Descriptions Of The Internet Terms And Services
A “blog” is a web page used to exchange news, information, concepts, viewpoints, theories and many other types of information. The message a blogger writes is known as a blog post or posting, and the process of writing these is known as blogging. A blog may often have a comment form at the bottom of the page inviting its readers to post their comments. This free exchange of information and ideas is in alignment with the original concept and spirit of the Web. Many site owners choose to have blogs installed on their websites, and typically, their subject matter varies widely.
The internet began in the 1960’s, and should not be confused with the World Wide Web, (or the Web), which appeared in the 1990’s. The internet began as a product of U.S. Government sponsored research, and with additional funding, it grew into a vast system of computer networks which share compatible networking protocols and transmission carriers.
Originally, the internet was transmitted primarily by telephone cables, but as the Web appeared and gained universal use, much more bandwidth was needed. At this point, phone cables were replaced by fiber optic cables. In the developing world, these cables have largely been replaced by wireless systems, which are faster and much less expensive to install. Easily accessible by both desktop computers and mobile devices, wireless internet is growing everywhere in both popularity and performance.
The World Wide Web, also known as the Web, is not a synonym for the Internet. Although they are almost inextricably entwined, the Web and the Internet are two distinctly different things. While the Internet is an environment involving a global network of wires and wireless pathways, the Web is the fabric of HTML code which occupies this environment. The Web began forming in the 1990’s, several decades after the birth of the Internet.
A website is a document written in HTML code, which can contain images, video, and text, and is connected through the internet to anyone having access to the Web. A website can be as simple as one long “scroll down“ page which allows a visitor to study images and text, by moving a scroll bar on one side. More sophisticated websites have multiple pages which function interactively through the use of “navigation buttons” or controls which are often grouped in a control panel across the top of each page. A website can also contain “text links,” which are words within a body of text which can be clicked to take a visitor to another page of information. Contemporary websites can contain graphics, text, photos, slide shows, animated graphics and cartoons, videos, and downloadable documents like pdf files.
A website’s domain name as it appears in a web browser’s address window is known as its web address. For instance, the web address for this site is http://bhw.com Notice how this begins with some special letters and characters. All web addresses in web browser address windows have some sort of prefix like this. This long form for a web address is known as its ‘uniform resource locator, or URL. Web addresses published in books and magazines are often represented in a shorter form like this: www.bhw.com
Hypertext Markup Language, more commonly known as HTML, is the computer language with which websites are constructed. This is the interactive system which allows websites to contain embedded images, text, scripts, video files, and links to other sites. In short, HTML code is the essential fabric of the World Wide Web.
Just as every computer program is composed from its source code, every website has its own unique source code or “site code.” Written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) a website’s source code forms its underlying structure or DNA. This allows the website to store and display text, video, and photos in an interactive manner, and makes possible its connectivity to the World Wide Web.
To connect and function interactively with the World Wide Web, a website must be stored on a host computer which is continually connected to the Internet. In other words, it must be “on line.” The computer hosting a website can be a small desktop system, but this must be dedicated to hosting the website on a full time basis. Although early websites were often hosted in this manner, commercial hosting services offer clear advantages, including superior levels of speed, reliability, and security.
Also known as “back links,” incoming links are direct links from other websites to your site. When one of these links receives a mouse click, the URL in the browser’s address bar will be replaced with your site’s URL, and your website will appear in the browser.
Several years ago, Google began placing maps on search results pages. These maps have lettered tags and corresponding listings which are tagged with matching letters. In each listing is a colored text link which says ‘Place page.’ Clicking this produces a place page which includes more information about the business it represents.
Introduced in 1993, and titled “Mosaic,” the first web browser allowed anyone with an internet connection and this computer program to navigate the World Wide Web. In the following year, Mosaic was renamed “Netscape,” and its functionality and explosive popularity ushered in a new era in global communication. Currently, Microsoft Explorer, Firefox, and Apple’s Safari have replaced Netscape as the most popular web browsers. Netscape was purchased by AOL and became the basis for its current browser.
