that term are brought to the forefront. The search engine sifts through its database for
sites containing terms like “
growers,” “stock market
,” and “
ease.” It uses a secret formula—a.k.a. search ranking
—to sort the results,
and in a fraction of a second, a list of relevant sites, many containing the exact phrase
“grape bubble gum,” will be returned in the results page.
There are lots of things that factor into the way robot search engines determine
the rank for their main search results. But, just for a start, in order to be in the running
for ranks, you need to provide HTML text to feed the search engines and HTML links
as clear paths to the food. Keeping those robots well-fed and happy is going to be one
of the biggest priorities in Part III, “Your SEO Plan.”
A Search Engine by Any Other Name
We like to talk about search engines at parties—hey,it’s how we get our clients—and when we
use the term
with our pals, we really mean search
like Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.
But folks in the search industry can get pretty picky on terminology.Technically, a search
the software that is used to retrieve information from an indexing database, while a search
website that combines and displays all of that information, often from multiple sources. But, frankly,
we don’t give a hoot about the technical accuracy of the term. Everyone and his mother calls Yahoo!
, and—with apologies to the purists out there—we do too.
Search Results Are Blended
If you’ve spent much time searching, you have probably noticed that the search
engines are not displaying one set of homogeneous results. Most search engines take
the “chef’s salad” approach, displaying a mix of robot results, directory listings, and
pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Your site is probably already represented by most of the types
of results we’re about to discuss. Knowing what each type looks like and where they
come from is the first step in being able to influence your own listings in a positive
way. You learned about robot results earlier; here are the other types of results that
are available to searchers.
Unlike those robot search engines, directory listings are often compiled by humans.
Whether these humans are editors who work for the search engines or the site owners
themselves who write and submit their own listings, it is often easy to tell the difference
between a directory and a robot search result. Take a look at this robot-generated listing
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