Category Archives: Internet

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (Continued)

Meta search engines combine searches for several types of search engines in one location or in one search.

A few of these are as follows:

http://www.hotbot.com

http://www.mamma.com

http://www.metacrawler.com/index.htm

http://www.monstercrawler.com

Different countries and languages may have different search engines that specialize in the language and other needs.

Here are a few:

China

http://www.baidu.com
http://www.zhongsou.com

Germany

http://www.suchmaschine.com

Russia

http://www.yandex.ru

The next installment of our series, “Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts” will focus on search engine optimization.

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Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts-Search Engines

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (Continued)

In order to understand search engines better, it is best to familiarize yourself with different types of search engines and directories. While some search engines use the same search engine algorithms — for example, AOL currently uses Google’s algorithm — many have different types with different criteria of how to find your website and catalog it. As stated earlier, these search engines used programs called robots to scour the web and collect information that is evaluated by the algorithms.

Here are some popular and useful search engines and directories:

About.com, located at http://www.about.com, it contains a collection of different information and articles. While some do not consider it a true search engine, it is listed here as some people use it like one. At one time, preceding the boom of Wikipedia-style information, they captured a huge section of the informational market.

Alexa.com, located at http://www.alexa.com, contains information regarding ranking and traffic for websites.

Altavista is located at http://www.altavista.com. Previously this was an interesting alternative search engine to use, but seems to be advertisement-, not search-driven at this point in time. It is now run by Yahoo.

Ask.com is located at http://www.ask.com. The descendent of Ask Jeeves, this search engine is a pale version of its predecessor in more than branding and the loss of the Jeeves character. For those of you who are younger, Jeeves was the name of a famous butler in shows of a time gone by. He always had the answer, which is why he was such a good candidate to personalize and brand a search engine as your informational servant. Back some years, it became popular with a different type of algorithm than Google was using. It was particularly good for scholastic research and question based searches, bringing to the forefront educational and informational websites that the competition did not.

Bing, located at http://www.bing.com, is the latest version of a search engine by MSN.

Google, located at http://www.google.com is among the most popular search engines for the English language. It is so popular and well-used that its name has become a phrase in popular language. To “google” something has come to mean perform a search using a search engine, just as Xeroxing became synonymous with making photocopies and Kleenex with tissue.

Open Project Directory is located at http://www.dmoz.org They describe themselves as “the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.” ( http://www.dmoz.org/docs/en/about.html). Because this information is added by humans and not bots, it provides an interesting alternative to search engines. Submitting your website here for evaluation is an important step to include when adding your website to search engines.

Technocrati, located http://technorati.com , has a blog directory and search capability for blogs.

Yahoo is located at http://yahoo.com. Its search engine has a serious following. Yahoo has a history of purchasing other search engines and relationships with search engines such as Google and Bing.

When submitting to search engines and directories, you may wish to keep the above in mind and make your own list.

The next installment of our series, “Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts,” will continue our segment on search engines.

All rights reserved. This article, all articles, images, etc. are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts-Search Engine Optimization

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization

In the previous post, we discussed that there is a second audience besides humans that your website should consider–robots!

Robots are the programs that search engines send out to gather and scour information on the Internet and report back to them. These robots are also called spiders and their activity is called “spidering.” Spiders, of course, “crawl” the World Wide Web.

This collected information is then evaluated by criteria set forth in search engine algorithms. Algorithms are a set of procedures created to solve a problem or get to a desired result in a specified manner. The results of the algorithm process determine search engine rankings. This is the order in which websites are displayed when a search is made.

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and can be different from search engine to search engine. When the algorithm changes, your website’s rankings may fluctuate up and down for a time as your website is affected by the new weighting of different criteria, and so are your competitors’. This fluctuation is called by some the “Google dance.”

If you are using the Internet to help advertise or increase your Internet presence for your business, organization or area of interest, rankings are very important. This is because many people do not go past the first few results or pages, so what is on top has the best opportunity of having Internet users visit.

Search engine optimization specialists will often research and study many more pages in order to have a more in depth understanding of the competition to help clients rank better. While search engine optimization specialists study many things and employ a variety of techniques to help a website be and rank its best, no one should ever guarantee a high ranking. Ranking high is like doing well in the stock market or a horse winning a race. While much can be done to ensure success, there are so many different and uncontrollable variables and competitors, even the best specialist cannot and should not guarantee results.

