Search Engine Optimization for Dummies--For Dummies - Ning

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by Peter Kent
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Optimization
FOR
DUMmIES

Search Engine
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Optimization
FOR
DUMmIES

Search Engine
01 567586 FM.qxd 3/22/04 3:54 PM Page i
01 567586 FM.qxd 3/22/04 3:54 PM Page ii
by Peter Kent
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Optimization
FOR
DUMmIES

Search Engine
Copyright © 2004 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published by
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LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NO REP
RESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE
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TAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THE
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Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
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Peter Kent is the author of numerous other books about the Internet, includ
ing the best-selling Complete IdiotÕs Guide to the Internet and the most widely
reviewed and praised title in computer-book history, Poor RichardÕs Web Site:
Geek Free, Commonsense Advice on Building a Low-Cost Web Site. His work
has been praised by USA Today, BYTE, CNN.com, Windows Magazine,
Philadelphia Inquirer, and many others.
Peter was the founder of an e-Business Service Provider funded by one of the
worldÕs largest VC firms, Softbank/Mobius. He was VP of Web Solutions for a
national ISP and VP of Marketing for a Web applications firm. He also founded
a computer-book publishing company launched through a concerted online
marketing campaign.
About the Author
Peter has been online since 1984, doing business in cyberspace since 1991,
and writing about the Internet since 1993. PeterÕs experience spans virtually
all areas of doing business online, from editing and publishing an e-mail
newsletter to creating e-commerce Web sites, from online marketing and PR
campaigns to running a Web-design and -hosting department for a large ISP.
Peter now consults with businesses about their Internet strategies, helping
them to avoid the pitfalls and to leap the hurdles theyÕll encounter online. He
also gives seminars and presentations on subjects related to online market
ing in general and search engine marketing in particular. He can be contacted
at
consult@iChannelServices.com
, and more information about his back
ground and experience is available at
www.iChannelServices.com
.
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IÕd like to thank a number of people for their help with this book. First, my
mentor, colleague, and Technical Editor, Micah Baldwin of Current Wisdom
(
www.CurrentWisdom.com
), who kept me focused and on target. IÕd also like
to thank Acquisitions Editor Terri Varveris, whose assistance was critical in
getting my idea from proposal to contract, and Project Editor Paul Levesque,
who kept me on the straight and narrow. And, of course, the multitude of
Wiley staff involved in editing, proofreading, and laying out the book. Finally,
IÕd also like to thank my friend and one-time boss Mike Higgins, whoÕs an
example to us all (though for exactly what IÕm not sure).
Dedication
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Author’s Acknowledgments
For Melinda, a good friend in difficult times
Indexer: TECHBOOKS Production Services
Project Coordinator: Adrienne Martinez
Composition Services
Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services
Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services
Publishing for Consumer Dummies
Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher
Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director
PublisherÕs Acknowledgments
Proofreaders: Laura Albert, Andy Hollandbeck,
Carl W. Pierce, Dwight Ramsey,
Brian H. Walls, TECHBOOKS Production
Services
WeÕre proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form
located at
www.dummies.com/register/
.
Project Editor: Paul Levesque
Acquisitions Editor: Terri Varveris
Senior Copy Editor: Kim Darosett
Technical Editor: Micah Baldwin
Editorial Manager: Kevin Kirshner
Permissions Editor: Carmen Krikorian
Media Development Specialist: Travis Silvers
Media Development Manager: Laura VanWinkle
Media Development Supervisor:
Production
Layout and Graphics: Jonelle Burns,­
Andrea Dahl, Denny Hager,­
Stephanie D. Jumper, Michael Kruzil,­
Jacque Schneider, Julie Trippetti­
Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media
Development
Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies
Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher
Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher
Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director
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Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:
Richard Graves
Editorial Assistant: Amanda Foxworth
Cartoons: Rich Tennant (
www.the5thwave.com
)
: Dirty Deeds Ñ Facing the Consequences
209
Chapter 9
: Getting Your Pages into the Search Engines
Part III: Adding Your Site to the Indexes 
and Directories
211
: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
Part V: The Part of Tens
................................................
Chapter 5
1
..................................................................
Chapter 8
..................................................................
77
Chapter 10
Chapter 18
............................................
: Pay Per Click Ñ Overture, Google AdWords, and More
Chapter 17
Chapter 15
: Submitting to the Directories
Part II: Building Search-Engine-Friendly Sites
.................................................
Index
79
Contents at a Glance
: Ten-Plus Useful Tools for Search Engine Optimization
317
Appendix: Staying Out of Copyright Jail
.......................................
303
.......................................................................
: Buried Treasure Ñ More Great Places to Submit Your Site
Chapter 11
27
195
149
43
.........................................................................
185
...........................................................................
Part I: Search Engine Basics
: Using Link Popularity to Boost Your Position
.......................................
135
: Ten-Plus Ways to Keep Up-to-Date and Track Down the Details
.....................................................
Chapter 4
Part VI: Appendix
......................................................................
.................................................................
Chapter 1
.....................................................
335
105
: Making Your Site Useful and Telling People about It
7
............................................
: Finding Sites to Link to Yours
..............
231
: Ten Myths and Mistakes
Chapter 13
.........................................................
................................
287
53
Chapter 16
171
173
: Using the Shopping Directories and Retailers
305
Chapter 6
Chapter 3
: Avoiding Things That Search Engines Hate
:Picking Powerful Keywords
........................
311
: Bulking Up Your Site Ñ Complete with Content
9
.......................
..........................................
Introduction
.................................
.....................................
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Chapter 14
Chapter 12
: Your One-Hour Search-Engine-Friendly Web Site Makeover
263
329
: Creating Pages That Search Engines Love
Chapter 7
Part IV: After You’ve Submitted
.............................................
Chapter 2
.................
....................
.........
331
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......................................................
: Your One-Hour Search-Engine-Friendly 
Web Site Makeover
................................................................................
Keeping the terms straight
30
Your Site Indexed?
Introduction
4
Why bother with search engines?
3
Multiple feeds
Part I: Search Engine Basics
About This Book
9
..........................................
............................................................
What if youÕre not listed?
......................................................
.........................................................................
7
Part I: Search Engine Basics
..............................................................................
4
22
Google
....................................................................................................
24
...................................................................................
.............................................................................................
Foolish Assumptions
Reviewing the Final List Ñ Search Systems You Really Need
The Google Toolbar
Where Do People Search?
30
.....................................................................
26
23
27
..................................................................................
19
Chapter 1
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5
Part III: Adding Your Site to the Indexes and Directories
Determining Your Plan of Attack
What Are Search Engines and Directories?
Part V: The Part of Tens
12
2
...............................................................................................
...........................................................................
....................................................................................................
Chapter 2
Icons Used in This Book
..............................................
25
................................................................................
....................................................................
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.....................................
Gathering Your Tools
What the Future Holds Ñ The List Expands
.....................................................................................
13
Yahoo!
The others
Is
.............................................................................
Table of Contents
................................................................
..................
1
Part IV: After YouÕve Submitted
.......................................................................................
.................................................