Online business directories and search engines store information about millions of businesses. Depending on the website storing and exhibiting these listings, information for businesses is generally found in one of two forms; simple listings or business profiles. In simple listings, information is very limited, and may include only a company name, a phone number, and the name of the city in which the business operates. In business profiles, the information is much more complete, and can include a street address, phone and fax numbers, email address, web address, text describing the business, a list of services provided by the business, a name for a contact person at the business, and much more.
A search engine is a web-based tool allowing its users to quickly search across billions of websites for very specific information. After entering a query composed of a word or a group of words relating to their search, the search engine will provide “search results pages,” which list websites recommended by the search engine as likely resources. Search engines are designed to “connect the dots” between the search terms (“key words”) people use in their searches, and websites which are most likely to contain the desired information.
Although it didn’t appear until 1998, four years after Lycos, Infoseek, and Yahoo, Google’s innovative leadership moved it into a dominant place among other search engines by 2000. Currently, only Yahoo and Bing account for any significant amount of competition, and Google represents approximately 65% of global search. Together, these three search engines account for about 95% of search. In other words, a well optimized website can receive 95 visitors from these 3 search engines, for every 5 visitors finding the site from other sources.
Google is the most popular search engine on the web. In fact, Google receives more traffic than any other website in the world. The reason for this is simple. Google currently produces more accurate search results than any other search engine. Additionally, Google is very fast, typically producing results in a matter of seconds. Google also provides free email (gmail), news, maps and trip directions, satellite views of earth, a new web browser (Chrome), and many other services. Google also powers a mobile device (Nexus S, an Android phone) with a mobile OS and an ap store, One of Google’s most popular sites is YouTube, a social media center where members can upload or download videos.
On many search results pages for local search, Google has installed maps with letter tags and business listings with corresponding letter tags. These listings contain links to ‘Place Pages’ which can provide lots of detailed information about listed businesses. Google now refers to this environment of maps and place pages as “Google Places.”
The second most important search engine on the Web, Yahoo accounts for less than half of the search traffic Google receives. In addition to providing search results, Yahoo also provides free email accounts to millions of its users.
Bing is the newest search engine on the web. Created by Microsoft, the company which makes the Windows family of operating systems, Bing is growing in popularity and is approaching Yahoo in terms of search activity.
Search Engine Optimization (also known as SEO) is a system of methods used by web marketing and SEO specialists to maximize a website’s PageRank and visibility on Google and other major search engines. This often includes the creation or modification of source code, site mapping, active blogs, and other forms of site content in order to shape a website into a more “search engine friendly” form. SEO can also involve supporting factors outside a website including references and incoming links from other websites, blog commentary, and many other strategies producing positive results with search engines.
In the world of Web Marketing, important words used in search queries are known as “keywords.” Special tools used by web marketing and SEO specialists allow them to identify which words are used most often in related searches. This information is grouped into keyword lists, in which these words are often organized in a hierarchy with the most frequently used keywords at the top. Specialists can then use keywords in carefully written site text, blog entries, directory profiles, and other features which help improve a website’s PageRank and visibility on search engines. If search engines can be described as virtual analysts which “connect the dots” between the search queries being used and the best likely sources, then keywords are often the dots which are being connected.
When SEO specialists write site text intended to improve a website’s visibility on search engines, they are often concerned with how densely the text is packed with keywords. If the density is too great, Google and other search engines may see this as an attempt to game their systems, and visibility losses can result. However, if keywords are used too infrequently, it’s difficult to achieve optimal levels of visibility on search engines. Fortunately, good software exists which enables specialists to test and optimize keyword density, and achieve the results they are seeking.
In a website’s source code, meta tags are lines of information placed near the top or “head” of each page, which provide a description, and a list of keywords for a website. Placed in the same group of tags, but not technically a meta tag is the title tag, which is closely related to a site’s meta tags in terms of its function. Meta tags and title tags exist to provide search engines with some basic information about a website. Debate exists within the SEO community about the value of meta tags as a means for effective optimization. However, well informed SEO specialists don’t often look at any one component in their work as a magic key. Instead, they rely on a combination of many factors. Meta tags are only one set of factors which has proven useful.
