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Search Engine Placement Secrets

"Tutorials to Improve Search Engine Placements and Achieve Top listings"

Links to Specific Search Engine Tutorials

Excite | Lycos | Yahoo | InfoSeek | AltaVista  WebCrawler | Hotbot | Secrets Update

Alliances in the Secrets Index
 ODP | LookSmart | Google |  GOTO
Direct Hit & Ask Jeeves

Use this search engine placement information to raise or improve your search engine positions at Excite, Lycos and Yahoo! The ordered list at the beginning is meant as a reference for the keys to relevance and your ability to achieve matches for several queries. If the importance of a key is known it will be noted for order of importance using numbers. First a short definition of what each means:

Keys To Unlock the Door to Higher Search Engine Positions

  1. Title is it used to determine positions?
  2. Using keywords frequently and close together in the first 200 words of text: Is it a key?
  3. How is the summary of a result generated?
  4. Meta Tags Utilized: Yes or No simple isn't it?
  5. Case Sensitivity: Will Capital Letters change the matches to a query?
  6. Plural sensitivity: Will plurals change the matches to a query?
  7. Variables to words required: Does the search engine find promote for promoting or promotion if yes is marked you need to use as many of the variables as possible in the meta tags, title and the first 200 characters of text including the "alt" in images.
  8. Certain types of words ignored: Some disregard words like web, internet, web site, and, or, adjectives etc.
  9. Known Relevancy Boosters: Some use site reviews by the search engine, links to a page and of course the wonderful meta tags. We're all using them right?

The above keys are the ones T researched personally and the last three keys for each engine were obtained from Danny Sullivan's excellent Site searchenginewatch.com IMHO the most comprehensive search engine resource on the net! Hopefully, someday Webmaster T and I can give him a run for his money!;) 


Updates  in red are changes between 12/17/97 to  8/19/2000 

updated Summary

  1. Title: Perhaps but definitely not the #1 key
  2. Using keywords frequently and close together in the first 200 words of text: Is it a key?: Very much so possibly #1
  3. How is the summary of a result generated?: How ever they please! See Detailed Explanation.
  4. Meta Tags Utilized: NO YES
  5. Case Sensitivity: NO
  6. Plural sensitivity: Yes
  7. Variables to words required: NK
  8. Certain types of words ignored: YES
  9. Known Relevancy Boosters: Reviewed Sites
  10. Frames support: NO
  11. Redirects Supported: YES
  12. Pass Protected Sites Indexed: YES

Detailed Explanation of Excite

updated explanation 

NorthernWebs Tutorial Has an explanation of how to get the summary you want however, it requires multiple use of <!--Comments--> and as we all know this is spamdexing. Since the engine has forced you to use this tactic it doesn't count as SPAMDEXING however, setup a special page for Excite and make sure to use a Robot.txt file to be sure no other spiders will index it. Here's a short comment from the Excite site which explains how to improve search engine placement on Excite.

We suggest looking over your home page and trying to assess, objectively, what the page is really about. What are the most common concepts? Which ideas are repeated? Do they reflect the search query you just used? Try to emphasize the desired topics on your page. One of our users, an entrepreneur in the dog grooming business, spent a lot of time creating a home page to advertise his service. Yet a search for "dog grooming" did not find his site. By reviewing his page he found the problem: The text described different dog breeds and their behavior patterns in great detail, yet dog grooming was mentioned only twice. He rewrote the page, and it is now easily found with the query "dog grooming."

To be totally honest I couldn't ascertain any real keys to manipulating this search engine other then to do exactly what they suggested above.


  1. Title: #1 KEY
  2. Using keywords frequently and close together in the first 200 words of text: Is it a key?: #2 YES very much so!
  3. How is the summary of a result generated? See Detailed Explanation
  4. Meta Tags Utilized: NO
  5. Case Sensitivity: NO
  6. Plural sensitivity: YES
  7. Variables to words required: YES
  8. Certain types of words ignored: YES
  9. Known Relevancy Boosters: #3 Links Popularity
  10. Frames support: YES
  11. Redirects Supported: NK
  12. Pass Protected Sites indexed: YES

updated Summary: above is still applicable for optimization techniques 

Detailed Explanation of Lycos

Summary in Lycos
The details I'm about to give are for Lycos Pro. The summary is generated by the first 20 or so words of text on the page. Be especially careful about your img "alt" it uses them too. You may notice if you spend a lot of time at this search engine how a lot of summaries start off with "Our Sponsor". For those of you using LE Banner Exchange be sure to put it at the bottom of the page for any submissions to this engine. This text is also a key for higher positions. Lycos indexes the text of meta tags, but doesn't attach much value to them for placement.

An overview of an article from Danny Sullivan's "Search Engine Watch Newsletter" get it if your serious about this subject.

Lycos has made some nice changes by adding a new feature called Lycos Pro. The Pro version of this search engine will enable the user to control relevancy using the control panel to control the following components of a search for queried words:

  1. in title
  2. in exact order
  3. close together
  4. early in text
  5. matching every word
  6. frequency of words

These are Keys to Higher Positions in Lycos Pro as well, however, they're not necessarily in the order of importance!

If you want a good ranking in the Pro version remember that if a user understands how engines work and wants to eliminate you he'll disregard the title and key somewhere else. Think long and hard about this as this version will probably replace the old version entirely at some point.

At present, Lycos and Lycos Pro are using different catalogs, so there are some differences between the two. The older version of Lycos is using the old data base of pages and the PRO version a new one but, all new additions go into both. I like the new Pro version and use it frequently as the results are current.

