Intro to SEO
As you probably already know, Search Engine Optimzation (SEO) basically refers to modifying the html code of your website to maximize your chances of being “noticed” by a search engine. What you may not know is how the search engine works to find all that information. Considering that this is our introductory article on Search Engine Optimization, it is probably best to start here.
There are basically two types of search engines on the internet today: crawler based engines, and directory based engines. The most widely used crawler search engine is Google and the two most widely used directories are Yahoo! and the DMOZ. Lets start with the crawlers.
The idea is pretty simple; once a website has submitted its url to the search engine, the site is placed in cue to be crawled, or indexed, by the search engine’s “crawler,” “spider” or “robot.” Each of these terms is referring to the same thing. Right now if you’re thinking about how much you hate spiders, have no fear, your arachnophobia has nothing to worry about. The terms are actually referring to an algorithm that is programmed by the search engine to gather as much information about your website as possible. The search engine sends the crawler to your site to read all of your code and gather information. While it is reading your code, the crawler searches for links to other pages within your site. When it finds a link, it “crawls” to the next page to gather more information. Once the crawler has gone through and indexed all of your code from each page in your site, it reports back to the search engine with all of the information. This information is stored on the search engine and made available to anyone who is searching. Obviously there are many more details involved in this process, but this is basically how crawler based search engines work.
A directory search engine is a totally different animal from a crawler search engine. Directories are human powered engines that require the approval of an editor for your site to be included. Rather than send out a crawler to find information on your site, a directory has a human editor that reads and evaluates the content of your site before determining whether or not it is worthy of inclusion. Yahoo! began as only a directory engine, but ended up adding a crawler feature sometime in the late 1990’s. Today, the majority of searching on Yahoo! is done with their crawler engine, but they still hold one of the most impressive directories on the internet. In my opinion, the Yahoo! directory is the second best directory on the internet. The number one spot for my money would have to go to the DMOZ.
Contrary to Yahoo! who charges $299 per year to be listed in their directory, the DMOZ is a completely free project that is maintained by volunteer editors around the world. The concept behind the DMOZ is very similar to that of the Oxford dictionary. Use volunteers to provide strength in numbers. The internet is constantly growing at a staggering pace and there is a school of thought that believes that automated search engines simply can not continue to provide useful results. The DMOZ never has and never will charge anything to submit a site or to search for sites. They currently boast impressive statistics which include a database of about 5.2 million sites, 71,000 editors and 600,000 categories. One thing to remember about submitting your website to any directory is that there is no guarantee that you will be included. If your site is filled with some type of useful content, and you have submitted your site to the right category of the directory, you should be fine, but there are no guarantees.
When optimizing your website for search engines it is best to keep the two types of search engines in mind. Write as much relevant content as possible and submit your site to as many search engines and directories as possible. To begin learning about how to modify your website for Search Engine Optimization, read our next article: “Search Engine Optimization: A How to Guide” by clicking here.
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