A portal provides an entry point to the Internet. It usually includes a search engine and/or directory. It also offers other services directly accessible over the Internet. With "Web 2.0", a whole slew of very customizable portals called "desktops" have come out.

## Portal Types

When considering a portal, don't confuse search engines with directories.

• Search engines. Lists created by programs, spiders, and robots. Search engines are great when you are looking for particular keywords. You may want to see SearchEngineWatch.com. EG: AltaVista.com.
• Directories. Lists created by people who categorize and/or review sites. Directories are great when you are looking for something and you don't want a lot of other goofy results. EG: DMoz.org.
• Popularity indexers. Lists that ranks site, by popularity. EG: Popdex.com. EG: digg.com.

There are variations of search engines and directories:

• Some portals may use both a directory and a search engine. EGs: MSN.com, Yahoo.com, and Google.com.
• Metacrawlers and metasearch engines search and cull multiple search engines. EGs: MetaCrawler.comCareerBuilder.com is a job hunting metasearch engine.
• Multisearch engines allow you to search multiple sites from one location. EG: Search-It-All.com and FaganFinder.com.
• Placement services. Most of the commercial portals sell inclusion and placement services to companies so that a companies URLs and content pops up higher on lists or as advertising for particular searches. EGs: Inktomi.com and Overture.com.

Submit your site to the big portals, then submit your site to portals that specialize in your field as well as geographically local portals.

## Coding for Portals

Some meta tags used to be much more important because search engines utilized them. However in the late 1990s search engines switched to largely examining the content of the page itself instead of the meta tags.

• Make sure a summary is at the start of the visible document.
• In your HTML heading make sure the <title> tag is clear and concise. It is usually what gets used in the user's bookmark list and in search engines.
• Portals pull the description from the HTML meta tag "description" in the header. EG:
<meta name="description"
content="Concise & accurate description, approx. 25 words." />
• Portals use the HTML meta tag "keywords" in searches by users. Use single word or short phrases. Don't forget possible pluralizations and potential misspellings. EG:
<meta name="keywords"
content="pet, pets, dog, cat, parrot, parot, pet supplies" />
• You can also use the robot meta tag to control how search engines spider your site. [Ref RobotsTXT.org 2003] The  syntax is as follows:
<meta name="robots" content="RobotInstructions" />
<!-- Where RobotInstructions can include: all, none, index, noindex, follow, or nofollow / -->
• The default is equivalent to "all" or "index, follow".
• "none" is equivalent to "noindex, nofollow".
• "noindex" means to search the page but not index the page.
• You may also want to include a text file entitled robots.txt in the main directory with the following code: "User-agent: * Disallow: /_private". The comma delimited list following "Disallow: " would be directories that you do not want robots to search.
• Make sure keywords and phrases are repeated through out the visible document, especially within heading tags. EG: <h1>.
• Put key words at the very bottom of the visible document.
• At the bottom of each page, put in the copyright info (year and company name) and the date last updated. Some spiders look for changes and updates to sites so changing and updating a site will increase its search rating.
• The Lynx browser is a non-graphical, text-only browser that some use to approximate what a crawler, robot, or bot might see. You can get Lynx itself or go to a website like seebot.org or http://www.delorie.com/web/lynxview.html, which simulates what Lynx or a crawler might see. Or better yet: Downloard the Lynx browser from the official Lynx site [http://lynx.isc.org/].

Driving traffic to websites via search engine advertising. Note that this is distinct from advertising on non-search engine sites. You should also manually list yourself in human-created directories (EG: DMoz.org) in addition to trying to make yourself searchable via robot-created search engines.

Coding for portals will help in natural searches but there are also ways to pay search engines like Google and Yahoo so that you have a paid link show up on the side of natural searches.

• $5 startup. Choose a maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) from$0.05 to $100. Choose a maximum Daily Budget (DB). Minimum total of$20/month.
• The neat thing is you only pay for per clicks per day.
• Your ad is tied to keyword phrases that you choose. If no one else is paying for your keyword phrases, then you'll get the lowest price. If you have competitors, then the one with the higher maximum CPC is put higher on the ad bar.
• Yahoo send's you to their child company Overture.com which focuses on search advertising. The Yahoo process is much more complicated than Google's. I hope the final price is similar. They do have a FastTrack service for $199 which studies your site and comes up with keyword phrases and ad suggestions. • Lycos.com and other portals also make sponsored links and such. Determine how much a search advertising is worth to you. EG: On average, 1% of clicks for "swords" results in an average sale of$300. If you assume that those sales would not have occurred without those clicks, then each click is worth this amount of sales: $300 * 1% =$300 * 0.01 = $3. However if the idea is to maximize clicks, and your DB is fixed, then CPC is the only variable --hence minimize CPC to maximize clicks. These examples show why. •$1 DB @ $2.00 CPC =$1 / ($2.00/click) = 0.5 clicks •$1 DB @ $1.00 CPC =$1 / ($1.00/click) = 1.0 clicks •$1 DB @ $0.50 CPC =$1 / ($0.50/click) = 2.0 clicks •$1 DB @ $0.25 CPC =$1 / ($0.25/click) = 4.0 clicks •$1 DB @ $0.05 CPC =$1 / ($0.05/click) = 20 clicks In this light, consider lowering your CPC for a competitive keyword phrase and spend on some of your DB on other keyword phrases that may give more clicks because of their lower CPC. Beware. Always pick relevant keyword phrases. If you have competitors and your CPC is too low (resulting in ranks below 7), then you never get ranked and you'll get 0 clicks. Companies with big pockets will pick the most relevant keyword phrases and pay top dollar for them. There are two important things besides paying for your ads: Choosing your keywords and making your ad. The latter is not my concern, but there are several tools for selecting keywords: • Keyword Tool [https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal . This is free and turns up lots of popular queries that include your keyword. It's a simple matter to type in keywords into Google and see what competitors if any have AdWords up. • Overture's Keyword Selector Tool. This is free and turns up search terms that others have done at Overture.com. • 50.Lycos.com. This is free. It turns up the top 50 searches at Lycos. This silly list usually has lots of pop stars (EG: "Britney Spears" has been on the list for 283 weeks!), but also has a lot of keywords for current popular memes (EGs: "Tsunami", "Taxes"). • WordTracker.com. This site has a free trial but their service ranges from$8/day to \$260/year. This site will give you numeric data that rates the popularity of keywords.

So unless you use Yahoo's FastTrack service, it seems that the process would be as follows:

1. Come up with your own keyword phrases.
2. Use the free Google's Sandbox, Overture, and Lycos to drum up more keyword phrases.
3. Use WordTracker to quantify keyword phrases.
4. Finalize the keyword phrases list based upon Google prices and such.

There are many sites that work on this sort of thing. Here are some, but I do not know if these sites are any good.