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Lecture Three
 

Lecture Three

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  • Making the right choice of provider is quite a daunting task and Nominet UK offer the following broad advice: Overall, you should shop around to find a registration agent that provides the service or range of services you need Get competitive quotes - but remember, the cheapest price is not necessarily the best deal. Check your contract for any 'hidden' charges You should ask to see copies of the Terms and Conditions for domain name registration. If these are not easily available to you - usually via their website - insist on having a copy and study it thoroughly Seek recommendations from other Internet users and ask the prospective registration agent for testimonials from other customers Check whether the registration agent has signed up to an industry code of conduct Consider whether you need any specialist services - not all registration agents offer the same package Research what is available from which registration agent through the Internet media Pay particular attention to your rights to move your business and your domain name to another registration agent, and whether there is a charge for doing so
  • The selection of domain names is a major consideration when doing business online, and it is often one of the first issues to be addressed. While a good domain name won't guarantee success, it can have a positive (or negative) impact on almost every aspect of online business. A "good" domain is one that is easy to remember and minimizes confusion. If you are acquiring a name that has the potential to cause confusion, it is generally recommended that you obtain the most logical variations This often includes non-hyphenated and hyphenated variations, along with words that are phonetically similar and common misspellings. 3rd-level - www1, www2, keyword (optional) ( NOTE - make sure your site resolves with or without www – that is to say if someone places “yahoo.com” without WWW at the beginning i.e. www.yahoo.com in the address section of an Internet Browser it will still display the “yahoo” Website - try this on your own Browser with various addresses to discover who has and does not have this level of sophistication built into their domain name – try placing “google.com” in the address section of your Browser and hit the “Return” key and wait to see what happens)
  • What Search Engines Look for on a Page Once a page has been submitted, the search engine uses a software SPIDER to look at the site. This program extracts different pieces of information from the site, such as MetaTags content, the text on each page, the text contained in comment tags, image alt tags and form tags. Each search engine looks for the information it requires, and each is different. Search engines also look at links on each page and may add those links to their database for spidering at a later date. Spiders prefer text links (rather than image maps) and redirected links (eg., links such as those used in redirection scripts). Any links with variable identifiers such as ? will not be followed, as these could lead the spider into infinite loops within the site, or to hundreds of different versions of the same page. The search engine spider examines the code on the page and extracts text from the programming code. The text is then examined to assess the theme of the page. In doing this, the spider looks at the following: words which appear regulary throughout the page; words appearing in Metatags; link anchor text; and emphasised text (such a words in bold or italics). These give the engine an indication of the overall theme of the page, so that a search for 'cars' will bring back lots of pages with cars appearing in them.
  • Finding the Pages a User has Asked for After matching the user's search query with the pages found in the search engine database, it has to decide which pages are most likely to be of use to the surfer. Each search engine has its own ALGORITHM or mathematical calculation which gives more importance to words appearing, for instance, in Metatags, than words appearing on the page. Each engine is looking for what it believes is the best match for the user. By grading each page according to their algorithm, the engine is able to decide that page A is a closer match than page B for this user. Engines also look at off-page criteria, such as the number of links pointing to a site, or whether those linking pages are also relevant to the search. Other factors include the age of the page and whether it is listed in edited directories, such as Yahoo and Looksmart.
  • How to Achieve Top Ranking in a Search In order to achieve top ranking pages, it is necessary to reverse-engineer the algorithm used by each search engine. This can be done by examining top ranking pages in popular searches. For instance, by looking at the top 20 sites for a phrase such as 'LOANS, a pattern will emerge. This pattern may then give you an indication about what different "factors" the particular search engine you were using is normally looking for. Examples of such "factors" are, for instance: the number of words on the page (word count); how frequently the keyword appears on the page (keyword density); or how near the start of the page the keyword appears (keyword prominance). The more searches and pages you examine, the easier it gets to recognize a pattern behind the results. Uunfortunately, some sites are able to hide the real code used by delivering different pages to search engine spiders than those delivered to a normal user. They achieve this by examining the IP address and User agent of the visitor before serving an appropriate page. A high ranking page may also be swapped for a differently coded page. This happens as soon as the page appears at the top of the search result, and then the page is automatically switched. You should therefore be careful that the page you look at is in fact the same page that actually got to the top position. You will often be able to spot this because the description on the search engine may appear different to that on the page.
