section will teach you the principles of an effective Search Engine
Optimization (SEO) strategy. As an online marketing professional,
you need to approach your SEO strategy with creativity, and with the
willingness to attain more knowledge. The road ahead is challenging
but if you follow the guidelines given in this lesson you will be successful
at optimizing your web site for search engines and directories.
in its simplest form, is the systematic process of submitting a domain
name or URL to search engines and directories. A URL stands for Uniform
Resource Locator. It is the address of a document or other resource
reachable on the Internet. The three components of a URL are the server
domain name, file location, and specifying the protocol.
high ranking search result position in search engines and directories
is a powerful marketing tool to generate large amounts of traffic to
your web site. Statistics show eight out of ten people surfing the web,
use search engines or search directories to find their way around online.
Most web marketers understand the importance of attaining top search
engine placement; but lack the knowledge for placing them there, and
more importantly, keeping them there. Experienced web marketers
are also learning that being at the top of the all-aspiring search
engines isn't always what it is cracked up to be. Staying ahead
of the search engines and continually working toward SEO is without
a doubt, a full-time job. Even then, ensuring that a site stay
at the top for a given search criteria isn't guaranteed; in fact, most
sites won't stay at the top for more than a couple of days even with
constant watching and babying. In actuality, affiliate programs
and e-zines are proving more beneficial, rewarding, and profitable to
companies than SEO. Still the importance of search engine and
directory submission know-how can not be overlooked. Knowing how
to concur them (or at least concur them for a few days at a time) is
what this lesson is all about.
reported in its ICONOPOLL "Search engines are the most widely used navigational
tools and the most misunderstood promotional tools."
below are the basic fundamentals for an effective SEO strategy:
Understand Search Engines and Directories
Search Engines and Directories
Content and Commonality
and Meta Tags
Link Popularity through Web Content
the effectiveness of your SEO Strategies
and directory sites provide relevant hyperlinks for search queries.
Search queries (keywords or phrases) are typed into a search field by
a site guest and then the engine or directory locates corresponding
documents for the user.
engines send automated computer programs known as "spiders"
or "searchbots" to harvest and index the data out of every web site
they crawl through. Remember that each search engine sets different
parameters for the "bot" as it combs the Internet. These differences
are based on mathematical equations known as algorithms, which affect
how sites are indexed and ranked. As a result, search engines are
able, in most cases, to provide the user with the most relevant information
because "bots" are continually adding and updating their databases.
Even so, marketers shouldn't wait around hoping a search engine will
find their site; they should request listing.
are different than search engines because they are compiled lists of
subjects and categories. Search directories are set up in a large
database. Directories do not have the searchbot capability, but
can be very powerful. For instance, Yahoo!® is not a search
engine; it is a search directory. Another name for search directory
is "web guide." Directories rely on employees to review sites
requested for submission into the database and to catalog the sites
for ranking. Database technology catalogs sites in many
cases with traditional sorting and filing rules: numerically and
then alphabetically. The database filing rule has influenced many
reserved domain names. When the web was young, a site by
the name of 4Guys.com was started.
4Guys is a web designing company. Studies indicate that much of
the success of this site was initially due to a smart naming convention
on behalf of the founders. Keep in mind that selecting a name
beginning with a number no longer works in many search engines and directories-
only those programmed to list search results with the traditional filing
of Directories: Yahoo!, AOL,
Look Smart, and NBCi
Examples of Search Engines: Google,
DirectHit, and FlipDog
directories accept only sites with a particular subject or category.
For instance, there are search sites dedicated to the medical field,
including but not limited to:
example: Family related sites. If you are looking for family-oriented
sites, here's a list of search directories to try:
provided two categories. Keep in mind there are as many categorical
search directories as their are hobbies, interests, and careers in the
world. You may have never heard of one of these specialized search
directories before, and maybe you have, but guaranteed, people who are
into these subjects either as a career or with a high personal interest,
have invested time into finding out about them. Many of these
search directories are highly advertised in specialty magazines and
publications that have a list of subscribers, so the sites are getting
search directory for children (guess which company this search directory
is from) -- Yahooligans
search directory especially for children -- Peachpod, found at Peachpod.com
oriented search directory -- Munisource, found at munisource.org
search engine especially for women -- Femina, found at
search engine for family history information -- Your Family, found
the larger search engines and directories will often pull from the
databases of these smaller specialized search directories to add to
their site listings. So, listing your site with a specialized
search engine may help get you listed with a bigger, harder to get
listed with, search directory or engine.
do you go to find these specialized search directories? --
Try these five sites that offer listings of specialized search directories:
-- This is an excellent resource for finding a specialized search
directory. Background information about the directories and
their specialties are included.
