Below we attempt to explain some of the technical "jargon" associated with web sites and webmasters.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the science (art?) of understanding how Search Engine algorithms rank web sites, then altering pages to get a higher ranking.
Some of the techniques used are not considered ethical and are referred to as Search Engine spamming.
Search Engine Spamming
Different from the email spam you receive in your Inbox most days, Search Engine spamming is the liberal use of "underhanded" techniques to artificially boost the ranking of a web page for a particular keyword or key phrase. Most Search Engines now penalise sites that use these tricks and may not list those sites at all!.
Search Engine Algorithms
When a Search Engine spider or robot has visited a web site it sends the useful information from the web page code back to be stored on large computers. These computers then process the pages using a program called an algorithm that decides where the page will appear when you search for it.
Each Search Engine, like Yahoo!, Google or MSN, has its own algorithm and they therefore rank pages differently from each other. One of our tasks is to write web pages in such a way that they rank well on most of the main Search Engines.
Unsolicited email offering you things you don't want, or carrying computer viruses. Spam emails offering Viagra, access to porn sites, lotteries or suspect investment opportunities are very common.
Keywords or Key Phrases
These are the words that your potential visitor will type into the search box of the Search Engine. Someone wanting to find out more about a mortgage for their new home might type in "mortgage" or "home loan" or "house mortgage". If a web site has pages that have been optimised for each of these words or phrases it stands a good chance of appearing near the top of the Search Engine rankings, that is, at or near the top of the first page of results.
Search Engine Rankings
When you conduct a search the Search Engine lists web pages that it's algorithm calculates as being the most relevant to your keywords or key phrase. The order in which the web pages are listed are the Search Engine's "rankings".
It may return literally millions of pages, however most people only look at the first and perhaps second pages of results. It is important for your web site to attain the highest possible ranking so that you receive lots of visitors who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Search Engine Spider or Robot
The spider or robot is a software program that searches the internet, finding web pages and sending their content back to the Search Engine company's main computers. The spiders work by reading the code of a web page and following the links to other pages, then sending back the contents of that page and so on.
Every so often the spider will revisit the web site to see what has changed and update the main computers. Using web building techniques like frames or dynamic pages can interfere with or even prevent a spider from following the links in your web site. Great care needs to be taken when using these techniques that spiders can successfully follow the links provided.
Web Page Links
Links are the hyperlinks that make the internet so useful. On this site all links appear like this. By clicking on links you can move inside web pages or between web pages on a single site or between completely different web sites.
Some Search Engine algorithm's give you a higher ranking if your page has a lot of outside pages linked to it. The reasoning is that because it is popular it is more likely to be relevant than a page with very few other web sites linking to it.
Frames are a web site building technique that leave the page header and main menu unmoving when you scroll through the main content of the page. Although it is possible to use frames in a way that lets a Search Engine spider follow the links on your page, it is an unwieldy and sometimes unproductive technique. At webbuild.co.nz we encourage our clients to avoid frames if possible.
Dynamic pages are an increasingly popular method of building web site pages. Essentially these pages use special forms of coding to pull live data from a database and present it in a web page. The larger and more complex your web site is, the more likely you will want to use a database and dynamic pages. Two common forms of these pages will have a .php or .asp suffix at the end of the page name in the address bar of your browser.
Unfortunately, if not set up correctly, the Search Engine spider may not be able to follow the links on your pages, adversely affecting your page's ranking on Search Engines. We do not encourage clients who do not need dynamic pages to use them.
Static web pages are those that do not draw fresh content from a database each time they are viewed. Their content only changes when you decide to change it. Well built static pages are easily spidered by Search Engines.
We encourage our clients to use static pages, rather than dynamic pages wherever it is practical to do so.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Style Sheets are coded text files that tell your browser how to display a page. They set out the fonts, sizes, positions of elements on the page and many other things. Using Style Sheets cuts down on the amount of code on each web page. This means that pages load more quickly and are more easily "read" by Search Engine spiders. This will usually result in a higher ranking for your page.
As a general rule, "styling" should be kept in a separate Style Sheet, your content should fill your main page.
Contact us now if you think we can establish or improve your business internet presence. No obligation.