Search Engine-Specific Optimization

Search Engine-Specific Optimization

Search engines are the major traffic generators for websites which is why most webmasters optimize their web pages to rank prominently in these engines’ results pages. But the sheer number of search engines trawling the World Wide Web, each having its own indexing and ranking algorithm, have however made optimization a bit of a challenge.

And although there are search engine optimization (SEO) tips and tricks that work across the spectrum, the reality is, a good results page listing for a specific search term in one engine does not necessarily mean an equally good listing in another.

To help you along, we offer the following pointers when optimizing specifically for some of the more popular search engines out there.

Search Engines Inktomi Google Yahoo!
URL Include keywords, structure for meaningful navigation Use keyword Use keyword; Max 63 characters; Use hyphens, Use long domain names to your advantage
Keyword/phrase Density (KD) Higher is better 5-20%; More weight on first 25 words Higher is better
Title Tag ~10 words (50-70 characters); Be specific; Include company name if possible Use keywords; 4-12 words 15-20% KD; Use official co./site name; Keep it short
Meta Keyword For core, quality phrases you want to rank for; Separate with commas (no spaces after) 12-24 words; May not be read but optimize anyway; No Meta Refresh; No keyword stuffing Definitely read so use them; 2-3% KD
Meta Description 15-20 words; Re-emphasize keywords in title; Concise; Specific to content
Robots Tag Use when needed
Body Visible near top of page; >200 words; Use list elements with possible links to appropriate site section; important keywords; Longer keyphrases not short generic terms Keyword rich, original content; Keywords in in

and tags 2.5-3% KD, supports many file types (PDF, MS office docs)
Alt Tags Single phrase Counts to relevancy Whenever possible
Links Link popularity is not important but backlinks are needed; Don’t use keywords in more than 50% of link texts; Orphaned pages are dropped Link popularity (measured as PageRankT) is important; Get high quality inbound & outbound links to relevant content; Link to pages already indexed; Don’t link to spam sites Not as important as in Google, but are needed
Design Limit javascript, CSS, affiliate links, dynamic URLs (though they can be indexed) No frames, Flash; Clean HTML codes; Implement filter at server level to rewrite URLs for dynamic content Should be user-friendly; Does not follow SRC links (Frames, images)
Notes Each page should be unique, with relevant content; Include an index page; No doorway pages 100,000 character limit, Update pages and content often; Name directories/files according to keywords; Use sitemap linked from home page 500,000 character limit; Make an About Us page describing what you do + physical address; Target home page for 2-3 keywords and use of subpages

Despite lagging behind other search engines in recent years, both SEO consultant Barry Lloyd and Internet Marketing Research, nevertheless, see the value in optimizing for Inktomi, with the former, emphasizing the value of its Pay for Inclusion program, and the latter, its acquisition by Yahoo! as good reasons for doing so. Jason Dowdell also throws in his vote via the How to Optimize for Inktomi in 2004 tutorial.

And as for optimizing for Yahoo! and Google, well, no reason is needed other than that they are possibly the two largest (and most popular?) search engines. Why else would there be a glut of articles devoted on the subject? Here are some of them:
Optimizing for Yahoo: The Next Big Thing, by Maneesh Makheeja
Search Engines/Yahoo Guide by David Callan
Yahoo Optimization – How to Optimize for the New Yahoo
Web Page Optimization for Google
Optimization for Google
Optimizing for Google
Another search engine you can optimize for is Teoma. Here, standard SEO techniques apply too, but with some additional considerations.

* ‘related subjects’ category – you need to include several ‘related’ terms to every page submitted that targets any single search term
* linking structure – should be consistent and theme-based
* authority established by a community of related web pages – get your page linked to / cited by established subject-specific authorities.

These and other information are discussed more thoroughly by Dan Thies in Teoma Ranking Tips and by Brett Tabke in Teoma Hits the Ground Running.

Of course this doesn’t mean that you have to make different pages for different search engines, but maybe a consolidation of the above ideas, along with the usual do’s and don’ts might help you fashion a strategy that would score points across the search engine spectra.


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