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Search Engine Information

Alta Vista 

Submitting 

When adding a URL to AltaVista, you are only required to give the location of your site. AltaVista will then 'spider' it, copying your html to the AltaVista database. 

Keywords 

AltaVista downloads your page and indexes it, utilizing robot or spider technology. Alta Vista accesses each page and looks for every instance of the search within the indexed pages. They return the pages with the following criteria first: 

  • searched words are found towards the top of a page (such as in the title) 
  • queried words are found close to each other 
  • The page contains one instance of the query word(s) 
AltaVista views every page and article on the web sequencentially. A word maybe misspelled but as long as that word exists on the Web, AltaVista will search for it. Note that AltaVista does not index punctuation, so the search "http://www.marketingsuite.com" would be the same as "http www.marketingsuite com". 

Meta Tags 

Meta tags add keywords and a description to pages without having that text visible to the user from their browser. AltaVista recognizes Meta Tags. 

Getting The Best Results 

To optimize your pages on AltaVista you should: 

  • ensure your page contains your desired keywords directly in the html 
  • utilize keywords to your title 
  • utilize the Meta Description and Meta Keyword tags.

Helpful Hints 

For very graphical sites, AltaVista will index it from your Title and whatever text that is contained in your html. Meta Tags are crucial as they enable you to define your page on AltaVista and to ensure that the correct description is used. 

AltaVista uses: 

  • Meta Tags and text from pages’ html for searches 
  • Meta Description or first words on page for searches 
  • standard keyword searches 
  • robots/spiders to visit your site
NB AltaVista does not allow you to submit descriptions. 
 

Excite 

Submitting 

You only need to give the location of the site when adding a URL and the content will be visited and reviewed by a spider from Excite. An Excite 'theme' and rating is given to the site and to your site. You can then find your site using appropriate keywords. 

Keywords 

Excite summarizes your page. Punctuated sentences are preferred. The summary is processed by 'concept based' software that looks for the page's dominant theme. Your page is indexed by trying to match keywords to your theme. Excite believes that summarizing the entire page to get a general 'feel' of the theme will offer more accurate results. 

You can not influence this behavior as with Excite you may not create a separate description of your web site. Every word you expect users to search for must be appropriate to the theme the summary of the html of your site generates. 

Meta Tag 

Excite neither supports nor recognizes the meta tag. 

Optimizing for searches 

Several ways are open to you for optimizing your Web Site for Excite searches. 

Excite searches your site until it thinks it has found a suitable summary. Your front pages should therefore be concise, precise and to the point in order to get a stronger summary. Excite prefers punctuated sentences. Put the keywords you want used in the html and avoid repeating keywords as these may end up as your summary. 

If your web site contains a lot of graphics: In this case create a second text-only page to submit to Excite. See: Inside WLA by Amulet Consulting. In this site the home page has a lot of graphics but minimal text. The second page is a quick reference index and a description of the site. The text page: www.insidewla.com/quick.htm was submitted to Excite instead of the home page as it contains all the keywords to be included in the site description (entertainment, dining, Beverly Hills, etc) and links directly to the home page as well as to other pages in the site. 

A heavily graphical home page combined with a secondary text page can be useful as users can load the text page quickly and gain access to the same information. 

Ranking Theory 

The returned pages displayed are ranked according to how close the query keywords match the 'theme' of a certain page. A confidence rating shows how close a 'theme' of a particular site matches the query keywords. Sites with a higher confidence rating are returned first. 

Summary 

  • keyword searches to match your topic 
  • cannot submit descriptions 
  • your site visited by 'robots'
  • uses text found in your html for creating topic 
  • keywords match topic return page 
  • topic is returned with web site 
 
 

HotBot 

Keywords 

HotBot uses a standard keyword search method for showing search results and HotBot database uses a few sentences of your html for searches. 

If your web site is heavily graphical this will not show up well in HotBot because your html will be short on text, unless you use meta tags. 

Any keyword that a user searches for in HotBot will show up if it matches text on your site or your meta tags. Meta tags can control the way HotBot returns your page. 

Submitting 

If you add your URL to HotBot you are asked for the location of your web site and your e-mail address. HotBot's spider then copies your keywords to the HotBot database. 

Meta Tag 

HotBot supports meta tags, robot tags and description tags. 

Optimization 

What you can do to optimize your site for HotBot searches: 

  • Ensure your web page contains the keywords directly in the html 
  • Utilize meta tags 
  • Name your page or pages aptly 
 

Summary 

  • standard keyword searches 
  • uses robots for going to your site 
  • uses meta tags or text from your html for searches, which include description tags
  • search users get a sentence or a couple of sentences about each site 
 

InfoSeek 

General Information 

Infoseek is a large database searchable in a couple of different ways. 

Infoseek blends the "blanket search" and pinpoint searches into one search engine. "Ultrasmart" is the blanket search that can be used to find related topics, in case the user does not know exactly what to look for. "Ultraseek" is the other search option, where only sites that match the query are returned. This service is used when the user knows exactly what needs to be returned. 

