Web Site Designs & Creations
other SEARCH ENGINES
|ALTA VISTA www.altavista.com
FAST www.alltheweb.com reindexes the web every 2 weeks
GOOGLE PLEX www.google.com
|Some sites specialize in tracking down multimedia files. Scour.Net (www.scour.net) is dedicated to finding images, video clips, and sound files. It also features Scour Media Agent 2.5, a free download for quickly grabbing multimedia off the Web. You can find pictures with the Arriba Vista Image Searcher (www.arribavista.com). MP3 music fans can find tracks with the help of MP3meta (www.mp3meta.com) or Lycos MP3 Search (mp3.lycos.com).|
Windows 98 makes searching your PC or the Web for contact information quick and easy. Click on Start, then choose Find, People. Use the Look In drop-down menu to select which source to search. You can even find people's public keys (for encrypting e-mail) by choosing VeriSign in the Look In list.
If you don't have Windows 98, or if you're already on the Web, head straight to InfoSpace (www.infospace.com). Its Ultimate White Pages lets you search a worldwide phone and address directory and do reverse lookups (type in a phone number and find out whose it is).
But what if you want more dirt on someone than just a phone number? No problem. KnowX.com (www.knowx.com) lets you search public records, so you can run a background check on your day care provider, your contractor, or the strange guy next door. Some searches, such as basic info about businesses, are free. Others, such as bankruptcy records, cost less than $2. The records themselves cost between $1 and $7.
Unlock Hidden Info
Search engines can't get at all the information on the Web. But powerize.com uncovers hidden information -- content locked behind subscriber-only sites as well as information that's free but inaccessible to Internet search sites. You can search articles, financial reports, and industry analyses from 8,000-plus sources, including the Financial Times, Find/SVP, and Zacks. The full document costs money -- usually a few bucks, depending on the content -- but Powerize.com supplies a synopsis so you know what you're buying.
Find a Business:
First try typing WWW.COMPANYNAME.COM in your browser. You might get lucky.
If the site doesn't exist, or if it turns out it's not for the right company, try ComFind (comfind.com). You can search for companies by name, category, product, or service.
Another excellent way to find a specific company's site is to use iAtlas (www.iatlas.com). It pairs Inktomi's search engine and infoUSA's company database to offer the most targeted business searches we've found.
Problem Search engines, directories, metasearch sites -- which is best?
Solution Directories like Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) group sites into categories and lead you to what you're looking for by narrowing the search. If you're going after something straightforward, such as volleyball clubs in the greater Minneapolis area, start with Yahoo. Search engines like Excite (www.excite.com), HotBot (www.hotbot.com), and Lycos (www.lycos.com) frequently scan the Web to refresh their keyword indexes. They're best for broader searches that include several terms or ideas. A metasearch site runs your query against several search sites at once -- saving time and boosting the likelihood of finding exactly what you want.
Metasearch sites let you use lots of search engines at once. Here are our favorites.
Dogpile Search 13 popular engines as well as Usenet newsgroups.
Mamma The mother of all search engines lets you put the top engines to work, even searching for MP3, image, or sound files.
Metacrawler Search nine of the most popular engines or Usenet newsgroups.
ProFusion Lets you choose the three best engines based on your query, the three fastest engines, or all the engines.
SavvySearch Create your own custom metasearch site.
A quick Registry tweak changes Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0's default search service. But if you want a choice of search engines, download PowerToys for IE4 or Web Accessories for IE5, which give you instant access to the major search sites.
Step 1 Using the site of your choice, search for a keyword such as
TEST. On the results page, select the Web address and copy it.
Step 2 Paste the URL into Notepad and replace test with %s.
Step 3 Back up your Registry and run the Registry Editor. Replace the Default value for HKEY_CURRENT _USER/ Software/ Microsoft/ Internet Explorer/ SearchUrl with the modified URL in Notepad.
Problem Are the free search-engine submission services worthwhile?
Solution With both free and paid submission services, you enter your site's information once and it gets sent automatically to lots of search services. For example, the gratis submission service Submit It Free (siteowner.linkexchange.com/Free.cfm) lets you send your URL to AltaVista, Infoseek, and Northern Light, as well as specialty services like ComFind. For $59, Submit It lets you send two Web addresses to more than 400 search sites, including all the biggies.
But it's hard to measure results for the free services because few notify you of successful submission to the search engines. And since they're automated, they're prone to fail if a search service suddenly changes its electronic submission form. The best way to ensure that the submission is done right is to do it yourself. The major search sites include AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, Excite, HotBot, Infoseek, Lycos, Northern Light, WebCrawler, and Yahoo. Some make it easier than others. At Northern Light, for example, just click on the Register URL tab at the top of the home page. And make sure you check back to see that your pages actually appear.
Lucky for you it's someone else's job to keep an eye on search engines -- both how they find your site and how they help you find stuff online. Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch (www.searchenginewatch.com) features articles, charts, and tutorials that keep you in the know about how search engines work and how they can send people to your site in droves. Most of the site is free -- including an e-mail newsletter -- but for $44 a year you can tap into even more insider tips for getting noticed on the Web.
ALT and COMMENT tags get you noticed. AltaVista, Infoseek, and Lycos index ALT text inside IMG tags on Web pages; HotBot indexes COMMENT text.
