Web Design Beginning Web Page Design Advanced Web Site Design Professor Higgins Web Design Resources

CSC 111 - Site Promotion

Now What?

Now that you have made your first web site you might be asking yourself, "What Next?" Unless you are particularly lucky, you might be thinking, "Where are all the customers I expected? Why didn't they come like they were supposed to?"

If you are like me, you might have even blamed the media. They seemed to be telling me, "build it and they will come" but nothing was further from the truth.

After I made my first web site, I had eighty people come and none of them bought. It drove me mad and I blamed everyone but myself. In truth, I was the problem. I hadn't done the things necessary to drive the traffic to my website. I really didn't know anything about the web, what makes people (or search engines) come to a web site, or why people buy once they get there.

The truth was I needed to learn more. The first thing I needed to have was a plan to get people to come to my site. I needed a "Web Promotion Strategy."

Web Promotion Strategy

Since I started my business on a shoestring, I knew that traditional advertising was out of the picture for now. I decided to focus my initial efforts on search engines for three main reasons:

1.) Search engines account for approximately 90 percent of all web traffic.
2.) Most search engines don't charge for listing.
3.) Millions of people use search engines every day to find products or services.

Our Web Promotion Strategy at this point is actually a Search Engine Strategy. Just as any strategy requires a course of action, we need a solid plan and a guide to get us through to our goal.

We need to realize that improving your web site's ranking among the major search engines is a process. A process is a series of actions used to achieve something. It takes effort, careful planning execution and patience to have a successful web site.

Success won't be instantaneous but it will come. Keep careful notes and be willing to make incremental changes over time. In the introduction I said the we need to "Think, constantly learn, and experiment. Reevaluate and do it again better."

That's our strategy here. We do something. We record the results, and we do what we can to improve on that. Then we do it all over again. My job is to teach you the technical and marketing details. It's your job to put in the effort and do the thinking. In this business, like all others, it takes effort to get results.

Required Actions
  1. Check your site's positions on major search engines for your keywords on a regular basis.
  2. Analyze your results and make an assessment of what you might do to improve your positioning.
  3. Keep detailed records.
  4. Make changes to your web pages.
  5. Resubmit your site.

Internet Search Engines

To most people, any way that they search the Internet is what they call using a search engine. Actually there are many Internet search tools and a search engine is just one very important type of search tool. Throughout this course, we will concentrate on Internet search engines.

The two most common Internet search tools are:

  1. Search engines
  2. Directories

Both of these search tools are databases and do basically the thing (they help people find the information they are looking for on the internet) but they are very different in both the way they are used and in the way information is recorded in their databases. The main difference is that search engines use "spiders" to populate their databases and directories do not.

Spiders are computer programs (applications) that sort, evaluate, record and retrieve information in a database. This type of software got its name because it figuratively "crawls" the web seeking its prey (information). Search engines use spiders and submissions from web site administrators to enter information into their databases.

Directories rely on submissions for web site administrators and research by their staff in order to build their databases. Directories are in reality more like a book's table of contents or an outline. Each item is categorized and sub-categorized into a "directory tree."

Users "drill" down from general to more specific information until they find they information they need. Even though directories usually have a "search" feature, which delivers the required information in a similar format to search engines, they operate very differently. For now, we will leave directories behind and concentrate on search engines (spiders).

What do spiders like to eat?

Internet spiders don't actually eat anything but the content of a search engine is mainly dependent on their activity and their preferences. Each search engine's spider has its own secret algorithm (formula) that it uses to judge which sites get the top listings and those who don't. It's our job to find out what the spider likes and to give it what it likes. This is how we outperform our competitors and get our site listed before theirs, preferably at the top.

There are substantial differences in the characteristics and effectiveness of spiders depending on this algorithm, size of the database and how current the information is. The faster a spider is affects how well it can handle the size of the database as well as its ability to supply the most current information.

The web's hypertext linking mechanism provides the links to other pages. From a single web page is the spider begins to access other web pages. Basically it confirms the existence of the web page, indexes the content of the web page, identifies all of the hyperlinks to other web pages and then proceeds to follow those links repeating the process over and over with each new web page.

As you are probably well aware, submitting to the search engines is not enough to get large numbers of visitors to your web site. We need to be listed in the top one or two pages in a search otherwise our chances of being found are greatly reduced. Just to give you an example, someone once told me that mathematically if you were selling a million dollars worth of products or services from being on page one of a search engine, your revenue would drop to about $18,000 from slipping to page two. That's a big difference. Obviously, we want to be on top.

Well, you are probably asking yourself, "If the formula is secret, how do we find it out?" The answer is to do our best to figure out what the spider like to eat and feed it the information it wants. How do we do that? How do we figure out the mind of a spider? We need to study the spider and see how it works.


Internet search engines consist of two major components: query term and database. Lets take a brief look at each:

Query Term - An expression or research topic in a format that can be processed by the search engine. Query terms usually consist of "keywords" or "key phrases" which are matched against results in the engines database. A key word is a single word where as a key phrase is appropriately a "phrase" or a series of words.

Keyword phrases allow you to provide a more specific target by which someone can find your web site. Your chances of becoming highly ranked in a search engine database using keyword phrases are significantly higher than when using keywords alone. You type in your query term into a form on the search engine and the database's records are searched based on (1) predefined logic and/or (2) specific instructions from the individual doing the query.

Database - is basically a collection of information, which is indexed by the spider. The content of databases vary from search engine to search engine depending on the "secret formula", the size of the database and how current the information is and what web pages have been submitted as a starting point for the spider.

