Archive for the ‘Building Findable Websites’ Category

Web page design: delimit file and folder names with hyphens, not underscores

March 12, 2008

Use hyphens, not underscores, in file and folder names.

Search engines read a hyphen in a web page file name as a space.

  • Example: Web-Standards-Design.html is read as Web Standards Design

The resulting set of words provides useful keywords for the search engine.

Conversely, search engines don’t do anything with underscores.

  • Example: Web_Standards_Design.html is read as Web_Standards_Design

This one long word is not a useful keyword for the search engine, and won’t do anything to boost your web page’s page rank.

Likewise, use hyphens in URLs.

Use file and folder names that are keyword rich.

From the book Building Findable Websites by Aarron Walter:

Separate keywords in file and folder names with a hyphen rather than an underscore to ensure that search engines can read each word individually rather than as one large word. For example, most search engines will read a file named my-page.html as “my” “page,” whereas my_page.html would be read as “my_page,” which is not likely to match a search query. Google recently updated its system to recognize individual words in file names separated by an underscore. Since other search engines could be tripped up by the underscore, stick with hyphen-delimited keywords in your file and folder names to be safe.

Searching is a multi-billion-dollar industry … finding the right signals of quality is the key

March 8, 2008

When evaluating a page to assign rank, search engines look at a host of signals of quality that might provide clues to what a page is about and the value of its content.

One such signal of quality that we can safely identify is the number of inbound links to a page from reputable sources. If a page has a number of good inbound links to it, then it is likely that it has high quality content and therefore should be ranked high when displaying relevant search returns.

This particular signal of quality is what allowed Google to rise to the top in the business of search engines while other search algorithms were looking at less reliable signals of quality. Obviously, looking at the right signals of quality is of utmost importance in the multi-billion-dollar search industry. [My comment: Wow! It makes sense now that I think about it, but until I read this I never really thought about “searching” as being such a valuable thing: “multi-billion-dollar search industry.“]

Building Findable Websites by Aaron Walter

Simplify the markup in your webpage, and increase its search engine rank

March 5, 2008

“Search engines look for semantic markup with a high ratio of content to code.” [Building Findable Websites by Aarron Walter]

For example, this is not good design:


<div id=”Main”>

<p>Hello World</p>



The outer div is providing no benefit.  It can be more simply expressed as:

<div id=”Main”>

<p>Hello World</p>


This provides a higher ratio of content to code (tags).  And from the quote above, search engines rank higher documents with a higher ratio of content to code.