Working with Search Engines & Directories

The principle behind the way search engines function is straightforward. People type a word (or phrase) into the search engine and it returns a list of hits, related to that term. Even though the results of a search may list over a thousand entries, few people rarely look beyond the first twenty results listed in the first two pages. What this means is that, if the ranking of your website falls outside this range, very few people will visit your site. Your goal is to ensure that your site ends up being listed on the first page—particularly within the top ten ranking results—and the only way of guaranteeing that is by optimizing your website in this direction. 

HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK

Strip away the images and video files on the pages of your website and what you will be left with consist of a description, content, title and keyword list. This is what search engines use in ranking and categorizing a page. Web spiders assess thousands of web pages based on their keyword density (number of keywords used), keyword usage (how they are used), and keyword positioning (where they are used). Websites with higher keyword densities and better positioning are ranked higher than those with lower percentages.

Search engines evaluate the content of a page in different ways. Some search engines focus on the keywords listed in the title section while others focus on the density within the page content. To ensure that your website is well ranked with the major search engines (Yahoo, Google & Bing), focus your search engine techniques on those favored by these search engines. It is also advisable that you monitor the policies and algorithms of the different major search engines. This way, if any change is made, you will be able to alter your optimization technique. 

How Directories Work

Article directories are not search engines—that’s a common misconception. Search engines are controlled by computer programs (spiders), which crawl through the web creating a catalog of websites based on different criteria. Article directories are however managed by people who carefully review each submission, before ranking and categorizing them based on the quality of each content. In order to be ranked highly within an article directory, your article will need to be informative, useful and well written. High keyword densities or superior keyword placements have little effect within directories. Instead, each article is carefully screened for quality before being accepted. Some of the common reasons for acceptance used by article directories include:

  • The content is easy to understand
  • There is new information being offered in the content
  • The content is not just made up of the company’s contact details.
  • The content is original
  • The content is finished
  • The content looks professional

To get listed on article directories, you will be required to create professional content alongside an excellent looking site. Nothing else will work. It is worth noting that in recent years the criteria for ranking with search engines has grown to become similar to those of article directories. Although search engines are still using the emphasis on keywords, search engines also take into consideration the quality of a site’s content when listing the results. Websites that appear to be stuffed with keywords but have little substance will end up being ranked lower than other sites with fewer keywords but more significant content. 

GETTING GOOD SEARCH ENGINE AND DIRECTORY POSITIONING

80% of the people who use the web rely on search engines and article directories to discover new sites and articles. It is how the majority of the visitors that you receive will find your site. If your website is ranked among the top 6 on the results of a search engine, you’ll pull a lot more traffic than it was ranked below 50. Your efforts at increasing your ranking within both structures will have positive results on the growth of your sales. Developing useful content that includes relevant keyword will help you achieve this. Other details such as the layout of the website and the positioning of your keywords will make a major difference in your results. 

KEYWORD SELECTION

Consider for a second how difficult it would be to optimize your website for the word ‘dog’. There are only so many times that you can add the word ‘dog’ into your content without it appearing forced or just odd. Instead, an easier approach would be targeting keyword phrases related to your site. There may be thousands of website containing the word dog, but only a few contain related phrases like ‘cute friendly dog.'

Keyword phrases are of particular importance because most people type in phrases when conducting a search. A family, who is looking for a new pet, is more likely to type in ‘friendly family dog’ than the single word ‘dog.' Optimizing your website around keyword phrases will reduce the amount of competition that you have to face as well as increase your ranking within your related market niche.  

SUBMITTING TO SEARCH ENGINES

Most search engines will list your site freely, but some may request that you pay a nominal annual fee. Submitting your website to search engine is easy. You will typically find a “Submit New Site” link or something similar on the search platform. After the submission, it may take a few weeks before the change is reflected in the results of the search engine. There are dozens of search engines that you can submit your website too, but Google, Yahoo, and Bing dominate the bulk of the traffic. You can consult with your designer to find the best approach to developing optimized content and the best way of submitting your results. 

Search Engine Marketing - PAY-Per-Click Advertising

Would you like to cut out the labor and simply buy the top-spot within search engines for your website? Search engines offer such options. With Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising on Search engines, you are charged an agreed fee every time a surfer clicks on the link to your site. Websites listed within the top ranks attract higher rates than those within the lower ranks. The downside to this approach is that it becomes very expensive, especially if your site gets thousands of visits a day. My Recommendation is to build your website to rank higher on organic search but by all means, use PPC advertising campaigns if you have the money to spend for it.


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