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Search Engines: A Piece of a Very Large Puzzle

By Archie Lawhorne
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2004

Many people tend to approach the web passively. They spend a lot of time and resources designing a nice web site, but then spend very little in the way of promoting it. When nothing happens, they blame the Internet and complain that 50 million people didn't drop by before breakfast.

The point is, like many aspects of business, there is no one and only method of marketing on the Internet. There are many proven formulas and a certain amount of knowledge needed, but an understanding of the fundamentals is essential. You can then use this information in concert with everything else you're learning to maximize your overall marketing efforts.

Consider the amount of time and effort many web marketers place on search engine positioning. Search engine submission is probably one of the first things that new Internet marketers do to promote their web site. Currently there are over 5,000 places to register a home page with the number increasing daily. In reality, only about 25 of these search engines will produce 90% of your search engine traffic. The larger search engines like Yahoo, Lycos and Alta Vista are visited millions of time a week and offer the most comprehensive types of searches for Internet surfers.

Obviously it's a good idea to register your site with as many of the major search engines as you can. This will enable web surfers looking for your product or service to find it quickly and easily. There are thousands of companies out there that will submit your web page to hundreds of sites on the web and charge you for the labor. Or you can do it yourself. A good strategy is to start with the top 10 or 15 search engines and learn how to do it yourself.

Keep in mind that search engines are just one small piece in a very large puzzle. If you are targeting a specific niche market, search engines are an excellent tool. Obviously the goal is getting yourself listed in the famed "Top 10," where you'll likely see the most significant results from your efforts.

But here's a few caveats. A top 10 listing is virtually impossible to achieve without having your own registered domain name. Your site should be unique but relevant, and rich in content. It should also have a high popularity rating. What this means is that your site needs to be a little different from the mainstream but still in touch with reality. You must have good information on it, not just a directory of links and you must be linked to and from numerous other sites.

Getting a good search engine position is more art than science. Each search engine has its own techniques for cataloging and ranking a site. To optimize your success when submitting to an engine you will need to have editorial control over the web pages you submit. This means you have to be able to customize the pages and perhaps generate new pages. Your web page titles and Meta tags (description and keywords) are of extreme importance. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the visitors that you want to attract when working on these.

I know everyone wants a magic formula for getting the number one search engine listing. The fact is, it takes quite a bit of time and energy to achieve this. If you feel that having a high search engine ranking is critical to your business, you may want to consider spending the money to have an outside expert do it for you.

While the importance of search engine positioning should not be underestimated, the bottom line is there are a multitude of ways to promote a web site. As a web marketer, the most valuable asset you have is your time. Plan, prioritize and spend your time doing the things that yield the most cost-effective results.

Having said that, here are the addresses of some of the top search engines in which you will want to register your web site:

· Yahoo - (
· Excite - (
· Web Crawler - (
· Lycos - (
· Open Text - (
· Alta Vista - (
· InfoSeek Guide - (
· Hot Bot - (

You can also visit: ( At this site you can fill out one registration form and submit it to several search engines, including most of those above. This is a very convenient "one-stop registration shop." Some of the search engines listed at this site are free and some charge a fee, so make sure you only submit to those that are free if you aren't prepared to pay. Other sites include:


About the Author
Archie Lawhorne is an experienced public relations professional, marketing writer and president of Crosspoint Publishing Company. For information on his current business, visit his web site at: ( For a FREE copy of his new E-Book, "Web Marketing Basics," visit: (


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