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Search Engine Facts

We have compiled this list of facts & tips on search engines as we general get asked these question. If you can not find any the answer you are looking for please contact us and we will try and help. We hope these Q&A will explain how search engines work and the meanings behind some of the general search terms used i.e Metatags, etc.


Understanding Search Engines

There are many types of search engines. According to the way of submission, we can separate them into Free Submission Search Engines and Manual Submission Search Engines.

Free Submission Search Engines - These kind of engines allow for free submission. Generally Speaking, there are 3 types: General Engines, Directories and FFA.

General Engines - also call Spider Engine or Indexing Search Engines. For this type of engines, you don't need to submit your web site details. You just need to enter your web site URL and submit it. These engines will retrieve your web site details from the Meta Tag or the body of your web site automatically. Example is Google, AltaVista, etc.

Directories - Internet Directories engines. Directories are not automatically generated but are compiled by editors. A website that is submitted to a directory is subsequently catalogued and linked to one or more topics. As the directories are set up by experienced editors, they generally produce more targeted results. Example is .

FFA - collections of Free for All pages (FFA) links. FFA are pages in which links to website can be entered together with a short comment. Owners of websites thereby enter the registration themselves, and there is no editing board to review the entries. It is free and becomes immediately effective.

Manual Submission Search Engines - There are three types of Search Engines for which you need to do manual submission: Free manual submission engines, Pay-Per-Inclusion engines and Pay-Per-Click engines.

Free manual submission engines - For these kind of engines, you can submit you web site without payment. However you need to do the submission manually. For example, AltaVista Free Engine requests you to enter a computer generated image code each time when you login, which means you have to submit your website manually. Another example is open directory engines - You need to browse in the directory and select the right category before you do your submission.

Pay Per Inclusion Engine - advertiser needs to pay a fee to search engines in order to get their web sites to be listed in the search engines. Yahoo, LookSmart, etc. are these kind of Engines. Normally, your web site will be indexed by the search engines within 24 hours and your listing will be updated frequently. You are also requested to pay a renewal fee for your listing every 6 months or annually. However, this doesn't guarantee a particular position in the search results, you still need to optimise your web site manually in order to achieve higher ranking.

Pay Per Click Search Engine (also known as Pay Per Ranking, Pay Per Placement, Pay Per Performance or Pay Per Position) - It enables you to list your site at a particular position of the search results according to the keyword bid. You list your website by selecting keywords that refer to your products or services. For each keyword you determine how much you are willing to spend and what position you want. The higher you bid the higher your site will appear in the search results. You can start your bid from 1 pence per click for most of the major PPC engines, some PPC engines have a minimum bid of 5 pence per click.

Learn about Pay Per Click (PPC)

Guarantee TOP position with Pay-Per-Click Search engine

The search engine market has changed in the past couple of years. Many old major search engines are gone and most of them are replaced or converted to the new Pay-Per-Inclusion and Pay-Per-Click model. Though many search engines still offer a free web site submission option, they do not however guarantee that your web site will be indexed and it may take a long time for your web site to be listed in their database. If you are having a problem getting your web site to be indexed by the search engines, or if you would like to get quick results from the search engines, now is the time to consider the new Pay-Per-Inclusion and Pay-Per-Click search engines.

Pay Per Inclusion is where an advertiser needs to pay a fee to search engines in order to get their web sites to be listed in the search engines. Normally, your web site will be indexed by the search engines within 24 hours and your listing will be updated frequently. You are also requested to pay a renewal fee for your listing every 6 months or annually. However, this doesn't guarantee a particular position in the search results, you still need to optimize your web site manually in order to achieve higher ranking.

If you want a guaranteed TOP position on all search engines, Pay-Per-Click search engines is what will help you.

What is a Pay-Per-Click search engine?

