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Article

How do search engines determine your site's ranking?
by 2CreateAWebsite.com

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, meta tags, the number and quality of links pointing back to your site, etc.

It's important to notice that every engine is different. Some may not even look at the meta tags and just place emphasis on your body content.  These days, meta tag content is becoming less and less important.

For those of you that do not 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.

Meta tags 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.


It's really mostly about Google... At least for now.

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 and the other
search engines that use Google's results (AOL, HotBot, Netscape, etc.).

You don't really spend too much time worrying about the other engines if you have had success with Google.  Plus, once you optimize your site for Google, you may find your ranking improving in other engines as well.

How to Get Listed On Google

1) There are several ways to list your site with Google. One of them is to get 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 week or two 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 not all of the category managers answer emails.

Sometimes it may take up to 6 months for an editor to review your site and other times it may only take a couple of weeks.  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.

After your site appears in The Open Directory, your site should start showing up in Google within 4-8 weeks.

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.

2) 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.  Google admits that they may not add every site, so don't be surprised if this does not work for you.  Most people haven't had much success with this method.

3) 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 some sites do get in this way. 

How to Get Listed with Other Search Engines

Many search engines have a similar link addition method.  Generally, you'll scroll to the bottom (or top) of the page and look for a link that says something like "Submit URL" or "Add My Site".  Then follow the directions to adding your web site.

You may have to wait anywhere from a few days to a few months to see your listing appear. It really depends on the engine, and unfortunately some engines may not list you at all for one reason or another.


The Bottom Line...

To ensure you have the best search engine presence possible, do the following:

  • Include as much information and articles as you can about the topic with special emphasis on certain keywords and keyword phrases that you want to target.  Shoot for at least 20 pages of original content and plan to increase that number.

  • Be sure you have your own domain name and are not using any of the free web site providers to create and maintain your site.

  • Partner with other sites that have similar content as yours.  The more related links you have back to your site the better.

Even though every engine has it's on ranking criteria, if you follow the above guidelines, you're off to a great start.

Also remember to be patient.  It can take up to 6 months before you start seeing any real traffic coming from the search engines, but if you build your site correctly and efficiently, the rewards can be outstanding...

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