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Inside, find helpful advice on how to
- Who You Are and What You Already Know
- What This Book Covers
- Part I: Who You Are and Where You Start
- Part II: Building a Smashing Web Site
- Part III: Under the Hood: Server, Database, and Search Engine Strategies
- Part IV: Winning: Promoting and Assessing Your Site's Success
- Part V: The Part of Tens
- How to Use This Book
- Icons Used in This Book
- Off You Go
Part I: Who You Are and Where You Start
- Chapter 1: What Webmasters Do and Where to Find Them
- Webmaster Roles and Reasons for Being
- The Webmaster as visionary
- The Webmaster as evangelist
- The Webmaster as business strategist
- The Webmaster as manager of expectations
- The Webmaster as creative implementer
- The Four Types of Webmasters
- The tech Webmaster
- The content Webmaster
- The production Webmaster
- The executive Webmaster
- Finding Webmasters and Finding a Job as a Webmaster
- In-house staff with transferable skills
- Other fields
- Universities, colleges, and training programs
- Where to place and find Webmaster job listings
- Webmaster Guilds and Groups
Chapter 2: Your Site's Goals Define Everything Else
- Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
- What happens when you lose focus
- What you gain by setting goals and planning
- What Exactly Are We Doing Here?
- What is our purpose?
- Who are we trying to reach?
- Who are our competitors?
- What resources do we have?
- What expectations of success do we have?
- How do we measure our success?
- Writing a Mission Statement
Chapter 3: Selling on the Web
- What Sells Online and What to Forget About
- Hard deliverables fly
- Downloadable software moves
- Services sell
- Information is oddly challenging
- Selling Is about Trust -- Building It and Keeping It
- How Online Shopping Works
- Phone and mail order systems
- E-mail ordering
- Forms for faxing or simple online ordering
- Shopping carts
- Those Not-So-Identical Twins: Security and Commerce
- Why this counts
- Security and commerce basics
- Secure Servers and You
- Secure server advantages
- What you need
- What security "looks like"
- Security and online transactions
- The Deep Skinny on Transaction Systems
- Handy-dandy payment systems
- All about prepackaged stores
- Having someone else do the selling for you
- The Myriad Challenges of Fulfillment
Chapter 4: Building a Better Budget
- How Often to Budget
- Tips for Approaching the Budgeting Process
- What Budgets Look Like
- Elements of the Spreadsheet: Columns and Rows
- General Types of Expenses
- Ongoing support
- Specific Activities that Inspire Budget Categories
- Content development and editorial
- Architecture and navigational maps
- Reviewing and site testing
- Uploading content
- Marketing the site
- Administration and maintenance
- ROI Meets Management Buy-In
Chapter 5: Legal Bugaboos for the Lay Webmaster
- Intellectual Property and Web Real Estate
- The Large and Small of Copyright Law
- What is a copyright?
- How copyright law works
- Proof of copyright
- Infringement myths and realities
- Public Domain and the Fair-Use Follies
- A Licensing Lowdown
- Work-for-Hire and What It Means
- Trademark Tricks and Tips
- What a trademark protects
- The difference between TM and ®
- Getting a trademark
- Trade Dress Is Look and Feel
- Clip Art, Photography, Sampling, and You
- What You Buy when You Buy Original Art
- Linking and the Law
- Winging It through Freeware and Shareware
Part II: Planning a Smashing Web Site
- Chapter 6: Creating Your Site's Framework
- Pulling Together Content
- Grouping Content and Activities
- Identifying types of content
- Doing the grouping two-step
- Establishing Hierarchies Where Once There Were None
- Building the hierarchy
- Bunching pages into organized "types"
- Drawing the site map
- Structuring the Site's Directories
- Some technical backstory
- Mirroring the site's structure
- Using a single directory
- Special directories for special purposes
- Mapping the directories
- Database? I Don't Need a Stinking Database -- Do I?
