So, your Web site is up and running. It looks great and on its first day you're excited about getting your first order. But your excitement soon turns to weariness as that one order is only one that comes in for a whole month. And worse, your Web site statistics show a disappointing hit rate. So much for perception that “if you build it, they'll come.”
Every Web site owner wants people to visit their site, but very few understand role search engines play in getting those people there. And fewer still, understand how relevant content can not only attract search engines, but convert your visitors into paying customers.
Have no fear. This guide will help you understand relatively simple steps you can take to make sure search engines send targeted traffic to your site, and increase your sales.
But before we begin it’s important to understand how search engines work, and make distinction between crawler-based search engines like Google and a directory like DMOZ.
Part One - Understanding difference between search engines and directories
Crawler-based search engines.
Crawler-based search engines, or spiders, literally “crawl” Web looking for content. They’re able to do this because of way pages on Internet link to other pages by way of hyperlinks. Anyone who’s sat down at computer “for five minutes” to find information has experienced this linking system—hours later you’re still there, completely off track, clicking away from one page to another to another.
The search engines use this linking system in much same way as human users. For example, when Google sends its “spider” (fondly known as GoogleBot) to “crawl” Web it follows links from page to page indexing content it finds along way. The information is then stored in a huge database somewhere at Google. Later, when someone enters a particular word or phrase into search box, Google scans its database for possible matches. It then displays pages that contain, or relate to word or phrase in an order it considers most relevant.
There are really only two major crawler-based search engines, Google and Yahoo. The others, with exception of several smaller engines such as, Ask Jeeves/Teoma and engines based outside United States, get their results from these two. See below to find out which engine supplies and which engines receive.
While Google and Yahoo crawl Web in much same way, results you receive from each can vary greatly. You can see an example of this by searching for “direct mail packages” on both Google and Yahoo. As of today, (and this is certain to fluctuate on a daily basis) a test page from my site (www.juliahyde.com) with title “Sales Letters and Direct Mail Packages” hovers around number 12 on Google’s results. Perform same search on Yahoo and page ranks number one. It also ranks number one on MSN, but that’s because, until MSN officially launches its own search engine, Yahoo supplies its results.