I have visited numerous family genealogy websites, all with different designs, and all look GREAT. I do this to expand my personal family tree with cousin lines. A presence on today's Internet for any serious genealogist is a must. With a genealogy site, you no longer search for cousins in your tree. THEY WILL FIND YOU!
The main finding with my internet wanderings of family genealogy websites is that 90% can not be found readily using a search engine. This page is designed with one goal in mind. That is to help you, the family genealogist, make your website search engine friendly. You found your way to this site using a search engine. You are here because I have studied how search engines work. I have tested this site numerous times, with a number of search engines, and this site comes up on the first or second page of a simple genealogy search. On many search engines, a link to this site normally comes up several times even on the very first page. This page is designed to explain how any basic search engine works. There are 4 distinct methods used by search engines. These methods are listed in their order of importance. By knowing these methods, a few key words placed in the correct area within your family genealogy website, will magnify your presence in the internet a thousand times. So if you have taken the time to build your family website, read on and make your site search engine friendly.
HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK
Number 1- THE TITLE OF A PAGE
Plainly stated, search engines use a technical term called software robots, or spiders, that search out the keywords that you type into that search engine. These robots can cover millions of sites in one day. At the internet's present size, this may take about two months to cover every website that exists. The first method for keywords is the title, or heading, of a webpage.
Number 2- WORDS WITHIN A PAGE
The second method that search engine robots look for are the keywords used in your search that come up within your webpage.
Number 3- LOCATION OF WORDS ON A PAGE
The third method that is used by some search engine robots is the location of the keywords used in your search. Besides the main title at the top of webpage, there may be subtitles on that page. The robot will look at these subtitles thinking that very specific information is located in that section of the page.
Number 4- THE FIRST 20 WORDS ON A PAGE
The fourth and final method that is used by some search engines is to look at the first 20 words in the first paragraph on the webpage. This method of keyword search is not common, but some current search engines employ this method.
GENEALOGY WORDS WITH IMPACT
Now that you know a very brief but concise way search engines work, I will now cover the keywords that you should have on your family genealogy web site. You may want to have these in your titles and subtitles. To come up with these high impact keywords, I just thought of what I type into a search engine to find genealogy related websites. This list is short, but powerful. After reading this, if you have any suggestions that I may not have covered, please e-mail me. I would appreciate your thoughts and will update this page. As genealogists, we always want to improve our searches. My list of keywords, listed in order of importance, are as follows:
1. Genealogy and Surname- These are the two basic words that I always use when searching for family websites. By using them, I dismiss millions of websites that I do not want to see. These are the two keywords that target family genealogy websites. Example: genealogy & surname Rydzdowski.
2. Your Surnames- If you want possible cousin lines in your family tree to find you, you must list your surnames! If your research is very extensive, you may have a long list and I salute your efforts. Do list these surnames somewhere on your website. If your list is short and you wish to have cousin lines find you, just list your surnames in the main area that I will cover shortly. Hopefully, in a couple months and continuing forward, you may complain of having too many surnames in your family tree. But to be honest, I have not ever heard of a family genealogist complaining about this problem.
3. Names of village or city, state or province, and country. If your genealogy research has linked a surname to a specific area, it is always a good idea to list these places on your website. As with my own, I list my Rydzkowski/Ryckowski(both spellings) with the places where my research has taken me. An example of this that I have used on this website is as follows: Rydzkowski, Ryckowski, Chicago, Kenosha, Cekcyn, Illinois, Wisconsin, US, United States of America, Poland. If a genealogist types in a specific search for the above surname and location, my website will be pulled up on the first or second page produced by that search engine. The odds of that genealogist visiting my site. . . . . .very good. If a search engine does not show a link to your website in the very first few pages, you most likely will not receive a visit from a possible cousin line. How many times have you viewed page 50 produced from search engine results? I will take this thought one step further! Your family genealogy website will NOT get visited if a search engine pulls up a link to your hard work on page 29,468.
THE MAGIC KEY
Now I want to show you by using illustrated examples what I consider to be "the Magic Key" to making your family genealogy website search engine friendly. This refers back to the first and foremost way a search engine works, the MAIN TITLE of a website page. These graphic illustrations will show what happens in the inner workings of web construction, what exactly a search engine robot looks at, and where to modify your webpage with YOUR keywords. This should be done on your main page. I have used this method on most of my individual webpages here to make each page on this site search engine friendly. This is why this site can turn up as much as six times out of ten using such search engines as Google, Dogpile, Yahoo, and Alta Vista to mention a few. I am talking about appearing on the very first page used by these search engines. If you want to be found, read on, and perform the following illustrations on your family genealogy website.
The main page on my website looks like this to the visitor like yourself.
When a search engine software robot, technical term spider, looks underneath the viewers page, it only sees the html language of any webpage. The basic title appears in the line marked <title> </title>. This basic html page can be accessed with your browser and is known as the website's "Source" or "Source Page". This is illustrated below.
What I refer to as "The Magic Key" to any website is to DELETE the title on this source page and insert all of your KEY WORDS that genealogy researchers would type into a search engine to pull up a link to your website. These are the words mentioned above such as "genealogy, surname, (your surnames), (cities), (states), and finally (countries). If you return to my website's main page and look at the "source", this is exactly what the search engine robot, or spider, sees. This basic change will make your family genealogy page search engine friendly!
I hope that this graphic illustration has helped you to understand search engines and how they work. I have seen numerous sites explaining in great detail this concept. My goal for this page is to educate using basic, simple, and easy to understand language. If you have a website, does the title on your source page look very basic or modified with YOUR MAGIC KEY? If you do not have even a simple basic genealogy presence on the internet, isn't it about time for one? Personally, I have found it much easier to be contacted by cousin lines, rather than looking for them. If you know of any genealogists in your family with a website, pass on this page to them. The next time that I expand my genealogy using a search engine, I hope to pull up a link to your site.....cousin!