A Pay Per Click (also known as Pay Per Ranking, Pay Per Placement, Pay Per Performance or Pay Per Position) search engine enables you to list your site at a particular position of the search results according to the keyword bid. You list your website by selecting keywords that refer to your product or service. For each keyword you determine how much you are willing to spend and what position you want. The higher you bid the higher you will appear in the search results. You can start your bid from 1 pence per click for most of the major PPC engines, some PPC engines have a minimum bid of 5 pence per click. In Pay Per Click search engines you only pay for the clicks (or click through) to your web site. Pay-per-click search engine plays an important role to drive traffic to the web site because you only pay for actual clicks if some one click on your listing on the search results. It is risk free and a cheaper alternative to listing with the bigger search engines. Pay per click search engines usually combine paid listings with unpaid listings. Usually unpaid listings are provided by search engines like Google, Inktom or DMOZ. If there is no enough bidders (or listings) for a certain search term, part of the search results will come from those free search engines.

Why place keyword bids on "Pay-Per-Click" search engines?

Recent study has shown that the "Pay-Per-Click" search engines have become the most effective way to get your web site to the TOP position of all major search engines. is the clear leader in this field, and then Miva(US) and Miva(UK) (biggest PPC engine in UK and European market) comes in second. There are also many newcomers such as,, and Generally, most of these PPC engines are partnered with other free or pay-per-inclusion search engines, if you are bidding keywords in these PPC engines, your listing will also appear in all their partner sites. Over the years has established relationships with many of the top search engines and directories, including Yahoo, AltaVista, America Online, Lycos, Netscape, Hotbot, MSN, Compuserve, NBCI and CNET. Miva(US) has also partner with Excite, HotBot and WebCrawler.

So what does all of this mean to you and how do you use these relationships to your benefit?

The Premium Listings (listings in one of TOP 3 positions )- when some one performs a search for one of your keywords in, the results will also show up in the TOP 3 positions on all the above search engines . This results in reaching 75% of all internet users as claims. The first 3 positions from FintWhat will also be displayed in Exite, Hotbot and WebCrawler. For example: Suppose you have a keyword "books" in one of Yahoo's top 3 positions. If a user types the keyword "books" in the search box of AltaVista, the results page will have your site listed at the very top. You'll have similar results at the other search engines that are powered with Yahoo listings. If you are having a problem in getting your web site to be listed at the top position of the major search engines, placing your keyword bids on "Pay-Per-Click" search engines is the most cost effective way to drive more targeted traffic to your web site.

Review of Top 9 Pay Per Click Search Engines

Google AdWords Select

Results appear on Google, Earthlink Inc and Sympatico-Lycos Inc

AdWords Select ads are displayed next to search results when someone enters one of the keywords you identify as relevant to your business. At the beginning of your campaign, you set a maximum cost-per-click for each of your Ad Groups. An Ad Group contains one or more ads targeted to the same set of keywords with the same CPC. If the cost-per-click you've specified is higher than what's necessary for your ad to maintain its position, the actual costper-click you will be charged will be discounted automatically. You'll pay only the minimum necessary to stay ranked above the next lower ad - plus one pence. A £5 initial activation fee applies when you open your account, and this activation fee will not be credited towards the cost of any clicks you receive. The minimum cost-per-click for keywords begins at £0.05 and varies according to that keyword's popularity. You will be able to determine the minimum cost-per-click for a keyword easily by using the Traffic Estimator (accessible from the sign-up or campaign management pages)

Yahoo(formerly called GoTo) : Yahoo is the oldest and largest of the pay per click search engines in the market today. The minimum bid is 5 pence and you must spend £20 per month. It takes about 5 business days to get listed. Yahoo has a well organised system. There is a non-traffic stop plan. Your account will automatically be recharged when your balance is low. In addition, there is a fixed budget plan. You set a maximum to spend every month. Once your maximum is met, you listings are taken offline until the beginning of the next time period. Top 3 or 5 position listing will appear on the top position of following partner search engines: Yahoo!, Lycos, InfoSpaces(including Excite (, Dogpile (, WebCrawler ( and MetaCrawler (, MSN, AltaVista, American Online(AOL), NBCI and CNET....

