The Web Pros



Search Engines


Getting listed in search engines isn't rocket science. With a little effort and our expert tips, you'll be surprised how much you can achieve. You've put a lot of hard work and many hours into making a great site. This same type of effort is essential if you want the world to find it.

Over the next few pages, we're going to reveal some basic tips, as well as some advanced tricks you can use to climb the listings on the search engines. These are proven methods that will work if followed properly. And just for fun, we're tossing in some neat wizardry to use on your site and some tricks to help you find out how the competition got where they are.

Find out which search engines you should be focusing on, how to get listed in those engines, and reasons why you may not be succeeding. We'll discuss the importance and proper use of Meta Tags, and other good ways to have the search engines successfully spider and list your website.


The Top Search Engines

Getting listed in any search engine is great, but getting a prominent listing in the top engines is essential. If you can get your site listed in one of the first three pages of these engines, you can expect a nice increase in traffic. Most people when searching the web will only go three pages deep. If you're not seen on one of the first three, odds are they will click out before your link is seen. We're not telling you to ignore the smaller engines, but to spend a little extra time and effort to get listed on these:

1: Yahoo - getting listed at Yahoo should be your primary objective. This is the directory that started it all and is by far the most popular and most used of all search engines on the Web. This one is so important, we've dedicated an entire page in this tutorial to help you get listed.

2: AltaVista - the largest search engine on the Web for pages indexed. Getting listed at AltaVista is very easy. Getting a high listing requires good use of Meta Tags with heavy emphasis on your keywords. More on keywords later.

3: Lycos - another big engine that uses a spider to index your site. Once again, your title and keywords will help to enhance your listing. A good listing here may also get your site listed in their Top 5% of the Web.

Those are the top 3 search engines on the Web. The remaining list comprise the other top engines that you should concentrate on first. These engines are not listed in any particular order, but all should be on your submit list:

Excite - Hotbot - MSN - Google - Infoseek - Snap - Northernlight - Open Directory - LookSmart

There are many more to work on, but these 12 should be your priority. A good listing on any of these will increase your traffic instantly. And don't forget, the meta-search engines cull their listings from all of these. A good listing on these will also get your site listed high in the meta engines. ( AskJeeves, Go2Net, etc.)


Getting Listed on Yahoo

Yahoo, better described as a directory than a search engine, is by far the most important site on the Web to get your site listed. After all, who hasn't heard of Yahoo? What sets Yahoo apart from the others is that "real people" list your site ... not a spider. One thing is extremely important - follow the rules! If not, you'll be wasting your time. Carefully read their FAQ and guidelines for submissions. If followed properly and used with our tips, you will get listed.

The 3 most important steps to a good listing at Yahoo are:

1 - the title of your site
2 - the category you select
3 - keywords

The first thing you should do is search for your competition using keywords. On the results page, you'll notice one constant - all sites are listed alphabetically! Sites with titles containing numbers are listed first, with poor old letter z last. Pick a title for your site that will get listed early ... just make sure it pertains to your content. Do a little research on the sites listed high. Read their description and take note of keywords and phrases you can use in yours.

After you've decided on your site title, it's now time to find the best category. Look through all of the categories that your site would fit under. Take note of how many sites are listed in each category. Choosing a category with fewer sites will give you a better chance of getting listed and much less competition for a click-through. Just be certain your site fits this category or you will get no listing at all.

Your next step is submitting a description of your site. This is where keywords come in. You're only given 25 words to work with, so choose your description wisely and try to use as many relevant keywords as possible while still making it look good. Don't just repeat keywords in your description, but use them "in your description". This will take some time and effort but it's very important since this description will be relevant to all search results on Yahoo.

Finally - don't give up! Getting listed on Yahoo takes time and patience. After submitting your site for review, wait a minimum of 3 weeks. Go to Yahoo and search for your listing using the title you submitted and/or using keywords. If you can't find your site, submit it again. Wait 2 more weeks, search, and repeat the process until you are listed. With a little patience and a lot of perseverance your hard work will eventually pay off and you will reap the rewards!

Before rushing off to submit to any search engine, let's go over some fundamental elements in your site design to help you attain a higher listing.


The Importance of Meta-Tags

Getting listed high on the search engines is hard. Getting a high listing without Meta Tags is practically impossible.

You can use the free Meta Tag generator right here at Bravenet, but before you do, let us tell you why they are so essential to your site. When you submit your site to AltaVista or many of the other engines that use spiders, they only ask you for one thing - your URL. Why? Simple, they send a spider to crawl your site for all the other details. And the very first thing this spider looks for is ... Meta Tags!

If you don't have Meta Tags in place, things can get ugly. The spider will move to the text on your page, with the end result being a really messy site description and no keywords ... that's bad!

In the next section we'll cover the two most important elements in Meta Tags ... the description and keywords.



A lot of people miss the boat on this. Think about it ... when you do a search and results are returned, what do YOU want to see? Keep this in mind when you write your description. You want to know what the site has and what it does. Nobody wants to see: "this is the world's greatest site! come visit it now and you won't be sorry!" Instead of a long description, try entering two or three short sentences about your site.