The database delivers the results from its search to the "hit list", which is the form that shows the hyperlinks, titles and/or descriptions of the web pages that it found. Hit lists also vary from search engine to search engine. Some only display the title of the page while others also give a description.

Exercise 1: Keyword Phrases in WebCrawler

As stated earlier, the best way to find information on the Internet is to use keyword phrases. In this exercise you will use WebCrawler to see how individuals might find your site when they surf the web. We also see what kind of information they see when they find it.

1.) Go to www.webcrawler.com

2.) Type in a keyword phrase that you think describes your business or offer into the search box and push submit.

For instance, type in commercial real estate and see what you get.

When I did it, I got 4,192,890 sites found for commercial real estate. Notice the format under "Web Site Results." The only description of the site is the site title which is defined in the site's <TITLE>Title Goes Here</TITLE> tag.

3.) Type the same keyword phrase using quotation marks around the phrase.

For instance, type in "commercial real estate"
(use quotation marks).

The results from my search are significantly lower. My search results now
Display 35,895 found.

4.) Add a city to your query string this time inside the quotation marks and search again.

I typed in "commercial real estate Champaign" using the quotation marks. This time I only got 3 listings.
5.) Repeat steps 2-4 from this exercise only this time use the name of your business as the keyword phrase.

I typed in the keyword phrase James Burch for each of the preceding steps. Step 2 got me 1,438,260 sites. Step 2 showed 494 sites and Step 3 got none.

6.) Type in your URL instead of the keyword phrase. You don't need to use quotation marks this time. Did your site come up? If it did, what does it say? Does your title accurately describe the keywords you originally searched for?

I typed in www.jamesburch.com and the results said: 1. Home

What have we learned so far? Here are the obvious:

1.) WebCrawler only displays the pages title and no other information.
2.) The more specific the search is, the more likely we are to find the information that we are looking for.
3.) Our web site, www.jamesburch.com is listed on WebCrawler.
4.) The only possible way to find www.jamesburch.com on WebCrawler is to type in the domain name (if we already knew that, we wouldn't need the search engine.)
5.) Only 3 listing came up for the key phrase "commercial real estate Champaign"

Please don't be discouraged by these results. Number 5 is actually very encouraging. Since only 3 listings came up under the key phrase "commercial real estate Champaign", we can be assured that after we optimize a page, we can be at the worst be listed number four. The number one spot is within striking distance! See… this is easier than you thought.

Now let's for a moment, think about what else we have learned so far. Remember to keep your notebook. Write down any other observations. Think about what factors might be important for WebCrawler's "secret formula?" Don't you think that the title is likely to weigh very heavily in its decision making process.

If you want to continue with the experiment, do these steps:

1.) Make a copy of your home page or the page that best describes your keyword phrase and rename it commercialrealestateWC.html or whatever you want. Just be sure to use some code so you know it's a page for WebCrawler. I used WC. (Using your keywords in your file name won't hurt either)
2.) Change the title tag to your keyword phrase.
For example
<TITLE>Commercial Real Estate Champaign</TITLE>.
3.) Upload this new page to your server.
4.) Go to the bottom of the search page you are on in WebCrawler and click on Submit a Site.
5.) At the very bottom of the Add URL page that comes up, click on submit where it says, "You may also submit your site to WebCrawler's continually refreshed database of URLs and it will be considered for inclusion in our index."
6.) Fill in the form with your URL (the URL of the new page you just created), your email address (Important: always use a junk email address other than your "real email address" for email from search engines otherwise you will be sorry), the primary language (leave the default, "English"), Geographical location: (leave the default, "United States") and use the pull down menu to select a category. (In this example I would choose "Home/Real Estate).
7.) Push the Send button.
8.) Come back and try your keyword phrase in a few weeks in WebCrawler and record your results in your notebook.
9.) If you have a stats package on your server, keep an eye on the hits for this page. Write down you findings.

Exercise 2: Comparing Search Engines

As stated earlier, each search engine has its own unique characteristics. Some also have similarities. In this exercise you will use several search engines to see the similarities and differences for yourself.

  1. Go to www.excite.com
  2. Type in the same keyword phrase that you used in step 2 of
    exercise 1.

What happened? Did the same page come up in the number one spot as it did in WebCrawler? What kind of information is presented in Excite?

You should notice several differences and at least one similarity. The similarity is easy. Excite also uses the page title. It also adds additional information not available in WebCrawler. Right below the title, you will see the "page description". We will talk about this more later but for now, this information is contained in one of the pages "meta-tags." Meta-tags are hidden code that you put into your website that spiders read and place here on the page.

  1. Make a mental note of the description of the page in the number one listing.
  2. Click on the hyperlink for that page and wait for the page to load.
  3. Click on "View" in the menu bar.
  4. Click on "Source" in the pop up menu.

Notepad should open and the html code from the page should be displayed.

Notice the tags. We talked about the <title></title> tags in the previous exercise. Look at the tags that start with <meta. The one that says <meta NAME="description" CONTENT= is what you are reading on the page. While you are here, note the other meta tag that starts with <meta NAME="keywords" CONTENT=. We will talk more about this but these are the keywords that the spider uses to index your site.

Did you notice that the keyword phrase we used (in my example, the phrase "commercial real estate") is used in three separate places here.

It's in the title:
<title>A to Z Commercial Real Estate Resources</title>

It's in the meta description:
<meta NAME="description" CONTENT="Commercial real estate listings, statistics…

And in the keywords:
<meta NAME="keywords" CONTENT="Commercial real estate, listings, loans…

  1. Close Notepad.
  2. Click on your browser's back button until you get back to the hit page from www.excite.com
  3. Notice the other differences. The URL is listed. Example http://www.vandema.com
    Excite includes [more from this site] which contains more pages from this site and Directory: Home and Real Estate > Commercial > Commercial Property > Guides and Directories which includes other sites in the same category.