Having some basic understanding of these busy spiders is key to encouraging them to visit and report back that your website is indeed worthy, in the minds of those who created the latest algorithms, of a higher ranking than your competitor’s. It is important to create good solid websites that are useful to humans, which is what companies like Google state is their intent for the algorithms.

It is also important to realize that what is considered tasty by a spider, whether it is program or arachnid, is very different from a succulent meal or “eye candy” to humans.

The art, or practice, of making a better website by using and creating tasty morsels for the spiders to feast on and report back favorably to their masters is called search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization will be covered in a future installment of our series, “Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts.”

All rights reserved. This article, all articles, images, etc., are copyright Little Mountain Web Design.

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts-Domain Names

PART I: DOMAIN NAMES

Choosing a domain name is a starting point for many when beginning their first website or creating a new website. It is important to consider and understand the nature of a domain name, the factors in choosing a domain name, where is best for you to purchase one, and what might be the best domain name for your business or organization to maximize your website’s potential.

1. What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the locational information that appears in the URL* (Uniform Resource Locator) such as “402webpage.com” for this blog at “http://402webpage.com” and “littlemountainwebdesign.com” for “http://www.littlemountainwebdesign.com”. This tells others where to find your website and the exact address location of your directory or file.

TLDs are Top Level Domains. These are domain names with endings such as the following:

.biz
.com
.info
.mobi
.net
.org

Among the most coveted are .com and .org. These were among the first TLDs and are easy to remember.

2. What Factors Should One Consider In Purchasing a Domain Name?

When you are considering your domain name, it is important to consider the following factors and strategies:

  • Company/Organization name
  • Functions/ action verbs associated with your company/organization
  • Nouns related to company/organization
  • Keyword relevance to what you are promoting
  • Distinctive name that is easy to remember
  • Branding strategy
  • Length of the domain name
  • Buying related domain names
  • Secrecy in selecting a domain name until purchase is completed
  • TLDs

Begin your search for that perfect domain name by brainstorming different names and ideas. You can use a thesaurus to help find synonyms to think of different but related names.

It is generally beneficial for your domain name to be short and easily remembered. This helps people find your business or organization quickly, even if they can’t remember it exactly when they look for it via the search engines. Some domain name appraisers will recommend you keep the characters down to sixteen characters or less for your domain name. Long domain names make for long URLs and email addresses. This can be difficult later for business cards, media and sending links.

Define you brand strategy and ask yourself if your domain name enhances or complements it. To help with this, your domain name should have a memorable name that embodies your company/organization and what you are doing. Prepare a list of several choices in case the domain that you want has been taken.

If your choice for a domain name has been taken, you can contact the owners directly or use a third party to contact the owner for you to make a offer. In those cases, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase the domain name at cost from the owner. Be aware that there are many companies that purchase domain names with the sole intent to profit from selling it to someone like you who wants to own and develop it.

If that happens, you may work with a domain name appraiser. Domain name appraisers calculate how much they think your domain name is worth. Please note that it is their perception, not what your future domain name is actually worth. As mentioned earlier, many people buy domain names with the sole purpose of selling it to someone later. The real estate equivalent of this is “flipping” a house. Now while one does not need to develop the “property” or make repairs, some development can raise the asking price.

It is best to keep your ideas for a domain name secret and to not search for them online until you are ready to buy, to keep others from buying it first by watching your activities online with various programs. Having more than one choice for a domain name ready in case your desired domain name is not available is a good strategy to prevent persons wanting to buy your potential domain name before you purchase it.

When you purchase your domain name, you may wish to purchase WHOIS privacy. WHOIS privacy, depending on your particular company, can keep more than your email address off the main WHOIS Internet searches. WHOIS searches can tell you who owns a website and how to contact them. Having WHOIS privacy helps reduce spam and scams but can give the impression to some that you are hiding something. The decision to purchase or not purchase this should be considered carefully by a business or organization.

Please return later or read on for the continuation of this series and more on domain names, including registrars, ICANN and how to purchase one from our website blog.

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