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Search Engine Tips

For the purpose of these tips a search engine is something like Google, Yahoo, or Bing (the big ghree.) It scans the web for sites to include in its index. It will follow links and find new sites all on its own. A directory (such as Yahoo's old system, or DMOZ) includes sites one at a time, with a human being looking at each site.

You can learn a lot about different types of search engines at Search Engine Watch.

  1. On key words... A keyword is simply a phrase someone searches on. So if I want to build a helpful unix site then my primary keyword might be unix tutorials.

  2. Put your keyword/key phrase in the title tag of your page. It can be the only thing there, or you can make a complete sentence out of it. The title is also what appears in your bookmarks list. So a good title will help people remember you when they bookmark your site. 

  3. Google doesn't care what you put in the description tag, but other engines do. Put in a sentence which tells the viewer why the heck they should visit your site. What's in it for them? It won't helps your rankings, but it can greatly help the click through rate of any rankings that you do get.  

  4. Google doesn't care about what's in your keywords tag, but the other engines might. Put in a few words and phrases appropriate to your page. Include common mis-spellings. This isn't worth the effort if you're just targeted in the big three.

  5. Your primary keyword/phrase should appear in the headline at the top of your page, as well as the title tag of your HTML code, and a couple of times in your article.

  6. Skip the graphics and banners. Write a page that's cool and interesting and is appropriate to your keywords. So if your keyword is cell phones write a cool, informative page about cell phones. People want content, not a ton of ads. So do the search engines, and that's more and more true as time goes on. 

  7. Longer content is better than short content. If goives you more chance to say what you want to say and it naturally provides more keywords for the engines to index.

  8. Skip the java, javascript, heavy graphics, etc. if you're reling on search engines for traffic. They can't read the stuff, though wello-tuned images might show up on an image search. 

  9. Links to your page, either from your other pages or from other sites, should contain your keyword. If you create a lot of links then you should vary that keyword. Getting 1,000 links that say only "my keyword" will raise questions in the "eyes" of the search engines, especially Google. So mix it up a bit.

  10. You should link internally across pages (look to any Widipedia article for a perfect example of this) 

  11. Any graphics should have keywords in the alt tag. This will help describe the image. The filename of the image should also have your keyword. The title tag (for the image) can also have it, as well as a caption field.

  12. Links from your page should also contain your keywords, but this is less important than links to your page. 

  13. Don't use your keywords too many times on a page. How do you tell? If it starts to read badly, then you've used it too much. Make it nicely readable to humans (eg: your mom) and use variations on your keyword.