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(May 5th, 2007)

Article update!

Targeting your search engine marketing is a new article that replaces the old "Top engines" article, which is moved into the archives.

Like the old one, the new article examines which search engines you should target with your search engine marketing efforts.

Love it? Hate it? Tell me about it!

PS. Did you notice the new RSS feed of latest updates?

Free website promotion tutorial

Welcome to A Promotion Guide. If this is your first visit, you might want to take the time to read through this page. It contains a free step-by-step website promotion tutorial
that also serves as a "User's Guide" to the site. Reading it will give you a good idea on what you need to do, when you need to do it and how the articles on this site will help you.

This tutorial is split into three phases that each have two, three or four steps. It is highly recommended that you start from the first phase and move forwards only after you have completed all of the steps in it.

We'll begin with the assumption that your site is brand new and that you haven't done any website promotion work yet. However, that doesn't mean that you can't use the tutorial if you have submitted to a few search engines or registered your site with a couple of directories. If you notice that there are some things you have already done, feel free to simply skip over them.

Promoting your site takes a lot of time and may involve waiting several weeks or even months to get into certain directories and search engines. Thus, it might be wise to bookmark this page so that you can return to it later and continue the tutorial from where you left off.

Website promotion, phase one - Directories

You should start your website promotion efforts by listing your site at the most popular Internet directories. Because they can send you substantial amounts of traffic and affect your ranking in various search engines, it is wise to make sure that your site is present in all of the major directories before doing anything else.

Step one - General information

Submitting to directories is easy and doesn't require much effort. It's ensuring that your submission will be accepted that makes this task a hard one.

  1. First, read "Boost your traffic with website directories" to get a basic idea on what directories are and how to submit to them.

  2. Examine the article about web page design to get some tips on how to improve your site and reduce the chances of it being rejected.

Step two - The Open Directory Project

Start with the Open Directory Project. While your site has to offer good, unique content to be accepted to the ODP, its editors usually review sites quickly and won't reject them without a good reason for doing so. This, along with the fact that submitting to the ODP is free of charge, makes it a perfect starting point. Completing this step successfully will also provide you with experience that will prove to be very valuable later on.

  1. Read my thoughts on how Google's ranking algorithm works and notice how an ODP listing seems to affect your ranking at Google. Keep this information in mind when you submit.

  2. Take a look at the advice on submitting your website to the ODP.

  3. Finally, submit your site to the ODP.

  4. If your submission isn't successful, consider becoming an editor at the Open Directory and listing your own site.

Step three - Yahoo

After securing a listing at ODP, your next task is to get the folks at Yahoo to notice that your site exists and is worth a place in their directory. This might cost you a fair amount of money if you are running a commercial site, but is usually worth it. Non-commercial sites can get in for free, but might require several submissions and a lot of patience before they are accepted.

  1. Check out the Yahoo-specific guidelines and hints and the article about how Yahoo's search feature ranks sites.

  2. Bite the bullet and submit your site to Yahoo.

Website promotion, phase two - Search engines

Now that your site has been included in ODP and Yahoo, you should already be receiving clearly more traffic than before. The next task is to get to know search engines and use them to bring even more people to your pages. Because you have completed phase one, you have established a good foundation for making your site perform well in the search engines.

Step one - Search engine optimization, basics

In order to gain good rankings, you'll need to learn the basics of search engine algorithms (ranking systems) and adjust your pages to meet their criteria as well as possible. This will take some time and effort, but doing some work now will save you from a lot of trouble in the future.

  1. First, try to make the design of your site as search engine friendly as possible. To read more about the subject, take a look at my article about website optimization.

  2. Next, you'll need to do some keyword optimization. Sounds frightening, but in plain English it simply means choosing the correct keywords for your pages. Using the wrong words is perhaps the most common reason why people don't get satisfying results from their search engine optimization work.

  3. Continue by reading these search engine optimization tips.

  4. Read the article about META tags and add them to all of your pages. The META keywords tag isn't absolutely necessary, but the META description tag is very important.

  5. Learn what link popularity is and how search engines use it to rank your pages.

  6. Unless you have already done so, read about Google's algorithm. Google is among the most popular search services of today, so it is wise to take its requirements into account.

