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How to deal with Search Engines

Here are some terms that are often used when discussing search engine:

spider The act of following links in web pages to discover what web pages exist.  Usually a search engine will start at your home page and follow each link.
optimisation The manipulation of content on your website so you get more people visiting your web site as a result of searches.
indexed Search engines extract words from your pages and store them in a enormous index much the same way as you would create an index for a book.  When you type in a set of words into the search engine it looks up this index and establishes when pages apply to these words. 

1. Publish and Submit NOW !

You basically have two choices when it comes to having your site indexed: pay or wait.  Paid listings such as those provided by Yahoo only result in your site being indexed more quickly. It is more economical to create your site ahead of time or just wait for it to be listed.

If you don't pay for a listing it usually takes about 2 months before your site appears.  At this stage your site will be a long way down the list and have a very low ranking.  It will take about another 6-12 months until your site is properly indexed by search engines.  If you have lots of links to your site it will take less time.

One way to do this is to create a simple home page and publish it.  The page should contain some interesting information and words that are relevant.

2. Quality Links are Good !

It is essential that other websites link to your website.  Search engines pay more attention to websites that are linked to from other websites especially when the website also has lots of links to it.   From my recent observations Google will only index your entire website if it is linked to from another site.

If your website is for an Australian business you can list on: (also results in listing on Yahoo and Google)

Obtaining too many links too quickly can also hurt your site.  Google takes into account the rate at which links are added and penalises sites taking up links too quickly because they consider this to be artificial.  For extreme detail see Google's US Patent #20050071741.

3.  Pay Attention to Page Structure

There are countless pages on the internet describing how to optimise your pages for search engines.  It is really quite simple:

  1. Allow one topic per page and make sure you include your keywords in the title of the page.
  2. Use links within your site to link between pages.
  3. Write plain pages including heading tags and use style sheets to do the formatting.
  4. Use the 'alt' attribute to describe images.
  5. Use 'keyword' and 'description' meta tags in the HTML header.
  6. Don't over do anything or you could be penalised.

Generally modern graphically designed pages are not good for search engines.  Some websites that are heavy in graphics or use Macromedia flash objects do not get indexed by search engines due to lack of text.

If your website uses dynamically generated pages or use frames you may need expert help to make sure it is index properly.

4. You don't need to submit to 200 search engines

If you have plenty of links to your site it is not neccessary to submit your site as the search engines will find it automatically.