|Most website developers feel
that a well-designed site with good content is all that is needed to have
a successful website. This is evidenced by Search Engine Reports’ recent
article that over 70% of the first generation websites do not use Meta
Tags. Yet, according to Web Site Garage, close to 85% of users initially
find sites using search engines. As you should have learned in Internet
101, having properly constructed Meta Tags is crucial to earning a high
ranking on the majority of the search engines. Therefore, in my opinion,
many website developers have fallen into the trap of thinking that if you
build a better mousetrap the world will come knocking on your door.
As someone who has been involved in marketing for over 35 years, I have
come to believe that to have a successful website, the site has to be like
a milk stool with three legs – marketed aggressively, good informational
content, and well-designed. Let’s address the importance of the aggressive
marketing leg and "being found" on the Internet.
Aggressive marketing strategies to position sites high on search engine
listings is actually much more important than design or content when considering
relative importance to the website owner. Think about this. Ask someone,
"How is your website performing? Are you getting results?" My company’s
research shows that in over 90% of the cases they will respond, "Not very
well, I’m not getting all the traffic I expected". The web owner’s ultimate
expectations are more often focused on the traffic than design or content.
Getting your website positioned high in the search engines ranking so
the site is "being found" will only then make it possible for the well
designed site with great graphics and wonderful content to enter into the
Search engines use "robots" (sometimes also referred to as spider’s
or crawlers). Search engines robots are actually computer programs that
search the Internet day and night for new information and then store this
information in a database. Within days, or more likely weeks or months,
of placing your website online the site will be catalogued/indexed and
"ranked" by these robots and then become available for search on that particular
search engine. Some search engines only store the first twenty-five words
of your website, other search engines store your entire website, and each
has unique characteristics of how they work. If a word or phrase used in
your website matches the "exact" search criteria of a user, then your website
will come up as a match for their search. The critical question is whether
your site’s position is in the top 20 or is it listed in the top half million.
84% of users end a search if they don’t find what they want in the top
20, so it is vital to get your site into the search engine’s top 20 for
your product category.
To be positioned in the top 20 is not luck but is the result of using
a multitude of techniques available to the website internet marketer. The
most obvious is the Meta Tags portion of every web page. In web design,
Meta Tags are "data about data" and serves as a micro-index to your site.
The Meta Tags portion of a web page was specifically designed to assist
search engines and is the first thing that a robot views when cataloging/indexing
your page. Also, the Title and Description Meta Tags are what are shown
when a search engine initially displays your site.
More importantly, if you add powerful keywords and phrases to your Title,
Description, and Keywords portions of the Meta Tags area, it will provide
the search engines with the "critical" words that are important for matches,
and if done right, will significantly raise your ranking.
To complicate the issue, each search engine has unique characteristics
and uses different criteria on how they catalog/index and determine the
ranking on their search engine. There are several software packages available
on the market that can assist you with dealing with search engines. Some
will automatically generate your keywords and phrases and others will automate
the search engine registration process for you. I suggest you go to <www.searchenginewatch.com>
for information on the programs that are available.
The following advanced techniques can be used, but they should only
be undertaken once you are knowledgeable of how each of the search engines
works. Otherwise, the search engines will consider these techniques spamming
and either penalize or ban your site.
Generate multiple copies of the same page and then getting these duplicate
pages cataloged/indexed. Instead of a site only coming up once during
a search, it is possible that it may appear 4 or 5 times.
Instead of just submitting your home page, submit each and every page
to each search engine. You can even take it to a level beyond that and
extract each and every linking page and submit them all to the search engines.
A page that is specifically generated for a particular search engine
based on what you believe the search engine likes.
Specially developed web coding that only a specific search engine can
"see" and prevents your competitors from seeing how you are earning your
Finally, not all "search engines" are search engines. Yahoo, AOL Search,
Netscape Search, Lycos, Open Directory, etc. are actually human-compiled
guides. You find an appropriate category/categories for your site, submit
a short description to that category by the specific directory’s rules,
and if the directory’s category editor likes your page only then is it
categorized. The information in the description, rather than on your web
pages, affects how you are ranked.