The Search Engine Update, Nov. 23, 1999, Number 65

November 23, 1999 - Number 65

By Danny Sullivan
Editor, Search Engine Watch

About The Update

The Search Engine Update is a twice-monthly update of search engine news. It is available only to those people who have subscribed to Search Engine Watch,

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In This Issue

+ Conference Highlights
+ Subscribing/Unsubscribing Info

General Notes

Hello Everyone--

I've been traveling all this month -- a little vacation time in Los Angeles, followed by visits to the various search engines in the San Francisco Bay Area and to host last Thursday's sold-out Search Engine Strategies '99 conference. It was a special pleasure to meet many subscribers who attended the session.

In this edition of the newsletter, I thought I would cover some tips and news from that conference. Remember, if you forgot your password needed to access some articles listed, use this URL below for a reminder:

Password Finder

Content Is King

It came through loud and clear from search engine promotion experts and the search engine representatives themselves that sites with good, solid content are poised to do best in the long term with both human-powered directories and crawler-based search engines.

Plan Ahead

The best time to begin optimizing for search engines or to bring in a search engine specialist is *before* you build a site. This tip from Shari Thurow's talk had many in the audience nodding in agreement, no doubt because they discovered this truism the hard way.

Promoters Use Tags

Results from a survey of I-Search mailing list subscribers found 92% of respondents use meta tags on every page of their web sites. That's much higher than the 30% or so usage found by other surveys, but this high rate is no doubt influenced by the fact that I-Search readers are more educated about search engine optimization techniques than average webmasters.

Other stats: 70% say they use different tags for each page, customized to reflect that page's content. Also, 85% make use of both the meta keywords and description tags. On the repetition issue, 52% found that not repeating a term in the meta tags is best, while 43% found one repetition is best and 5% found more than one repetition works well. On this subject, several speakers at the conference seemed to feel that repeating any single word three times or less in the meta keywords tag is best. As always, your mileage may vary -- and if what you are doing now works, then by all means stick with it.


Snap Unveils LiveDirectory

Snap announced the availability of its new LiveDirectory service, . This allows any webmaster to add their site to the Snap directory within hours or less. The LiveDirectory serves as "backup" to the "main" Snap directory -- if a search fails to find a match in the main directory, then the live directory is checked, and then Inktomi crawler-based results come after that. Good sites are to be eventually moved from the live directory to the main directory. I'll be bringing many more details about this new service in the next newsletter. Until then, feel free to begin experimenting with the new service that has been rolled out for a quiet beta.

Snap LiveDirectory

LookSmart Makes Follow-Up Easier

LookSmart has a new submission follow up form. If it has been 8 weeks since you submitted and you haven't been listed, use this form to check on your submission.


Go Changes Add URL

Go announced that its Add URL form and email submission system are no longer accepting anything other than root URLs. For instance, instance, if you submitted these URLs:

all would be shortened to:

There are exceptions. For instance, the new system is smart enough to realize that AOL has multiple sites within the root URL for its free hosting area, and the same is true for other typical multiple hosting environments. But in general, subpage submissions are now ignored. To compensate, Go says that its spider will begin crawling more frequently and more deeply.

This shift makes it essential that the spider be able to find your internal pages via your home page. The best tip here is to ensure there is a link to a site map from your home page or that by following links from your home page, the spider will somehow encounter a site map eventually or be able to crawl most of your pages without a site map because of natural internal links between them.


Yahoo Business Express Expanded

Yahoo's $199 Business Express service has been opened to any US-based commercial web site, rather than just for those that actually process transactions online. In my opinion, it's absolutely worth for any site that qualifies to spend the money. The majority of sites using the system do get listed. The articles below has more tips on how the system works to get sites approved more quickly than the normal system. Just be aware that references to performing online transactions no longer apply in those articles. How do you know if a category accepts Business Express submissions? When you try to add your site, Business Express-enabled categories will offer you a choice of either "Standard Submission" or "Business Express" at Step One of the submission process.

Yahoo Opens Express Submission Service

Submitting Via Yahoo's Business Express

MSN Search Change Coming

In non-conference news, expect to see a significant change appear quietly over at MSN Search later this week. Watch What's New, and I'll let you know more specifics when the changes goes live.

MSN Search

What's New


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