Win the Search Engine Battle Through Content & Community

Alec Ross, VP of Operations – Mir Internet Services

First, Search Engine Optimization is practically useless unless you pick the right keywords, but we covered that in the last article. Assuming you have done your analysis and planning correctly, here’s what you need to know to get every bit of performance you can from your existing web site content.

Essentially, we’re talking about two different things: directories (like Yahoo and the Open Directory Project) and search engines (like Google and Altavista). For the directories, you submit sites for examination and approval. Human beings decide whether and where you fit into the directories, and they maintain and edit your title and description. Popularity-weighted search engines track your own site’s popularity and the combined popularity of the sites providing incoming links. Relevancy-weighted search engines look at the code of a web page to qualify its match to given search terms.

The programmers who work on today’s search engine technology are Internet “old school”. They (at best) reluctantly accept that search engines have become a marketing tool to many. So, those programmers have stacked the deck in favor of web sites that share information and services freely. If your site has a chance of winning search engine battles, you must concentrate on building a site rich with information, and keep in mind a few basics such as hand-coding your html, avoiding database-generated pages and Flash built web sites, and using text wherever possible instead of images.

Obviously there isn’t room for the volumes it would take to teach you how to optimize your site in this little article. I would rather beg you to concentrate on two things:

  • build a great web site that delivers value through excellent content
  • remember that the Internet is a community and the things you do to attract and nurture a community help your web site to win search engine battles.

Heed this advice, and your web site’s performance will improve dramatically