How to Promote your Web Site

to Search Engines and how to use TITLE and Meta tags, keywords and description.

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Promotion Introduction




Engine Relationship InteractionFind the key engines to submit too first.

Submitting your site

Google | Alltheweb | AOL | AltaVista | Ask Jeeves | DMOZ | Excite | HotBot | Go | Inktomi | iwon | InfoSeek | Looksmart | Lycos | MSN | Northern Lights | Overture | Teoma | Yahoo | Vivisimo | WebCrawler

Improve your position


Web Site promotion Introduction

One of the best ways of promoting a web site is for the site to be listed on the main search engines, especially if the site is ranked so that the entry appears near the top of the list.

In order to promote a site on search engines, the web site designer must:

  • Prepare the web pages on the web site so that they are suitable for the sites submission to search engines.
  • Submit the site to Search engines, some of which require a fee.
  • Once listed you can then try to increase your ranking in the search engines list of web sites.

If you are creating a commercial site then a high ranking with search engines is a must. The following information will go a long way to achieving that success. This does not mean that the usual ways of promoting a business should be forgotten.

There are simple things you can do to promote a site. If you have created a site for your local church sports club, or pub then the provision of posters and the handing out of flyers with the web sites URL will help with promotion.

What you are about to learn is:

How to get your site onto search engine and Directory databases.

Before you submit your site must prepare your pages.

The main preparation is

  1. Keywords
  2. Title
  3. Description
  4. If possible obtain links from other sites to your site. This only works when the other site is a listed site.
    1. This is easy if you have 2 or more sites and at least 1 of them is listed. It is also better if the sites are similar in content.
    2. Ask a similar site for a reciprocal link. Why not ask me, see:
      1. Link to Us
      2. Students 2002
  5. Once you are on the database you can climb the ladder and try to improve your position in the rankings. Do this with:
  • Obtaining links from other sites to yours.
  • Obtain statistical information, then
  • Refine your keywords

Note: TITLE and META tags keywords and description are all placed within the HEAD section of your page


Good luck with your web site web page promotion and improving your ranking position.

For an example take my site Leeds site

A search on Google for either

Leeds guide
Leeds information

returns the site at the top of the returned results.


A Keyword can be either:

  • A word: pub, beer, cafe, Leeds, city,
  • A phrase: "ice cold beer", "fish and chips", "Leeds pubs", "city centre"

Choosing your sites keywords

If you wanted to find your site on the WWW what word, words or phrase would you search for in a search engine. These are the keywords that you should use on your page.

Example: Assume your site is for a riding school.

Lets look at a father who is looking for riding instruction for his daughter. What keywords might he enter into a search engine:

Jot down on a bit of paper what you would use, then compare to what I have suggested.

The following are 3 possible phrases that I think may be used, "horse riding", "riding school", "riding instruction" these phrases could also be entered as individual words. or other words that could appear may be: pony, equestrian, qualified, tack, clothing, equipment and perhaps specialised terminology of which I do not have a clue but the site owner will and you can obtain a list of these from your client.

Almost certainly the father will require the establishment to be near his home and will enter some sort of area location, such as City, borough, district or county. These should all be catered for on your site.

Think of the TV quiz show "Family Fortunes" and how diverse the publics answers are to questions, the same applies when trying to select keywords that the public will use.

Ask your friends and relatives for their lists. Now compare your list to the above, highlight any words or phrases that appear on both. These are then possible better keywords.

What you now have is a rough list.

Help with the selection of these words.

Method 1

Now compare your rough list with what is actually being searched for on the web. You can use a site to do this for you, part of the Google Adwords

Find keywords

Visit the above site and enter some of the suggested keywords, try both individual words and also phrases.

The list that is provided is the list of terms that have actual been searched for. The ones at the top of the list are used more often.

You can amend your rough list if you think this is required.

Method 2

Test out some terms on the Google search engine, try

horse "riding instruction" "west yorkshire"

Find a suitable site and have a look at it's source code. See which keywords they have used, and what's in the title, description etc.

Refine and amend your rough list of keywords

Prioritise the list so that the most important are at the top.

What do you do with your keywords

Once you have your list of keywords, there are 2 things to do with them:

  1. Enter them into a keyword META tag
  2. Place some of the most important into your pages title.
  3. Use each one of them 3 to 8 times on your web page, note that it is web page not web site. If you don't use them remove from the keyword META tag. You may be able to use them on another page.

The position on the page is important.

Keywords should be used as soon as possible on your page i.e. near the top of the page.


