Seeding the Engines: Part 2

Last week, I mentioned the importance of understanding the basic search engine optimization (SEO) tasks (analysis, optimization, submission, and monitoring) and reviewed keyword-phrase analysis and content optimization.

This week, I’ll cover submissions and monitoring.

Submitting and Registering Your Site Correctly

Each search engine and directory has specific criteria and requirements when accepting a request to be listed in its database. For the best results, it is common professional practice to submit all URLs by hand.

Submission Software

Some people like to use submission software programs. If you do use them, it’s doubly important to comply with each search engine’s guidelines. When you submit your pages, you reveal your location and IP address to the engine or directory. So if you abuse the engine’s or directory’s submission guidelines, you may find your IP address blocked from future submissions.

Manual Submissions

Generally speaking, each engine or directory will post its “Add URL” instructions and links from the home page. You can drill in from there and follow the instructions as you go. You may want to create a bookmark for the specific “Add URL” page for future use.

Directories

Directories, such as Yahoo, LookSmart, and Open Directory Project, require hand submission because you have to select a category. Make this selection carefully so you end up in the best category.

Dynamically Generated Web Pages

Depending on the engine, when a Web site has dynamically generated Web pages, it is possible to identify several static pages. You’ll want to optimize and submit these pages carefully.

Search Engine Guidelines

It is important to carefully evaluate search engine guidelines prior to submitting, particularly if you have several pages to submit. Some engines may accept only five pages in a 24-hour period, whereas other engines may accept more or less. If you don’t comply with each engine’s specific guidelines, your pages may not get registered.

Confirm Registration

Once you have submitted your pages, it is necessary to confirm they have been registered. Each engine or directory will post a timeline as to when you can expect your URL to be registered and listed within the engine’s or directory’s database. Some engines and SEO technicians call this “indexing.” Some engines may index new pages in two weeks, others may index new pages in two months. Sometimes we’ve seen engines take up to six or eight months! As I’ve said before, an SEO campaign is a long-term project.

Page Query

After you have waited the allotted period of time, you must then query the engine or directory for your page(s). Doing this confirms your submission was successful and that your page or pages are in the engine or directory database. I call this process “registration” — you are now registered in the engine or directory. If, after the indexing period, you find that you are not registered, you must resubmit. But resubmit only after you have confirmed that you are not registered. There are penalties for mass submissions or oversubmitting.

Monitor and Audit

Most engines or directories allow you to search for a URL by typing in a search URL (e.g., mydomainname.com). This will allow you to view and monitor the page(s) you have submitted and registered. If you have a lot of pages, you may want to acquire software to monitor your submissions and registrations. Some software, such as TopDog and WebPosition, has a reporting feature that will allow you to monitor several pages more easily.

Audit Your Results

Once you have monitored your pages across all the engines and directories, you will essentially be auditing the results. The results will indicate that you should either resubmit (because the URL was not found), reoptimize (because the URL was not found in the top 30), or not take any action (because the page was found in the top 30).

When using software for monitoring, auditing, or reporting, be judicious. These tasks should not be performed more than once or twice per month. Automatic or automated software monitoring and reporting can draw undesired attention away from the engine, causing poor results.

Good Positioning Can Change

SEO is an ongoing process that does not end once you have achieved a favorable position. With AltaVista receiving more than 1 million page submissions per day, this makes for a volatile environment. Good positioning can change from month to month, and that’s why you need maintenance and recurring verification and resubmission.

Despite all the ups and downs of listing and positioning, once you’ve incorporated all four tasks correctly into your SEO campaign, you will have seeded search engines and directories to deliver qualified visitors deep into your preferred content areas, which can be very effective for traffic generation. Targeted visitors will land exactly where you want them — on your product and service pages or in your commerce areas. The end result is highly qualified leads. In fact, LookSmart quotes industry-leading conversion rates of 5 to 10 percent for its Subsite Listings.

We’ve had a few clients drop our positioning services, only to rejoin and get seeded in the engines again two weeks later because they didn’t like the effects on their bottom line. Others, who have taken the time and effort to audit their server-file logs before and after an SEO campaign, have reported anywhere from a 150 percent up to 600 percent increase in search engine traffic.

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