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Submitting your site to major search engines is not enough.

So you finally finished your web site. It sure is perfect. Now all you need are some visitors. Well, lots of them really. It does not matter whether you try to sell a product, or just want to show some of your holiday pictures. Every web site owner hopes that their web site will attract lots of visitors.

Maybe you have already submitted your site to one or more of the search engines. Most likely those search engines that you normally use yourself. So, why has no one showed up yet! What is wrong ?

Did you check whether you could find your own site on those search engines that you submitted to? And, did you? If you can not find your own site, do not despair. Their are probably thousands of sites that also use the keywords that you were looking for. Getting your site to turn up, especially in the first 30 sites listed, often needs a lot of hard work. Sometimes, it is almost impossible. What you need is a good strategy.

Concentrate on getting a good search engine ranking on the major search engines and directories, and submit by hand only. Do not fall in to the trap of using automated tools to submit to the hundreds of secondary search engines and Free For All classifieds. They will not generate major traffic, they'll only need you to get traffic themselves. Learn how to get traffic from the major players. First you'll get a little traffic and later, when you get better at it, the major search engines will be the ones to generate a lot of traffic for your site.

How do search engines work

All search engines aim to please their customers. If they can do that better than their competitors, they get more customers. To please the customer, every search engine will try to rank the sites they list in such a way that the highest quality sites will be presented at the top of the list. But how do you decide which sites have the best information ? How do you choose which sites will most likely satisfy the need of your customer?

Each search engine has its own approach to rank the web sites you submit. And each search engine is working hard to improve their ranking algorithms. As a result, there is no single strategy that will guarantee a top listing on every search engine. We will give you some general tips. But to achieve a top listing, you may have to develop a separate strategy for each major search engine. And you may have to keep on adjusting your strategies on a monthly basis, as each search engine improves and changes its ranking algorithms.

Develop high performance entry pages.

Another major mistake most beginners make is to concentrate on getting a high ranking for the few keywords that are related to the main topic of your web site. It can take you months of work before you finally fine-tuned your web page enough to get in the first ten sites listed for your favourite keywords, only to realize that hardly anybody is using those keywords when they search the Internet. 

The immediate response to this initial failure will be to find out what the most used keywords are in your web site's topic area. Several search engines will gladly tell you which keywords their users are typing in and how often they do so. Unfortunately, this response to the failure of your major keywords often leads to another failure, as everybody else will be targeting those keywords as well. Now, it can be worthwhile of course to tap into a large traffic stream even if you only get less than 1%, but in general a better strategy will be to find a reasonable popular keyword (or a phrase of two or more keywords) that not too many other competitors are targeting. How do you find that keyword or phrase? Well, trial and error really. 

Start writing down as many keywords or phrases as you can think of. Even a keyword that is only a little bit related with the main topic of your web site will be a possible candidate for the creation of an entry page. If you want to sell kitchens, even someone looking for real estate may turn out to be a good lead. If you have an exhaustive initial keyword list you should use these keywords to search for web pages, and then look at the meta tags of these web pages to find even more keywords. 

Now you have enough keywords you can start analysing the potential of each keyword. How often are these keywords used in a search, how many other sites are listing these keywords on their pages, and how often are they using them in both invisible text (meta tags, etc.) and in the visible text of their page. 

Choose what you believe are the 10 most promising keywords and write a single page for each of the major search engines which uses all of these keywords. This page does not have to be the best looking page nor does it have to be interesting to read yet. The aim at this point is to get it ranked as high as possible on the search engine and to check which actual keywords the initial visitors to your page have been using to find it. I assume you do use a stats package that tells you where your visitors are coming from and which phrase they used. Ask your web host or  find one of the many free web counter / statistics providers

If you are lucky your first try will already bring you lots of visitors. If that's the case, the keyword that has given you the most visitors is the one you should use for an entry page, this time not only written for the search engine but also for the visitor. Maybe your already found two or three keywords. If you are not so lucky, however, just try the next 10 keywords on your list and do another experiment. You're sure to become lucky sooner or later.