Search Engines and Directory ListingsSearch Engines are word-based search indexes. When a word or a phrase is entered into the search engine's input box, it will return a list of links to websites related to the words entered. Google is the biggest of these Search Engines. There are 9 major search engines which account for 85% of the search engine generated traffic. Ideally, your website should appear within the top 20 websites listed when your most important keywords are entered into these search engines.
It is much more important to get good listings with the major search engines, rather than listings with the thousands of other minor search engines. However, depending on the type of business you operate, it may be beneficial to be listed with certain search engines or directories that are more specific to your industry.
There are also Meta Search Engines such as Metacrawler which list the results of other search engines... effectively "searching the search engines".
Directory Listings are a list of categories and progressively more specific sub-categories through which you traverse to find websites related to your particular area of interest.
Submitting your website to search enginesIn order to optimise the visibility of your website, you need to to register your URL with search engines or directories. This is as simple as going to their website, finding their submissions page (usually something like "submit website", "submit a site" or "submissions") and entering your website details. Sometimes, a search engine will ask for keywords and short website description. Some search engines allow you to register your URL (website address) free of charge, with limited information about your website within their database. Other "paid for" listings will give more information about your website. Some submissions only require your URL, whilst others can require a return email address, a short summary of your website and some keywords most relevant to your business. Directory Listings will ask for a specific category your website should be placed in.
There are some websites, such as http://www.ineedhits.com/add-it/free/ or http://website-register.com/free_submit.htm, that can help you to do bulk submissions to many search engines. Most of these sites also offer a paid for submission service, although the value of submitting to thousands of minor search engines is dubious.
Some example of websites which offer paid submissions are:
The submission process can generate a lot of return emails - some informative and some not. Slipstream Media will set up a separate email account to deal with these return emails specifically (eg. firstname.lastname@example.org). You should re-submit your website to search engines on a regular basis.
Search Engine Placement (ranking)Some search engines use automatic programs which classify and rank your website, others use people to do this job. All search engines have rules by which they classify and rank your website.
To classify your website, a search engine may look for such things as:
Manipulating a website so that it follows the rules of the search engines and will rank well for relevant keywords is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and is a service which comes as standard with all websites made by Slipstream Media. We will also submit your website to some of the major search engines, to start you on the path of internet marketing.
Of course, keeping your website at the top of search engine lists can be time-consuming. For the best results, search engine listings should be monitored regularly, and you may want to enlist the services of an internet marketing expert to improve your visibility.
Pay Per Click (PPC) vs Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)If you want to improve your listing, or if your business is very similar to many other internet businesses (making it hard to get good listings), you might want to consider purchasing a "Pay Per Click" (PPC) package. Overture is one search engine which offers a PPC service called BidTool. This is how PPC generally works... You choose the placement you want for a certain keyword or phrase, bid for it, and if your bid is the highest for that position, you are automatically moved to that position (until someone else comes along with a higher bid). With PPC, you are only charged when someone clicks on your link. Therefore, it becomes important to have as many keywords as possible, as long as they are relevant to your website.
When bidding for listings, you need to submit a site description, title and list of keywords, along with how much you are willing to pay for each keyword. If you bid $0.20 for a keyword, and everyone else has bid less, you will rank first for that keyword.
Here are some links to PPC services:
For more information on PPC and reviews of PPC search engines, go to PayPerClickSearchEngines.com.
Major search engines:
Website StatisticsValuable statistics about visitors to your website can usually be obtained from your Internet Service Provider. If you want more detailed statistics, you can add a "tracker" to your website. Using these statistics, you can guage the effect of your other marketing activities and promotions.
Website statistics can include:
Feedback FormsIf you want to collect specific information from your visitors, you can add a feedback form to your website. Information gathered can be emailed to you immediately, or stored in a database for future reference. It's a good idea to make such forms short, quick and easy to use.
Reciprocal LinksThis is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site, and move you up the search engine listings. Find business who are in your industry (but not direct competitors), and ask them to put a link to you on their site, and you will do the same for them (usually on a separate "links" page). If you have their phone number, call them rather than use email - that personal connection will go a long way in helping you get what you ask for, and it is less easy to turn down a person than an email. If you put their link on your site first, and then request that they do the same for you, they will be more likely to agree.
Make it easy for people to link to you. Send them the HTML code to put into their site, or better yet, have it available at the top of your links page, along with a picture of your logo. You can tell other sites that you have linked to them, and to check your links page - not only will that get them to your site, but they will be able to get the code for your link too. If you are including an Admin Menu in your website, you can easily add links to your website, making it easier to offer a link exchange with other sites. To find out who is linking to your website, try Google's Link Tool.
NewslettersGathering a mailing list from your website and other sources, and sending out regular email newsletters about new products, updates to your site, or exciting news about your business, will keep the awareness of your business growing. Contact us about adding a newsletter to your website. You can also write content, advertorials or advertisements to place on more established newsletters along with a link to your website, usually for a fee.
Web AdvertisingSome other ideas to advertise over the internet are:
Street-Level MarketingAlthough there is a lot of marketing you can do over the internet, do not make the mistake of neglecting "street level" marketing. If your target audience would not usually think of looking for your product or service on the internet, traditional marketing techniques are all the more important. Your website address and email address should be on all your company's print literature, stationery, display advertising, labels, packaging, banners etc.
Some ideas for promoting your website off-line are: