Are you new at seo? Want to learn more about search engine optimization? Our free seo tutorial will help to improve your seo skills and get your website optimized properly. This tutorial was made for beginner users, so it’s perfect for those who are just starting building websites. This tutorial explain the basics of the search engine optimization and describe each step that you need to follow if you want to have a successful website, how to optimize the web pages and how to increase website traffic. Let’s start:
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization – SEO – is considered a more technical part of internet marketing as it does help promoting sites but it also demands some technical skills, at least basic HTML knowledge. SEO is also been referred to as SEO copywriting as the majority of the used methods in promoting the websites within the search engines are dealing with text. SEO is the activity of website optimization making the sites search engine-friendly and consequently obtaining a higher position within the search results.
The fact is that even if you do all what is needed in SEO that still doesn’t guarantee a top position in the search results, however if you fail to follow some simple rules it is going to be remarked. You will be much more comfortable with your results and more satisfied if you set reasonable goals, such as get listed in the top 30 search results in Google for a specific keyword instead of grabbing the top position for ten keywords in five different search engine results.
SEO will help you driving more traffic to a particular website, but it is still not advertising. You can be included if you want in paid search results for some specific keywords but the main idea in SEO techniques is to obtain a top position due to the relevancy of a specific search term and not because you have paid for it.
SEO activity might a one hour job or a never-ending one. In some cases you only need some general SEO for a very good placement in search engines, for instance when you have limited competition for singular keywords. In such case, even if you are not doing much you will still have a fairly good placement. However, most frequently, for a top placement you need to pay extra attention to SEO requiring a considerable amount of time and effort. Even if you are just performing some simple SEO techniques it is still very important to be aware of how search engines work and what aspect are really essential in SEO.
How Search Engines Work
First thing you have to know about SEO is the fact search engines are not humans and there is a huge difference how humans and search engines view the web pages. Search engine are text-driven not like humans. Search engines are not in any case some kind of intelligent beings capable of appreciating a great design or seeing the sounds and movement in a video. Search engines crawl the internet for some specific site pieces – mostly text – to learn what the site is all about. This explanation need to be extended as search engines are executing various activities to deliver the search results, such as crawling, processing, indexing, retrieving and calculating relevancy.
Initially, search engines crawl the internet to locate what is out there. The crawling is executed by a crawler, also known as spider – for instance Googlebot at Google. Spiders are following links from page to page and index all they found. Keep in mind that with the billions and billions websites on the internet it is not possible for the spider to daily visit a site checking for possible modifications on it. Spiders might not visit your site for a couple of month, thus your SEO efforts within this period will have no noticeable effect. As there is nothing you could do about it, keep working on your site as results will appear sooner or later.
Next step after your site is crawled is to index the site’s content. The indexed site will be stored in an enormous database for a later retrieval. By indexing your site, words and expressions are identified that best describe it and the site is assigned to specific keywords. Humans are just not capable of processing so many information but search engines can handle it easily in most cases. They might no able to properly identify the meaning of the site but you can give them a helping hand optimizing it. Thus, they will be able to adequately classify your sites and obtaining a higher search result position.
As a search request comes in it is processed by the search engine, meaning the search sequence is compared with the indexed pages from the database. As it highly probable that numerous pages contain the search sequence, the search engine will determine the relevancy of every indexed page to the search sequence.
Several algorithms are available to determine relevancy, each of them weighting differently for usual factors such as metatags, links and keyword density. This is the reason for different search results from different search engines for the same search sequence. Additionally, all the main search engines – Google, Yahoo or MSN – are regularly modifying their algorithms. Therefore, if you want to maintain your placement you also need to adjust your site according to these changes. This is one the main reasons why SEO requires a continuous effort, if you are aiming to the top.
The final step of the search engine’s activity is the retrieval of the results. The retrieval is nothing more than their display in the browser, meaning the numerous pages with the search results listed in the order of the most relevant to the least relevant websites.
