What is a search engine?
A search engine is a tool used to find information about a specific topic. The user types in a word or words and then finds pages that relate to the subject. Some common ones are: Yahoo, Alta Vista, GoTo, Google.

How does a search engine find a page?
A search engine uses special software robots, called spiders, to build lists of words found on web sites. The process of building these lists is called web crawling.

Do search engines search through the same pages?
No. Some search engines index more pages than others, some index them more often. No search engine has the same collection of pages to search through.

Which words are most important?
The page title is most important. The words contained within the text of the page are very important. There should be at least 100 words on each page. Words in the subtitles and meta-tags are important also.

What are meta-tags?
Meta-tags are placed within the code of the page. They allow the owner of the page to specify keywords, keyphrases, descriptions, and titles which relate to the web site.

How do I pick my keywords?
Keywords should reflect your page's content. Keywords should be words that people will type in on a subject that relates to your site. If you have a site about web development, you want your site to come up when ever someone searches for "web development". This would be a good keyword. Usually there will be too many sites relevant to the word "web" or "development" Try not to use these common words which can mean anything. Most people search for more than one word at a time, so if you use phrases with more than one word, you have a better chance of being found. Note: Repeating keywords and using words that don't relate to your site may get you rejected from some search engines.

Should I rely only on meta-tags to get my page found?
No. The content of most web sites should be enough for search engines to determine relevancy to a subject. Many owners might add words to their meta-tags that are popular words, but don't have anything to do with the content of the site. To protect against this, spiders will match the keywords in the meta-tags with words in the page itself. If the words don't match, they will be rejected. Your page may even be blacklisted. Note: There are many times that pages without meta-tags get highly ranked.

How long will it take for my site to show up in search engines?
Sometimes your site is entered into a database right away. There may be a waiting period. Popular search engines, like Yahoo, may take 8 months to a year for your site to appear.

What can I do to assure my page will be found?
Pages with keywords in the titles are assumed to be more relevant than others to the topic. Keywords should also appear near the top of the page, in the headline or first paragraph of text. If the keyword appears more frequently on a page than other words, it is deemed more relevant. If a keyword is found many times in the text of the page, it may be indexed higher.

Are search engines the only way people will find my site?
No. There are currently over 3 billion web pages, and search engines index less than 40% of all web sites out there. Linking to other web sites and having people link to yours is what the web was made for. You may create reciprocal links between your site and another on a "Links" page. People also find web sites through word-of-mouth, traditional advertising, traditional media, newsgroup postings, web directories, and links from other sites. These may even be more effective ways for people to find your site. Note: Don't obsess over your ranking. You may do everything you can and still gain no improvement. Concentrate your efforts on more productive areas.


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