Beware of image maps. If you use them for navigation, be sure to include text hyperlinks on your pages too. Some search engine spiders can't follow image map links.
Dynamic pages aren't indexed. Most search engines miss pages created dynamically by scripts. Use gateway or bridge pages as a workaround.
Update your pages frequently. Search engines revisit sites with new and updated pages more often than they do static sites.
Increase your site's popularity. Get other sites to link to yours to increase its popularity rating, which boosts your pages' rank.
A Yahoo listing could boost your site's traffic, if you could just figure out the secret to getting on the service's radar. For pointers on making a submission to its Internet directory, see howto.yahoo.com/chapters/10/1.html. If you still don't see your site posted after you've entered it, check the status of your submission by sending an e-mail message to url-support@ yahoo-inc.com.
Optimize a page for multiple search services:
What each search engine considers when determining a page's relevance varies widely. Elements that increase a page's ranking for one engine might actually penalize the page on another. To get around this, create bridge or gateway pages designed for a specific search service or a particular search phrase. You post the bridge pages on your site and submit the separate addresses to the appropriate search site.
For example, come up with five keywords or phrases that point to the content on your site and create a set of five pages, each built around the keyword or phrase. If you include the keyword in the page's title, metatags, description, and content, the page is more likely to rank high in search results for that keyword. When tailoring your bridge pages to match a specific search site's guidelines, be sure not to spam that engine -- a grave offense that can get you kicked out of an engine's index fast. For a description of what search sites' spiders look for, see Search Engine Watch's Features page at www.searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/features.html.
Metatags for adding keywords and descriptions to your pages are definitely worthwhile. While metatags don't always shoot your page to the top, many search engines consider them. Plus metatags give you a way to include information that may not appear on the page itself. Of course, the best strategy for making sure your site gets noticed is to repeat the keywords in the metatags on the pages themselves. Both HotBot and Infoseek boost a page's ranking based on metatag keywords.
What to put inside metatags? Text and formatting are key to whether search sites pick up your pages. Since most people type search terms without capitals, make keywords inside metatags lowercase. (Bear in mind, though, that AltaVista and Infoseek are case sensitive.) Separate your keywords with commas, and don't worry about including plural or compound forms--fly, fishing versus fly, fishing, fly fishing, for example -- unless you think your target audience will use that phrase when searching. If they're more likely to search specifically for the phrase fly fishing, you should include it.
Problem Search engines are missing crucial pages on my site. What's going on?
Solution Search engines use spiders (also called crawlers) to index the Web. But engines like Excite, HotBot, Infoseek, and Lycos can't handle sites that use frames (AltaVista can). As a workaround, make sure you use metatags on your frameset page (also called the master page). You must also include all the content -- including links -- you'd want a search engine spider or a frames-incapable browser to see within the NOFRAMES tags. This lets a spider index your site but can create additional problems. For example, visitors may end up getting funneled to your site by way of a frameless page that's meant to be part of a frameset and may not include a link back to your framed home page. For a more in-depth explanation, check out Search Engine Watch (searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/frames.html).
Hit the Top 5
Problem I want my page to appear in the top five hits for a particular keyword.
Solution Getting your pages to show up high in the returned list for a given keyword search is critical to boosting traffic. But even if you use metatags and do everything else right, you still may not show up in the top 10. Of course you can always buy your way to the top on GoTo.com (www.goto.com). You bid for a given search term; the higher your bid, the higher your ranking for that particular keyword. If no one visits your site via GoTo.com, you don't pay a cent; otherwise you pay whatever you bid per click-through.
Problem How do people find my site, and how can I get more visitors?
Solution First consult your site's referrer log file. It shows the Web address each visitor came from. (If you don't know how to get to the referrer log, ask your ISP or Web host.) Visit the referring sites to find out how people linked to you. Get in touch with the sites' Webmasters to learn how they can continue to feature your site, or even highlight it more prominently. (The best way to sweeten the pot is to offer a reciprocal link, if appropriate.) And remember: Having other sites link to yours increases the popularity value of your site, which search engines like WebCrawler, Excite, Lycos, and HotBot use to determine a page's rank.
Problem A search service dropped my site from its listings, claiming that I had spammed it. What does that mean?
Solution People spam search engines all the time -- and the folks who run search sites hate it. Different from e-mail spams, search engine spams occur when a page owner tries to trick a search service into putting the page in more search results, which gives the page a higher ranking than it deserves. For example, including invisible text by making the text the same color as the page background is considered spam. Adding metatag keywords that are unrelated to your site is also a big no-no. Take care that you don't inadvertently cause search services to think your pages contain spam, particularly because some engines automatically penalize sites they think are guilty by lowering their ranking or dropping them from their indexes altogether.
There's no magic bullet that will guarantee you a prominent spot in search results across all the search services. But if you follow these steps, you're more likely to get noticed.
Step 1 Consider your keywords with care. Imagine you're an average Joe
searching for a site like yours. What search words would you use to find it?
Work those words or phrases into your site's content.
Step 2 Don't forget to title each page on your site. Include keywords in the page's TITLE tag as well as in the KEYWORD metatag.
Step 3 Include your keywords in the first paragraph of each page. Place that text as close to the top of the page as possible.
Step 4 Imagine that each page on your site is a separate entry point. Follow the previous steps for every page on your site.
Last Update: 12/02/04