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About Search Engines and Directories

Since search engines like Google, and directories like Yahoo!are the main way many Web users find information on the Web, your site must be listed with the major search engines and directories. Luckily, this is not too difficult because there are only a few major engines and directories.

Search Engines 

  • A search engine is a server that indexes websites. Thus, a search engine is a machine, a robot, but—it's a machine programmed by humans to rank pages as to how closely they happen to answer a user's query.
  • Each search engine develops its own indexing procedures; that's why, when you ask two different search engines the same question, you get two different results.
  • All search engines are interrelated, in that they all use search results from other search engines and directories.


  • A directory is an organized list of sites compiled by humans.
  • Yahoo! is a prime example of a directory. When you submit a site to Yahoo!, a human scrutinizes your site and considers whether to include it in the Yahoo! index. 
  • Usually, the large search engines are associated with particular directories.
  • If you are trying to increase your rank in a particular search engine, you must be listed in the directory linked to that search engine.

What Happens When You Submit Your URL to a Search Engine?

  • A spider, which is a robot, is dispatched by that engine to your site.
  • The spider crawls your site (that is, traces the links out from your home page) and stores all your pages in a database.
  • The search engine takes the pages from this database and automatically organizes or indexes them according to its unique ranking methods, so your pages can then be found by other search engines that have received a query about a topic related to your site.

What Affects A Site's Rank?

  • The content, or writing, is the most crucial element in whether a search engine gives your pages high marks. If your content is well written and useful, sites from all over the Internet will flock to it.
  • A good title and description.
  • The indexing methods of a particular engine might also favor some or all of the following site characteristics:

Keyword density

  • the number of keywords in a site's text compared to its total number of words

Link popularity

  • the number of websites displaying links to your site
  • how popular the sites are that link to your site

Click popularity

  • how many times a link to your site gets clicked when it is retrieved during a search. If your site is clicked more times than a site ranked above yours, your site's rank may be adjusted up.

Getting listed in online directories

  • Securing links in directories will swell the number of visitors to your site and will also increase your link popularity.

You may also pay companies like Google to increase your rank

A Few Words About Spamming: It's Not Allowed 
Spamming is the act of building little deceptions into your site to give you an unfair advantage in a search engine's indexes. These tactics include:

  • repeating the same word or phrase in your title, metatags, or text
  • including words or phrases into your metatags or title that are unrelated to the site's actual content
  • hiding text or other symbols within your pages by making them the same color as your background
  • smuggling in extra keywords by inserting them into lines of very small text



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