27
31
How to tell if your site is invisible
Part VI: Appendix
......................................................................................
30
: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
How This Book Is Organized
Understanding the Limitations
..................................................................
.......................................................................................
25
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10
20
28
32
ArenÕt I missing some sites?
The Alexa Toolbar
4
19
Part II: Building Search-Engine-Friendly Sites
1
14
Picking Good Keywords
..................
4
..................................................................
..................................................................
3
3
..................................................................
45
34
Chapter 3
..........................................................
46
54
73
Examine the DESCRIPTION tag
. . . . .
Understanding the Importance of Keywords
.........................................................................
56
Looking at your Web siteÕs access logs
.....................................
Using Wordtracker
DonÕt keep restructuring
Limit the use of multimedia
44
..........................................................................................
............................................................................
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xii
...............................................................
66
Adding keywords to your initial project list
Getting Your Site Indexed
DonÕt be too clever
Use text, not graphics
.........................................................................................
................................................................
40
Make it easy to move around
..............................................................................
Provide different ways to find things
......................................................
..............................................................
The evolving ÒsecretÓ
69
...........................................................................
The real secret is . . .
...........................................................
49
52
Can the search engines get through?
36
..........................................................................
............................................................................
.................................................................................
: Picking Powerful Keywords
Look at the TITLE tags
57
: Making Your Site Useful and Telling People about It
35
51
38
.................................................................................
Cleaning up the list
...................................................................
.....................................................................
75
60
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
The Secret but Essential Rule of Web Success
................
...............................................................
..........................................................................
..................................................................................
A
52
Picking keyword combinations
Competitive analysis
56
73
.............................................................................
.................................................
Choosing Your Keywords
..................................................................................
Identifying the obvious keywords
...........................................................................
49
34
Examining competitorsÕ keyword tags
.............................................
Chapter 4
bias for content
51
Starting Your Keyword Analysis
...........................................................
More ways to find keywords
57
Looking closely at your list
70
..............................................................................
DonÕt be cute
64
..............................................................................
Brainstorming with colleagues
...................................................................................
70
Creating a Wordtracker project
50
.................................................
62
45
...........................................
Making Your Site Work Well
Use long link text
.............................................
73
.........................................................................................
53
57
...............................................................................
55
47
Examining Your Pages
Avoid frames
Exporting the list
Spell check and edit
Using a keyword tool
Use ALT text
..........................................................................
37
47
Are you using frames?
.........................................................................................
Removing ambiguous terms
56
...........................................................
Do the pages have anything for search engines to read?
..............................................
.................................................................
43
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
49
50
Thinking like Your Prey
48
.................................................................
......................................................................................
103
Table of Contents
Creating links
Check for keyword prominence
93
The HTML Nitty-Gritty of Frames
Flush the Flash animation
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
.............................................................
......
Dealing with Frames
114
The TITLE tags
Fixing Invisible Navigation Systems
120
86
77
........................................................................
..........................................................
82
80
................................................................
...............................
Creating headers: CSS vs. <H> tags
..............................................................
...............
...................................................................
..............................................................
Text formatting
Preparing Your Site
Blocking searchbots
Chapter 6
86
...........................................................................
Finding a hosting company
...............................................................
88
....................................................................................
105
Filenames
116
Directory structure
Handling iframes
........................................................................................
....................................................................
120
Watch your keyword density
79
91
........................................................................................
: Creating Pages That Search Engines Love
97
87
..............................................................................
...............................................................................................
80
Preparing for local search
....................................................................................
.........................................................
99
...........
...................................................
85
112
113
Other meta tags
Reducing the Clutter in Your Web Pages
..............................................................................
89
.............................................................................
109
01 567586 FM.qxd 3/22/04 3:54 PM Page xiii
Creating navigation structures that search engines can read
Providing search engines with the necessary information
119
Looking at the source code
................................................
Understanding Keyword Concepts
DonÕt embed text in images
Using other company and product names
84
Picking a domain name
87
................................................
. . . . . . . . . . .
107
95
117
......................................................................................
Providing a navigation path
...........................................................
.....................................................................................
xiii
79
....................................................
Place keywords throughout your site
103
Fixing the problem
110
87
..........................................................................................
Part II: Building Search-Engine-Friendly Sites
85
Understanding What a Search Engine Sees
Use external JavaScripts
100
Turning off scripting and Java
Image ALT Text
The DESCRIPTION meta tag
Use document.write to remove problem code
92
......................................
Chapter 5
The KEYWORDS meta tag
Pick one or two phrases per page
................................................................
Adding body text
...............................................................
......................................................
101
94
..............................................................
.................................................................
Creating Your Web Pages
114
Opening pages in a frameset
105
98
...................................................................
95
..................................................................................
: Avoiding Things That Search Engines Hate
............................................................
...............................................
.........................................................
125
.......................................................
142
139
133
143
..................................................................
Forwarded pages
Web sites and e-mail newsletters
136
157
..............................................................
Three Methods for Creating Content
......................................................
.....................................................
..............
: Dirty Deeds Ñ Facing the Consequences
Examining Cookie-Based Navigation
.............................................
Reviews of Web sites
.....
128
137
The Ultimate Penalty
150
142
122
.................................................................
............................................................................
141
Image maps
.........................................................................
Duplicating pages and sites
Writing Your Own Stuff
131
Using Redirects and Cloaking
.........................................................................................
Concrete Shoes, Cyanide, TNT Ñ An Arsenal for Dirty Deeds
122
Hiding (and shrinking) keywords
Convincing Someone Else to Write It
132
135
....
..........................................................................................
149
151
Using Session IDs in URLs
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...........................................................................
Remember the keywords!
136
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
122
156
132
139
Using OPC Ñ Other PeopleÕs Content
Doorway and Information Pages
................................................................................
Using unrelated keywords
142
Understanding the Basic Principles of Tricking the Search Engines
Chapter 8
Page swapping and page jacking
Understanding Copyright Ñ ItÕs Not Yours!
Fixing Bits and Pieces
Keyword stacking and stuffing
.........................................
................................................................
152
..........................................................
Product reviews
Product information
Special characters
..............................................................................
124
...................................................................................
...........................................................................
..........................................................................
139
DonÕt copy and paste from MS Word
Chapter 7
146
.........................................................
121
.........................................................
126
.....................................................................
138
Move image maps to the bottom of the page
152
Finding out if your dynamic site is scaring off search engines
.........................................................
..................................................................................
How are tricks done?
.................................
151
.....................................................
.........................................................................
156
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
152
147
Managing Dynamic Web Pages
144
157
..................................................................................
...........................................................
Do these tricks work?
Understanding redirects
........................................................................
Hiding links
Examining cloaking
Fixing your dynamic Web page problem
...................................................................
: Bulking Up Your Site Ñ Complete with Content
....................................................................
................................................................................
145
xiv
. . . . . . .
Hunting for Other PeopleÕs Content
Summaries of online articles
Use external CSS files
Should you or shouldnÕt you?
154
153
164
163
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
193
.....................................................................................................
Submitting to Yahoo! Directory
............................................................................................
. . .
Are you sure it wonÕt do any harm?