Submittal Policy 

Your URL is submitted through e-mail to www-request@infoseek.com. Infoseek claims the URL is added immediately to the grand database population and, if eligible, is added to a heirarchical category system similar to Yahoo! 

Delete Method 

In order for a URL to be removed from the Infoseek database, it must be added to the robots.txt file on the server the site is on. This guarantees that a site cannot be removed from the database by anyone except the administrators of the site. 

Tips 

The use of meta tags in the body of the html document is very important. The meta description tag is what shows up when the URL is returned. Unless you want your Javascript returned, it is a good idea to use meta tags. 

Infoseek will list up to 200 characters of your description, and use 1000 characters of your keyword meta tag. Any word repeated more than 7 times in the keywords will make Infoseek disregard the entire keyword meta tag. Meta tags also allow you to add descriptions and keywords to frame pages with little text.
 

Lycos 

History 

Lycos is one of the original search engines and has been around for some time. At one point, Lycos was the most popular search engine on the Internet, but has been surpassed by Yahoo. 

Keywords 

Lycos uses a standard keyword search method for returning search results. The Lycos database contains a copy of your html and uses that for searches. 

This can be both good and bad. If your web site is very graphical it will not show up well in Lycos because your html will be short on text. If your site contains a lot of text it will show up well in Lycos. Any keywords that a user searches for in Lycos will show up if it matches text on your web site. 

You cannot change this behavior. Lycos does not allow you to create a separate description of your site. Your description and all the words that you hope users will search for must be contained in the html of your site. 

Submitting 

When you add your URL to Lycos, you are only asked for the location of your web site. Lycos then sends a spider to your site, which copies your html to the Lycos database. 

Meta Tag 

Lycos does not support or recognize the meta tag. 

Optimization 

Make sure your web page contains the keywords you want directly in the html. If you do not want these keywords to display on the screen you can place them in comment tags. Place your comment tags at the very top of your html document. 

What to do if your Web Site is VERY graphical: Create a second page which is text only and submit that to Lycos. An example of this is the Inside WLA Web site by Amulet Consulting. The home page for this site contains many graphics and not much text. A second page was created which serves as a quick reference index as well as a description of the site. 

This text page, www.insidewla.com/quick.htm, was submitted to Lycos rather than the home page. It contains all the keywords that we wanted to include in our site description (entertainment, dining, Beverly Hills, etc). This text page links directly to the home page as well as to other pages in our site. 

A combination of a graphical home page and a secondary text page is also beneficial to users. At peak times on the Internet when traffic is higher users can load the text page quickly and gain access to the same information. 

Summary 

  • standard keyword searches 
  • does not allow you to submit descriptions 
  • uses robots to visit your site 
  • only uses text found in your html for searches 
  • can return a paragraph or more about each site to search users 

Magellan 

Magellan Info 

Magellan is a service from the McKinley Group, Sausalito, Ca. This is an online guide including a directory of sites both rated and unrated, with some editorial content and a search engine. Web sites, gopher servers, ftp and telnet sites can be indexed on Magellan. Magellan is available in French and German. 

Submitting 

Magellan has a submission page with a box for you to add your URL. Submissions are handled by Excite, Magellan's parent search engine. 

Delete Method 
 
 

Relevance 

Magellan uses a system to rank sites in a hit list comprised of the sites returned after a search is executed. These factors are considered when ordering a hit list (as taken from Magellan's FAQ): 

How many of the words appear?
Checks to see how many of the words you entered are in the records.
Records containing all your words will appear before records containing only some of them.
Are any of those words in the title?
Checks to see if the words appear in the title of the site.
Records whose titles contain some of the words you entered will appear ahead of documents that do not have those words in the title.
Are any of those words in the keywords or description?
Checks to see if the words appear in the keywords or in the Magellan review. 
Records whose description or keywords contain some of the words you entered will appear ahead of documents that do not have those words in the description or keywords.
Are any of those words in the URL?
Checks to see if the words appear in the URL.
Records whose URL contain some of the words you entered will appear ahead of documents that do not have those words in the URL.
How Many Times do Those Words Appear?
Checks the frequency of the words in the document.
The more times your word or words appeared in the document, the closer to the top of the hit list your document will appear.
 

These rules are useful if you would like your site to be returned earlier in a hit list.
 

 Northern Light

History 

Northern Light joined its competitors in August 1997 and has built 50 million pages on its index. Northern Light is different from similar sized engines as it provides an index and has a comprehensive catalogue of more than 1,800 magazines, books, papers and newswires. Although there is some charge required for this service it is still of interest to researchers. 

Despite all the press coverage Northern Light has been receiving there are no statistics available although it should soon be making alliances. 

Tips 

Northern Light likes high Keyword density. If you improve on this and you can get a higher hit rate. 

Keywords 

For keyword searches in Northern Light the title and description of your web site are the two primary pieces of text that are referenced. As Yahoo ignores your web site's html it pays to choose a title that includes keywords. 

