A goal of every commercial web site is to attract visitors. We recommend that you register your web site with the major search engines such as Google, MSN Search, Yahoo!, WebCrawler, MSN, Excite, HotBot, Lycos, NBCi, and AltaVista. Look for an "add URL" or "add site" option at each of these sites as well as links to other search engines. Currently, there is no charge to register with most of the aforementioned search engines, however many charge for "premium" listing placement or timely addition to their site.

Tips for Listing Your Site Successfully

  1. Patience: Your site will likely not be listed right away. Most search engines take 4-8 weeks to add sites. Some have fee-based listing services to speed this time (but note for some sites, like Yahoo!, a fee does not guarantee a listing!).
  2. Persistence: If your site does not get listed within 8 weeks, try again. Check out the submission tips here, or consider using a service such as the ones listed on this page.
  3. Preparation: Prepare your site content, site design, keywords, description, etc., before submitting to any directories. Make sure your description uses your main two or three keywords. Remember, in the end it does not matter how many visitors you get, but how many sales you make!
  4. Tips for listing on directories
    • Some search engines are directories, such as Yahoo! and LookSmart. These sort web sites by category rather than keywords. LookSmart provides listings for MSN.
    • Pick the appropriate category so your submission won't be viewed as inappropriate. Pick a broader category for more coverage, and consider additional web sites for specific category listings. In general, avoid submitting to multiple categories.
    • Polish your site - directory submissions are usually reveiewed by humans. Sites with "under construction" pages are rarely listed.
    • Submit to geographical categories on Yahoo!, which is trying to build those listings.
    • Avoid sales jargon (hype) in your site description. Remember the reviewer is looking for an objective listing.
    • Some directories require paid listings for some categories, but provide free listings for others.
  5. Tips for listing on search engines ("crawlers")
    • Other search engines such as AltaVista and Inktomi scan your web site's content to decide on how to list it. Each has its own criteria such as keywords, etc. Google factors in the number of other sites which link to yours, and their popularity.
    • Choose keywords that match how your customers speak and search.
    • Create pages with a specific focus to better match search criteria, rather than one page with all your services.
    • Develop reciprocal links with other sites.
    • Build online press - have your site or service reviewed by other web sites that link to yours.
  6. More resources (links open in a new window)

Pay Per Click Advertising

Overture

List your site with Overture and appear on the top of search results of leading sites like Yahoo!, Lycos and MSN Overture's pay-for-placement system lets you control your cost per lead and allows you to reach 85% of active Internet users with one listing. You set the price you're willing to pay for each sales lead and pay only when your customers click through to your site.

This is a great way to quickly promote your site using specific keywords. And, the more specific you can be, the higher your return on investment, since you will only draw in interested users.

Other Pay Per Click Resources

 

NetAnnounce Premier

ITS now offers the NetAnnounce Premier service which will assist with site optimization and submit your site to over 800 search engines at once! This service is available to all customers with Standard Hosting plans, at a significant discount. Please see our NetAnnounce Premier page for details.

Submitting Your Site

Another option is to register using a service such as those listed below . These sites allow you to enter your information one time and then submit to search engines for you; however, a fee is required for some services, such as automatically submitting to a large number of search engines rather than the default group. Some offer an annual fee plan where they will re-submit/re-optimize/report on your site on a regular basis.

Other sites of interest relating to site promotion:

Updating Your Web Site's Listing on the Search Engines

You should update your listings in the major Search Engines and Directories (Yahoo!, Lycos, AltaVista, HotBot, Excite, etc.) if you have made any significant changes to your web site such as: changing your domain name, changing file or directory names, moving pages to different directories, adding or deleting files, or making significant changes to the text on a page for which you want your listing updated quickly.

To update your listings with the Search Engines, you can re-submit the URL of your index page and let their spiders 'crawl' through the rest of your site or you can re-submit the URL of each of the pages that has changed.

You can typically delete an old listing for an outdated URL by submitting the URL of the old page once that page has been removed from the web server. When the Search Engine tries to index the non-existent page, it will get a "File Not Found" error and will delete any entries it has underneath that URL.

If you simply move your entire web site (including your domain name) from one web hosting provider to another, you will not need to update your listings with the search engines.

