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Understand AltaVista's Search Methodology

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AltaVista focuses on keywords and metatags. Keywords are words in your Web page that are used to create an index that best describes the contents of your site. Metatags are special HTML tags that provide information about your Web page. They are unlike other HTML tags because they don't affect how your page is displayed. They provide information about who created the page, how often it is updated, what the page is about, and which keywords represent the page's content.

Understand Blanket and Target Searches
If your company has multiple products, you will probably want to put multiple keywords in your metatags. Doing so increases the probability that your company's site will appear on multiword "search string" results. (A search string is the words you type in a search engine's search field before you hit the "Find" button.) A search string can be one word, a phrase, or even a sentence.

Let's assume, for the sake of illustration, that optimal keyword coverage, or "density," is 100%. In this scenario, if you have 10 keywords, each keyword would be "worth" 10%, or 1/10 of the total possible density. If someone's search string were to use only one of your 10 keywords, the density ratio for that search string would be 10%. Consequently, the return results for your site would be farther down the "results list" than it would be if a user had typed in a search string that used two or more of your keywords. This keyword strategy is known as the "blanket strategy." Its benefit is that it allows you to target more words; the disadvantage is that each of the words will have a relatively low density.

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Last updated: Apr 24, 2000




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