-- The "Ultimate World Wide Web Search Engine Collection"
At this site, the categories are listed, but there are no direct links
to the sites. It's a great resource for specialized directories,
but you have to use logical deduction to figure out the URL for each
site. Don't forget to try .com, .org, .net.,
.gov, .mil, .cc. when trying to figure
out the address. Also some addresses may or may not have the
This is an absolute gold mine of links to search directories.
The links are provided on this site! The collection is updated
This is a search engine listing from Looksmart. Regional and
foreign country search directories are included.
and Bolts of Submitting Domain Names
directories and search engines use different means to interpret data,
you need to incorporate a targeted submission plan to maximize your
chances for a high-ranking position. This requires a web marketer
to become intensely savvy in the different levels of SEO, because one
process might work for one search engine but not for another.
How to discover what works for each search engine is a big question.
The answer is actually quite easy to find but depending on the method
you choose, will likely require you either a little time or a little
visiting each of the search engines and directories the marketer
desires to list the site with and clicking on the "Help" button,
marketers can read tips for submitting pages to that particular
engine or directory.
a private membership group where information regarding search engine
happenings and many other targeted marketing-related information
is shared by corporate leaders. One such site offering a private
site to Internet marketing professionals is MarketingChallenge.com.
way to discover more about search engines and directories and what
is recommended for each is to sign up for eMarketing and eCommerce
ezines - and read them!
Page Content and Commonality
search directories will not even consider listing a site without clearly-labeled
educational expertise included on the site.
people go online just looking for information and education, daily
searching for data. Offering informative, valuable, educational
information on a topic of specialty will positively help your SEO
Engines and Directories will boost site listings based on the following
criteria: Let's say that Karen was online searching for a birthday
present for her mother and she searched on the following words:
"Glen Campbell CD"
The more places the words are found in common on the page, the
higher the search engine and directory ranking for that site.
In other words if the words "Glen Campbell CD" were found
in the -
higher the page will result in the search listings.
URL (web site address)
Content on the page
Search engines and directories have their own cataloging and indexing
methods. As an example, Lycos uses the first 200 characters
in the Description Meta Tag and then indexes the 100 most important
words on each page for its rankings.
term for link swapping is "reciprocal links." Briefly explained,
the more sites linking to a site, the higher in search results the
referenced site goes, due to the popularity factor with search engines
and directories. Link swapping is a form of viral marketing.
attributes in Img Tags and Title attributes in Anchor Tags
engines use ALT attributes in image tags for keyword commonality searches.
Search bots do not have the capability of reading text contained within
images and therefore rely on the ALT attribute for content referencing.
So if a company had the following graphic on their web site, the search
bot would not have the ability to read the words on the image, but
it could read and catalog the important company functions listed on
the image with the help of an ALT attribute added to the image tag.
Roll your mouse over the image to view the contents of the ALT
attributes within anchor tags provide the same benefit, with one exception:
they provide a way for the contents of the link to be defined on an
even-clearer level. While ALT attributes for images work in
both Netscape and IE, the Title attribute is not currently supported
by Netscape. However, even though the site guest may miss it, the
search bot will pick it up. In addition, computer aided devices
designed for assisting individuals with disabilities rely on ALT and
Title attributes in all browsers for communicating content to surfers.
Here is an example of an Anchor tag with a Title attribute (roll your
mouse over the link if you're viewing this site in IE):
sure to download a free
pass to the basketball game.
Titles & Meta Tags
<TITLE> tag is the first item many search engines read. The
search engine then continues to look for the searched word in the Meta
Tags, URL, and page content. The <TITLE> tag is also what search
engines pull up to display the search results as well as what people
bookmark. Therefore, page titles should correlate with the keywords
the target audience would most likely type in the query box of a search
engine. Each page on your web site should have different titles based
on specific keywords or phrases. A title should contain keywords and
be descriptive of the page being indexed. Example: Lets say that
you own Sports.com and it has 20 web pages that each display information
about different sporting good items. Twenty pages with relative, yet
different content provides a grand opportunity to submit each page separately
to each search engine. Obviously, listing more than one page from a
site with a search engine benefits the merchants and the consumers.
