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Chapter 9: Search
Optimizing for Search Engines
Optimizing your site for a search engine is not difficult. The first thing to do is to start to think like a search engine—in other words, don't really think at all. Search engines literally look at pages and make educated guesses about what pages are about by following a set of rules to try to understand what the page is about. For example, search engines look for word frequency, <meta> tags, and a variety of other things. However, they really can't tell the difference between a page about the Miami Dolphins football team and a dolphin show in Miami. The reason is that search engines generally rely on keyword matching in conjunction with some criterion such as the placement of words in a page or the number of linking sites. So if a designer knows what a search engine is looking for, it is easy enough to optimize a page for the search engine to rank it highly. The next few sections provide a brief overview of some of the things search engines look for as well as some tricks people have employed to improve their search ranking.

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