Web site promotion is a difficult task. You have to spend many hours developing your web site and sometimes a lot of money too. Well, there you are. You have a great web site offering your services and products and now where do you get the traffic and the customers? Developing your web site is not the final step, you must promote the site too. Web site promotion is a difficult, time consuming, and sometimes expensive effort. What are the best promotion tools? This is something webmasters have been trying to get a handle on for years. With the proliferation of web promotion tools and software, it is difficult to decide which is the best and most effective? There is no easy answer. Well, let’s first look at what products or services you are offering. Many of us have web sites that we want to market to specific groups of internet surfers, and then we have to think about those visitors that just dial in and look at what they came for and then leave. Those are two different markets. Surfers will find your site with search engines, links, banner ads, news groups, classifieds, and any one of the dozens of promotion sources. I personally think the “search engine” approach is the best. 60% of web surfers will use the 8 major search engines to find what they are looking for. A “Top” ranking web site will generate incredible traffic. Starting with a marketing plan even before the development of the first page of the site is essential! Your site must be designed from the ground up. Marketing the site is not dependent on the incredible press releases and promotional copy that you write after you are done. It is an up front effort to design the site to please the “Un-Human” eyes of the search engines. Headline text at the top of your page, correct META Tags, text links, and desirable content makes top placement of your web site easier by far.

The MOST important design on your web site is the Index page Title! A clear and accurate description including some of your “Keywords” will work wonders. Most search engines will list your site with keywords that are actually just your index page title. So what does that mean? EXAMPLE TITLE #1 “Ed’s on-line bait store” TITLE #2 “Discount fishing bait supplies and sporting goods – Purchase on-line save” Which one will get you the most “hits” from a search using the query “discount fishing supplies” or “discount sporting goods”? You guessed right, title #2! Some designers say the title is too long and won’t look good on the top line of the browser as the title is supposed to. Well if you look, that was a consideration. The search engines will list the complete title (it is under 10 words) and the browser will most likely only display “Discount fishing bait supplies and sporting goods” since everything after the hyphen will run off the screen and not be seen. The example title #2 will come up for searches for any of the word combinations. Suppose I went to “Webcrawler” and searched for “Purchase discount fishing bait on-line”. The title example #2 above has almost a 90% match and will probably be listed at least on the first page.

This is two tricks in one as they both deal with those pesky robots. A lot of search engines will look at your page very quickly. They don’t have the time to look at the whole page as they are searching and spidering the web at incredible speeds. Some robots search as many as 5 million web sites a day, they just do not have the time and energy to pull your whole page and analyze looking for relevant text. Well, this is what they DO look for! Short concise headline text and text links. Most robots will first look for “header text”. This is text with the formatting of H1, H2, H3 and so on. They do this as most web designers put the important text in these header formats. You should start your page off with a one-line header text that includes many of your Keywords. You can have the first sentence of the page be formatted in a H5 header format and use font size tags to match the text size to the rest of the page. I tell folks this as they misunderstand me and think that I meant to put a header line with H1 tags. This is very ugly. No, I imply a header text line and format it as H5 and make the size blend into the page. This way it is aesthetically appealing and the search engines will catch the header font tags. The other part of this tip is to include plenty of regular text links. Search engine robots cannot read or follow the links within images. If you have a menu made out of images you are leaving the robot with no place to go. The search engine robots do not like to just list your home page. They want to dive into your web site and explore all of your pages. They do this because they know the most relevant information may not be contained on your front page. They follow the text links on your page and then go to the linked page and start to spider those pages too. You Must Have Text Links. If you leave the search engine’s robot with no place to link to it will stop. On the other hand, if you give the robot multiple links to follow then you increase your chances of having more pages of your web site listed.

We have all seen sites that have an image or logo that when you pass your mouse over you get 100’s of keywords. This is just plain ugly and makes me, as an advocate, think, “well they are obviously trying to trick the search engines”. Well, I am right as they are trying to trick the search engines. But, do I think this is a bad technique? NO! This is an excellent way to “fool” search engine robots. Some engines do look at your image “alt” text to try to grab keywords. But I have found a cleaner way of doing this: The 1 Pixel Gif! Make the first character on the first line of your web page a 1 Pixel gif. This is an image that is 1 pixel wide and 1 pixel high. The viewer will not even see this image and since the size is very small it will not effect the load time of the page. Take your 1 pixel gif and fill the “alt” tag with pertinent keywords. Some search engines will index your page and include the alt tags of the first image it finds.

Another way to skip the placing of a header (EG; H# format) is to include a comment block into your HTML. EXAMPLE See the line after the tag? It starts with . This is a comment tag, you can include this within your header and directly after it, the comment tag should contain something similar to your site title or description but will not show up on the screen. Some search engines will take this line, not expecting the comment block, and list this as the text of your page. There is no guaranteed way to rank high with the search engines. They look at many items that are not listed here. Content is the number one way to get listed in a relevant search. Trying to “trick” the search engines will not work. If your site does not pertain to a specific subject do not try to get listed with irrelevant keywords because a top rating in a subject that does not pertain to your web site content will only lead unqualified traffic to your site. And that will not benefit you or your web site’s position or traffic.