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Basics of Search Engine Positioning

A. TermsSearch Engine: A machine "tuned" by humans to indexweb pages. For instance, Excite.Algorithm: The way in which the search engine is"tuned". An algorithm is the way the search engine willdeterm...

A. Terms

Search Engine: A machine "tuned" by humans to index
web pages. For instance, Excite.

Algorithm: The way in which the search engine is
"tuned". An algorithm is the way the search engine will
determine ranks - it is the way the search engine is
programmed to determine ranks. An algorithm may take
only certain things into account - like keywords in the title
or link popularity. Some engines use cyclical algorithms -
meaning they may change algorithms from week to week.

Directory: A list of sites compiled by humans. For instance,

Spider: A spider goes to your site and finds your pages.
It then stores those pages in a database for future retrieval
by the search engine.

Indexing: When the search engine takes the pages from
the database that the spider has created and places them
in an order based on the algorithms of that engine. All search
engines have a different indexing process - due to different
algorithms - that's why you get different results in different engines.

Query: The keywords that a person types into a search
box. A person is "querying" the search engine.

Crawling: When the spider follows the links from the page you
submit - the spider is "crawling" your site.

Automatic Update: When the spider returns to your pages at
periodic intervals to check to see if you've made any changes.

Optimizing: You can optimize, tune or configure your web
pages for a specific search engine. This means that you are
employing specific strategies for specific engines.

- Using the same keyword more than three times in your
keywords tag.

- Putting keywords into your tags that has nothing to do with
your actual page content.

- Using text, spacers, or borders the same color as the

- Using tiny text with keywords in an attempt to increase ranks.

B. Search Engines v. Directories

There is a difference between a search engine and a directory.
A search engine is a machine - or a "robot". A human may program
algorithms for a search engine, but a human will have nothing to do
with your site when the spider is visiting your site or the engine is
indexing your pages.

A directory can be compiled by a robot, but more often than not,
it is compiled by humans. Yahoo! is a prime example of a directory.
When you submit your site to Yahoo! a human will review your site for
consideration in their index.

The lines between search engines and directories are
becoming jaded. This is because each major "search engine" is
associated with a "directory." For instance, we used to call AltaVista
a search engine. However, we have to be careful with that terminology.
When you go to AltaVista and you type in a search - you are definitely
getting results from the "engine" part of AltaVista. But when you search
down through the "categories" - you haven't typed anything into the
"search box" - you are now getting results from a directory (these results
come from two directories - Open Directory Project and LookSmart.)

There is a relationship between search results in the "engine" and the
directory or directories that are associated with a particular search
engine. It appears that many search engine's algorithms have been
set to include results based on the directory. Therefore, it is imperative
that you are listed in the directory associated with each search engine.

C. What happens when I submit my site to a search engine?

First, the search engine's spider will visit your site immediately,
and schedule your site for inclusion in the search engine's index.

Second, usually within a few weeks, the engine will place your site
in their index.

Third, the spider will revisit your site, to include any updates. Once
you are included in the index, the spider will usually revisit every
two weeks. The spider will also begin to "crawl" your site by
following the links off of the page that you submitted. This process
is also called "automatic update". With Excite - these new updates
seem to be automatically included once the spider has visited the
site. However, if you are dealing with the Inktomi spider - slurp -
which gathers data for Hotbot, Snap, Yahoo! and others, this
information may not be included in each particular engine's index
for several weeks.

Fourth, when someone uses a search engine, they type
"keywords" into the search box. They are submitting a query to a
search engine. The search engine, depending on how it has been
tuned, will pull up all of the relevant sites which pertain to that query.

D. Variables That Affect Ranks

When you are optimizing your web pages for certain engines,
you must always keep in mind that keyword frequency in text and
location of your keywords, is the most important part of how the
engine will rank your pages. ALL search engines rank pages
based on frequency and location of keywords.

Some engines also are programmed to give a boost to pages
which meet the following criteria:

1. link popularity

2. keywords in the title, most important keywords first

3. keywords in the names of the linked pages
for instance: educational toys

4. keywords in alt tags

5. keywords as names of images
for instance: educational toys

6. keywords in the description tag

7. keywords in the keywords tagFree Reprint Articles, most important keywords first

Article Tags: Search Engine, Search Engines, Search Engine's, Most Important

Source: Free Articles from


If you need more help, check out the book:

This book will give you explicit and easy-to-follow directions
on how to write for the Search Engines.

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