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Tag Archives: Search Engines

Designing Your Site For The Search Engines

When you design a website, it’s easy to focus on what your visitors are going to see. What you have to realise, though, is that you’re going to have another kind of visitor with a completely different agenda: they’re not going to be looking at your pretty logo and

Harnessing the Power of Robots

Once we have a website up and running, we need to make sure that all visiting search engines can access all the pages we want them to look at.

Sometimes, we may want search engines to not index certain parts of the site, or even ban other SE from the site all together.

Keywords, Tags, Categories – Oh Vey! I Am So Mixed Up!

Okay so now we know all there is to know about content and keywords. Hah! But you did get the basics. It may be a good point to stop and talk about Keywords, Tags, Categories and all that as well. Logically, in progression this should come much later, but because there seems such misunderstandings about Technorati, Del.icio.us and other tagging systems, it may be a good place to put this down.

These articles began because of a thread at Absolute Write called “What Is Your Technorati Rank?” On perusing that thread I realized that many writers were placing their hopes in something that just was not going to happen. More so, they were actually misreading the importance of certain “rankings” and thus ignoring the more important factors.

If you read the previous articles in this series you now hopefully understand “keyword basics”. So we are going to use Technorati for our example.

So along comes techie #1 and says:

“Hey, you know what. Blogs are becoming mainstay business. They are great for people with no knowledge of HTML and you can literally put up a web-site Weblog in minutes. So now they are multiplying over the net faster than rabbits, and the Search Engines are ignoring them for the most part as most of them contain personal musings and ramblings. So why not create a sophisticated search engine for blogs?”

“Great idea,” says techie #2, “a search engine from blogs. And that means anyone who has a blog will want to register with us. But how are we going to build it. Obviously, normative search engine technology is not what we want.”

“You know what?” says techie #1 “we are going to take keywords, call them by a different name and create a closed system!”

And thus Technorati was born.

What essentially goes on in Technorati, is you define what you write with “tags”, Technorati tags. These are keywords, (with a special HTML parameter). Keywords just like you will learn to use in your meta tags. Technorati then in a CLOSED SYSTEM connects all the blogs with the same keywords. Technorati does not look at content to a great extent (to my knowledge), they pay attention to the tags re: keywords that you input. If you do not input keywords they use your keywords in your Blog setup.

Okay this is great for all those people looking for blogs say about hairdressing. So they come to Mr. & Mrs. Hair’s blog because the Hair couple input keywords as Technorati tags. Simple.

Technorati now goes one step further. Technorati rates your blog based upon a few parameters. One of those “important” parameters is how many other people in the Technorati Network (Only those IN the network, or those using Technorati tags) have linked to your blog or a post on it. So by gaining links (there is no concept on Technorati as “bleeding links” as far as I know), you move up in the ladder. But even Technorati also keeps track of how popular your blog is. You can have 200 links into your blog, but if no one visits then your standing will not go up to the top 100.

Okay, that is Technorati. Important for bloggers? Well it is a popular site, and growing. So the answer would be yes. Important for Google, MSN and Yahoo — not on its own…yet there is one critical Caveat.

When someone links to your site in a blog or web site, the href HTML links are in the code. The Search Engines when they read the code with their bots (see how much web lingo you know already!) sees these links. Those get added to the amount of sites linking to you. They are “hot links” or “back links” into your blog or posts in your blog. So linking not only works in the closed world of Technorati tags, but also works in the Wide World of Search Engine placement. Those links are important. Now if you get linked in a very popular blog, that counts for a lot in the world of Search Engine placement. (As we discussed in the previous articles.)

So while it is nice to know your Technorati ranking is going up, what is IMPORTANT is to remember to use their tools of tagging and linking to get others to discover and link to your blog. That gets noticed by the Search Engines. Not immediately to be sure but if you are being hit a great deal and have links to you, sooner rather than later the Search Engines will pick up your blog and your keywords. They will NOT look at the Technorati tags though, they will look at your meta tag keywords and your content. (Oy Vey! so many things to remember)

Del.icio.us and others work on the same concept, though del.icio.us is more centralized and called a “social book-marking service”. Just remember the rule of thumb:

The more sites that link to you and your post, no matter for what reason, the better it is for you and your position in the Search Engines.