Those submitting pages to Lycos should expect to begin to see them appearing within a week, and a real-time submission service may eventually be used (lets hope). Also, Lycos is now doing full-text indexing, rather than the sampling as in the older version. Can't figure the old one out but I do real well on the pro version and am nowhere to be found in the old version for many of the same keyword phrases. The old method works well with a tweaked first 2oo words of text.

Using the Pro version you can easily find your URL by setting the title to 100% for the title and using the phrase to query the search engine. Lycos will begin using the Lycos Pro Dbase and the Lycos Pro searching algorithms soon. While Lycos will use Lycos Pro's Page base, it will be maintained as a simple version of the Pro search engine.

updated Summary: above is still applicable for optimization techniques however pro is no longer in use their strategy has changed significantly


updated Summary: read below and then go to the update

***NOTE*** Webmaster T has heard several rumors that the quickest way to be listed in Yahoo is to first submit to one of their local directories. He's heard less then 24 HR turnaround and inclusion to the main directory within 48 hrs. of addition to the regional directory. He has a few sites to add and is going to check it out and report his findings here. Yahoo is not a SEARCH ENGINE perse it is a hybrid DIRECTORY! One other thing Yahoo is the number one search engine of business users. Another consideration is the frequency of surfing. Business users spend 64% more time on the net then home users.

  1. Title: Perhaps but definitely not #1 key
  2. Using keywords frequently and close together in the first 200 words of text: Is it a key?: NO
  3. How is the summary of a result generated? Remember it is suggested the caption be no longer then 160 characters!
  4. Meta Tags Utilized: NO not for summary possibly for placement but definitely not #1
  5. Case Sensitivity: NO
  6. Plural sensitivity: YES
  7. Variables to words required: Essential for high placement for several queries.
  8. Certain types of words ignored: NK
  9. Known Relevancy Boosters: Pick the right Category and Your well on your way to the top.

Yahoo! the Webmaster's arch enemy! No not really but Yahoo! does cause a lot of problems for us when clients contact us wondering why they aren't listed or there are delays in this all important directory. I'll now try enlighten you as to how to submit to Yahoo! Not following the instructions on the site is more to blame for delays and poor summary rather than some arbitrary decision by the person checking the site. A listing on any directory or engine is a privilege not a right IMHO. The least you can do is follow the instructions!

When making your submission don't go directly to the add URL page, go to the exact category you want and click the add url button. For some reason this speeds up the process and ensures a proper category. I know it's rather confusing because why have an add URL page if that's not what it's for! They may be doing this because all search engines have an add URL page or the problem may be on the submission sites which link to this page rather then the front door to the directory. If you read the page slowly and carefully it explains how to add a URL to a Category,read it twice if you have to, this is important.

#1 Key is Category Chosen
The Category you pick is by far the most important element to improve your positions in the Yahoo! directory. Before you submit, query the directory several times to decide which category comes out on top the most. Remember a human evaluates all submissions to Yahoo! so don't add your URL to a category it doesn't fit just to get a higher placement. This is sure to backfire on you as they are very protective of the integrity of their directory,with good reason I might add!

#2 Key is Caption or Comments
You've chosen the right category as high on the list as possible and now you're ready to submit! Let's discuss the next key to a high position namely the Caption! Using lots of variations of your most important keywords is an absolute must. While you're querying the directory to choose your category pay special attention to the summaries!

As an illustration, here is how I would write the Caption for a site about promotion on the web.
Web site Promotion:Promoting your web site like a pro is easy using the internet promotion tutorials we provide to promote your web site.

The wording of the caption uses several variations of promotion and promote. Did you notice the two different spellings of web site? I did this because I have yet to see three people all spell it the same way. Another similar situation is Internet or internet which is correct? I've yet to see one definitive method. Lastly, since you're restricted to 160 characters why waste them on spaces between comas and colons etc.?

To be totally honest I'm not sure if the title is used to determine positions but the fact that they ask you not use it as your comment should tell you something. As a final note on Yahoo! I'd just like to say that the intricacies of submitting to this directory should be an indication of why Submission Software and Services are a bad idea for registering your site! Take your time this is probably the most important issue in the whole process.

updated Yahoo! Summary

Tools to help You achieve Higher Placement

Now I'll tell you about some useful tools and an internet resource I've found extremely beneficial for monitoring my positions and constructing and checking my meta tags.

Super Note Tab

Get It
Recent finalist for its Software category at ZDnet! Great little freeware text editor with search and replace,a clipboard notebook and best of all a character ruler across the top which makes keeping track of the number of characters in your metas etc. a breeze for even a mathematics dunce like The T Man!!;) If you're ready to get rid of that wysiwyg this one has features that makes hand coding pages a breeze.

NorthernWebs Meta Medic this is the free resource. The paid version looks like something we should invest in but by generating our own keywords we continue to pick up a few more things we can pass on. Besides, T's a tightwad, but that's a whole other story of which I could write volumes! The fine people at NorthernWebs are a good lot and deserve your patronage for providing this free resource and their great Search Engine Tutorial.

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Search Engine Optimization and Placement Resources
General Info | Keywords | Meta tags | Robot.txt
 SEO Tools 

Search Engine Secrets Index
Excite | Lycos | Yahoo | InfoSeek | AltaVista
WebCrawler | Hotbot | Secrets Update

Alliances in the Secrets Index
 ODP | LookSmart | Google |  GOTO
Direct Hit & Ask Jeeves

Spamdex Page of Shame | Writing Killer Meta Tags


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