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Search Engine Placement &
Understanding the Search Engines

DO NOT CALL US to complain you are not in the search engines. Search engines are independent businesses with their own rules. We do not and can not be responsible for your search position concerning any keywords. If you have a complaint about how it works, call the search engines. Calling us to complain would be as senseless as calling the DMV to complain that it raining too hard to drive your car.

We can only assist you to make your pages more search friendly and provide you with our years of search engine knowledge. The page content is totally up to you, and the search placement is totally in your own hands and between you and the mega corps that control the search engines.

If you are serious about maximizing your search engine placement then read this entire document. Yes it’s long, but short in comparison to all the info you need to know. This is an abbreviated explanation of a subject that thousands of books have been written about. Being a search engine expert requires more training and education than a Law Degree. Consider this pages as a guide on how to become a search engine expert in 15 minutes.

How it Works
Each time a search is done the search engine can not go out and check every page online for comparisons. So they use Robots or automated programs also know as spiders to "Crawl" websites and save the content of its pages in a huge database. The database is literally the entire internet on one computer.

If your website was "Crawled" or accessed by the robots 3 months ago, the content in the search engine database is exactly what was on your page 3 months ago. This makes the searches slow and cumbersome and it often takes 3-6 months before you see a change in your pages in the search engines. Even if the search engine crawls your site today, it could be several weeks before the new content that it retrieved is updated in its search database. This time is greatly reduced based on your search ranking. A powerful website could have content updated daily, where a smaller less active site could take 6 months or more.

The search engine has limited resources and spends its time working the more active websites and won’t spend precious time indexing 5 pages sites that have no valuable content or relevance to its users. With billions of pages to index the search engine will choose the pages that have better content based on their own personal opinions (also know as search algorithms).

The search engine knows to check your website as soon as you register your domain. You do not need to submit the website to the search engine; however you can suggest the site to each search engine if you think it will help. You may also want to submit your site to industry specific searches that do not use the whois database. For example if you make aircraft parts you may want to find searches that only deal with aircraft and aviation. In those instances you will need to submit your site to that search.

Search engines try to sort through billions of pages to bring relevant results on searches to the users. That means that every time you do a search it has to check the data on over 100 billion pages. The trick is to be number one of those 100 billion pages.

To accomplish this task the search engines use over 100 parameters to rank your website among the 4 billion others. The actual formulas and parameters are kept secret and change as much as the weather. This is done to prevent exactly what you want to accomplish, getting that top listing.

If it was easy, the only sites that would come up would be the companies that spend millions of dollars building their websites and would know the best formula for getting placed highest. Your website would never have a chance to be placed in the results.

But that is not the case, so even experienced teams of high paid webmasters and statisticians are kept confused. So you do not have to feel like you are at a disadvantage, its intentionally confusing to make the playing field more equal for the small website with relevant content. But this means no one will ever understand exactly how the search engine works.

However, there are known parameters that will contribute to a higher ranking and move your results closer to the top. This is not public information, it is data compiled by e-commerce-inc through years of development and observation that we are sharing with our customers. Everyone has their own ideas about what works, so every article you read will likely be telling you something different. If you read enough of them, one will tell you want you want to hear, or you can believe what you read here. We are not selling you any search services, so we do not benefit from our explanations. Many sites explain how the searches work and then try to sell you a service to get you traffic. In our opinion that is a major conflict of interest and is nothing more than a commercial advertisement.

Top 10 Features that contribute to Search Placement

  1. Content - the actual text in all the pages of your website.
  2. External Links - linking to sites outside your own that have similar or relevant content.
  3. Update Frequency - how often your pages change.
  4. Outside Links - the number of sites that link back to you.
  5. Page Title - the title of the page.
  6. Number of Pages - the number of pages on your website.
  7. Page Length - the amount of information is on your page.
  8. Content Relevancy - how content on each page relates to the overall website.
  9. Total Page Size - the average page size in Kilobytes
  10. Age - the time the domain been registered and active online.

There are at least 100 other parameters that are weighed and calculated by the search engine. But in the interest of keeping this lesson brief I will concentrate on only those top 10 keys to search engine placement.

