywords: Repeat keywords in a Web
page as many times as possible (up to 3?7 times in each META
"Weight" of your keywords Keyword "weight"
refers to the number of keywords appearing on a Web page in
relation to the total number of words appearing on that page.
An effective technique: create several smaller pages gust a
paragraph each) which emphasize a particular keyword. If you
keep the overall words on each page to a minimum, you will increase
the "weight" of each keyword.
Proximity of your keywords Keyword proximity is the placement
of keywords on a Web page in relation to each other. For example,
the phrase "stained windows" will outrank a page that
mentions "stained glass windows" when the phrase for
which a user is searching is "stained windows."
Keyword placement on a page The exact location of your keywords
on a page is very important. Keywords placed in the title of
a page or the heading have more relevancy. In some search engines,
keywords in Anchor tags (links) add more relevancy to a page.
Site popularity One measure of a site's "value" is
the number of other Web sites that link to it. This is why you
should solicit other sites to link to yours. Consider requesting
reciprocal linking: if you link to others, they may agree to
link to you.
Placement & Weight
Do not provide detailed product or service information on your
home page. Instead, design 1) a page for each product or service
that contains a brief description of the product and 2) a link
to that page from your home page (or main products/services
page). This will allow you to be more specific with your keywords
for each product page and increase the "weight" of
the keywords contained therein.
Determining Keyword Weight
How can you determine your page's keyword weight? Count the
number of times you used the keywords and the total number of
words in the viewable text of your page. Divide the number of
occurrences of the keyword phrase by the total number of viewable
# keywords / total # words = keyword weight
Web page keyword weight formula
To save time and effort, you should copy and paste the viewable
text into a word processor and have your software perform the
counting function. In Microsoft Word, this function is found
under File, Properties, Statistics.
If you use your keyword Phrase five times on the page, and
there are 50 words on the page, your keyword weight is 10%.
Optimal Keyword Weight
A rule of thumb regarding keyword weight: maintain a keyword
weight of between three and eight percent. Note that different
search engines have different keyword weight preferences.
· The location (proximity to top of page) and frequency
of keywords affect your search engine ranking.
· You need to include keywords in as many places as possible
to affect your site's relevancy in search engine rankings.
Below are the areas of a Web page in which keywords can?and
1.) Keywords in Title tag : <TITLE>Parkland College:
The Leading Vendor of High Quality Internet Training Materials<
/ T I TLE >
You can sometimes gain an advantage by including more than
one <TITLE> tag on a single page. However, some engines
? such as AltaVista and Infoseek ? will penalize your page if
it contains more than one <TITLE> tag. Therefore, you
may desire to avoid the use of multiple Title tags in a single
Web page altogether.
2.) Keywords in META Description tag :
3.) Keywords in META Keyword tag :
<META NAME=" KEYWORD">
4.) Keywords in Heading Level tag:
<H2 >Our Products</H2>
5.) Keywords in opening Anchor tag (link):
6.) Keywords in page body text: Because some search engines
retrieve the first few lines of your Web page to describe your
site on a hit list, be sure to insert a number of important
keywords in the first few lines of the text on your page.
7.) Keywords in ALT value of <IMG> tag:
<IMG SRC=model.jpg ALT="Tire Cleaning Supplies">
Web designers use the ALT attribute value to describe an image
1) that is in the process of being downloaded or 2) when a user's
mouse hovers over the image. Adding keywords to ALT attributes
will increase the relevancy of your pages in those search engines
that recognize ALT text.
8.) Keywords in Comment tag :
<!-- insert keywords here -->
Several of the important search engines (such as Infoseek and
AltaVista) do not consider Comment tags for relevancy. However,
you should utilize Comment tags for the many search engines
9. ) Keywords in Input Hidden tag:
<INPUT TYPE="HIDDEN" NAME="HIDDEN"
VALUE="insert keywords here">
10.) Keywords contained in URL site address:
www. hotsauces. com
Must you make changes in all categories listed on the previous
In fact, you may desire to test the effectiveness of the individual
categories by making changes in just a few areas. This will
allow you to note how these changes affect your ranking before
making additional changes. In this manner, you can more easily
understand what works and what does not.
More <META> Information
Additional information regarding META tags can be found at
the Search Engine Watch Web site on a page titled How to Use
META Tags. This page can be found at: searchenginewatch.internet.com/webmasters/meta.html
Factors That Affect Ranking
Assume your site is comprised of 1,000 pages. Remember the
· You should include META tags on every page.