191
195
173
195
168
........................................................
166
..............................................................
Submitting to Second-Tier Directories
Finding the Specialized Directories
Table of Contents
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Q&A areas
167
..........................................
Understanding Search Directories (Vs. Search Engines)
........................................................
159
...................................................................
Submitting for free
Search pages
..........................................................
The paid-inclusion systems
Using Registration Services and Software Programs
: Buried Treasure Ñ More Great Places 
to Submit Your Site
................................................
180
...........................................................
Government sources
..................................................................................
188
180
169
.....................................................................................
179
Using Paid Inclusion
Chapter 10
Open content and copyleft
................................................................
Part III: Adding Your Site to the Indexes and 
Directories
167
194
182
Submitting to the Open Directory Project
185
171
Deciding whether to use paid inclusion
....................................................................................
Chapter 11
................................................................
169
...........................................................
199
............................................................................
173
Why Are Directories So Significant?
........................
Traditional syndication services
..............................................................................
196
More ways to find directories
Message boards
xv
200
RSS syndication feeds
......................................................
: Getting Your Pages into the Search Engines
.................................................
193
..............................
Submitting to the Secondary Systems
Finding second-tier directories
DonÕt pay!
.......................................................
189
Linking Your Site for Inclusion
Local directories
: Submitting to the Directories
.............................................................
175
Keeping a Landscape Log
Using trusted feeds
Submitting to the Search Directories
.................................................................................
Chapter 9
..................................................................
160
188
Content syndication sites
Press releases
176
......................................
185
......................................................
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Blogs
Maybe
178
..........................................................................
.......................................................................................
174
. . . . . . . . . .
177
........................................................
Submitting Directly to the Major Systems
........................................................................
..........................................................................
175
Why WonÕt They Index My Pages?
............................................................................
235
Contact association sites
231
201
215
...........................................................
236
...................................................
Why bother with directories?
221
............................
..........................................................................
: Using Link Popularity to Boost Your Position
..........................................................
214
Contact companies you do business with
227
.................................................................
A
......................................................
235
Chapter 13
205
Why Search Engines Like Links
Ask to be a featured client
239
218
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233
213
241
.............................................
Understanding Page Value and PageRank
Inserting Keywords into Links
.....................................................................
.................................................
Some links are more valuable than others
................................................
..................................
...........................................................................
PageRank Ñ one part of the equation
xvi
209
...................................................................
Huge sites = greater PageRank
212
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Leaking PageRank
Ask friends and family
Few Basic Rules about Links
...............................................................................
236
.................................................................................
Identifying links that arenÕt links
Send out press releases
Ask employees
Page relevance
Ask other sites for links
Working with the Yellow Pages
223
Respond to reciprocal link requests
Promote something on your site
Make reciprocal link requests
Controlling Your Links
......................................
Register with search directories
: Finding Sites to Link to Yours
239
Find sites linking to your competition
Hubs and Neighborhoods
201
....................................................................................
238
......................................
211
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
The PageRank algorithm
237
......................................................
Getting the link
237
231
...................................................................
221
...................................................................
Chapter 12
Avoiding Links with No Value
..................................................................
.....................................................................
Measuring PageRank
Contact manufacturersÕ Web sites
.............................................
225
217
235
236
Submit to announcement sites and newsletters
. . . . . . . . .
224
226
....................................................................................
246
.....................................................................
..................................................................
Getting into the Yellow Pages
Part IV: After You’ve Submitted
......................................................
.....................................................................
...................................................................................
228
241
203
....................................................................
.......................................................................
...................................................................
...........................................................
Generating Links, Step-by-Step
WhoÕs Going to Do All This Work?!
.................................................................
Advertise
Syndicating utilities
............................................................
Price Watch
................................................................
277
. . . . . . . .
256
285
.................................................................................
...........................................
..............................................................................
280
.........................................................................................
: Using the Shopping Directories and Retailers
Got Content? Syndicate It!
PriceGrabber and PrecioMania
Just wait
263
271
....................................................................
.....................................................................................
250
Getting the most out of syndication
Search for keyword add url
259
250
.......................................................................................
.............................................................................................
Create a blog
..........................................
Contact e-mail newsletters
246
258
.................................................................................
268
Creating Data Files
NexTag
PriceSCAN
279
The data you need
252
.................................................................................................
.........................................................................
263
Table of Contents
249
Formatting guidelines
...............................................................
Four ways to syndicate
Pursue offline PR
..........................................
.................................................................................................
......................................................................................
...............................................................................................
How Links Build Links
255
273
265
278
Third-Party Merchant Sites
BizRate
274
258
.......................................................................................
................................................................................
Use link-building software and services
Finding the Shopping Directories
254
Creating your spreadsheet
................................................................
275
..............................................................................
.............................................................................................
272
248
............................................................................
Getting the word out
Froogle
Mention your site in discussion groups
........................................................
275
282
272
252
246
Creating individual sheets
Apply for online awards
..........................................................................
267
281
More Shopping Services
..............................................................................
.................................................................
248
252
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..................................................................................
...........................................................................................
Give away content
Google Catalogs
249
Creating and uploading your data files
.................................................................................................
xvii
...........................................................................
Yahoo! Shopping
..............................................................
Use a service or buy links
........................................................................
250
Using RSS
......................................................................
251
Getting those product URLs
................................................
Chapter 14
Fuggetaboutit
260
..............................................................
Shopping.com
276
..............................................................
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
...............
.......................................................................................
306
AlltheWebÕs FAQs
The three PPC tiers
.....................................................................................
...................................................................................
293
308
..................................................................................
307
296
The value of the action
310
: Pay Per Click Ñ Overture, Google AdWords, 
and More
298
InktomiÕs FAQs
HighRankings.com
309
Current Wisdom
Pros and cons
..................................................................................
Defining PPC
The Open Directory Project Search Categories
Figuring the click price
299
Pandia
296
...........................................................................................
.......................................
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Your online conversion rate
307
IHelpYouServices.com
306
306
AltaVistaÕs FAQ
Different clicks = different values
...............................................................................
308
GoogleÕs Webmaster Pages
The two types of ads
....................................................................................
Teoma/Ask JeevesÕ FAQ
297
291
They WonÕt Take My Ad!
......................................................................
..............................................................................
Chapter 16
Let Me Help Some More
305
308
.................................................................................
......................................................................................
307
WebMaster World
Valuing Your Clicks
............................................................................
..............................................................................
.............................................
..............................................................................................
287
.....................................................................
may not work!
MSNÕs SEO Tips
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
.................................................................................................
.........................................................................
.............................................................................................
Part V: The Part of Tens
.....................................................
The Search Engines Themselves
Automating the Task
Search Engine Watch
294
............................................................................................................
305
GoogleÕs Newsgroups
301
It
.........................................................................................
303
287
298
Chapter 15
Where do these ads go?
307
01 567586 FM.qxd 3/22/04 3:54 PM Page xviii
.............................................................................................
309
: Ten-Plus Ways to Keep Up-to-Date 
and Track Down the Details
309
xviii
309
292
The Yahoo! Search Engine Optimization Resources Category
.........................................................................................