  • Pages which contain little text, because of the use of images or flash animation, are unlikely to do well in search engines. This is because they give the spider little to read and, therefore, little to assess what the page is actually about. Search engines cannot read text contained within an image or animation. Similarily, they struggle as words become more deeply buried within tables. Your website designers may have created a fabulous looking site, but is it really search engine-friendly? Text is king for the search engines. Anything which gets in the way of descriptive text will affect the position achievable on the engines. A search engine-friendly site consists of plain text, with targeted phrases repeated throughout the page. However, compromise is always necessary in the design. Even so, it is worth bearing in mind that some site designs and techniques ruin any chance of achieving top ranking in search engines. This, in turn, can have a devastating effect on your sales.
  • Ian doing a search for flowers on WWW brought up this interesting example – interesting because it has a 1 at the start of its domain name.
  • Is this OK Ian?
  • Text-Only Versions It is therefore worth considering to create a text-only version of your site to run alongside the main site. This will give search engines a greater chance of picking up your site content. Text-only versions should be designed for text-only browsers such as Linx. Try viewing a page from your site at www. delorie .com/web/ ses . cgi to see how it looks to a search engine. You may be surprised.
  • May want to mention these? Don’t want to repeat topics in an already crowded subject?! Web site creation software Automated site creation software packages tend to both restrict how each page is constructed and add extra unnecessary html code to the web page. Avoid them and either learn to hand code or get someone to do it for you. Less is more where code is involved. Meta Tags Each page on the site should have Meta tags written to target the content of the individual page rather than using the same tags throughout the site. It is good to make each page contribute to the overall theme of the site by including your major keywords in titles, keyword and description tags. Keep these Meta tags short as too many words dilute the effectiveness of your main phrases. Keywords Finding the right keywords is the key to good traffic from the search engines. Use your chosen keywords throughout the site. Domain name, directory structure and page names should include the keywords. Use keywords as the text within hyperlinks, tags and hidden tags. Chose your keywords by identifying what your target audience will use. Ask colleagues and friends for their thoughts and research the most popular keywords with the tools available at WWW.TOPWEBSITE.CO.UK Dynamic sites Dynamically driven database sites will struggle to get the individually generated pages listed. Search engines won't read past the '?' used in the URL to define the variables, and ignore these pages. The right approach, from the start, resolves this difficulty by re-writing how your server defines the variables. Alternatively, the database can be used to create static pages, at regular intervals, instead of dynamically generated ones. Both require specific software solutions designed for this purpose, such as the service at http://www.the- md .co. uk / .
  • Information The term search engine is most commonly used to refer to Web search engines, although other types of search engines exist. Web search engines attempt to index a large portion of pages on the World Wide Web. Other search engines are topic-specific, region-specific, and even site-specfic. There is also some confusion about the different between a search engine and a search destination . A search engine powers the search process and provides results for a search destination. A search destination can use its own engine, a 3rd-party engine, or a combination. Knowing the difference between an engine and a destination is important when submitting URLs; a destination using its own engine can accept direct submissions, while a destination using external engines may or may not provide a submission option. Source: http://www.marketingterms.com/dictionary/search_engine/
  • Although nearly everyone who has spent time on the Internet has conducted some type of search to find a web site or web page, not everyone really understands what a search engine is, or how it finds all those pages. You may be wondering how a search engine is able to find and store billions of pages of information, or how a search engine knows exactly what web page to show you when you conduct a search.Right now there are literally billions of pages of information on the Web, with more being added every day. Finding your way around, or even knowing where to start can be difficult. It's important to understand that you cannot truly search the actual World Wide Web. The web is made up of billions of documents that sit on computers throughout the world and there is simply no way for your personal computer to find or visit all of them directly. Even the most complex computers designed for this task are unable to find and index every last web page in existence. What you can do is to visit a web site that is designed to search out these pages one at a time and then collect them in a manner that you can access. In other words, you can visit a search engine.Search engine are designed to make surfing the web simple, fast and rewarding for Internet users. They gather together information, store it in a database, and allow you to access a list of individual pages based on a word, or set of words that you submit in the form of a query .
