Search engines and web site promotion

A few quick remarks-

What are commonly referred to as "search engines" are really part or all of the following componants:

Alliances between search engines, directories and portals shift every 6 months or so, and the search engines themselves constantly tinker with their search algorithms. So getting good traffic from search engines is an ongoing effort.

Free submission to search engines and directories, with the notable exception of The Open Directory (ODP) ( is practically a thing of the past. Brand New Search Engines usually accept them to build their database, but otherwise be prepared to pay $200-$300 to have your site listed. Google will find your site itself, if you are listed in ODP, and/or Yahoo. It will not list you, period, if you are not in one of them. Both Yahoo and ODP have strict submission guidelines, and site quality criteria.

What do people search for to find you?

It may not be what you think, or want them to search for. Search terms and phrases employed tend to be more various, and less precise, then we would hope.

None of the major engines give access to detailed data about search terms, which is what we would like to know - ie how many folks in a week search for "unicycle makers in Oregon". Keyword (your targeted search word or phrase) suggestion tools, of limited usefulness, are available. A useful thing to do is see how people find you now, by checking your logs.

Search engines have gotten quite smart, even if they are returning your competitors site above yours. They return sites with the largest amount of good content for the search term employed - hence, the first requirement to getting good placement is having good, original content. The next concern is organizing content so that search engines will associate it with the terms your desired visitors will use.

Some things not to do.

Beware of Search engine submission services - you should always submit sites by hand. Do not repeat submissions, and if you are not using an express submit, allow 2-3 months for your site to be visible. Also, any site promotion service that does not adjust the content of your pages is probably not useful - and schemes that involve duplicate content, doorway pages, redirects, link farms, etc can get your site blacklisted. If it doesn't sound like a lot of careful patient work, it probably doesn't work.

Free Search engine Submissions?

The number of search engines offering free submission has declined sharply. Google, Fast (for the moment, they have announce a paid listing service), and Open Directory Project (ODP) are the main ones left. If you have a non-commercial site you may be able to get in Yahoo and Looksmart (via Zeal). But in general, Businesses will have to pay a fee for search engine submission.

Hiring a Pro

If it seems like all too much, you can hire help. If they promise you the moon, read the fine print.


Look at >>> logging and tracking your visitors, or Oregon web site promotion or Search engine notes.

Oregon web site design and promotion guide

May 17, 2002

ML WEBB, web site design and promotion, Eugene, Oregon
Oregon Coast


© 2001 ML WEBB -
See our Privacy Policy