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Internet Marketing

Search Engines and Directory Listings

Search 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 engines

In 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:
http://www.submitexpress.com/submit2500.html
http://www.searchit.com/
http://www.morevisibility.com/
http://www.submit-it.com/
http://www.website-register.com/products.htm
http://www.websight.net.au/default.asp
http://www.search-engine-optimization-co.com/

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. submit@yoursite.com). 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:
  • keywords in the address of your website, eg. www.gardening.com would get high placement for a search on the word "gardening"
  • keywords in the title of your website
  • Meta Tags which hold information relevant to the website such as keywords and website descriptions
  • keywords in the headings of HTML pages
  • keywords in the internal links of your website
  • keywords in the text within HTML pages within the website. The first words within the first page of the website are given much importance, followed by the words in the first couple of paragraphs.
  • keywords in HTML ALT attribute, which describes an embedded image.
  • the amount of text in the website. Some search engines will not rank a website well if there is not much content.
  • the number of links TO your website FROM other websites. This is a reason to try to get reciprocal links to other websites. Links from high traffic sites are often given more weight.
Search engine ranking programs also look for any underhanded tricks that a website may employ to get better ranking, such as repeating the same important keywords a lot (called spamming), or writing invisible text filled with keywords. Most search engines penalise such tricks severely, and my even ban your website from their listings for a period of time.

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:
Google AdwordsCreate your own ads, choose keywords to tell Google where to show your ads and pay only when someone clicks on them.
GoTo.comMinimum bid $.05, minimum spend $20. Links for the top 10 on GoTo also appear in Dogpile meta search engine results, and the top six also appear in Metacrawler searches.
FindWhat.comNo minimum bid. Open an account with $25.
Sprinks.comNo minimum bid, minimum account $100. Also offers keyword advertising on over 700 topic-specific About GuideSites.
Bay9.comNo minimums. They have a referral program which pays 20%.
7Search.comNo minimums. Results also appear in 7Search's network of over 700 search engines.
Kanoodle.comNo minimum bid, open an account with $25. Offers "incentivized" clicks to partner sites such as DogPile, CNET, NetZero and Metacrawler.
Go ClickNo minimums. A popular search engine with 1.9 million visitors per month.
ePilotNo minimum bid. Open an account with $25, results displayed on partner sites (DogPile, InfoSpace, NetZero).
Win4winNo minimum bid. Two-tier services offered - free and $15.
Search GaloreNo minimum bid. Open an account with $25.
Ah-Ha.comNo minimums. You can display your logo for $9.95 to $19.95. Partnered with FAST.


For more information on PPC and reviews of PPC search engines, go to PayPerClickSearchEngines.com.

Major search engines:

GoogleThe most popular search engine by far
Free Submission
Paid Submission - Google AdWords
Yahoo!The biggest directory. Search engine results powered by Google.
Free Submission (Requires registration with Yahoo!)
Paid Submission
LooksmartMany MSN search sites use Looksmart results.
Free submission through Zeal (non-commercial sites only)
Paid LookSmart Looklistings
TeomaSame results as Ask Jeeves
Paid submission
Ask JeevesSame results as Teoma
Paid submission
Gigablast Free Submission
MSN SearchPowered by MSN and Yahoo!
Free submission
Paid submission
Snap.comPowered by LookSmart, Gigablast, ODP, Smarter.com
Free Submission
Lycos Paid submission
Webcrawler.comPowers Dogpile, Verizon, NBC and Metacrawler.
Paid Submission
All The WebSourced from Yahoo!
Submissions
JaydeBusiness to business search engine.
Free Submission

DMOZ Open Directory edited by people, not processing programs. Many other sites use DMOZ including Google Directory, AOL search, Netscape Search and Lycos. Submit by going to DMOZ.org, browsing to your relevant category and clicking "suggest a site"
Yahoo! Directory Go to Yahoo Directory, find the most appropriate category for your site and click the "Suggest Site" link at the top of that category page.
Netscape Directory Go to Netscape.com, find the most appropriate category for your site and click the "Suggest Site" link at the top of that category page.
About Go to About.com, browse for your appropriate category and ask the category guide to list your site. Sites must be content driven.

Fast (AlltheWeb.com)Powered by Yahoo!
Netscape SearchPowered by Google
AOL NetFindPowered by Google
AOL SearchPowered by DMOZ
AltaVistaPowered by Yahoo!
WiseNutPowered by LookSmart Looklistings and Zeal
OvertureFormerly GoTo, the original paid listings SE. Now powered by Yahoo!

Website Statistics

Valuable 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:
  • the number of visitors to your website (by day, week, month...)
  • the number clicks within your website (by day, week, month...)
  • the best days of the week or month for visits
  • where your visitors have come from (other websites or search engine results)
  • what pages within your website have been visited
  • how many broken links have been clicked on (which lead to a 404 page error)
  • the screen resolution and type of web browers visitors are using
  • GEO tracking (which countries visitors come from)
Google has a great new tool called Google Analytics, which we can intall on your website.

Feedback Forms

If 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 Links

This 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.

Newsletters

Gathering 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 Advertising

Some other ideas to advertise over the internet are:
  • promote your website through news groups and messageboards.
  • developing a "signature" mini-ad to attach to all your e-mail messages
  • make your website part of one or more of the many online "malls"


Street-Level Marketing

Although 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:
  • advertise in the Yellow Pages
  • advertise in the press, magazines, TV or radio (continuous advertising works best)
  • create merchandise with your website address written on them (T-shirts, stickers, bumper stickers). CafePress offers a free service.
  • sponsor an event or charity in exchange for advertising which includes your website address
  • send out press releases which include your website address
  • hold competitions which require people to enter via your website
  • promote the free content offered on your website
  • tell all of your friends and family about your website
  • let aquaintances know about your website when you talk about your business
  • have webcards (business cards to promote your website) ready to give to people