You're smart not to want to spend a lot of money with some of the
companies that promise high listings in search engines. For the fact
is that there is no company that can guarantee you a high listing, and
even if you follow all the advice I give you there is no guarantee
that you'll be on the first page of Google or some other search engine
when someone types in "home theater design."
However, there certainly are things you can do to substantially
improve your chances, and there are things you can do that will doom
or at least hamper your efforts.
First, I'll give you the positive steps you can take:
1. Submit your site to the Open Directory Project. These listings are
used extensively by the various search engines as a starting point.
How To Submit a URL to the Open Directory
2. Try to get as many **legitimate** links on other sites pointing to
your site as you can. An examination of links is one of the main ways
that Google (and some other search engines) determine which sites are
the ones that people will want to see. In fact, a link to your site
might get you listed faster than submitting your site directly to the
Some examples of ways you can get links: If you belong to your local
Chamber of Commerce or similar organization, make sure you're in its
listings. Some newspapers also have listings of local businesses. If
you belong a club like the Lions or Kiwanis that has a Web page with
links to its members' sites, make sure you're listed. If you write
any articles about home theaters, make sure that any Web versions of
your article include a link to your site. In fact, it might be
worthwhile to donate content to a relevant site solely for this
purpose. If one of your theater designs ends up featured on a web
site somewhere (like maybe in a real estate listing), try to get a
link on that page to your site. The ideal is to get listed on pages
that are about home theater, home design or similar topics that your
customers would be interested in.
3. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and that the navigation
4. I suspect that the phrase people would use when looking for someone
who offers your service is "home theater design" or maybe "home
theaters." Make sure that where practical those or similar phrases are
in the title of your pages (at least the front page, and ideally the
others as well), in the meta tags (coding at the top of web pages that
describes the page or provide keywords for search), in page headlines
where appropriate, in the alt tags for graphics (these provide
information about graphics if they can't be downloaded or displayed)
where appropriate, and in the text. Don't overdo it, but anything you
can do to help the robot understand what your site is about will help.
Here's a good article on how you can select keywords:
5. Submit your site to the popular search engines. Here are three that
will get you started:
There are also some smaller site directories that are worth looking
into. They are listed on this page, along with tips for submitting:
Submission of Web sites to the search engines
The above steps are the main things you can do. Don't expect any
instant miracles, but if you follow these steps you'll probably start
seeing your site showing up in about a month.
Now, here's what to avoid:
1. Don't pay to have your site listed in a link farm, as this can
subject you to a penalty. (Link farms are sites made up links designed
to fool search engines into thinking a site is popular.) Here is an
excellent Google Answer on that subject:
Link farm or search engine?
And heré's a brand-new article about link farms:
How Can Google's Gold Be Inktomi's Spam?
2. Don't duplicate your site under a different domain and have each
site link to the other. Reports indicate that search engines such as
Google frown on this.
3. Don't put keywords in invisible letters (such as white letters on a
white background). The search engines are smart enough to see through
this (sorry about the pun).
4. Do not put words such as "sex" or "iraq" or whatever you think
people are searching for in your meta tags unless they're relevant to
your site. All your keywords should relate to the page's content. In
fact, it's best not to have any words in your meta tags that aren't on
Here are some sites or pages that address search engine optimization
SEO 101: A Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Submission Tips
Search Engine Optimization Tips
Search Engine Optimization
This isn't related direcly to your question, but one thing you might
want to consider is "per per click" advertising. You pay only if
readers click on a link to go view your site. This works well for
some businesses, not as well for others that have lots of lookers but
few buyers. You can find a listing of the larger pay-per-click
Pay Per Click Search Engines
Finally, as you might have guessed, this is a topic that comes up
somewhat often at Google Answers. Some people assume that we Google
Researchers have some inside information on how Google works, but
we're independent contractors and have access to only the same
information that everyone else has. Even so, a number of the
Researchers (including me) have Web sites that rank high and have some
good background in search engine optimization. So I'd also suggest
that you look over these previous Google Answers:
Optimizing the front page of a site
Google page rankings
Getting high search results
Google search rankings
I hope you find this information useful, and best wishes on your
business and Web site.
Search strategy: I was familiar with the Search Engine Watch and
About.com sites, so I used those as starting points for tips and
articles. I also searched on Google using terms such as "SEO" and
"search engine optimization."
Request for Answer Clarification by
26 Sep 2003 09:17 PDT
Thank you for the very useful information. I've read and re-read your
comments many times and have viewed most of your suggested articles.
I understand what you and the articles are saying, such as, getting as
many legitimate links on other sites pointing to my site as possible,
keywords, easy to navigate, etc. But, submitting my site to the most
popular search engines and to the Open Directory isnt that easy and
the source of my follow-up questions.
1) I tried to add my site to the Open Directory but after I submit my
site nothing happens. The screen just sits there. So Im assuming
they are having technical problems. I will keep trying, plus I have
sent them an e-mail. Do you know of another way to submit my URL to
the Open Directory.
2) Regarding listing my URL on search engine sites: some search
engines (such as Google) are free and will list my URL promptly but
others take several weeks or months for the URL to show up. Other
search engines will only list my URL after Ive paid a fee and some
are very expensive. I can use a search engine service like Inktomi
and pay a fee through one of their resellers and get listed for a
reasonable fee ($39 - $79). Is Inktomi considered a Link Farm? If I
pay the fee will this jeopardize my ranking or just a waste of money.
Thanks again for your help,
Clarification of Answer by
26 Sep 2003 10:45 PDT
I'm glad you have found the information useful so far.
First, with regard to the Open Directory, the organization running it
is upgrading its servers and is aware of problems. What they're saying
is that you should keep on trying. There is no alternative method of
Here's a discussion on this matter on the official Dmoz bulletin
Open Directory Project
As to Inktomi, it's perfectly legitimate and has been around for a
number of years. At one time (in the pre-Google days), it was one of
the major players in Internet searches, as it provided the database
for numerous smaller search engines. And that's still what it does,
supplying information for MSN search, among others. Here are two
articles that refer to Inktomi:
Andy Beal Answers SEO Questions
Search Engine & Directory Overview: Inktomi
I hope this fully answers your question. If it doesn't, please let me