What you can expect from Search Engine
Search engines will be a way for you to generate from as little as 20% to as much as 60% of your business online (depending on what other marketing techniques you use). Since there are over 130,000,000 webpages in existence (yes that is 130 million!), it is extremely important to understand how they work and how to increase your chances of being placed in the top 20 of the search results. For example, if you were to type "music" and "CD" into the AltaVista search engine as a keyword the result would be over 1,000,000 related site URLs.
Search engines are a very powerful tool if you are in the top 50 results (preferably the top 20), but are completely useless if you are listed further down. You can bet that if you are further down than the 50th result, the searchee will not even see your site listing, much less be able to visit it.
As we all know, the beauty of search engines is that they can bring you a large amount of targeted traffic and it will not cost you a cent!
It is crucial you understand the basics of how search engines work if you want to get traffic to your site from them. There are three main types of search engines/directories. The first is a directory (sometimes called a category database). This is not a true search engine, but a listing of webpages by category. Many directories allow you to enter in the description and keywords for your site exactly as you would like them to appear. You usually have to select the category you want it cited under, too.
A directory will not list your URL and will never become aware of your site if you do not register with them. They do not make use of "indexing software" (robots that crawl the web looking for new sites and indexing them). An example of a directory is Yahoo.
Search engines (also called crawlers, spiders, robots, and worms) vary to a large degree. They will automatically index your site using "indexing software" or "indexing robots".
Depending on the complexity of the software, here is what different search engines might do:
1.Index the webpage (not the entire "website") you give them.
2.Index every word of every page at that site.
3.Visit external links to crawl through the web looking for any new sites 24 hours a day, 7 days a week going from URL to URL until they have visited every website that can be found on the Internet.
By simply telling the search engine what your URL is, its software robot will go there automatically and index everything they need. Every search engine has different criteria for returning search results which makes a difference on how you want to submit your site as it can drastically effect your ranking in search engines (we discuss this quite extensively in the course, but it takes up over 30 pages, so we will skip it in this newsletter).
It is important to realize that many search engines change their algorithms on a regular basis (i.e. weekly, monthly, etc.) - if you're listed prominently today, that may no be true tomorrow.
There are also META search engines. These perform searches on multiple search engines simultaneously. In this instance, your ranking for the keywords inputted is calculated by the combined ranking of all the search engines simultaneously used. The key to getting ranked high is to make sure you're listed in all the search engines used by the META search engines (They use: OpenText, Lycos, WebCrawler, InfoSeek , Excite, AltaVista, Yahoo, HotBot, and Einet Galaxy).
It is not necessary to submit your site to META search engines since they use the results of the major search engines (not their own).
I hope this helps in your future marketing decisions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Bell is Manager, Online Marketing, at http://www.wspromotion.com/ , a leading Search Engine Optimization services firm and Advertising Agency.