To help explain this, we will use a sample product the "Squiggle Bot". It will be a plastic 12 inch tall pose able action figure made out of the cool stuff Stretch Armstrong was made of. Our website will be http://squigglebot.com hosted on our own network.

When finished we will search the web "Squiggle Bot" and see what our placement is in the search engines.

1) Content
Content is the number one factor in establishing your place in the search engine. The content is defined as the actual TEXT in your pages. That means the words that are actually typed into the pages. That does not include pictures or text on images.

The names on your menu bar or title space are images, so they can not be read by the search engine. If you have a picture of The Squiggle Bot on your page, the search engine will not know it from any other picture. It won’t be able to tell if the pic is of the Squiggle Bot or a Barbie Doll. To make sure the search engine will find your page when they are searching for "Squiggle Bot" you will need to include the words "Squiggle Bot" in the page.

So let’s add the sentence "This Squiggle Bot is $19.95." to our page. Now we have the key words in the page that we are looking to maximize. Now anyone can find us? Wrong! Keep reading!

2) External Links
Linking to other sites is critical to establishing content. The search engine compares your site to the sites you link to from your pages. So we will want to link to quality websites that offer similar products. Since our "Squiggle Bot" is a fictitious product we will link to other sites that offer pose able action figures.

On our links page we will include:

  • http://www.gmrcreations.com/bendos/
  • http://www.hasbro.com
  • http://www.kennertoys.com
  • http://www.mattel.com

This is only a small sample of content relevant links. Don't stop at 4 links, having 50+ is better. Having over 100 on the page will begin to detract from the ranking.

If you link to a large number of websites that have content related to another field, such as used cars, the search engine will think your site is about used cars. Since you will not have any content about used cars on your website you will not rank very high in a search. So try to keep the sites relevant to your products or services.

3) Update Frequency
This is in our opinion the third most important factor in placement and updates. If your pages are not updated often the search engine will not come back to check it. If your site is updated daily, the search will come back each day to check for changes.

This is extremely important when you make changes or add new products and want them listed. Normally it takes 3 months for a website to be updated in the search. If you make a change, it will be at least 3 months before the change is relevant to the search or a new product page is added.

Updating your page daily is not the only factor in having the site crawled by the bots but it’s a big one. A static site could be showing pages as old as 1 year even though it has been recently updated. If it was not updated in the past, the search engine will stop checking for updates.

The best feature about our system is that the pages are dynamically generated. This means they are assembled by our software when the search engine robot accesses the page. They see this as just being updated when they got there and will come back as soon as possible to look for new updates.

One of our main sites is so active it is crawled several times an hour and the search cache is never more than a 24 hours old. This is how the news websites such as CNN.com can get the info out fast. But your website won’t be as active as cnn.com and will not be checked as frequently.

On average,our network hosted website are crawled by google every 1 to 2 weeks, greatly improving your chances of having your content updated quickly. However we do see sites that have been set up and unused for several months. Those sites tend to get back ordered and once they get started the search engine may have set them on a 3 or 6 month rotation.

All of the other subjects we cover also affect that search rotation, so having a more relevant site in all areas is also necessary to get that daily crawl. Every factor has an impact on the other factors. If you are serious about search placement you will have to consider all factors when making any changes or updates to your website.

4) Outside Links
It is important that other sites link back to you. Since search engines are for the most part overwhelmed and not perfect they will not be able to count every website with a link to yours. So you want as many links back to you as possible.

Power sites like ebay.com have millions of links back to them and have total power in that realm, but you still need links back to yourself to get noticed and to pump up that search ranking.

You should trade links with other websites, add your site to webrings and FFA (Free For All) Links pages and posting boards. This will help establish and build your outside links value. Keep in mind, linking from sites that are not relevant to your product could hurt you as much as linking to irrelevant sites. So stick with boards with topics relevant to your product or service.

5) Page Title
It is crucial to have a page title that reflects your content. It is always tempting to have the page title as your business name, but people are going to search for "Squiggle Bots" and not our company "My Company Name Inc".

