Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines
Submitting Your Website to Search Engines and Directories
One of the most important but easiest ways of bringing traffic to your website is via the use of publicly available search engines and directories on the internet where you are able to submit your website to so that others are able to find it. For those who don’t know, search engines are websites where people are able to enter keywords which the search engine then processes to provide the visitor with pages of results which contain links to website which fit the visitor’s search criteria; directories on the other hand do allow people to search through them, but websites are normally categorized meaning that you are usually able to find a website in the subject area that you want without having to search for it.
Most people seem to think that submitting your website to search engines is a complicated task, and that you have to pay to have your website listed – that is actually incorrect since in most cases you can submit your website to the major search engines for free, meaning that your largest source of traffic can be gained without having to pay a penny; on the other hand, you might have to pay to submit your website to directories in some cases, although basic submissions are normally free and you only have to pay if you want to have your website ‘featured’ so that it is shown off to more people who are browsing the directory website concerned looking for a website such as the one which you run. In the cases of the larger search engines, you don’t always have to manually submit your website or individual pages to the engine to make sure that they are displayed within the search engine’s results pages; this is because search engines employ ‘bot’ technology which means that computers automatically find your website and then index the content and pages of it – this means that the crawled and indexed content is displayed to people who enter search terms which are related to content on your website.
The good thing with search engine bots is that they generally automatically pick up any changes within the content of your website meaning that they automatically crawl it again to update the indexed data; this is because bots will come and crawl your website at least once a month – if your website is one which has regularly updated content then you might find that they will come and index your data much more often, and less often if the content of your website is rarely updated. Although the bots of the larger search engines will come and index your website, smaller search engines will require that you manually submit your website to them in order for their bots to detect and index the content of your website; larger search engines with bots will also provide web based submission forms if you wish to have your website indexed more quickly rather than having to wait for a bot to come and index your content.
Unfortunately, submitting your website to search engines is not a method that you can class under building up back links, since search engines are actually the ones who will be basic the score which they give your website on the number of back links you have; directories on the other hand are a site which you can use to build up the number of back links which you have to your website – this is because directories will not give you any score, and that directories will automatically create a separate detail page for your website once you have submitted it to the directories which you have chosen to. To ensure that your work in submitting your website to search engines so that people who are looking for a website which meets the same specification or subject as yours, you should use the other techniques that have been mentioned in part 1 of this series of articles to ensure that your website is placed as near the top of the results pages as possible; this is because people who are using search engines don’t tend to go any further than the third page of their search when they are looking for something in particular.
Another method which you can use to help optimize your website for search engines is to optimize your actual URLs and file names within your website; although this method may sound like one which won’t work, the renaming of your directories and page file names to reflect the subject of the content which is contained within the page can help improve the score that search engines decide to give you. One technique which most people don’t know about is to use URL rewriting programs which will automatically create search engine friendly URLs from the existing content that you already have on your website; if your website is a CMS based one or uses dynamic pages to call data from data bases, then you should deploy a URL rewriting program which will make the URL to the content more search engine friendly, if your website uses static pages and folders then you have no need to use a URL rewriting program since you can easily rename your web pages or folders through the control panel that has been provided with your hosting account or via a standard FTP connection.
If you run a blog or other CMS based system such as an online shop, then you will find that you most probably already have some sort of URL rewriting system deployed on your website; for example you will probably find that the directory which preceedes the actual file name of the file which is trying to be reached will probably be named after the category which you have placed your shop product or blog post in, the file name will then most likely be the title of the product or blog post which you have added to your shop or blog. By relating the file name and directory name of the file which is trying to be accessed to the subject of the content which is contained within the file which is trying to be accessed, search engines are able to see that you have put in the effort to ensure that both your URLs and content are keyword rich; if both the content and URLs are keyword rich then search engines will find it much easier to match your website to searches made by people with certain keywords which are related to your website. Another method which is part of URL optimization is to use a URL rewriting program to remove the file extensions of files within your website – you aren’t removing the actual file extension, but when a visitor looks at the file name within their browser’s address bar, they will not see any file extension for the file which they are viewing; this means that you are able to create much cleaner looking URLs which only contain keywords which are related to the subject and content of your website.
You should always try and make your URLs as keyword rich as possible, this is because the more keywords which are related to the subject and content of your website which you use, then the higher the score a search engine will give you and the more visitors that you will receive to your website through searches from search engines which have used keywords that you have used on your website; you should also ensure that the keywords you have used within the URL for your web pages are repeated within the title tag of the pages which you have designed for your website.
