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Search Engine Promotion


One of the best methods for promoting your site online, is through search engines and search directories. It's important to remember that search engines will index your site quite differently to a search directory.

Search Engines (also known as metacrawlers), will send out a robot to your site, after submitting your URL to them, and will scan your page/s html including Meta Tags. Your pages will then be queued up to be indexed at a later date. Depending on which search engine, it can take from 2 days to anything upto 6 months to be included in their search index.

Search Directories, however, will index a site on a different principle. A human editor will actually look at your site and review it based on the site info you gave them in the 'suggest a site' process. Getting indexed in a directory is a much harder task than SE's. That is because, directories have strict guidelines as to what they will accept or reject. What they are looking for is 'quality', 'uniqueness' and most important of all 'content'.

You should concentrate on the top 10 search engines and directories, since they account for over 95% of the traffic, Especially Google!



Here's a list of the most popular SE's and directories.
(They are not prioritised)

Search Engines
Google (Big Daddy of them all) *
MSN
AOL
Excite
Lycos
Fast/All the Web
Search Directories
Yahoo *
Open Directory (DMOZ or ODP)
Looksmart *








* These search engines/directories are also PPC (pay per click), whereby you bid on specified keywords. The higher you bid, the higher your ranking is.

Each Search Engine will rank your site based on their own algorithm. No one knows how these algorithms score a certain site. Keyword density, prominence and link popularity play a vital role in the relevency scoring.

Your job is to try and achieve a top 30 ranking within search results, because surfers very seldom look past the first 3 pages! Be wary of SE optimization companies who guarantee top 10 placements, they usually get you good placements with search terms that are hardly queried upon! And this is a much easier accomplishment! The real challenge lies in getting top positions for popular keyphrases.

We say 'keyphrases' and not 'keywords', because most queries are done for 'keyphrases'. You'll greatly enhance your chances of a good ranking if for say you used a more specific keyphrase rather than a generic single keyword, e.g. domain name is better than domain, and better still is domain name registration.

The more words you use in your keyphrase, the more likely you will have a winner, providing you follow the advice we are about to give below.

First, it is imperative that you choose the right keyphrases. Choose the wrong ones and your efforts will be in vain. Look at your competitions sites, which phrases are they using? Do the phrases reflect your sites theme?

A really excellent tool you can use to determine which keyphrase to choose is WordTracker. This tool will give you hundreds of variations of a given keyword or keyphrase. It will give you an estimated prediction of the number of times your selected keyphrase has been queried in each of the major engines and directories, together with the number of competing sites. And then, it will give you a score based on their formula, indicating your chances of attaining a good position. It also has a free-trial. Check it out!



Search Engine Optimization Tips
  • Include your keyphrase in your title, i.e. the title that is displayed at the top of a web browser when someone types in your URL. Try to keep your keyphrase near the beginning of your title, but not the first word.
  • Include your keyphrase at least once in your keyword Meta-Tag, but no more than 3 times. Again near the beginning.
  • Include your keyphrase in your description Meta-Tag.
  • Include your keyphrase in a heading near the top of your page, e.g. H1, H2, H3, etc...
  • Include your keyphrase in the first sentence of your first paragraph in the body text. And about 4 - 5 more occurances in the body text. Including, near the bottom of the page.
  • Use your keyphrases as much as possible in link text, e.g. dreamweaver templates
  • Include your keyphrase in your URL, e.g, www.dreamweaver-templates.net
  • Include your keyphrase in your page file, e.g. web_design_tips.htm
  • Try to link to as many pages on your site with your keyphrases in them. Reciprocally exchange links with similar sites. One word of caution! Many of the link exchange programs available, also known as 'link farms' and those who participate in them, are rumoured to being penalized by certain engines. Try to do this manually!
  • Visit search engine forums such as: searchengineforums - You'll gain valuable indepth tips for each engine and directory!
  • Test! - Test! - Test!



Search Directory Submission Tips
  • Crucial! Make sure you have found the appropriate category for your site. Look at where your competitors or similar sites are listed. If your site is regional, then submit it there. If your site is commercial, then it should be listed in "Business and Economy/Business to Business" or "Business and Economy/Shopping and Services."
  • Ensure that your site has no broken links, no pages 'under construction', is browser compatible for both Explorer and Netscape and is fast loading.
  • Your site should have good navigation.
  • Make sure you have at least some content on your site. Add useful (original) articles reflecting the theme of your site.
  • Your site should not mirror any other site, already indexed.
  • Your company's physical address must be visible on your site, including a telephone number. The easier it is to find the better it is. Avoid using P.O. Boxes!
  • Since your site will be reviewed by a professional human editor, meta tags will be irrelevent to them. Instead, they will look at the site info that you gave them in the 'suggest a site' process. Your title should include your company name if possible. Keep your description short and to the point with your keyphrase near the beginning.
  • Avoid using superlatives in your title, e.g. the best, fastest, cheapest etc...
  • Do not use the following techniques on any account! - submitting multiple doorways, cloaking (also known as stealthing), keyword stuffing, using hidden text, Java redirects, pages with very little text on it etc...
  • Submit manually. Many auto submission tools and services do a bad job anyway. Some engines will penalize you for auto submissions.



Useful links:

How to choose an appropriate category in Yahoo Directory:
http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/appropriate.html

Valuable SE User advice and tips from JimWorld's Search-Engine Forums:
http://searchengineforums.com/bin/Ultimate.cgi


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Eva Kronvall
Torrance CA, USA

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