Search engine and directory

Search engines and directories help users find the information they need by two distinct methods. Search engines crawl the web, indexing web pages by page title, body copy, and other elements. By taking search methods into consideration during the design process, you can create a web page that is more likely to be recognized by the various search engines, thereby increasing the number of hits your site will receive.

The following is a summary of information from SearchEngineWatch, a site that provides extensive information regarding search engines and how they work.

Search engine and directory tips for design

Since search engines create an index based primarily on page titles and body copy, it is important to pay special attention to the top of your web documents.

  • Use the title tag to create a name that will effectively describe your site; besides improving your chances with search engines, it will also accurately reflect your site's content when listed as an entry in users' bookmarks.
  • Try to include relevant text references to your site's contents early in your document as most engines only search approximately the first 25 words of body text.
  • Expand text references to include keywords repetitively. For example, rather than referring to "collectors" on a page about stamp collecting, use the phrase "stamp collectors" to subtly increase the number of times you refer to stamps.
  • Although directories list sites by submission, a site with meaningful content and attractive layout is more likely to be reviewed, increasing its relevancy rating and number of hits.
  • Some search engines exclude or penalize pages on which they detect search engine spamming techniques such as repeating the same word or phrase hundreds of times.
  • Tables can pose a problem to search engines because they are broken apart by them, just as they are by older browsers. In other words, everything that appears in the first column appears first, followed by the contents of the second column. This can push relevant text further down the page, where it may not be read by the engines. There is no solution to this problem.  Use tables only for tabular data.  Do not divide page content using tables.


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