As mentioned previously, most content management systems choose to employ URL rewriting technology to ensure that the URLs which they produce are as search engine friendly as possible; this is because that without the URL rewriting technology the URLs which were produced by a CMS system wouldn’t be SEO friendly since they would contain query strings and other pieces of content which are not related to the subject and content of your website, and no keywords related to the subject and content of your website at all. One thing to note when optimizing your website’s URLs is that you don’t want to make them too long since long URLs are not liked that much by search engines, since they take into account that it would take a human a while to type in such a long URL.
Hiring a Professional
If you feel that you don’t have the necessary knowledge to carry out the work needed to ensure that your website is a success with the extra SEO work, then you should consider hiring a professional who has both the time and the knowledge to carry out the work needed to ensure that your website is able to benefit from the effect that search engines are able to have on the amount of traffic which you receive to your website; one thing to bare in mind though is that hiring a professional can cost you a lot of money, even hundreds of pounds in some cases.
Although it will cost a lot, it is important that you take into consideration the benefits that professional search engine optimization will have on your website; for example, if you are running an online shop then you should take into consideration that the amount of money which you earn from selling your products online will increase if the amount of visitors which you receive who are looking for a website just like yours. In some cases, the experts which you hire to carry out your SEO work for you will know people who work for the big search engines, this in turn means that they might be able to give your upper hand when it comes to being shown at the top of results pages for searches involving certain keywords; at the end of the day, the higher up in the search engine results your website is then the higher the amount of visitors which you receive from search engines will be, since you should always take into account that most people don’t go any further than the third page of results when they are looking for a website on a specific subject.
Professionals will also be able to do a better job than amateurs when it comes to search engine optimization, since it is something which they have probably done a numerous amount of times; this means that you should always take a look at the portfolio of an SEO expert before you ask them to do any work for you, since you want ensure that you are guaranteed success from what you are paying the expert to do for you. SEO professionals are also able to use other techniques which have not been listed in this article to ensure that your website reaches the top of the rankings and receives a high search engine score from the search engines that choose to index your content. Another thing to consider is that search engine optimization professionals might have premium accounts for certain directories, meaning that they can easily submit your website to the directory concerned so that it can be displayed in a featured place to the visitors of the directory concerned; this means that if someone has come to a directory to specifically search for a website which meets the same criteria as yours, then they will come across your website first since it will most likely be a featured one.
If you don’t have the money to hire a professional to optimize your website for you, then you can use the basic methods as outlined in this article to optimize your website by yourself, although this will not achieve the same results as a professional would, you will still increase the amount of visitors which you receive to your website, and in the case of an online shop your revenue as well; this means that if you successfully optimize your site then you could do it for others at a small fee, and start to charge more as you build up a successful portfolio.
It is hoped that with the help of this article, you have been able to optimize your site to ensure that you increase the number of visitors which it receives, and in turn increasing the revenue which you receive from your website in the case that you run a shop alongside it or you have chosen to place adverts alongside your content to help monetize your website. With the use of this article you should have learnt where you appropriately place back links to your website so that more visitors come and see your content; this will mean that the visitor count of your website will increase but at the same time ensure that search engines pick the back links up meaning that they will see your content is of back link quality since they will think that someone else has gone to the trouble of linking to your content since they have taken a liking to it. You should have also learnt where to place keywords within your content as well as in the title bar and how you should use keywords within the addresses to the files and directories within your website to show that the content of your the directory or file which is trying to be accessed is related to both the title (the page title) and address bar (the actual URL) content.
Another SEO technique which you should have taken on board is the design and layout techniques which you should use in the development of your website to ensure that search engines can easily crawl and index the actual content of your website; without the use of these tags, search engines might just give up trying to index your content after a certain point since it starts to become hard for them to read, just as it would for a human. You should have also learnt that you can easily hire a professional for a fee if you find that you don’t have the time or necessary knowledge to optimize your website – this should however be following with caution since if you don’t optimize your site correctly then you could end up reducing the amount of visitors which your website receives; at the end of the day, you don’t want to reduce the amount of visitors which you website receives since you will only give yourself or an expert more work to do when you get around to optimizing your site properly in order to increase the amount of visitors which you receive.