How the search engines work.

Unfortunately none of the search engines work in the same fashion. They all have different criteria by which they rank your site. Some engines heavily rely on the use of meta tags to rank your site, others base their ranking on the first 200 characters on your webpage, yet others rely solely on the information that you provide them from filling in their online registration forms. Keeping these thoughts in mind as you write your webpages then, can go a long way in improving your sites findability.

What do the search engines say?

Rather then regurgitate what the search engines say, I'll let you read it directly from the horses mouth. The following links will take you directly to the respective search engines FAQ's. Be sure to bookmark us now so that you can easily return when your finished.

Alta Vista Accepts and uses meta tags as part of their relevancy ranking.
Excite Doesn't accept meta tags, relies on page titles and the first 200 characters of a webpage.
Infoseek Is heavily weighted to the use of meta tags. Good, well-written tags can go along way on this engine.
HotBot relies on a score derived from word frequency, title keywords, keywords in meta tags, and page length.
Lycos searches webpages with their robot and put out a composite score based on selected criteria including meta tags.
Magellan is part of the excite group and list pages based on an editorial review process. its hard to get listed but worth the effort.
Webcrawler also owned by excite, but uses meta tags and page titles in it rankings as well as page content.
Yahoo! This is probably the largest of the search engines. I've read where it can be responsible for 70% of a sites traffic. Yahoo relies on your short description to list you in its database. They are slow to list you, and persistence may be required to get the job done.

What can you do to improve your rankings?

While we can make no guarantees, there are some tricks in the trade for improving your sites ranking on the search engines. Most of these tricks are fairly simple and involve fine tuning your page title, page content, and incorporating the use of meta tags into your source code. We'll also examine the use of doorway pages and various methods for registering your website to the search engines.

Page Titles are a major factor considered by most search engines. Your page title is not necessarily the first heading or graphic on your page, rather it is in your code. Your page title is what shows up in the top left corner of a web browser. In the case of this page it should say "Web Site Promotion - Marketing tips and tricks for search engines." Your title should reflect carefully selected keywords that accurately describe your webpage, and represents words your target audience might use to find your site. Your title html code should be placed in the head of your page before the body tags. Here is an example from this page:
<TITLE>Web Site Promotion - Marketing tips and tricks for search engines.</TITLE>

In this example, web site promotion, marketing and search engine are my targeted keywords. As you will see in the next example, we will narrow in on these words.

Page Content As many of the search engines rely on what the reader sees at your site, meta tags and titles don't always work. For this reason it is important to use your keywords in the body of your page. I don't suggest repeating words just for the sake of the engines, but careful consideration of the keywords while you write your page can help a lot. If you scroll to the top of this page, you will see that I emphasize my 2 keyword phrases "web site promotion" and "search engine" without being overly obnoxious about it. After all we want people to return to the site once they find us. Lastly, as we move on to meta tags, you will see that we again stress the same keywords already introduced in the title and the body of the page.

Meta Tags are very effective bits of source code that dictate to certain search engines exactly how you want your site described and indexed. Meta tags are placed in the head of your document before the title. The three common tags that I use are the description tag, keyword tag, and the revisit after tag.

The description tag should include a well written description of your page that subtly includes your keywords. This is what the search engines will display.

The keyword tag tells the search engines under what keywords you wish to be listed under. Again be sure to concentrate on your most powerful words or search phrases.

Here is the meta source code for this page:
<meta name="description" content="The secrets of the search engines, a free discussion on optimizing your sites placement on the search engines.">
<meta name="keywords" content="search engine secrets, search engines, website promotion, meta tags, search engine secrets, search engines, website promotion, meta tags, search engine secrets, search engines, search engine secrets, search engines, website promotion, search engine secrets, search engines, website promotion, meta tags, meta tags, website promotion, meta tags">
<title>Web Site Promotion - Marketing tips and tricks for search engines.

A word to the wise, Do Not use misleading meta tags. It is unfair to your visitors and if you are caught by the search engines they will remove your URL from their database. Also, you will notice that I've repeated keywords in my meta tag, do not repeat keywords more then 3 or 4 times or your results will be diminished.

A word about Yahoo: Yahoo does not rely on titles, content, or meta tags, rather they use an online form in which you input the page title and a short description. Furthermore, they only permit one URL per directory so make it count.

Submitting your site to the search engines!

Before proceeding to register your website, be sure that you have properly prepared your webpages as described in the above section. It is far easier to do it right the first time then to try and correct your mistakes later. Basically, there are three methods for submitting your website to the search engines.

1. Manual submission, where you visit each of the search engines and independently submit your individual URL's. This method works well and is inexpensive, but is time consuming and requires much follow up to insure proper listing.

2. Site Submission Services Try our PromoMachine! The Promomachine will automatically submit your sites to up to 600 search engines and directories. The PromoMachine great for getting your web pages listed quickly and easily to a lot of places.
We recommend that the following engines get submitted manually for better results:
Alta Vista

Other sources for site promotion tips

MarketPosition offers a free monthly email newsletter with effective tips and insights on various types of Internet marketing. It particularly focuses on the Search engines, offering little known insights you won't find anywhere else!

CNET features - how to - promote your Web site A very comprehensive well written series of articles on what it takes to make a successful website.

That's all for now. We hope you found this guide helpful and welcome your comments and success stories.

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