Search Engines Trials and Tribulations

A colleque asked me a question today.

"How can I get my site listed high up on the pages of MSN search"

That’s the holy grail of not just MSN but all search engine questions…

You could pay an SEO (Search Engine Optimazation) to do it for you OR you could just do it yourself and ensure your content and links as well as the simplicity of your site are up to date.

Keep changing the content: add to your site every so often, give MSN's spiders something extra to read each time when they visit your website, the longest your site is around seems to rank high in the ratings. I don't think any search engine will tell you their algorithms and even then, they'd probably be changing them quite frequently. If you could optimize your content for things people might search for then you will have a good chance in appearing in peoples searches. 

Links to your site are very important since they determine your page rank and the higher your page rank, the higher up the results you will be returned (bearing in mind that your content is also important here - page rank and search term optimization work together to determine where you appear in the results list). Basically every page (which MSN knows about) has a page rank worked out by MSN and every page which links to another page loses a bit of its page rank and adds it to the page rank of the page it is linking to. So, if lots of high-ranked sites link to your site, then your page rank improves and you go up the ranking.

All your pages titles are important and even the pictures that you might use within them, many people just change the title and meta tags of their home page but if your page has 5 other pages and no META tags or titles then the search engine might not know about it. I have also seen sites getting carried away with framing. The spiders are simple little bots that go around scrubbing for content and once confused, your content may not appear so simplifying your navigation links might be worth looking at.

One additional thing to look out for it the type of menus you are using. Lot of people started using vertical and horizontal drop down menus using applications like Dreamweaver. Be very careful using these. They don't tend to include the usual HTML tags for file linking and therefore spiders can't get past your home page to rank any of the rest of your website.

MSN has listed a list of guidelines for successful indexing which you might want to print out and read next time your on the loo.

Hope that gives you something to think about. The Wiki encyclopedia should give you several other pointers to improve your site rankings -

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