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Prepare your web site for Search Engine Registration Print


Before you rush off to register your new web site on search engines, you need to know a little about how to maximise the results of your efforts. To get best value from your submissions, it is important to prepare your web site with the necessary information to assist search engines in doing their work. Specifically, we will look at 4 items that will help:


1. Page TITLE Tag
4. ROBOTS.TXT Exclusions


Please note that the first 3 of these items are recommended, while the 4th is optional and will rarely be used. The addition of these items to your page prior to submission is your responsibility.


Page TITLE Tag


The page TITLE Tag is specified using the <TITLE> element in your web page, and appears in a visitor's web browser title bar.


Obviously, the TITLE is a fairly short description, needing to fit in the user's browser title bar. In turn, this can be augmented by:




The META DESCRIPTION Tag is a hidden object - not displayed in the Web Browser. It is used purely by search engines to extract information from your page about it's content.


META DESCRIPTION should contain a more detailed description about your site, who you are, and what you do. While there are no specific limits on the length of this description, it would be best to get your message across in about the first 250 characters (about 3 lines). It is our understanding that some engines will ignore text beyond this limit.


To find out if you already have a META DESCRIPTION tag, you'll will need to look at your web page (HTML) source code. Look for a tag something like this:


<META name="Description" content="Virtual Access provides high quality casual and permanent Internet access in Melbourne (Australia) and surrounding areas. Virtual Access also provides high-uptime hosting services with rapid domain registration and caters for most other Internet needs.">




The META KEYWORDS Tag is also a hidden object. Again, it is used only be search engines. In this case, careful selection of keywords allows users to easily locate your page/site.


The correct selection of keywords is very important to getting good results from your submission. When selecting keywords, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. Ask yourself - If I were a web surfer looking for my business, how would I describe it to a search engine? What words would I type in to find my site?


Remember that you need to do this exercise from the USER perspective. Their selection of keywords may be different to yours because of their different perspective - lack of knowledge of your industry, for example, may effect their keyword selection.


While selecting keywords, it is often helpful to take a mental walk through your web site. Consider the products and services you are promoting, the individual pages you have built, and think about the specific keywords for each of them.


Once you have chosen your keywords, they need to go into your HTML source code. You may already have a keywords tag, or you may have to add one. It will look something like this:


<META name="keywords" content="virtual, fast, quality, internet, access, casual, permanent, hosting, web, site, domain, melbourne, healesville, alexandra, yarra valley, goulburn valley">


The keywords are separated by commas (and obviously, this is an old example from our web site - you'll need to change the keywords!), and an individual key "word" may consist of more than one word (more like a "key phrase"). The interpretation of multi-word keywords may vary between search engines.


ROBOTS.TXT Exclusions


A ROBOTS.TXT file placed in the root directory of your web server provides pointers for many search engines. Specifically, those that understand the file can be told NOT to index parts of your site. These may be private areas, or areas under development.


As this facility is not often required, we will refrain from explaining it in detail. For a thorough explanation of the ROBOTS.TXT exclusion format, see http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/robots.html.