Tables whether invisible (border="0") or visible upset the top to bottom flow. Regard the left column as being nearer the top, followed by the next column to the right.

By convention this puts the site menu into a spot to use keywords.


Links are important in search engines and very important in Google so in the following code
<A href="page2.htm">Qualifications</A>
Qualifications is the important word. Use your keywords in links.

META tag - Keyword

On your Web page, within the HEAD section, you enter your keywords into a META tag as follows:

<META name="keywords" content="xxx,yyy,some phrase,xxxs">

  • The keywords are entered between the quotation marks following content.
  • Separate keywords with a comma, not a space.
  • Spaces are only used for a phrase as in the example ,some phrase, above
    • ,open university, is a typical example of a phrase.
    • Phrases are not limited to 2 words.
  • Place the most important word at the start of the list.
  • The plural of words can be listed. E.g. xxx,xxxs in the example.
  • Use phrases and single words.
    "fish and chips",fish,chips,chip"
    • The and in "fish and chips" will usually be ignored by search engines as are most 1-3 letter words non noun words.


  • You must use all your keywords on your page.
  • Repetition of keywords can be regarded as spam and you will not be listed.
    • The ideal number of times to use a keyword on that page is 3-8 times. 8 being better than 3.
  • The important keywords use near the top of your page, in the TITLE, and in links.
  • Take care of using keywords inside a table with regards to the top of the page.
    • All of the left column is nearer the top of the page than the second column and so on.


You want a sharp snappy title that contains as many of your keywords as possible. Don't list the keywords make the title readable. Usually the first several words of the title are displayed in a Search engine results, and also appear in the title bar of the browser.

<title>Site promotion in Search Engines</title>


The description is another META tag, of less importance than keywords. Only used by some of the engines.

<META name="description" content="How to promote your site">

Engine Relationship Interaction

The various engines often power or supply data to other engines. It is therefore useful to know these relationships to aid who you submit your site to.

Note: These relationships are changing all the time. Look for the words "powered by" or similar when using search engines.

  Supplies Data to
( main, paid, secondary, directory)

Receives data from
( main, paid, secondary, directory)

Alltheweb HotBot, Lycos, Alltheweb, DMOZ, Fast, Overture
AltaVista   DMOZ, Overture, Looksmart,
AOL   Google
Ask Jeeves Directory Netscape Teoma, Google
DMOZ (Open Directory) Alltheweb, AltaVista Google, Hotbot, Teoma, Lycos  
Excite   Inktomi, Overture
Fast Alltheweb, Lycos,  
Go   Overture
Google Ask Jeeves, AOL, Netscape, Teoma, Yahoo Google, DMOZ
HotBot   DMOZ, Inktomi, Overture
Inktomi HotBot, Excite, Looksmart, MSN, Overture  
iwon   Overture
Looksmart Directory AltaVista, MSN Inktomi
Lycos   Fast, Overture, DMOZ
MSN   Looksmart, Overture, Inktomi
Netscape Google, Ask Jeeves  
Overture Alltheweb, AltaVista,excite, Go, HotBot, iwon, Lycos, MSN, Netscape, Yahoo Inktomi
Teoma Ask Jeeves DMOZ, Google
WebCrawler   Excite
Yahoo Directory   Google, Overture

Submitting your site

There are many submission tools, free and paid for.

Most advice I have read is to personally submit to the main engines manually.

With some engines such as Google you only need to submit a single page, usually the home page, because the engine will follow the sites links and list the entire site.

Note that with engines that only check out a single page, only submit a few pages at a time.

Most engines dislike repeat submissions. Leave a months gap.

Submitting your site is no guarantee that you will be listed. Breaking the sites rules will not help. Unfortunately these appear to change. Check out the main engines sites for rules, tips etc.

Submitting to Directories

Usually you browse to the required sub heading then click on the Add URL button

Spend some time in selecting the correct Directory heading and Subheadings to submit to. Many directories submissions are checked by humans, and you will not be listed if your sites content is not relevent to the section of the directory that you have selected.

Ensure you submit to DMOZ

Submission URLs and Submission Tips

Use the Search engines Likes and Dislikes as tips and clues about preparing your site for submittion.

Please note that Commercial sites can not submit on a free basis to some Search Engines such as Zeal. Sometimes a site starts out as non-commercial, and could be listed at this stage.


Spammers can be barred from being indexed. Search engines reguard the following as spam.

