Your First Steps to Success in Search Engine Promotion
by: Janie Ash
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Ever wondered how to get top positions in major search engines such as Google and MSN? When you consider that 85% of people find websites through search engines, your position is crucial to your site's success. Follow these simple steps to success.
Consider your site's title and description
Before you submit your site to search engines, make sure its title and description tags accurately describe what your site is about. Some search engines look at the title to decide how your page should be ranked. Others use the description in your "meta tags" to summarise how your organisation appears in their listing. So make sure you have a good title page and description - you would be amazed to see how many websites do not.
Links from other sites
Some major search engines rank sites by how many other sites link to it. The assumption is a site has to be good if other sites link to it on their pages. The most famous example is Google, which is fast becoming the world's most popular engine and certainly one of the quickest. Find sites that might be sympathetic to your organisations' aims and ask if you can have a link on their pages. This can be easier to do if you have your own links page and can offer a link in return.
Submit your site
A common misconception is that search engines automatically find your site and list it. Unfortunately, it does not necessarily happen, even with the major ones. Most major players have "Add your URL" or "Add your site" at the bottom of their page. More and more are charging for listings but you may be able to get a free entry as a 'not-for-profit' organisation and we can help you in this area.
How do I submit my site?
By hand, by using software, or by using an external company like ourselves. The most reliable way is by hand, but this is time-consuming. There are websites that offer "free submission to major search engines". They will do as they say but you may find these engines are all obscure ones. Some search engines penalise sites submitted in this way and do not list them at all.
Search Engine Optimisation companies understand the changing rules of major search engines and what they are looking for. Most charge a flat set up fee and then a monthly fee to help maintain your good position and keep in the important first three pages of the search results.
What are the most popular search engines?
For a listing of the most popular search engines in the UK, try this page with independent Nielsen/Netrating listings. It's not really worth submitting to any search engines that do not appear on this list - unless you have lots of time to spare. As these major engines power the results of hundreds of other smallers search engines.
Consider "Pay per placement" search engines
There are some popular search engines, where you can "buy" or "bid" your way to the top. It's worth considering as you will only pay if someone actually clicks on your site (subject to a small non-refundable deposit). This could be particularly cost-effective during a high-profile appeal and the service can be turned on and off as you choose. Some terms can cost as little as 10p per click - a highly targeted & cost effective means of communication.
Monitor your results on a monthly basis
Your job is not over once you have submitted your site. To make the most of your listing, you should regularly monitor your positioning. You can check the top search engines and directories to see where your site is listed by page and position. With this information in hand, you can tweak your keywords, titles, links and content to help you move up the listings.
Keywords: search engine optimisation, search engines, charity, charities, SEO, website promotion, non profits
About the Author
Janie Ash, London AL United Kingdomash@not-for-profit-website-promotion.comhttp://www.not-for-profit-website-promotion.comJanie is a partner of a specialist online marketing consultancy for not for profit organiasation. For the last two years she has worked with the online campaigns of a number of UK charities, from national household names right through to local hospices, arts organisations, schools and voluntary groups. One of these online organisations won the Grand Prix New Media Age Award for Online Effectiveness and New Media Age Award for Best Use of the Web with her partner's marketing help.
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