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Designing for Search Engines

Discuss Designing for Search Engines within the Basics of Computers forums, part of the Resolve Your Query - Get Help and discuss Projects category; Designing for Search Engines But, you might ask, how do crawler-based search engines go about determining relevancy, when confronted with ...



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Designing for Search Engines
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Sunanda K. Chavan
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Designing for Search Engines - October 5th, 2010

Designing for Search Engines

But, you might ask, how do crawler-based search engines go about determining relevancy, when confronted with hundreds of millions of web pages to sort through?

They use algorithms, i.e. a set of rules that govern their spiders’ crawling techniques, indexing techniques and ranking within the list of returns of a specific search term. Although exactly how a search engine’s algorithm works is a closely kept secret, all major search engines follow the same, general rules.

The remainder of this chapter, hopefully, will help you to understand how to design your web pages so that your website will get the proper search engine and directory rankings that it needs to be successful.

When someone queries a search engine for a keyword related to your site’s products/services, does your web page appear in the top 20 matches, or does your competition’s? If your web pages aren’t listed within the first two or three pages of results, you lose.

To avoid such a circumstance, when designing your new website, take into consideration the inner workings of search engines. If you ignore the criteria necessary for optimal placement by search engines, your website will miss out on traffic that it would otherwise have received if your website had been designed with search engine placement as one of its design criteria.

The three most popular search portals are Google, AlltheWeb, and Yahoo!. Trailing behind these giants are MSN Search, AOL Search, Askjeeves, and HotBot.

All of these search portals in one way or another use spiders to crawl or search the Internet. Humans then search through the results in an effort to optimize the search engine’s database.

Mergers and acquisitions are changing the search portal landscape. As of mid-October 2003, Yahoo! owns AltaVista, AlltheWeb, Inktomi, and Overture.

At this writing, AltaVista and AlltheWeb continue to be available at their historic locations; however, they may share the same underlying database very soon. It is noted that Inktomi remains the back-end search engine at MSN Search and is still available at HotBot.

As discussed previously, a spider is a small program that gives weight to the placement and frequency of words, and uses ranking algorithms during the search process.

And as explained in the “Spider” text box, while location and frequency of keywords on a web page is generally given the most weight, related words and word relevance along with other criteria, such as descriptive five word or so page titles, body copy, placement of keywords, and meta tags within your HTML code, etc. all play a role in how a search engine ranks your web pages.

Here is an illustration of how your website’s design influences a web page’s ranking:

Say that a potential customer types in “antiquarian books.” That customer wants to find websites that have content about and/or sell antiquarian books. Since the search engine assumes the same thing, the results will be top heavy with web pages having that search term appearing in their HTML title tag. It assumes those web pages are more relevant than those without the term in their title tag. But search engines don’t stop there.

They also check to see if the words “antiquarian books” appear near the top of a web page, such as in the headline or in the first few paragraphs of text because it is assumed that any page relevant to the topic will mention those words somewhere near the top of the page.

Now let’s consider frequency using the same scenario. A search engine also analyzes how often the keywords “antiquarian” and “books” appear in relation to other words in a web page. Those with a higher frequency are often deemed more relevant than other web pages.

So even though search engines vary on how they rank websites, every web page should include:

• Page <TITLE> tag.

• Keyword meta tag which is more than one word.

• Description meta tag.

• <!— comments tags —>.

• First 25 words (or 255 characters) of text.

• NO FRAMES tag.

• Hidden FORM tag.

• HTML tags.

• <ALT> tags.
Let’s look a bit closer at each of these elements:

Title: The title you choose will be the most important decision you make affecting search engine ranking and listing. There is no specific science to it — just make it simple. Look at the web page and the first five or so descriptive words that come to mind can be the title. Another way to look it — think of your title as a catchy headline for an ad.

When it comes to the text of a submitted web page the search engines vary their indexing procedure. While some will index the text of a submitted page others will only take into account the first 25 words (or 255 characters) of a submitted page (25/255 rule). So, write the text of a submitted page using the important keywords more than once in the first 25 words.

Something else you can do is to create at the top of a submitted web page, a transparent gif image that is one pixel in size and inside the ALT tag insert a description of the page using the 25/255 rule.

Meta Tags: They are indispensable tools in your battle for search engine ranking. Put them, along with keywords relevant to each specific page, on each page of your website.

When we discuss meta tags in this chapter we are discussing only description and keyword tags.

A description meta tag is exactly what it sounds like — it gives a description of a web page for the search engine summary. A keyword meta tag is again exactly what it states — it gives keywords (which should never be fewer than two words) for the search engine to associate with a specific web page.

These meta tags, which go inside the header tags, are crucial for optimal search engine indexing. Your meta tags should reflect the content of the first couple of sentences of the main body. It is important that you make certain that the words you use in your keyword tags are words that someone would type in to find your website.

Keyword hints:

• Keywords are target words that will drive people to your website.

• When choosing your keywords, always use the plural of the word. Searching for “car” with find sites with “cars” in their keywords but searching for “cars” will not find sites with only the singular “car” in their keywords.

• Almost any site on the Web could use “web,” “internet,” “net,” or “services,” as a descriptive keyword. Don’t! Using these and other like words to target potential customers is fruitless and most of the spiders actively ignore common words such as these.

• Include incorrect spellings of keywords that are routinely misspelled. For example, the word “accommodations” is commonly misspelled as “accomodations” so include both in your keywords.
An example:
<TITLE>Best Online Widget Store in the Universe</TITLE>
<META name=”description” content=”An online store with all the Widgets you would ever want.”>
<META name=”keywords” content=”widgets, widget accessories, widget howto, widget books, widget articles, widget technical papers, widget software, working with widgets, designing with widgets,”>

For guidelines on what you should do with meta tags, go to a search engine, say AlltheWeb, search for a term or word that you hope someone would use to find your website.

Then go to the top ranked websites and use the “view source” feature of your browser to see what kind of meta tags each of these sites use. Study them and understand their relationship to the web page, then use this information when you are composing your own meta tags.
Link popularity.

This refers both to the number of similar websites you’ve placed links to within your web pages and the number of websites that have links that point back to your e-commerce site.

Your links to other websites must be on relevant pages — that is pages that have as much to do with the common theme of your website as possible, and that are not just a page full of links. Pages that are full of links are commonly referred to as “link farms” and are ignored by spiders.

Search engines view a website with a large number of incoming links (i.e. other websites that have links to your website) as an important or popular website.

Thus, according to search engines, a website with lots of links leading to it generally implies that the website is a valued one and the search engine’s database would not be complete without it. Link popularity is vital if your site is to achieve a high search engine placement ranking.

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Re: Designing for Search Engines
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Jiten Mazee
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Re: Designing for Search Engines - December 2nd, 2015

When you are designing your website from the SEO point pof view then you should consider the onpage seo of the website. The Onpage seo include keyword tag, meta description tag, H1 H2, robot.txt, images tags etc. All you have to optimized while making seo friendly website.
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