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Halloween Guide and Ideas

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Featured Halloween Articles Featured Articles
The latest Halloween articles from the staff of Halloween Online.
Halloween Costumes Halloween Costumes
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Halloween decorations you can make or buy for the spookiest night.
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Halloween Safety Guide Halloween Safety
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afety information, tips and suggestions for a safe Halloween.
Halloween Tips 101 Halloween Tips
That's right, 101 great Halloween tips, ideas and suggestions!
Halloween Props & Special FX Halloween Props
Spooky Special Effects and Props for your Halloween haunt.
Pumpkin Carving Pumpkin Carving
Pumpkin carving tips for carving your Halloween Jack O' Lanterns.
Halloween Music & Movie Reviews Movies & Music
Suggestions for the best Halloween music and Halloween movies.
Halloween Crafts Halloween Crafts
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High Tech Halloween High-Tech Halloween
Ghostly gadgets for your computer, cell-phone, Palm Pilot and more!
Halloween Guide and Ideas

 

Halloween Guide and Ideas

HALLOWEEN ON THE INTERNET


Search Engines
In the nineties, search engine results for the term "Halloween" yielded a few quality web sites and a multitude of personal web sites. As the World Wide Web became more mainstream, more and more spooky sites began popping up, some with useful information, but most with little or no usable content.

As the new millennium dawned, you could receive targeted and relevant results from the major search engines. If you typed in the term "Halloween", the best and most helpful Halloween web sites and web pages that contained actual content would be listed at the top of the first page. Unfortunately, that is not the case today.

Another variable that has clouded the results are paid advertisers. While the major search engines claim that paying them for an advertising program will not effect their general ranking, we have noticed in the last two years that companies with large "paid" advertisements also have much higher ranking. An example would be a business that had previously been listed on the sixth page, suddenly appears on the first page when they begin an advertising program. While this might help people who are searching for products to purchase, it does a great disservice to those who are looking for actual Halloween related information, articles and help.

Yahoo!
Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com), rated number two for Internet based searches, made some charges to their software as well. Unfortunately, these changes have resulted in terrible search returns. Yahoo owns Alta Vista (http://www.altavista.com), so the results you receive are very similar.

To make matters worse, sites that use unethical and deceptive methods such as generating hundreds or even thousands of duplicate, redundant and cloaked web pages in an attempt to trick the search engines into giving them higher ranking don't appear to be flagged for using these tactics. In the past Yahoo would incorporate algorithms in their search engine to discourage, and even penalize this type of search engine spamming, but they no longer seem to care if this type of behavior is used or if their results are relevant or not.

One such site that is listed near the top of a Yahoo or Google search of the word "Halloween", has used literally thousands of useless and cloaked (hidden) web pages to achieve its high ranking. And yet, both search engines have rewarded them with this higher ranking, rather than penalizing them. For the time being we can no longer consider Yahoo the viable resource for Internet based searches that it once was.

Another example of how Yahoo no longer generates relevant results would be what happened October (2007). If you searched the word "Halloween", half the results on the first page were for the remake of the movie "Halloween". This would be fine if we had searched for "Halloween movie", but that's not want we were searching for. This kind of problem makes it hard to do a viable search for anything using Yahoo since you don't know what you'll get anymore.

The Yahoo! Directory that once had well targeted results is now all but gone. If you remember, this was completely separate from their regular search engine and was actually reviewed by Yahoo! staff to list the very best web sites for a particular search. Searching the directory at http://dir.yahoo.com simply displays the same results as their general search engine. To get to the "good stuff", you will need to go to:
http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Holidays_and_Observances/Halloween/

Google
Google (http://www.google.com), the Internet's leading search engine changed the method that their search engine software ranks web sites and turned things upside-down, and not in a good way. Searches seldom yield the relevant and/or useful results we were so used to, and since AOL, Netscape Search and possibly others use the Google database, you won't fare any better with them.

Other Search Engines
All the Web (http://www.alltheweb.com) and MSN Search (http://search.msn.com) do a fair job, but like the rest, their results suffer from unrestricted search engine spamming.

While Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org) is not a search engine, its relationship to the search engines does deserve mention here. There's no question that Wikipedia is a great site for general information. However, having a single page or even a couple of pages dedicated to a particular topic, such as Halloween, does not deserve, nor should receive extremely high search engine ranking, particularly when there are so many web sites that provide large amounts of valuable Halloween related information.

Halloween Link Sites
Some web sites are dedicated to listing other Halloween web sites entirely. Below is a great example of a site dedicated entirely to listing Halloween web sites. www.halloweenfamily.com

Halloween Links Pages
Most non-commercial Halloween web sites include a links page that list favorite sites. Like Halloween Links Sites, these can be an excellent source for sites that have quality Halloween information. An example of this is the "links" page on this site:
http://www.halloween-online.com/halloween-links.html

Unfortunately, most content driven and personal Halloween web sites have been ranked so poorly, that you will spend a lot of time clicking through page after page of search engine listings to find them.

The Future
The future of finding, much less expecting to receive targeted results for useful, content rich Halloween web sites through most of the search engines is very much in doubt, particularly with Google. Unless they make the needed changes in their policies and software, we can only expect things to get worse, not better.

Your best bet is when you find a web site or page that is helpful, bookmark it immediately. It's sad that after all these years, when things should have improved on the Internet with search engines, they have taken giant steps backward. If you want to find quality information about Halloween, you'll have to look long and hard to find it.
 

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