Okay now what are Categories? Categories really belong in Wiki format, and this is not the scope or place to discuss Wiki and the technology behind it. I own a new Wiki site, and you are welcome to peruse JewishPedia because on a Wiki site you can view all the code to each article.

Categories in blogs (WordPress implements them automatically) are a way to search for something. I have Categories in my blog, but this is a code implemented Category Listing in Google’s blogger system, where when you click, the blog does a Google Blog search in my blog for all articles related to that word. And thus it depends on Google’s specific Blog Search Engine (not their regular search engine).

Remember, Google and others have specific Blog search engines. It is important to be on the top in those as well, BUT for mainstream, if you are using a Blog for whatever reason, your goal is to be in the normative search engines as well, and in a good placement there.

So there you have it. Tags = Keywords. Technorati uses them in the closed world of Technorati. The employ linking counts as well. These keywords and links, if done correctly, are also very useful for Search Engine rankings if your blog is popular. deli.ci.ous uses them for “social” blogging.

So don’t give up on Technorati. Just don’t believe it is the golden answer to be good rankings in the Search Engines. It is but one of the myriad of possibilities.

“The more sites that link to you and your post, no matter for what reason, the better it is for you and your position in the Search Engines.”

The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation – Part One: Content Is King

My fellow writers at the Absolute Writers Forum (known lovingly as the AW Water Cooler or just Cooler) are the reason for these next series of articles so I wish to thank them.

In the next few series of articles, I will try and deal with some of the very basic technical jargon and skills that one needs when facing this daunting world of web-site creation, blogging and getting listed and noticed by the Search Engines. Some of this I take from things I posted at AW and others from my own articles on Web Creation and still others from my own blog, Cobwebs Of The Mind.

Let us start with the few important factors that are required today on the web. There are quadrillions of articles on this, most very poorly written, but the message is always the same.

On the web today, “content is king”. But that is not all their is to that rule. Let us change it a bit to fit the reality of the web, search engines, and the sophisticated algorithms being deployed by the search engine trinity of: Google, Yahoo & MSN.

“Content is King, but Original Content is the King of Kings.”

Okay – that is the first cardinal rule you MUST understand about the web today. Now what does this mean?

There are essentially three factors in this equation:

1. You must have content – words, phrases, information – on your web site.

2. You should have “original” content on your web site. This is content which either you have created or have gotten permission to reproduce on your web site. It should be “original”. Copying content from a web site, and putting it in your blog, where that content has been reproduced in thousands of other web-sites, is not going to help your Google ranking (and you may even be penalized for it.) This does NOT mean that everything, every single phrase and post and article you put up on the web has to be original and not repeated elsewhere. What it does mean though, is that the majority of your web site or blog should be just that – YOURS.

3. Your content should constantly grow. You should be adding to it on a daily or bi-daily basis. Stagnant blogs and web sites are noticed for being stagnant – dead. They drop so fast in Search Engine (search engine) rankings you have no clue! Web sites demand nurturing and work. They do NOT run on auto mode. (Just look at how much time you spend with your blog!)

Now as to why and how.

Search Engines look for content. They have developed very sophisticated algorithms to check content. To see if this content is original, or they are coming across the millionth time they have seen the same thing. This is all mathematical btw. And this is NOT the only thing they look that. (We will get to those other things in our next posts). However, Content is critical. Lets give two examples.

