Some Tips for getting your Web Site Noticed on the Internet
Your ultimate goal when submitting your site to search engines is to increase the amount of traffic they direct towards your web site. There are a few suggestions we can make to help you towards this end:

Pick out a small number of targetted key words and phrases

The most important step is working out which words and phrases you want people to find your site under when they use a search engine. It is important to balance this between picking words which are too common (resulting in far to many search results to be of use) or to obscure (by picking words which very few people would think to type in).

The best way to do this is to use the engines yourself, research the key words and phrases that display sites similar to yours. Use this in conjunction with tools such as Google's keyword analyser which will give you an idea of the number of searches made using specific key words and phrases. It is not always a good idea to target the words which display a high number of searches as the competition is likely to be fierce.

It is also more important to pick small collections of two or three word phrases rather than single words, which are far too generic and are too difficult to gain high rankings with (for instance, if trying to promote your castle web site you would want to target "Castles in Scotland" or "Scottish Castles" rather than just the word "Castles".

Once you have a (small) selection of small phrases ready you can continue to optimise your site.

Optimise your page content

The number one rule to remember, whether you are trying to get yourself ranked in an automated search engine or a hand-researched directory, is that "Content is King". The first problem that can prevent your web site from being ranked well is a lack of actual content within your web pages. You can have the best looking web site in the world, but if you are lacking in useful content then you run the risk of being ranked lower than other more useful sites on the same subject or - worse - being ignored completely.

You need to be able to offer a solid amount of detail about your services and facilities which should be formatted in plain text (NOT as graphic files or as dynamic content such as flash or javascript). For example - If you are website trying to sell, say, figurines then not only would you want a section of your site dedicated to selling your product, but you might want to include a "history of figurines through the ages" section, or a step by step guide to creating your figurines, or links through to figurine collectors web sites, and so on. The more relevant and useful to the public you can make your web site, the better rankings you will get when search engines list your site.

This text should be balanced between being readable by a visitor to the site and being packed full of as many of your preferred key words and phrases as possible. This is of particular importance to the homepage of your site, as this is the place most search engines will first encounter you. The more (relevant) text content the better, but you should avoid "spamming" by - for example - filling the bottom part of your homepage with large amounts of completely unrelated keywords, as this can result in your site being blacklisted in search engines.

Optimise your Metatags

Metatags are a set of HTML tags which are designed to contain the key words and phrases you will have collected above. These consist of a description tag and keywords tag (the page title is often included here as well since it is of great importance to Search Engine Optimisation).

Page Title: Your page title should consist of the MOST IMPORTANT keywords and phrases you have identified. The more important words should appear FIRST and then lesser words added afterwards. It is important to keep the page title relatively short (a good indicator is if you can read the whole thing in Internet Explorer without it being cut off). You should also avoid adding any "useless" words (such as and, or, the and other things such as your business name - unless you are a highly recognised brand).

Description: Still an important tool, your meta-description should complement your page title. It should contain all your MOST IMPORTANT keywords and, again, you should try to get the more important ones to appear first. You should also try to make the description readable however, as human-edited directories may penalise you otherwise and the description may not make much sense if it is included in any search engine listing results.

Keywords: These are no longer important for the major search engines, but a few of the smaller search engines still respond to your keywords. This should contain all the important words and phrases you determined earlier and should match the other tags AND your page content (see below) where possible. You want to keep the length down here as well, no more than 30-35 words.

Metatags are only used as a guideline for the engines, telling them what to expect in the content of your web site. If you use metatags with words that are NOT in the VISIBLE TEXT of your web site then they will be completely ignored. As we mention above the first rule of search engine optimisation is "Content is King"!

Optimise your page design

There are certain things in your site which can cause problems with search engines. The biggest villains of all are Framesets, which block search engines from crawling your site correctly, but there are other things that can cause problems, including heavy dynamic content (such as data read and displayed from a database or heavy use of applets and javascript), sites generated by automated content management systems, shopping cart software, and flash-based sites.

All of this can have a detrimental effect on your web site. If it is possible to live without these features, particularly on the homepage of a site, you will likely have a lot less problems getting your site listed in search engines. Make your homepage text rich. Text is food for engines, pretty pictures mean nothing as far as they are concerned.

Build up an affiliated links section

Another thing important to search engines is a section of your site containing a catalogue of suitable related links of interest to potential visitors, which means your site is not simply a dead end but offers the choice of visiting other web sites related to your business in some way. These should be related to your site content in some way and NOT just random links to web sites you happen to like. You should also AVOID linking to dedicated link directories as they will NOT be of benefit to you at all.

The most important part is to get OTHER websites to link BACK to your website where possible. Not only is this good to draw visitors but it can dramatically help with search engine listings. Engines like to serve up relevant sites after a search and the more links you offer to related sites the more relevant your own site is. This is one of the most important factors in search engine optimisation and it's importance should not be overlooked, especially with Google and it's PageRank facility (which gives you a ranking from 1 to 10 based on how many sites are linking to YOUR site and adjusts your search engine ranking to suit). This is why it is very important to properly manage and maintain your reciprocal links with other web sites.

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