conclusive tracking around. Therefore, while PPC is by no means a requirement for
good SEO, it’s an Eternally Attractive Option to have available to you.
Site feeds have been around for years in one form or another, but their methodology is
still morphing. Available in various forms, they are Eternally Helpful for large or fre-
quently updated sites. Just as you may use a feed to be notified of your favorite blog or
news topic, the search engines use site feeds to sit back and receive information from
websites without sending spiders out to constantly gather, gather, gather. Feeds work
well for regularly edited websites such as blogs and news sites (feeding the content of
their daily posts) and online sellers (feeding up-to-the-minute commercial information
such as product descriptions and prices). You may also have heard of
programs where search engines allow certain “trusted”—and, usually,
paying—websites to send the engines regular updates. Generally these types of listings
get thrown into the mix with robot-gathered sites and have to fend for themselves,
with no special status in the ranking algorithms.
Meta Search Engines
Some people are comparison shoppers, flitting from store to store to review all the
merchandise before making a decision. For people who like to compare search results,
meta search engines make it easy to review listings from different search engines in one
screen—no flitting from site to site necessary. Simply put, meta search engines compile
and display results from several search engines and rank them according to their own
algorithms. You can’t use SEO to improve your presence on meta search engines
directly; if a meta search engine like Mamma.com or Dogpile.com is using Google
results, the way to do better on the meta search engine is to do better on Google.
Here’s something that drives people crazy about SEO: You can’t ever be 100 percent
sure that what you’re doing will be rewarded with the rank and the listing you want.
This is because the search engines keep their internal ranking mechanism, even the cri-
teria by which the ranking is determined, under wraps. Welcome to the secret formula
of SEO: The Search Engine Ranking Algorithm.
The algorithm is the formula that a search engine uses to determine its ranks.
It’s a way of sifting through a multitude of factors, including keyword repetition and
page titles, inbound links, and even the age of the site. Some elements have more
weight, meaning that they are considered to be more important in determining rank,
and some have less. Each search engine uses its own algorithm to determine which
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