Miva(US) The minimum bid is 1 pence and you need to deposit £25 to open a new account. You can enter up to 1000 keywords at once. Miva(US) reviews every keyword in their system and verifies its relevancy. Your bid change is not updated immediately. It may take several minutes to get your new bids updated in the search results. Miva(US) has entered into an agreement with Lycos to provide the Pay-Per-Click platform for Lycos's InSite AdBuyer. You can create an account quickly with Lycos's Adbuyer by converting your keywords from Miva(US) account. Top 3 listing results will appear in Exite, HotBot, Dogpile, MetaCrawler, WebFerret and CNET

7Search has a minimum bid of 1 penny and requires a minimum £25 deposit to start bidding. If paying by credit, your bids will be live immediately upon submitting your credit card number unless you are from outside the US, in which case your bid prices will be activated once your credit card is approved. Services offered to advertisers include immediate e-mail notification when you are outbid for the top ranking on a keyword, a keyword generator tool, and a 1:1 banner exchange program. 7Search has over 30 million searches per month. Search results appear in 7Search affiliate network and over 35% of search engines in English speaking countries.
Looksmart Listings Looksmart's new PPC Model

Results appear on MSN, AltaVista, iWon, Time Warner, Prodigy, Juno, Netscape, Qwest, Go2Net,, plus Inktomi and their entire network.

In the program, LookSmart will do a deep categorization of a web site, in return for a per click charge of generally between 15 to 75 pence for every visitor that they send to you, with those in more competitive markets paying higher fees. The program has a £1,000 minimum spending per month, with a three month minimum, so this isn't aimed at small business. In addition to having deeper representation, LookSmart will now also give all your listings a ranking boost, a significant change than from its old program. This only happens within and sites that rebrand LookSmart's exact listings. No boost is supposed to be happening at places like AltaVista, Excite, MSN Search or iWon.

LookListings also contain a pure paid placement element, for those who want guaranteed placement. For a fee, you can request that your site appears at the top of LookSmart's results, in the "Featured Listings" section, in response to particular queries.

Enhance has a minimum bid of 1 pence and a minimum deposit of £25. Your keywords will be approved within 48 hours or less. Click here to setup account with Enhance You listing will be distributed to their entire network of partners, which reaches over 30 million unique users monthly. Bid in top 3 positions and your site will be included in the TopLinks program. Through TopLinks your site can be listed throughout their Premier Network on sites such as Earthlink, AltaVista, LookSmart and many more.

Miva(UK) Miva(UK) is a UK and European based pay per click search engine. It has 3 plans: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The minimum deposit for Bronze account is £100 plus £10 account setup fee. Your websites will be set live within 48 hours.  Miva(UK) can help you access targeted leads from 72% of the UK's online population. By ensuring that your listings appear within top 3-5 search results, your listing will appear on Yahoo! UK & Ireland, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, ntl:home, Netscape, UK Plus and Looksmart and many more.

Kanoodle has a minimum bid of 5 pence and deposit of £25. There are free banner ad impressions for the top 3 of the search results page. You receive £5.00 free bonus if you make a deposit of £25.00 at signup. It will provide you with 100 relevant keyword terms and a title and description for your listings. Your account also allows your listings to be seen on search engines and sites like,,, and as well as 10,000 other search enabled sites!

ePilot's require a £100 minimum deposit and 1 pence per click. It also requires that each advertiser’s account have a minimum usage (click-thru revenue) of at least £10 per month. It takes approximately one to three business days to set up your account. There are over 200 million monthly searches. E-Pilot's search distribution network consists of over 70 major search engines. By setting your bid to at least £0.07 per click, your site will qualifiy to be listed on leading search engines such as: NetZero, DogPile,,, 24/7 Media and InfoSpace.


