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SEO: Getting your site into search Engines

BEFORE READING BELOW, BEAR THIS IN MIND: CONTENT IS KING.

If your site does not have interesting and unique content, it will not rank well, no matter how many links you cultivate.


You don't have to submit your site to major search engines like Google.

In fact, you can be deleted as a spammer from a search engine by using some of the "we'll submit you every minute to 9000 search engines" companies out there.

You can, however, register your site with Google if you want.

Google has a whole section of webmaster tools to help you make sure your pages and your sitemap are valid. They can help both the beginner and the advanced website creator. Bing has something similar. At each of these, you can submit your site for crawling and run various tests on it.

But both Google and Bing measure a site's popularity by how many other sites reference it.

So you need to do the following:

Get your site referenced and linked to in social sites

Social sites are sites where people communicate with one another. Most allow you to link to your own website.

You MUST have a Facebook page. And if you can narrowly target your customer base, Facebook's ads are a great way to attract attention. (See step-by-step instructions on enrolling in Facebook and setting up a page.)
Stumble lets people share their favorite websites. Feel free to share your own and get others to do so. You can install their toolbar on your browser to make it easier to mark favorite pages.
Other social sites you can join are: Furl, Reddit and Del.icio.
Social media management for exceptional companies If you're short on time or expertise, there's a Social Media Management Tool called Sprout Socialsocial media that will simplify the job of handling your social media connections.



For local brick and mortar businesses

You can get a free Business Owner's Account on YelpYelp and get your own page pointing to your websites.
Local.com offers local online marketing for small business. Kudzu lets you list your business for free, and lets you offer coupons to promote your business.

Encourage your customers to write reviews of your business. Don't be shy about asking. If your customers have had a good experience patronizing you, they'll probably be glad to write you up. Some businesses offer incentives to customers who review them on Yelp or "Like" their page on Facebook.

Angieslist.com is another of those sites that offers reviews of local businesses. You can't apply directly for a listing. Your friends, relatives and good customers must write reviews about you.

Here's a list of several more local directories you can submit to.

Get into Google and Bing local listings

Put your business onto Google Local. Your listing will appear at the top of a relevant local search page. And it's free! (Well, they also have an extra service that costs $25 a month, which is actually a good deal.)

To make sure your business is listed, first go to Google Local and type in the name of your Put your business on Google Maps". You may have to sign up first for a Google Plus account, but that's good. It's a social site like Facebook, and you get free email if you want it.

There are dozens of other sites like Google Local and Yelp that list local establishments. If you

Bing (which is rumored to stand for "Because it's not Google") has a similar service. To get in, go to Bing's listing center.

Submit your site to Directories

There are some directories that are human-administered. You DO have to submit to these. They're set up by category and are used by search engines because they weed out spam websites. Traffic can come from the directory itself, or from the search engines that crawl and collect data from directories.

The Open Directory Project (known as DMOZ), was founded before Google came into being. It's still used by many other search engines. If you only submit to one search engine, this is the one.

Other leading directories, offering both free and paid links, are

Since the links are approved by humans, it will take a while to get your site approved. If your business is in the UK, you should definitely list on the UK Business Directory, which has good web visibility.

There are hundreds of directories. Most of them will NOT help you. Just submit to a few of the best, like the ones listed above.

For Commercial Sites
Reciprocal Link Directories

There are a few worthwhile directories that will list you in return for a reciprocal link, such as

Some directories charge you to be listed. Google does not look kindly on paid only directories, unless they're subject related, such as a directory of lawyers. The spammy ones may actually hurt your standing.

Once you have submitted your website, you can check how your site measures up in the 3 biggest search engines with this free tool.

Set up a "Top Site" or add your website to one of those that already exists. This site is listed. (See the bottom of the home page.) The listing has resulted in several extra page views for the site. (See this page for instructions on how to add code snippets to your website page.)



Resources
Directories
SICCode.com lists business by their SIC code. Free to list.

Social Sites
Facebook You MUST have a Facebook page.. If you need help making one, Wix can help you create one -- free or paid.
Angie's List collects reviews from consumers. Get your friends to rate you.
Manta allows you to list your company for free. They will try to sell you a program to increase your visibility. I saw no results when I tried it.

Advertising
Make sure your business is listed in Local.com, a directory of local businesses. They offer a free basic listing.
BingGoogle and Google both offer pay-per-click advertising, meaning those ads you see on the right side of a search page. You can set a daily budget to limit your costs, and you only pay them when someone clicks on your ad.
Business.com is a high visibility B2B Online Business Directory. Receive $50 Offbusiness directory your listing
Promote Your Online Store through an affiliate program.

PR
HitsLink.com
Advanced site traffic analysis, including hundreds of statistics on visitors and their behavior.

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