Be Found:
The commercial optimising options

How to design findable web sites and get ranked with the best

The basics: understanding search engines and spiders

Index or directory?

Setting the right keywords

Using robot protocols to prevent unwanted indexing

Use core HTML tags more efficiently

Optimizing tricks to avoid

Getting dynamic web pages indexed

The problem of unreadable content

The commercial options for SEO

Using htaccess for efficient redirection

The final word on SEO

Commercial options

Should you consider spending money on getting into search pages or should you save your cash and stick to optimising techniques?

If your site contains useful information, services, products or resources, and if it's well-constructed, with accurate, relevant meta tags, title, text content and link structures and so on, then by rights it should be included in search engine indexes with no more than just the standard prompting.

However, many indexes are so swamped with submission requests that it can take many weeks, and even months in many cases for index requests to be processed. This delay is especially galling when you're informed that for a fee the process can be shortened to just a few days. Your goal, at least most of the time, should be to avoid paying for inclusion in search engine directories and indexes. So should you go ahead and fork out for speedier inclusion?

This depends entirely on which service is asking for your cash. If it's a key search engine or directory, particularly one that influences other services with its content, and if being found easily in this way is important to you or your client, then it's worth considering. In many cases, this also allows more frequent checks to be performed on your site. If you have content that changes regularly and you're concerned about specific search indexes going out of date on a regular basis, this can be a clear benefit.

However, be wary if you're asked to pay for a service that makes submissions to indexes and directories for you. Virtually all search site organisations dislike automated URL submissions, and many will reject and even block your site if it appears to come via such methods. The reason is that these are 'spammer' methods used to send in thousands of site addresses in order to skew search engine results. Because such efforts undermine the usefulness of the search engine indexes, this sort of behaviour is taken very seriously. The Open Directory project at, which is one of the most important directories in the Internet due to content-sharing agreements with Google and others, deletes such submissions without warning. They also say that 'persistent automatic submission may force us to ban you from the dmoz site, so we can provide resources to real human beings'.

Pay-per-click services are offered by a number of companies, with Google's being the best known. This is where you set up small ads which are shown when certain keywords are included in a search, and you pay a small fee every time someone clicks on a link to your site from the host's search result listings. The more popular a keywork is, the more you'll have to pay for each click. If you hope to generate revenue in some way from your visitors, then this may be worth trying, but do your sums very carefully before you take this on. You won't generally risk being presented with an unexpectedly large bill as the total you wish to spend should be established up front, but you might find the click-to-sale conversion rate isn't enough to justify things. Have clear, established ways to make profits from your site before you pay for visits in this way.

The bottom line is that the site must be ready for the spiders before you start inviting them over. You can spend hours submitting your URL to search engine and directory sites around the world, but if the pages aren't spider-friendly, then they're unlikely to rank well at all - and if they aren't particularly human-friendly, then they won't be listed in directories, and real visitors won't stay long even if they do find you in a page of search results.

If you come up with a method you think will trick your favourite search engine spider into ranking you higher than normal, don't use it. The chances are it has already been tried out, spotted and countered. More importantly, if a URL is associated with spamming tricks in any way, its ranking will suffer immediately, and the site may even be dropped entirely. It simply isn't worth the risk.

Looking for tips on searching more effectively instead? Read the Search Secrets pages.

Have you found the information on this site useful? If you like, you can make a small donation directly to my hosting bills! It would be deeply appreciated.