Getting listed in Google and the other popular search engines is one of the most effective ways of directing free, targeted traffic to your web site.
In this article you'll discover what the search engines look for when determining your page rank so you can optimize your pages for best results.
How Search Engines Determine Your Rank
Before you try to add your site to the search engines, you should understand what they look for when they decide how to rank your site. Just because you're listed doesn't mean you'll get traffic. You have to make sure your site is search engine ready.
The general rule of thumb is that most engines use a "formula" to determine keyword relevancy. The technical term is called an "algorithm", and each search engine has its own unique algorithm that it uses to rank pages.
Generally, this magic formula consists of your page title, overall body content and the number and quality of links pointing back to your site, how long people stay on your site, etc.
It's important to note that every engine is different. Some may look at inbound links (number of people linking to you), others may place more emphasis on your body content. These days, meta tag content is becoming less and less important.
In case you don't know, meta tags are hidden descriptors that appear at the beginning of your HTML code, inside your <head> tag. They may be invisible to your visitor's eyes, but search engine spiders can read them.
They usually consist of a title, description, and keyword tag and they look something like this:
<head> <title>Title of Your Site</title> <meta name="description" content="Description of your site here."> <meta name="keywords" content="keywords separated by commas"> </head>
Because of abuse, many search engines no longer use these tags to help rank pages, but you should still include them because they do use them to display information about your site. For example, whatever is inside the <title> tag is what the search engine will use as the title of your site in the search results.
The Big 3 Engines - Google, Yahoo and MSN (Live)
There are a handful of engines out there that bring traffic, but the reality is a very large percentage of search engine traffic comes from Google, Yahoo and MSN. Yes, there are other engines like AOL, Netscape etc., but they pull their results from the Big 3.
So in other words, once you start getting traffic from Google, Yahoo and MSN, you'll rank well in the others automatically.
How to Get Listed In Google
There are three ways to list your site with Google, but I will warn you that using any one of these 3 methods no longer guarantees your site will be listed.
Google is getting more and more selective about who gets in, and the first step is ensuring that your site is full of useful, unique content.
After that, work on getting quality, relevant sites to link back to you. These days those two steps are the best ways to find your site in the almighty Google.
Having said that, here are some methods that may also get you in...
Get your site listed in The Open Directory - www.dmoz.org.
This is a directory that is managed by volunteers that act as "category editors." To list your site, simply go to the most appropriate category for your web site, then drill down to the relevant subcategory and select the "Add URL" link at the top of that category's page.
Wait about a month to see if your site appears. If it does not, I recommend emailing one of the category editors and asking for advice on how to get your site listed. If you're lucky, you'll receive a helpful response, but most of the category managers do not answer emails.
Sometimes it may take up to one year for an editor to review and list your site and other times it may only take a couple of weeks. Be patient and please don't keep submitting!
Unfortunately since DMOZ is run by volunteers, the time it takes to get your site reviewed really depends on the availability of the volunteers. Sometimes they may not check the submissions for weeks, which can be quite frustrating for people trying to get listed.
Lately, it seems to be more and more difficult to get in, but the good news is this is not the only way to get into Google. Years ago this was one of the fastest ways to get listed and ranked. Fortunately there are other options that are just as effective, and I'll discuss those below.
Warning: Don't try to submit to The Open Directory unless you have enough useful information on your site. If your site is only one or two pages long, then you won't likely get listed. They want medium to large sized web sites with useful and unique content. Strive for at least 15 pages.
If you need more content, articlecity.com has some free articles you can post on your site. Simply find the category that closely matches your theme and add them. Be careful though, don't use too many articles because the engines may penalize your site if you have too much duplicate content.
The second way to get listed in Google is to use their own Add URL form located here http://www.google.com/addurl.html. This method is not as dependable as listing with The Open Directory, but it can get you in. Google admits that they may not add every site, so don't be surprised if this does not work for you.
The third way to get listed is to be linked from another web site that is already in Google. That way, when Google's spider goes to visit that site for updates, it will pick up the link to your site and add it. This method does not always work, but many sites do get in this way.
Getting into Yahoo and Live (Formerly MSN)
Most websites get into Yahoo and Live by getting spidered from other sites. Meaning if you're already linked from another site or web directory, Live and Yahoo's robots will eventually find you when they update their search index.
If you don't want to wait to get spidered, you can submit directly to Live by going here http://search.msn.com/docs/submit.aspx.
Do not keep re-submitting your site. It will not speed up the process of getting listed and may even get you banned.
Yahoo's direct submission site is https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit.
The Yahoo Directory
Not to be confused with the regular Yahoo search function, the Yahoo directory is also a place you can add your site.
When you go to Yahoo.com and enter a search into the box, you are using their regular search engine, not the directory. So it is possible to be included in Yahoo's regular search index and not be included in their directory.
The Yahoo directory is actually a categorical listing of sites located here http://dir.yahoo.com and it's not used very much by web surfers.
The real benefit to being listed here is to have a high quality link pointing to your site. Many search engines look at who is linking to you and if you have a link from the Yahoo directory, it may give you some "credibility" points.
Some believe that having a listing in the directory will help boost your rank in Google and other engines. There is no solid proof of this, however. Yahoo also states that if you are listed in their directory, it does not have any affect on your position in their regular search results.
If your site is commercial it will cost you $299 per year to be included in Yahoo's directory. So if you can justify/afford the cost, I would still recommend getting into Yahoo just to have the high-quality link pointing to your site - but don't expect a lot of traffic from the actual page you'll be listed on.
It's up to you to decide if it's worth it or not. Many webmasters do quite well in the "Big 3" search engines without a listing in the Yahoo directory.
A Powerful Search Engine Traffic Generation Tool
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At the time I'm writing this, I'm ranked on the first page for the keyword phrases flat stomach and ab crunches.
SBI actually coaches me as I build every page to make sure it's completely optimized for the best possible results in the search engines. Then it automatically submits your pages ONLY when necessary.
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Read this next paragraph carefully . . .
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See for yourself.
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Check out these customers who have made videos showing how SBI changed their lives.