Next we will look at one more search engine for this exercise.

  1. Click once in the URL field of your browser and type in www.lycos.com.
  2. Type in the same keyword phrase that you used so far in these exercises.

Notice how the content is arranged and what information is listed. Be sure to keep notes that you can refer back to later.

Popular Search Engines

There are hundreds of search engines. Later I will show you how to find and submit to them but here are some of the more popular ones for you to take a look at:

AltaVista www.altavista.com
Excite www.excite.com
Google www.google.com
Hotbot www.hotbot.com
Infoseek www.infoseek.com
Lycos www.lycos.com
Northern Light www.northernlight.com
WebCrawler www.webcrawler.com

Note: Yahoo - www.yahoo.com is a Directory (subject tree) and not a search engine.


Keywords are most important to the success of promoting your web site. We have already learned that keywords are query terms that describe what is on your web page. They can be used in combination to form keyword phrases. These words or phrases are the query terms that search engine users use to locate information on specific web pages on your site.

In order to best maximize your efforts; we need to think like the users of the search engines. What words or phrases might they type in to find your specific web page.

Most people use keyword phrases comprised of two or three keywords to search for a particular topic or product. They do this because as we found out in exercise 1, they want specific information. If their search is to broad, they either get too many or mostly irrelevant matches for their query.

Especially in the beginning, don't use general keywords. Try to be specific. If your keywords are to general, your chances of being found are much more unlikely. For instance, in exercise 1 we searched for commercial real estate and got thousands of listings but when we narrowed our search down to commercial real estate Champaign, we got less than a half a dozen. You can be successful with generic (general) keywords but be aware that it is much more difficult to get top positions in the search engines with general keywords.

Selecting Keywords

Here is a list of considerations when selecting keywords.

Be specific with your keywords

When you begin to optimize your site for keywords, start with specific keywords and work your way over time to the more general. As already mentioned, the more specific your keywords are, the more likely that your site will be found. Depending on your keywords, you may never achieve top ten ranking but with more specific keywords your chances are much greater.

Use keyword phrases

As stated earlier, keyword phrases are simply multiple keywords strung together to form a single query term. Keyword phrases allow the person doing the search to narrow down his or her target topic to a manageable number if listings. Just because the keyword phrase is specific that doesn't mean that you won't get very many hits. Many keyword phrases using specific words will generate thousands of hits for you.

Put yourself in the customers shoes

Think like your customer. Ask yourself the question, "If I were one of my customers (or potential customers), what would I type in to find my particular page?" If it's possible, ask your customers what they would type in to find your service. You might be surprised what they might say.

Use a thesaurus and other periodicals

Look up your keywords in a thesaurus and you might find some ideas that your never would have thought of. If you don't have one, you can find one at your library, your bookstore or sometimes there is even one in your word processing program. There are even a few on the web. Try www.thesaurus.com.

If you belong to a trade organization, industry group or other business related group, chances are that you receive periodicals, magazines and other printed matter from these sources. Skip through these to see what terms you might come up with.

Use your goals to select your words

Select your keywords in relation to your business goals. Use your existing mission statement or business plan if you have one. Write out a description of you business, the products or services you sell, your objectives and market and use that material for your inspiration. Sit down and brainstorm. Just start writing everything that comes into your head. You can sort them out later. Try association. What words do you associate with your keywords? Use related words and ideas to guide you.

Consider common misspellings

Sometime people consistently misspell certain words. When typing on the Internet mistakes are often made. Try typing your keywords real fast on your keyboard so you make some mistakes. Other might do the same. If you have keywords that are commonly misspelled, try them. It might bring in more traffic than you think.

Use Regional Information

Don't forget to use regional information. Don't just use your city and state as individual keywords but also make them part of your keyword phrases. Many people search this way. Don't forget this important way fo getting regional visitors to your site.

Think about word stems

A large percentage of the search engines use stemming or stems, where the search engine searches based on the root word and variations of that term. Especially if you are trying to narrow down the number of keywords you will be able to use, consider this technique. For example, add and "s" to make your words more accessible in case people type in either the singular or the plural. For instance, the words foods and food both contain the stem food and the words teach, teaching, teacher, and teachers all contain the stem teach. You get the idea.

Avoid Kill Words

Search engines ignore certain words because they are so common that they just take up space and slow down searches. These words are called kill words. You should avoid all kill words in your keyword phrases. Common kill words are, a, an, and, at, by, for, in, of, that, the, to, too, Web, and with.

Check out the competition

Look at the keywords that your competition is using especially if they are getting top listings on the search engines. Don't think that they won't do the same. Use the view source mentioned earlier to see their meta-tags, which contain the keywords and description that they are using.

Titles are Real Important

As we learned earlier, your title is very important for several reasons. All search engines display the page's title so every surfer will read it an make a decision whether to click on your link or not. You want to have you keywords or keyword phrase in the title because this is one of the major "weighting" techniques that the search engine uses to evaluate the relevancy of you page. The more relevant that it considers your title goes along way to pushing your page's listing closer to the top.

But there is also another reason that you want to have the perfect title. You want the surfer to click on your link once he or she sees it. Therefore, your title must not only contain your keywords and phrases but it also must sound appealing to the surfer. You need to use some salesmanship.