· Submit all of your important pages to each search engine
(do not rely on spiders).
· Manual submission of pages ensures faster indexing.
Size of Graphics: If your page consists primarily of
images and graphics, be sure to use META Description tags and
META Keyword tags to describe the page.
Colors: Some search engines penalize you for "hiding"
words on a page by using the same color for text and background.
Overall Layout: Keyword prominence may be affected if
an image appears before body copy on a page. You should place
text before graphics. Some search engines assign weight to the
first 25 words on a page. In most cases, the first words receive
better ranking than the last words.
Words as Graphics: GIF or JPEG files that spell out
a word or words.
your keywords down a page.
Dynamic HTML (DHTML): Dynamic HTML, generating pages
via CGI, and database delivery typically have a negative effect
rank because search engine spiders do not interpret them well
and often cannot index them. Consider creating static pages
when possible, perhaps updating pages with a database (but not
Tables: Remember that tables can "push" your
text further down the page, making keywords less relevant because
they appear lower on the page. This is because tables "break
apart" when search engines read them.
URL Address: Avoid symbols in your URLs, especially the
Composition: Search engines do not interpret symbols
Exercise: Analyzing Your Site Popularity & HTML Code
1. Gauge the popularity of your site by determining the number
of outside Web sites that contain hypertext links to your site.
Visit AltaVista (www .altavista.com and type your URL into the
query field?without the "www" (domain name prefix),
as follows: link: yourcompany. com (i.e. "link:quessing.com")
2. Study Infoseek's submission guidelines in the Appendix.
Also, read Infoseek's submission guidelines posted at the Web
site (www. inf oseek. com). In order to submit to any search
engine, you must know and understand that engine's quirks and
preferences. Guidelines for AltaVista are also available in
Appendix A: Alta Vista Submission Guidelines.
3. Your main assignment is to analyze the HTML coding of your
own site and determine what changes should be made based on
the keywords you have chosen during this Lesson and important
relevancy factors. When you have determined the changes that
need to be made, make the changes.
Consider adding keywords in the following sections of your
Title tags META Description tags META Keyword tags Heading
Level tags Anchors tags Body text of page (any text between
opening and closing Body tags) <IMG> tag ALT attribute
value Input tag hidden text URL/site address
Tips for Positioning Keywords
Position keywords toward the beginning of titles, heading levels,
Ensure that your Title tag is the first tag on your page. Some
HTML editors default to inserting tags before the Title tag.
Check your source code; if your HTML editor does this, delete
such irrelevant tags.
Make your title long, but do not repeat your important keyword(s)
in the Title tag more than once?this is very important (for
many search engines [Infoseek, AltaVista]).
Reduce the content of your home page if it is long by creating
several smaller pages.
Try to include keywords and synonyms of your keywords throughout
the text of the page.
Remember the importance of keyword proximity and try to keep
your keyword phrases together.
Resubmit all of your pages to Infoseek. If you have more than
50 pages, split your submissions over the course of a few days.
If Infoseek does not seem to be working properly, use AltaVista.
Study AltaVista's submission guidelines in the Appendix.
5. Check your current ranking by running a search for your
keyword phrases in Infoseek (or AltaVista). Because it takes
1 to 2 days for a site to be indexed in Infoseek, you will probably
be moving on to the following Lesson before you see these results.
How have the changes you have made affected your ranking in
Infoseek (or AltaVista)?
Keyword and Key Phrase Finder
This is a handy tool to see what keywords and key phrases to
choose. The tool is actually designed to find search terms to
bid on for overture.com's search engine but you can use it for
- See what key phrases people are typing in with your keyword.
- See if your keyword or key phrase is viable
- See how many people approximately typed in a keyword or
phrase last month.
The reason this works is because currently overture.com represents
approximately 1.3 % of the searches conducted on the Internet.
If the statistics change, you need to adjust your proxy number
- Type your keyword or phrase into the tool.
- Take the number it gives you and divide it by .013
- This should give you an approximation of how many times
your keyword or phrase was typed in last month.
Current bids can be found at: http://www.overture.com/d/search/tools/bidtool/
Domain Name Choice Tips
What I did during my Y2K vacation
This page with the weird name has some interesting stuff at
the bottom about which domain names are still available.
