Re: HTML keywords & search engines (LONG)

Subject: Re: HTML keywords & search engines (LONG)
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 09:51:23 -0600

At 11:28 AM 10/13/97 GMT, you wrote:
>Anyone have any tips on getting a site registered with the search engines?

First, check out Jennifer Jelinek <jlkraus -at- AMETEKWATER -dot- COM>'s post
on the topic--good information and what looks like a good resource
as well.

Full disclosure: Deb and I are doing some consulting work with
AltaVista, therefore we have both good info and a bias. Additionally,
we co-authored _The AltaVista Search Revolution_ (Osborne) and are currently
working on the second edition.

It seems that everyone on the 'Net is working their tails off to get
found, and found at the very top of the results list on a very
general search. However, IMNSHO, that's not the right way to do it.

Take our field as an example: On "technical communication"
AltaVista finds roughly 13,000 pages. "technical writing" yields
about 37,000 pages. What are the chances
that a given page will land in the top ten pages? What about the
companies that "guarantee" top 10 or top 20 placement on search
engines by tweaking the META tags or spamming search engines?
Trick Question: How many sites are likely to be able to get top
10 placement on the phrase "technical communication"?

What's the answer? Describe your page thoroughly, accurately, and
completely. Use the META tags, make sure you have a good and
punchy title, and include all the relevant info you can on the page.
Then, assume that potential readers will eventually learn to search
effectively. For example, if I'm a novice searcher and looking for
information about technical writing, I'll likely search for
technical writing
or, if I'm doing a little better
"technical writing"
"technical writing" "technical communication"
(80+% of all AltaVista searches are for a single word.)
However, if I'm really on top of this searching business, I'd
do a search like:
links resources technical communication "technical writing"
and get much closer to what I need. (The more terms you use
in your search, the better your results will be.)

Basically, with the incredible volume of information out there, a
generic search won't cut it, and trying to "optimize" your page
for a generic search is likely to be unsuccessful and frustrating.
However, if you use all the tools available to accurately and
completely describe your page and trust that people searching
will learn to describe what they want completely and accurately,
you'll have no problems.


Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner

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