Differences Between the Major Search Engines
Even though all search engines have the same main principles of operations, there are slight differences between them resulting in major changes in the search results relevancy. Different things are important for different search engines. For instance, there were some jokes among SEO experts that the Yahoo algorithms were purposely made exactly opposite to the Google algorithms. Although this might be true in some way, the fact is that the main search engines prefer different things and if you aiming a top placement at more than one of them, you have to cautiously optimize your website.
There are several such examples, for instance, for MSN and Yahoo the keywords on the page are highly important, while Google has a great-great consideration for links. In the same time, Google websites are just like wines, the older the better. On the other hand, Yahoo has no preferences for older sites and domains. This is the explanation why you need much more time for your sites to obtain a higher rank in Google rather than in Yahoo.
Importance of Keywords in SEO
For search engines keywords are essential SEO elements as they are what search sequences are matched against. That is why it is crucial optimizing your site for the proper keywords. It might sound easy but when you get more into it might appear puzzling to properly decide on the keywords. Nevertheless, with some research and thinking the issue of determining the proper keywords to be optimized can be quickly resolved.
Selecting the Right Keywords to Optimize For
It looks like those days when you could able to obtain with small efforts a top placement for a one word search sequence is history. Nowadays, as the internet is heavily populated with various websites it is almost impossible to obtain constant top placements for a one word search sequence. It is a more reasonable goal to obtain a constant top placement for two or three word search sequence. Analyzing the dynamics of the search results for a particular one word keyword, you’ll notice that is quite easy for one week to be in the first results and the next week to drop out from the first thirty results, as of the result of the high competition for the given one word keyword and other sites left you behind.
You can still include one word sequences among your keywords but if they are not supported by additional expressions you will not achieve high placements. As an example, if you have a site about cats, ‘cat’ is naturally a compulsory keyword, but you still have to optimize it for other words, such as ‘cat owners’, ‘ cat breeds’ or ‘cat food’ to have success with. This example is not the absolute truth on how to properly optimize a cat site, but shows you the direction of how you should think when selecting the keywords for your website.
Usually, as you begin the optimization process you have to think about the keywords best describing the content of your website and what are users more probably to use to find your site. One aspect to take in consideration is synonyms. Quite frequently users will another word for the same thing. In the provided cat site example, ‘feline’ is a synonym and most certainly there are going to be users who will use, thus is it recommended to incorporate it here and there on your web pages. However, don’t exaggerate it and optimize for every single synonym that comes into your mind as search engine algorithms will include most synonyms in the keyword match, more even for languages like English.
You should come up with more keywords probably used to describe your website. It is recommended to think thematically as search engines are inclined to give a higher rating to the page if it is part of a site and its theme match the keyword sequence. From this point of view it is vital for your site to be centered on a specific theme, for instance cats. It might not be easy to find all the applicable keywords by your own, but luckily there are tools for it. One such tool is the Website Keyword Suggestion Tool that will help you establishing the theme of your website and also the keywords matching the theme. Google’s Keyword Tool is another excellent tool for more ideas on the keywords to be used.
As you are selecting the keywords to be optimized you have to think not just to their relevancy to your website and the estimated amount of monthly performed searches for these specific keywords. Quite frequently a narrow search is much valuable as the user reaching your site is indeed interested in your product or service. Continuing with the cat site example, you might find out the ‘adopt a cat’ key phrase is delivering you more traffic because a part of your site is about things to watch out when adopting a cat. The page has no interest for those who already own a cat, but it is of high interest for future cat owners, who might not be numerous but you are targeting them and the general result of attracting them might be more valuable than attracting the large number of people generally interested in cats. As you are analyzing the monthly search hits you have to consider the unique hits matching the site’s theme.
Following the selection of the keywords best describing your website and of probable interest to the users, next you have to make your site keyword rich and ensuring a proper keyword density for the selected keywords. Keyword density is a general measurement of the relevancy of a page. Usually, the higher the keyword density is, the higher is the relevancy of the page for the search sequence. The ideal density is about 3%-7% for the main two or three keywords and about 1%-2% for the less important keywords. You might use the Keyword Density Checker to find out your website’s keyword density.
