Search Engine Optimization: What it is, and why you shouldn’t care

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): It’s a term any Web developer is intimately familiar with, and even the most novice Web site owner/developer/writer has heard of. But if you’re just getting started with building your own Web presence, you may not really understand what this term is all about, or how important it is to you.

In simple terms, search engine optimization refers to the practice of designing Web pages to show up as high as possible in the list of results shown when a person searches the Web. Most Web developers spend considerable amounts of time studying exactly what the major search engines use to determine placement in the list of results. Although search engines design the results page to make it seem that they have scoured the entire Internet and returned the page with the results most relevant to your search terms, this is not entirely true (Actually, it’s just short of a bald-faced lie). In truth, search engines look at a wide variety of factors to determine placement, not just how closely the text on the destination Web page matches the text you are searching for. There are many other factors being considered, including hidden HTML codes inside your page called META tags. These tags were initially designed to allow Web designers to give search engines a brief description of your Web site/page’s contents and some suggested keywords that apply to your page without displaying this to the visitor, but that are often misused and abused today. Search engines also display sites that are updated frequently higher in their results than sites with more static information. Although this sounds like a good idea, keep in mind that not all content needs to be regularly updated. A good source of information on the life and death of Socrates probably doesn’t need to be updated on a weekly basis. But by far the most common measure of your site’s quality, according to most search engines, is the number of other Web pages which link to your site. And links to your site from sites that are ranked higher in the search results page count more than sites that the search engines have ranked lower. The number of visitors to your site also plays a vital role in the placement the search engines give to your Web site.

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New Article: “Consider the consequences: One Laptop Per Child”

I have recently published a new article on While not written specifically for this blog, I think it might appeal to readers of this blog as well as to other visitors to my site, so I wanted to share it with you.

In Consider the consequences: One laptop Per Child, I give my opinion about the “One Laptop Per Child,” and similar initiatives to provide low-cost computers to developing countries. I think these programs are wonderful, but that few people have stopped to consider the implications of making technology universal in third-world countries while maintaining the digital divide in first-world countries.

This article is available to republish on your Web site, thanks to Texty’s simplified content management system. I’ve made the javascript code available on the Web site so anyone can republish this article, provided I am credited as the author and no changes are made to the content. The license for this work, as well as the copyright notice and author information, is included in the Texty, so this article can safely be published on any Web site as is. I would appreciate anyone who republishes this content to let me know where it will be used by filling out the form under the “republish” link on the article.

Content Management: Building a sitemap for your dynamic Texty content

If you followed along with my last series of posts, I’ve showed you how to build a customized content management system into your Web site using AjaxIncludes, Zoho Creator’s JSON feeds, and the powerful Texty SCMS (Simple Content Management System). In this last post of this series, I want to show you how you can expand the same principal to not only deliver the content to your site, but to build a simple sitemap to help your users find content within your site.

As with the other content management systems I’ve discussed, the actual text delivered to your Web site will not be indexed by search engines such as Google. Most major search engines ignore any text delivered to your page via javascript or other scripting methods that take place in the browser, rather than on the server. If you happen to have a Web site that allows you to run javascript codes on the server side, you can avoid problems with indexing your site content by adding a code within your <script> tag to tell the server to run the code before delivering the page to your user. Simply change <script> to <script runat=server>. However, if you are using Microsoft Office Live Basics, you can not run any scripts at the server level, so you have to find some other way to deliver your content. I will spend a little time discussing the problems this presents to individuals and small businesses trying to establish a Web presence in the next series of posts.

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