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Search Engine Strategies

*Also See Pay Per Click Search Engines

*Also See Famous Search Engines from the Past

*Also See Search Engine Terminology

To be able to formulate a search engine strategy for promotion purposes one needs to first understand that there is a difference between search engines and directories. Directories are places where sites are organized into categories and described by human beings if they meet certain criteria. Search engines just visit lots of pages, store the keywords on the page and apply mathematical formulas to determine which pages rank where for what keyword. Being listed in directories will increase your search engine rank because the directory usually counts as a quality link that boosts your sites link popularity in a given search engine and consequently it is ranked higher.

On the internet today there are three major search engines; Google, Fast, and Inktomi. These three provide search data in use by Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Excite, Lycos, Hotbot, Google itself, and others. There are stand alone engines like Altavista, Ask and others but they are not nearly as influential as the main three.

To rank well in search engines you need good link popularity which you can gain from building links to your site, you need a good choice of keywords on your page title, and appropriate keyword text on your site's pages. Keep in mind when selecting keywords that if you go after the really popular single words or short phrases there will be lots of other sites going after them and you probably won't be able to rank well for them. To determine popular keywords use the pay per click search engine Overture's suggestion tool which reports how many times phrases were searched for on overture and the partner sites that use them like MSN and Yahoo. You can also use google's keyword checker used by advertisers to see how popular keywords are on google and sites carrying its advertising. You do not have to advertise to use either of these tools as they are commonly used by savy webmasters to go pick phrases in the pursuit of free traffic.

Popular keywords which relate to a page of your site should be placed in the pages headings, and in the page's title tag. The title tag determines what people see in their internet browser status bar when they first open a given webpage. The title tag also determines what people will see when a given page of your site is returned in a search engine query. For every page of a site you should be able to come up with some keyword that you can go after even if it is not very popular. Mentioning the keywords again in the text of your page in a natural fashion is also helpful as google uses portions of the text of your page as the basis of the description it returns for given keyword searches. It looks for the text in a page's title and then uses words around it to form a description that it returns in its search engine results.

With search engines Google is king and it should be the primary focus of ones search engine efforts. By having an ODP listing, lots of relevant sites linking to your site, picking intelligent page titles, and using keywords in an appropriate fashion you can maximize how well your site can do on Google and its partner sites.

Inktomi is a dying search engine that is still talked about almost entirely because MSN uses them for backup search. Inktomi currently offers no ways to submit to the engine for free. The only way in other than paying is to get a link from a site already in Inktomi or get a Looksmart or Zeal listing. Looksmart/Zeal listed sites are automatically indexed by inktomi. Inktomi is hard to optimize for and everything you do for google should be enough of an effort for Ink. If you are die hard set on going after Inktomi traffic, Inktomi offers a paid inclusion program. This is a program where you pay to have pages from your site included in their search results. In exchange for pay you are promised no ranking but you can update and alter your pages to try to achieve higher rank with greater results. This is effective because paid Inktomi Inclusoin sites are updated more frequently.

Fast/All The Web is in use by Lycos and by several Europeon portals. What works for Google search engine wise works pretty well for Fast. Fast also offers a paid inclusion service like Inktomi but is not recommended as the free submit works just fine. You would only use it if you wished to tweak a page to optimize it better with quicker feedback as to the effects of your changes from Fast.

The Major Search Powers

Google most popular search engine in the world by number of searches per month.

Provides Search results for:

AOL Search - largest ISP in the World also operating portals in other countries with search from Google

Yahoo Search

Netscape (by default) - third largest ISP in America

AT&T ISP in America - Canada's largest ISP

Freeserve - the UK's largest ISP Italy's largest ISP

Fast/Alltheweb a showcase site that displays the search technology that Fast can offer to portals and ISP's.

Provides Search results for:

Lycos Sites Worldwide a large ISP operating in Brazil and Spain which Owns Lycos the largest ISP in Europe providing service In germany, France and Austria

Tiscali a Europeon ISP proving service in many countries complete with Portals with Search from Fast. Tiscali is the number 2 ISP in France.


Inktomi is a search provider that is used by portals and Inktomi itself operates no search engine of their own they just operate and maintain a search technology that others can use for a fee.

Provides Search Results for:


Overture backup results


What to Do After Your Site has Links and is Keyword Optimized

1. Submit Your Site's Urls to the Major Search Engines

to Submit a url to Google Visit Google's Submit a Url Page

to Submit a Page to Fast Visit Fast's Submit a Url Page

to Submit a Page to Inktomi you can either pay or Get a Looksmart or Zeal Listing or a link from a page already in Inktomi. Looksmart Pages are automatically included in Inktomi and it should spider the rest of your site from there.