  7. Use all of this information to optimize your pages for the search engines.

Step two - Search engine optimization, advanced

Your site is now adequately prepared to really start bringing in traffic from search engines. But if you want to widen your knowledge about them and increase your chances of success, you still have some work to do. On the other hand, if you're totally exhausted and just want to get this thing over with, you'll be delighted to know that this step isn't absolutely necessary.

  1. Study some of the more advanced things related to search engine optimization. Among them are cloaking, css tricks, doorway pages, themes and how to improve your search engine ranking with click popularity.

  2. Read about the things you should avoid doing from this article that outlines common web site promotion mistakes.

Step three - Submitting to search engines?

Now is the time to make sure that your site has a presence in the indexes of major search engines. Fortunately, they are quite good at finding your site on their own. There are things you can do to help them, though..

  1. Get to know how search engine submission works and how the search engines determine which sites to list.

  2. Read the article "Targeting your search engine marketing" to see which engines are the most popular ones.

  3. If you are running a commercial site, you might also want to consider paying for search engine placement. Take a look at how you can use PPC search engine advertising to buy your way to the top.

Website promotion, phase three - More techniques

After being accepted into the largest directories and having pages of your site come up in answer to searches done at the major search engines, the long hours that you've spent on website promotion have begun to pay off and your daily visitor count is starting to look good. But there is still plenty you can do to help your site attract even more traffic.

In phase three, we'll examine different promotion methods that you might want to try. However, in order to prevent you from wasting your time on things that don't work, we'll also go over a few techniques that have proven to be less than spectacular when I experimented with them.

Step one - Keep these in mind

First, let's take a look at the good stuff. The articles introduced in this step are about the website promotion methods that are at least partially effective. Some of them work better than others, but if used correctly, all of them can produce results that will be worth your while. Of course, most of the articles include advice on what you need to do to obtain the best possible results with the method discussed.

  1. If you sell something on your site, you might want to try banner ads. Usually banner campaigns are seen as expensive and ineffective, but it is partially because advertisers don't know how to design good banners.

  2. Read the article on how to increase traffic with return visitors. Getting people to come back is the secret to why some sites get amazingly many hits per day.

  3. Learn what reciprocal links are and how to get them, then put that knowledge into use. In addition to sending you visitors, reciprocal links will also increase your link popularity and help your site rank higher in the search engines.

  4. Start using E-mail signatures. They might not produce thousands of visitors, but are a great way to promote your site a bit without having to actually do anything.

  5. Evaluate whether your site could benefit from joining a topsite list. These lists have their good and bad sides, but might be at least worth a try.

  6. Consider trying to build traffic with Usenet advertising. It can give you a nice traffic boost and help spread the word about your site, but only if done properly. Read the article to learn why Usenet promotion should only be done with great care.

  7. Writing newsletter articles often works well and can send you large amounts of targeted traffic in a short period of time, for free.

Step two - Forget these

As said, everything just doesn't always work the way it should in the world of promotion. In step two, our attention is focused on website promotion methods that are more trouble than they are worth. They might not be entirely useless, but your time would be better spent on improving your site or spreading the word about your site in other ways.

  1. Click exchange programs are easy, fast, free and will get you a lot of visitors. That's why it might be a surprise to hear that they really aren't good website promotion tools.

  2. A lot has been written about FFA pages and for the past few years, most of it has been negative. The only thing they are good for is increasing the flow of spam to your E-mail address.

  3. Winning website awards can occasionally be useful, especially if the awards are well-known. However, sometimes the winner of the award is not the real winner.

Final words

Congratulate yourself for being persistent, bright and hard-working. Most get frustrated and quit before this point, which is why most sites never become anything. After all, the secret to having a successful site is working hard in both promoting
and creating it. You just might have what it takes.

After going through those three phases, you've read just about everything this site has to offer. While there is more to website promotion than what we have discussed here, you now know quite a lot about the subject. If you still desire more information, don't forget to come back to this site every now and then. This tutorial is always incomplete, because I continuously notice things that I want to write about.

I hope that A Promotion Guide has been able to help you to make your site more popular and thus given you the chance to spread your ideas and thoughts to a larger audience. And remember, if you have achieved good results, it's not because I showed you how to do it - it's because you did it.

- Lauri Harpf
Webmaster of A Promotion Guide & Kotiaine