Low-cost website promotion for small businesses
September 4, 2002
Promoting your small business website in the search engines can be a
daunting task. Use of free submissions and link popularity is a good starting
point for your website promotion campaign.
Start with the basis of good search engine and directory listings. Make
sure you read and follow each search engine and directory's rules for
submissions. Before making submissions, always verify that all your website
links and pages work, with no pages "under construction".
Search Engines and Directories
Begin with the Open Directory Project (ODP http://www.dmoz.org).
ODP is free and provides secondary search results to many other search
engines. (Secondary search results are search results that come up after
the primary search results of a search engine are shown.) Google uses
the ODP directory results in their search engine results.
It is preferable to secure a listing in ODP before submitting your website
to Yahoo!, but it often takes time to become listed in ODP and may not
be possible. If you can afford a yearly $299.00 subscription to submit
to Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com),
do so. If you are a non-commercial website, you may be able to submit
your website for free. You will find the rules about free submissions
when you click on the "suggest a site" link at the bottom of
your chosen category page.
Google is the top search engine and one you want to be listed in. Google
provides secondary search results to other search engines and directories.
If you do B2B (business-to-business) with other companies, Business.com
is a reasonable $99.00 subscription per year and gives you the opportunity
to list not only your home page, but four other pages from your website.
The Business.com search results are used by many other business sites
for search results.
Inktomi is a good choice for a reasonably priced link (yearly fee of
$39.00 for first page, $25.00 per page 2-1000 for additional pages) and
will get you into secondary search results for the MSN search engine.
Position Technologies has a good submission program available for Inktomi
listings are part of the LookSmart directory, which provides primary search
listings for MSN. You must sign-up to become a Zeal editor and pass a
test before being able to add your non-commercial submissions to Zeal.
Articles and tutorials are good choices to use when submitting non-commercial
information from your website to Zeal.com.
Many of the major search engines still include a free submission section
for their listings. Paid Inclusion and PPC (pay-per-click) are always
the faster choices, but if your budget is limited you may want to consider
submitting and waiting the 6-8 weeks (or more) it often takes to see your
listings show up.
Major search engines providing free submissions include: Google (http://www.google.com),
and AlltheWeb (http://www.alltheweb.com).
Secondary search engines you can submit to for free include Gigablast
and ScrubtheWeb (http://www.scrubtheweb.com).
One smaller directory is JoeAnt (http://www.joeant.com).
Link Popularity Methods
If you are a small business, seek out business directories to submit
to, especially those directly related to your business.
Looking in Yahoo! and ODP categories for business directories can be
very helpful in getting a start on your search for links.
For link popularity, searching in Google is a quick way to find suitable
websites to request links from or submit to.
Search for specialty search engines. If your business is in the medical
field, search for medical search engines.
When looking for link partners, select sites that reflect your website's
topic or subject. Links from sites that are not related to your site are
not weighted as heavily by the search engines in deciding how to rank
Visit your competition's websites. See how they are ranking in the search
engines and find out which keywords they are found under.
Link popularity is a very time-consuming activity, be prepared to spend
a minimum of 10-20 hours in order to start building your link popularity.
This may be a daunting enough task you might want to consider working
with a search engine marketing professional.
It is always a good idea to keep in mind that many tools are not "exact"
and can vary due to the search engine algorithms changing (which can be
often). I like to think of it as an "approximation" of the information
I am seeking.
The Google Toolbar (http://toolbar.google.com)
shows you the approximate link popularity of other websites (note the
green bar that says "PageRank" after downloading the tool),
as well as giving you choices such as checking backlinks (who is linking
to the webpage), similar pages, a cached snapshot of the page and more
when you right-click on the web page. Visit your competition's webpage,
then use the toolbar to view who is linking to them.
The PageRank and backlink information is very helpful in regards to researching
your competition. The backlinks you find via the toolbar may show you
some quality websites to submit links to. Seek out websites with PageRank
4 and up to get the most out of your submitted or reciprocal link. Hovering
your mouse over the Google Toolbar tells you the page rank of the page
you are visiting.
To learn about writing an email request for a reciprocal link and other
linking strategies, visit Eric Ward's website (http://www.ericward.com/articles/index.html).
The Overture suggestion tool (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion)
is a free way to check how popular your keyword phrases are in comparison
to the monthly results of Overture. This will not give you a complete
picture since Overture is used on many but not all search engines. It
will help you decide which keyword phrases are the best choice, as well
as as variations on your keyword phrases.
measures your link popularity, and that of three of your competitors.
The report is free and gives you a benchmark showing where your popularity
lies online vs your competitors.
Lastly, if you want to "do it yourself", the top places I've
found to research and learn from are Search Engine Watch (http://www.searchenginewatch.com)
and Webmaster World (http://www.webmasterworld.com).
Search Engine Watch and Webmaster World's sister site, Search Engine World
both have free newsletters full of information to help you promote your
|About the author
Daria Goetsch is the founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant
for Search Innovation Marketing (http://www.searchinnovation.com),
a Search Engine Promotion company serving small businesses. She has
specialized in search engine optimization since 1998, including three
years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly & Associates,
a technical book publishing company.
Copyright © 2002-2004 Search Innovation Marketing. http://www.searchinnovation.com
All Rights Reserved.
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