Page titles over 50 characters will count against you. Keep is short, simple and accurate.

For our page we will have "Squiggle Bot Pose able Action Figure, Squiggle Bots" as the title. We have repeated "Squiggle Bot" with the plural version "Squiggle Bots" to cover both. If someone is searching for Squiggle Bot the page will not necessarily come up if it says only "Squiggle Bots".

6) Number of Pages
The number of pages in your website is the most overlooked feature in placement. People continuously build 5 pages and wait for traffic. If your website is under 50 pages the search engine sees it as an ant climbing a mountain. It will not see you as being important since the content is limited and most of your pages are trying to sell something.

Think of it as you looking to buy household items. You can drive 5 minutes from your home and go to 7-11 or wal-mart. You would choose wal-mart because they have more choices and you know you will get what you want.

The search engine uses the same thought process, when someone is searching for household items, they tend to ignore the 7-11's and the 5 page websites and send people to the wal-marts because they know it has what the person is looking for. So having more is always better.

Populating your shopping cart with hundreds of items is going to greatly improve your chance of being found. Keep in mind, every page will be indexed, so having 100 pages rather than 5 is better. It is similar to buying 100 lottery tickets with 4 billion possible combinations. Not great odds, but better.

But having 1000 pages that relate to your content will help you get a strong search ranking and contribute to the overall results you desire.

7) Page Length
Having 1000 pages is good, but you need to have strong content on those pages.

Previously we put "This Squiggle Bot is $19.95." in our page. This is poor content. The text is shorter than the title of the page, its over shadowed by the images on the page and shows a week page and will likely not be included in the index.

The descriptions should be long and complete. Remember, every word in the page is searchable. So let’s include lots of keywords in the page. Our keywords are "Squiggle Bot", so our new description will be:

The awesome Squiggle Bot poseable action figure is now available in 5 colors. The yellow squiggle bot is a banana color. The blue Squiggle Bot is a dark navy color. The action figure is also available in red, green and white. New pose able joints allow quick posing of the plastic action figure. The squigglebot is sure to become a collectible just like the Barbie doll.

Notice how we have repeated the words "Squiggle Bot" though the description. Having the words repeat too much will hurt you, but having it sparsely scattered through the page will help.

Pages under 500 words tend to be viewed by searches as not very important and not even indexed. So to be effective our text will have to be 3 or 4 times what we have shown as our sample.

Make sure you have LONG Accurate descriptions and text or your site will not even be included. The search engine robot will check your site, see it as undeveloped and schedule it to be indexed next month assuming you are still adding more content. After a few of these rotations, if the site is not added to, the time between crawls will get longer and longer, eventually not checking back at all.

8) Content Relevancy
The search engine will count the number of times the keywords appear on each page of your website, and then calculate how many words overall are on the website. Eventually generating a number used to rank the relevance of keywords in your overall website.

It will also look for relevance matches. For example if you sell candles you should have words such as wax, wick, holders, flame and so on contained in the pages. The search engine is using a database derived from a thesaurus and comparing words to find out what the site is about overall. This allows the search engine to determine if you are making candles, selling candles or using candles for decorating. Anyone searching for either of those subjects does not want results for the others.

We advise using a thesaurus to get keywords and use them in your pages to make it clear to the search engine exactly what your site offers.

For example a website that is telling the history of squiggle bots will rank higher than a website that just has one squiggle bot for sale. By having words relevant to squiggle bots.

So to insure that we have "Squiggle Bot" relevant content we will add a history page to our website and make up some stories about the evolution of the squiggle bot and so on.

9) Total Page Size
For some reason the search engines seem to ignore big pages. That is pages that are over 500K in size.

It makes sense since most people are on slow dial up connections and won’t wait 10 minutes for a page to load. The robot crawling your website will not wait long. If it takes too long, they move on to the next website.

So it is important to keep the content (page pictures and art) at a minimum. Our system will automatically impose limits on page sizes and will resize pics for maximum efficiency. So you really don't need to be concerned about this. But understand that there are specific reasons for all the systems and part of our goal is to keep your pages search and user friendly.

