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Search engines and indices assist web readers find the proverbial needle in the haystack
How well does a search engine work if you can't type and you can't spell?
What you find depends on what -- and how -- you are seeking.
An index -- such as the
Open Directory Project
-- categories documents and entire websites and allows webmasters to submit a site. There is also
which allows participants to help co-create an online encyclopedia.
works as an index -- archiving our own materials (10,000+ pages) and linking to quality sites elsewhere on the Web. We also employ a
which helps locate specific documents on our site.
Finding specific information on the web is not an easy task. The quest for the right information is not getting any easier. At times information overload makes the search seem like getting a drink from a waterfall.
Enter Search Engines and Indices. Ever since the Good Old Days (five years ago), a new search engine has emerged about every six months which provides a faster and more thorough index. Type in a few key words and the result is a list of relevant documents. Software developers hoped that by showing off the indexing prowess, the site could sell itself -- or at least its advanced technology.
As search engines age, they cater more to paid sponsors -- and risk losing the readers who trusted the site for reliable information. Businesses which pay get listed first. For businesses, the advantage is increased exposure. But often the commercial links have little relation to the information that was requested. As search engines stop catering to readers, the result is a swift exit to the next big and better search engine. And on and on it goes.
is going through major changes. Will a new search engine usurp the leader? Stay tuned ... Meanwhile, 'googling' has become short-hand for "searching the web."
While PDFs are visually attractive, please note that many search engines do not scan the text, which can be a plus or a minus depending on what you are seeking.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
If you are promoting your own site, keep in mind that no single tactic works for all search engines. Either invest the time in researching how they work or pay someone to do that work for you.
There are three tags of note -- title, description and keywords. Title tags appear at the top of the browser and should be concise -- no more than 50 characters. The description tag should have no more than 200 characters, but should adequately describe the content of the page for 'robot friendly' searching. The maximum number of keywords is 20.
-- Run your site through
which offers hints on how you can optimize your site.
Insider's Guide to Google
SEARCH ENGINES EXPLAINED
Search Engine Land
Search Engine Showdown
Search Engine Watch
High Rankings Forum
All the Web
Librarians' Index to the Internet
Yahoo Submit a Site
Google Web Directory
Open Directory Project
ADDING A SEARCH ENGINE TO YOUR SITE
Your website will be used by a variety of readers -- those who are comfortable with the Web and those not so Internet savvy. If your site is larger than a dozen pages, you might want to add a search engine to your site.
Beyond the technical fix, think carefully about what your readers will find. Journalists and media professionals use the Web on a daily basis to conduct research, look for experts and search for
. Make sure that this information is easy to find on your site via a search engine, hyperlinks and old-fashioned organization.
Think from the point of view of your intended client -- how might they peruse your site? There is no single way as web users refuse to behave. Encourage such independent thinking, but leave some bread crumbs to the information (such as sales or news) that is most valuable to you.
The following search engines can be added to your website free of charge. Be aware, though, that sometimes policies change. That said, Google does provide an excellent free search engine which Planeta currently employs for our internal
SEARCH ENGINES YOU CAN ADD TO YOUR WEBSITE
What's most important is ranking high in search engine results so that a potential user finds you when he or she is ready.
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