It's a little hard to fit a sales pitch into just a few words but it's worth a try. The maximum length of your title will vary depending on which search engine you are optimizing. The maximum length of the title will range from about 40 characters (Yahoo) to 115 characters (HotBot). Below are the approximate maximum lengths of titles allowed by each search engine:

· AltaVista - 78 Characters
· Excite - 70 Characters
· HotBot - 115 Characters
· InfoSeek - 75 Characters
· Lycos - 60 Characters
· Northern Light - 80 Characters
· WebCrawler - 60 Characters
· Yahoo! - 40 Characters

Let's say we need a title of 60 characters maximum. Which of these two titles would you rather click on?

1.) James Burch Commercial Real Estate - Champaign Illinois Area

2.) James Burch Commercial Real Estate - Champaign's #1 Agency

Like I said, it's a fine line between writing for the search engines and for the surfers but you should try. If the title wasn't for the main page, which would require the business name, it would be a little easier but you get the idea. Right? Both examples would be very similar as far as the search engine rating but the second title should be more effective because it's more persuasive.

When you are writing your title, try to put yourself in the surfer's shoes. What would he or she most prefer to click on?

Another reason for keywords in the title
Yesterday, I was on the phone twice with representatives for goto.com buying keywords for some of my clients who wanted them (we will talk more about buying keyword in the next lesson).

Even though the search engine wasn't going to use the keywords in the title for ranking (that's what you pay for), both representatives stressed the importance of having my keyword in my title and description. They said that their statistics show that the surfers are much more likely to click on a link if the keywords are prominent. They ought to know!

Think about these ideas while formulating the title and description of your site:

  • Don't use a boring or dull title: Use your company name in your title if you have to (on your index page), but for the rest of your pages be descriptive and enticing. You might also consider doorway pages to optimize your company name as well as the rest of your keywords and phrases (see the next chapter.).

  • Spend time on your web page's titles: your title is the only thing you can guarantee the surfer will see when he or she searches for your keywords. Make sure that your title is compelling as well as appropriate.

  • Your title and description advertise your site. In addition to carefully observing and measuring keyword frequency and prominence, professionally and persuasively sell your unique selling proposition to prospects and customers.
Sometimes it's hard to he number one on the search engine hit list. You might try hard and only reach number three or even lower if the engine has a lot of paid for keywords in your category. If your title and description are compelling, it makes up a little for being a little farther down the list. After all, the people who are paying for those keywords are probably rich and lazy anyway therefore their titles will suck. Yours won't and you'll win the hits and the customers.

Your USP

In any advertising media, the importance of differentiating your marketing message from your competitors is paramount. In 1960, the chairman of an advertising agency named Rosser Reeves came up with a term he called the Unique Selling Proposition or USP.

The idea behind the USP is that each advertisement must offer the prospect a specific unique benefit. This benefit differentiates the company from all of its competitors in the form of a proposition thus the term USP, Unique Selling Proposition.

Since 1960, large companies have become that way by spending millions defining, creating and perpetuating their USPs. What is your USP? It's the thing that makes you different. It's what sets you apart from the crowd. Offer your customers the ultimate advantage or make a powerful promise. Be professional, but make your message as strong as you can.

Two examples that emphasize the importance of effective titles and descriptions follow:

Which do you think will prove most effective?

TITLE: James Burch Commercial Real Estate

DESCRIPTION: James Burch can help you find the business or commercial property you need in Champaign Urbana.

TITLE: 10 Questions to Ask a Champaign Commercial Real Estate Broker
DESCRIPTION: An interview with James Burch, licensed Commercial Real Estate Broker and life long Champaign resident. Learn how to be in the "right" location and spend less so you can invest more.

Here the UPS is a little hidden but it's there. Can you find it?

The title offers a benefit. Advice. It gives search engine users a reason to click, to find out what questions they should ask and the answers to those questions. The description builds trust (credibility) and offers another teaser (benefit), to learn how to spend les and get more. Who could resist? It screams that James Burch is the expert you want to help you when you purchase commercial real estate in Champaign.

Search the Internet for you keywords. Make a special note of which titles and descriptions get your attention and those that don't. Don't get to wild here though with your promises. You want them to click, not to scare them off.

Analyze Your Title and Description, keeping in mind your USP. Think about:

  • Are your title and description attention getting yet appropriate?
  • When a search engine user reads your page's title or description will they feel compelled to visit your page?
  • Are your title and description interesting? Will the search engine user to want to learn more what you are offering?
  • Does your title and description offer help to solve a problem or reach a goal?

<TITLE> is one html tag you should learn
The Title tag (<TITLE>) is the most important HTML tag because all search engines consider the keywords in the Title tag and give these keywords substantial weight in their rating systems. Search engines display the Title tag as the title of your web page on their search lists plus it is displayed in the browser once the surfer visits your page.

Luckily the html is very easy to learn. Although most web editors have a little box somewhere you can change the title and most of the time I enter it this way but many times it quicker just to type it in.

It should be the first pair of tags after the initial <html> tag. The format is <title>title goes here</title>. Jus type your title between the two tags. What could be easier?

What about Multiple Keywords in your page's title?

Even though this seems like a good idea it can actually make your site register lower on the hit list. Several search engines, Infoseek and AltaVista for example, penalize pages that list keywords multiple times within a single Title tag.

The problem is some search engines actually prefer two or even more in the title. If are having trouble getting high rankings, it might be because you have repeated a keyword in your page's title. This is also true of the other elements of the page (we'll get into that later) but in this case "more is not better". The way I think of it is when a search engines counts to many words it assigns you an X. Each X denotes a penalty of negative percentage or so many positions down. The more Xs you get the farther down the list you are pushed.