- Putting Together a Rock-Solid Design Document
Chapter 7: Beyond HTML and Son of HTML
- The Basics of HTML (Just in Case)
- What makes a Web page
- The history of HTML in a paragraph
- Listen to the rules
- Looking Good in a Variety of Web Browsers
- Who uses what?
- Making a friendly site
- Why Even Include Interactive Content?
- What's interactive content, Mom?
- Remember your goals?
- Picking and Choosing Interactive Content
- The smart money
- So what are your options?
- What's Involved in Implementing Interactive Content
- Talking about Discussion Groups
- Making e-mail your friend
- Making news with newsgroups
- The vice versa
- Can We Chat?
- Implementing Web chat
- Running an IRC session
- What kind of chat is right for you?
Chapter 8: Jobbing Out to a Web-Publishing Shop
- Types of Shops You May Encounter
- Internet presence providers
- Ad agencies
- Design firms and publishing shops large and small
- Finding Qualified Web Shops
- Judging experience
- References are paramount
- Judging style and substance
- Plays well with others
- They listen, but do they hear?
- The day after: now what?
- Defining the Project
- What You Are Going to Pay
- What drives rates
- Negotiating fees
- Deciphering Contracts and NDAs
- Nothing is carved in stone (until it is)
- Intellectual property and copyrights
- Nondisclosure agreements: covering yourself
- Maintaining Vendor Relationships
Chapter 9: QA, Document Control, and the Style Constables Who Love Them
- Why You Need a Style Guide
- The Elements of a Style Guide
- Style Standards for the Site's Look and HTML
- Your site's visual style
- Managing style standards in HTML
- Avoiding graphics pitfalls
- Linking Smartly
- How many links is too many links?
- Linking on just the right word or phrase
- More linking tips
- Getting to Know and Love Editorial Standards
- Why this matters
- Creating your editorial style guide
- Maintaining the editorial style guide
- Noting Navigation, Architecture, and Directory Structures
- Formalizing Legal Matters
- Formatting Your Style Guide
- Reviewing Processes for the Few and the Many
- Alphas and betas: building prototypes
- Presenting staging servers
- Who reviews documents and content?
Part III: Under the Hood: Server, Database, and Search Engine Strategies
- Chapter 10: Under the Hoods of a Few Good Server Options
- Servers and Platforms and Software -- Oh My!
- Selecting a Server Platform: NT or UNIX?
- Windows NT
- All of the Best Server Software
- Netscape server software
- Microsoft server software
- Apache server software
- Running It Yourself versus Having Your ISP Run It
- Running Your Own Server
- Why bother?
- The hardware you need
- All about administration
- What about connecting to the Internet?
- Getting around the firewall
- Keeping Your Server Running 24/7
Chapter 11: Dealing with ISPs and IPPs
- ISPs and the Services They Offer
- Using your existing network
- Web hosting doesn't mean full-time access
- Questions to ask an ISP
- Types of ISPs
- What IPPs Do That's Different
- What Internet Service Costs
- Your physical location may be important
- What's the contingency plan?
- Direct-access costs
- Long-distance Web hosting
- Leasing a server
- Server Colocation: The Best of Both Worlds
- Painful Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
- The bandwidth follies
- Counting the clock ticks
- Doing the ISP shuffle
- Expanding your universe
Chapter 12: Databases for the Masses
- What Exactly Is a Database?
- A Good Database May Be the Backbone of Your Site
- Pros and Cons of Flat File and Relational Databases
- About flat file databases
- About relational databases
- A Light-Duty Relational Database Product: mSQL
- The Big Bruisers and What They're Good For
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Sybase SQL Server
- Middleware: The Glue that Binds
- How to Talk to Database Developers
- A Few Words on Database Maintenance
Part IV: Winning: Promoting and Assessing Your Site's Success
- Chapter 13: Maximum Exposure via Search Engines and Directories
- What's the Big Deal about Search Engines?
- Search Engines and Directories: What's the Diff?