So with our sample website we won’t have to be concerned with this parameter.

10) Age
The age of your website is also an important feature. New websites are not seen as being highly relevant. Having a website more than 1 year seems to be the magic number. Since most sites are registered for 1 year and non successful sites go unpaid and cancel. But sites that have some value or have some success go beyond that one year range and search rankings seem to improve for those websites beyond that 1 year mark. So keeping the site open and active for 1 full year will also be important to build your search ranking.

Most new websites are not even indexed for 3 months. That is because when you register a domain, it takes time to build the website. At some point they decided 3 months was a good time to see if the site had any value. If your site is not open when the search engine comes to crawl it you could be waiting another 6 months before it will check again.

You can not control the age of your website, but keeping it open for as long as possible will contribute to the search ranking. If the site is taken offline the search rank will decrease. You will often see ads for "Domain Parking", this is one method of keeping you site alive online. However, it does more for the company parking it than you. We do not recommend parking your domain, unless you get it free or get paid for traffic it generates for the parking lot.

Search engines are also concerned with their results. If you are on a 3 month crawl and the site closes, the search engine does not want to send people to a page that is not there. So they tend to stick with older established sites to insure their results are high quality.

Search Results Comparison for our Sample Website
Let us now take a look at the search engines and see how our sample website places.

[ Click to Search Google ]

Special Notes:

Remember, search engines are their own business and you have no voice with them. The do things that help them make money. They are not there to serve you, nor do they have to list your website. You are at their mercy and have to play by their rules. There is no guarantee you will ever get one hit from a search engine. But if you follow our tips you can see some traffic in time.

But first do the math. 250 million searches daily. 150 million of those are for "Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton or some other Sex or Porn website content". That leaves 100 million searches to be divided between 4 billion pages. If everyone gets a fair share and that is truly the goal of the search engine that would be one page hit every 40 days.

That is certainly not enough traffic to build a business. By tweaking your pages you can increase that number and take traffic away from other pages. But even good pages will not get huge volumes of traffic without outside advertising.

Websites such as CNN.com and Wal-Mart.com get traffic from existing customers and their extensive advertising campaigns. The amount of search traffic they get is negligible, but they are successful businesses in spite of the lack of search placement. They opt to keep the sites more commercial than concentrating on their placement and search ranking.

Other sites such as amazon.com were built on search engine traffic; however the competition for traffic was much lower 6 years ago. You could build page, submit the page and see traffic in 2-3 days. But those days are over and if you missed the early days of internet traffic, there is no going back. Companies got big fast, but those big opportunities are not available today.

Search Placement VS Usability:

In summary, if you have about 2 years to learn how to build a maximized website you could probably place well for several key search words. Or if you want to spend $20,000.00-$40,00.00 to have your site maximized for 2 or 3 key words, you also have that option. We do not recommend either.

The problem with search engine maximization is that no one knows for sure what will work and it takes months to find out if pages do work and how they will be placed. Then the search algorithms could change any day and you could be at the bottom again and starting all over with new pages.

The worst part is that a page that is good for a search is not necessarily a page that would be a good page for selling your product. To maximize a page you will have to sacrifice content and often say things not relevant to a product. You are also limited in what you can say about your product. You may also have to redirect customers to other retailers to get link relevance, giving away your customers free to your competitors.

So which do you value more? A few hits a day from a search engine? Or an effective website and sales tool?

Today, you can buy search traffic for as little as $0.05 per click. So for a few dollars a month you can get more traffic than you would by spending $40,000.00 having your site maximized for SEO.

There are 2 main programs for buying traffic http://google.com/adwords/, http://advertising.microsoft.com both are good programs run on google and msn/yahoo. The results could be displayed on hundreds of thousands of content sites or the search results pages. But you can control, where, how and how much.

What Not To Do

Do Not - Use Meta Tags. Meta Tags were something that has gone the way of the Model-T. They are tags placed in the page to tell the search engine what the page is about. However, you can put anything in the tag. So adding "Brittney Spears & Paris Hilton" (the #1 search terms for the last year) should allow you to get placed in those searches. But the tags do not have to be relevant to the page, and with all the cheaters out there the tags were eliminated by all the searches. Having Meta tags that the search does not see as relevant to your site will get your site excluded from the search engine.

