In the previous search engine optimisation lesson we discussed the different types of search engine and how they bring forward search results from keywords. In today’s lesson I really want to talk about each one of these search engine in a little more detail as understanding them is essential to understanding search engine optimisation.
Crawler Based Search Engines
If you remember we also referred to these search engines as spiders or crawlers and bring up results from their indexing when a keyword or key phrase is typed into the relevant search box. This procedure is most commonly referred to as ranking.
Being found at the top of a crawler based index is not just a matter of relevancy and pumping loads of rich keywords into your site content, it is made up of far more complex components, some we know about and some that are closely guarded secrets which change frequently.
Some of the other things a crawler based search engine will look at are:-
- Other sites in the index linking to yours
- The text used in the links that point to you
- What the PageRank of the linking pages are
- Whether the linking site is present in directories under a relevant category
You may have noticed that all of the above are off page factors, factors that an honest webmaster has difficulty in controlling. Due to this you will find that with most crawler based search engines ‘off page’ factors prevail over on page.
I now want to take a look at the main spidering search engines and want to discuss how we get them to index our sites and rank them highly. This section will not deal with search engine optimisation directly but will focus on how a search engine views your page and this lesson should be used as a reference anytime you come to create a new page.
If you didn’t know already Google is the main or the top crawler based search engine, even above the mighty Yahoo! and Msn live search. Google’s search share is around the 60% mark and it indexes billions of web pages. It also provides vital tools fro webmasters including web applications , promotional and advertising tools to encourage webmasters to hold on to their leading positions.
You can submit your site to at http://www.google.com/addurl/ and the average index time is around 1 – 2 months. ( I had this site indexed in a week : )
I always prefer using Google Webmaster Tools to submit my sites and sitemaps as I find indexing and ranking are carried out faster.
Alternatively to the above you could simply build up links to your site first and let Google find your site via those links. http://www.dmoz.org/ is a good place to get your site listed and is sure to be crawled by Google. If you want your site indexing fast this is definitely the best way to do it.
Back in the Google used to up date it’s index on a monthly basis, this was a deep scan of all it’s unique urls, which it claims to have 1 trillion of; this process was also know as the Google dance.
However this seems to have become somewhat a historical feature. Matt Cutts who is the head of Googles webspam team was quoted saying;
“Google switched to an index that was incrementally updated every day”
This was referred to by some people as a update called everflux.
It has to be remembered that Google also has lot’s of regional branches such as Google Australia, Google Canada and Google UK, all these are in place to further the accuracy of your search result and to provide the most relevant information. This vital to know if you are attempting search engine optimisation and will be touched on in later lessons.
If you try to optimise your site for Google you are pretty much going to do well in all the main search engines. There are some differences but I want to focus on Google as it has;
- 60% search share
- 350 million searches per day
- also provides search results for AOL, Netscape, Ask, Iwon, ICQ and Myspace
It is for these reasons that most optimisers will focus on Google for their search engine optimisation efforts.
How To Optimise For Google
The three most important factors when dealing with Google Optimisation are Page Rank, link anchor text and semantics, let me just explain these in a little more detail.
PageRank – This is an absolute value given to every page in Google’s index. Later in these search engine optimisation lessons we will deal with it in a lot more detail but put basically your pagerank will depend on the quantity and quality of external sites linking to your pages. By quality I mean the site should have a high PR and/or should be content rich and updated regularly, the content should also be relevant to your own.
Mini or Local Rank – this is simply a modification of page rank and is largely based on the link structure of a single site. Remember search engines rank pages not websites and certain pages of your site are going to rank higher for certain keywords than other pages of your site, Local rank will have a massive influence on your general page rank or over all PR.
Anchor Text – It amazes me how many so called experienced search engine optimisers still have trouble grasping this one. All anchor text involves is the words used to link to your page, for instance if I had a link pointing here which stated “excellent site” this would be of no value to me, however if the link said “search engine optimisation advice well that would be a different story. Such a relevant link will certainly boost your PR.
Semantics – This is a fairly new addition to the Google arsenal and has made the biggest difference in results since 2004. In 2003 Google bought a company called applied semantics and have been using this technology for their Google Adsense advertising program. In it’s basic terms applied semantics looks at the relationship between words ie.. which wo
rds mean the same thing and which words are always used together. This is a powerful aspect and many webmasters under estimate the part it plays in indexing.
Well thats it for this lesson, in the next lesson I really want to go through on page factors you need to consider when optimising for Google and some other terms you will need to be aware of.
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Author: Tim (292 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.