- HEAD Tags, TITLE Tags, and META Tags -- What They Mean to You
- HEAD tags
- TITLE tags
- META tags
- Search-Tool Backgrounders
- Maximizing a Web Page for All of the Popular Search Tools
- Excluding Areas of Your Site from Searches
Chapter 14: Promoting Your Site
- Making Your Site Worth Visiting
- Giving something to people
- Making your site a source
- Creating Backlinks, Link Trades, and Net Alliances
- Getting backlinks
- Forming Net alliances
- Joining link free-for-alls
- Placing online classified ads
- Submitting your site to awards pages
- Optimizing Your Existing Promotional Budget
- Putting your URL everywhere
- Using your URL casually
- Cashing in at trade shows
- Seeing Your URL in Print
- Getting into magazines and newspapers
- Placing a free or cheap print ad
- Posting fliers in the real world
- Enticing new visitors with gifts
- Talk Is Cheap
- Making and using a SIG file
- Participating in discussion groups
- Buying Ad Space -- Why, How, and When
- Banner ad basics
- Impressions vs. clickthroughs
- Context-sensitive and other new advertising ideas
- Building a successful banner ad
- Getting ad space on less-big-gun Web sites
- Exchanging ads -- it's free!
- Contracting to ad agencies
- Sponsoring a Web site other than your own
Chapter 15: Measuring Success
- Types of Success
- Hits, impressions, and traffic reports
- Media presence
- Sales, distribution, and revenue produced
- Information gathered and reported
- Subjective response: "We like it!"
- Measuring Traffic
- Reading Log Files for the Few and the Many
- How Traffic Measurements Are Calculated
- Unique users
- Tracking Popularity and Clickpaths with Site-Statistic Packages
- Market Focus
- Counting Backlinks
- Verifying Traffic Counts through Outside Audits
- On Subjective Assessments and Feedback E-mail
- Take a Look at Yourself
Part V: The Part of Tens
- Chapter 16: Ten Web Sites That'll Save Your Life
- Webreference.com: The Webmaster's Reference Library
- NCSA's Style Guide and Beginner's Guide
- Web Page Design For Designers
- Doctor HTML
- Links for Copy Editors
- FindLaw and The Cyberspace Law Center
- Who's Marketing Online
Chapter 17: Ten Tools for Jazzing Up HTML
- Microsoft FrontPage
- BBEdit and Luckman WebEdit
- Adobe Photoshop
- Paint Shop Pro
- GIF Construction Set and GIF Animator
- Flash Animator
- Excite for Web Servers
- Miscellaneous Web Gadgets
Chapter 18: Ten Types of Live Content You Can Use Today
- Internet Relay Chat
- Toward Push: Castanet and PointCast
- Custom Programming
In This Chapter
Let's face it. Even if your whiz-bang beauty of a Web site tells folks the meaning of life, if no one knows it's there, no one is going to see it. You want people to visit your site, and you want lots of people. There are a number of ways to get attention on the Web; the first is to make your site as wonderful as possible. The stronger your content, the punchier your design, and the fresher you keep the thing, the more people are going to tell their associates and the more people are going to return. But first you have to attract the attention of the first wave of those folks, and the big question is how to do this.
As Figure 13-1 shows, one of the most common ways people find out about sites is through online search tools (AltaVista, Yahoo!, and so on). You can take advantage of this by getting your site listed and by maximizing your site's standing within all of the major search engines.
You can implement a special sort of search engine on your site that will help users find their way around the site itself. (We cover that topic in a bonus chapter on the Dummies Web site at
http://www.dummies.com. Look for "Search Engines for Visiting Your Site" from the link Really Useful Extras.) Here we're talking about those big bruiser search engines and directories that help people find what's on the Web. If you want to know all about getting max exposure via the search engines and directories that people use to navigate the whole Web, read on, bucko.