On one hand the merchant benefits due to increased pages submitted to
search engines and on the other hand, customers benefit because they
will have an easier time finding the information that directly pertains
to their search and interest.
The overall objective of a marketing strategy is to tell the right
message to the right audience. Marketers should keep in mind what
their target audience is looking for as they create keyword lists.
The following will provide a starting point for building a database
of keywords and keyword phrases.
yourself as a potential customer.
your keywords into separate categories and lists.
of specific words that qualify your visitors.
every available tool to help you (i.e. software, thesaurus, etc.)
away from broad and unspecific keywords.
use trademark names of other companies.
using words that are often misspelled.
important point about keywords is that you will want to use them
in your Title tags, Meta Tags, and throughout the entire web site.
Many search engines rank sites according to their keyword prominence.
Continually evaluate your site for new keywords and phrases to add
to the Meta Tags.
The term META tags comes from the word meta data, which means data
that describes data. You should think of META Tags as a Table of Contents
or a brief summary of a long article. Mainly, META Tags enable the
developer to communicate specified information to search engines.
Also, META Tags allow the developer to convey to the search engine
the name, description, and main keywords of the site.
tags provide a way for the key phrases to be summarized on the page.
Meta Tags are useful tools; however, they do not guarantee high ranking
tags are used by search engines to catalog a page within a directory.
The Meta Tags are defined at the top of each page. The following
Meta Tags need to be defined on each and every page for search engine
optimization: Keywords, Description, Generator. Although
not as critical as the other three Meta Tags, another good Meta Tag
to include is the Author tag. In addition, if desired
the company can add a Copyright tag to the page. Here
are examples of the tags:
NAME="Keywords" CONTENT="keyword1, keyword 2, keyword3,
keyword4, keyword5, keyword6, keyword7, keyword 8, ...">
NAME="Description" CONTENT="A 25-word or less description
of site content, written in sentence format and using keywords">
NAME="Generator" CONTENT="program used to create the page">
NAME="Author" CONTENT="Name and title of author">
NAME="Copyright" CONTENT="© calendar year, person
or entity owning the copyright"
Although the Meta Tags are not visible on a page when added
in the <HEAD> of a document, the ©
represents the legal copyright
symbol in the code. In addition if the ©
is added between the <BODY>
tags in HTML, the copyright symbol does display on the page,
as shown: ©
. In WYSIWYG editors, holding down the ALT key while
keying in 0169 will also return the copyright symbol.
Here is an example of a META tag format:
name="description" content="Your site's summary here">
can add additional tags in this comment tag, as well-->
META tag description should contain multiple keywords that flow in a
logical, well organized sentence. To achieve the best rankings,
place the first choice keywords at the beginning of the description
and keep them close together.
Search Engines and Frames
of the meta description will vary according the each search engine's
specifications. Infoseek, for example, accepts a meta description
tag up to 1024 characters long, while Hotbot specifies 150 characters
as its guideline. In general, it's better to keep the characters under
250, otherwise they might be cut off in the search results.
The war of search engine placement might tempt some to use a popular
search term or stack keywords to increase chances of higher search
rankings. This type of search engine technique is known as spamdexing.
The earliest form of spamdexing sprouted in the early web years when
programmers realized they could fool search engine "bots" by repeating
phrases in html code so that they were invisible to the visitors and
noticed by spiders indexing the site. In the end if you use such practices
you will most likely fail. For example, search engines are becoming
smarter and more sophisticated every day. There is a good probability
they will catch the spamdexing and place a block on the site, restricting
the site from indexing privileges. Here is a quick list to help you
remember which practices to avoid:
Never use words that don't apply to your site's content
Never repeat the same words over seven times in a row
Limit how many doorway pages you submit
Be careful not to submit too many URLs at once
Never submit the same page twice in one day.
Read the fine print at the search engine or directory for how
much time to allow before again requesting submission. Courtesy
is very important online. You are still dealing with people.
careful how you use frames. They were developed with the intention of
making it easier for people to navigate through a web site by keeping
a section of the web site constant. However, frames have traditionally
proven to cause problems for users and web masters due to the inability
of some search bots to read content on pages within the frames.
