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Search Engine Optimization
by Kenneth W. Richards - Thu Mar 23, 2006 01:11pm

Perhaps the most important marketing you can do for your site is Search Engine submittals. Whenever someone wants to find a website, they invariable try a search engine. It is imperitive that your website is well-optimized for search engines so that you can get top placement and also so your potential audience can find you without any difficulty.

Site navigation

It is important that your site does not rely solely on Flash navigation elements or tricky javascript menus. Most web crawlers cannot navigate these types of links and will leave a lot of your web pages unindexed. Web crawlers definitely prefer regular hyperlinks and many use the link text to determine the relevancy of the content on the target page.

If you absolutely must have Flash navigation, you should also include a special site map page with regular hyperlinks to all the pages you want indexed. This page should be hyperlinked to the home page using a small (but not invisible) link at the bottom of your home page.

Optimizing your pages

Make sure that all of your pages have a unique title. The title is often used as the link text in search engine results so you'll want to make sure it relates to the content found on the page.

Search engines used to parse a "meta keywords" and "meta description" to use as search terms and a description for the page. Most of the big search engines ignore this now because it was being abused by a lot of webmasters. Many people would put "spam keywords" to draw traffic that weren't really relevant to the page.

It's okay to use these, just don't expect them to be very useful as far as bringing in visitors. The best method to create targeted keywords is to write an article such as this. True web page content is the key to building up your search keywords.

Submitting on the Cheap

I've recently submitted this site (Go Swap Auctions) to all the major search engines and I'm waiting to be included. It can be very frustrating when you first submit your site because it does not show up right away in any of the engines. It can be a long wait before your site finally does appear.

Of course you can cut this wait short by using paid inclusion (offered by Yahoo and some of the other big players.) But if you're on a tight budget, like me, then you will just utilize the free submissions and wait it out. My submission was not totally free. I used the site to submit my site to 300 search engines at once. Total cost for this service: $2.50.

Page Rank

A lot of webmasters put a lot of emphasis on "Page Rank". This is the web page ranking system used by Google to rank how important a web page is (and this how highly it appears in the search results for pages with a similar keyword match.) This rank is partly determined by the number of inbound links your page receives. By "inbound links", we mean links to your web page from another website.

Many webmasters participate in link exchanges where they trade links with each in order to increase their page rank. This is a good strategy for building up page rank for your site, but you should make sure that you only exchange links with other sites related to yours.

To easily evaluate the page rank for all of the pages on your Website, you can install the Google Toolbar in your browser. When you open a URL in your browser, the toolbar will indicate the page rank for the page being viewed. We will discuss more about page rank in a future article, but is enough now for you to just be aware of how it works.

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