Do not repeat keywords over and over again in the page. This technique is seen as spamming and will cause your website to be excluded from the search engine.

Another popular Spam technique is to have keywords in the page the same color as the background so they are invisible to the viewer but read by the search. This will also get your site excluded from the search engine.

Do not use automated submitting services or software. The search engine will see that as an automated attempt to Spam the search and will often exclude your website or put it on a long term crawl often exceeding 6 months.

Do not submit more than 1 page to the search engine. You only need to submit the main domain. The search engine will crawl the entire website to get all the pages. If you submit multiple pages you could be risking exclusion from the search engine. They see it as an attempt to trick them into listing pages as unique websites.

It’s very easy to be excluded and very hard to be included, so keep the site honest, avoid the tips and trick you read about online. Just because you have read it, does not mean it’s true and could have been posted to intentionally get you banned to cut competition.

To make matters worse, google.com provides 80% of the search results online. They provide services for AOL, MSN, AltaVista and several others. If you are excluded by google, you are for the most part finished and will have to build a new website if you want search engine traffic.

Common Misconceptions

People should be able to find your website through the search engines. That is not always true.

Search engines only display 200-400 results out of millions. Your website could be from 401 to 1 millionth. Granted, 401 is great out of 1 million results, but not good enough.

Everyone expects the search engine to bring huge amounts of traffic and make them rich. Everyone wants to hear that they will get this magical search traffic. But the truth is, you won’t. You missed that opportunity by several years and we have to work hard to make it in today’s internet. The number of sites competing with you is too big to print, each site competing the same traffic. To get traffic on today’s internet you have to be a serious player with a powerful and massive website.

Evaluating A Simple Search

Let’s evaluate a simple search to see how a website can be found. We want to buy a "Bird House made by Fred Smith". That is pretty specific and should be easy to find, right? Not necessarily.

We search google for "Bird Houses" and get over 3 million results. None of the 400 shown are for Fred Smith. The results range from homes built on bird street to sites about birds and a few sites that sell bird houses.

So we narrow the search to "Bird Houses by Fred Smith", you are already thinking that no one will know to search for Fred Smith. And your right, but to make it worse, the search yields 120,000 results.

How can this happen unless there are 120,000 Fred Smiths selling bird houses? And why isn't Fred’s website #1.

The search is looking for websites that have all the words in your search Bird Houses By Fred Smith.

The results include many sites such as the following:
Books about Birds and Birdwatching
... Big Book of
Bird Houses & Bird Feeders by Thom ... of the Mid-Atlantic (Smithsonian
Handbooks) by
Fred J. Alsop III; ... Therapy and Training for Your Pet Bird by Larry

The keywords that were searched for are in bold. You can see this text clearly matches all the words we searched for but this website is more relevant in the world of bird houses than Fred’s backyard workshop. And there are more than 400 others that are also more relevant. This makes finding Fred’s website almost impossible unless we search for something more specific such as his phone number or actual URL.

It does not appear that we will find the site we want even though we are very specific.

Just think of it like this. Take one page and put your name on it. Then stack in a pile of 4 billion pages, a stack that will reach beyond the moon. Now what is the chance of finding your page in that stack?

I have been told by customers that if they list their business in the phone book they will get calls when someone looks up their type of service. That is true, but imagine a phone book that is 500 miles long and the section for your business is 1 mile long. The odds of the person reading that book and finding your phone number are slim.

You have to remember that the internet is made up of every business in the world. When you build a bookstore on a city block, people will walk by and stop in, but online they have millions of doors to choose from, why choose yours? Just as in the storefront scenario you can dress up the window, put up sale signs and so on. The internet is no different. Use good business sense, advertise and build your business, don't look for the business to build itself.

If someone has specific enough info they can find your website, but you can't expect the flood gates to open when you open the website. It takes time, patience and lots of luck. Follow the tips we have given you and you will improve the traffic you get. But if you are counting on search traffic, you could grow old waiting.

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