2. Submit Urls of Some of Your Site's Linking Partners

Search engines should find many of the sites that link to you and this should allow your site to rank higher. It doesen't hurt to submit sites that have linked to you to speed up this process. Just submit them the same as you would if they were your site in Google's and Fast's submit a url page.

What Not To Do In Regards to Search Engines

1. Submit a Mirror Site

Mirror sites are sites with the exact same content as another site already indexed by a given search engine. If a search engine sees the same content it has already indexed on another domain it will usually only keep the data from one domain or perhaps reduce the rankings of both domains.

2. Submit contentless pages for the sole purpose of trying to win keywords

This is the brute force approach to search engine optimization that someone looking to build longterm sustainable search engine traffic should avoid. This is in essence if one submits or tries to submit thousands or millions of pages generated by a computer program to optimize for every keyword they can. If a search engine spots you doing this your domains may be removed from their results, they may stop accepting url's from your dmains, or your pages that are ranked may face severe penalties.

3. Use a bunch of domains all linked together and owned by you to try to increase your rank.

This is a common technique people use to mimic link popularity. Going to the trouble to get old fashioned links from other content rich sites is more effective and creates something of longer lasting value than this. This technique is simply trying to rely on lots of worthless domains boosting each other up temporarily in search results.

Other Stand Alone Search Engines


Once this was the best search engine in the world perhaps. At one point they provided backup search results to Yahoo. Now they linger about with so many paid ads at the top and bottom of search results its almost funny. You can submit to Altavista on the well hidden free Altavista submission form. Altavista relies on a picture to try to thwart machine based submissions so you will have to decipher the picture they use and recreate its letters and numbers in a box to be able to submit a site. The letters and numbers in the picture are case sensitive so if you can't decipher if a leter is a capital X or lower case just hit reload on your brower till you get an image you can decipher. Sometimes I couldn't get this thing right on the first time myself. You can also do paid inclusion at Altavista but it really isn't worth the trouble considering their traffic. - a small up and coming search engine that spiders the web on its own. It currently is not accepting new url submissions but will add sites as it finds them. Wisenut is now owned by the Looksmart company but is not currently being used on Looksmart's site for backup search data but in the future probably will be rather than inktomi which is being used now.

Teoma - a small search engine now owned by Ask Jeeves. It does not accept Url submissions for free as it only accepts them for a fee.

Gigablast - this search engine is small it only had about 150 million urls indexed on Nov 2002. This is in comparison to the billions that Google and Alltheweb have indexed. For a brief period of time this search engine allowed sites to submit and be listed instantly unlike all other engines that have a delay between submission and being part of a search engines results. Gigablast even has a cache feature like Google does, and no ads, so it is more a hobby/experiment than a serous engine.


Popular Search Sites Using Others Data

MSN - MSN is the default home page for users of MSN's ISP service and also for those that download internet explorer. As a result gets a lot of traffic and consequently a lot of searches. Also later version of Internet Explorer will automatically execute a search at MSN whenver a user attempts to type in a domain name incorrectly. This gives MSN even more searches without a thing to do with the quality of MSN search at all or the users wish to even use it.

Lycos - Lycos at one point was a great stand alone search engine that maintained their own search database. They now use the database of Fast/Alltheweb.

Yahoo - while Yahoo has its own directory it relies heavily on the Google search engine now and only highlights sites in its directory when they show up in normal Google searches.

AOL - the largest ISP in America uses Google for search from its homepage and its proprietary customer interface.

Netscape - the home page of the browser that at one point was the most popular in the world defaults often to Google, although one can select other engines to search with via a drop down box. - this site was marketed as a site where one could ask questions in a sentence format and receive back intelligent answers. That sounds good in theory but in reality just using keywords yields about the same results here. They use search data from Teoma to supplement the question and answer database that has been built up which yields answers to many common questions in a more intelligent format.

Meta Search Engines - this is one of the most interesting meta search engines. It ranks sites according to how many other search engines rank it in the top 10 for a given keyphrase. - this search engine delivers results from a wide range of search engines in a clean format. - meta engine with heavy weight on findwhat and pay per click results. - meta engine with heavy weight on pay per click results.

Infospace - meta engine that separates the source of its results by search engine rather than just sticking them together as metacrawler does.

Excite - the remains of the once mighty stand alone excite, now just deliver ads from overture and search results from the dogpile meta search engine