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One of the most difficult challenges that website owners and designers face today is how to get a brand new website noticed. In other words, how to get your site indexed by the major search engines so that it can start appearing within search results.
The best approach to this problem is on a case by case scenario of course, but there are some fundamental activities that you can undertake that will expedite the process and give you that kick start that your site needs. (There are a variety of tools that can help you get these tasks done. The most popular include WebPosition Gold, WebCEO and IBP)
Before any search engines arrive at your front door you want to ensure that your content is going to be indexed favourably. This has to do with what are called on-page factors. This includes your visible content, META tags, page names, directory names, ALT tags, TITLE tags, HTML structure, etc. Using one of the aforementioned tools can help to ensure that your pages are optimized for particular keyphrases relevant to your business.
Of course, before you optimize your pages you?ll need to know what keyphrases to optimize them for. One of the best tools for researching the search engine landscape is WordTracker. It?s an affordable service that you can make use of on an as-needed basis. There are a couple of nice free tools, however, including Overture?s Keyword Selection Tool and Google?s AdWords Selection Tool.
Once you?ve identified your most potentially lucrative keyphrases you can then proceed to work on your on-page factors and optimize your web pages.
Off-page factors are things outside of your website and web pages. Essentially, they are how other websites link to your site. This is where life gets a bit tricky. It?s no wonder that Google, the world?s number one search engine, is placing more and more emphasis on off-page factors; they?re much more difficult to control.
Submission Still Works Contrary to what you may have heard (or perhaps right in line with what you?ve heard) website submissions still work. This is not to say that all website submission tools are created equal, however. Some tools (like SubmitWolf) will submit to thousands of search engines and directories this is not very useful. You need to focus on the handful of search engines and directories that mean something.
Using a tool like WebPosition Gold, WebCEO or IBP can help automate this process. Keep in mind that the true goal of website submission is to get your site indexed by the major search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, MSN). Once your site and most of its web pages have been indexed there is no point in further website submissions. This is an early task only and shouldn?t be necessary for a site older than about 6 months.
Getting quality, relevant links to your website from other websites is essential to your site?s success. Each of these inbound links is considered a vote for your website. But, unlike the democracies of our modern era, all votes are not created equal. Differentiating factors include:
Is it an image link (e.g. a banner ad), a Flash link, or a text-based link? If it?s a text-based link, what words are contained within the link? Are they your keywords? E.g. A link title of Web design company is more useful to your web design business than a link title of "click here". Relevance of the linking site.
If your business is web design and the site that?s linking to yours is all about pet grooming then the relevance just isn?t there. Mind you, if the site linking to yours had to do with software development or internet marketing, that would be much better.
Importance of the linking site
As you are well aware, not all websites are created equal. Some are more important than others. In other words, some receive more traffic and better search engine rankings than others. A link from yahoo.com is going to be much better than a link from pet-grooming-tips-sweden.com; a site nobody has ever heard of. Direction of links.
Do you link back to the website that links to you? If so, that is called a reciprocal link and is not as valuable as a one-way link. Links that you pay for are often more valuable than links you exchange for free but every little bit counts! So don?t discard reciprocal links altogether.
Advertising your website online is usually a great way to gain some immediate traffic while you wait for your website to be indexed by the search engines. Properly done, this advertising can put links to your website directly in front of those web surfers most likely to buy your products or services.
Some of the more popular services include pay-per-click advertising (e.g. Google or Yahoo) as well as running ads on relevant/high traffic sites.
Online advertising will give you that initial boost of traffic to your site and help increase the chances that someone will link to you and/or the search engines will find and index your site quicker.
The Final Word - Patience
Now that you have effectively implemented your on-page and off-page strategies you?ll need to sit back and relax. Getting your website indexed (and indexed favourably) takes time. Be patient. Google is notorious for putting new websites in what is known as their sandbox. This sandbox effectively holds a new website down for a period of time. This is done to prevent businesses from creating scores of new websites to quickly promote their primary site. Of course, a very popular website with lots of initial traffic can minimize its time in the sandbox.
I advise you to wait between 6 to 12 weeks to see results. If you?re still not seeing any results after 3 months then I encourage you to contact an internet marketing company (such as Apis Design) for professional help. There are a host of factors that contribute to how well (or poorly) a website ranks so don?t throw in the towel until you consult a professional.
About the Author
Robin Eldred is the president of Apis Design, a Web Design and Promotion company located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Apis specializes in building and promoting eye-catching, user-focused websites that work.