/beyond/webmaster/article.php/3736791/Cost-Effective-Web-Marketing.htm Cost Effective Web Marketing

Cost Effective Web Marketing

By Rajesh Tavarki

When promoting your Web site you want to make sure visitors will want to return again. 'Visitors' refers to human web surfers and also the search engines and directories.

Check Your Links

Web site promotion starts with a search engine spider indexing or cataloging your site by following the links from one page to another. Just as human visitors dislike a broken link, so do the spiders. If a link doesn’t work they’ll simply move onto the next page. No matter how sophisticated the search engine software is, it can’t index what it can’t find. Also remember that a spider won't be able to follow a link that requires a form submission or JavaScript.

While considering the subject of links, if you're using HTML and CSS on your site, make sure that both work properly. A certain minimum level of requirements must be met so that your pages will display correctly. It's only if these are met that a spider can do its work. There are free facilities online that can check both of these for you.

Keep Your Pages Small

Most of us have heard the expression that size isn’t everything. This is also true when it comes to Web pages. People don't like having to wait for a Web page to load. Search engine spiders may not fully index a page bigger than 150k in size. Remember that the size of a page doesn't simply depend on the actual HTML file itself, but includes everything on the page such as images, banners etc.

If you have a lot of images on your pages, then either reduce the number of them, or use a program such as Macromedia Fireworks to optimize them for the Web. If the page has a big file size due to a massive amount of text, you should consider splitting the text into smaller, more manageable pieces and putting them on several pages. SEO Chat has a tool called "Page Size Lookup" which can tell you the size of your Web page.

What's the Difference Between a Search Engine and a Directory?

People frequently use the term ‘search engine’ as a catch-all expression for anything they use to search the Web. They are different things though, and an understanding of the differences will help you promote your site successfully.

How Does a Search Engine Work?

Search engines use highly sophisticated software to search the web for new pages. It then automatically creates and updates their indexes. Whenever they find an active hyperlink, they will follow it and add that to the index and so on. These programs are generally referred to as 'spiders.'

Normally, all this is totally automatic, but sometimes human intervention is involved. The spider will return periodically to the pages and check for updated content. Often there will be a delay between you uploading your page, and the spider finding it, unless you submit your URL directly to the search engine itself. You can submit a web URL to Google free of charge.

How Directories Work

The primary difference between a search engine and a search directory is that a directory is compiled by a real person. Frequently the site owner will submit a short description of the site together with its URL to the directory compiler to be considered for inclusion. Directories are arranged into categories to make it easier to find what you're looking for.

When you submit your site to a directory, you choose the appropriate category for your site. A reviewer then checks to ensure that your site is in the most suitable category. Another difference between a search engine and a directory is that whereas a search engine could list every individual page in your Web site, a directory will generally only contain a single entry covering your entire site.

Shared Indexes and Hybrids

Things are never so straightforward though. Some search portals are a hybrid, combing a search engine and a directory. The search engine part returns automated results, while the directory gives human found results. Normally, a hybrid will supply hits from the directory as the primary source, with the search engine results of individual pages as the secondary source.

Getting Your Site Ready

It cannot be stressed too strongly that search engines and/or directories are by far the most important way of getting your site noticed. To do this, you have to properly prepare the site and submit your URL to them.

Choose the Right Keywords

Think what your Web site is all about. If you had to describe your site in one word, then that word is your first keyword. Then think about other words to describe your site. Make a list of them, with the most important at the top of the list and so on. You want a list of between ten and fifteen words. Since these keywords will be used in a variety of ways, it is important that you take some time selecting them.

Keywords are important because they are possibly the most important thing that a search engine uses to determine whether a page is included in the search results. While search engines use keywords in different ways, most experts agree that the frequency and position of your keywords is an important factor.

Pick a Good Title for Your Web Page

When you create a Web page, there is always a <title> tag. This goes into the <head> section of your Web page. The <title> tag is what is shown at the top of your Web page when it is displayed in a web browser. Search engines, however, often use the <title> tag as the title of the listing in the results.

The <title> tag looks like this

<title>The name of my Web Page </title>

It's a good practice to make your <title> tag have a good description of the content of the page, and if you can but if you can use some of your keywords, so much the better.

Why You Should Use Meta Tags

Meta tags are a special type of HTML code that goes into the <head> section of a web page. Site visitors don't normally see them, but search engine spiders do. Just as some HTML tags have an attribute with a value, so do meta tags.

As far as optimizing your web page for search engines is concerned, the most important meta tags are keywords and description. The syntax for the keyword <meta> tag is as follows:

<meta name ="keywords" content = "keyword1, keyword2, keyword3">

The description <meta> tag is as follows:

<meta name ="description" content= "A description of the subject of the web page">

Unlike some HTML tags, it's not necessary to have the meta tag closed, but if you want to have valid XHTML, then you do need to close all your tags.

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