Its about time for the third installment of our guide to Search Engine Optimisation. Remember, all these SEO techniques are written with the build a website tool Webeden.co.uk in mind, so be sure to make full use of them!
Getting your Website listed
We’ve now prepared our keywords and that will come in handy for optimising the site, but the first challenge is getting the site listed at all. Search engines can take a long time (3-6 months) to list new sites although there are some things you can do to speed this up. However, even getting your site listed can be a controversial topic.
It’s no secret that Google uses in-bound links as a way of assessing the importance and subject of your site. By this I mean it works out how many sites link to your site and what keywords they use in their link. It also factors in the ‘importance’ of the sites that are linking to your site based on their ‘page rank’ which is a value (on a scale of 1 – 10) attributed to those sites by Google. If a high ‘page rank’ site links to your site it is deemed to be a valuable link, which in turn will boost your own site’s ‘page rank’. Visit the sites below for more details:
Before your site can even get a page rank it needs to be indexed and then listed. Before it can be indexed and listed, it needs to be found by the search engine. So how does that happen?
There are two schools of thought in this: either adding your URL directly with the search engines or using inbound links (from popular sites) to direct them to your site more naturally. Using a combination of both methods is also worth considering.
The first way is to submit your URL directly to the search engines using the ‘add url’ pages that they provide, e.g.
Google – http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
Yahoo – http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html
MSN – http://search.msn.com.sg/docs/submit.aspx
This method should in theory allow them to index your site quickly and efficiently. However, there is some debate as to whether this is counter-productive.
Sites submitted in this way are usually new sites and often those that do not have a large number of inbound links. This leads some people to believe that as ‘new sites’ the search engines will discriminate against them and delay their full indexing. There is also debate about whether a ‘Google sandbox’ exists which is supposedly a holding area of newly submitted sites until they move into the main index.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbox_Effect (note this article is disputed)
Google denies there is any sandbox. Others speculate that this observed phenomenon is merely the result of how the complex Google algorithms index web sites and Google’s constant battle against spammers.
The other less controversial way to get your site listed is by using inbound links, particularly those that contain your most important keywords in the link text and come from sites which have content that is related to your own.
Even a single high quality inbound link can put the search engines onto your site and get it indexed quickly. Once at your site, the search engine web crawlers or bots will then spider all the pages and work out how it links together.
There are several ways to go about getting good inbound links and there are certainly more than we list here, but these are a few recommended ideas:
• Add your site to relevant local directories – these might be business directories or interest/subject based directories, but make sure they are reputable.
• Contact webmasters of related sites and ask for reciprocal link exchanges – this is where you place a link on your site to them in exchange for a link on their site to you. Don’t be too ambitious with this as big popular sites are not going to link to your site out of the goodness of their heart. Try to find sites of a similar size and subject to your own which will entertain the idea of you helping each other.
• Write articles about your subject including a link to your site – any article must actually contain useful information otherwise it won’t get published. So if you’re an expert in the area you’re writing about and it is relevant to your site, give the article to other site owners who are likely to publish it with a link back to your site. Make sure the article contains some of your relevant keywords. (This may also be possible with useful contributions to blog articles or forums, but be very careful about link spamming – if you don’t have anything genuinely useful to say, don’t say it!)
Once your site has been indexed, you’re in a much stronger position for the future. Sites that have been around for a long time have a legitimate history and tend to stay in the indexes. If you have an existing site that is indexed, then try linking that one to your new site.
You can check and see if your site is listed by typing ‘site:www.youraddress.com’ into the Google or Yahoo search. Remember if you have multiple domain names make sure you try each of them.
If you’re using your own domain name make sure you are using the IP pointing method we recommend and not the masked forwarding option often offered by domain companies. Masked forwarding will make it very difficult for your site to get listed, as it appears to have no content!
So there you have it. Now, let’s get listed!
I linked my site www.joeslondontaxis.com from our online blog. Because our blog has a page rank of 5 with Google and is regularly updated this was a good starting point. My site was indexed by Google within 2 weeks, though it took 3 months to appear on Yahoo.
Thats all for part 3. Leave a comment below and let us know how you’re getting on with SEO-ing your website. Here’s a link to our Search Engine Optimisation Guide Part 4.