Searches conducted from iPhones and other “smart” mobile devices are known collectively as “mobile search.” Because the use of mobile devices has become so popular, they now account for more than half of local search, so many websites are adding sets of pages designed to read better on smaller screens.
The use of search engines to find goods and services within a local community is known as “local search.” To find search results more specific to a local region, the name of the city or area is often included in the search term. Gaining visibility in Google Map listings and other forms of local search results is important for success to small businesses like restaurants, bakeries, plumbers, electricians, and other small local businesses.
The word or phrase someone types into a search engine is known as a search query. Groups of words are also known as “search terms,” or “search phrases.”
Search Engines all provide a “search window,” which is a space into which a search word or phrase can be typed. This window is found on the home page for every search engine, and many browsers like Microsoft Explorer and Firefox include a search window, which is typically titled with the name of its respective search engine.
Search Engine Friendly
Used to describe websites whose source code and site architecture make them appealing to search engines, “search engine friendly” is a fairly self-descriptive term. A “search engine friendly” site is optimized to help search engines do their work more efficiently, and is usually much easier for human visitors to navigate as well. For these reasons, sites which are search engine friendly are often rewarded by Google and other search engines with higher page rank and better visibility.
Also known as Internet Marketing, Web Marketing involves a series of strategies intended to promote sales of goods and services through the use of a website. Obviously, success requires a website which is highly visibility on search engines. The website itself must be designed to hold the attention of its visitors, inform them sufficiently, and guide them successfully through the purchasing process. Arresting photography, professionally written text, and excellent design are important success factors. Virtual shopping carts and secure checkout forms can also be important parts of the equation.
When a street address other than the correct address or addresses for a particular business are listed on different websites, or on a company’s own website, a condition known as address confusion exits. This can happen when a business moves to a new location. Other similar types of confusion happen when a new email address is adopted, or a phone number changes. This can cause minor or extreme visibility losses on Google and other search engines, based on the degree of confusion.
A problem known as name confusion exists when different websites list the same business with different versions of the correct name. Another form of name confusion happens when more than one version of a business name exist on a company’s own website. Here are some examples. A business named, “SmithBros, Inc.” may be represented by variations like SmithBros, Smith Bros, Inc. or Smith Brothers, Inc. Name confusion is a problem because it can result in diminished page rank on Google and other search engines.
PageRank is an algorithm named for Larry Page, co-founder of the Google search engine. It can analyze any individual web page which is linked into the World Wide Web, and assign it a numerical value which ranks its importance among other related web pages. This makes it possible for Google to point to a particular page within a website as its best answer to a search query.
Google, Yahoo, and Bing all use virtual robots or “bots” to follow links within websites, gather information, and index their contents in search engine databases. Robots.txt files are plain ASCII text files stored in a website’s root directory, which indicate the information bots should read, and what to avoid. This helps bots detour around certain types of information (like admin or cache files) which aren’t relative to search terms. Robots.txt files can also reduce bot work load when multiple copies of the same files exist. Helping bots work more efficiently can result in higher page rank and other rewards. Robots.txt files aren’t always necessary, but they are important tools used by web developers engaged in building websites which are search engine friendly.
The World Wide Web is often described in terms associated with geography, the landscape, and urban features like highways, pathways, signposts, and buildings. In other words, the Web is being described as a world which lives inside the world’s computers. Given a different style of terminology, it’s possible we could be referring to individual information structures as “books,” but instead we know these as “websites,” or “sites.” The way in which websites are organized is known as their “site architecture.” This involves many different types of elements and features, which can include meta-tags, source code, site maps, internal and external links, site content, navigation design, and the ease in which a site interacts with web browsers, search engines, and visitors.
The frequency of visitors on websites is known as site traffic. The simplest way to measure this is with a digital traffic counter installed on the website. A traffic counter is a small window with a number showing accumulated traffic. The counter can be set up so it is visible to anyone, or linked to a button or graphic element which allows the site owner to open and close it.