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Success with Search Engines

The two main things site owners would like to happen in search engines are:

1. First of all - to be listed.

2. Then, to rank high in results for common phrases and keyword searches.

Here are some practical tips.

What is a Search Engine

First, it helps know your subject. "Search engine" is the broad term for a searchable database of web pages on the internet.

There are two main types:

a) Directories (like Yahoo and Looksmart) that are catalogued and verified and evaluated by humans.

b) Crawlers (like Google) that use robots to crawl the web to produce a searchable index.

There are more than 75,000 search engines, directories and links pages on the web. Of these there are only about three or four that most people target to be listed in because they together account for most searches.

First is Google - by a long way. Google use now accounts for 65-90% of all searches thoughout the world. (higher in Europe and Canada, lower in USA).

The others include Yahoo, MSN, AOL.

How do you get listed?

First, make your pages search engine friendly. There are a lot of guides around to help you with this, including Robert Woodhead's SelfPromotion site.

The basic process is to go to a URL and use their "add your site" process.

After submission, there is usually a delay before you can find your site in an index. This can range from a day to 6 months.

GOOGLE CAMPAIGNS and other pay per click, and paid listing programs

Google campaigns are based on you paying a price (usually about 5c but up to $20.00 sor something as sought after as "business advice") when someone searches on a phrase or word (e.g. "miegunyah", sees your ad, and clicks through to your site.)

Yahoo. who bought Inktomi and Overture, are Google's main competitors.

Improve your rankings without paying

Three main things affect rankings apart from paying for listings. 

1. Click throughs (how many people choose your site from a search engine).

2. Referrals (links to your site on other people's sites).

3. Popularity (how many visits your site gets).

Let's see how we can use the human resources of the network to improve rankings. Every day, or as often as possible, members of the network should be doing a number of things.

1. VISIT: Visit the web site and click through as many pages as you can. Check new content. While you're there you can check new content, look at each other's image galleries, read some FAQs. The more pages you visit, the better. The more times a day you visit, the better.

2. SEARCH: Use keyword and phrases (start with "Brisbane's Living Heritage") to search your favourite search engine. If you find you page in the result CLICK through to it. After doing this several times (or with several people) your site will rise in the rankings for that keyword.

3. RECOMMEND: Promote your site by email, letter, word of mouth, on brochures and letterhead, and encourage people to visit it. Write to sites that you think might list your site (check first that they don't already!) and ask them to.

If you do these simple things your site will be listed on more search engines and come higher up in search results.

Here are some people you recommend your site to:

Family - your siblings,  parents, aunts and uncles
Education - teachers, students,
Community - groups, clubs, associations
Government - your local Councillor, Federal and State members.
Special interest - e.g. engineering, innovation, industry, exporters
Media - journalists on local papers, radio, TV.

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