......................................................................
..........................................................................
295
310
................................................................
Mistake: Too Many Pages with Database Parameters and ­
Session IDs
Table of Contents
Index
...........
...........................................................
............................................................
ItÕs Only Fair Ñ Fair Use Explained
.......................................................................
Google Zeitgeist
..............................................................
.................................................................
....................................................................................................
Myth: $25 Can Get Your Site a #1 Position
......
..................
311
.................................................................................................
323
325
317
326
313
331
.................................................................
ItÕs Really Old, You Can Use It
DonÕt Forget the Search Engines
More Tools
320
Appendix
........................................................................
............................................................................................
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
335
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
01 567586 FM.qxd 3/22/04 3:54 PM Page xix
.............................................................................................
321
Checking Your Site Rank
Optimization .
Part VI: Appendix
329
314
Myth: Pay per Click Is Where ItÕs At
Mistake: You DonÕt Know Your Keywords
Alexa Toolbar
..................................................
...................................................................
.................................................
If
315
: Ten Myths and Mistakes
Analyzing Your SiteÕs Traffic
.........................................................
: Staying Out of Copyright Jail
If
327
If
Mistake: Building the Site and Then Bringing in the SEO Expert
the Guvmint Created It, You Can Use It
312
Finding Your Keyword Density
................................................................
Myth: Multiple Submissions Improve Your Search Position
.................................
313
................................................
319
Checking for Broken Links
Mistake: Your Pages Are ÒEmptyÓ
315
Seeing What the Search Engines See
xix
Myth: Bad Links to Your Site Will Hurt Its Position
327
333
312
Google Toolbar
................................................................................................
322
ItÕs ÒDonated,Ó You Can Use It
333
324
331
313
317
Myth: Web Designers and Developers Understand Search Engines
Chapter 17
Finding Links
Myth: ItÕs All about Meta Tags and Submissions
.............................................................................
311
..........................................................................
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
314
Chapter 18
: Ten-Plus Useful Tools for Search Engine 
......................................
................................................................................................
334
......................................................
xx
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
01 567586 FM.qxd 3/22/04 3:54 PM Page xx
W
 Create pages that search engines can read and will index in the way you
want them to.
02 567586 intro.qxd 3/22/04 3:58 PM Page 1
About This Book
 Build pages that give your site greater visibility in search engines.
Web site penalized (knocked down low in search engine rankings).
Well, unfortunately, itÕs not that simple. (Okay, fortunately for me, because if it
were simple, Wiley Publishing wouldnÕt pay me to write this book.) The fact is
that search engine optimization is a little complicated. Not brain surgery com
plicated, but not as easy as Ògive us 50 bucks, and weÕll handle it for you.Ó
This book demystifies the world of search engines. You find out what you
need to do to give your site the best possible chance to rank well in the
search engines.
 Avoid techniques that search engines hate Ñ things that can get your
 Get search engines and directories to include your site in their indexes
In this book, I show you how to
The vast majority of Web sites donÕt have a chance in the search engines.
Why? Because of simple mistakes. Because the people creating the sites donÕt
have a clue what they should do to make the site easy for search engines to
work with, because they donÕt understand the role of links pointing to their
site, and because theyÕve never thought about keywords. Because, because,
because. This book helps you deal with those becauses and gets you not just
one step, but dozens of steps ahead of the average Web site Joe.
 Make sure that youÕre using the right keywords in your Web pages.
elcome to Search Engine Optimization For Dummies. What on earth
would you want this book for? After all, canÕt you just build a Web
site, and then pay someone $25 to register the site with thousands of search
engines? IÕm sure youÕve seen the advertising: ÒWe guarantee top-ten place
ment in a gazillion search engines!Ó ÒWeÕll register you in 5,000 search engines
today!Ó
and lists.
Introduction
 Create Web pages.
 Set up a Web site.
I donÕt want to assume anything, but I have to believe that if youÕre reading
this book, you already know a few things about the Internet and search
engines. Things such as
02 567586 intro.qxd 3/22/04 3:58 PM Page 2
 Load those pages onto your Web server.
 You have access to a computer that has access to the Internet.
Of course, for a book like this, I have to assume a little more. This is a book
about how to get your Web site to rank well in the search engines. I have to
assume that you know how to create and work with a site, or at least know
someone who can create and work with a site. In particular, you (or the other
person) know how to
2
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
I donÕt go into a lot of complicated code in this book; this isnÕt a primer on
HTML. But in order to do search engine work, you or someone on your team
needs to know what a
TITLE
tag is, for instance, and how to insert it into a
page; how to recognize JavaScript (though not how to create or modify it);
how to open a Web page in a text editor and modify it; and so on. You have to
have basic HTML skills in order to optimize a site for the search engines. If
you need more information about HTML, take a look at HTML 4 For Dummies,
4th Edition, by Ed Tittel and Natanya Pitts (Wiley).

Encourage other Web sites to link to yours.
 Keep track of how well your site is doing.
 Use pay-per-click advertising and shopping directories.
 And plenty more!
 Work with HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the coding used to
create Web pages. In other words, youÕre not just using a program such
as Microsoft FrontPage Ñ you, or your geek, understand a little about
HTML and feel comfortable enough with it to insert or change HTML tags.
 You know how to use a Web browser to get around the Internet.
Foolish Assumptions
 You know how to carry out searches at the WebÕs major search engines,
such as Google and Yahoo!.
Do you have any idea how many sites are invisible to the search engines? Or
that, if theyÕre not invisible, are built in such a way that search engines wonÕt
see the information they need in order to index the site in the way the site
owners would like?
Part I: Search Engine Basics
3
02 567586 intro.qxd 3/22/04 3:58 PM Page 3
Part II: Building Search-
Engine-Friendly Sites
How This Book Is Organized
However, search engine optimization is a pretty complex subject, and all the
topics covered in this book are interrelated. Sure, you can register your site
with the search engines, but if your pages arenÕt optimized for the search
engines, you may be wasting your time! You can create pages the search
engines can read, but if you donÕt pick the right keywords, itÕs a total waste of
time. So I recommend that you read everything in this book; it will make a
huge difference in how well your pages are ranked in the search engines.
Introduction
In this part, I provide, yep, the basics Ñ the foundation on which you can
build your search-engine-optimization skills. Which search engines are impor
tant, for instance? In fact, what is a search engine? And whatÕs a search direc­
tory? And why am I using the term search system? In this part, you find out the
basics of sensible site creation, discover how to pick the keywords that
people are using to find your business, and discover how to do a few quick
fixes to your site.
Like all good reference tools, this book is designed to be read Òas needed.Ó
ItÕs divided into several parts: the basics, building search-engine-friendly Web
sites, getting your site into the search engines, what to do after your site is
indexed by the search engines, search engine advertising, and the Part of
Tens. So if you just want to know how to find sites that will link to your Web
site, read Chapter 13. If you need to understand the principles behind getting
links to your site, read Chapter 12. If all you need today is to figure out what
keywords are important to your site, Chapter 4 is for you.
