Editor's Note: This is the first of a three-part series
on marketing your Web site. Part 1 discusses listing your
site in search engines, Part 2 will explain how keywording
affects your placement, and Part 3 will talk about how
you can use e-zines and free downloadable information to
keep your visitors coming back.
Having a Web site that isn't listed in the search
engines is comparable to having a "brick and
mortar" business that's not in the Yellow Pages. You have
a great site, great product or service, and now
you're wondering why you have no customers. Why,
you ask? It's because the people who are looking for
you can't find you! Search engines are so important
because being listed gives your potential customers
a road map to find you. It doesn't take a rocket
scientist to figure out that having customers find
you is more cost effective than you trying to find
So, given that your site must be in the search
engines, how do you get started? First, you need
to know the address of the Uniform Resource
Locator (or URL, such as http://www.yoursite.com/thispage.htm) you want to submit. You also need
to know the category where you want your site
listed, such as Business/Computers/Repair/Printers.
Next, for each page you want to submit, you should
come up with a concise and coherent description, a
title, useful keywords, and other personal or company
information such as your e-mail address, physical
address, phone number, and so on. Once you have
all this information together, you're ready to begin.
Where to Submit?
First you need to forget about all those Web
sites touting the fact that they'll submit your site to
6000+ search sites. Being listed on 5,980 of those sites
isn't going to do you a bit of good because they're just
free listing "junk" sites that no one ever uses. Here's
a fact: more than 90% of all internet traffic is
generated from fewer than 20 search sites! You know who
that 20 are; they are the search engines you use
yourself. When you do a search, where do you go?
Yahoo? AltaVista? So, it stands to reason that the first
place you should go to submit your site is where you
do your searches. After that, just think of the search
engines you know, go there and submit. If you have heard of them, then it's probably safe to say they
are one of the "less than 20" that generate the traffic.
How to Submit?
Go to the home page of a search engine and look
for a link that says something like "Recommend a
Site," "Submit Your URL," "Suggest a Site," or
something similar. Click the link and you go to the actual
page to submit your URL, or to a page that explains
the rules for submission. Note that if you are sent to
a page that has instructions, pay attention! Some
sites (especially directories) are strict about their
guidelines. If you deviate from the instructions, your
site won't be submitted.
When you get to the submission page, take your time, as you may only have one shot to get it
right. Pay special attention to your selected keywords,
and have them strategically placed in the Title and
Description part of your HTML page to make the
most of your efforts. Once you are satisfied with your
entry and selection of words, press the "Submit"
button and that's it!
Also note that if you have, say, 40 pages, you
need to submit each of them individually to ensure
maximum exposure of your website. If you think you don't need to, here's why: suppose you sell
computers and peripherals like printers, monitors,
modems, soundcards, and hard drives. You submit your
home page and sit back thinking that's all you need to
do. Wrong. What about the Modem.html page that you keyworded for computer modems? Or
the Monitor.html page that has 27 of your
best-selling monitors listed on it? Why are you suprised
that searches for "Trinitron 21-inch computer
monitor" didn't find your site? Be smart; submit
all your pages.
The bottom line is that to get listedwhether
you want to be in the search engines or directories
like Yahooyou need to make a good looking site
with good content, find the right category, fill out
the forms for each search engine exactly as
requested, and submit the pages as often as the sites will let
you. (Some sites permit daily submissions!) You may
have to submit six times to get listed, or maybe only
once. It just takes patience and a lot of time. Multiply
the number of search engines, by the number of
pages and how often you want to submit, and you'll get
an idea of how much time it will take.
Most search engines tell you how long it takes
to see your listing appear. If after the allotted time,
you still can't find your site, then chances are that
you should submit again.
Next time...how smart use of keywords can put your site at the
top of the search engines.