There are no precise rules, but try optimizing for a realistic number of keywords, five or ten should be enough. There is no much use optimizing it for hundreds of keywords, as there is no way to have a proper keyword density for more than a couple keywords. Otherwise, the content will not be natural just a text filled with keywords. Plus, there are penalties included – for instance being banned from the search engine – for keyword packing as it is not considered ethical to manipulate the search results.
Keywords in Special Places
The quality of the keywords are also important, not just their quantity. It is more important to have more keywords in the title, heading or the first paragraph of the page than having numerous keywords at the end of the page. The URL, in particular the domain name, file and directory names, page title and headings are far more important than the common content on the page, as in case you have equal keyword density as your direct competitors, but with keywords in the URL, you will have a very high ranking, especially if we are talking about the Yahoo search engine.
Keywords in URLs and File Names
The entire URL and domain name of your website practically speaks for itself. Basically, if you running a site about cats, ‘cat’, ‘cats’ or ‘feline’ are included in your domain name. Further more, if your site is mostly about adopting cats, it is preferable to have a ‘cat-adopt.org’ rather than ‘animal-care.net’. With the first domain name two main keywords are included, while with the second one you have just one possible keyword in it.
No point to exaggerate when you are looking for a keyword rich domain name. Although, in terms of SEO, it is better to have 4-5 keywords in the URL, it is going to be long and hard to remember it. There must be a healthy balance between the keywords in the URL and the site practicality, meaning it is just too much having more than three keywords in the URL. It is possible not to come up with numerous good domain names by your own, or even if you, there are high chances for them to be taken already. Nevertheless, there some tools that might be able to help you.
File and directory name also hold a great importance as very frequently search engines will prefer pages with keywords in the file name. As an example www.mydomain.com/cat-adopt.html is worse than www.cat-adopt.com/cat-adopt.html but is definitely better than www.mydomain.com/animal-care.html. The main advantage of having keywords in file names versus keywords in the URL is that it is easier to modify them in case you are going for another niche.
Keywords in Page Titles
The title of the page is another important aspect as the content of the <title> tag is generally showed in most search engines. Although it is not compulsory in terms of HTML language to complete the <title> tag – leaving it empty will result in the display of ‘Untitled Document’ in your browser’s title bar – it is better in terms of SEO to complete the field with the title of your page.
The title of your page can be longer and more descriptive. Continuing the cat website example, the <title> tag of your page www.cat-adopt.com might include something similar to <title>Adopt a Cat – Save a Cat and Get Yourself a Companion</title>, <title>Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Cat</title> or something even longer.
Keywords in Headings
Basically, headings are different paragraphs for associated subtopics and it is extremely useful in terms of SEO, to have as many headings as possible on a page, especially if they include keywords.
Technically, there are no limits regarding the content limits for the <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <hn> tags, however extra long headings will make your page unreadable, thus you need to have reasonable long headings. Regarding the display of the headings, for Heading 1 it is recommended to use larger font size with not more than 7-8 words in it to avoid spreading the text on two or three lines.
Importance of Links in SEO
Most likely the word best associated with Web is ‘links’, as hypertext is nothing more than linking to pages you like and be linked by pages that like your website. The Web in fact consists of interrelated pages with spiders following the links as they index the Web. In the lack of numerous sites linking to you, search engines will hardly find you, and even if they do find you, it is highly improbable to have a good placement, as when determining relevancy, search engines rely on the quality and quantity of the links, as part of their algorithms.
Inbound and Outbound Links
For SEO, two kinds of links are important, inbound and outbound links. Outbound links consists of links from your site leading to another one, and inbound links, also known as backlinks, are links from external sites leading to your site. For instance, if a .net links to yourdommain.com, that particular link from a .net is an inbound link for yourdomain.com.
Backlinks are highly important as they are believed to measure the popularity of your website on the Web. Remember, that not all backlinks are the same as there are good backlinks and bad backlinks. Links from highly regarded places, if possible from sites with similar content, are considered good backlinks and they will help you get a higher search engine ranking. On the other hand, links from doubtful sites, such as link farms, are considered bad links and should be avoided.