1. Ever notice how fast some popular Forums get indexed in the Search Engines. This is due to the fact that they have an incredible amount of page hits, and that they exist for POSTS. Posts on forums are ORIGINAL for the most part. So engines look for the Content, forums have this, they list them, they see original content – the forum moves up the list, and thus more people find the forum in the search, more people hit the forum pages, more “hits” and “eyeballs” are registered back on the Search Engine servers, and the forum keeps on moving up. The more hits – by mathematics – the more posts. The more posts the more original content. The more original content the better the listing. The better the listing – the more people find the forum. Getting the picture? A never-ending circle of success.

2. For those of you in doubt as to whether Search Engines can “read” content just take a look at Adsense and Adwords. When you go to a site with them, adverts are fed out based upon the: 1: Content of the page you are on, and 2) Your IP address to determine which country and language you speak. Since I am in Israel, I am never surprised if I hit a site say that is discussing a topic and has adsense, and though this site is totally in English and geared to people in New York City, some of the adsense adverts are in Hebrew based upon the content of the page I am on. The algorithm finds key words (more on those later) and feeds out the adverts.

So our first lesson on Search Engines and ranking and all that good stuff is about Content. Remember the rule.

“Content is King, but Original Content is the King of Kings.”

The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation – Part Two: Introduction To Keywords

Okay so now we know content is king. And of course since we are creating our own blogs, (remember blogs is short slang for Weblogs – which is what their “formal and official” name is), most of our information is going to be “unique” and “Original”. Yet every now and then, since we are only human, and since we simply cannot “create” more and more information, we will copy information from other web sites. That is cool. There is no problem with that, UNLESS, you decide that “copying” and/or “linking” is simply better and forego writing anything.

Now let me make this clear. If you are offering a service to people, where your main business is to offer out links to other places where people can get information, in other words you are a repository where people come to get links, because you already did all the research – that is fine. Because what you will loose in content, you will make up in “eyeballs” and “hits”. Remember the end result of good search engine listings is just that. MORE HITS – MORE EYEBALLS – MORE PEOPLE VISITING. And content is not the only parameter an Search Engine looks at. Not by a long shot.

This is a critical point to keep in mind. Everything we will talk about, every method, from content to email to lists to whatever, (hehe my most unfavorite word in the English language pops in – Whatever – see my post on that word in my blog), has but one goal in mind. To consistently and constantly increase and build your website “hits”. To make sure you have an ever-growing “fan” club “motivated” because of the service you are offering, to come back. So please differentiate between the end goal and the methods. Content (discussed in our first article) is a method towards the goal of getting listed in a good position on a search engine, and the goal is to have people use and come to your web site or blog, and create a “buzz” about it. (We will talk about this much later in our series.)

Let us go back to content for a moment. Here we are talking about something that all writers know about and are familiar with. Text, words, phrases. Original, unique text.

So in order to continue on our own fairly logical path, we will now concentrate on the “text” and what has to be in it. Which brings us to the subject of “keywords”. Before explaining just what these are and either their importance or total invalidity and worthlessness these days, (and this is up for debate) let us define keywords more carefully.

If you have a website selling hair beauty aids, you will want to sell your material writing content around what you are selling. Obviously if you write something about the difference between different models of dishwashers, this is not going to relate to the “subject matter” and content of your site. So you will write articles around your hair supplies. You will write articles on good hair care, on how to dye your hair, how to get rid of split-ends, how often to shampoo etc. etc.

These names ARE important and so are the URL’s. (URL stands for Universal Resource Locater). So keep them in mind as we go along through these articles especially when I get to the article on the importance of finding the right name.

So Mr. Nor Hair and his wife, Mrs. Purple Hair work together. They create the site, get all the necessary stuff to sell something on it, write a couple of articles about hair and sit back and wait for the people to come beating their “virtual” door down. Well as we say in Hebrew, “Boker Tov” (which literally means “Good Morning”), or as you say in English, “Knock. Knock. Good Morning! Anyone Home?”

Okay the Hair couple know about keywords. So they create articles in which EVERY sentence has the word hair in it (or balding). But hair is the name of the game. They make sure their content is original, and once they have written two HTML pages of hair articles, strategically placed by their cousin the graphic artist (who is bald) around the advertisements for hair products and now they think they are done!