A quick guide to meta tags for search engine optimization. Improve your site's position and rank by applying these simple principals. There are several meta tags, but the most important for search engine indexing are the description and keywords search engines utilizes different tags. The description tag returns a description of the page in place of the summary the search engine would ordinarily create. The keywords tag provides keywords for the search engine to associate with your page.

Before going further I want to clear one thing, that meta tags are not a magic solution. You may have the best meta tags in the world, but meta tags alone will not significantly raise the ranking of your website if it lacks sufficient content.

Main meta tags:

● Title
● Robots

Chose right TITLE:

Make sure each page of your site has a descriptive title. Because search engines usually give the most weight to the page's title, you should place a descriptive phrase between the <TITLE> tags. For best results, it is advised that you keep it within 200 characters and to-the-point. Also, since search engines return the title as the search results, your HTML title should be both descriptive and attractive.

For example, the following title describes well the site, and therefore is a good choice:

<TITLE>Example Name</TITLE>

Meta Description Tag:

The meta description tag is used to assist those search engines which are meta capable in summarizing your website. The size of the meta description tag should be under 200 characters. The basic html format of the meta description tag is:

<meta name="description" content="simple webpage description">

The actual size used is not as important as the message it conveys, but do not exceed the limit. It must tell the reader what they will find on the website. In addition to these meta tags, you need to build a summary paragraph into your web page which can be used by the Search Engines which do not use the meta tags. This summary should be 170-200 characters maximum and be the first visible text on the screen when the page loads. Engines like Northern Light and Lycos will use this information for their summary of your web page. There for first 200 characters are very important for your web site to get higher rank in search engines.

Meta keyword tag:

The keywords tag is used by the meta capable search engines to help aid them in indexing your website. This is important, the search engines use this information to determine under what queries your website will come up under.

The basic html format of the meta keyword tag is:

<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1,keyword2,keyword3,keyword4,...">
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 keyword4 ...">


<meta name="keywords" content="dog food,dogs,pet food,pets,dry,wet,canned dog food,pet supplies">

(Notice that it includes both words and phrases)

Note that these tags are functionally equal. Inclusion of commas does inflate the basic tag size, so they can be removed if you are hovering around the limit. Including them does have the effect of making the tag that much more readable however. You can exert some influence on search engines by customising your tags for a specific set of engine queries.

The common abuse of the meta keyword tag was -- and still is -- the repetition of words which is called spamming. Never insert the same word twice in a row in this tag, even if you're using different variations. (Plurals, ALL CAPS, different tenses, etc.) You can use the same word in different phrases, but never use that word more than 3 or 4 times within the tag, even if you're using different variations of it.

How many keywords:

My own experiments suggest that some search engines penalize pages that use only one or two words in the keyword meta-tag, probably in an attempt to sniff out gateway pages. Besides, if you're only using one or two keywords, you're probably missing out on traffic by focusing too narrowly. Listing hundreds of keywords dilutes the keyword density, so you won't score well for any of them. Aim for about twenty keywords.

Keyword weight:

You may wish to use plenty of keywords and key phrases to gain a wide coverage but one or two of them may be much more important than the others. This is where weight or positioning comes into play.

Search engines often take into account how much of the keywords content is given over to a particular word or phrase. In the following example, the weight of the word "dog" is 25% - for obvious reasons.

<Meta name=keywords content="dog food pets chow">


This refers to how close to the beginning of the tag the keyword resides. The closer to the beginning the higher the prominence. In the above example, dog would have a prominence of 100%. So remember to put your most important keywords at the beginning.

Case sensitivity:

Some engines are case sensitive and some are not. To allow for this, many people include each keyword and/or keyphrase in lower, upper and proper case versions within the keywords tag. E.g. keyword, key phrase, KEYWORD, KEY PHRASE, Keyword, Key Phrase. Personally, I believe that most surfers don't bother with upper case characters when searching the web (apart from Altavista) and I prefer to include more keywords than use up the space in this way.