  • A survey conducted by pollster Dick Morris indicates that the use of search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN is the number one method Internet users use to find websites. For instance, if a potential buyer is looking for information concerning the polyurethane coatings market, he will most likely begin his search by entering the keywords “polyurethane coatings market research” or similar keywords into a search engine. The vendors who will most likely secure his business are those whose websites appear in the search engine results. Moreover, the Dick Morris study showed that 77% of search engine users do not read past the first page of the search results. Those vendors whose websites appear lower in the search results listing are not even likely to be considered for a potential buyer’s business. Consequently, it is vitally important not only to be included in the search engine’s results but also to be ranked as high as possible for all relevant search phrases. A search engine optimization program is a program designed to increase the probability that your website will achieve good positioning in search engine results pages for searches using all relevant key phrases. The search engine optimization component of the ECNext Web Visibility Program includes the following: 3 points on next slide.
  • Search engine users provide a special opportunity for vendors of commercial documents. Not only can the search engines be used to drive customers to a website, but in many cases, they can also be used to drive customers to specific commercial documents that are relevant to the search criteria. In such cases, the search engine user can be presented immediately with an opportunity to buy a document that is highly relevant to his interests. The challenge is that the document itself is not visible to the search engines since it is not freely available on the public site; it cannot be viewed unless it is purchased. Consequently, the search engine cannot index it directly. A product visibility program consists of a combination of technology and services that address this problem by exposing specially prepared, highly optimized pages that present an opportunity to buy the relevant document to the search engines. The product visibility component of the ECNext Web Visibility Program includes the following: A facility for generating appropriate document purchase pages that are highly optimized for the important key words and phrases relevant to the document. A process for frequent search engine updates to ensure that new documents are indexed in a timely fashion. A rigorous monitoring and reporting program that measures the traffic and revenue generated by the product visibility program.
  • Use the search engines - Most of the crawler based search engines have specific queries that allow you to determine how many sites are linking to yours. A free service like LinkPopularityCheck.com allows you to do this from one central location (you can also easily check on your competitors this way too). Use the Google Toolbar - This handy addition to your browser includes a graphic representation of a site's link popularity with the Page Rank bar. You can also use the drop down menu under Page Info to get Google to list the backward links to your site. Analyze your log files - Use a program like WebTrends to analyze your web traffic logs. For link popularity you want to focus on the referral data. Make sure this metric is turned on and that you are reporting as deeply as possible. This will let you know exactly where your traffic is coming from. Link Popularity Check This free service aims to make calculating your link popularity easy. Simply enter your domain, and the site will report your link-count from MSN, Lycos, and AltaVista. You can then click on links to display the actual results from those services. You can also sign up to have reports emailed each month.
  • Ian all notes relating to Google Tool bar and tools: The Google Toolbar increases your ability to find information from anywhere on the web and takes only seconds to install. When the Google Toolbar is installed, it automatically appears along with the Internet Explorer toolbar. This means you can quickly and easily use Google to search from any website location, without returning to the Google home page to begin another search. The Google Toolbar is available free of charge and includes these great features: Google Search: Access Google's search technology from any web page. Search Site: Search only the pages of the site you're visiting. PageRank: See Google's ranking of the current page. Page Info: Access more information about a page including similar pages, pages that link back to that page, as well as a cached snapshot. PageRank: See Google's ranking of the current page. Highlight: Highlight your search terms as they appear on the page; each word in its own color. Word Find: Find your search terms wherever they appear on the page. PageRank™ : Displays the PageRank of the page currently in your browser. In order to automatically update this display for each page you visit, the Toolbar sends information about the page you are viewing to the Google servers. Although Google, Inc. does not collect information that directly identifies you (e.g., your name, email address) and will not sell or provide personally identifiable information to any third parties, you may wish to read our privacy policy and/or disable this sending of information. If you decide to disable this functionality, you will no longer see the PageRank for every page as you surf the web. Click here to see our Toolbar privacy policy . Click here for more information on our patent-pending PageRank technology. Category: Allows you to access related page information in the Google Web Directory. If the web page you are viewing has a related category in the Google Web Directory, clicking this button takes you to that category page in the Google Web Directory. http://toolbar.google.com/button_help.html
  • Not all links to your site carry the same weight or value. Many search engines give more credence to some links over others. That's why most free for all (FFA) links pages have zero effect on link popularity (and in some cases participating in these link farms can actually get your site penalized). Link with the big boys first. A link from Yahoo! will carry more weight than a link from your best friend's family home page. List your site with major portals, with major site reviewers, and especially with the Open Directory Project. Make sure you list your site with topical directories, engines, and web guides that are specific to the subject matter you offer. Niche engines are growing every day, and as the web gets more clogged, users are finding specialized topical search tools to be very useful. SiteOwner.com's Directory Guide is a good place to begin searching for these. Don't just concentrate on building links for popularity purposes. A link to your site that search engines do not know about can be a very important link. Not everyone will use a search engine to get to your site. Besides, search engines might not even know about your links because they don't often spider beyond the second or third level. Even if a deep page on another site gets 10,000 hits per day and links with your page, it won't factor into link popularity because the spiders won't find it.
