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S is for Search Engine

S is for Search Engine

What good's a website that no one knows about?

Of course, at least one person knows about any particular website: the person(s) who wrote it and built it.

Even if no one else reads it or visits it, that website may still have value as a learning exercise. It might even have therapeutic value - just a way of getting things off your chest out into the big wide wonder - even if it's an uncaring place out there.

But most of us want others to visit our websites and for many - such as public information and commercial sites - it's imperative that others (and many, many of them) do.

Fortunately for us the search engines are out there endlessly crawling the endless web, compiling their ever-growing indexes of just about all that they find.

As a result the web is like a huge library in which all the books have had their indexes ripped out and integrated into one Big Index whether its Google's, or Yahoo's or MSN's.

When we use our preferred search engine by typing one or more words in the search box, the results we get are often a list which seems to stretch on endlessly somewhere into hyperspace.

Put the name of a celeb into Google.

I type in 'Britney Spears'.

Google returns a list which says 1 - 10 of about 59,300,000!!!

'Paul Mccartney': a mere 20,800,000.

'Beatles': 62,700,000.

How's about the name 'John': 1,980,000,000!!!!

It's true that for Britney, Paul, and the Beatles their official site came top of the list.

So will anyone ever find your site? You could employ an SEO, a Search Engine Optimisation geek. But that will cost a lot of money, and anyway I'm thinking your site ambitions are quite modest if you're reading this.

What to do.

1. Submit your website URL to all the search engines you can find, but especially the Big Three. You'll need to search around their website to find the right page. It will take a while but some time after you've done it your site will be crawled by their robot and indexed, cached, and assessed. And you should be able to find your site by using its url as your search term in the search box (not the address bar).

2. If you have webspace as part of your ISP contract, you'll have an awkward address, something like:

www.homepage.ispcompany.com/joe.bloggs/index

Not very catchy or easily remembered.

But for a small sum of money you can register a domain name, and hopefully choose a name that reflects the content of your site, and is shortish and easily remembered.

When you've done that you 'point it' at your site, that is, your domain name acts as the url of your site.

3. Each search engine has its own well-kept secret way of ranking websites. SEO geeks claim to know pretty much what they're doing. But one important criterion is how many other websites link back to your site. Google gives some insight into its ranking thinking here.

Good luck!

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