Woah! Not by a LONG SHOT! And here is where it gets depressing for the uninitiated and non-dedicated people.

Let us deal with the “keyword” issue.
Keywords are like indices or if you wish, categories. A keyword is something that the search engine will look for and validate (in our day), to use as one of the parameters as to how to list your site.

The keywords we refer to are in two distinct and totally different places. The first in the page header of the site.
in what is known as the section for “meta” tags. We will deal with meta tags in a different article, however let us just say these are the keywords most search engine look for (with their “bots”) when visiting your site.
An example meta tag for keywords on our site may look like this:

Again in our article(s) on meta tags we will discuss these keywords, and meta tags, but for now take it as a given these are some of the keywords that will be in the meta tag.

When the Search Engine technology first became popular and meta tags were implemented, the keywords tag was critical. Search Engines looked at the keywords in the meta tag and assumed that was what the site was about and listed the site under those keywords. This was caught on to immediately, and humans being the crafty devils they are, began listing keywords that had nothing to do with their sites in order to drive traffic to the site. (Remember – the end result is the oh-so-important one: Hits & Eyeballs)

So porn sites especially, adopting this as yet another “fool the engine” technique, would put keywords like “hair”, “technology” etc. into their meta tags, and give the site an innocuous name and voila, more traffic.

So in the never-ending battle Search Engines caught on, and did a few things. They deprecated the importance of the keywords in the meta tags according to their algorithms, UNLESS the content on the site actually did match the keywords. Of course, this was not enough as porn sites will put “real” content around their stuff. I will give you a REAL example which I find funny, but it is very serious.

In one of my posts on my blog, you can see my bio which is picked up by search engines. The other day I received an email from an old flame of mine saying “I freaked out. I googled you, under Ted Gross Writer, and you are connected with a site about tushy’s!” So I go and Google it, and sure enough in like the fifth position is this: “Ted Gross’s Unofficial Bio – The Real Version by Tushy” and of course I click and get led to another site (no url here as I do not want to publicize that site for obvious reasons) and I come to a porn site which ripped off, out of all the content on the internet, MY profile to place around their porn adverts. UGH! But you see that is how crafty people are!

(Here we are not going to talk about “splogs” – meaning “spam blogs” yet. But keep it in mind.)

Okay now what happens – not in theory but in practice.

Two scenarios:
1. You have keywords in your meta tag (and you should have them!) The little Search Engine “bot” (that is a software program whose job it is to travel around the Internet, never sleeps and never eats and gets into all those porn sites too!, and picks up information on ALL sites so the information can be categorized), comes to our site of hairisnotforever and reads the keywords on the page. Then this little bot makes a snapshot of the web page. Then the algorithms take over and match the keywords in the meta tags to the text and stuff on your site. (Remember Search Engines don’t “see”, they are NOT visual (males are visually oriented not Search Engines!) so graphics are not taken into account unless you use the alt tag.) The algorithms get more and more sophisticated as time goes on and they look for content, keywords, phrases etc. (Remember original content!)

2. You have no keywords in your meta tag so the engine just looks at your content.

So our happy couple figures okay lets put the word hair say, in every sentence at least three times. NO! Don’t do that. Overuse of a keyword is a red-flag to a Search Engine and you will be penalized for it! It should be used and used frequently, but NOT overused.

Now when you Google for hair products using the word “balding”, the Search Engine has the keyword, and based upon a million parameters decides what position for that specific keyword, hairisnotforever will have, and feeds it out.

So our couple figures what the hell. We will also sell mascara, and they put in a picture advert and the word mascara in their keywords, without having any content for it. Well then www.hairisnotforever.com will probably be listed as the last of the last of the last for anyone looking for “mascara”.
So for this lesson the formula is:

“Content+Keywords in the content+Keywords in Meta tag.”