The motor driving the search engines is the spider. Spiders are automated programs wandering around the Web with the sole purpose of viewing and storing the contents therein. The way in which the spiders “store” the Web is the key factor determining the ultimate success, or failure, of your site.
Search results are based upon how effectively the engines spider your site. Some spiders are smarter than others, but they all have one thing in common. They all break when they attempt to catalog dynamic, or database driven, Web sites.
You can’t get any search engine rankings if you are not even getting spidered in the first place. Dynamic sites are driven by databases and code not just HTML as in the past. An example of a dynamic site is one with a catalog driven by an internal company database providing real time product information to Web searchers. Dynamic Web sites are highly recommended as a business tool but they all need help communicating with visiting spiders.
Your site is useless if it is not efficiently spidered. Even dynamic sites that do get spidered are very likely to have been inefficiently spidered. If you have a catalog with 5,000 items on the Web you should have 10,000 to 100,000 pages cataloged. Proving this phenomenon is simple and we use Google as a standard to provide evidence of inclusion, or more likely, lack thereof.
In the Google search box, type “site:www.YourWebAddress.com” and look at the results near the top right. You see the phrase: “Results 1-10 of about” and the number following the word “about” is the approximate number of existing Web pages in the Google database. Remember, this number, even when high, indicating that your pages were cataloged, probably reflects a high number of ineffectively cataloged pages.
We recently analyzed a dynamic site with 140,000 pages listed in Google’s database. Only the home page and a few other pages had any Google PageRank at all. Worse yet, the page had a very poor PageRank of a three out of a possible 10. The listed pages, with no PageRank, have no search value since there are no titles or descriptions resulting in no key-phrase exposure.
The server hosting your site very likely communicated erroneously with the spiders. The site appeared fuzzy to the spiders because of the code within the links of dynamic sites. The spiders need a lens, or glasses in a sense, provided by the host computer to take a clear snapshot of dynamic sites. This 20/20 vision for the spider will not yield strong results unless bundled with a meticulously planned key-phrase strategy.
Imagine the site mentioned earlier with a marketing value of more than 140,000 times its existing value with only a few days invested. If the pages are set up properly then this tremendously increases exposure of desirable key-phrases. This dramatically increases your site’s marketing value to the general searching community. The more times the spiders see your Web pages combined with your key-phrases, the better the results.
Your site will enjoy more qualified search engine traffic, a higher Google PageRank, higher overall search engine rankings and increased sales at a lower cost.
Google’s proprietary PageRank system is used to determine your Web pages overall relevancy. To view your site’s PageRank download the Google Toolbar.
After it is installed, click “options” and make sure the PageRank and Page Info boxes are checked. Now visit the Web site for which you wish to see the PageRank. Be sure to encode the current date someplace within your Web pages. This empowers you with the ability to determine how often Google spiders Web pages using the “Cached” copies of the page in Google.
Your site’s PageRank is almost completely dependent upon how other sites link to your site. The more links use your key phrases within the title of the link, the more marketing power you gain. The amount of the PageRank passed along from the linking pages is split among the number of pages linked to from the referring page. A link to your site will have the greatest impact on your PageRank if the page of origin has a high PageRank and fewer links to other sites.
Another contributing factor to your site’s PageRank is the IR score. This score relates the relevance of the search query to the actual text in the linking page and your site. One of IR factors is the anchor text, or the text in the link to your page. We learned this, in part, from comments made by Google founders. Google also uses your page title, font sizes, formatting, keyword positions and proximity to determine relevancy.
Remember, computers determine the results, but humans make the decision to click. Be sure titles and descriptions, which always contain key-phrases, are pertinent and logical to the human eye. Key-phrases should match within links, page titles, meta tags, Web page content and Web addresses.
Meticulous selection of key-phrases, and descriptions including phrases, are crucial. The final piece of the puzzle is a tracking system to determine if your clicks generate sales. Although a high click-through rate very likely indicates increased sales, there’s nothing better than proof.