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* Frames: separation of screen into different sections. Several search engines will not go inside these.
* Java: a programming language used to create "cool" animation effects, and other applications on your site - again, search engines will not work with Java script.
* Images: pages that contain only graphics with no text, (even if words are part of graphic) will be passed over by search engines unless you include alternative text tags for images.
Note: there are big differences between various search engines as to what and how they will index. My suggestions here will help you well through basics, but for much more detailed information, check out "The Webmaster's Guide to Search Engines".
Submitting to search engines
Now it's time to submit to search engines.
By way, they all (currently) accept your listing free of charge - they raise revenue from advertising banners at top of their pages.
You may have already received some unsolicited e-mail (not from me!) offering to submit your site to 500+ search engines for a seemingly very low price. My advice would be to avoid these services, for several reasons:
1. Most of 500 search engines will be obscure (such as "Fred's Cool Links"), with few people ever visiting.
2. These services will submit your site to all engines on their lists indiscriminately, whether or not it is applicable. Worse, some of them may be adult-oriented.
3. The services use software to submit your site automatically, which means that they do not take time to ensure that you appear in optimum category within each directory. Also, some of search engines are now rejecting automated submissions.
If you decide to do your own submissions, these are ones that I recommend using:
Alta Vista; AOL Netfind; Excite; Google; Hotbot; Infoseek; Lycos; Microsoft Network; Northern Light; Webcrawler;
Be aware that search engines take vastly differing amounts of time to list you. Alta Vista and Infoseek are usually very fast, while Excite and Lycos can be delayed by several weeks.
You should also get yourself listed in major directories - these are reviewed by human editors, so make sure that your site is ready for close scrutiny! These include:
Looksmart; Snap; Yahoo!
If, and only if, you are selling product directly from your Web site via a secure server, you can apply for Yahoo!'s Business Express Service. This costs a one-time fee of $199, but seems to virtually guarantee you a listing - and Yahoo! is still by far highest trafficked directory.
And, if you are willing to pay per click (visitor to your Web site), check out Goto. This search engine is arranged on an auction system - you bid per keyword or phrase (bids start at $0.01), and highest bidder's site is displayed first. Your account is debited by amount of your bid when someone clicks on your listing. Again, this site is controlled by human editors, so results are pretty clean.
Traffic analysis - evaluating results
Once your site is promoted and starts appearing in search engines, you can evaluate your traffic. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) should provide your site's usage logs, which give you incredibly useful information. (And if they don't, take your business elsewhere!)
You will need a good analysis tool to break down this data (some ISP's and / or professional Web site marketers provide this service as well). I currently use Hitbox, which is excellent.
The report will show you how many individual visitors came to your site, as well as hit count. You can see which pages of site are most popular, and which pages draw little traffic. Maybe this is because you haven't made them enticing enough in your links.
Armed with this analysis, you can intelligently review your site structure and content. For purposes of this discussion on search engine promotion, look at sections on search engines and keywords (you can find these by using navigation links in left-hand frame of report):
"Top Referring Sites" "Top Referring URL's" "Top Search Engines" "Top Search Phrases" "Top Search Keywords"
These charts and tables show you which search engines (or other Web sites that link to you) are driving most traffic to your site, and what keywords and phrases people are using to find you, broken down both by individual search engine and overall. Here's where you start getting some great feedback. You may have been fairly sure that you knew keywords that your markets would use to find your site, but you could be wrong! With this information, you can adjust titles, keywords and descriptions in your pages, and then resubmit site. This ongoing process helps to improve your position in search engines where you may not be so well placed.
This also provides wonderful market research on your audience. Rita Risser's company, Fair Measures, provides legal training for managers in area of employment law. Her Web site is an extensive information resource, attracting over 6,000 visitors per month.
Rita told me that her logs showed that many visitors were searching for a specific topic that was a total surprise to her. But there was such demand for this subject that she decided to write a book on it.
If you view Webtrends report while online, you can click on most popular search strings and perform that actual search. This will show you how your site appears, and also what other pages are being returned. So if your competition is ahead of you, it may be possible to look at their promotional techniques and work out how they do it!
Take your Web marketing seriously. The Web affords you opportunity to track results of your marketing investment in ways that you never could with traditional advertising. You can learn something about literally every visitor to your site.
Get serious about your Web site marketing; set your goals, invest in an ongoing strategy, and then become even more successful!
Copyright, Philippa Gamse, 2000
Philippa Gamse, CyberSpeaker, is an internationally recognized e-business strategist. Check out her free tipsheet "Beyond the Search Engines" for 17 ideas to promote your Website: http://www.CyberSpeaker.com/tipsheet.html Philippa can be reached at (831) 465-0317 or mailto:pgamse@CyberSpeaker.com