Part III: Adding Your Site to 
the Indexes and Directories
4
Part IV: After You’ve Submitted
Your work isnÕt over yet. In this part of the book, you find out why links to
your site are so important and how to get other sites to link to you. You dis
cover the shopping directories, such as Froogle and Shopping.com. I also
explain the multibillion-dollar search engine advertising business. You find
out how to work with the hugely popular Google AdWords and Overture pay-
per-click programs . . . and how to buy cheaper clicks. You also discover paid
placement and other forms of advertising.
02 567586 intro.qxd 3/22/04 3:58 PM Page 4
DonÕt forget to check out the appendix, where youÕll find information on
copyright laws.
Part VI: Appendix
All For Dummies books have the Part of Tens. In this part, you find ten really
powerful search engine strategies. You also find out about ten common mis
takes that make Web sites invisible to search engines, and ten services that
will be useful in your search engine campaign.
Part V: The Part of Tens
After youÕve created your Web site and ensured that the search engines can
read the pages, somehow you have to get the search systems Ñ the engines
and directories Ñ to include your site. ThatÕs hard if you donÕt know what
youÕre doing. In this part, you find out which search systems are important,
how to register, and how to find other search engines and directories that are
important to your site. You also find out why registering sometimes doesnÕt
work, and what to do about it.
W
ell, I donÕt know an exact number, but I do know itÕs most sites. If you read
Part II, you will be way ahead of the vast majority of site owners and man
agers. You discover how to create techniques that search engines like and
avoid the ones they hate. You also find out about tricks that some people
use Ñ and the dangers involved.
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
This book, like all For Dummies books, uses icons to highlight certain para
graphs and to alert you to particularly useful information. HereÕs a rundown
of what those icons mean:
The Remember icon points out information that is worth committing to
memory.
02 567586 intro.qxd 3/22/04 3:58 PM Page 5
The Warning icon helps you stay out of trouble. ItÕs intended to grab your
attention to help you avoid a pitfall that may harm your Web site or business.
A Tip icon means IÕm giving you an extra snippet of information that may
help you on your way or provide some additional insight into the concepts
being discussed.
Introduction
5
Icons Used in This Book
The Technical Stuff icon indicates geeky stuff that you can skip if you really
want to . . . though you may want to read it if youÕre the kind of person who
likes to have the background info.
DonÕt forget to visit the Web sites associated with this book. At
www.dummies.
com/go/seo
, you find all the links in this book (so you donÕt have to type
them!), as well as a Bonus Chapter on how to power up your search engine
skills. At
www.SearchEngineBulletin.com
, you find the aforementioned
links along with additional useful information that didnÕt make it into the
book.
02 567586 intro.qxd 3/22/04 3:58 PM Page 6
6
Search Engine Optimization For Dummies
Search Engine
Basics
Part I
03 567586 PP01.qxd 3/22/04 3:54 PM Page 7
In this part . . .
T
he basics of search engine optimization are surpris
ingly, um, basic. In fact, you may be able to make small
changes to your Web site that make a huge difference in
your siteÕs ranking in the search results.
This part starts with the basics. I begin by explaining
which search engines are important. You may have heard
the names of dozens of sites and heard that, in fact, hun
dreds of search engines exist. YouÕll be happy to hear that
the vast majority of search results are provided by no more
than nine systems, and three quarters of all the results
come from a single company.
You also discover how to make some quick and easy
changes to your Web site that may fix serious search
engine problems for you. On the other hand, you may dis
cover a significant (and common) problem in your site
that must be resolved before you have any chance of get
ting into the search engines at all, let alone ranking well.
This part of the book also includes basic information on
how to create a Web site that works well for both visitors
and search engines, and you find out about one of the
most important first steps you can take: carrying out a
detailed keyword analysis.
03 567586 PP01.qxd 3/22/04 3:54 PM Page 8
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 9

Discovering where people search

Understanding the difference between search sites and search systems

Distilling thousands of search sites down to about a dozen search systems

Preparing your search strategy
In This Chapter
Chapter 1
purpose, after all, to bring people to your site to buy your products, or
learn about them, or hear about the cause you support, or for whatever other
purpose youÕve built the site. So youÕve decided you need to get traffic from
the search engines Ñ not an unreasonable conclusion, as you find out in this
chapter. But there are so many search engines! There are the obvious ones,
the Googles, AOLs, Yahoo!s, and MSNs of the world, but youÕve probably also
heard of others Ñ HotBot, Dogpile, Inktomi, Ask Jeeves, Netscape, EarthLink,
LookSmart . . . even Amazon provides a Web search on almost every page.
ThereÕs Lycos and InfoSpace, Teoma and WiseNut, Mamma.com, and Web-
Crawler. To top it all off, youÕve seen advertising asserting that for only $49.95
(or $19.95, or $99.95, or whatever sum seems to make sense to the advertiser),
you too can have your Web site listed in hundreds, nay, thousands of search
engines. You may have even used some of these services, only to discover
that the flood of traffic you were promised turns up missing.
Well, IÕve got some good news. You can forget almost all the names I just
listed Ñ well, at least you can after youÕve read this chapter. The point of this
chapter is to take a complicated landscape of thousands of search sites and
whittle it down into the small group of search systems that really matter.
(Search sites? Search systems? DonÕt worry, I explain the distinction in a
moment.)
ouÕve got a problem. You want people to visit your Web site; thatÕs the
Y
Surveying the Search 
Engine Landscape
10
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 10
 Search indexes or search engines: These are the predominant type of
search tools youÕll run across. Originally, the term search engine referred
to some kind of search index, a huge database containing information
from individual Web sites. GoogleÕs vast index (
www.google.com
) con
tains over 3 billion pages, for instance. Large search-index companies
own thousands of computers that use software known as spiders or robots
(or just plain bots Ñ GoogleÕs software is known as Googlebot) to grab
Web pages and read the information stored in them. These systems donÕt
always grab all the information on each page or all the pages in a Web
site, but they grab a significant amount of information and use complex
algorithms to index that information. Google, shown in Figure 1-1, is the
worldÕs most popular search engine.
The term search engine has become the predominant term for search system
or search site, but before reading any further, you need to understand the dif
ferent types of search, um, thingies, youÕre going to run across. Basically, you
need to know about four thingies:
What Are Search Engines
and Directories?
Part I: Search Engine Basics
HereÕs how to see the difference between Yahoo!Õs search results and the
Yahoo! directory. Go to
www.yahoo.com
, type a word into the Search box,
and click the Search button. The list of Web sites that appears is what
Yahoo! calls the Yahoo! Search results, which are currently provided by
 Search directories: A directory is a categorized collection of information
about Web sites. Rather than containing information from Web pages, it
contains information about Web sites. The most significant search direc
tories are owned by Yahoo! (
dir.yahoo.com
) and the Open Directory
Project (
www.dmoz.org
). (You can see an example of the Open Directory
Project, displayed in Google, in Figure 1-2.) Directory companies donÕt
use spiders or bots to download and index pages on the Web sites in the
directory; rather, for each Web site, the directory contains information
such as a title and description. The two most important directories,
Yahoo! and Open Directory, have staff members who examine all the sites
in the directory to make sure they are placed into the correct categories
and meet certain quality criteria. Smaller directories often allow people
submitting sites to specify which category should be used.