If you don’t have sufficient backlinks, you might as well buy links as this is a common practice and it is something worth of your consideration. However, if you prefer something to be free, Web directories such as http://dmoz.org or http://dir.yahoo.com are some excellent places.
Start with searching for appropriate site to backlink with the Backlinks Builder. Once the possible backlinks are identified, get in touch with the Webmaster of the site on the terms of getting a backlink. You might get a link exchange deal when thy will place N number of links from their site to your site and you will subsequently place N number of links on your site to their site. Please note that this is far being a good deal and you should avoid it as much as possible.
Internal links – links on the same website from one page to another – are important as well, although not as important as backlinks. In this contest, yes it better for the design to have images for links, but is a SEO disaster. Use basic text link rather than buttons for links within your site. The search engine spiders are spidering text on the page and not the fancy images or flash animations. Thus, try not to use them, instead give significant text description in all <alt> tag as much as possible.
Anchor text is crucial in every backlink. As it is important where a link is coming from – the location of it, from a highly regarded place, or from a link farm, the text itself a link starts from is even more important. Basically, anchor text is the word or words you click on to open a hyperlink. For instance, in the best search engine the words ‘best search engine’ in the anchor text for the google.com hyperlink. Consequently, if you have a backlink from a suitable site, but with an ‘total failure by all means’ anchor text, it will not be much help for you.
As you are looking through your backlinks, it is recommended to also check their anchor text an if contains any keyword. It is excellent for SEO to have a great number of backlinks from valuable sites with the keywords included in the anchor text. An excellent tool to check the anchor text of your inbound backlinks is the Backlink Anchor Text Analyzer. The text surrounding the anchor itself is also essential.
Link Practices That Are To Be Avoided
Just like with keywords, it is not recommended to buy a massive number of links. Buying 1,000 links in a couple of days will raise distrust and suspicion. What is even worse, search engines monitor link farms selling links in bulk and because buying links is a method to influence the search results, this action will be penalized by search engines. Stay away from link farms s they are not doing you any good at all. It is also recommended to avoid having outbound links from your website to spammers or other bad guys on the Web.
As previously discussed, link exchange is not the best deal. It might improve your ranking, but on the long run it has many disadvantages. To start with, the other partner might remove certain links to you or might modify the context where the link is displayed. In addition to that, it is very distrustful to be closely connected with a site with 50% or even more of your links, both inbound and outbound, being to & from that location.
Another aspect regarding links is the proportion of inbound and outbound links. Usually, if your outbound links greatly exceed the number of your inbound links it is not good, but that might vary from case to case. For instance, for a site linking to news sites or RSS feeds, well the large number of outbound links is the price you pay for fresh content.
Importance of Metatags in SEO
With some time ago <meta> tags were the main tool for SEO with a direct connection between your text there and your ranking in the search results. Since than, algorithms have improved and metadata’s importance is fading day by day, in particular with Google. However, there are certain search engines still displaying metadata – below the clickable link in the search results – users to read your written text, and in case they consider it relevant, they might visit your site. Moreover, some specific search engines still take in consideration metatags in ranking your website.
Meta Description and why I need it
Meta Description tag I just another method to write a description of your website and directing search engines to topics and themes your site is relevant to. It will do no harm including a short description, so don’t skip this step. Continuing the example with the cat site, your meta Description tag for the site might be something like: <Meta Name=”Description” Content=”Adopting a cat brings you a companion. Things you should know before adopting a cat”>
A possible use of the meta Keywords tags is to incorporate all the keywords you consider relevant to your pages. Although the main search engines will ignore it, it is still another chance to highlight your targeted keywords. You might even include different spellings (misspellings of the keywords too) in the meta Keywords tag. For example, for the cat adoption site you could write something like this: <Meta name=”Keywords” Content=”adoption, adopt, cat, cats, feline, save an animal, get a companion”>. It is slight improvement to search engine top placement, but why not use it?