In these sentences, use relevant keywords! If you're not sure how to write your description, do a search for sites similar to yours. Find the top sites listed and view theirs! Find the ones that stand out and say - CLICK ME! Use these descriptions as a starting point for yours.



This tag is the mother of all Meta Tags. These are very important, especially when submitting to the engines that use spiders or robots to crawl your site. Keywords can be one-word descriptions of what you offer or short descriptions. Once again, go to a few different search engines and search for a site similar to yours using different keywords. Look at the top 20 results of your searches and keep track of the sites that match yours the most.
If you want to know the best keywords for your meta tags click here

Now, go to these sites, look at their source and their keywords listed. This will give you a good idea of some of the keywords you should be using. This is important - DO NOT repeat your keywords more than 7 times. Why? Some search engines treat repetitive keywords as spam and will automatically reject you. And always list your most relevant keywords FIRST.

If you have the room, one last thing you may want to consider is misspellings. Yes, it's true ... people do misspell more than you think. Don't put too much emphasis on it, but find your most relevant keywords and perhaps enter a few of those with close, but not correct spellings!


Tricks for Clicks

Since you're reading this we're going to assume you have a Web site. And on your site you most likely have a few images. And one of these images is probably your logo. You will know that each of the images on your site has an "Alt Tag." Most people use this tag to either describe the name of the image or leave it blank and not use it at all. Using the Alt Tag of your logo is a great way to sneak in a few more keywords into your site!

Now when a robot or spider visits your site, you've snuck in a few more keywords for it to read!

Another trick we've seen used before is called "Title Stacking." Just as the name implies, you would repeat the title tag in your source code.

Just like keywords, do not repeat this too many times. 3-4 times is more than enough. Anymore that that and your page may get booted for spamming.


Why You're Not Getting Listed

Some people can submit their site to certain search engines 100's of times and still not get accepted. Don't panic though. Just follow the instructions we've given you and you'll be on your way to a listing.

The most common error people make on their site is broken images. Not only does this make your site's appearance look shabby, it will slow down your load time and lower your score for search engines. You're probably thinking I'm goofy because you'd "know" if you had a broken image cause it's visual right? That's only right if you're sitting there watching your site 24/7 which I don't think you are. How many of you link to other sites? How many of you link to affiliate programs that require you to use images on remote servers? There are your broken images ... not to mention the ones some people link to from clipart archives.

So does this mean you shouldn't trade links? No ... but if you can, store the images on your own site. That way, you don't have to hope their site is running when your site is spidered. The affiliate images are a bit harder to deal with, but we'll cover that on the next page. Right now let's deal with html coding....

Keep in mind when you submit your site that you are scored on several factors. This includes keywords, title, description, page speed and page errors. The higher you score, the higher you will be listed.

Finally ... keep your links "alive." Dead links to other sites are a major no-no. Now, ready for the ultimate trick? Let's go....


Top Secret Search Engine Trick

This trick, and there's no trickery involved, should be used by everyone that wants a good search engine listing. And what make this so neat is the ability it gives you to improvise. It's called - a "splash page." No ... not just one. You should have 2, 5, or even 10 of them! Confused yet?

Most people who build a Web site submit their index or "main page" to the search engines. That's fine if you're positive it's coded perfectly, all links work, you have no broken images, and all the other sites you have to link to are up an running. And that's a BIG IF. Don't gamble on it. Build your main page and leave it alone. When submitting to the search engines ... use your splash pages and use ALL OF THEM. Why do this? Several reasons:

1: You can use each splash page to test your different keywords by changing the order of them or using different ones.
2: You can try different page descriptions and titles on each splash page.
3: Guaranteed fast-loading ... you don't need to use any image on these pages. You can try a couple of pages with images just to spice up the splash page a bit ... but keep them small in file size and be sure to use the Alt Tag trick we showed you.
4: Splash pages are much, much easier to make "perfect" where coding is concerned.

As mentioned, you can use and submit 5 or even 10 if you like. And you can call them anything you want.

Build your splash pages using all the techniques we discussed and you'll be on your way to a good listing in the top search engines! With hard work and dedication, a good listing will get you the results you want and the traffic you desire.


Search Engine Facts and Links

Find out what people are searching for ... right now ... live! Besides being helpful in determining what your keywords should be, it's a lot of fun :)

MetaSpy - MetaSpy offers a filtered and unfiltered version of live keyword searches. The unfiltered version can and will contain adult language. The results page refreshes every 15 seconds, so you can sit and watch the show as long as you like. - Peek Through the Keyhole - This one's a blast. It gives you 20 results of searches using Jeeves technology that let you search using a regular sentence! The page refreshes every 30 seconds.

The Lycos 50 Daily Report - This is a must read and fun to boot! Lycos is a major player where search engines are concerned. Their daily report gives you the top keywords searched for at Lycos. A lot of places charge big money for this info, but Lycos gives it to you for free. - Down and dirty list of the top 100 search terms. No frills, but be careful with clicking the buttons as it will lead you straight to the search results.


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