Spiders and Links

A short while ago I talked about setting up your Meta Tags and
submitting your site to the major search engines. Once this has
been done successfully you can expect to start receiving visits
from some of the search engine spiders.

What is a spider? Search engine spiders are small programs that are
sent out by the search engines to scurrying around the web looking
at and cataloging web sits. They go by such cryptic names as
Mozilla, Slurp, Gulliver, ArchitextSpider and so on. You can expect
these spiders to visit monthly, weekly and daily and if you are using
a good Stats program you will see them listed. It has been reported
that some search engines will give a web page that has been
"spidered" or "crawled." a higher ranking than one that has been
submitted. Here are a few tips to ensure that you get the most from
these arachnid visitors.

1.  Submit your two most important pages to the major search
engines on a timely basis, usually every two weeks. Many
spiders will not visit until your site has been submitted. See
http://www.imswebtips.com/issue26top2.htm for more information.
2.  Ensure that all your pages are within three clicks of your home
page since many spiders will not index any further than that.
3.  Update your pages often. It gives the spiders a reason to
continue indexing your site.
4.  Be certain all your pages have Meta Tags and that they are
properly set up. See last weeks newsletters at:
http://www.imswebtips.com/issue38top2.htm for additional
information on setting up your Meta Tags.
5.  Avoid spam-dexing. This includes excessive repetition of
keywords,  hidden text, tiny text etc.

Once your site has been catalogued, it can still take up to several
weeks before it is listed by the search engine.

Did you know that many of the major search engines rank your site
according to how many links there are to it? How many links are
there to yours? You can find out on many search engines by
searching for your site with a special code.  Try these searches
replacing yoururl.com with of course, your URL.




How important are links? It depends on your business but generally
for most web sites, links are more important than search engine
ranking. For one thing, as previously mentioned some search
engines use links as a criteria in your ranking. More importantly
however, appropriate links are the best way to generate high quality
pre-qualified visitors.

For example, if someone is looking for an antique vase and does not
find it on an antiques page, they are more likely to try a link that
says: "Looking for an Antiques Vase? Try these quality sites." than
they are to retry a search engine. In fact, most users will follow links
from site to site based on a recommendation in order to find what
they are looking for. They will revisit the search engines only after
their leads dry up.

Getting people to link to your site is consequently a high priority
requirement for anyone that is seriously interested in promoting
their business.

Who should you try to get to link to you? In simple terms, anyone
and everyone. In more practical terms however, it depends on the
effort and what you have to give up in return. Exchanging a banner
add on your site for a link from a high quality busy site may be
extremely valuable for attracting new visitors. The banner may
however, redirect your hard sought visitor to the banner site and
away from yours. Banners also tend to clutter a web page, increase
the load time and distract your visitors. You can only put up a
limited number and then what do you exchange?

Look for web sites that cater to the same visitors as you do. If you
sell camping gear why not exchange links with campgrounds. What
about competitors? Sometimes competing stores attract more
combined customer when located near each other than when they
are not. This is a judgment call on your part.

Promoting you site through links is an extremely valuable and
interesting topic. I will expand upon it in several future issues.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright
1999-2000 Virtual Mechanics

"IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking for detailed information on creating, maintaining and promoting their web sites.
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