The way I do it is I start out with the keyword once in the title and if that doesn't get me the rating, I'll add change it to contain a repeated keyword later. My rule of thumb is, put the minimal (or optimum) amount of keywords in each part of your page (I'll explain more about the other parts in the next lesson). In some cases, you might find out that a one keyword title yields a better rating, such as: <TITLE>Keyword</TITLE>.


Prominence means how close a keyword is to the beginning of a title (or within another page element). It's best to position your most important keyword(s) or keyword phrase(s) at or near the beginning of your title. This is what is known as "improving a keyword's prominence."

The closer your keyword is to the beginning of a HTML tag, Web page, or other HTML element, the higher the search engine will rank your page during its database indexing process.

Tips for Writing Titles

As you probably realize by now, getting a high listing for your web page can very competitive and is definitely worth understanding. Understanding of the way the surfers and the search engines "think" is typically the key to a successful search engine position for your pages.

  • Since you have more words to persuade and entice a surfer to your pages, a longer title is often better.
  • Don't overuse your keywords within a title (or in the rest of your page).
  • Place your most important keywords or a key word phrase near the beginning of a title.
  • Never be tempted into using text in ALL CAPS. This is considered rude and annoying in the world of the web. It is tantamount to screaming at someone. Plus, words in ALL CAPS are more difficult to read.

Don't think you are in a phone book or dictionary.
You might think that starting your title with a number or the letter "A" will improve search engine placement like in a phone book or dictionary(arranged alphabetically). Search engines don't give you a better rating for starting your tile with an "A" or a "Z." They do give you a better rating if your keyword starts the title though.

Directories are different though. Normally computers sort the alphabet differently than you may think. The letter "A" does not come first. A space comes first. It is followed by the characters on the top row of keys on a keyboard, then by numbers, and finally by letters.

Do it for real: Titles & Descriptions

  1. Create an effective title for your web page.
    Review the following questions:
    • Are your title and description attention getting yet appropriate?
    • When a search engine user reads your page's title or description will they feel compelled to visit your page?
    • Are your title and description interesting? Will the search engine user to want to learn more what you are offering?
    • Does your title and description offer help to solve a problem or reach a goal?
  2. Write at least five titles for your page; analyze and compare them and put the one you think is best on your page.
  3. Write at least five descriptions for your site; analyze them and choose the one you believe will be most effective. Review the ideas from question one. Add the description to the meta tag.

    <meta name="keywords" content="put your keywords here">

  4. Resubmit your pages to the search engine you have been practicing on to see what changes your new title and description make to your placement.

Are You Ranked TOP 30

You have learned in this course that some search engines judge your Web site according to the number of sites that link to it (its popularity). You have also been working to establish reciprocal links. You should work to establish additional reciprocal links each week.

Frequently check the number of Web sites that link to yours. Increasing your Web site's popularity is a process that is important enough to warrant the attention of you or others in your organization on a continual basis.

Increase Your Ranking

Have you made changes in all the suggested areas?

· Title tags
· META Description tags
· META Keyword tags
· Heading Level tags
· Anchor tags
· body text
· <IMG> tag ALT attribute values
· Comment tags
· Input hidden tags

  1. reduce the amount of text in your doorway pages to increase keyword relevancy

  2. make the Title tag the first element in the source code of each page

  3. do not make your keywords and keyword phrases too general

Consider these areas, as well as other areas outlined in the previous lessons. Try to achieve a top 30 ranking for most of your Web pages.

Successful Web Promotion Strategies

Creating Top Ranking Pages

The following actions can help you improve your Web site's search engine ranking.

1. Create short, focused doorway pages regarding a particular topic that emphasize a keyword, phrase, or select group of keywords. Do not allow a single doorway page to encompass several topics; keep each doorway page focused on one point (keyword).

2. Begin your pages with the <TITLE> tag. Ensure that the Title tag immediately follows the <HEAD> tag and is not placed after other META tags.

3. Add META tags, particularly META Description and META Keyword tags.

4. Add keywords to Comment tags. A Comment tag is used to describe something within your HTML code that is not displayed within a Web page. Some search engines do not consider Comment tags for relevancy, but others do.

5. Add keywords to Heading Level tags. Do not make the mistake of simply using a larger font size for your page's headings. Use the official HTML Heading Level tags (<H I>, <H2>, <H3>, etc.).

6. If your pages incorporate frames, use the <NO FRAMES> tag to include 1) links to your other pages and 2) one or two sentences describing your site (that include keywords).

7. Make the first words in the body text of your pages keyword rich; many search engines focus on the first 25 words within a page to determine relevancy.

8. Add keywords to your hyperlinks that link to your other pages.

9. Add keywords to <IMG> tag ALT attributes. In some cases, Web viewers with older computers or slow Internet connections turn off images, resulting in viewing Web pages with no pictures or graphics. The purpose of <IMG> tag ALT attributes is to describe these pictures. Use the ALT attribute to your advantage by inserting your keywords, either after you describe the pictures or simply by themselves.

10. Determine your page's keyword weight. Count both the number of times you use a keyword and the total number of words in the viewable text of each page. (Hint: you can cut and paste the viewable text of a Web page into your word processor to easily count for you.) Then, divide the number of occurrences of your keyword phrase by the total number of words on your page. The result is your page's keyword weight. For example, if you use your keyword phrase five times on a page and there are 50 words on the page, your keyword weight is 10%.

Try to maintain a keyword weight of between 3% and 8% (note that different engines have different preferences regarding keyword weight).

11. Resubmit your page if you need an extra boost in ranking. Several search engines are known to score newly submitted pages slightly better. You might make a minor change, such as changing the "last revision" date at the bottom of the page, so the content is considered new by the search engine's spider.

