Thursday, 13 October 2011

Robots - so cool they're not cool. Trust me on this

What you don't know your keywords from your metadata?
OK so not everyone is a nerd. I admit I'm a nerd (don't get me started on the difference between a nerd and a geek... geeks do hardware, nerds do software. It's as simple as that). But there's a few things everyone needs to know.
A little bit about SEO.
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. Everyone likes to talk about this, it's a hot topic! Basically it means writing a website and a web page for optimal searching by the web search engines robots. This means that on an organic search your website should rank quite high if you have optimised it for the keywords that have been searched on.
Websites are just files saved in folders, that are available for other people to access, read and view. They just look like webpages because they use a different computer language to Word or Text files.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, AOL, Bing and others all use two types of searching:
  1. Keyword or Keyphrase searching – The big search engines go through the whole world of files and folders saved everywhere on the world wide web looking for your search term to find what you are looking for (organic searching). Most websites help out by putting 'keywords' in the top part of their page code → you don't see these words but the search engines do!
  2. Pay per click searching – This is where companies pay some money to be brought up in the search results for keywords of their choosing. So searching on handmade knitted bears may bring up u-ni-k gifts's handmade section in the search results, but the top three maybe,, – all of which would have paid 75p for their pages to come in the top 3 if people searched on “knit” or “knitting” or “handmade knitting” (the Keywords). Google shows these in yellow boxes.
So the search engines have computer programmes that 'crawl' through all the internet files and folders looking at the content and storing information on each page. These programmes are sometimes called 'robots'. They search, find and store information about the files and folders saved in web locations all around the globe. The efficiency of these programmes makes the search engine, as no two companies use the same search programmes!
However, they all have their own resulting databases so that when you type a word into their search box – they have a database of results ready to show you. Clever eh?
So Search Engine Optimisation is a term that collectively describes all the things a website designer can do to help all the different search programmes of all the different search engines find the website they are designing.
It's a way of one type of nerds helping to attract another; a bit like a nerd mating dance done behind the scenes of every webpage... Just without the David Attenborough cameras.
I'm currently working on our new website, using all the helpful advice that Google, Yahoo, Bing and AOL can provide me on how to make our new site attractive to these search engine robots.

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