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You’ve got a cool new website with all the works: cool Flash presentations, eye-catching colors, informative text, easy-to-use layout, and an interesting topic. You think your site is amazing, and you know that others will agree with you. If only they know it exists.

How do you make your website known? How do you make yours stand out among millions of others? You can spend lots of money on advertisement, but that will not work if you don’t have the money to spare on advertising. So what do you do? Make search engines work for you, that’s what!

Google, Yahoo, MSN, Lycos, Altavista – you want to be at the top of their results list. The higher your site is in a search results page, the better chances that it will be visited. The science behind making your site a popular search result is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Don’t worry, though – even if SEO is referred to as a science, it is not all that complicated. You just need to take note of a few things, and before you know it, your site will have more visitors than you could ever dream of.

Here are five tips to ensure that your site would be a favorite of search engines all around the cyber world.

  1. Give importance to substance over appearance
    Do you want to share your knowledge on a subject that you have authority on? Do you want to sell products? Do you want to build an online shrine for your favorite actress? Whatever topic you have chosen for your website, make sure that you are able to give useful information on it. Search engines work by scanning sites for keywords. They search text and completely ignore everything else. So if you have made your site rich in colors, don’t forget to make it rich in content as well. After all, a beautiful layout can make people look, but relevant content is what will make them stay. Remember, in this day and age: content is king!
  2. Know your topic well
    If you know much about your topic, you will know what people usually ask about it, and what they ask about it is what they will type in the search bar. When writing the content for your website, put yourself in your other people’s shoes, people who will be your target audience or market. Know the possible questions they might have about your topic, and give answers in your site.
  3. Learn from the best
    Take time to browse and read sites that get lots of visitors and have the same topic as yours. Take note of any recurring phrases in these sites’ text. These phrases are most likely keywords. Incorporate them in your own site’s content. Don’t saturate your site with keywords, though. You don’t want to sound redundant to your site visitor. A 3% density level would be enough.
    In searching for the right keywords, use Overture’s services. It may take quite some time, as it is more of a trial-and-error method, but the results are conclusive, and a pattern can easily be observed.
  4. Submit…and re-submit
    You will never get a certain job if you don’t send in your application for it. The same thing applies to SEO. If you want your site to be recognized by search engines, then go out of your way to register your site with them. After a couple of weeks, search for your site by putting in the keywords you used in your content. If your site is still not coming up in the search results, do not give up, and just re-register and resubmit your site. It’s possible that your initial registration was discarded without being processed. This usually happens because a lot of submissions are being done everyday.
  5. Constantly update your site
    This can’t be stressed enough: search engine spiders love sites which constantly change their content. You can’t build your site and expect it to last forever without any updates. There will come a time when those search engine spiders would stop fetching your site for query requests. Here’s a tip: integrate a blog program in your site. Blogs have a user-friendly interface that allows easy updates.

Additional Reading: Search Engine Ascent, Blogger’s Edge