Finding your way around the Web can be a very big challenge -- so much so that the search-tool industry was born. Search tools, as you know, are gigantic, automatically built catalogs of Web pages. They're usually comprised of a Web crawler, spider, or robot that scours the Web for new pages; a huge database of 30 to 40 million individual Web pages all cataloged and indexed; and the search engine itself, which allows users to query the database. When a user does query the database, the results that are returned by the search tool appear in a list. The list is usually ranked by relevancy, with the Web sites that are the most relevant at the top of the list. Your goal is to create a situation that puts your site at the top of the list whenever a user searches for a site on a topic like yours.
The trick here is that relevancy is kind of, well . . . relative. You see, relevancy is generally calculated by some simple means -- like counting how many times the word or phrase that you searched appears in a given Web page, its URL, its title, and so on. This way to calculate relevancy is both a weakness of the whole search-engine business and something that you can capitalize on. You can make this bug into a feature by simply including specific tags or repeated word patterns in your page so that a specific search tool can catalog your site correctly and give it a truly relevant relevancy ranking. What's not quite so simple is that all of the search tools do things a little differently, and you want your site to shine on each tool to maximize the number of visits that you get. Later in this chapter, we show you how to tweak a Web page so that it gets a high ranking across the board. First, though, you need to take a look at search tools in general.
There are basically two kinds of Web search tools:
Keep this in mind when trying to get your page listed with a search engine or a directory: Directories are usually only interested in listing the top (home) page of the Web site or maybe a few other selected pages that have knockout content. Search engines, on the other hand, send their web-crawling robots out to gather everything. These 'bots start with a link to your site (which may be a link that you submit to them) and follow all of the other links on that page through your site until they've indexed everything they can. Then they follow all of the links that leave your site. Although many people often find your site by following links on other pages, the corollary is that robots can also find your site more often if there are more links to it from other sites.
What a search engine really is
In actuality, a search engine is the software that conducts a search, whether that search occurs in the context of a big database of Web sites, in the context of your Web site alone, or even in the context of a database that has nothing to do with the Web. (There is a search engine in Microsoft Access and in other database programs, for example.) Use of the term search engine to refer to a tool for searching the Internet has come into play just recently. In this chapter, we use the term search engine generically to refer to all Internet search tools.
Both directories and search engines include search capabilities in their offerings, and they all work in more or less the same way -- user types topic of interest into text box, user clicks on Search button -- you know the routine. The search is executed, and the results are returned in a list that's been sorted based on criteria that were set up by the search-engine producers. (Whew!) Your goal, then, is to manipulate matters to your advantage. You can do this by cleverly using META tags, TITLE tags, and HEAD tags -- yep, that's HTML we're talking about. (The section that follows this one talks about these special tags, while Chapter 7 discusses HTML in general.)
Search Engines Watch, by Calafia Consulting, includes backgrounders and tips for most of the major search engines. There is an associated mailing list that posts announcements about major changes in the world of search sites. Visit
As an Internet pro, you know that the whole web of Web pages hangs on HTML. Everything you see on a Web page is the result of HTML and therefore of HTML tags. Some tags create text, some create links, some create images -- and some convey information about the document as a whole. These are the tags that perk up the interest of search tools. Knowing how to use these tags well can help you to produce content that the search engines and directories can then correctly catalog.
The HEAD tag defines a special area of the HTML document that contains information about the document. That information often includes the document's title and perhaps some other coding that describes the document. For example, in the following snippet of HTML, the head section contains the title of the Web page along with a META tag that specifies a description of the page:
<TITLE>World-Class Ping-Pong for Dummies</TITLE>
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="world-class ping-pong">
Most search engines pay very close attention to the contents of the head section, so you should, too.
Every document on the Web has a title. That title usually appears in the title bar at the top of your Web browser window when you're looking at the document. So -- where did that title come from? The TITLE tag! The following is an example:
<TITLE>World-Class Ping-Pong for Dummies</TITLE>
Remember, the TITLE tag appears within the all-important head section of the page.
"Welcome to XYZ Home Page" is a poor title for a Web page -- it's too long, it's full of irrelevant words, and it will appear in alphabetically organized bookmark lists under W for Welcome. A better title would be short and pithy -- it would include those two words that you thought up and jotted down for this occasion.
