Web Sites Lost in Cyberspace:
How to Ensure your Web Site is Found
Abstract: A significant number of resources are expended on developing and maintaining University of Victoria Web sites. As student recruitment initiatives become increasingly more competitive, the ability for potential students and associates to locate departmental, faculty and staff Web sites, becomes critical. The emphasis of developing a University Web presence began by "getting the site published" and progressed to improving the design and usability of the site. However, a critical question remained unanswered, "What initiatives can be implemented to assist potential students and associates find the information they seek on University Web sites?" The focus of this paper details the design techniques and strategies that organizations can employ to help ensure their Web site is found by people searching the Internet using the Web's free search services.
HTML Title Tag The title is the most important element indexed by search engines and is the first line of information displayed by a search engine in the listing of pages found. The title must engage the viewer's interest and encourage the viewer to continue reading the description, and the description should compel the viewer to click on the link that loads the Web page.
<TITLE>Finding Web Pages using Search Engines</TITLE>
HTML Comment Tag Search engines that do not recognize Meta tags often index the comment field and use it as the description in the listing of search engine results.
<!-- Finding your Web site on the Internet. The main purpose of creating a Web page is to publish information on the Internet for others to read. What can you do to ensure search engines will find your Web page when users search the Internet?-->
HTML ALT Tag Attribute Search engines will not index graphic images. Use the ALT attribute to provide a method for search engines to index the graphic image and provide a text description of what the image represents for browsers that do not display graphic images.
<IMG SRC="sengine.gif" ALT="Search Engine Indexing Chart">
HTML META Tags Many search engines use Meta tags to index Web pages and respond to a searcher's query. Their purpose is to provide information about a Web page without the search engine scanning the entire document.
The description element defines the summary that some search engines display after the Web page has been selected by a keyword search. The description should be brief and describe what is found on the Web page, as well as encourage the searcher to click on the link that loads the Web page.
<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Finding your Web site on the Internet. The main purpose of creating a Web page is to publish information on the Internet for others to read. What can you do to ensure search engines will find your Web page when users search the Internet?">
The keywords element includes the carefully selected keywords that reflect the content of the Web page. Specify keywords and keyword phrases you anticipate the user would choose, including common misspellings. Separate each keyword or phrase with a comma. Avoid "spamming" by not repeating the same keyword excessively!
<META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="promoting web sites,website,web site,find,finding,searching, finding web sites,web page promotion,promote your web site,search,searchable,marketing,web page,finding sites,search engines,finding pages,directories,information,promo,register,locate,web development,internet marketing,internet,increase hits,increased,locating pages,hits,locate,promotion,sight,internet promotion">
Descriptive URL Choose a descriptive URL when naming the Web page. For example, on a Web page containing year 2000 information, the URL /y2000/y2kinfo.htm will more likely be found and receive a higher rating from search engines than /web/info.htm.
Manual Web Page Registration
Before registering Web pages, determine how each search engine displays its found listings and read the Help pages to confirm your submission adheres to the criteria for each search engine. Search engine robots require the Web page URL. Directories require more information such as the URL, title, description, subject category and keywords. It may be better to register your site manually to ensure Web page registration is handled correctly for each search engine.
Automated Submission Services
Free submission services are available to automate Web page registration. Some search engines will not accept registration by an automated submission service and registration may take much longer.
Free search engine ranking service and Meta tag builder:http://www.rankthis.com/
Sullivan, D. (1999). A Webmaster's Guide To Search Engines [Online].Available:http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/index.html. [1999, August 16].
Visual Metrics Corporation (1999). Tutorial: Guide to Effective Searching of the Internet [Online]. Available: http://www.thewebtools.com/tutorial/tutorial.htm. [1999, August 16].
WDVL internet.com (1999). How in the World (Wide Web) will they Find
me? [Online]. Available:
http://wdvl.internet.com/Location/Promotion/ [1999, August 12].
Short paper presented at WebNet 99 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
Copyright 1999. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Distributed via the Web by permission of AACE.
Document Location: http://web.uvic.ca/~bgerth/findingwebpages.html
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