If you r
eally want to, you can jump to the end of the chapter to see the list of
search systems you need to worry about and ignore the details. But IÕve
found that, when I give this list to people, they look at me like IÕm crazy
because theyÕve never heard of most of the names, and they know that some
popular search sites arenÕt on the list. This chapter explains why.
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 11
Results from
Google, the
worldÕs most
popular
search
engine.
Figure 1-1:
 Non-spidered indexes: I wasnÕt sure what to call these things, so I made
up a name: non-spidered indexes. A number of small indexes, less impor
tant than the major indexes such as Google, donÕt use spiders to exam
ine the full contents of each page in the index. Rather, the index contains
background information about each page, such as titles, descriptions,
and keywords. In some cases, this information comes from the meta tags
pulled off the pages in the index. (I tell you about meta tags in Chapter 2.)
In other cases, the person who enters the site into the index provides
this information. A number of the smaller systems discussed in Chapter
10 are of this type.
Google. But notice the Dir
ectory tab at the top of the page; or, under
neath some of the search results, you see a line that says something like
More Sites about: Arthritis. Click either the tab or link, and you end up in
the Yahoo! Directory. (You can go directly to the directory by using
dir.
yahoo.com
.)
Chapter 1: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
 Pay-per-click systems: Some systems provide pay-per-click listings.
Advertisers place small ads into the systems, and when users perform
their searches, the results contain some of these sponsored listings, typ
ically above and to the right of the free listings. Pay-per-click systems
are discussed in more detail in Chapter 15.
11
Part I: Search Engine Basics
Here are a few additional terms that you see scattered throughout the book:
Keeping the terms straight
 Search system: An organization that possesses a combination of software,
hardware, and people that is used to index or categorize Web sites Ñ they
build the index or directory you search through at a search site. Google is
a search system, but AOL.com and EarthLink.com are not. In fact, if you go
to AOL.com or EarthLink.com and search, you actually get Google search
results.
12
Google and the Open Directory Project provide search results to hun
dreds of search sites. In fact, most of the worldÕs search sites get their
search results from elsewhere (see Figure 1-3).
Figure 1-2:
 Search site: A Web site at which you can search through some kind of
index or directory of Web sites, or perhaps both an index and directory.
(In some cases, search sites allow you to search through multiple
indices.) Google.com, AOL.com, and EarthLink.com are all search sites.
Google also
has a
search
directory,
but it doesnÕt
create the
directory
itself; it
gets it from
the Open
Directory
Project.
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 12

Search results: The information returned to you (the results of your
search) when you go to a search site and search for something. Remember
that in many cases, the search results donÕt come from the search site
youÕre using, but from some other search system.
Figure 1-3:
Why bother with search engines?
Look
carefully,
and youÕll
see that
many
search sites
get their
search
results from
other search
systems.
You may have heard that most Web site visits begin at a search engine. Well,
this is not true. It was true several years ago, and many people continue to use
these outdated statistics because they sound good Ñ Ò80 percent of all Web
site visitors reach the site through a search engine,Ó for instance. However, in
2003, that claim was finally put to rest. The number of search-originated site
visits dropped below the 50-percent mark. Most Web site visitors reach their
destinations by either typing a URL Ñ a Web address Ñ into their browsers
and going there directly or by clicking a link on another site that takes them
there. Most visitors do not reach their destinations by starting at the search
engines.
Why bother using search engines? Because search engines represent the
single most important source of new Web site visitors.
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 13
13
Chapter 1: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
 At the time of writing, almost 50 percent of site visits begin at the search
engines. Sure, itÕs not 80 percent, but itÕs still a lot of traffic.
18,700,000 hours
AOL.com
AskJeeves.com
However
, search engines are still extremely important for a number of reasons:
2,300,000 hours
14
MSN.com
Yahoo.com
5,400,000 hours
 Some studies indicate that a large number of buyers begin at the search
engine. That is, of all the people who go online planning to buy something
or looking for product information while planning a purchase, perhaps
over 80 percent start at the search engines.
 Of the over 50 percent of visits that donÕt originate at a search engine, a
large proportion are revisits Ñ people who know exactly where they want
to go. This is not new business; itÕs repeat business. Most new visits come
through the search engines, making search engines the single most impor
tant source of new visitors to Web sites.
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 14
Where Do People Search?
However, most searches are carried out at just a small number of search sites.
How do the worldÕs most popular search sites rank? That depends on how you
measure popularity: the percentage of Internet users who visit a site (audience
reach); the total number of visitors; the total number of searches carried out at
a site; or the total number of hours that visitors spend searching at the site.
Each measurement provides a slightly different ranking, though all provide a
similar picture, with the same sites appearing on the list, though some in
slightly different positions.
Google.com
7,100,000 hours
15,500,500 hours
You can search for Web sites at many places. Literally thousands of sites, in
fact, provide the ability to search the Web. (What you may not realize, how
ever, is that all these sites search only a small subset of the World Wide Web.)
The following list runs down the worldÕs most popular search sites, based on
the total search hours at each site during a one-month period, as compiled in
a 2003 Nielsen/NetRatings study:
 The search engines represent a cheap way to reach people. In general,
you get more bang for your buck going after free search engine traffic
than almost any other form of advertising or marketing.
Part I: Search Engine Basics
EarthLink.com
800,000 hours
The second thing to understand is that you can ignore some of these systems.
At present, for example, and for the foreseeable future, you donÕt need to
worry about AOL.com. Even though itÕs probably the worldÕs second most
important search site, you can forget about it. Sure, keep it in the back of
your mind, but as long as you remember that Google feeds AOL, you need to
worry about Google only.
Now reexamine the list of the worldÕs most important search sites and see
what you remove so you can get closer to a list of sites you care about. Check
out Table 1-1 for the details.
AltaVista.com
LookSmart.com
700,000 hours
Overture.com
200,000 hours
400,000 hours
Chapter 1: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
The fact that some sites get results from other search systems means two
things. First, the numbers in the preceding list are somewhat misleading. They
suggest that Google has around a third of all the search hours. But Google
also feeds AOL its results Ñ add AOLÕs hours to GoogleÕs, and youÕve got
almost two thirds of all search hours. Clearly the Google search system is far
more important than the Google search site. In fact, the Google search system
also feeds four more systems on this list Ñ Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, Netscape, and
EarthLink Ñ and many smaller sites that donÕt appear on this list. Some esti
mates put GoogleÕs share of the WebÕs search results as high as 75 or 80 per
cent. (That statistic will change soon, perhaps even by the time you read this,
as you find out a little later in this chapter Ñ Yahoo will stop using Google
results soon.)
800,000 hours
1,100,000 hours
Lycos.com
When you get to the search sites that appear below Lycos in the preceding list,
the sites become dramatically less important. Google, according to this chart,
has almost 100 times the search hours spent at Lycos. And the first 11 sites on
this list combined have 265 times the search hours of Lycos. (However, as I
explain in a moment, this list doesnÕt include some important search systems.)