When you're naming your page, keep in mind that the title that appears in the TITLE tag is also the title of the page in a list of hits produced by a search engine. It's also the title that the directory and index people use to refer to your page, not to mention all of the random Webmasters who link to you. So if the title is just Ping-Pong, it isn't going to stand out from the herd. However, Killer Ping-Pong Tips certainly would, because it gives some idea about the kind of content to be found on the page (Ping-Pong tips, rather than photographs or a rule book).
A META tag is a special tag that contains meta information about the page -- that is, overview information about the stuff that's contained in the page. An example of a META tag is as follows:
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="world-class ping-pong">
This META tag says that the page it is embedded in is about world-class Ping-Pong. You can specify any META tag that you like. For example, rather than specifying that the tag is a description, you may spec it as a title, as follows:
<META NAME="title" CONTENT="World-Class Ping-Pong for Dummies">
The overall, agreed-upon specs for HTML allow you to include just about any name and content descriptors in META tags, with a few exceptions. (For example, the name refresh is reserved for forcing a browser to reload the document.) Some search engines look specifically for a META tag with the name keywords, and then those search engines catalog the page based on the keywords that are included in the META tag. Such a tag would look like this:
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="ping-pong, table tennis, world-class, ping pong, tournament, champion, pingpong, book, world-class ping-pong for dummies">
Notice that this list includes ping-pong, table tennis, and ping pong. Synonyms and common misspellings are important when you're trying to get your page in circulation -- whether the intrepid searcher looking for a page like yours types ping-pong, table tennis, or ping pong in the search box, your page ostensibly should show up in the search if you use synonyms carefully. Meta tags also appear in the head section of an HTML document. Notice, too, that all of the keywords are lowercase. Some search engines exclude Ping-Pong (the correct name of the game, written with initial caps because the game is trademarked that way) if a user types ping-pong.
Now, remembering that search engines focus on the head section of a given Web page, and noting that you can use META tags in a number of ways, here's the kicker: You can embed multiple META tags in your page, directing the attention of search engines to suit your purposes. However, META tags are not the magic bullets that so many people think they are. Some search engines ignore them, and others recognize some META tags but not others.
It is better to list your keywords one time each in a META tag than it is to do the clever thing that a lot of beginning webmasters try. You may have seen a page that has a bunch of blank space (
<BR> tags, actually) after the content is finished on the page. If you scroll down far enough, you see a bunch of words, sometimes not-so-cleverly hidden, that look like this:
PING-PONG TABLE TENNIS WORLD-CLASS DUMMIES BOOK WINNING STRATEGY
PING-PONG TABLE TENNIS WORLD-CLASS DUMMIES BOOK WINNING STRATEGY
PING-PONG TABLE TENNIS WORLD-CLASS DUMMIES BOOK WINNING STRATEGY
PING-PONG TABLE TENNIS WORLD-CLASS DUMMIES BOOK WINNING STRATEGY
PING-PONG TABLE TENNIS WORLD-CLASS DUMMIES BOOK WINNING STRATEGY
This may look like a good way to force your page to the top of the heap, because Ping-Pong certainly appears several times. Generally, however, a page's relevancy rating is based not only on frequency but on weight. That is, a page that mentions Ping-Pong several times within the body of a page has more weight than a page that mentions Ping-Pong only once, but some search engines discount lists of words with no context.
To make the most of META tags and other tricks of the trade, you need to know a thing or two about the how the various search engines work. The best way to get your site indexed by the major search engines is to submit a link -- your home page, generally -- to the Add Your Site section of the search engine's Web page. But before you do, make sure that your Web page is in top shape for each of the biggie's search methods.
When you're getting ready to submit your page to the major search engines, take a few minutes to read the help files. If there's a help file about submitting the page, it's generally useful, but some Web sites include information about relevancy and META tags within their general help files as well. Infoseek, for example, offers a help file that explains how to increase your relevancy rating, while AltaVista's Add Your Site page includes many tips for Webmasters. In any case, reading the help files is often the only way to find out what ranking strategies and extra doodads the various search engines have available.