Keywords

You will definitely want to add keywords to your site before updating your listing with any search engines. Many engines treat keywords in the page title, meta tags, and first paragraph with extra weight, and/or use them in their description of your listing. The two main meta tags used are description and keywords. You can add these tags directly to your HTML text in the <HEAD> section of your "index.html" page. FrontPage users can add these tags by viewing the Page Properties of that page, clicking on the Custom tab, and adding the name and value (content) pairs in the User Variables section. Examples:

<meta name="description" content="ITS provides a single point of contact to help businesses leverage technology. Our solutions include networks, Internet access and web hosting, next-generation phone systems, wiring, data backup, and more.">

<meta name="keywords" content="computer, TeleVantage, Vertical, business, Artisoft, Windows, 2003, NT, Novell, Netware, consulting, consultant, network, telephony, phone system, Internet, web hosting, web site, hosting, training, maintenance, CorporateClass, DSL, Digital Subscriber Line, High Speed, Internet Access, Remote Access, Telecommuting">

Experts suggest limiting the description to somewhere between 100-250 characters, and the keywords to around 25 relevant keywords (200-400 characters). Consider using keyphrases instead of individual words, based on what you think your target user will search for. Try searches with your keywords to see how relevant the results are...if a keywords returns lots of results or irrelevants pages, consider using another with more focused results. Don't repeat keywords, and don't repeat words inside keyphrases more than five times. Of course, use any keywords used with pay-per-click services!

Normally these meta tags are added to the home page, but you should add them to other pages as well, if they have different content or keywords.  You can also tell some search engines to exclude certain pages...for more information see below. Also make sure the <TITLE> tag on your pages is as descriptive as possible...some search engines use this tag to help sort relevancy.

Note that meta tags are not a guarantee that your site will be in the top 10 on any given search engine; in fact many search engines ignore the keywords on a page, instead using the page's text. To maximize your listing location, simply make sure you have good, descriptive pages, with descriptive titles, and text that is not buried on the bottom of the page by JavaScript, frames, tables, or other tags. Keywords that do not apply to a given page are unlikely to do much for you.

Excluding Pages From Search Engines

What if you have a set of pages you do not want to appear on a search engine? Fortunately there is a way to do that, too. Several early search engine companies developed a standard which is commonly used today (but is not guaranteed). Engines first look for a file named "robots.txt" in the root of your web site, and read it to see what they can or cannot index. The format of the file is as follows:

User-agent: *        # for all search engines
Disallow: /secret/   # exclude this entire folder
Disallow: /foo.html  # plus exclude this file

A pound sign, as you may guess, indicates the start of a comment, and anything after is ignored. For more information on the commands available, please see The Web Robots Pages on the use of this file.

In addition, do not include these "secret" pages and folders as links from your regular pages, so search engine "spiders" cannot find them. Consider password protecting directories which contain secure content so search engines cannot index their contents.

Another method is to use the robots meta tag, which tells search engines to exclude pages containing this tag in the <head> section:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

Purchasing Advertising

You should start using your domain name in your existing print advertising, letterhead, and business cards as soon as possible. Consider adding a note at the bottom of invoices encouraging customers to visit your site, to let existing customers know you have a new web site.

Aside from pay per click advertising, another option is purchasing ad space on search engines such as Yahoo! and Excite!. Called banner advertising, for the ad "banner" displayed at the top of the page, this can be a cost effective way to get your name in front of users who simply have to click on the ad to visit your site. Some services allow you to target your ad to display only on certain sites, and fortunately exclude competitors' ads from appearing on your site.

  • AdStore/Excite! from Microsoft bCentral seems to be a reasonably priced banner advertising service.
  • bCentral Banner Network offers free reciprocal banner advertising
  • bCentral Marketing Suite
  • BPath allows free banner advertising for companies who are willing to display other sites' banner ads on their page. Usually these sites use a 2:1 ratio, meaning that for every two ads viewed on your site, your banner will appear once on another site.

You can of course contact the major search engines directly to purchase advertising, but this typically costs several thousand dollars.

You will need to develop graphic advertising in varying sizes according to each site's requirements. ITS can assist with this and recommend a graphic art design partner for assistance if desired.

Please note: the information on this page applies to ITS web hosting plans. It may or may not apply to other environments. If you are looking for a feature described here, or better support from your hosting provider, please consider hosting your site with ITS!

1555 N Naperville/Wheaton Road, Suite 107
Naperville, IL 60563
phone 630.420.2550
fax 630.420.2771