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 .Promote your web site with search engines...

Dotster $14.95 Domain Name Registration
The first step in generating traffic...

Several popular and well-known web sites exist to enable other people to locate your materials, even when they don't know your specific web address.  These ambitious projects attempt to index every site, page, phrase, even every word on the web, and retrieve them on command with a high degree of relevance.
Listing your site with search engines (and their cousins, specialized directories) is the first step in generating traffic for your site. 

Promoting with search engines...

Make the most of local efforts...

Reciprocating links...

In theory, a user enters his area of interest and your pages are returned as relevant results.  The user clicks your links and you have a visitor.

Unfortunately, the sheer volume of published material has greatly reduced the efficiency and effectiveness of search engines.  Even the most specific search is likely to produce thousands of "hits" or pages containing the references requested.  The farther down the list your page appears, the less likely anyone will find it.
The following basic points will greatly increase your chances of your pages being seen:


Key words are the key...

Select approximately 15 words or phrases you believe are most directly related to the contents of the page.  These should be words that someone searching for your material would be likely to enter as search criteria. 

The page description matters...

This should be a brief, informative sentence describing the content of your page.  Think of the page description as a summary or abstract of the contents.

Page text is everything...

The search sites that matter use sophisticated software to determine whether your page resembles what it claims to be.  In many cases, keywords not appearing in the text will be disregarded. 
For best results, try planning a page specifically for registration with the search engines.  Unlike the other pages of your site, this one should attempt to cover as much ground as possible.
Unfortunately, the things that will increase your chances of exposure will earn you no points as a writer-  some search engines are impressed by the repetition of key words and phrases.

You will want to repeat your key words and phrases early and often within your text.  The frequent repetition of key words and phrases  makes for awkward prose though.  Repetition is usually considered bad form.  Key words and phrases should be varied with synonyms for ideas and concepts that the key words and phrases refer to, as well as variations on the keynote wording and phraseology repeated frequently within your text. 

As you can see from the preceding, this kind of thing can easily get out of hand.  Although you can take steps to decrease the likelihood of anyone actually reading it, the old tricks of "redirect" pages and invisible text no longer work.  In fact, using some types of "secret tips" can cause your pages not to be listed at all.

Page title has to work...

If you can work your keywords into a sensible page title of approximately ten words, so much the better.  The page title generally functions as a one-line "teaser" to attract attention and encourage click-through to your site.

Tags and meta-tags required...

For all this to pay off, your page needs meta-tags, little snips of code inserted into the page's HTML.  They're needed to communicate effectively with search engines.
Meta-tags aren't complicated.  They basically look like this:

<meta name = "keywords" 
content = "word,word,word...">

<meta name = "description"
content = "brief description of the page...">

Meta-tags go in the HTML HEAD section, just above the title tags.


A permanent location...

Your search page must be registered under a permanent URL- someplace where it will not move or have its filename altered.  This is a prime reason for having your own domain.  Otherwise, moving your site to a better host service will entail losing all your placements.

Registration where it counts...

Finally, submit your search page for listing by at least the major search sites.  Although there are literally thousands of directories, these are by far the most important:

  • alta vista

  • aol

  • excite

  • hotbot

  • infoseek

  • lycos

  • snap

  • webcrawler

  • yahoo

Simplify the procedure by using batch submission software to automate an otherwise tedious procedure.


It may take up to several weeks for your site to appear in a search, and the results can be disappointing.  Search engine placement has become a highly competitive field that has spawned its own specialists.  It will likely take a lot of time and effort to achieve an effective listing.


Reciprocating Links...

Finally, to help boost your rankings on some of the major listings, you can participate in an arrangement known as reciprocal linking.

Some of the major search engines will award "extra points" to pages that have incoming links from outside your domain.  The theory is that if one domain bothers to link to another, the second must have something of value.

The recommended practice is to seek out potential linking partners, contact them, and see whether they're amenable to the idea.

It's important to understand that the true purpose of such arrangements is indirect- you will almost never get a click-through from your listing on the other site.  Indeed, most sites' reciprocal link pages can be very hard to find- unless you're a search engine robot.

We don't actively pursue reciprocal linking arrangements, but if invited by a source that looks legitimate, we'll participate.  Want to see our reciprocal links page?  Click on the "greater than" at right... >

It is some work to include a link like this, so you want the linking site to be "for real" and not just another link farm.  It's important that your incoming link originates from the site you're linking to- otherwise, it's likely to be discounted by the robot.

Promoting with search engines...

Make the most of local efforts...


Top of internet section... 

For more info on promoting your site, check out our Sources and Resources...
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