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Site Promotion Tutorial
Part 2 - Search Engines

Introduction

In part 1 I showed you how to prepare for promoting your site. This involved writing a description and keywords for your site and changing them into META tags which you could add to your site so that be able to pick them up. This week I will show you site to the main search engines and how to try and engine ranking.

The Problems With Search Engines

Many years ago, when the Internet was just, starting to become popular, search engines did exactly what they were designed to do. They provided a place where you could search all the sites on the internet and get a list of all the best ones in your browser. Unfortunately, millions of sites have been submitted, some of them have no useful information at all. This means that, if you search for a subject of interest on a search engine you will get hundreds of thousands of results, and only about half of them are relevent to the query.

This, of course, causes even bigger problems for webmasters. Unless you are listed within the first 100 results for a search term, very few people will ever visit your site. This means that hundreds of web sites have been set up just to explain how to get a good rating on a search engine. But not everyone can be in the top 100 so don't expect too much traffic from the search engines. If you are higly rated you will get a lot of visitors (some people get 40%-60% of their vistiors from the search engines).

I have found that, especially if a lot of sites have the same subject as you, you are very unlikely to get in the top 100 for a major search term, so try concentrating on a different, less popular one. Here is an example:

On Free Webmaster Help there is a tutorial explaining how to use PHP and MySQL together. Free Webmaster Help has no chance of being in the top 100 for search terms such as 'webmaster resources' or 'how to build a site' but does very well on searches for 'php mysql tutorial', and I have found that a great many of my visitors enter the site through the PHP/MySQL tutorial. This niche market is making up a great many of my visitors.

Search Engines And Directories

A common mistake people make is to get Search Engines mixed up with Web Directores. Web Directories are collections of sites which are organised into catagories. They are usually submitted and then looked at by a human before being allowed into the directory.

Search engines alre just a huge database of sites, descriptions and keywords which can be searched. They are collected by 'Spiders'. These are pieces of software which visit a website and 'spider it'. This means that, they take the information from the META tags and then follow all the links on the page to find more pages. When you submit to a search engine you are asking the spider to vist your site

Getting Into A Search Engine

This is one of the easiest things to do badly but actually submitting your site to a search engine and gett,ing a good ranking is completely different. Your META tags play and important part here but so does the actual text of your page. Before you submit your site you might want to do the following as it sometimes improves search rankings:

Add keywords to your page. What this is is when you use the keywords from your Keywords and Description tag in your text. For example:

Title: Web Design International - Professional web design for businesses
Description: Web Design International offer competitively priced web design for medim and small businesses around the globe. You can have your page designed, hosted and a domain name set up and you can even have your web site in multiple languages
Keywords: web, design, site, make, international, translation, low cost, world, host, hosting, domain name, price, medium, small, business, company

Firstly you would start your page using something very like your description. Then you would follow this with more inf
ormation about your business. Several times in this you should include your major keywords like 'web design' 'low cost' 'competitively priced' 'hosting' and 'domain name'. Don't be tempted to keep repeating these words over and over again, though. Search engines will reject your site if they think you are trying to get a higher ranking this way.

Next you should make sure that you have a lot of links to the other parts of your site from the front page. This will help the search engine spiders to easily get to the rest of your site. On most search engines every single page on your site will appear if the correct keywords are searched for.

Submitting Your Site

Now you have prepared your site for the search engines it is time to start submitting it. The more search engines you submit to the better. The most important, though, is Google. This is because Google now provide the web page matches for Yahoo! and this is the most popular site on the web. Yahoo! is an extremely important place to publicize your site. Because of this there is a complete section dedicated to it int he next part as it is actually a directory.

You should submit to all the main search engines such as Google and AltaVista but if there are any specific search engines for your site then your should also submit your site to them (for instance music site search engines etc.)

If the search engine you are submitting to asks for your description and keywords, check that it is actually a search engine and not a directory (especially if it asks for a catagory). Some do ask for these, though. You can get them from the files you created last week and paste them into the form.

Part 3

In the next part I will show you how to submit your site to the many web directories and give you some tips on how to get your site listed on Yahoo!, the biggest directory of them all.

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