- 2- and 3-character .com domain names
- 2- and 3-character .net domain names
- 2- and 3-character .org domain name:
- Word domain names
- Phrase domain names
- Composite domain names
- The 4 and 5 letter word-based domain names
In order for your web page to be found you need to index it.
Meta tags are one way of indexing your page or your site.
Meta tags are part of the HEAD of your document and should
be placed between the <HEAD></HEAD> pair.
The two main meta tags that we will be concerned with for this
class are keywords and description.
Keywords are the words and phrases that people might type in
to a search engine in order to find you. The description is
the description that the search engines search and display to
people who query the engine.
The syntax is:
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="keyword1, keyword2,
<META NAME="description: CONTENT="your description">
Note: anytime you use a parameter that requires quotation marks,
you need to be sure that the line does not wrap. In other words,
make sure all information between quotation marks is on one
The material in the book is fairly comprehensive. I did want
to point out that what is acceptable in one media may not be
acceptable or best when designing for the net.
One big mistake most beginning web designers is to waist valuable
space in the initial page with a huge logo. The idea of having
a large logo comes from print advertising where you are competing
with editorial content on an adjacent page. The same thing goes
with very large headlines. You may want to emphasize with large
text on the web but be careful not to overdo it. You want to
make the best use of the space you have on the first page (and
all the pages for that manner). Remember that you only get one
An important idea is repetition. When you repeat images such
as logos, design features, and backgrounds, the visitor feels
comfortable because of the consistency from page to page. Also
by repeating images, the browser doesn't have to download them
again which makes your pages load faster.
See the textbook for a review. The main thing you need to be
aware of is the use of the different formats. JPG is usually
for photographs or pictures with a lot of color graduations.
GIF is better for line drawings or images with large blocks
of a single color. Also only gif (gif89a) supports transparency
Be sure to use your keywords in the image's alt tag for extra
points on search engine palcement. <IMG SRC="your.gif"
Images should be compressed for use on the web. I slow loading
site is usually an unsucessful one. I quickly went over in class
how to do this in Adobe Photoshop by reducing the colors for
gif and compression ratios for JPG. Many people use Photoshop
to compress their graphics so they load faster.
Lately, I have been using Macromedia'a Fireworks to compress
my images. Fireworks has features that make it ideal for image
compression. It blows away Photoshop in this department. It
also has an amazing array of other features. I highly suggest
that you purchase a copy especially if you use Dreamweaver or
An alternative way to compress your graphics is to use a commercial
service like www.optiview.com
Keywords and Keyword Phrases
In order to find the best keywords and keyword phrases for your
site, I have supplied you with the address of a database that
keeps track of which keywords were typed in, how many times
they were typed in and what combinations of words were combined
with that particular keyword.
Follow the directions on the handout to find the approximate
number of times your keyword was typed in last month.
I supplied you with a site that breaks down what domain names
are taken and which ones might still be available. It is interesting
to note that no 2 letter domain names are left with the com
extension. By having a short domain name, experts say that it
is easier to type in and easier to remember. As of the end of
last year, the maximum length allowable for a domain name is
now 56 letters, up from 26 previously. Note that at this time,
Netscape seems to have a bug sometimes with domain names over
49 letters. Also note that some older software will not accommodate
the longer domain names and you may need to update your software
if you use them. The moral of the story is, if there is a domain
name available that you want, grab it before someone else does.
It may not be there tomorrow.
Although the programming is beyond the scope of this introductory
class, a professional web site should try to pre-load graphics
and other download intensive items (JAVA programs, large pages,
etc.) so the pages will load much quicker and your visitors
won't have to wait. Many fine pre-load scripts are available
on the net, which you can download and past into your page.
Many are free. If you have pages that will be seen in a consecutive
order, you should definitely consider using a pre-load script.
Robots for submitting your site
This site offers free submissions for up to five sites, which
are saved so you don't have to type them in again for free.
Even though the basic service is free, you are still required
to sign up to receive your login and password. A more comprehensive
submission program (up to 30 web pages) is available of a monthly
World Submitter now submits URLs to over 1640 search engines
including Yahoo!, Open Directory Project (DMOZ), Hot Bot, AltaVista
and many other top worldwide search engines/directories as well
as Country-specific search engines/directories. They also submit
to an amazing 135000+ FFA (Free For All) link pages and 51000+
Classified Ads sites! All free and no catch ever!
World Submitter is so cool that I bought the premium membership
and I think it is the best submission service on the net (and
believe me, I have looked.)