AltaVista, considered by many to be the premier search engine, was developed by Digital Equipment Corp. to demonstrate the company's ability to manipulate enormous databases. AltaVista, which has now completely outgrown its beginning as a relatively humble demo of technology, is actually the sum of several parts. First, a robot (called Scooter) automatically searches the Web for new pages. Then a cataloging program takes the pages that are found by Scooter, indexes them, and plops them into a database. Finally, there is the AltaVista database itself, which is filled with those cataloged Web pages. The AltaVista database has more than 30 million Web pages. Your job is to make sure that Scooter finds your Web pages and that the indexing program properly files them in that big whoppin' database.
Scooter streaks through the Web continuously, but you may have to issue an invitation to Scooter to have it stop by your site. To submit your URL to AltaVista, fill out the form at
http://www.altavista.digital.com/cgi-bin/query?pg=tmpl&v=addurl.html . After you've submitted your URL, two days may pass before Scooter visits. Then it is another two to four weeks before your pages appear in AltaVista.
Select your site's central page, and submit it to AltaVista manually. AltaVista asks that you submit only one page (generally the top or home page) to its Add-URL page. As long as all of your pages are linked to from at least one of your pages, the spider finds the rest automatically -- that's what search-engine robots do. You can have your site stricken from the database by spamming the index, that is, submitting your page multiple times in hopes of making your page show up multiple times.
AltaVista is a full-text search engine, meaning that it searches the entire contents of a Web page. Whether it's right or wrong, AltaVista uses the following criteria to determine ranking:
Note that AltaVista pays attention to your use of the description META tag -- but not to many other tags.
AltaVista ignores punctuation (ping-pong and ping pong are all the same to AltaVista) and is a little fussy about capitalization. For example, if you repeat the phrase Ping-Pong for Dummies throughout your site, and a user types ping-pong for dummies into the AltaVista Search box, that attempt shows up as a match. However, if you repeat ping-pong for dummies in the site and the user (who was obviously paying attention in high school English) types Ping-Pong for Dummies, no match occurs. Go figure.
Like AltaVista, Excite is really the sum of (a) a robot that searches the Web for new pages, (b) an indexing program, and (c) a resulting database of all the Web pages that Excite has encountered. Unlike AltaVista, and in fact unlike any other search tool on the Web, Excite uses concept searching; this basically means that it includes a thesaurus against which it compares any and all search strings. A search for Ping-Pong may turn up . . . hmmm, what's a synonym for Ping-Pong?
To submit your site to Excite, use the form found at
http://www.excite.com/add_url.html. You should find your site in the database within about three weeks.
Spamming gets you nixed
Registering your Web site with many search engines is a very good idea. Registering your site many times with the same search engine is a very bad idea -- this is the search-engine version of spamming. Other forms of search-engine spamming include repeating a keyword several times in a META tag or in a Web page. Our favorite example is when Joe Schmoe gets the clever idea of placing a repeated keyword in white text on a page with a white background so that no one but the search engine can see the keyword. This, folks, is a kind of spamming, too.
When search engines come across these nasty, spammy pages, they impose penalties. Some search engines simply delete spammy pages. Others push those pages to the bottom of a relevancy ranking so that no one is likely to see them. Still others have been known to eliminate an entire domain from the search engine's database if that domain included even one spammy page!
Use the information in this chapter to increase your site's representation within search engines. Don't use it to try to trick or spam search engines -- they're on to that sort of thing.
Excite keeps most of the criteria that it uses in relevancy rankings under its hat. However, we do know this:
Note that Excite penalizes spammers and does not support META tags.
Excite also provides search-engine software you can implement on your own site to help users find what they seek within your site's content. To find out more about this, visit
http://www.dummies.com and link to Really Useful Extras (in the Resources & Extras category). Look for the bonus chapter,"Search Engines for Visiting Your Site."
