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Listing your site with search engines

Difference between search engines and directories

Search engines, such as Google, create their listings automatically. Search engines crawl the Web, then allow people to search through what they have found.

If you change your Web pages, search engines eventually find these changes, and that can affect how you are listed. Page titles, body copy and other elements all play a role.

A directory such as Yahoo! depends on people for its listings. You submit a short description to the directory for your entire site, or editors write one for sites they review. A search looks for matches only in the descriptions submitted.

Changes to your Web pages have no effect on your listing. Factors that are useful for improving a listing with a search engine have nothing to do with improving a listing in a directory.

Submitting a site to the search engines

Search engines drive approximately 90% of traffic on the Internet. If your site isn't listed and effectively marketed on the major search engines how will your potential customers find you

All of the major search engines now use automated systems or 'robots' to index websites. They have a schedule and it may be six months before they happen upon your site. Submitting your site to search engines reduces the time it takes for your site to appear in search engine results.

To submit your site, check the requirements with the specific search engines. You should submit your site on a monthly basis.

Design your site for search engine success

There are many design decisions that you should consider when search engine placement is important to you.

Avoid using frames, use meta tags, and place the top keywords in prominent locations in your Web page. Use text links instead of images as much as possible. Use standard .html or .htm Web pages on your main page. Increase the number of links to your website by listing it with directories. Sometimes links on your web page to other pages in your website can have a positive impact on your search engine placement.

Page layout has a very strong influence on search engine positioning. Mention your keywords in the body content. Place the key words closer to the top of the page than the bottom. Your most important keywords should be paragraph headings.

Remember, search engines read a page from top to bottom. Therefore, make sure to place important text before any address or links in your page. Some search engines ignore meta tags and gain their information directly from your Web pages. These use the 1st 120-200 characters of text as the description displayed in search results. Don't waste this area on your street address, phone number or page links.

It's easy to become overwhelmed with all the information available to you. We can help.

Attain a higher placement with the search engines

Unfortunately there are no 'search engine secrets' that will guarantee a top position in the organic or 'non-paid' search. But, there are a number of small changes you can make that can sometimes produce excellent results.

These techniques include: meta tags, the title tag, page layout, page content, a page name, links, image alt tags, not using frames, or if it is already framed - the proper usage of the NOFRAMES area, etc. Again, these are common and easy techniques to implement.

How long does it take before a site appears in the search engines

The time is takes each search engine to include your Web site varies. Smaller, niche search engines may index your site within a week, while the 'big guys' may take eight weeks or longer.

Avoid all invisible or hidden text

Never use hidden or invisible text in your Website. The rise of contextual search brought about this once popular practice of using text of the same color as the background to jam a Web page with desired keywords, which was thought to improve search engine placement. Now many search engines actually penalize sites that use this practice.


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