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how do pages (other than the index/home page) get spidered (if that's what it's called or is it called 'pages getting indexed in the search engines?')? no matter what key words i type into google (or others), the only page that ever comes up from my website is the home/index page. i seem to remember at one time other pages coming up when the search was about something specific mentioned on that page. for example - if you typed in 'guided fishing trips', the home/index page comes up and not the 'guided fishing trips' page of my website (which has 'guided fishing trips' in the actual file/page name.
Indexing, however, does not mean "landing on the first page of search-engine 'hits'". To check if deeper pages are included in the index, you might want to try searching for the specific URL.
can i ask what you mean by 'To check if deeper pages are included in the index, you might want to try searching for the specific URL.'? do you mean to do a search for 'guided fishing trips' and just keep clicking on pages to see if my 'guidedfishingtrips' page comes up eventually?
If your page is named "guidedfishingtrips" or "guidedfishingtrips.html" or something similar, then it will get no real benefit from that name, except in searches where the searched-for words are all run-together like that.
If you want to get the (very-small) keywords-in-URL benefit, then calling the page "guided-fishing-trips.whatever" would be better, since the hyphens are treated as spaces for keyword-matching purposes.
Be aware that the <meta keyword> tag has been long-ignored by the major search engines, since 1990s-style SEO included stuffing it with keywords -- and often, irrelevant ones. Today's advice is to keep it very short, or don't even bother with it.
A more effective approach is to make sure that those words appear -in text- prominently on the page -- for example, in the (single) <h1> header tag, and at least in the first and last paragraphs. And of equal importance is to be sure that your links to that page include most or all of those words in the link text, as in:
<li>Learn about our <a href="/guided-fishing-trips.html">guided fishing trips</a>!</li>
It is also good to use variations -- You certainly don't want all the link-text in all the links to that page to be identical. Vary the word order, plurals, and use a few synonyms as well.
as you probably figured out...i really have no idea what the heck i am doing when it comes to the 'background' (html, or whatever it's called). i have created an 'attractive' website (i'm proficient in photoshop so visually it's 'pleasing' and easy to navigate) for our business and now i am trying to figure out the SEO and ranking thing. our competition BTW has some really ugly websites and of course they come up higher in some searches (like i said we are trying to 'sell' 4 different businesses on our home page while some of our competition is only dealing with one business (side note - would it work if we used additional domain names for each business? is it really possible to have them come up in the search engines being 'new' compared to the other sites that have been out there for years?)
okay...back to the original issue...
hope this isn't too stupid, but you mentioned
'A more effective approach is to make sure that those words appear -in text- prominently on the page -- for example, in the (single) <h1> header tag, and at least in the first and last paragraphs.'
okay, so if i look at the html (frontpage is what i used to create the site) there aren't any <h1> header tags anywhere on my index page. is that something i was suppose to go into (html) and create the header tags or could those have been created in the 'normal' view screen of frontpage.
i do try to 'google' some of this stuff and figure it out from there, but i guess sometimes it goes over my head.
You should start a web page with an "h1" in just the same way as you would start a chapter with "header 1" in Word. Google expects it and my site suffered for a while in my younger days when I started a page with an "h2". If the h1 doesn't look good on your page in its default form you can always use css to restyle it (that was my mistake, I just thought the h2 looked better).
Also note that underscores can be "hidden" by link underlining, leading people to read (and write down, and type-in) your URL with spaces where they underscores should be... The result is a 404-Not Found, leading them to believe your site is broken, and go on to the next site in the search results.
Now is a good time to suggest this paper [w3.org], by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, about taking care in choosing URLs so that you won't ever have to change them again.
It's also a good time to mention server-side redirection, where requests for old URLs with underscores in them can be redirected to the new URLs using hyphens instead. That sentence also implies that you should choose a simple conversion rule, such as, "All characters in the old URLs which were underscores are now hyphens" so as to make the server-side redirection code smaller and easier to write. In fact, if you view your URLs as an "organized and structured naming system" rather than a more-or-less-randomly-picked series of names, your life will be much easier.
The benefit of permanently redirecting the old URLs to the new is two-fold: First, it 'saves' all of your current users' bookmarks, and second, if the search engines have already indexed your pages with the underscored URLs, it will speed up the re-assignment of those old URLs' current PageRank and Link-Popularity factors to the new URLs. However, if you don't have much traffic from search engine referrals direct to each of these pages, and if they are fairly new and not widely-bookmarked, then you may have plenty of other higher-priority things to spend time on.
went to the links you mentioned jdMorgan...GREAT information. yeah, i don't get enough time to figure some of this stuff out BEFORE hand (which is most likely not the best way to go about all this)...kids, business, etc seem to suck up all my time - i need more than 24 hours in a day :o(