HotBot, by Wired Ventures, is powered by the Inktomi search engine, which was first developed by a group of computer scientists at the University of California at Berkeley as a research experiment in distributed computing.
HotBot constantly prowls the Web for new pages to add to its database. If you don't feel like waiting for it to get to your site (and with the way the Web keeps on growing, yours could be a long wait), you can submit your URL to HotBot via a form at
HotBot uses the following criteria in determining relevancy ranking:
HotBot ignores certain very common words such as and, or, and web. HotBot also holds a very big grudge against spamming -- especially spoofing and word stacking.
Infoseek, like Excite, is a combination of a search engine and a directory. The Infoseek search engine catalogs sites in a database, while the directory offers a more subject-oriented listing. The search engine is full-text, like many others.
You can submit your URL to Infoseek by using the form found at
Infoseek uses the following criteria to determine ranking in search results:
For example, searching for loquacious bodacious babes makes any page that includes loquacious and the other two words bounce right to the top; documents that contain loquacious and not babes are more likely to show up than pages about babes who aren't loquacious.
Another interesting thing about Infoseek is its case-sensitive searching. As is true of AltaVista, capping excludes lowercase words. Also, if you enter two initial-capped words in a row (whether they're Bill Gates or Brown Shoes), Infoseek searches for instances of those two words as a name, including both Bill Gates and Gates, Bill. This would work in your favor for Ping-Pong but probably not for brown shoes.
Infoseek also indexes words that are used in image ALT attributes to index the page. When you place an image in your page, the ALT attributes is what people see if they're not autoloading images. This tag also shows up as a tool tip when you drag the cursor over an image in browsers like Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer (versions 3 and later).
Infoseek does support META tags, and it penalizes spammers by removing their pages from the database. You cannot submit your site to Infoseek's directory; only submissions to the search engine are accepted. However, all sites that are submitted to the search engine are potential candidates for inclusion in the directory.
Lycos is not a full-text search engine. Instead, it uses the seemingly odd method of building its own abstracts based on the headers, titles, links, and the first few words it finds in what it considers key paragraphs on any given Web page. The abstracts are supposed to describe the page, and the searches occur against the abstracts.
Lycos ranks pages in this order:
To make sure that your Web pages appear in Lycos, place those all important keywords in the title section. Lycos recommends then repeating the keywords near the top of the document. On the other hand, Lycos penalizes word stacking -- yet they don't tell you how much is too much. Go figure.
Lycos is unique among search engines in that it can catalog sites that require a password for entry. If yours is such a site, when you submit it to Lycos, be sure to provide a password; you may want to set up a special password for this purpose.
Okay, strictly speaking, Yahoo! is not a search engine. While all the rest send some kind of crawler out to find new stuff on the Web, Yahoo! sits back and waits for Webmasters to submit their pages to Yahoo! -- and they do, in droves. Yahoo! is the granddaddy of Web indexes and a very prestigious placement. Yahoo! pays absolutely no attention to the title of your page, any special META tags, or the position of words within your page. Inclusion in Yahoo! is up to the discretion (whim, we could say) of real human beings sitting in a room in Silicon Valley.
You can submit your pages to Yahoo! by using the form found at
http://add.yahoo.com/fast/add (see Figure 13-2). You have control over a title and a description that's used to describe the site -- you can enter them as you like. You can also select the exact category -- and even secondary categories -- that your site may appear in when you register. Plus, if your site has regional appeal, you can suggest that it be included in any of the Yahoo! regional directories that seem appropriate.
Think about those keywords. A real person reviews every site that's submitted to determine its worthiness, and if the description doesn't seem right, they are known to snap that site right out of their sight.
Should I submit my pages manually?
