Search Engine Optimization and Submission DIY
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You've just completed your site, uploaded it to your server and click on every page to admire it. Now the problem is, as you check your site stats, you are the only one visiting your site. Sound familiar?
It's not always this bleak, but let's face it, we can all use more visitors. So the question becomes how to get the visitors. You need to be listed in search engines. But before we get to that point, you need to make sure your site is ready for "search engine prime time."
Before we launch in to the how to's part of this, let's set your expectations at the right level. Search engines will list your site in a matter of days to a number of months. This is an ongoing process where you should routinely check for your site on the major engines and stick to the following ideas...
STEP ONE - META TAGS
Every other week someone publishes a newsletter or posts something on a forum that states search engines are moving away from META tags. The truth of the matter is a number of search engines are reducing their reliance on META tags. You still need a good set of tags for a number of engines.
So, what are they and how do you create them? Take our site for example. Our home page has the following META tags...
<META NAME="TITLE" CONTENT="Tools and Templates offers Microsoft FrontPage templates and tools to get the most out of your website.">
Did you just do a double take? No problem... here is a breakdown of what you need...
- <META NAME="TITLE" CONTENT=> - This is your page title. If you go to our home page, this title will show at the top of your browser window. This is also what will show up in a number of search engines as part of the description of your site.
- <META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT=> - This is a brief description of your what your site is about. Some engines will list this, some will list a portion of this.
- <META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT=> - Ideally, when someone enters one of these "keywords" your site will show up on the list of matching site in the search engine. A number of search engines are reducing their reliance on these keywords and looking more at the text on your page. Our suggestion... put these on your site and make sure a number of these keywords are also used in the text on your home page.
- Everything else tells the search engine who built the site, who owns the site, if there is an expiration date on the site, what language it is written in, etc.
- <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT=> - This tag tells the search engines to "index" our home page and "follow" the links on the page to other pages within our site. You can tell search engines to index your home page, but not follow the links, or you can tell the engines to not index your page and not to follow your links.
- <META NAME="REVISIT-AFTER" CONTENT=> - This instructs the search engine to come back and take a look at the site once a month.
Now that you have some understanding of what META tags are and what they do, let's build some for your site...