Improve Your Web Site and the Minnesota Legal Web
If you publish a web site, chances are you want people to visit it. And chances are you want more people to visit it than are currently doing so.
You have three ways of bringing people to your site:
- encouraging people to come directly to your site (such as by featuring your web site address on your communications, print advertising, seminars, etc.)
- encouraging web sites with complementary purposes to forward visitors to your site, and
- submitting your site for inclusion in search engines, web directories, or other portal sites that Web visitors use as starting points.
We're concerned with the last method, because LawMoose is a specialty legal search engine and community knowledge server.
Our goal at LawMoose is to help people easily and quickly find web pages that answer their questions and identify people and products who can be of assistance to them.
We can't do that on our own as well as we can do it together.
Here are specific steps you can follow to help us at LawMoose.
First, use unique page titles that act as headlines for your pages.
By default, LawMoose searches include both title and body. In addition, we offer visitors the option to search only through page titles. This is designed to allow our visitors to find only the most relevant materials.
We use the title tag in the head portion of your web page -- not the headline you may use in the body portion of your web page.
Search engines, ours included, like page titles, and use their contents in ranking the relevance of pages. Make sure each page title in the head portion of the pages on your site is an accurate headline -- one that uniquely and succinctly describes that particular page. Do NOT use the same title for every page on your site!
Second, keep your pages as short as possible.
Third, embed html page comments in your pages to tell LawMoose exactly where the unique content of the body of each page begins and ends.
Notice we say unique content. Web page bodies typically include global elements -- content that appears on all pages or a group of pages on your site -- headers, footers, menus, other navigational elements, etc.
Those standard elements have a job to play on your site, but we would prefer not to index them. Why is that? Think for a minute that you are interested in the subject "copyright." You search for copyright. Mixed in with pages about the subject you are seeking are a lot more that appear only because of a standardized element that says: "Copyright 2000."
Left to its own devices, our indexer will index standardized text along with unique text. But this standardized text interferes with effective text search.
Help LawMoose do better than the average search engine. If you add a simple instruction code that LawMoose understands, our indexer can pick out the valuable unique content on your pages that should be indexed -- and leave the boilerplate and navigation items out of the index.
Here's how to give LawMoose the special instructions it needs to do its best.
Use our special LawMoose tags -- they are invisible when a page is displayed in the browser -- to let us know where the important, unique part of each of your pages begins and ends.
All HMTL tags begin with < and end with >.
So, right before the unique indexable content on a page, insert in the HTML code of the page, the following:
(LM stands for LawMoose of course.)
And right after your unique indexable content, insert the following:
If you use a standard template for your site, just add these special tags to your template. That way, the code will be added to all your new pages automatically. (You may have to consult with your web designer on this one, we know.)
Fourth, ask us if LawMoose Agent (our spider) runs into any problems when it visits your your site.
If you do Steps One, Two, Three, be sure to let us know. And, after Step Four if we confirm too that your site is spider-friendly, we will authorize you to add a statement to your site announcing that it is "Optimized for LawMoose, Home of the Minnesota Legal Web" so long as you continue to maintain a spider-friendly design.
(If you change your design, be sure to tell your designer to be sure to consider whether it too will be optimal for LawMoose and other search engines.)
If by chance we tell you that LawMoose Agent does have difficulties with your site, other search engines are probably having similar difficulties. We can provide consulting services customized to your site's special circumstances to help you improve your site's suitability for web spiders.
Research shows that the longer people use the Web, the higher are their demands for usable web sites.
So please, do us all a favor. Maximize your site for LawMoose and other search engines today.
Want more information? See our list of articles about search engines and web spiders.