Is your website listed on search engines? When people search for you, does your site show up on page 1 — or page 20 of the search engine results?
Optimizing your site to get it ranked highly on the search engines can be a complicated subject. To simplify things, it’s helpful to first understand how search engines add sites to their database. Then we’ll cover some tips that you can put on your own website that will help you to get listed on search engines and get a higher ranking.
The Major Players
Let’s start off with the major search engines, the ones that most people use. Google is the most widely used search engine, getting between 50-60% of all searches. Yahoo and Microsoft’s Live Search follow close behind with about 20% each. While there are thousands of search engines, it’s always a good idea to start with submitting your website to the three largest. Why? Because 95% of all searches go through either Google, Yahoo or Live Search.
How Search Engines Read Your Site
There are two ways search engines read your site: automated (crawlers, robots, spiders) and human-entered (directories). Spiders follow the links found on your site and enter your site into their search database based on text they find on your pages. This text is either found on your public pages, or the text keywords found in behind-the-scenes “meta tags”.
Keyword Density is the number of times your keyword appears on your page as compared to all the text on your page. The higher the density, the higher your rankings. But in case you think you can load your page with keywords in order to fool the search engine, think again. Search engines are smart and you can be penalized for “spamming” keywords on your website.
Human Directories are few and far between. Just imagine hiring enough people to research the millions of website on the Internet! It’s no wonder they’re steadily being replaced by automated spiders. Yahoo and DMOZ are some of the most famous human directories, where real people actually evaluate your site and categorize it in their database directory. More and more these search engines are relying on partial automation for categorizing and listing new sites in the search engine database. In addition, getting your listing in a Directory for free (such as DMOZ) can take months. Some human directories are charging a fee for business sites to be included in their directory.
How Search Engines Index and Rank Your Site
Search engines use several techniques to determine which category your site belongs in and what keywords or key phrases people will use to find your site when using the search engine.
When they crawl your site, they check for repeated keywords. And remember, you will be penalized for spamming your keywords and rank LOWER because of it. Also it’s important to note that search engines can not read the text in graphics, so if you are using a graphic-based navigation or have your keywords on a graphic next to your logo, the search engine will not notice it.
Some search engines will rank your site based on behind-the-scenes in special coding called “meta tags.” Each page gets a meta tag for a page title, page description, and keyword list. While not every search engine will read meta tags, it certainly can’t hurt to use them. Most search engines will read your Title meta tag.
Submitting Your Site to Search Engines
Once your site is primed and ready for the search engines, then you have to submit it to them. You have two choices: either go to each search engine and submit your site individually, or use a search engine submission tool.
Remember that the majority of searchers use either Google, Yahoo or Live Search so consider submitting to those first. You’ll often find a link on their main page where you can add a site to their search engine. If you want to automate the process, use an automated submission tool. Make sure the submission search tool you select will analyze your site to tell you if you’re really ready to submit, then submit your site to the top search engines for you.
Preparing your site for submission to search engines can feel like a daunting task. With these tips in mind, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration when it comes time to submitting your site and rank higher in search results.
See you on the Internet!© Copyright 2008 Karyn Greenstreet