One of the most effective ways to get free, targeted traffic to your website is by being listed in the Major Search Engines.
Being listed doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get traffic. Unless your site garners a good page rank, your traffic may remain minimal.
Oh, you’ll hear from different sources and even from some Gurus that SEO (search engine optimization) isn’t necessary or is a waste of time. It just isn’t so! All of the top ranked sites (money making) are optimized to get the best ranking possible.
Before listing your site, take the time to optimize it for page ranking. Let’s take a look at how page rank is determined so you can be prepared...
How Search Engines Determine Page Rank
Each of the major search engines uses its own unique "algorithm" or formula to determine page ranking. Algorithm’s are kept secret, and are changed periodically. Formula changes usually indicate a shift of emphasis from one part to another.
Generally speaking, the main components targeted in algorithms are keyword relevancy, page title, content, number and quality of backlinks (links pointing back to your site):
Keyword Relevancy: is one of the main components in algorithms. This is the relationship of a keyword to the page topic. In other words, using the word"golf" (a popular keyword) as a keyword in a page discussing how to fix a water pipe will not give you a good ranking.
Another consideration is the number of keywords in a page or keyword density. Too few is considered irrelevant and too many may be deemed as keyword stuffing and is frowned upon. A general rule of thumb is 2-3% of the page content. If your page is 350 words you should include 7-10 keywords.
Title: The title of your page should describe your page content and contain your main keyword for the search engines and should be compelling enough to get visitors to click.
Content: I know you’ve heard the phrase, "Content is King" - and it still is. For page rank your content should include keywords as described above, but it should also be well written and informative to keep visitors coming back and to compel others to link to your site.
Backlinks: The search engines rate backlinks highly. The belief is thatif you obtain a lot of backlinks your site must be of importance. Backlink quality is rated as well as quantity. In other words, not just any backlink will do. SE’s are looking for links from other sites of importance and quality.
Now that you know what needs to be done before listing your site, let’s move on and learn how to get your site listed with the major search engines...
The Big 3
Out of all the search engines and directories on the Internet the majority of traffic comes from The Big 3 - Google, Yahoo and Bing. Many of the others actually get their ratings from these three, so once you’ve got listings in these engines you will automatically be listed in many of the others as well.
In case any of you are wondering why Yahoo is listed here when it is actually a directory, here is my reasoning: Although technically Yahoo is not listed as a search engine it is still one of the big 3 major players in website traffic - which makes it appropriate to be included it in this article about getting your site listed in the top spots on the Internet traffic highway.
Getting Listed in Google
1. The easiest way to get listed is by submitting your site directly by going here: http://www.google.com/addurl/. Google doesn’t necessarily add every site, so be sure you have good content and have optimized your pages.
To assist in your chances of being indexed be sure to submit a site map. To create your site map go to http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/, follow the four steps there and then save the file to your PC. Now upload to the root directory of your fileserver. Next, get your free Google Webmaster account at http://www.google.com/webmasters/start/. Log into your new account, add your site URL and submit your site map.
2. Another way to get a Google listing is by getting an in-bound link from another site - And not just any site will do. You need a link from an established site with a high page rank.
An excellent way to do this is by writing and submitting an article in an article directory like eZinearticles.com. eZine Articles is considered an authority site by Google and is crawled several times a day. Not only that, but articles submitted here are syndicated, and that means more inbound links to you - and the more in-bound links the better chance of Google indexing your site and giving your site a good page rank.
3. The third way to get noticed by Google is by listing your site in The Open Directory at www.dmoz.org. A listing here will get you listed directly into Google, but getting in is difficult. Indexing is done by human volunteers and it can sometimes take up to a year to get indexed.
Getting Listed in Yahoo
When your site is ready go to Yahoo! And using the search box find sites that are similar to yours and note the category listing. Then go to http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit/ and submit your site in the same category. Fill in all of the fields completely and accurately. Now you wait...
If your site hasn’t been listed in about 6 weeks, resubmit. If necessary, keep resubmitting until it’s listed. Of all the search engines and directories, Yahoo! generates the most hits, so it’s definitely worth the effort.
You can also list your site in the Yahoo! Paid directory. There is a belief that having a directory listing will boost your rank in Google and other engines but there is no proof of this. In fact, being listed in the directory isn’t even a guarantee of affecting your position in Yahoo’s search results.
It’s entirely up to you to decide if it’s worth being listed. For a commercial site, the cost is $299 a year.
Getting Listed in Bing
Bing is Microsoft’s new search engine (formerly MSN). It was revamped and quickly became one of the major search engines - making it a must do in getting your site listed in the search engines. Here are the steps to take to submit your site:
1.Check to make sure your site has not been indexed by going to http://www.bing.com and placing a search for your site. If your site has been indexed already, skip to step 3.
2.Add your site by going to http://www.bing.com/webmaster/submitsitepage.aspx. Click on "submit a site to Bing" and put your site URL in the box indicated.
3.Add your site map by going to http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmasters and clicking on the "sign in to use webmaster tools" box. Here you can also validate your robots.txt, research keywords and identify crawl issues.