Tag Archives: Databases

Search Engine Optimising #2

Last week we started talking about how you can get your site listed well on the major search engines by following just a few simple rules, starting with how to optimise your page to be seen through the eyes of a search engine. This week we’re moving on by assuming that your site is now optimised but not listed and so we’ll be covering the tactics involved in getting the search engines to pay you that important initial visit. Listen closely and all will become clear.

- Arrange reciprocal links. Many search engines find sites to add to their databases through jumping from site to site by following links from another page. For example if I were to put a link to you on my page then eventually most the search engines that use ‘spiders’ should find you just by jumping on to your page from the link I’ve placed on mine. In addition, reciprocal links are used to measure how ‘important’ a site is by the Google search engine; a page like www.microsoft.com will be seen as being much more important as 2 million websites link to it than someone selling Microsoft software who only has 10 links.

Reciprocal links are easy to build up; just ask various site owners whether they’d be willing to trade a link with you on their link page. Quite simply you place a link to their page and they’ll place one to yours.

- Submit to major search engines. Most of the major search engines have a link somewhere on their page that you can use to request that they take a look at your page at some point. There are no guarantees as to when this will be but just submit your site and then forget about it; they’ll get around to it eventually, usually within 6 weeks or so.

- Add your site to Dmoz. Google likes a directory called www.dmoz.org and regularly scans it for links to add to its database as well as giving existing websites in its database slightly higher priority than those not listed. Dmoz is a volunteer run website directory and it just so happens that I’m the category editor for the local area (Paignton Business & Economy); if you need a site added then as long as it meets their criteria I will add it for you.

- Pay for inclusion. Some sites such as Ask Jeeves request that you pay them to include you in their databases; this can often be a good idea although only pay to be added to major search engines and not just any one that comes your way otherwise you could waste thousands. Usually the fee is quite low but be careful if the search engine in question starts talking triple figures.

- Don’t use automatic submission software. Steer clear of software or websites that claim to submit your site to thousands of search engines in minutes; once upon a time I was falling for this trick and it did absolutely nothing for me. Manually submit your site to all the major search engines and arrange a reciprocal links program as shown above and sooner or later the majority of the smaller ones should pick you up without the need for useless software.

Remember that between submitting your site to a search engine and them actually indexing it can take months. In all reality the only search engine that can make or break a business at the moment is Google so spend the majority of your time satisfying him as once sorted your website should flourish.

Alternative search engine

Whilst searching for a broad range of search engines on which to promote my website I recently stumbled across a site which I hadn’t seen or heard of in the past which is actually shockingly good. For the last couple of years, Google has been my search engine of choice and is still in the majority of cases the first site that I’ll go to when searching for information on the Internet although the original layout of the site that I’m going to cover today definitely earns it a position as one of my favourites.

Kartoo (www.kartoo.com) is a meta engine which means that it searches more than one database at a time when you look for something on the Internet so that if, for example you typed in ‘houses for sale’ then it may question both AltaVista and Yahoo to bring you the most comprehensive results. In addition it can also intelligently choose which databases to question based on your search phrase so if you were to type in a question such as ‘Where can I view houses for sale?’ then Kartoo would ask a search engine that specialises in recognising natural language such as www.northernlight.com.

The best aspect of this site has to be the interface that it uses as for as long as search engines have been around, their layout has changed very little indeed – You simply type what you want into a box, hit search and then a big list of sites come up for you to choose from. Kartoo on the other hand uses a Macromedia Flash interface which makes things much more graphically intensive which many of you are probably thinking is a stupid idea as surely a graphical search engine will take longer to load and offer no advantages over a tradition engine, right? Whilst it’s true that on the first time using the site it will take a little while to load on a slow connection, repeat visits will be significantly faster and surprisingly the graphics actually help you to navigate your search results quite nicely.

Type in ‘Cheap cartridges in Devon’ into Kartoo and it comes up with a list of possible results all floating on the screen in little balloons and a list of keywords associated with the sites that have been returned focused towards the centre of the page. If you now put your mouse cursor over one of the balloons representing the site you want to go to then the search engine will join together the balloon and all the keywords from the centre of the screen that are associated with that site.

Vice Versa, on that particular search that we just did one of the keywords placed in the centre of the screen was the word ‘canon’ so if you float your mouse over this word then the site will join this word with the balloons of websites using this particular keyword. All of the balloons can be clicked on to open up that particular site or if you click on the top of the balloon then you can search from within that site, search for related sites and so on.

A list of other related searches that you may wish to try is listed down the left hand side of the screen as well as a list of top sites and sponsored links. There is an expert version which offers you greater control over how the results are displayed on your screen as well as more advanced searching options and the ability to save the searches that you’ve performed.

Basically, I recommend that you head to www.kartoo.com and give it a try as it is fairly difficult for me to explain how a graphical interface looks without the aid of pictures; you may hate it, you may love it but at least give it a try.