THE BASICS by Michael Hunter


A search engine is a database of resources extracted from the Internet through an automated "crawling" process. This database is searchable through user queries.

How does a search engine work?
Words or phrases you enter in the search box are matched to resources in the search engine's database that contain your terms. These are then automatically sorted by their probable relevance and presented with the most "relevant" sites appearing first.

How search results are organized
Once a search engine has used your search terms to gather "hits" from its database, it lists or "ranks" the resulting sites in order of its own estimation of their relevance. The procedures and factors used to create this ranking are often company secrets, so understanding exactly why one hit is listed higher than another is difficult.

The following is a survey of some of the factors search engines use to automatically sort web sites for presentation to the user.

Relevance Prediction
Currently, search engines predict relevance based on two sets of factors: those based on a site's content and those external to the site.

Factors based on a web site's content

1. Word frequency (How often search terms occur in a page in relationship to other text)

2. Location of search terms in the document (Are they in the title? Are they near the top of the page?)

3. Relational clustering (How many pages in the site contain the search terms?)

4. The site's design (Does it use frames? How fast does it load?)

Factors external to the site

1. Link popularity -- Sites with more links pointing to them are prioritized

2. Click popularity -- Sites visited more often are prioritized

3. "Sector" popularity -- Sites visited by certain demographic or social groups are prioritized
(Note: This system requires user-provided information)

4. Business alliances among services -- Results from a partner search service are ranked higher

5. Pay-for-placement rankings -- Site owners pay for high rankings

Rank Higher with Good Keyword Selection and Placement

What words do you think people will use to find your web page? Those are the strategic keywords for that page. Start by developing a list of the top 30-40 words you can think of and put them in order of importance. Now combine these keywords into 2 or 3 key word combinations. Repeat this keyword phrase definitely in the first few sentences and as many times throughout your web site as you can without making it obvious that you are trying to repeat them. A search engine will analyze how often keywords appear in relation to other words in a web page. Those with a higher frequency often rank higher than other web pages. Remember however, nobody ranks web pages exactly the same, which is why the same search on different search engines produces different rankings and results

Meta Tags

META tags should be placed in the head of the HTML document, between the and tags.

Desciption meta tag - - This will control what appears as the summary of your web page on the search engine results page. The content of the description should clearly convey what one can expect to find when visiting your site.

Keywords meta tag - -

Use this to provide extra "invisible" information about your web page to the search engines. Search engines will index the entire contents of a page because a lot of sites don't include tags. Some robots index both the description and keyword tag contents as searchable words. Do not, however, excessively repeat keywords in a keyword tag because search engines may penalize you for this. You can repeat keywords 2-3 times each I have found.

*TIP -

If you have a large list of keywords, each one of those keywords when entered in to a search engine should find your page, but they're less likely to be at the top of the results lists. If you use a small number of keywords, it increases the density of those few keywords and therefore puts them high up the list. So, if your keyword list is naturally short and you're confident that users will search for these above all others then the target strategy is for you. If you have a long list of products, then the blanket method is for you. Figure out what 2 to 3 word combinations you think people will most often search for to find your web site and put that phrase first in your "keywords meta tag" and repeat the combination often in your web site.


URL Submission page for major search engines

Home | About Us | Products & Services | Support Center | Sign Up Here | Contact Us
Web Hosting Solutions | Merchant Accounts | Web Site Building | Domain Name Registration | Internet Updates/BreakingNews | About Search Engines | Terms & Policies

Copyright (c) 2000, All rights reserved. This document is confidential. Reproduction in whole or in part, and/or preparation of summaries or abstracts is prohibited without prior written consent of


per month!
(Non Virtual)

$9.95 per month!