  • Mutiple submissions. Never submit more than once a month.
  • Hidden text, such as using the same text and background colours.
  • Repeating the same keyword in Keyword meta tags. I believe the following are regarded as different keywords: "Tutorial,tutorial,HTML tutorial"
  • Over repeating keywords in the text, 3 to 8 times in a normal length page is good.
  • Attempts to trick the search engine

Links to Search Engine Site Submit Pages

Search Engine or Directory

Site Submission URL


Doesn't like

We recomend that you join Googles Webmaster central and submit from there

Google (Uses a web spider, to crawl through, the visible text on your site. Only submit your main entry page rather than a flash intro page.) Once listed the spider revisits on a regular basis spidering a few pages each time.

Takes 4-8 weeks


Google Directory Submit to the Open Directory

Webmasters Questions answered
Such as Why is my site not listed

Specialised Google info

  • Change the URL of your website
  • Remove your website
  • Remove individual pages
  • Remove snippets
  • Remove cached pages
  • Remove an outdated ("dead") link
  • Remove an image from Google's Image Search

Good unique content -very important. Link popularity -very important. Considers the number, quality of sites that link to you, and the wording in the link text.
Good content
Keywords near each other
Keywords in URL's
Keywords in link text -very important
Graphic alternative text - important

Spam - very severe policy

Registration Pages
Multimedia files (Must Use Alt tags)
Java applets
Acrobat files
Text in graphics
Comment tags

Meta keyword and description tags have little influence on ranking.


Submit via Google

Although AOL uses Google it uses it's own ranking algorithm.

Ask Jeeves

E-mail your sites URL and description to or
Submit by Teoma

Paid submissions first Spamming
Doorway pages

DMOZ [Directory]

Takes 4-8 weeks

The Open Directory results power many of the major search engines on the web.

Accurate and concise approx. 25 word description without selling hype, e.g. greatest, cheapest.
Choice of appropriate category
Top quality and if posible unique content essential.

Each page in your site can be submitted to only one category in the Open Directiory.

Inappropriate site titles, descriptions and keywords
Submitting more than once in 24 hours
Mirror sites
Keyword repetition
Slow loading pages
Tiny text
Poor design

Looksmart [Directory-> Portal] has acquired Wisenut

Pay for inclusion

Free. Must become a member and pass a quiz about Zeal's guidelines and rules to submit FREE.
No free Commercial Sites

Quality content and looks.
Good interactivity and functionality
Temporary sites
Sites with few pages
Slow loading pages


Fee based sites shown first
Theme present through the site
Site popularity
Frames. (Use <NOFRAMES> tag)

Teoma by Ask Jeeves. Fee based.

Popularity of links  

Yahoo [Directory]
Free Standard submissions to non commercial categories

Express submissions - Payment required

Fee based sites shown first
Accurate and concise approx. 25 word description without selling hype, e.g. greatest, cheapest etc.
Choice of appropriate category
Slow loading pages

Once you have submitted your web page or web site, wait about a week (it can take up to 6 weeks) and check to see if you are listed. To do this go to the relevant site, use these quick links:

Keep records of your page or site submissions.

Google . AltaVista UK . AltaVista . Ask Jeeves . DMOZ . Excite . HotBot . InfoSeek . Looksmart . Lycos . MSN . Northern Lights . Yahoo .

and enter your sites URL into the the search bar.

There are Web sites that specialise in finding your sites ranking once you are listed. It can be quite difficult to find your ranking if you are are in the 100s or 1000s. Check your sites ranking free on several search engines, by entering the sites URL and some keywords. Amend your records, with the information returned.

If necessary resubmit after about a month.

Improve your ranking position

Once you are listed, amend your records according, then you can start to improve your position on the ranking list. You need to analyse why you are in a lower position than your competitors. One way of doing this is to look at the sites at the top of the list. Check out:

  • The keywords they have used.
  • Use some of the Webmasters tools, such as word counters and link popularity on their site.

From the results obtained, improve your site accordingly

Check Site Statistics

Your host may provide statistics, but you can place a statistical counter on your pages. Once listed on search engines you will need statistics

  • Which search engines are sending traffic
  • What keywords were used
  • Which pages are entry pages to your site

This type of information allows you to adjust your keyword importance.

A free counter that appears to give all this information and much more is
Different code is required for each page.
Add Free Stats

Note that if you become listed on a directory then you also obtain a link to your site from that directory, this improves your chances of your site being accepted when re submitted, of having your ranking improved.

Being listed will help you build up reciprocal links with similar sites.