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Search engines generally search pages for keywords and use relevancy ranking systems to sort the results. These systems compute the number of times the word(s) entered in the search appear in the document, and divide this by the total number of words in the document. The assumption is that the more times a word occurs in a document, the more relevant the document is to the search.

Some Suggestions for Increasing Relevancy

  • Use keywords and description META tags and place them in the HEAD section after the TITLE tag. Limit the description to 250 characters, and try to keep it under 150 characters if possible. For example:
    <TITLE>My Favorite Hobby</TITLE>
    <META name="keywords" content="stamps, stamp collecting, stamp history, prices, stamps for sale">
    <META name="description" content="Everything you wanted to know about stamps, from prices to history.">
  • Select your keywords carefully.
  • Consult other people for help in choosing your keywords.
  • Research your "competition" regarding their keywords and techniques, and emulate them where appropriate.
  • Use your most critical keywords in your HTML titles.
  • Manually submit your site to the following search engines, and resubmit if your site significantly changes:

    1. AltaVista
    2. Google
    3. Open Directory
    4. Yahoo

  • Don't "spamdex" or "keyword stuff." Overly repeating words, especially in the same tag, will probably get your site penalized or even banned from most search engines. Also, "spamdexing" increases load time.
  • Also, don't "spamdex" by using invisible text (text the same color as the background). Some search engines look for this and will penalize your site for it.
  • Don't use irrelevant keywords to pull in anyone and everyone to your site. Not only is it counterproductive, loading your server with irritated users, but it can get you banned from the search engine listings permanently.
  • Don't waste money on auto-submission services. Some work, some don't. Manually submitting your pages to the search engines listed above doesn't take very long.


  1. Search Engine Submission Tips
  2. Galatia: Search Engine Primer
  3. The Spider's Apprentice--How Search Engines Work
  4. How To Use HTML Meta Tags

  Updated 2004 October 15
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