How Can Search Engines Help You with Your Business?Written by Dmitry Antonoff, Irina Ponomareva
What Are Search Engines? Most of us often face problem of searching web. Nowadays, global network is one of most important sources of information there is, its main goal being to make information easily accessible. That's where main problem arises: how to find what you need among all those innumerable terabytes of data. The World Wide Web is overloaded with various stuff related to diverse interests and activities of human beings who inhabit globe. How can you tell what a site is devoted to without visiting it? Besides, number of resources grew as quickly as Internet’s own development, and many of them closely resembled each other (and still do). This situation necessitated finding a reliable (and at same time fast) way to simplify search process, otherwise there would be absolutely no point to World Wide Web. So, development and deployment of first search engines closely followed birth of World Wide Web. * How It All Began At start, search engines developed quite rapidly. The "grandfather" of all modern search engines was Archie, launched in 1990, creation of Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University, Montreal. Three years later, University of Nevada System Computing Services deployed Veronica. These search engines created databases and collected information on files existing in global network. But they were soon overwhelmed by fast growth of net, and others stepped forward. World Wide Web Wanderer was first automated Internet robot, whereas ALIWEB, launched in Autumn of 1993, was first rough model of a modern web directory that is filled up by site owners or editors. At about same time, first 'spiders' appeared. These were: JumpStation, World Wide Web Worm, and Repository-Based Software Engineering** starting new era of World Wide Web search. Google and Yahoo are two of their better-known descendants. http://galaxy.com/info/history2.html. Search Engines Today Modern web searchers are divided into two main groups: • search engines and • directories. Search engines automatically 'crawl' web pages (by following hyperlinks) and store copies of them in an index, so that they can generate a list of resources according to users' requests (see ‘How Search Engines Work’, below). Directories are compiled by site owners or directory editors (in other words, humans) according to categories. In truth, most modern web search combine two systems to produce their results. How Search Engines Work All search engines consist of three main parts: • spider (or worm); • index; and • search algorithm. The first of these, spider (or worm), continuously ‘crawls’ web space, following links that lead both to within limits of a website and to completely different websites. A spider ‘reads’ all pages’ content and passes data to index. The Index is second part of a search engine. It is a storage area for spidered web pages and can be of a huge magnitude (Google’s index, for example is said to consist of three billion pages). The third part of a search engine system is most sophisticated. It is search algorithm, a very complicated mechanism that sorts an immense database within a few seconds and produces results list. Looking like a web page (or, most often, lots of pages), it contains links to resources that match users' queries (i.e., relevant resources). The most relevant ones (as search engine sees it) are nearer top of list. They are ones most likely to be clicked by user of search engine. A site owner should therefore take heed of site's relevancy to keywords it is expected will be used to find it. http://www.searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/article.php/2168031 A Relevancy calculation algorithm is unique for every search engine, and is a trade secret, kept hidden from public. However, there are some common principles, which will be discussed in following paragraph. http://www.searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/article.php/2167961 What to Do to Have Your Web Site Found through Search Engines There are some simple rules to make your resource relevant enough to be ranked in top 10 by majority of search engines. Rule 1: Work on body copy A search engine determines topic of your site judging by textual information (or content) of every page. Of course, it cannot comprehend content way humans do, but this is not critical. It is much more important to include keywords, which are found and compared with users' queries by programme. The more often you use targeted keywords, better your page will be ranked when a search on those keywords is made. You can increase relevancy of your targeted keywords still more if you include them in HTML title of your page ( tag), in subheaders (
Inappropriate Website Promotion MethodsWritten by Dmitry Antonoff, Irina Ponomareva
The list of dubious means of search engine optimisation lengthens year on year. In theory, of course, we could all employ such means, but there are ethical issues to be tackled. And even if we ignore fair-play principles for a moment, it’s worth pointing out that cheap, scam-like promotion methods usually look cheap and scam-like, annoy Internet users and have a short lifespan because counter-measures are created. This article describes misleading, illegal and unethical methods of search engine optimisation, explains why they are wrong and highlights possible adverse results. Spam keyword density In their naive quests for high positions in search engines’ listings, some web site owners simply cram as many key phrases as possible into body text of their resources. However, if a key phrase is mentioned too often in text (so-called keyword damping), website may be overlooked by more advanced search engines. Moreover, site content will undoubtedly be unreadable for visitors. Nevertheless, few people know what keyword density is optimal or at what point keyword damping begins. Unfortunately, this can mean that innocent web site owners or editors can leave an undesirable content by chance, just because of a lack of attention or experience. To help prevent having your resource rejected by search engines, just keep to following recommendations before launching your web site. 1.Look through your text once again. Do you see certain words and phrases dancing in front of your eyes? If not, you can pass your text through to next test. If you do, try reducing number of sentences, writing alternative phrases or even consider starting again from scratch. 