Optimize Your Pages

When you optimize your pages for a search engine, you are actually optimizing your pages based on that search engine's ranking criteria (indexing scheme). This means that what you do to improve your ranking in one engine may actually harm your ranking within another.

After your pages are optimized and submitted to the appropriate search engines and you are pleased with your rankings, continue to check your rankings as frequently as possible. If your rankings slip, attempt to determine why and make the necessary changes.

Continue to tweak your Web site; the difference that a professional, successful Web site can make to your business can be remarkable (and displayed prominently on your bottom line).

Need to Block Spiders from Indexing Your Site?

If you have reasons to want to block search engine spiders from indexing your site, read Robots Exclusion at:


In brief, the META Robots tag allows you to specify that a particular page should not be indexed by a search engine. An example of a META Robot tag appears below.


The only problem with this tag is that not all search engines support it. As an alternative, all the major search engines support the ROBOTS.TXT convention of blocking indexing.

Use Software to Track Site Traffic

Common ("C") logs, or referrer logs, are important to Web designers. These logs provide valuable information regarding the visitors to your site. Most Web servers provide C logs, but you may have to ask your Web hosting service to establish this service for you.

More Success Strategy Information

FrontPage 97 and 98, Microsoft Word, HoTMetal, PRO, and other HTML editors insert the < T I T LE > tag after other, less important, ME TA tags. This can hurt your Web site's rankings. Always check the HTML code generated by these editors; if your HTML editor is inserting its own tags (which are basically advertisements for the HTML editor itselt), simply delete them.

Factors Regarding a Successful Your Web Site

Regretfully, the length of this course does not allow the review of all factors regarding successful Web site promotion. However, remember the following points:

· update your site on a regular basis

· check often for broken links

· add new material to your site
(entice your visitors to return often)

· offer sales and promotions

· ensure that your site hierarchy and navigation scheme are simple

Check Links of Your Web Site

NetMechanic can locate broken links at your site (free of charge). You can also subscribe to the NetMechanic services. For a fee, it will monitor your Web site 24 hours per day.


Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

Search engines sort, or index, web sites and pages in their databases according to the keywords contained in each page. Because of this, it is crucial to ensure that the keywords you have chosen are implemented throughout your site (on each page).

Consider this: people visit search engines to locate information or specific Web sites. They enter keywords or keyword phrases to fine?tune their searches. Search engines then sort through the web sites in their databases according to the keywords contained in a web site in order to produce the search results (hit list).


As you learned in the previous Lesson, the frequency with which your Web site is listed in a search engine's hit list and its proximity to the top of the hit list is called relevancy.

Relevancy is determined by two primary factors:

1. The exact keywords by which each search engine indexes your site and references pages from your site during a user query (search)
2. The frequency with which your keywords are searched for by users.

Regretfully, relevancy criteria differ from one search engine to another. This is another reason why it is so important to be familiar with the unique features of each major search engine.

If you organize your keywords in a consistent manner with a search engine's relevancy criteria, your ranking with that particular engine will improve.

Relevancy Criteria

Prominence of your keywords: Ensure that your title and/or description begin with one of your keywords. Sometimes it is difficult to write an effective title and description by beginning with your keyword phrase, but doing so is worthwhile regarding the relevancy of your Web pages.

Frequency of your keywords: Try to include your keyword several times in the title and description, but do not get excessive. Some search engines will penalize you if you repeat a keyword too many times (this is called keyword stuffing). Be sure to read each search engine's submission guidelines.

Repetition of your keywords: Repeat keywords in a Web page as many times as possible (up to 3?7 times in each META tag).

"Weight" of your keywords Keyword "weight" refers to the number of keywords appearing on a Web page in relation to the total number of words appearing on that page.

An effective technique: create several smaller pages gust a paragraph each) which emphasize a particular keyword. If you keep the overall words on each page to a minimum, you will increase the "weight" of each keyword.

Proximity of your keywords Keyword proximity is the placement of keywords on a Web page in relation to each other. For example, the phrase "stained windows" will outrank a page that mentions "stained glass windows" when the phrase for which a user is searching is "stained windows."

Keyword placement on a page The exact location of your keywords on a page is very important. Keywords placed in the title of a page or the heading have more relevancy. In some search engines, keywords in Anchor tags (links) add more relevancy to a page.

Site popularity One measure of a site's "value" is the number of other Web sites that link to it. This is why you should solicit other sites to link to yours. Consider requesting reciprocal linking: if you link to others, they may agree to link to you.

Placement & Weight

Do not provide detailed product or service information on your home page. Instead, design 1) a page for each product or service that contains a brief description of the product and 2) a link to that page from your home page (or main products/services page). This will allow you to be more specific with your keywords for each product page and increase the "weight" of the keywords contained therein.

Determining Keyword Weight

How can you determine your page's keyword weight? Count the number of times you used the keywords and the total number of words in the viewable text of your page. Divide the number of occurrences of the keyword phrase by the total number of viewable words.

# keywords / total # words = keyword weight

Web page keyword weight formula

To save time and effort, you should copy and paste the viewable text into a word processor and have your software perform the counting function. In Microsoft Word, this function is found under File, Properties, Statistics.

If you use your keyword Phrase five times on the page, and there are 50 words on the page, your keyword weight is 10%.

Optimal Keyword Weight

A rule of thumb regarding keyword weight: maintain a keyword weight of between three and eight percent. Note that different search engines have different keyword weight preferences.

· The location (proximity to top of page) and frequency of keywords affect your search engine ranking.
· You need to include keywords in as many places as possible to affect your site's relevancy in search engine rankings.