If you are familiar with frames, you will know that the FRAMESET document
is the page that joins the other pages in the browser window.
On a site that is done completely in frames, the index.html page will
be the FRAMESET document, not the page with content that the user sees.
Therefore, the search bot and the site guest are not evaluating the
same page for content relevance. Frames can cause problems in
printing, search engine indexing, in compatibility issues with older
browsers, and even in bookmarking. To help search engines catalog
your FRAMESET document, use the NOFRAMES tag within the FRAMESET document:
<NOFRAMES> Site content and secondary navigational options</NOFRAMES>
Build Link Popularity through Web Content
popularity is primarily measured by the number of other web sites linking
to the site. However, the number of web sites isn't as important
as the quality of web sites offering the links. Not only is link
popularity important because of the traffic you receive, but it also
helps because "spiders" sent by search engines are programmed to analyze
link popularity. Many of the top search engines rate sites on
the amount of links that point to a web site.
best ways a web site can attract large amounts of links to itself
is to provide valuable and meaningful content. If the only goal of
your web site is to sell items or services, why would anyone be interested
in linking to it? Realistically, the only chance this type of
web site has in generating links would be to seek them out through
associate and affiliate program links, which means paying for them.
is a better way if you are willing to put time and effort into it.
Let's say you operated an art web site. You could provide biographies
of famous and up-and-coming artists. You could build a search function
so that people could look up information about art according to the
different time periods. Also, what if you developed an art glossary
or enabled people to critique different pieces of art through forums
or discussion groups? The art site would then have value to
site guests due to access to meaningful information. As marketers
improve site quality, others may ask to share a link.
of the most popular forms of search engine placement is paid placement.
GoTo.com is known as the
web's top pay-per-click search engine. With the success of GoTo.com
it is seen as a mainstay rather than a trend--a big lift for the search
engine industry in light of the recent struggles in low profits and
on top of search engines and directories is a full-time job, and even
if a company is successful at rising to the top 10 within a search
result for a given topic, there is no guarantee that the next day
the same criteria would return even close to the same outcome.
New sites request listing in exponential numbers. Therefore,
paying for placement is worthwhile to companies who have the money
and do not want to deal with the constant demands and time constraints
of SEO (search engine optimization).
GoTo.com is the top pay-per-click
search engine, FindWhat.com
is the largest pay-per-click engine (although not as popular as GoTo).
To be listed in GoTo, companies
may try submitting their sites a few other search services used by
are referred to as "editorial lists", which some have unsuccessfully
been tried to purchase.
are a few of the paid ranking options in the field:
Banner ads can be bought by business who want to advertise under
target keyword phrases.
Content Arrangements allow search engines ability to promote the
advertiser's content on a search result page.
Paid Placement can appear above, below, and along the sidebar
of the editorial links.
Paid Submissions are how search engines increase their revenue
for charging the process of submitting URLs. Even though it doesn't
guarantee a listing it does offer a quick review time set.
Track the effectiveness of your SEO Strategy
SEO to Work
Here are four ways a company can put a SEO strategy to the test:
a log file analysis of all your search terms.
and measure the traffic that comes from search engines and directories.
the META tags with rankings of your competitors.
Web Position Gold Pro, or other professional tracking and search
engine optimization software.
hosting companies provide this information. A log file is a
file created by a web server which contains all of the access information
regarding the activity on a web site. Log files are also available
by installing software on the web server to check statistics on the
site. One very powerful software tool is called Web Position
Gold Pro. Web Position offers the following services (Description
taken from the Web Position
Gold web site):
HTML pages designed for high search engine placement results.
existing web pages and gives plain-English advice on how
to improve them.
a simple, built-in HTML editor for fast and easy changes.
in uploading your new and changed pages.
your pages to the major search engines automatically.
your positions on each search engine for each keyword you
the number of visitors to your site, where they came from,
and what keywords they used to find you.
Part A - Trying some Software
most cases you will want to resubmit your URLs every few months with
new updated Meta Tags and Titles. However, don't resubmit your
URLs unless you have made changes. And be certain not to send
a request for submission to an engine or directory earlier than
stated on the web site of the search service as well as in any
correspondence personally received.
