Editor's Note
ISSUE NO. 3 -- March 2004 (archive)

The month of March is here! In the midwest it came in like a lamb... so I guess we'll soon be shovelling snow while a lion is clawing at our back. Saint Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays. For me it represents the beginning of Spring, even though we could easily see a blizzard or two before it's all over; however, winter is certainly on the downside. As the holiday approaches, I'm looking forward to a tall pint of Guinness along with my Corned Beef and Cabbage.

In this issue or ZROT we will give you information to help your website get found by search engines. Unlike the stealthy Leprechaun...you want your website to be found.

The luck O' the Irish to ya.

Featured Photo
Tobacco Hornworm
Tobacco Hornworm

Think Green! Saint Patrick's day is a celebration of the color green, among other things. There is probably no greener creature on this planet then the Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta) which is the larvae of the Hawkmoth. I found this lovely specimen defoliating tomato plants in my garden, last August. As you can see in the enlarged photo, he even ate the young green fruit. These caterpillars are voracious eaters, consuming up to 4 time their weight in food each day. They can reach up to 4 inches in length. Luckily, I caught him and his band of buddies before they did too much damage to my plants. Hornworms are truly mean green eating machines.

What is Sucess?
" To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one's self;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -
This is to have succeeded."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Featured Article
The Art of Getting Found...
   Your SEO Primer

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a big complex subject that is continuously changing as the tide of search engines evolve and fight to capture greater market share. However, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to get found and improve your search engine ranking. Here's the quick and dirty list:

  • Submit your URL to the major, maybe top ten, search engines for indexing. Addme.com has a free submission service.
  • Write valid standards compliant html. Validate your webpages and CSS at W3C.
  • Use good page titles with keyword phrases that are matched in the page text.
  • Use good keyword phrases for your industry and for your business. Incorporate the keyword phrases in your text, titles, and meta tags.
  • Use meta tag keywords and descriptions; however this meta information is not as important as it used to be. Most search engines don't used this information... Google doesn't. Google indexes the visible content, and doesn't use meta data.
  • Populate the ALT attribute (alternate text) on all images using a phrase or brief sentence.
  • Don't use frames.
  • Don't use Flash-only pages, since Flash content can not be indexed. Hyperlinks made with Flash can not be spidered. If Flash navigation is used, provide alternate HTML links to internal pages
  • Keep your graphics-to-text ratio small. This is also better for faster loading pages.
  • Don't use complex deeply nested tables for layout; simple layouts make it easier for robots to index. It's good if your page has a high content-to-markup ratio. More and more we are starting to see efficient table-less (pure css) layouts.
  • Chunk your content into smaller size pages. There is a limit to how far into a page an indexing robot will go.
  • Use descriptive text for links to internal pages i.e. good keywords. Some search engines use this text to define the content of the page the link points to.
  • Use standard markup tags like <p>, <h1>, <h2>, etc. Appropriate use of header tags will tell search engines how important the content is. Use CSS to stylize text.
  • Don't use tricks... tricks like hidden text, irrelevant text, etc. Search engine spamming is a very bad thing to do; so it's best to be honest and straight forward.
  • Probably the most important thing you can do to improve ranking is to get other websites to link to yours. Add your website to online directories like DMOZ.org and others. Exchange links with other websites. The more websites that link yours, the higher ranking you'll have. This should be a continuous ongoing effort.
  • Use a robots.txt file to give directions to robots.
  • Be patient. It takes time, weeks and months to get indexed, listed, and ranked.
Back Issues of ZROT

ISSUE NO. 2, February 2004
X-ray Specs, American Goldfinch, Spam, Email Obfuscate Tool

ISSUE NO. 1, January 2004
Compost, 3D Modelling, VW bugs, Door County, Digital Orthophotography