Common Sense Advice for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Most web surfers start their sessions at a search engine or a web directory. There are
a number of different methods you can use to capture their traffic and drive it to your site:
1. Stick to the big names: The two largest directories:
Yahoo!) and the
Open Project Directory, and the
two largest search engines:
Inktomi (used by MSN search) and
AOL are likely to deliver 80 percent
of your traffic, so concentrate on those and don't spend too much time on anybody else.
2. Yahoo and the Open Project Directory are administered by humans, so an editor
will inspect your site before it's added. They receive so many submissions that it can
literally take months before your site is reviewed, and nothing (not even paid
subscriptions) guarantees that it will be listed. It's worth to keep trying, though, so
check back every month or so and, if your site isn't listed, submit it again.
3. Google and Inktomi are robots (software programs) that "crawl" (find and read)
millions of sites on the web, and add them to their index. That's why it is not absolutely
necessary to manually submit your site to a search engine, since they may find your
site and add it automatically when they find a link to your site on another page.
4. You don't need to submit all the pages on your site. Once the search engine
finds your main page (homepage), it will find the other ones by following links. To
improve the chances of your secondary pages being found, create a link called "site
map" in your homepage, and have it point to a page that is nothing but a collection of
links to all the pages on your site. This way, the search engine will follow the link and
"suck in" all your pages. Try putting this link as close to the top of your homepage as
possible, since it will have a better chance of being picked up by the search engine.
5. Your site will stand a much better chance of showing up at the top of the search
results list if you choose keywords that are as specific as possible. In general, niche
sites that use very specific keywords have a better chance of being at the top of the list
than generic sites that use more common keywords. For example, a restaurant that
specializes in brick oven pizza (keywords: brick oven pizza) has a better chance of
showing up in a prime position than an all-encompassing Italian restaurant (keywords:
6. A good search engine ranking is also conditioned by the amount of inbound links
to your site that the search engine finds in other websites. A significant amount of links
to your page from high ranked, quality sites with content related to yours, will
significantly boost your rankings. Try contacting the webmasters of the leading websites
for the keywords of your choice and try to get them to link to your site. You can offer
a link exchange or place a paid link (advertising) on their pages, if that's an available
7. Creating a good page title tag is also key, since it's usually the first thing the
search engines display in the search results page. Also, you must create a well written,
easy to understand "Description" meta tag, since some search engines will use it to
describe your site. The more your title and description match your preferred search
keywords, the more likely web users will click into your site. Don't pay too much
attention to the "Keywords" meta tag, since most search engines ignore them
nowadays, due to the potential for abuse.
Finally, one last word of advice: don't obsess with search engines, since they are
not the only way to generate traffic to your site. Try different approaches, like writing
articles and posting them in discussion groups and newsgroups. Also, don't overlook
bricks-and-mortar techniques like passing around business cards embedded with
your website address, or advertising in traditional media. It is a combination of all these
things, and high quality, original content, what will make your site popular.
Mario Sanchez The Internet Digest
Web design and Internet marketing advice.