You should choose your description carefully, but keep it short otherwise it might be edited and include only your site's most descriptive keywords. 

Meta Tag 

Meta Tags are supported and recognized by Northern Light. 

Optimization 

For optimizing your Web Site for Northern Light be you can do the following: 

 
  • Include strategic keywords in your heading 
  • Choose your description carefully to avoid editing 
  • Submit more than one web page 
 

Summary 

  • Title Tags: these should include your most important keywords 
  • Meta Tags: Northern Light says they "note" meta tags but do not use them for descriptions or for increased relevancy of the page.
  • High priority on Textual content.
 

Open Text 

Keywords 

Open Text does a standard keyword search for returning search results. The Open Text database contains your html and uses it for searches. If you have a title and a couple of words in your html document your page can be searched through Open Text. Keywords a user searches for in Open Text will show up if they match text on your web site or meta tags. 

Submitting 

When adding your URL to Open Text you are asked to give the location of your web site and your e-mail address. A spider is then sent by Open Text to visit your site to copy your html to the Open Text database. Open Text says it has robots roving the web. 

Meta Tag 

Open Text does not treat meta tags differently from normal text. This is indexed and used for searches. The description displayed when your site is searched is a short description of what Open Text considers your page is about. 

Optimization 

There are several ways you can optimize your Web Site for Open Text searches: 

  • Ensure your web page contains the keywords you want directly in the html 
  • Use meta tags 
  • Give you name an appropriate name page 

Summary 

  • standard keyword searches 
  • uses robots to call at your site 
  • uses meta tags or text from your html for searches (including description tags) 
  • can return a sentence or two about every site 
 

 Webcrawler

General Info 

Webcrawler uses an interface to search through all its databases for sites that contain all the words in the query. It then searches for the individual words in individual pages. The pages Webcrawler likes and considers apt are added to a Yahoo-type hierarchical directory system. Your site can be accessed through a search or through the directories. Webcrawler also has a random URL service, web reviews, as well as a "find similar site" service. 

Submitting 

Click on the Add URL button to submit a URL to Webcrawler. The tool allows you to add 9 URLs at a time. It may take up to a fortnight for submissions to be added to the Webcrawler database. 

Delete Method 

To remove your site from the Webcrawler database, place it in the robots.txt file. The following visit the robot makes to your site, your site will be removed. The process can be accelerated through submitting your URL again, so the robot knows it has to visit your site. 

Tips 

To have your site return on more searches you should include meta tags and not use irrelevant words in your home page. Meta tags are good for graphical pages and for customizing your keywords to what is appropriate to your page. 

The constant repetition of keywords, or spamming, is not appreciated by Webcrawler. Offending pages are being removed. Once the spamming has been removed from a page, it can be resubmitted and added to the index again.
 
 

Yahoo 

History 

At the time of writing Yahoo is the most popular search engine on the Web and some magazine articles have claimed up to 70% of a site's hits are through you being located Yahoo. Yahoo is one of the few hierarchical search engines as not only can you type in keywords for a Yahoo search, you can also explore its database uses categories. 

Yahoo is also a member of the 'Fortunate Five' search engines accessible from the Netscape web site. 

Categories 

Yahoo's home page has ten categories -- Entertainment, Business, etc. - and by choosing one you receive a list of sub-categories, each branching into even more sub-categories, eventually displaying a list of web sites. 

When you submit a URL to Yahoo you need to choose the category you think fits your site. You then include a paragraph description of your site and the title. This information is processed by a person, not a robot or a spider.

Someone from Yahoo will inspect your submission and it is normal for them to shift you to a different category if they feel that is more appropriate. Or they can condense your description. 

Yahoo search results are returned ordered by category, so if your site is in the category 'Films' it will be shown before any in the category 'Regional', for instance. So be sure to select a category that comes close to the top of Yahoo's hierarchical structure. 

Keywords 

When doing Yahoo keyword searches the title and description of your web site are the two primary pieces of text that are used as points of reference. Your web site's html is totally ignored. For this reason it is wise to choose a title that includes keywords. 

Your description should also be carefully chosen, so keep it short to avoid editing and include only the most descriptive keywords for your site. 

You should also consider submitting not only your home page but also some of your submerges as Yahoo limits the number of keywords associated with your site. This will widen your exposure as well as increasing the total number of keywords your site matches. 

Meta Tag 

Yahoo neither supports nor recognizes the meta tag. 

Optimization 

These are ways you can optimize your Web Site for Yahoo searches: 

  • Choose your category wisely when submitting and pick categories close to the top of Yahoo's hierarchical structure
  • Include keywords in your title
  • Your description may be edited so choose it with care
  • Submit more than one web page to Yahoo as this helps to maximize the number of keywords that match your site.
  • Summary 

  • Yahoo is the most popular search engine
  • Yahoo is hierarchical
  • Yahoo has limited size descriptions
  • Yahoo uses humans not robots or spiders

  • Yahoo ignores text in your web site
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