With all of the changes to the search engines these days, you can drive yourself crazy trying to get your site submitted. Unless you are willing to commit yourself to doing it full time, or you are a search engine expert, you won't rank at the top of the engines. However, this doesn't mean that you should neglect this important means of getting traffic to your site.
Unlike most of the methods for promoting your business, which came from the offline world, this method is different. It's unique, and it is changing and growing at a rapid pace. By at least informing yourself of the basics, you can make this a more effective method for driving traffic to your site.
Below are seven tips you can implement to get started:
1. Understand the Relationships of the Various Search Engines. Before you can know where to submit, you need to understand how all of the various search engines are related so that you don't duplicate your work, or worse, get banned from submission.
Now, mind you, I am no search engine expert. However, I have been watching closely what is happening, and here is what I have seen so far:
Recently, Yahoo, a directory, acquired All the Web, Altavista, Inktomi and Overture. Yahoo is no longer going to be using search results from Google as its backend.
Although it remains to be seen what role All The Web and Altavista will play, Inktomi will only provide limited offerings in Yahoo because Yahoo announced that Inktomi's paid inclusions would not be included in its results.
Overture, the number one pay per click search engine, provides paid results to 80 per cent of the major search engines and will continue to do so. It will also be providing backend results to Yahoo. Overture provides results to major sites like HotBot and MSN.
Yahoo is adding its own search engine and will continue to offer its paid directory at $299 a year.
Currently, MSN and Yahoo, the number two and number one sites respectively on Alexa, are battling for supremacy. Bill Gates is also working on a new model for his search engine, but it remains to be seen what that will be.
Eventhough Google will no longer be providing backend results to Yahoo, Google is still a major player. It is also the number one search engine in the world. Google gets some of its results from the Open Directory Project, a volunteer effort to create a directory of the best sites on the Internet.
Looksmart is still out there, but it appears to have changed its model to a pay per click. You can get started for free, but you'll have to pay for each click. (NOTE: I found this site hard to navigate to answer the most simple questions. Maybe that's why it's the least relevant of the options available.)
Finally, you have Alexa, which is in a class all its own. You definitely want to get your site submitted here because it's a great way to find out who is linking to you, where you rank, and other statistics about your site. Back end results for Alexa are provided by Google.
The easiest way to track your site using Alexa, is to download a copy of the toolbar. You can get it here: http://www.smallbusinesshowto.com/htmlfiles/alexa.html" target=new>http://www.smallbusinesshowto.com/htmlfiles/alexa.html
2. Prepare Your Site for Submission. Now that you know where to submit your site, you want to prepare your site so that it gets accepted.
The best tool to help you is Good Keywords: http://www.goodkeywords.com" target=new>http://www.goodkeywords.com This free utility will let you search for the best keywords to use on your site.
Key words, however, are only part of the equation.
You will also want to create a good title and description. Take your time when you create these. You want each to be key word rich, and the right length.
Once you've written your title, keywords, and description, then all you need to do is to create the metatags for your web site. You'll find all the tools you need at Evrsoft - http://www.evrsoft.com/" target=new>http://www.evrsoft.com/, including a link popularity checker, submission to over 100 search engines, search engine analyzer, and a metatag generator.
Once you have used the metatag generator to create your metatags, then all you have to do is paste it into the header of your web page.
You will want to check your metatags first to make sure they aren't too long and are search engine friendly. You'll find a metatag analyzer here: http://www.scrubtheweb.com/abs/meta-check.html" target=new>http://www.scrubtheweb.com/abs/meta-check.html
This one is stricter than the one I use, but it works very well.
Let me emphasize here that this step is absolutely crucial to getting your site accepted. You would be amazed at how many professionally done web sites skip this step.
3. Submit Your Site. Now that you have your site ready, you want to start submitting. You will use your title, keywords, and description again here.
Here is your submission list:
Alexa - http://pages.alexa.com/help/webmasters/index.html#crawl_site" target=new>http://pages.alexa.com/help/webmasters/index.html#crawl_site
Google - http://www.google.com/addurl.html" target=new>http://www.google.com/addurl.html Open Directory
Project - http://dmoz.org/add.html" target=new>http://dmoz.org/add.html
Fast Submit - http://www.evrsoft.com/fastsubmit/" target=new>http://www.evrsoft.com/fastsubmit/ - Submission to 100 of the top search engines. (Caution here: some of these sites may ignore or ban you if you are a business site).
Google Ad Words - http://services.google.com/marketing/links/ads_us/adwords/" target=new>http://services.google.com/marketing/links/ads_us/adwords/ - Pay
Per Click Inktomi - http://www.inktomi.com" target=new>http://www.inktomi.com - Yearly Fee Per Url
LookSmart - http://www.looksmart.com" target=new>http://www.looksmart.com -
Pay Per Click Overture - http://www.overture.com" target=new>http://www.overture.com - Pay Per Click
4. Check to make sure you are listed. After about a month, you want to go back and make sure that your site is listed in the appropriate search engine. The way to do this is to go to the search engine and type in your domain name. You don't have to include the http://www" target=new>http://www to do this.
If you are not listed, then go to the next step.
5. Resubmit if Necessary. If your site is not in the search engine you have selected to search, then resubmit your information for inclusion. It's important to remember that unless you are using paid inclusions, it is up to the discretion of the search engine whether or not your site is listed.
Your chances of success will increase if you include some quality content on your site that is dense in your key words. You also want to have as many quality links as possible. You can build your links by contacting other webmasters who have sites that complement yours.
6. Reevaluate. If your search engine strategy isn't working, it's time for a change. However, you need to consider that submitting to the search engines is a very long term strategy, and it isn't something that will occur over night. Only if you are using pay per clicks can you see an increase in traffic almost immediately.
For your free inclusions, you just want to make sure that you are included. Quality content and quality links can help here in raising your rankings.
For paid inclusions, you want to make sure that you are getting the click thrus you need. Unlike free inclusions, you should see results immediately. If you aren't getting enough traffic, consider changing your key words. Good Keywords will help you here.
7. Stay Informed.
If you want to continue to use this strategy in your business, then you need to stay abreast of industry happenings because things change so quickly.
The best place to get information on this constantly changing industry is here:
They offer three different newsletters to cover the industry. At a minimum you should be reading the daily newsletter.
Althought is is only one of the many strategies I use to promote my business, it can be very effective when done correctly. Take your time, be patient, and learn what you need to do before you use this strategy. It will become an effective tool in your marketing arsenal.
About The Author
Jinger Jarrett is a former newspaper reporter and military journalist who currently spends her time writing, marketing, and consulting. You can get her free ebook/ecourse, "How to REALLY Start Your Business in 30 Days" free here: http://www.smallbusinesshowto.com" target=new>http://www.smallbusinesshowto.com