Robots Meta tags:

This is used to pass instructions to the search engines' robots - often referred to as spiders or crawlers. Robots are used to crawl web sites and gather pages for the search engines to evaluate and index. Some engines, such as AltaVista and Excite, have their own robots. Others use various databases such as Inktomi. Either way, a robot is always used to gather pages.

<Meta name="robots" content="noindex">

The robots meta tag is used to pass instructions to the robots. Many of them accept the instructions, particularly those from the major engines and databases. The content is always one word. The recognised words are:- index, noindex, follow, nofollow, all and none.

Index = index this page (Default setting --no need for a tag)
noindex = don't index this page
follow = follow the links from this page to get more pages
nofollow = don't follow the links from this page
all = index this page and follow the links from it
none = don't index this page and don't follow the links

Link Popularity


Link popularity and click popularity are determined by each search engine. AltaVista may calculate a high popularity for your site, whereas Infoseek may calculate a low popularity for your site. Each search engine may also use the popularity information in different ways. It will all depend on their specific algorithms.

Popularity is becoming more widely used by search engines. Therefore, it is a very important consideration when trying to increase your ranks. Hypothetically, if you have two sites that have equal content and equal meta tags, then the site with more popularity will rank higher.

The link popularity of your site is determined by:

The number of web sites that are linking to your site (the web page that your link appears on, must be indexed by the search engine - just using those "free-for-all-links-pages" is not the kind of link that you're looking for.), The popularity of the sites are that are linking to your site and the similarity of the content on sites that link to your site. Link popularity is used by every search engine to some extent. Ways to increase link popularity will be discussed below.

Click popularity:

● Click popularity is the number of clicks that your site gets when it comes up on a search. So if your site is number 3 for a search, and it is being clicked on by people more than number 2, you can potentially move ahead of number 2. (If the engine uses click popularity in their algorithms.)
● Excite and Direct Hit use click popularity. Also, engines that are associated with Direct Hit, like Hotbot, indirectly use click popularity.
● You can increase click popularity by having a good title and a good description of your website in your meta tags.

How to find out who's Linking to you:

Different search engine process differently

Excite Type into search box: This will give you a general estimate of your popularity. It will also tell you approximately how many pages from your site are listed with excite.

Infoseek Type into search box: This will give you all of the pages which link to you, including your own. Link popularity is very important in getting good ranks in Infoseek. I just read some new info that said that if you link OUT to highly popular sites, this may increase your popularity. However, this may only work in Infoseek. Also, it needs to be a site which relates to your content.

AltaVista Type into search box: This will give you all of the pages which link to you, the same as Infoseek.

Hotbot Type into search box: Again, this may give you some of the pages which are linking to you from your own domain.

Webcrawler Type into search box: Webcrawler may ask you what you want to do with this URL. Click on "Search for web pages containing the URL in the text." It will give you a general estimate of how many pages are linking to you and also tell you how many of your pages are listed in this engine.

How to increase link popularity:

Reciprocal Links

There are varying opinions on whether or not to get reciprocal links and if you do, where you should put them. Here is our opinion - The internet is a web and it is joined by links. If you are offering good resources, people will bookmark your site and come back. If you aren't, they won't. Part of offering resources is suggesting other places to find information. We're not suggesting that you put links off your site on your home page, we're not suggesting that all you do is to provide a directory of other links.

We started with a one page resource directory. From there, we built it up to over 10 pages of links that go to sites that have content similar to our own. We started by simply linking to anything related to us. Now we are more fussy. We will only link to a site that will place a reciprocal link to us and we only link to sites that have quality content. (Yeah, it's a lot of work to maintain that small directory).

Online Directories

Getting listings in directories will not only boost your traffic, it will also increase your link popularity. It is especially relevant to link popularity because these directories are mega popular (remember the more popular a site is that links to you, the more popular your site will be rated).