Dozens of announcement services are available (Yahoo! lists over 100) to submit your site automatically to a number of different search tools, leaving you free to handle other details of the site. Many of these search-engine submission sites, like Submit-It offer a free version of their services and a professional version for which you pay. Whether you want to pay for one of these upscale versions depends a lot on both your time and budget. Before you sign up, keep a couple of things in mind:
That said, if you have more money than time to get your Web page announced to the world, you may want to consider some of these tools. Keep in mind that their offerings (and their prices) can change at any time.
Obviously, you want to take into consideration all the ins and outs of getting listed and indexed correctly in all of the search engines. At best, you want your page to come up at the top of a relevancy ranking in all of the major search engines each and every time a user searches for the topic of your page. The following is a look at how to modify the HTML for a Web page to accomplish this noble task.
To start, identify a few items that describe your page and jot them down:
With these items in hand, you're ready to make your Web page search-engine friendly. For best results, make these tweaks before you register the page with search engines. It may be a long time before they come back around to check for any changes, so you want to have all your ducks in a row the first time. Follow these steps:
These need not be the only words in the title section, but they must be there. (The title should still make sense as a title, by the way.) Imagine that your site is about the following:
<TITLE>A Classic Camera for Classic Photography</TITLE>
It also doesn't hurt to scatter them throughout the page so that they appear every few sentences.
For example, use this META tag in the example page about cameras:
<META NAME="keywords" VALUE="camera, photography, photographer, photograph, print, photo, film, 35mm, view camera, single lens reflex, slr, kodak, leica, nikon, ilford, picture">
Remember: Use lowercase letters in the keywords META tag, even for titles and proper nouns. Note the use of synonyms here -- and make sure that you throw an occasional synonym into the text of the page itself. Also, avoid word stacking -- don't say camera, camera, camera. You get penalized for it.
The following is an example:
<META NAME="description" VALUE="Professional photographer demonstrates classic cameras for use in fine photography.">
Note that in the description one should not use first person references ("I") but rather third person references ("professional photographer"). This is because using a third person reference, which is ultimately more descriptive, also allows you another chance to fit a keyword (of sorts) into your HTML.
These tidbits can give a Web page extra oomph in search engines and can help users who are interested in the topic of the site go straight to it.
The Northern Webs Search Engine Tutorial is a first-person look at how one Web team learned (through frustration) the hows and whys of getting its page to show up in the major search engines. Read what they have to say at
Another Webmaster, perusing his referrer logs, was amused to find that people found his page when looking for adult videos. Read A Brief Word About Search Engines at
Maybe you don't want every blasted search engine in the universe beating a path to your door and listing your site so that others can drop in. If you run a big corporate Web site, like one of the 6,000-page whoppers, you may find a visit from a search engine conducting a complete search of your site to be too CPU and I/O intensive. It could slow your site to a pitiful crawl for a while. If you feel this price is too high for the privilege of inclusion in the search engines, you can mark pages or your entire site as being off-limits.
You can exclude specific pages from indexing by a robot by placing a META tag within the document head (see "Head Tags, Title Tags, and Meta Tags -- What They Mean to You," earlier in this chapter for instructions on using META tags). The name of the META tag in this case is robots, while the possible instructions are index (or noindex) and follow (or nofollow). Index means that robots record the page's contents for use in a database or search engine. Follow means that the robot follows all of the links on that page to collect more data.
To invite a robot to index and follow this page, the tag would look like this:
<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
To instruct a robot not to index follow the links on a page, the tag would look like this:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
You can use any combination of these tags (index,nofollow or noindex,follow), but be sure not to use conflicting instructions (such as noindex,index).
You can also control robots by placing a special file -- called robots.txt -- in your Web server's document root directory ( which is discussed in Chapter 7). To find out, see
Webcrawler maintains an excellent resource about robots called The Web Robots Page. It includes a FAQ, a guide to the protocol, and an archive of the Web Robots mailing list. The URL is as follows:
Many of the files are old, but because the standard hasn't changed and isn't enforced, it's still the most helpful page around.
System administrators may be interested in perusing Webcrawler's Robots Mailing List archive or joining the list itself. The URL for the archive is
There you have it. Now read on to find out about promoting your site.