Keyword Placement

Below are the areas of a Web page in which keywords can?and should?be positioned:

1.) Keywords in Title tag : <TITLE>Parkland College: The Leading Vendor of High Quality Internet Training Materials< / T I TLE >

You can sometimes gain an advantage by including more than one <TITLE> tag on a single page. However, some engines ? such as AltaVista and Infoseek ? will penalize your page if it contains more than one <TITLE> tag. Therefore, you may desire to avoid the use of multiple Title tags in a single Web page altogether.

2.) Keywords in META Description tag :

3.) Keywords in META Keyword tag :

4.) Keywords in Heading Level tag:
<H2 >Our Products</H2>

5.) Keywords in opening Anchor tag (link):
<A HREF=http://www.ddcpub.com/keyword.htm>

6.) Keywords in page body text: Because some search engines retrieve the first few lines of your Web page to describe your site on a hit list, be sure to insert a number of important keywords in the first few lines of the text on your page.

7.) Keywords in ALT value of <IMG> tag:
<IMG SRC=model.jpg ALT="Tire Cleaning Supplies">

Web designers use the ALT attribute value to describe an image 1) that is in the process of being downloaded or 2) when a user's mouse hovers over the image. Adding keywords to ALT attributes will increase the relevancy of your pages in those search engines that recognize ALT text.

8.) Keywords in Comment tag :
<!-- insert keywords here -->

Several of the important search engines (such as Infoseek and AltaVista) do not consider Comment tags for relevancy. However, you should utilize Comment tags for the many search engines that do.

9. ) Keywords in Input Hidden tag:
VALUE="insert keywords here">

10.) Keywords contained in URL site address:
www. hotsauces. com

Must you make changes in all categories listed on the previous page? No.

In fact, you may desire to test the effectiveness of the individual categories by making changes in just a few areas. This will allow you to note how these changes affect your ranking before making additional changes. In this manner, you can more easily understand what works and what does not.

More <META> Information

Additional information regarding META tags can be found at the Search Engine Watch Web site on a page titled How to Use META Tags. This page can be found at: searchenginewatch.internet.com/webmasters/meta.html

Factors That Affect Ranking

Assume your site is comprised of 1,000 pages. Remember the following rules:

· You should include META tags on every page.
· Submit all of your important pages to each search engine
   (do not rely on spiders).
· Manual submission of pages ensures faster indexing.

Size of Graphics: If your page consists primarily of images and graphics, be sure to use META Description tags and META Keyword tags to describe the page.

Colors: Some search engines penalize you for "hiding" words on a page by using the same color for text and background.

Overall Layout: Keyword prominence may be affected if an image appears before body copy on a page. You should place text before graphics. Some search engines assign weight to the first 25 words on a page. In most cases, the first words receive better ranking than the last words.

Words as Graphics: GIF or JPEG files that spell out a word or words.

JavaScript: can reduce your ranking because it pushes your keywords down a page.

Dynamic HTML (DHTML): Dynamic HTML, generating pages via CGI, and database delivery typically have a negative effect on
rank because search engine spiders do not interpret them well and often cannot index them. Consider creating static pages when possible, perhaps updating pages with a database (but not generating them).

Tables: Remember that tables can "push" your text further down the page, making keywords less relevant because they appear lower on the page. This is because tables "break apart" when search engines read them.

URL Address: Avoid symbols in your URLs, especially the "?" symbol.

Composition: Search engines do not interpret symbols well.

Exercise: Analyzing Your Site Popularity & HTML Code

1. Gauge the popularity of your site by determining the number of outside Web sites that contain hypertext links to your site. Visit AltaVista (www .altavista.com and type your URL into the query field?without the "www" (domain name prefix), as follows: link: yourcompany. com (i.e. "link:quessing.com")

2. Study Infoseek's submission guidelines in the Appendix. Also, read Infoseek's submission guidelines posted at the Web site (www. inf oseek. com). In order to submit to any search engine, you must know and understand that engine's quirks and preferences. Guidelines for AltaVista are also available in Appendix A: Alta Vista Submission Guidelines.

3. Your main assignment is to analyze the HTML coding of your own site and determine what changes should be made based on the keywords you have chosen during this Lesson and important relevancy factors. When you have determined the changes that need to be made, make the changes.

Consider adding keywords in the following sections of your Web pages:

Title tags META Description tags META Keyword tags Heading Level tags Anchors tags Body text of page (any text between opening and closing Body tags) <IMG> tag ALT attribute value Input tag hidden text URL/site address

Tips for Positioning Keywords

Position keywords toward the beginning of titles, heading levels, and descriptions.

Ensure that your Title tag is the first tag on your page. Some HTML editors default to inserting tags before the Title tag. Check your source code; if your HTML editor does this, delete such irrelevant tags.

Make your title long, but do not repeat your important keyword(s) in the Title tag more than once?this is very important (for many search engines [Infoseek, AltaVista]).

Reduce the content of your home page if it is long by creating several smaller pages.

Try to include keywords and synonyms of your keywords throughout the text of the page.

Remember the importance of keyword proximity and try to keep your keyword phrases together.

Resubmit all of your pages to Infoseek. If you have more than 50 pages, split your submissions over the course of a few days. If Infoseek does not seem to be working properly, use AltaVista. Study AltaVista's submission guidelines in the Appendix.

5. Check your current ranking by running a search for your keyword phrases in Infoseek (or AltaVista). Because it takes 1 to 2 days for a site to be indexed in Infoseek, you will probably be moving on to the following Lesson before you see these results.

How have the changes you have made affected your ranking in Infoseek (or AltaVista)?


