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submission tips

html & page design

  1. Keep HTML as simple as possible
  2. Keep the most important textual information at the top of the html
    • For users - so they don't have to scroll
    • For Search Engines - include keyword phrases which are in the meta tags
    • Using tables etc can mean text is further down the html than the user sees on screen
    • Consider using a layers based design - you can use css to position the layers with textual content at the top of the html even if they're further down the visible page
    • If keywords are also links - increases their efficacy
    • Use keywords in your <h1 - h6> heading and subheading tags
    • Each page should have lots of keyword rich content for its topic and corresponding meta tags
  3. Include textual hyper links to important areas of the site from the home page
  4. Call files / folders / domain (and subdomain) names something descriptive - directories like this (acts as another keyword)
  5. Include a site map, linked to from the home page
    • Means the search engine will be able to index the whole site quickly and easily
  6. Put all JavaScript & CSS in seperate files
    • Include a robots.txt in the root of the site directory detailing js and css files to be excluded from indexing

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meta tags

  1. The meta tags (in the <head> tag of the HTML of each page) for title, keywords and description should be utilised to their full value, and match keywords that appear in the body the page
  2. Don't use the same meta tags across the site - each page should have its own
  3. Optimise your meta tag information
    • View source on sites of the same genre as yours that come up highly on search engines and directories and see what keywords they use
    • Check your site stats to see which words and phrases your users are searching for

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submitting

  1. Submit manually to each search engine/directory once
    • Usually submit your home page (and any other key pages from your site on some search engines - they each have limits)
    • Be careful (i.e. don't spam) about the ones which use each other's databases:
      • Excite, Magellan, City.net and Webcrawler use the same database
      • AOL Search, AltaVista, AltaVista UK, Dictionary.com, DogPile, Go2Net, Google, HotBot, Infospace, Lycos, Netscape Search all use Open Directory
    • If your site hasn't appeared after 4-6 weeks - repeat submission
  2. Submit to the correct category in directories
  3. Some search engines base their listings on link popularity - how many other sites link to yours? - are there any sites which may be willing to link to yours?
    • Referring sites have to be of good quality and/or similar subject area
  4. Use the "final comments" box where they have one - last chance to make an impression
  5. Read all the Search Engines/Directories "How to submit your site" sections before submitting (most have them)
  6. Consider "buying your way in" - Yahoo, LookSmart etc have the option to pay to have your site reviewed within a few days
    • Doesn't guarantee listing, just that your site will get reviewed quickly

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what not to do

  1. Re-direct any page (you want listed) using JavaScript
    • Probably includes the js to get out of frames some people put in their <body> tag
    • Definitely includes the JavaScript re-direct to detect browsers for plug-ins
  2. Have no real HTML content on the home page
    • This is especially true for graphics-heavy "splash pages" and Flash enabled sites
  3. Include a "hidden" paragraph in a small font size or the same colour as the background - some search engines/directories (e.g. Yahoo) will actually penalise for this - considered spam
    • Especially if this hidden content is also just a list of keywords
  4. Put insufficient text links on the page, so there's nowhere for the search engine to spider
  5. Put all navigational links in layers/javascript - the search engines can't always spider through
    • This can include rollover images as links
  6. Use frames - search engines can't spider them
    • In the search engine results, the site will be seperated into the individual frames
    • If you MUST use frames - make sure there are navigational links in each frame used
    • And always use the <no frames> tag
  7. Use spamming techniques - it will get you barred from search engines and directories

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improving the listing

  1. Analyse site stats
    • Which keywords people are searching for - change meta tags and content accordingly
    • Which search engines/directories are/are not putting traffic to the site
    • Click-through rate improves site listing
      • See if / where users are clicking "Back" button - negative effect on listing
    • How long users stay on site / pages - can improve listing
  2. Ensure the page design is not detrimental to search engines spidering your site
  3. Possibly have information rich pages
    • About things users would be interested in
    • Updated frequently - visitors return for updates
    • Possibly moreover.com newsfeeds?
    • Link these info rich pages from site map

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