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The Mystery Explained
If you've spent any time at all on the internet you've probably searched for something by one of two popular methods.  

One method is to go to a site that is a directory of internet websites (think yellow pages) and then find a category you are looking for and then click through links until you get a listing of internet sites that are in the specific subcategory you are interested in.   The most well-known directory of this type is Yahoo.Com.

The second popular method is to use a search engine site. With a search engine you enter some words that describe what you are looking for into a text box and click a button which executes the search.  The site returns pages of listings that they feel best matches the terms you were looking for.  The most well-known example of a search engine is Google.Com.

A talented internet developer will know how to build your site so you are accurately listed in directories and so you will rank well in search engines.  Doing this allows people to find your site with minimal fuss and increases your traffic and, ultimately, your sales.  So it's critical that you pick a talented developer like Bizhand.Com who knows what it takes to put your name on top!

Recipes for Search Engine Success

In the first quarter of 2004 the lines between directories and search engines have become as blurred as they have ever been on the internet.  Essentially, the focus has turned to search engines as opposed to directories and the big three names vying to be the search engine of choice are Google, MSN and Yahoo.   We could publish pages of information about the changes taking place, but for the purposes of this section of our site we're gong to stick to some tried and true recipes for what makes a site rank well under most conditions.
* Domain Name Selection  Generally speaking, a domain name that contains the search terms you want to focus on will do better than another domain name.  So, let's say our example business sells custom home plans and blueprints and the name of the company is "John Doe and Associates."  Having the domain name johndoe.com will not perform as well for search engine purposes as having the domain name johndoehomeplans.com.  As mentioned elsewhere on our site a solution may be to have a few domain names for specific purposes that point to one website. 
* Page Text   Search engines use funny terms like "spiders," "robots," and "crawlers," to describe a simple process. The process is a piece of custom software they use (which is what they build their business around) to become an automated website visitor (consider it to be a web surfer on steroids!) that does nothing but go from one website to another and scans all (or most all) the pages in your site and uses it's custom program to evaluate those pages and determine where it "ranks" within their millions of other pages.

One of the elements they evaluate heavily would be the text on your webpage.  If your domain name says johndoehomeplans.com but your page text doesn't mention "home plans" then your page won't rank as high as if it did.  At the same time if the page says "home plans" too often you may get marked down by the search engine.  It's a balance, for sure.  So, you must develop copy for your pages that not only expresses ideas and offerings to a site visitor but also keeps search engine optimization in mind.
* Title Tags  Many search engines look at the title of your page and use that to rank your site within their listings.  The more your title can reflect the words your business wants to focus on, then the better you will most likely rank.  For example, look at the very top of your browser window—above all the menus and icons in the blue (for most of us) border at the top and you'll see this page title is "Bizhand.Com Web Design and Hosting - Search Optimized." 
* Meta Tags  There are varied types of Meta tags, but we'll stick to keywords for this discussion.  Simplified, a meta tag is coding put "behind" a webpage (meaning you don't see it but it's there) that is useful to learn more about the page.  The biggest use of meta tags is to accommodate search engine spiders, crawlers, and robots.  You determine the keywords to describe your site and place them in this meta tag.  That tag with those keywords helps rank your site when the search engines visit.  Now, there's a bit more to it than that.  The order of keywords matters (as different engines analyze a different number of them and also create strings based on the order of them).  As a very minor example let's just look at four words "blueprints," "home," "plans," and "custom."  Some might put the keywords thusly: [blueprints, home, plans, custom] because that's the order "they thought of them,"  We'd achieve better rankings putting them like this: [custom, home, plans, blueprints] The second way will better accommodate a search for custom home plans, home blueprints, custom blueprints and some other combinations when compared to the first.  So, order does matter.  Too many keywords also matters because you may be knocked down by a search engine for using too many or repeating one word too many times (they build into their programs systems to identify abuse).  There's more on meta tags but that's the basics.
* Alt Tags  Not everyone views a webpage in a graphical fashion. Sometimes due to their browser technology but more often due to disabilities.  For individuals who have software that "reads" a webpage to them the software does fine with the page text, but struggles with the graphics.   The solution is to use an "Alt Tag" on the graphics that describes what the image is so the software can read it.  For example, if you have a site where the menu is built using graphical buttons then the Alt Tag should describe the button.  A "Home" button that you can see isn't a "Home" button to the software page reader until the Alt tag says "Home."  Properly Identifying a graphic in this manner is crucial to being able to help those with disabilities navigate your site.  Additionally, the use of these tags can also help your search engine rankings when executed properly.
* Non-Framed Sites  A framed website is one where the screen is split into two or more sections (frames, sometimes visible to the eye, but usually not) and content in one or more of these sections changes independent of content in another section.  While search engines have improved, they were never very good at using their automated solutions to navigate a framed site and therefore a framed site almost always ranked lowed than a similar site with no frames.  This still holds true today and should be a consideration of yours when you plan your site.  Keep in mind some designer/developers will steer you to a frames-based site because their work becomes substantially easier in many respects even if your search results suffer because of it.
* Non-Database Driven Sites  While all the rage right now, especially among site design solutions that are template driven and often aimed at the "do-it-yourselfer," a database-driven site will not rank as high in search engines as it's static page counterpart.  Again, the search engines don't do nearly as well at ranking pages with dynamic content (read database-driven content) for a number of reasons, the biggest being it's harder for their robots, crawlers, and spiders to access the database and the other being that the URL (the www.johndoe.com/id=43) is not as descriptive as the static counterpart  of www.johndoe.com/custom/home_plans/modern/ranch/newport.htm. 
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Understanding Search is beyond the scope of many web designers and developers too focused on making it look "cool" and activating the bells and whistles along with "Flash" and other non-essentials. 

Bizhand.Com wants your site to be effective and produce results for your business.  There is a dramatic difference.
























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