Category Archives: Search Engines

Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (Continued)

Meta tags are located in the coding for the webpage near the top, underneath the identification of the type of document and coding that will be used.

Here is a handy list of some of the most often used meta tags:

  • Keywords
  • Description
  • Author
  • Title

To use these meta tags, simply copy the below in their respective format and insert into your website, replacing the *ADD HERE* sections with relevant words for your website and deleting the asterisks as well as the directions.

 <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="*ADD KEYWORDS HERE SEPARATED BY COMMAS*">
 <META NAME="description" CONTENT="*ADD YOUR DESCRIPTION HERE*">
 <META NAME="author" CONTENT="*ADD YOUR AUTHOR HERE, IF ANY*">
 <title>*ADD YOUR TITLE HERE*</title>

There is much more to search engine optimization than can be covered here in these two posts. Please contact us at Little Mountain Web Design to learn more about how our company can help you and your website with search engine optimization.

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Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts

PART II: WEB DESIGN

1. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (Continued)

Now that you understand better how search engines work, we will cover part of search engine optimization, SEO. It is important to use SEO to create better websites and not to use techniques and strategies solely to have your website rank high. Google has written much about this aspect of SEO.

To Meta or Not To Meta

Meta tags are in the coding of your website. With the exception of the title of the webpage, you will not see them when viewing the webpage. To view the code, either click on a website where there is no image or flash and check under the hood, so to speak, to see what is there running the page like an engine for your car. You should see a meta tag for the title. You should also see other meta tags, but they are not present in every website.

Some of the less experienced search engine optimizers and web designers feel and write that it is unnecessary to use meta tags, with the belief that Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engine companies will find their website without this effort. While that can be true, a large part of why a customer wants their website optimized is to have their website rank higher on search engines.

As such, they are not mindful of these three things:

  • Robots as members of your audience
  • Traditional types of information that are collected by search engines
  • Classic elements of a website

As discussed earlier, a website has two audiences: people and robots. The robots collect information including those contained in the meta tags and report back to their respective search engines with these golden nuggets. These data nuggets are, in turn, evaluated in the search engine algorithm and compared with other data, such as the content of your website. This evaluation ranks your website according to that particular algorithm and other criteria. The weight or importance put on the meta tags and comparison with the content can shift, depending on the algorithm or the version. The current search engine algorithm used by Google has been called Panda or Farmer.

The use of meta tags is an important strategy to be incorporated into any web design and is an integral part of search engine optimization. To meta or not to meta should not be the question. It should be a standard practice for those wanting to build good solid websites that are search engine optimized.

Our next segment of our series, “Website Basics: An Introduction to Important Terms and Concepts,” will cover the different types of meta tags.

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

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.

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 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.

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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.