Category Archives: Google

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-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.