The meta Robots tag requires more attention. Here, you indicate the pages you don’t want to be crawled and indexed. It is the case of page(s) on your site with content that need to be there but you don’t want to be indexed. Including such page in the meta Robots tag is just one method to prevent them of being indexed. You can achieve the same thing using a robots.txt file and it is considered a better method for it.
Importance of Quality & Unique Content in SEO
For a SEO novice it might be a major surprise that is text is a major element in obtaining a higher ranking. Search engines and your online visitors as well love new & fresh content, and with a frequent update, applicable content is a surefire for success. Most of the time, if a website is regularly updated, the higher the probability for the spider to sober revisit the site. Of course, there is no guarantee that if you update your site on a daily basis, the search engine spider will visit it let’s say once a week, but if you fail to update it on a regular basis you will definitely lose your top placement in the search results.
For company websites concentrated more on the manufacturing process rather than the writing, the frequent update of the content might be a problem as most of the times, these company websites are not online magazines to daily, weekly or monthly update their content. Regardless of the type of business you are having it is always appropriate to have a news section on your website – RSS feeds or even company news – as it will keep things moving.
Topical Themes or How to Regularly Add Content to Your Site
You should consider yourself lucky in case you are doing SEO for an online publication, as fresh content is constantly coming in and you have to do is to now and then organize a couple of headings or paragraphs to make it SEO friendly. It is not so bad even if you are doing some SEO work for a common company website, as there are always ways to regularly obtain new content matching the site’s topic.
One of the main particularities of doing SEO for a company website is the fact that it has to remain serious. In addition, if the content of the site almost nothing but advertising with almost no value for your online visitors, the content itself presents virtually no value. In the case of a trade company you might place promotional texts regarding your own products. However, the texts should be international and not just simple sale propaganda. If you are selling numerous products, or you are frequently supplied with new products, or you are regularly making promotions for certain products, you can include all of them in your website, thus providing it with quality, fresh and relevant content.
Further more, based on the type of your business, you might also include various self-updating data, such as list with the hottest or featured products, items on discount or an online calculator. This will not bring you a huge number of new online visitors or significantly help you with your ratings, but it is still something.
Another possible source for increasing traffic is the news section of the company websites where you can place news about past and upcoming events, different activity reports or about some company changes. There are companies who have taken a step forward with their CEO having a blog writing informally about the life of the company, about the entire industry or just about a specific industry. Such blogs are of interest for readers, particularly if the listed information in the blog is true.
RSS feeds are just another great way to get fresh content for free, plus they are getting more and more popular. With little effort and some research you are able to get for no charge at all free syndicated content for virtually any topic.
Bold and Italic Text
When you have a great amount of text you have to think how to highlight the important aspects of it, for humans and for search engines too. Search engines and spiders are not able to read the text as humans do, but they have ways to understand the meaning of a text. One of these ways are the headings, or bold and italic highlighting a word or a phrase which are important. Search engines are able to read the bold and italic text and to understand that those are much more important than the remaining of the text. However, it is recommended not to overuse bold and italic as it will annihilate their effect.
As you are getting fresh content, there is the aspect regarding the originality of the content. If the content is not original, but it has been copied or stolen from some site, you are going to have problems. Even if you got the content for free from some article feed, remember that others on the Web might be using the very same content. If you own the rights to do it, you might modify the text a little bit, to avoid being an exact replica of another site and not be labeled as ‘duplicate content’ by the search engines. In case you fail to pass the duplicate content filter search engines are recently using to spot stolen or copied content, your web pages are possible to be removed from the search results.
Duplicate content became a problem from the moment as dishonest webmasters begun making copies of the very same page – with a different name – to trick search engines that they contain more content than they really do. As a response to these actions, search engines started to use a duplicate content filter getting rid of the suspicious pages. However, the content filter also removes totally valid pages now and then, such as product description supplied to its resellers by a manufacturer and which has to remain the same without modifications.
Duplicate content might constitute a major problem, but not something that cannot be surmounted. To start with, you should regularly check the Web for pages similar to your website, for instance with the use of copyscape.com. Once you have spotted a similar page with your site (having the same content on it without having your permission to do that) you might try to contact the site’s webmaster to get rid of that particular content. In addition, you might as well slightly modify the text on your website, hoping to pass the duplicate content filter. Even in the case of product descriptions, you could include feedbacks and opinions on the same page to solve the issue of duplicate content.