Keyword and Key Phrase Finder


This is a handy tool to see what keywords and key phrases to choose. The tool is actually designed to find search terms to bid on for overture.com's search engine but you can use it for several functions:

  1. See what key phrases people are typing in with your keyword.
  2. See if your keyword or key phrase is viable
  3. See how many people approximately typed in a keyword or phrase last month.
  1. Type your keyword or phrase into the tool.
  2. Take the number it gives you and divide it by .013
  3. This should give you an approximation of how many times your keyword or phrase was typed in last month.
The reason this works is because currently overture.com represents approximately 1.3 % of the searches conducted on the Internet. If the statistics change, you need to adjust your proxy number accordingly.

Current bids can be found at: http://www.overture.com/d/search/tools/bidtool/

Domain Name Choice Tips

What I did during my Y2K vacation

This page with the weird name has some interesting stuff at the bottom about which domain names are still available.

Sections include:

  • 2- and 3-character .com domain names
  • 2- and 3-character .net domain names
  • 2- and 3-character .org domain name:
  • Word domain names
  • Phrase domain names
  • Networds!
  • Composite domain names
  • The 4 and 5 letter word-based domain names

In order for your web page to be found you need to index it. Meta tags are one way of indexing your page or your site.

Meta tags are part of the HEAD of your document and should be placed between the <HEAD></HEAD> pair.

The two main meta tags that we will be concerned with for this class are keywords and description.

Keywords are the words and phrases that people might type in to a search engine in order to find you. The description is the description that the search engines search and display to people who query the engine.

The syntax is:
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="keyword1, keyword2, etc.">
<META NAME="description: CONTENT="your description">

Note: anytime you use a parameter that requires quotation marks, you need to be sure that the line does not wrap. In other words, make sure all information between quotation marks is on one line.

Design Notes
The material in the book is fairly comprehensive. I did want to point out that what is acceptable in one media may not be acceptable or best when designing for the net.

One big mistake most beginning web designers is to waist valuable space in the initial page with a huge logo. The idea of having a large logo comes from print advertising where you are competing with editorial content on an adjacent page. The same thing goes with very large headlines. You may want to emphasize with large text on the web but be careful not to overdo it. You want to make the best use of the space you have on the first page (and all the pages for that manner). Remember that you only get one "first impression."

An important idea is repetition. When you repeat images such as logos, design features, and backgrounds, the visitor feels comfortable because of the consistency from page to page. Also by repeating images, the browser doesn't have to download them again which makes your pages load faster.

See the textbook for a review. The main thing you need to be aware of is the use of the different formats. JPG is usually for photographs or pictures with a lot of color graduations. GIF is better for line drawings or images with large blocks of a single color. Also only gif (gif89a) supports transparency and animation.

Be sure to use your keywords in the image's alt tag for extra points on search engine palcement. <IMG SRC="your.gif" alt="keyword here">

Images should be compressed for use on the web. I slow loading site is usually an unsucessful one. I quickly went over in class how to do this in Adobe Photoshop by reducing the colors for gif and compression ratios for JPG. Many people use Photoshop to compress their graphics so they load faster.

Lately, I have been using Macromedia'a Fireworks to compress my images. Fireworks has features that make it ideal for image compression. It blows away Photoshop in this department. It also has an amazing array of other features. I highly suggest that you purchase a copy especially if you use Dreamweaver or Flash.

An alternative way to compress your graphics is to use a commercial service like www.optiview.com

Keywords and Keyword Phrases
In order to find the best keywords and keyword phrases for your site, I have supplied you with the address of a database that keeps track of which keywords were typed in, how many times they were typed in and what combinations of words were combined with that particular keyword.

Follow the directions on the handout to find the approximate number of times your keyword was typed in last month.

Domain Names
I supplied you with a site that breaks down what domain names are taken and which ones might still be available. It is interesting to note that no 2 letter domain names are left with the com extension. By having a short domain name, experts say that it is easier to type in and easier to remember. As of the end of last year, the maximum length allowable for a domain name is now 56 letters, up from 26 previously. Note that at this time, Netscape seems to have a bug sometimes with domain names over 49 letters. Also note that some older software will not accommodate the longer domain names and you may need to update your software if you use them. The moral of the story is, if there is a domain name available that you want, grab it before someone else does. It may not be there tomorrow.

Although the programming is beyond the scope of this introductory class, a professional web site should try to pre-load graphics and other download intensive items (JAVA programs, large pages, etc.) so the pages will load much quicker and your visitors won't have to wait. Many fine pre-load scripts are available on the net, which you can download and past into your page. Many are free. If you have pages that will be seen in a consecutive order, you should definitely consider using a pre-load script.

Robots for submitting your site

World Submitter

This site offers free submissions for up to five sites, which are saved so you don't have to type them in again for free. Even though the basic service is free, you are still required to sign up to receive your login and password. A more comprehensive submission program (up to 30 web pages) is available of a monthly fee.

World Submitter now submits URLs to over 1640 search engines including Yahoo!, Open Directory Project (DMOZ), Hot Bot, AltaVista and many other top worldwide search engines/directories as well as Country-specific search engines/directories. They also submit to an amazing 135000+ FFA (Free For All) link pages and 51000+ Classified Ads sites! All free and no catch ever!

World Submitter is so cool that I bought the premium membership and I think it is the best submission service on the net (and believe me, I have looked.)


Jim Tools

Jim Tools offers submissions and more. Register with 46 major search engines. Put your link on 1,160 FFA pages. Submit to 20 Spam Free FFA pages and 144 directories. Before you submit, read the Meta Tag Tutorial, generate great Meta tags. Visit Search Engine Forums to stay on top of the engines. LinkTool makes sure that every link on your page is working. PositionTool checks how well your page ranks at major search engines.