200,000 hours
Remember, this is a list of search sites, not search systems. In some cases, the
sites have own their own systems. Google provides its own search results, but
AOL and MSN do not. (AOL gets its results from Google, and MSNÕs results
come from Inktomi, a company owned by Yahoo! Ñ at least at the time of this
writing.)
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 15
15
InfoSpace.com
Netscape.com
InfoSpace.com
Ask Jeeves gets its search results from Teoma,
but because it owns Teoma, I refer to the search
system throughout the book as Teoma/Ask
Jeeves (and keep it on the list of important
search systems). It also gets search results
from Google and the Open Directory Project.
Teoma/Ask Jeeves feeds results to many other
search sites, too.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Part I: Search Engine Basics
No
MSN.com
Table 1-1
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 16
No
Description
GoogleÕs the big kid on the block. Lots of people
search the Google index on its own search site,
and it feeds many sites. Obviously Google has
to stay on the list.
Yahoo.com
AskJeeves.com
No
Yahoo! gets results from Google, Inktomi, and
Overture, and although it doesnÕt feed any other
sites, it does have its own search system (a
search directory in fact), so keep it on the list.
16
Search Site
Big-Time Search Sites
Fuggetaboutit Ñ AOL gets search results from
Google (although it manipulates them slightly,
presenting them in a different way from the
same search at Google itself) and from the
Open Directory Project.
On the List?
Overture.com
At the time of writing, MSN gets results from
Inktomi; remove it from the list.
No
AltaVista is owned by Overture, which is now
owned by Yahoo! AltaVista has its own search
system. Although AltaVista doesnÕt feed any
other sites currently, it seems likely that it may
be feeding results to Yahoo! at some point in
the future, so keep it on the list.
AltaVista.com
InfoSpace gets its results from FAST/AlltheWeb
and doesnÕt feed any other systems, so itÕs out.
AOL.com
Yes
Overture is primarily a pay-per-click (PPC)
system, without its own non-advertising search
system, so it gets its non-ad results from Inktomi.
Google.com
No
LookSmart.com
LookSmart is another PPC system. It gets non-
ad results from Inktomi and Zeal (and maybe,
soon, from Grub).
Chapter 1: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
17
Some important systems are not important sites. For example, MSN, one of the
worldÕs most important search sites, gets its search results from Inktomi and
LookSmart. To take this into account, make the following changes to your list:
 Leave LookSmart off the list because it gets its results from Inktomi and
Zeal. However, you better add Zeal to the list.
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 17
No
Description
Lycos.com
EarthLink.com
 Add Inktomi to the list. ItÕs not a search site itself Ñ you canÕt search
InktomiÕs index at Inktomi.com Ñ but itÕs an important search system,
feeding not only MSN but also Overture and LookSmart.
Netscape.com
Based on the information in Table 1-1, you can whittle down your list of sites
to four: Google, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, and AltaVista. These four search sites are
all important, and Google is also an important search system, feeding three
quarters of the worldÕs search results to AOL, Yahoo!, Netscape, EarthLink,
and many other search sites. Teoma/Ask Jeeves is an important search-system
feeder, too, providing results to many smaller search sites.
Another Google clone, EarthLink gets all its
results from Google and the Open Directory
Project, so itÕs out too.
No
No
Search Site
Netscape gets results from Google and the
Open Directory Project (Netscape owns the
Open Directory Project, though). Netscape is
pretty much a clone of Google, so thereÕs no
need to keep it on the list.
Okay, so you visited one or two of the sites that you just crossed off and found
that you can submit your Web site to the index at that site. WhatÕs going on
here is that the search site is selling paid inclusion into the search system that
feeds it. (I talk about paid inclusion in Chapter 9.) When you pay Lycos to sub
mit your site, for example, Lycos takes your money and then places your site
into FAST/AlltheWeb Ñ which isnÕt a Lycos search system. Lycos is simply
acting as a reseller.
Lycos gets results from FAST/AlltheWeb and
the Open Directory Project, so you can remove
it from the list.
On the List?
FAST/AlltheWeb is owned by Overture, which in turn is
owned by Yahoo! And the FAST/AlltheWeb index is huge,
rivaling that of Google Ñ with billions of pages Ñ so itÕs
likely to be part of Yahoo!Õs strategy to dump Google.
Now add the most impor
tant feeder systems to a Ònew and improvedÓ chart.
The chart becomes a combination of the four important search sites that main
tain their own search systems Ñ and, in a couple of cases, feed others Ñ and
the most important feeder systems: Inktomi, the Open Directory Project, FAST/
AlltheWeb, and Zeal. Table 1-2 shows the chart in all its glory.
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 18
Inktomi
18
You can get an idea of this complex Web of relationships in Figure 1-4.
This is not much of a search site Ñ few people have even
heard of it Ñ but itÕs a helluva search system, feeding
Google, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Netscape, EarthLink, Lycos, and
almost 400 other sites. (You can find it at
www.dmoz.org
.)
This system feeds InfoSpace and Lycos, but it also feeds
many other systems, such as Excite, HotBot, Terra.com,
Overture, and many more. AlltheWeb is a search site, and
it owns the technology known as FAST, so I refer to it as
FAST/AlltheWeb and donÕt get into the distinction that
FAST actually feeds AlltheWeb.
Inktomi feeds MSN Ñ an important site, of course Ñ
Overture, and LookSmart. It also feeds sites such as About,
HotBot, goo, and many sites you may never have heard of.
Table 1-2 The Search Systems to Watch
Google.com This is the worldÕs most important search site and the
most important feeder system.
FAST/AlltheWeb
AltaVista.com It doesnÕt feed anyone right now but may feed Yahoo!
soon. It is still an important search site in its own right.
Yahoo.com Yahoo.com doesnÕt feed anyone, but itÕs still the worldÕs
second most important search site.
Zeal Zeal feeds LookSmart (in fact LookSmart owns Zeal), but
only for noncommercial sites. If you have a commercial
site, the only way into LookSmart is through Inktomi or by
buying PPC placement (which I explain in Chapter 15).
Search Site/System Description
Teoma/Ask Jeeves Not only is this an important search site, but the search
system also feeds sites such as About.com, Mamma.com,
and many others.
Part I: Search Engine Basics
The Open Directory
Project
Are you getting confused yet about how all the major search systems are
related? DonÕt worry; the picture will become clearer. A complex Web of rela
tionships between the major search systems exists. HereÕs a rundown of dif
ferent types of search-result feeds:
The complex
Web of
relationships
between
search sites
and search
Some of you may be thinking, ÒArenÕt you missing some sites? What happened
to HotBot, Mamma.com, WebCrawler, Dogpile, and all the other systems that
were so well known a few years ago?Ó A lot of them have disappeared or have
turned over a new leaf and are pursuing other opportunities. For example,
Northern Light, a system well known in the late 1990s, now Òprovides search
and content integration solutions for enterprises and individuals.Ó In other
words, it sells search software. And in the cases in which the search sites are
still running, theyÕre mostly fed by other search systems. Mamma.com, HotBot,
and MetaCrawler get search results from Teoma/Ask Jeeves, for instance, and
About.com gets results from Inktomi.
