Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan is a well known promotion expert specializing in the search engines. He is editor of Search Engine Watch, the definitive guide to search engines.

PW: First off, can you tell everyone what your site, Search Engine Watch is all about?

DS: It's about how search engines work, both from the perspective of webmasters and search engines users.

Many web designers create sites that go on to have problems being listed in the search engines. This is because they often have not done some simple things that can greatly improve the chances a site can be found.

The site covers the things designers and marketers should know about search engines, which are among the top ways people look for web sites. It also tracks how well they are adding new sites and important changes to how they are working.

Much of this is also of interest to general search engine users. A search engine that isn't crawling the web often may have outdated information. So, I've created sections within the site that talk about how well things run from a searcher's perspective.

PW: I heard that Search Engine Watch was recently bought out by Mecklermedia. What made you decide to sell it to them?

DS: The site has continued to grow in terms of content and visitors. It's been mainly a one person operation, with me doing everything from ad sales to paid subscription requests to actually writing the content. Selling to Mecklermedia meant the site could gain a great deal of support, allowing me to concentrate on the content.

PW: How do you think Search Engine Watch will be made better by it?

DS: It's already moved to a much faster server, so its more responsive. Also, I'm coming clear from a variety of tasks that I used to do. That's given me much more time to look into other articles and start work on new content. The tie in with the Internet.Com network that Mecklermedia owns also meant that more people are becoming aware of the site.

PW: There is a lot of controversy lately as to how many times you should repeat your keywords in your Meta Tags. How many times do you think it's safe to repeat keywords?

DS: It really depends on the search engine. Generally, you shouldn't repeat a term unless you need to. The days of putting something like "money money money money money" are gone. Personally, I'd stick to three or less in any keyword tag. But it really does vary. Plus, people need to remember that it's not so much how much you repeat in the meta tag. It has more to do with how well the tags summarize what's already on your page.

PW: Why is that?

DS: Each search engine has its own internal rules that it follows, so that's why there's no one size fits all. Again, the key is to think of meta tags as reflecting the content already on your pages. They help to enhance it. If you don't have good content, just the appearance of a term in a meta tag may not be that helpful.

PW: What do you think about using hidden text to gain a higher listing? Does this method work?

DS: Practically all of the search engines penalize or try to detect this. I've never found it necessary.



  • Search Engine Watch
  • Meckler Media
  • Internet.com
PW: In closing, do you have any general tips as to how to achieve a higher listing on the search engines?

DS: It still comes down to the combination of keywords in your title, in your meta tags and high on your pages -- coupled with the proper submission of your pages. A summary is at:


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