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What do Search Engines want?

In this chaos of offers and tips, how do you know who to listen to?

It's important to choose your optimization strategy wisely. If you're too reckless, you can be blacklisted for spamming. That's right, your site could be excluded from an engine's index because of inappropriate behavior! And since about 85% of Web users find sites through search engines, being blacklisted can really cost you. How can you avoid this?

Give them what they want!

Listen to what search engines are trying to tell you. By knowing what factors search engines use to rank your pages, you can focus your efforts and achieve top rankings without resorting to SPAMMING.

The following table provides a basic guide to some of the factors search engines weigh in ranking pages. It combines official information provided by the listed search engines with our own research. None of the recommendations below are considered to be spam. So learn it and use it... and sleep well tonight.

Here's what the high-traffic search engines and directory sites say influence their relevancy rankings:


Search Engine

What's not indexed

Slow Pages play a role?

Content and location

HTML Title

Meta tags

Keyword Frequency

Link popularity

What it likes

AltaVista
Search Engine

Registration pages, text in graphics and multimedia files (use Alt tags), XML, Java applets, comment tags, Acrobat files, spammers

Yes

Very important,
Top of the page

Very important, should be unique for every page

Not important, but should be included just in case

Not mentioned0, but the best location is title and top of page

Important

Uncommon words, good navigation, plain HTML pages with text only , themes, inbound links and keywords in link text.

DMOZ
Users: AOL, Netscape; AltaVista, HotBot,
Google and Lycos directories

Spammers

Yes, considered poor design

Worthy of indexing as determined by editors, and in appropriate category

No, but the title filled in plays a role.

No, but the description and keywords filled in play a role.

No

Not important for DMOZ, but is Important, for some of its partners, who use Inktomi

Concise and accurate descriptions and keywords, choice of appropriate category

Excite

Not mentioned, but look at AltaVista, should be the same for all robots

Not mentioned

Home Page should have necessary keywords

Not mentioned,
but seems to be a factor

Meta description is important, other meta tags are not.

Not mentioned, but make sure they're all over your home page.

Important

Keywords on the front page, meta descriptions, themes

Google
Search Engine

Not mentioned, see AltaVista for approximate guidelines; spammers

Not mentioned

Keywords should be close to each other.
Content should include keywords in text or links

Not mentioned,
but seems to be a factor

No

Not mentioned

Very important, especially from relevant pages

Link popularity, keywords near each other, keywords in URLs and link text, themes

HotBot
Search Engine

Frames, pages with cookie requirements, URLs with special characters (unless submitted through Inktomi's paid program) , spammers.

Yes, pages can be dropped if a server is too slow

Ranks on the length of the document and frequency of keywords.

Most important

Very important, both description (150 characters) and keywords (75 characters)

Very important (standard requirements are 3-7%)

Important, uses Inktomi

Lack of stop words, meta tags, HTML titles, lots of keywords, link popularity, and click popularity (HotBot uses DirectHit)


iWon
Search Engine

Spammers

Not mentioned

Keywords should be in title, body and meta tags

Important, should contain keywords

Both are supported; description limited to 250, keywords to 1017

Important, 4-12 times

Important, uses Inktomi

Site popularity, submit to LookSmart for directory entries, theme present throughout the site

LookSmart
Directory

Pornography, violence, illegal sites; sites with few pages, or little quality, temporary sites, spammers

Yes, may be excluded

Must be of high-quality, interesting, useful

No, but you can fill in a title, which can be edited

No, but you can fill in a description, which can be edited

No

Not important

Quality content and look, good functionality and interactivity.
Since a part of LookSmart uses AltaVista, see that section as well

Lycos
Search Engine

Spammers, URLs with special characters

Not mentioned

Not mentioned

Not mentioned,
but seems to be a factor

Not mentioned

Not mentioned

Not mentioned,
but seems to be a factor

Themes


MSN
Search Engine

Spammers, frames - <noframes> tag needed

No

Not mentioned

Important, should contain keywords

Both are supported; description limited to 250, keywords to 1017

Important, 4-12 times

Important, uses Inktomi

Theme present throughout the site, site popularity, see LookSmart for directory submissions

Northern Light
Search Engine

Alt tags, hidden or invisible text, spammers.

Not mentioned

Ranks visible text on the page, important to have keywords in text and title.

Important, use keywords, up to 250 characters

No

Very important in the text (standard requirements are 3-7%)

Very important

Lots of links, lots of keywords in the text, uncommon keywords (common are of less importance).

Yahoo
Directory

Spammers

Yes, may be excluded

Worthy of indexing as determined by editors, and in appropriate category

No, but the title filled in plays a role. It should be concise

No, but the description and keywords filled in play a role.

No

Very important, uses Google

Concise and accurate descriptions and keywords, choice of appropriate category

Search Engine

What's not indexed

Slow Pages play a role?

Content and location

HTML Title

Meta tags

Keyword Frequency

Link popularity

What it likes

by Yelena Shapiro - www.searchengines.com
The ideas and information provided, are not necessarily the opinions or views of WebBuilder.
The information is provided to gain a better insight in the functioning of search engines.

 

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