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Getting Listed in Major Search Engines and Directories

Establishing a strong presence in the Internet's major search engines and directories is absolutely crucial to building your online brand.

Here are some tips on how to make sure your web site is up to the task.

In order to succeed in the competitive online business market, getting listed in the Internet's major search engines and directories is not an option - it's an absolute must.

Online search engines/portals and success go hand in hand; therefore, it is extremely important to pay attention to their requirements.

There are typically three ways to get listed in most search engines and directories

  • manual submission
  • automatic submission
  • paid inclusion/pay-per-click

Exactly as the descriptions imply, manual submission entails visiting each of the search engine/directory sites and submitting your Web site to them, automatic submissions use software to speed up the process and submit your site to many more engines than could be handled manually, and paid inclusion is increasingly becomming the only method to be included - paying for the pleasure !

As search engines become more complex and continue to develop, they are becoming increasingly reluctant to accept automatic submission systems. This is becuase historically, many have unfortunately used them to try and trick search engines through various methods that involved spamming; therefore, it is highly recommended that you manually submit to the big three - Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

You are likely to be required to enter a turing code - a distorted image displayed on your screen only recognisable by the human eye - in order to submit your site, thereby preventing submission programs from working. Altavista has been doing this for quite some time, and now limits submissions to five pages per session.

The same line of thinking should apply when considering services that claim to submit your site to 1000+ search engines at a time. Most of these services disregard one important fact: 950 of those 1000 search engines are not important, and will be responsible for little (if any) traffic directed to your site.

The only way to guarantee your pages being indexed is to pay the engines to include them. What's more, some search engines have now developed a system whereby you can *only* be included (and remain indexed) by paying for each click they pass on to your site - known as pay-per click or PPC.

Tuning Up Your Site for Submission

Before submitting your site to any search engine or directory, you'll want to make sure that your Web site is well-optimized for the search engine spider or editor that will (hopefully) visit your Web site after submitting it to them. And ensuring your site is well-optimized begins with your site's HTML tags and site text.

There are a number of HTML tags you should know if you wish to show up anywhere near the top in search engine rankings.

These are the TITLE tag, the ALT tag, and the META tag series.


This tag, which is placed at the top of every HTML document, provides a summary of what your page is about to visitors and search engine spiders. It is crucial to try to be as specific as possible and to include a *relevant* search term.

The ALT Tag

While this tag is not often used any in any practical manner any longer (it was originally intended to display text when an image took too long to load and a user aborted, or if there were errors on the page), it is very important to engine spiders and screen readers (accessibility). Most of them will index the text within an ALT tag, so use it to your advantage and enter some keywords there as well.


META tags are placed between HEAD and BODY tags at the beginning of an HTML document to inform spiders about the content of your site. These tags are crucial to your ultimate search engine ranking; spiders try to determine what your site is about and how to categorize it in their database largely through what your META tags say.

The Various Types of META Tags

While there are many META tags in HTML, search engines are usually only concerned with the keywords tag and the description tag.

The keywords tag tells search engine bots what keywords you want your site to be associated with.

The description tag contains a short description of your site that is often displayed in the engine's search results.

Try to keep your descriptions short, as many bots will stop reading after 50 to 100 characters (although some will read up to 1000 or so).

Here's an example of how to use META tags. Let's say, for example, your site focused on offering motorbike widgets:

[meta content="Current information and details on motorbike widgets" name="description"]
[meta content="motorbike widgets, motorcycle bits, widgets for bikes" name="keywords]

Most search engines will then display:
[your site's name]
Current information and details on motorbike widgets

Not all search engines will recognize your META tags.
Some will read your ALT tags, or the first few lines of text they encounter on your site and will index that instead.

It is therefore important to ensure that the opening paragraphs of your site contain a description of what that particular page is about. Also try to avoid repetition - make sure your keyword sequences for your ALT and META tags differ.

This will make your listing more concise, increase the chances of your site receiving a higher ranking, and ensure that the bot does not think you are spamming it.

Once you've established what your META data will be, make sure your Web site's text corresponds to the keywords you have chosen. It is extremely important, however, to ensure that the copy contained within your site is concise, makes sense and is well-written; otherwise, search engine spiders (and human directory editors, too) will conclude that you are trying to trick them, and drop your site from their index completely with little chance of re-instatement.

Other Important Tips

  • Avoid password protected pages - search engine spiders will not follow them.
  • Try to avoid using clickable image maps as menus - search engines ignore them.
  • Don't send engines to pages with redirects - spiders will not follow them.
  • Be patient - most of these engines and directories will take six weeks to twelve weeks to index your site in their database. If you still don't see results after three months, re-submit your sites. Failing that, you can even call them or email them and find out why your site hasn't been indexed.

Now that your site is properly optimized for search engine spiders and human directory editors, you're ready to submit it to the Internet's major search engines and directories.

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