10 Site Promotion Tips
1. Web Marketing 101
2. Multiple Promotion
3. Marketing Your Site On and Off the Web
4. Bigger is Better
5. Keywords and Metatags
6. Tracking Search Engine Placement
7. Maps, Lists, and Scripts
8. Problems With Frames
9. Yahoo and Other Directories
10. Concept-based Searches
Graphic Design Resources
Recommended Books on Web Design and Internet Marketing
These are the actions I recommend most. If you have time, follow the rest of the links on this page to learn more about search engine placement.
- Use meta tags - the keywords in your meta tag *must* appear on your webpage or they may be ignored.
- Duplicate the text in your DESCRIPTION meta tag as your first paragraph
- If you use frames, duplicate your main body page with the NOFRAMES tags on your index page
- Put your keywords in image alt tags
- Use your keywords in the TITLE tag
- Target specific search engines with your keyword phrases in feeder pages
- Have links both to other pages in your domain and outlinks to other domains on your feeder pages.
- Name your feeder pages with your keyword phrases
- Name your domain one of your keywords
- Avoid a long-winded domain name that requires a good memory or spelling skills
- Use keywords and keyphrases in links and headings
- Use synonyms for your keywords in text
- Delete all redundant tags and useless HTML from generated pages
- Provide value at your main site. If you do, others will link to you and this will improve your search engine ranking. These are valuable links because someone else is recommending you. These relationships take a while to build. The spirit of the Internet is that it is a giving thing - Sites that try to make money without giving anything back don't last.
- Help people. Newbies can greatly try your patience. If you get asked the same questions often, web the answer and provide links to your main page.
- Skip awards. They are mostly covert attempts by others to get more links to their pages, thereby increasing their standings in the search engines. And the logos clutter up your page and make it look unprofessional.
- Don't buy into the "We'll submit your site to 100,000 search engines for $19.95 deals. Most traffic comes from links into your site and the nine major search engines. Being ranked 500th on 100,000 search engines will not generate traffic because most people don't go past the first two pages of results. If you must send someone money for nothing, please send it to me or to my favorite charity.
- Do not solicit or accept advice from teenage boys who live in front of their computers as to what is cool, effective, or necessary on your web page. Do not use red flashing text on a black background with spaceships -- it will crash your system.
- If you want to offer reciprocal links, create a separate page for the links back to their sites. Provide a nice intro paragraph with a link to your main page, and then order the links by category (using a nice heading 2 tag for each major category). Don't put the links on your main page, it will alloy the density of your keywords and phrases, thus lowering your ranking.
Web Marketing 101
Paying for It
I would only consider paying to register with Yahoo or Google. And I would consider it only after following all the other rules on this page. Paying for placement is something else, what you're paying for is getting the spider to visit your site, which can sometimes take months. However, Inktomi guarantees fast processing if you use this pay-for-it service
Inktomi Search/Submit - They promise you'll show up in all the search engines within 72 hours. Your call here.
Tags, Tags, Tags -- Inside the Mind of Search Engines
The further down your page that your keywords or phrases appear, the less highly each instance will rank, although you may be able to compensate for this. If you use an HTML generator, rather than coding your own pages, you will glut your page with redundant tags that will diffuse the impact of your keywords. If you use a generator, clean up redundancies before you post the page. I promise, no one on the net cares that you used Go-Live HyperStudio or whatever so delete the extra font tags, and the generator metatags. Also, I no longer recommend making a special feeder page for each keyword phrase you want to rank. Certain of the engines now penalize your website if you submit them. *Do* select keywords for your meta-tags that appear on your page or the search engines may ignore your tags.
Most of the major search engines have changed their ranking procedures to weed out spamming, techniques to bring traffic to pages without giving anything back. Spamming steals time and net resources. Pages of value might get lost in the shuffle. If that happens, a polite mail stating why your site is valuable and ask what you can do to be reconsidered. For example, last time I checked Infoseek on "site promotion tips", this page came up number 2 (and well it should!). "America's Most Wanted" web site came up number 1. The system is not yet perfect.
By accident, I learned some things about how most engines rank pages. I inadvertently copied the TITLE tag under the body tag and the page ranked incredibly well. This tells you how important the title tag is. If your most important keywords aren't in the title tag, it probably won't rank. Headings, and especially headings in links work well, especially for Infoseek. But if your whole page is headings, without text, they look for that. Overuse of a keyword is considered spam. However, you can use synonyms and they will rank well. See the section below on concept-based searches.
Publishing to Multiple Search Engines and Directories
You build a web site and nobody comes. So you need a way to announce it. Webcards are high-quality postcards carrying screenshot of a website with the address directly on it. They claim they're better than brochures; I think so, too. Postage is cheaper, and they can't be thrown away unopened. Also, they are pretty and people usually like picture postcards. If you like the idea, they will send you free sample webcards, information on how they do it, and send an email good for a discount if you decide you want your own. They also have a free email newsletter with site promotion tips.
Off the Web Promotion - WebCards
Click here to get free samples of Web Cards (and a discount when you order)
It's nice to have your own domain name. Having a long domain name is worthless because even if people can remember it, they can't type it. Find a short and memorable name you like. That's not going to be easy but time you spend on it is more than worth it. The prices for the same service vary, but everyone goes through the same service. Low-cost and Reliable The prices for the domain registration vary, but everyone goes through the same service. You can register names anywhere, but you do want an ICANN accredited registrar.