  • eMage Tip of the Month Linkrot stinks. Linkrot is when a link no longer leads to a functioning URL. The reason may be that the webpage has moved to a new URL, has been deleted, or is temporarily down because of restructuring or upgrading of the site. Most often linkrot happens in the wake of a site redesign. It is critical that links you have previously established to your site not be lost because of linkrot. What can you do to combat it? - Manually inform all the sites linking to you of the change. - Design a custom 404 Error page that maintains the look and feel and, most importantly, the navigation of your site. Otherwise visitors will see their browser's default 404 Error page which will simply tell them "the page cannot be found." - Use the old page to notify of the new location or automatic redirect from the old page to the new location.
  • What is a Reciprocal Links Program? Reciprocal linking has been around as long as the Web. It's the act of requesting a hyperlink to your Web site from a Web site that has a similar or complementary theme to yours in return for a link and description back to that site. It's really what the "Web" is all about--the ability to jump from site to related site via hyperlinks. In it's simplest form, it's the Webmaster, Site Owner or Site Marketer of site #1 emailing his/her counterpart at site #2 that contains complementary content to ask if site #2 would be willing to provide a hyperlink to and a brief description of site #1 in return for a reciprocal hyperlink to and description of site #2 on site#1. A formal Reciprocal Links Program turns that informal effort into a planned, on-going Web site marketing activity.
  • Why bother? And why turn this activity into a formal program? First, think of a reciprocal links program as being able to produce the same results as a "perfect" search would on a major search engine, but on hundreds, if not thousands, of complementary Web sites. I define a perfect search as follows: potential visitors to your Web site enter a search phrase into a major engine like Google or AltaVista and the search results page lists just a few links to relevant Web pages--a link to your site is one of them. Now multiply that by hundreds or even thousands of complementary Web sites that list a description of your site and a link to it from their "Links" pages. That's the power of instituting a comprehensive reciprocal link program! Second, from the standpoint of attaining high rankings in the search results of the major search engines, the importance of attaining the "right" complementary links to your site can not be overstated. One need only look at how Google works in order to understand the importance of a strong, on-going Reciprocal Links Program. Google has become the searcher's search engine because of it's ability to deliver incredibly relevant results in it's top 10-30 results for a search on a particular search phrase, regardless of the number of files it has in it's index that in some way relate to that search phrase. One of the major mechanisms Google uses to ensure the relevancy of it's search results is to use the structure of Web itself. It does this by focusing on the linkage that goes on among Web sites. The logic Google's ranking algorithms (and increasingly, other major crawler-based search engines' ranking algorithms) use is elegantly simple: a Web site claiming to be relevant for a given topic or category is judged to be so based on how other known relevant sites for that topic view the site in question. In other words, if known relevant sites for a given topic and/or category link to the site being ranked, that site "inherits" a portion of the linking sites' relevance for that topic/category. This technique creates a ranking hiearchy of sites for search words or phrases that inevitably drives the most relevant sites to the top of the list. There are other aspects to this ranking technique beyond what is discussed here, but the key point to note as it relates to a Reciprocal Link Program is that it is not the number of links to a given site that matters, it is the quality of those links as they relate to the topic/category in question.
  • Go to URL for slightly more info!

Lecture Three Lecture Three Presentation Transcript