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In 'Search' of Success

article by: Lindsey Fair

The number one question our company gets asked is "How do you get better ratings in search engines?" Our answer is a combination of persistence, patience, hard work and luck. There's no simple way to the top - unless you have a marketing budget similar to the big boys like Microsoft.

The start to good ratings is with your keywords, page title and description, in other words, your metatags. Every page of your site should have keywords and a title, including your intro page. The keywords can differ on each page or be the same throughout. The keywords should be relevant to the page they are attached to, using words that are repeated in the text of that page. List them in order of importance. Many search engines will take numerous words, try to narrow it down to only the really important ones. Your description and page title should use some of the most important keywords. Don't use urls or capitals in any of these. The most important thing to remember here is relevancy. Many search engines are human edited and if they find that you are trying to cheat them - they'll blacklist you.

Our technique is using Keyword Optimization. We take the number of searches/month of a word or group of words divided by the number of competing pages in the category search and that gives us the profitability (the chance that you'll show up number 1). This is a really effective way to find out what words work best for you - it will probably surprise you.

Now that you have those great metatags, let the search engines know you're ready. At least once a year you need to submit your domain to the search engines. Start by using They are a human edited directory that supplies their list to several engines such as Google, AOL, Netscape, AltaVista, Yahoo, etc. In this one place you pretty much hit all the important ones. The site itself will give you a complete listing of all the engines it supplies, any major ones you don't see listed, you'll have to submit to those individually. Don't worry about the small players, they usually feed off the major ones anyway. If you're doing it right you shouldn't have to pay a cent (and if someone tells you different give me a call).

It doesn't stop here. Search engines are very intuitive. They can sense popular or important pages based on the number of hits they receive. The more traffic your site gets, the higher you'll get up in the engines. How do you do this? List your site on all free directories and link pages, have external links on your page, make something real time or frequently changed so people have to come back, talk about your site to everyone, advertise you site both online and off-line.

If you do all this, you should start to see a 6 months. That's right, this is where the patience comes in. To start seeing results from your hard work it could take up to 6 months (often at least 3). This means that if your advertising for a seasonal product make sure it's ready 2 seasons ahead.

And lastly, this is where the luck comes in...Good Luck!

Lindsey Fair is the owner of Market Me