Our previous article--How To Search Engine Optimize (SEO) Your Website--explained the basics of how to optimize your website for best search engine positioning, and how to make your website ‘spider friendly’. As always, our goal is not just to get traffic, but to deliver responses, close sales, and acquire customers. Following the advice in this article will give you inside tips, minimize fees, and ensure your website is submitted to the search engines successfully.
First, and most important, never use an automated search engine submission service, no matter what they promise. The major, and most of the secondary and (business to business) B2B search engines, have programs that block automated submissions to keep their servers from being jammed. Also, each search engine has somewhat different submission requirements and ranking algorithms, and automated submissions prevent you from using these differences to your advantage. The ‘free’ services only put your domain address on their server and wait for the search engines’ spiders to come by, with no guarantees and which can take six months. Finally, automated submission services are nearly always out of date because the search engines keep changing their algorithms.
Second, be prepared to pay about $750/yr. in submission fees. You can be listed free on many search engines, but it usually takes months for their spiders to find you, and you lose control over any mistakes they might make, categories they put your website in, or descriptions they use. Paying the fees enables you to submit to all the important search engines in a few days so you can audit all your listings for positioning two weeks later. Finally, having more listings at once builds higher positions because search engine spiders check each other out to validate category listings. Submission fees are often waived for non-profit and educational websites. If you just post your website on an Internet linked server, the search engines will find it eventually and most will list it. Then you can start applying to the search engines to have changes made to be in the right categories, have all your pages indexed, have your company’s name spelled correctly, etc. My belief is that treating business websites professionally produces better results.
Your submission fees only get your websites indexed by a certain date. ‘Indexed’ means that every page and item on your website that is accessible to the search engine’s spiders is crawled and properly registered according to the search engine’s protocols. Indexing has nothing to do with how high your website is positioned on the search engine’s lists, except your website’s pages cannot be ranked until they are indexed. Once your website is indexed, your optimization and subsequent website adjustments vs. the search engines’ algorithms will determine how high your website is positioned (see How To Search Engine Optimize (SEO) Your Website.)
When your website is listed in most search engines, the listing follows approximately this format:
NetPromotions: Reach, Capture & Convert Prospects to Customers with our
Internet Marketing Services. Includes search engine optimization ...
The first bold line is both the title of the website and a link to it. The second two lines are called a ‘site description’. Depending on the search engine, these can be entered when you submit the site, or in other search engines the spider will pick them up from the website’s top Home page content or the tags in your web page’s source code.
The Major Search Engines
Submit your website to Google. Google only lets you enter your website’s domain address (URL) and a brief comment for category placement guidance. This is useful if the category you want on the Internet (e.g. “event catering”) is not the same as your wider business (e.g. “gourmet food”).
Google changed its positioning algorithms in November 2003, and SEO professionals are scrambling to deduce what they are (of course all search engines keep their criteria secret). For example, Google seems to be using the text that appears in the first sentence or in the most prominent links of your Home page for your site description. It is growing clearer that locating your keywords in the content at the top of your Home page as well as in your most prominent website navigational links, focusing on as few keywords as possible, and building PageRank are a big help. Whatever else you do on Google, make sure your company name is spelled out high and prominent on your home page in html (not just as a logo or artwork). (Again, see How To Search Engine Optimize (SEO) Your Website).
Tony Grass is President of e-Market Intelligence, an internet sales generation consultancy and service. Previously, he built a traditional 65-person sales and marketing communications company in Chicago. Contact is welcome through firstname.lastname@example.org.