Figure 1-4:
Aren’t I missing some sites?
Chapter 1: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
19
systems.
 Primary: Not surprisingly, a primary feed is one in which a search
system feeds the most important results to a search site. The primary
feed at AOL.com, for example, comes from Google.
Search results fed to other search systems.
A possible feed soon; probably before you read this.
This feed may end soon, sometime in 2004.
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 19
Multiple feeds
Zeal
Feeds others
MSN
Inktomi
About
HotBot
Overture
Many others
The Open
Directory Project
Many others
Amazon.com
Feeds almost
400 sites
AOL
Netscape
EarthLink
Google
LookSmart
Boxes represent major search systems.
Search system
FAST/AlltheWeb
AltaVista
Yahoo!
Teoma/Ask Jeeves
Lycos
Feeds many others
 Google
 Yahoo!
 The Open Directory Project
 Inktomi
 Teoma/Ask Jeeves
 AltaVista.com
 FAST/AlltheWeb
 Zeal
 Directory: Some search sites combine both an index and a directory.
Yahoo! gets its index results from Google but builds its own directory.
Google, on the other hand, builds its own index but gets directory
results from the Open Directory Project.

Secondary: Secondary feeds, sometimes known as backfill, are ones in
which a search system feeds to a search site results that may or may not
appear; in some cases, secondary feeds appear if the primary feed is
unable to find good matches for a search. Inktomi, owned by Yahoo!, pro
vides secondary feeds to sites such as Excite, LookSmart, and Overture.
 PPC: PPC (pay-per-click) results are basically ads Ñ search results that
appear because the Web site owners are willing to pay each time some
one clicks the link. Google provides PPC results to many sites, including
AOL, Netscape, Ask Jeeves, and Amazon. Yahoo! gets its PPC results
from Overture, a company it recently purchased. For more on PPC, see
Chapter 15.
20
Why is the Open Directory Project Ñ not exactly a household name Ñ so high
on the list, higher than some of the top search sites? The Open Directory
Project feeds Google, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Netscape, EarthLink, Lycos, and many
more. Also, Inktomi is high on the list because it feeds MSN, which is the
worldÕs fourth most important search system.
What the Future Holds —
The List Expands
Part I: Search Engine Basics
The centerpiece of this chapter is the handy-dandy list of top-flight search
sites and systems, some of which you may never have heard of. Trust me;
theyÕre either important search sites or feed important sites or many smaller
sites. In case you missed it, here are these sites and systems more or less in
order of importance:
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 20
Chapter 1: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
 Grub comes alive. Grub (
www.grub.org
) is an interesting project
that may, one day, be very important. Owned by LookSmart, Grub
plans to build a massive index of billions of pages by using distributed
computing Ñ people around the world using their spare computing
downtime to crawl the Web for Grub. I donÕt know if this undertaking
will become important, but itÕs certainly one to watch.
The result? The list of important search sites and search systems has now
expanded by one very important system. Furthermore, Microsoft owns
five of the worldÕs top 17 Web sites (MSN.com, Passport.com, Microsoft.
com, MSNBC.com, and Hotmail.com), all of which will be fed search
results from the new Microsoft system. And when the next version of
Windows ships in 2006, the search engine will be built into the operating
system Ñ youÕll be able to search your hard disk for files and e-mails,
search for the content within spreadsheets and documents, and search
the Web, all from the same place.
 Yahoo! dumps Google. This event wonÕt change the list, but it will change
the importance of several players on the list. At the time of writing, Yahoo!
has already started dumping Google, and will probably complete the
process by the middle of 2004. Most of the search results at Yahoo.com
currently come from Google. But Yahoo! now owns Inktomi, AltaVista, and
the immense FAST/AlltheWeb index.
21
 MSN dumps Inktomi. Currently, MSN.com doesnÕt appear on the list
because its search results come from Inktomi and LookSmart (which in
turn is fed by Zeal). But Microsoft has begun building its own index and
will soon be in the search engine business, which is too important for
Microsoft to ignore. MSNBot, as itÕs known, is traveling around the Web
as you read this. ItÕs quite likely that MSN will be a hugely important
search site with its own search system feeding results.
Yahoo! has begun experimenting with using Inktomi results in some of its
non-U.S. search sites, and by the time you read this, Yahoo! will probably
have completed the process and be running its own search indexes. The
results? From the perspective of someone trying to get traffic to a Web
site, Google becomes a little less important (though still very important),
and Inktomi becomes far more important because it will be feeding Yahoo!
search results. FAST/AlltheWeb may also be part of the equation, making
that search system much more important.
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 21
This list is likely to change soon. My pr
escient predictions are summarized in
the following list:
HereÕs a very likely scenario. Yahoo! merges in some way with the Inktomi
and AlltheWeb indexes. It dumps the (much smaller) AltaVista index, but
keeps the AltaVista brand name, which is more widely recognized than
the other two.
When push comes to shove, you need to care about only a handful of search
systems right now. You should care about them because if you can get your
site listed in these search systems, you will be in the systems that provide
search results to almost all Web searches! And, the winners are . . . (drum roll
please):
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 22
Part I: Search Engine Basics
22

Nutch takes off. I think Nutch (
www.nutch.org
) may also become impor
tant at some point. ItÕs an open-source project that plans to create a huge,
multibillion-page index and make it available to anyone who wants it. At
the time of writing, itÕs in the early stages, but it has the backing of some
important people and may turn into something significant. On the other
hand, it may not.
Reviewing the Final List — Search
Systems You Really Need
 Google­
 Yahoo!­
 The Open Directory Project­
 Inktomi­
 Teoma/Ask Jeeves­
 AltaVista.com­
 FAST/AlltheWeb­
 Zeal (if you have a noncommercial Web site)­
ThatÕs not so bad, is it? YouÕve just gone from thousands of sites down to nine.
I didnÕt add possible up-and-comers like Grub and Nutch to this list Ñ IÕll leave
them in the Òmay become important one day, better keep your eyes on them,
but it ainÕt imminentÓ list for now. But that leaves one more important search
site that will be significant soon, if not by the time you read these words:
 MSN
Visit
www.SearchEngineBulletin.com
for the latest news on the Yahoo!,
MSN, Grub, and Nutch developments. IÕll let you know how to get indexed in
the appropriate places.
Y
ouÕll also want to work with some other search systems, as you find out in
Chapters 9 and 10. In some cases, you need to check out specialty directories
and indexes related to the industry in which your Web site operates. But the
preceding systems are the important ones for every Web site.
Chapter 1: Surveying the Search Engine Landscape
23
04 567586 Ch01.qxd 3/22/04 3:55 PM Page 23
Now you know what youÕre facing. You can more or less forget those thousands
of search sites and focus on no more than nine search systems. The next step
is to figure out how to get your Web site into these search systems and, more
importantly, in front of the people using those systems to search the Web.
HereÕs what you need to do:
Determining Your Plan of Attack
 Create readable pages. If you want your site to appear in the search