To find out if two URLs are similar between them, you might use the Similar Page Checker.
Visual Effects and SEO
Images are very important to any web site and they are never seen by a website designer as an extra but as a must have thing for every page. In this case, web designers and search engines are playing in two different teams, because for search engines any tiny information that is hidden in an image is lot and unusable. Now and then as you are working with web designers you might face certain difficulties explaining them that the use of textual links – with appropriate anchor text – instead of fancy images is not a simple caprice, and that it is compulsory to have clear text navigation on the site. Sometimes it is not easy properly balancing the beauty of a site with the SEO-friendliness of it, but when even the most artistic and charming site is lost forever and totally useless if it is not spotted by search engines, a compromise is most certainly needed.
You most certainly do not have to skip all images, as the result will be a rather ugly website. The point is that images should serve for decoration purposes, not for navigation or for text display. It is essential to provide an expressive textual description of the image in the <alt> element of the <img>tag. This action is needed from the search engines point of view and not of the HTML language. It is also advisable to provide expressive names to the image files and not just simply name them with numbers. For example, in the following example the image file name is already informative, but the <alt> gives further information: <img src=”classical_Corvette_for_sale” alt=”A picture of a classic car a Corvette that is up for sale”>. In any case, don’t exaggerate and start writing 20-30 words <alt>tags for a small insignificant image, as it will not look good.
Animation and Movies
With animation and movies it is basically the same as with the images, they worth a lot for web designer but are worthless for search engines. I am sure that you have seen for many sites to have an imposing Flash introduction on their homepage. That is a huge disadvantage in front of search engines as it will badly hurt your ranking. Further more, it is a complete disaster if you choose a Flash to tell a story instead of writing it down in plain text, which search engine spiders can crawl and index. One of the solutions is to supply search engines a HTML version of the Flash animation, but in such case remove the initial Flash animation from indexing – action performed in the robots.txt file – to avoid being penalized for duplicate content.
Allegedly, Google is working on a new search technology that will enable searching within animations and movies while the .swf format will include metadata for search engines to use. However, in the mean time, avoid using much Flash or try to give proper textual description of the animation, using an <alt>tag for the description.
It is good that frames are gradually disappearing from the web. Not so long ago, five or ten years ago were quite a hit among web designers. On the other hand, search engines never liked them, as they are experiencing difficulties in indexing framed pages due to the fact that the URL of the page is identical, regardless which frames are open. It was very confusing for search engines, because in fact there were 2 or 3 pages but only one URL, while for any search engine one URL is one page. Nevertheless, search engines are able to follow the links to pages in the frameset and also index them but it is difficult for them.
If you are still determined to use frames provide at least an expressive description of the site in the <noframes> tag. The next example is for experts, but even if you are a beginner, just remember that the <noframes> tag is where to give a version – or brief description – of your site for search engines and for browsers not supporting frames.
Example: <noframes><p>For best results it is recommended to use a browser that support frames. </p><p>This is a site mostly for potential cat adopters! Adopting a cat is a good deed as you will be saving the life of an innocent animal. </p> </noframes>.
Static vs Dynamic URLs in SEO
According to the preceding section, you might be convinced that search engines algorithms are trying to diminish the web designer’s efforts to come up with a lovely website. We already discussed the reasons why search engines do not like images, movies or other so called extras. No, you are probably thinking that search engines do not like dynamic URLs either. Well, as a matter of fact, users are the ones having problems with URLs such as http://mydomain.com/service.php?cid=5&pid=2 as these URLs do not reveal much about the content of the particular page.
Why Static urls are better for seo?
There are very good reasons why is it preferable to have static URLs rather than dynamic URLs. One of them refers to the fact that dynamic URLs are there all the time – for instance, the page is generated following a sort of action of the user (filling out and submitting a form or conducting a search using the search engine of the site). It might be stated that these pages do not exist for search engines, as they index the sites crawling and not by filling out forms.