Not to Track a Site
not misconstrue a hit counter for a valuable site tracking device.
On the contrary, hit counters are unprofessional and can do as much
damage to a company image as poor site design, poor grammar on a site,
or poor navigation and usability. If hit counters were valuable
marketing tools, don't you think large corporations such as Ford®,
GM®, Eddie Bauer® (and the list is endless) would have one
on their sites?
hit counter does not provide the following valuable information
that all web marketers must know:
collecting demographic and other statistical information has been
called "Marketing Information Management." On the web, Marketing
Information Management is conducted using EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).
How are visitors finding your site in the first place?
How many of them make it past the main page?
Which page of your site is the most popular?
How long does the average visitor stick around?
What is the average number of pages viewed?
What path do visitors take through your site?
What links do they use to leave your site?
and Disadvantages of Search Engine Optimization
upside of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be stated with
the term "free" (although not always true anymore) and there
is never-ending information about SEO online. In addition, marketers
get better results if they personally submit a site rather than paying
a third party to submit your URL to a 100 different search engines
all at once.
downside is that SEO is very time consuming and some search
engines and directories take months to review and list a submitted
site. And as previously mentioned, there are no guarantees in getting
or holding top placement on search results.
Part B - An Exercise with Yahoo!
Web Position Gold Pro
online and Download the trial version of this search engine
optimizing, site tracking plus program.
with site preferences for searching
with categories for specific sites and a Yahoo! example.
listed with Yahoo!, the Number 1 web directory service, is getting harder
and harder these days, especially with the fee Yahoo! is now charging
to submit a site. Complete the following steps to have an introduction
to submitting a site with Yahoo!
have a company site project you are working on, use it for this exercise.
Otherwise, think of an existing company you enjoy and know something
about for this exercise.
order to submit a site to Yahoo!, you have to know what category
and sub category, and even sometimes sub sub category or sub sub
sub category in which the site would best fit. To help with
the top level category selection, here they are:
at least two top-level categories, preferably four, to look into
at Yahoo! See if there is a sub category that matches the site you’re
trying to submit. You may be surprised when you discover where
the site fits within Yahoo!'s catalog of sites. Look again
at the list of top-level categories. Submitting a site to
one of the top-level categories is not allowed; marketers are asked
to search a little deeper, to keep looking, until they find a sub
category that fits with the type of site the merchant desires to
the right category is a key factor to getting listed. A key
to selecting the right category for you: look for similar
competitors and ask yourself if your target audience would look
for you there.
not request a listing with more than one sub category. Merchants
who select more than one sub category to be listed will have their
request for submission denied. Therefore, choose wisely.
The Yahoo! representative assigned to review your site may decide
that the site best fits somewhere else within the Yahoo! directory
service. Be prepared for the possibility of that happening.
will then ask you to select a region. Select a region, if your company
is a geographically segmented company. For instance, if you
are an eye doctor in Green River, Wyoming, chances are your site
may be best suited in a regional category to help users in your
area locate the site. If your company is not geographic-specific,
let Yahoo! list you in the general category.
the next step you will be asked to enter the Site's Title, a description,
and the URL
Copy the Meta Tag description and the <TITLE> from
the home page of the site and use them here.
Although Yahoo! is not a search engine, their staff will be analyzing
the site for elements of professionalism in order to include
the site in their data listings.
When typing in a description, keeping within the 25 words or less
is crucial to being considered for listing with Yahoo!.
Do not push the limit or your luck in this area.
Remember two items of importance:
Include relevant, valuable, educational information on the site.
This is a great enhancer and persuader for inclusion within
the Yahoo! database.
Yes, Yahoo! is a database that uses the traditional filing system
for cataloging sites, but do not change the name of your site
in the Title tag by adding an "A" in front of it such as "A
Carpet Company in Salt Lake City, Utah". Doing so is a
great way to get the site bumped.
the differences between directories and search engines.
how to make your web site search engine friendly.
how Meta Tags help a web site with search engine optimizing.
in a phrase in a search engine that your customer would mostly likely
type. Click on the top five web sites returned in the search results.
Analyze the site layout, content, and Meta tags used on the site.
Remember, this is not an exercise on pirating.
or www.netvalue.com. These
sites post a ranking of the most visited web sites.
down 15 keywords or phrases that you would like to be searched by
your potential customers.
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