SEARCH ENGINE TIPS - META TAGS
If you've been on the Internet for any period of time, I'm sure you've heard alot of talk about listing a web site with search engines (data bases of web sites that can be searched by keyword(s) or in some cases category).
I've done considerable research in this area, I certainly don't claim to know all there is to know . . . as they are constantly changing. Your best bet is to log to
their “Submit Your URL” site pages of each Search Engine / Directory Listing Service; and read their current submission rules and regulations.
Here are some general guidelines to get you started tuning and listing your web site with search engines including some specific guidelines for particular search engines.
- When submitting your web site, keep in mind that there are essentially two types of search engines . . . "robot" engines that send a "spider robot" to your site to capture and catalog all the info on your site. These include Google, WebCrawler, Excite, Lycos, Alta Vista, Infoseek, Hotbot, Inktomi and others.
Most Search Engines require and also request that you submit only your index.html page with them. Their spider robot will visit your site and "drill down" thru your links; indexing and ranking the rest of your site pages automatically.
The second type uses only the info that you give it. These include Yahoo!, www Yellow Pages, EINet Galaxy, Open Text, WWW Worm, and World Wide Yellow Pages.
- For best results, always submit your info to each search engine individually rather than using a "submission service". It's important to be able to tailor your info for each specific search engine. It takes more time but is well worth it!
- Brainstorm for a list of 30 or 40
keywords (or combinations of words called
Keyword Phrases) "horse stables" for your site. Then, number the keywords based on what your prospective customer would most likely be using as a keyword. Although you need a strong list of about 20, your first 5 or so will be critical!
- Use the plural when possible. If you list your keyword phrase as "horse stable", but someone searches for "horse stables", it will not find your site. However, if you list your keyword phrase as "horse stables" and someone searches for "horse stable", it will pull up your site!
- The title of your site is **VERY** important! Your title is NOT the first headline on your page, but rather what appears on the title bar of your browser (upper left part of screen in Internet Explorer). Most search engines treat the words in your title as MAJOR keywords . . . Carefully choose two or three keywords to put in your title, but keep in mind that it should not just be a list of keywords . . . it should make sense. Also, if you make it too long, it will be cut-off.
The search engines weigh the importance of a word in your title based on density. For example, if you have five words in your title and one of them is horse, then it will comprise 20% of your title. But, if you only have two words in your title and one of them is horse, then it comprises 50% of your title and is "weighed" much more heavily as a keyword!
- Use your keywords FREQUENTLY in your text at the VERY BEGINNING of your web site. Try not to put tables, graphics or anything else at the top of your site. (Note that this makes a very plain site appearance wise, so just make text content occur as near the top of your code as you possibly can.) It should just be text that is rich with your major keywords.
Here again, just as in the title, the search engines look at the DENSITY of your keywords rather just the number of keywords. Also, keep in mind that you're NOT just listing keywords here. This is actually the text of your web site.
Meta tags" are NOT a magic formula for getting listed at the top of search engines, but they may help on AltaVista, Hotbot, and Infoseek. A meta tag, for our purposes, is a way of providing a description and keywords that are only visable to the robots from the search engines. However, there is debate over how much weight these are given.
The meta tags must go *inside* the <head> tags, so it looks like this . . .
<title>your title here</title>
<meta name="description" content="your site description goes
<meta name="keywords" content="your keywords go here">
- DON'T "keyword spam"! This has been a practice that many have used for good search engine placement . . . but it's considered bad netiquette and the search engines are all starting to penalize you when they catch it! It's done by repeating keywords *numerous* times either in the meta tag or within the text of the page, sometimes where it can't be seen unless you go to the HTML view source. I think this is a waste of time now . . . and will eventually backfire on you. Just try to legitimately use your keywords as much as you can in the initial first paragraphs of text on your web site.
- Be sure that your site is COMPLETELY ready and online before you list your site with any search engines! This includes doing your best to not have any broken links on your site pages. Broken links are not fatal, but they do affect how high you rank and index.
Your title beginning with a letter that's low in the alphabet (a,b,c,d) may help in some of the standard search engines such as Yahoo!, but it's really hard to tell how much that comes into play. I certainly would NOT change my site title to something like "AAA horses" just for the sake of starting with an a. If you can legitimately start your title with a,b,c,d, etc., great, otherwise don't worry about it.
If you're marketing online, many believe that OVER 50% of your hits will come from Yahoo. It's probably worth spending a considerable amount of your time trying to get good placement with this
search engine / directory listing service.
- Be patient. Many search engines take weeks to get you into their index ranking system,
a few may even take months.
Remember: "Patience is a Virtue" and "There is No Replacement for Hard Work".
Best Regards & Good Luck.
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