2.Read out text of your web page to co-workers or friends or ask them to read it to you. Does it sound annoying or amateurish because of excessive keyword density? If not, page is ready for launching. Hidden text Hiding text is another means of fooling search engines, but one that is becoming more futile. Body text is hidden when: •the font is exactly same colour as, or differs very slightly from, a web page’s background colour, or •when it is so tiny on screen (1 or 2 pixels) that visitors don’t see it. The idea behind scam is that search engine spiders will read code that makes up page but human visitors will not notice text, or will see it as a detail in graphic design. So theory goes, webmasters can place commonly searched words in these unseen areas that will hoist their pages up search engine rankings, even if true content has nothing to do with subject searched for. They think that hiding ‘Britney Spears’ on their mountain resort’s web page will cause an avalanche of visitors and increase sales. Life isn’t that simple! If you put yourself in user’s position, you’ll soon see why this won’t work. You won’t be too pleased about having to scroll through endless pages filled with absolutely useless content when searching for resource that you need. Because best search engines (i.e., ones that people actually use) can efficiently resist this kind of cheating, dishonest webmasters will have their rankings reduced or be left off indices, even if penalty is not instant. Remember also that a search entry‘s very popularity means that a page thus ‘optimised’ will be just one of millions of others, further reducing any perceived competitive advantage. Link exchange networks (link farming) The Web is by nature a network of interconnected sites supporting one another via hyperlinks. Some search engines use number of links pointing to a site as a factor in site’s popularity and, therefore, its ranking. For example, there are thousands of pages linking to NASA’s website, so it ranks highly and is spidered frequently. As with all relevance calculation methods, this one is open to abuse. In hope of multiple inbound links improving a website’s ranking, web pages, called link farms, are created containing nothing but links to other sites. However, this method of promotion is quite insecure, for three main reasons: 1.as a rule, such pages contain nothing but endless rows and columns of hyperlinks with no description of resources, therefore search value of link farm itself is tiny; 2.such linking is useless, since pages which contain too many links transfer almost no value to individual sites they link to; and 3.hardly any visitors are going to click on a site from such a page, as probability of a successful click on a page full of potential clicks is minimal. Keep away from link farms. Many owners of popular and well-promoted websites have already got sick of daily emails saying things such as: ‘I’ve visited your website, I like it, so I’ve placed a link to it and I’m waiting for you put a link to mine on your page’. The point is that it is quality of links that is of high importance for modern search engines when ranking a website, not quantity. Relevance is everything, and search engines are getting better at detecting and rewarding it. So, what are quality links? The simple answer is links to web sites devoted to related issues. Therefore, it is better to exchange links with business partners, sites with common themes or information portals dealing with problems of a similar business sphere. Also, you should insist upon adding short descriptions of your resources to hyperlinks. The value of simple reciprocal linking in terms of search engine optimisation has diminished over last few years. We can suggest another method, which tends to be much more promising: publication and wide distribution of articles that may be of interest to visitors. The articles contain links to sites and certainly attract your targeted audience. Cloaking Cloaking is another technology that is widely used by dishonest webmasters. Its effectiveness lies in identifying robots, which crawl around Web, by their IP addresses or host names. A special doorway page, developed beforehand and polished for SEO purposes but unreadable for humans, is shown to robot and added to search engine’s index, while a human visitor will see a very different page. However, modern search engines are able to unmask those who specialise in such tricks. For example, a robot can come from an unknown IP address or disguise itself as numerous human visitors and come from different addresses. Moreover, ‘sneaking’ is encouraged by managers of some search engines, whereby visitors report that content of a particular web site found by a search engine has nothing in common with its description on search engine result page. Then, if a search engine’s staff discover that a webmaster is employing illegal methods, his or her site will instantly be ejected from that index.