You’ve put a great deal of time, money and effort into getting your website on the Internet, and you didn’t do it just to boost your ego. The point is to have yet another avenue for potential clients to find you, learn about your services and contact you for an appointment. So how do you make sure prospects start calling? Search engine listings, of course.
By far the best, most detailed source for getting your site listed on search engines is provided by SearchEngineWatch.com in its article “Search Engine Submission Tips.” If you want to be listed on a wide variety of sites across the Internet, read this article, take notes and follow its advice. But before you do, here’s an overview of what you’ll need to know.
Many major Web directories, Web crawlers and search engines charge a fee to list sites on their results pages.
Laying the groundwork
When you submit your site to most search-engine directories, you will need to include a brief description of the site along with your URL. Editors will use this description to determine what directories or categories you will be listed in on the search engine, so you want to make sure you are as specific as possible and employ the key words you think people might use to look for your site. Remember to include the location of your practice if you are specifically targeting clients in your city or state.
According to the editors of SearchEngineWatch, you should avoid using hyped-up marketing language in your description. This turns off search-engine editors who could possibly blackball you from directories.
The holy grail
By far the most important place to list your site is with Google, which has become the search engine of choice for Internet users and service providers—search functions on both America Online and Earthlink are “powered by Google.”
Submitting your site to Google is both free and easy. Simply type in your URL and description on the submission page and click on “submit.” Unfortunately, because of Google’s complex PageRank system, submitting your site to the search engine does not necessarily mean it will show up at the top of results pages. To rank websites, Google uses the number of times another site links to your site, along with the “quality” of each linked site to determine how a page is ranked.
Because of this “democratic” ranking scheme, new websites are often left out in the cold until they can acquire the number and quality of links needed to work their way up to the top of Google’s pages. To circumvent this, you can take out a small ad on Google’s results pages for a flexible charge using their AdWords Page. This guarantees your name will get in front of Google users.
Finding the money
To get Google-quality links, you will need to spend some money. Many major Web directories, Web crawlers and search engines charge a fee to list sites on their results pages. SearchEngineWatch recommends setting aside between $300 and $770 for listings.
At the very least you will want to pay $300 to be listed on the Yahoo! Directory, which is one of the most widely used directories and, according to SearchEngineWatch, will help ensure you eventually end up near the top of the Google search pages. Getting listed on Yahoo! is easy. Once you have your description prepared, and your credit card ready, visit Yahoo! Express and follow the steps for submitting a listing.
LookSmart is another pay-to-list directory that you may want to check out, because it provides the primary listing for Microsoft’s MSN Search service.
There are other directories, which SearchEngineWatch details, but these should give you a great start—and should have prospects clicking your site and emailing you for appointments in no time.