Registering Domain Names
I have run the gamut and am back to Network Solutions. Too damn expensive but you can count on them to do it right. You can pay less, but lose your sanity with getting the domain servers updated and all that. It's not worth it. The interface at Domain People is a little friendlier than Network Solutions and it is possible to get a reply from a real person. Prices are about the same.
Keywords and MetaTags
Use MetaTags in your HTML Document
Some search engines (but not all!) will determine your ranking based in large part on the description and keywords in your meta tags. For example, if you omit the Description meta tag, some search engines (Lycos, Excite) will display text beginning an arbitrary way down the page as the description of your site. This is not what you want. Your keywords must be related to the subject matter of your page. Extensive lists of keywords that have nothing to do with the subject of the page will result in a lower search engine ranking. Lycos and Infoseek refuse to list sites with extensive keyword repetition.
Meta Tag Generator
About Meta Tags
Content Makes an Indexable Page
Meta tags alone will not insure a high search engine ranking. Not all engines index them. Search engine spiders pull out and assign a value to the copy of the web page text. Repeated words and words in related categories are considered more significant. Words that fall towards the top of a document and words that are repeated several times throughout the document are more likely to be deemed important. Too many repetitions of a word is considered spamming and will reduce the ranking, however. A contentless page steals time from the reader. A page with content will almost always outplace a contentless page attempting to jockey for position with unrelated keywords and spam gimmicks.
Guide to Web Publication
Comprehensive guide to search engines, writing to assure high ranking, and
tools for monitoring the search engines.
Web Masters Guide to
The Effect of Change
SEVENtwentyfour checks for broken links into your site, breaks of other people's links when you rearrange you site, and links from your site that break as a result of someone else deleting a page. They'll give you a one-month free trial and send you a report every Monday. Check their services page for a complete list of what they offer subscribers.
Request a one-month free trial
Image Maps, Lists, and Scripts
What's to Index?
If you use an image map, as I do on the main page of this site, be aware that there is nothing for spiders that do not honor metatags to index. Pages that consist only of links to other pages may also fall in the rankings as a consequence. However, some hold strongly that spiders prefer to find pages on their own by crawling the web so this may be very good for the pages you actually link to.
In Praise of Image Maps
Frames, No Frames
Yahoo, Open Directory
Directories, unlike search engines, will not list your URL unless you submit to them. This really cuts out the spam because a real person reviews your site. Because they do not use spiders (robots), they only know about your URL when someone tells them. Without robots, directories must ask you to furnish them with information about your site, instead of indexing it. Often submission forms are longer. You are required to select a category for your site and then an directory editor reviews it for inclusion.
Yahoo is the oldest and largest of the directories. Like everything else on the net, its growth has exceeded all expectations and some categories are so large that it is difficult to find what you're looking for. See Bigger for more information about getting listed on Yahoo.
Another promising directory is Open Directory -- like Yahoo, a searchable directory whose take-off point mirrors Usenet's newsgroup classification but with more room to grow. Open Directory is new and as you might expect has some gaping holes. Don't bash it, I review for sites there. Promote to both.
Open Directory index
On the other hand, Vishnu, InfoSeek is a directory/engine hybrid. Personally, I use Yahoo when I want I want in-depth information, and use Dogpile and Vivisimo for recent and summary information or when I'm in a hurry. But this is personal taste.
You must submit to get indexed; their spider doesn't crawl. Infoseek is combining channels with their search engine. If you submit your site to a channels category editor, and your page is included, your page will stil be founds by the search engine and you will receive a link from the directory page for the category/channel. This is a responsible move overall but there's a potential for some sellouts. There will be some casualties.
Cater to the Outlaws
Lycos and Excite do not respect meta tags. Both index your page with what's called concept based searching. Concept-based searches return links to documents on the "subject" you are interested in, even if the actual subject word does not appear in the query string. When several signal words or phrases that correspond to a concept occur near each other, the spider concludes that the piece is about a certain subject.
Suppose, for example, that "rose" occurs 8 times on a page. In the context of such words as "gardening", "season", "prune", the page might be one of the links returned on a query about gardening. On the other hand, if it appears with the words "flowers", "dozen", and "delivery", the engine might return links to florist web sites.
Lycos will index the title, headings, and subheadings, as well as the first 20 lines of your page. The description of your page in the index will begin with your first line of text. This means that you will want to mirror your meta description paragraph at the top of your page for these popular search engines.
Excite will index words in your image "alt" tag descriptions (don't overdue this!), so be sure to write descriptive alt tags for your images, not just "picture".
Excite is not currently accepting submissions at its main page but you can add to the Excite index but submitting to Magellan through the link below.
Lycos's Add A Site Page
Add to Excite through Magellan.
Not necessarily a bad thing
One thing I dislike about professional web design is that many people want a site that looks just like so-and-so's site, only better. I happily turn those down.
See my portfolio to see why IBM isn't beating down my door.
Nevertheless, copying successful page formats is a good way to write pages that will place your key phrase in the rankings. Search on the phrase, go to the top two or three sites, analayze their design and text, and modify it to suit your needs. Caution: Read what I said about Altavista mixing up their highest ranking page. They do that for this exact reason. However, you can take the top ranking few sites on the first seven pages of an Altavista query and be sure they really are high ranking pages.