Further more, if a dynamic page has been created by an earlier user request and it is stored on the server, it is possible for the search engines to skip it in case it contains a lot of question marks or any other special symbols. In the past, dynamic pages were not indexed at all, while presently search engines do index them but usually in a slower rhythm than the static pages.
You don’t have to just simply change back to static HTML, as database driven websites are excellent but it is recommended to offer your page to users and search engines as well in a simple and easy format. The issue of dynamic URLs can be solved for instance with URL rewriting. There are specific tools – different for various servers and platforms – rewriting URLs in an easier format, enabling them to appear in the browser as common HTML pages. Such URL Rewriting Tools will convert the coded text from the earlier example into something friendlier and easier to read, such as http://mydomain.com/service-categoryid-5-productid2.
How to increase traffic to your website
The most important purpose of SEO is for your site to be visible to search engines, resulting in higher placement in search results and subsequently to more traffic to your website. More visitors, especially more buyers are the ultimate objective of any site promotion. To be completely honest, SEO is just way to promote your website and amplify traffic, as there are numerous other ways – both online and offline – to receive high traffic and to get to your targeted market. This tutorial is not about these ways, but remember that there are other ways beside search engines to get a high number of visitors to your website; nevertheless, search engines are preferred and it is quite an easy way to follow.
Submitting Your Website to Search Directories, forums and special sites
Following the optimization of your website the next step is to submitting it to search engines. Usually, there is nothing special you could do for search engines to include your site in their index, as they will find you. It cannot be predicted when they will visit your website for the first time or the periodicity of the later visits, but anyway you can’t invite them to pay a visit to your site. Of course, you might submit the URL of your site at their Submit a Website section but that will guarantee an immediate or quicker response & action. Plus, even in case of submitted URLs, the majority of search engines reserve the right to decide if they are going to crawl your site or not. This is where you can submit your URLs in the three main search engines: Google, MSN, and Yahoo.
Beside search engines you might want to include your website in search directories as well. Search directories record websites relevant to a specific topic, but they differ from search engines in various aspects. To start with, search directories are managed by humans and the listed sited are first reviewed for relevancy as they were submitted. Search directories do not crawl the Web for URLs, it is you who have to visit them and submit your website. However, once your site is listed in the directory, it stays there permanently without requiring any future effort from your part. Two of the most popular and valuable search directories are DMOZ and YAHOO! – Yahoo, the directory and not the Yahoo search engine – and here where you can submit your website to them: DMOZ and Yahoo!.
Posting your site’s link in the proper forums or other special places might result in an increased traffic to your website. You have to find the most important forums in your area of interest, but that will not be difficult, as their names will be listed after performing a simple search in Google or any other main search engine. For example, if you are a basketball fan, type “basketball forum” in the search box and within a second the list of favorite sites of other basketball fans will be displayed. Go through the list of sites one by one, as not all of them allow you to post links to any commercial sites. It is important to keep in mind that forum posting is quite time-consuming and does require a higher effort than with search engines, but the results might be rewarding as well.
Specialized Search Engines
There are other search engines out there beside Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Some of them are general-purpose search engines while others are specialized search engines that might help you get to your targeted audience. There is a huge number of niche specialized search engines, from art to movies, or educational ones. Some of these are nothing but enormous sites with Web resources on a certain topic and most of them have a section where you can submit your site to them. So, start with finding the specialized search engines for your niche than visit the site and submit your URL. This action might be more valuable in terms of traffic than desperately trying to get a top ranking in Google.
Paid Ads and Submissions
As we already discussed it, there are also other options for you beside search engines – such as forums, specialized search engines and sites, search directories – but to ensure your site will be definitely noticed, you can use the paid ads and submissions. Paid listings are the quickest and most effective ways your site to appear in search results. Most search engines accept payment in return of your URL placed in the Paid Links area for the selected keywords, but remember that users are usually skeptical with paid links. With paid links it is like you are paying off the search engine to give you a top placement which is normally inaccessible for you with your own efforts, so you need to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of paid listings.