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Get listed prominently on search engines
Research firms estimate that 85% of Web surfers use search engines to find the sites they are seeking. What does this mean to you?
It means you need to list your site with key search engines to drive visitors to your Web store. By maximizing your exposure on the major search engines, you increase the chances that people looking for products or services like yours will find you.
While there is no magic bullet to getting your store listed, four tips below will provide you with information and techniques to put your search engine program on solid ground.
1. Your first step: Submit your site. No, you can't get listed on a search engine or directory unless you submit your site. This will require you to provide the URL (or site address) of your home page, and, in some cases, a brief description of your site. You can do this yourself by going to the search sites directly and manually submitting your page. Look for the "submit your URL" link on a search engine's home page, or check its "help" area and follow the stated guidelines.
Since there are literally hundreds of search sites on the Web, submitting your site yourself can be a time-consuming proposition.
2. Take steps to maximize your listing. To make the most of your search engine listing, you want to be sure that your site "pops" to the top whenever a person puts in relevant search terms. While there is no single action you can take to guarantee a high search-engine ranking, there are several strategies that will help your placement. Some to consider include:
· Your page title. Many search engines look at the page title (the bar at the top of your browser window) for keywords, assuming that if a word is mentioned there, it is relevant to the entire page. Be sure your titles — specified in the page code — accurately describe the content of each page on your site.
· Placement and frequency of keywords. Many search engines also assume that if a specific word is mentioned in the top several lines of a site, then there is a good chance the page is relevant to a searcher. This doesn't mean you should top-load your pages with lists of keywords, but it is a good idea consider this when you're developing your site copy.
· Popularity. Some search engines boost a page's position based on popularity by considering the number of other pages online that link to it. The thought is that a page with many links is regarded well online and is therefore more relevant.
· Meta tags. These are keywords and descriptions written in a page's code, so they are not visible to the casual surfer. Some search engines use them to help index and rank sites. Be sure to have your Web developer include them in your page design.
3. Track and hone your results. Once you've submitted your Web store to search engines, your job is not over. To make the most of your search engine listing, you should constantly monitor your search-engine positioning. You can check top search engines and directories to see where your Web site is listed by page and position. With this information in hand, you can tweak your keywords, titles, and site design to help you move up search-engine rankings.
4. 4. Consider "pay-for-play" services. Some search sites allow you to buy a position for specific keywords, ensuring that your site shows up at or near the top of relevant searches. Since this type of listing can generate solid site traffic at a reasonable cost, you might consider making it part of your advertising budget. These programs come in various forms. GoTo, for example, allows you to purchase keyword positions, which include a "cost to advertiser" note indicating they are paid listings. As the advertiser, you are charged each time a customer clicks on your listing. On the other hand, LookSmart, which powers directories on MSN Search and other sites, charges all commercial sites just to be considered for listing.
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