A very important part of your website design is search engine optimisation. What this means is that your website must be optimised for your products or services specifically targeted to your location. In othger words it's no good having a website optimised for garden services. When a client types in durban garden services, you website will not come up because it has no local optimisation.

Below is an article exploding some of the myths that you can expect to get.


I just received this bit of spam in my mailbox,
"Have a great web site, but no one knows it even exists? Get EVERY page of your website indexed by such important Search Engines like: Lycos, Excite, Gooqle ,Ask Jeeves ,MSN Search ,Yahoo Search ,lnktomi ,AOL Search, Overture ,WebcrawIer ,HotBot ,etc. Getting EVERY paqe of your website relisted every 2-3 months wiIl expose your site to extra traffic. "

It makes my stomach turn to think of how many people will fall for it.

Everywhere you turn someone is telling you about something you MUST do for your site to succeed. So many of these "have to's" are pure nonsense. Those are still not too bad because the most that they can cost you is some of your hard-earned cash. The problem is that some can cost you your website.

Hopefully this article will help you to avoid some of the more common tricks of the trade.

Myth 1

Submit your site to hundreds of search engines every month.

This one slays me, mainly because it is so easy to create enough hype around it to make so many people believe it. Not only is this totally untrue, but it can hurt your website!


There are only a handful of search engines worth being listed on.

You do not need to submit to any genuine search engine. It will find you as it crawls the web. The most important thing for you to do is list your site with at least one serious directory and the rest will follow.

Many so-called search engines are in fact link farms and "Free For All" sites. Both of these are loathed by serious search engines and your page being listed on them will score you no brownie points. They will also bring you no business, but are almost guaranteed to bring you loads of spam email.

Once a serious search engine has you in their index there is no reason to submit again. In fact, you're liable to annoy them and get penalised instead. The penalty? - Having your site banned.

Certain search engines, like Inktomi Slurp, Ask Jeeves and most of the ones mentioned in the email that I received, will not accept any submission unless a good sized cheque accompanies it! - Visit these search engines and look for yourself. You will see that this entire email and every one like it, is a deception.


Myth 2

Exchange links with every site who will agree, so that you can get a higher search engine ranking.

This is yet another clever twist of fact and once again, a twist that can waste a lot of your time and potentially even hurt your rankings on major search engines.


It is true that links help to build PR with Google, but only good quality links.

If you link to a site that Google and Yahoo! consider dubious or have banned (or could in future ban), you will be tarred with the same brush.

If a site links to you from a page where it links to hundreds of other sites, you will get absolutely no value from it.

A link to or from your site that does not deal with the same subject of your site will have absolutely no value to you.


Myth 3

If a search engine optimiser can get you higher in search engine results almost immediately, they must be worth using.

This is possibly the most insidious of all because at face value they do seem like superstars. - How can getting your site up ahead of the opposition in under a month possibly be disputed?


There are numerous ways to get absolutely any website into the highest positions almost overnight, but the techniques used will also guarantee being banned by the major search engines once discovered. Resubmitting will not help. Your site has been black-listed. All that remains is to toss the domain name, register a new one and start from scratch.

If they talk about cloaking, shadow sites or doorways, your site is at risk.

Most who use these techniques will not use this terminology, but rather disguise what they are doing by talking about having other sites pointing to yours, creating highly optimised pages specifically for search engines and various other descriptions that sound the same as legitimate methods.

Ask them if they do anything against the Google and Yahoo! stipulations and, if their terms of service don't state this, get them to sign a contract stating clearly that they don't.


Myth 4

Once my site has a high ranking, I'll get lots of visitors.

Not true. The danger of this myth is that it grossly oversimplifies the way that search engine marketing works.


High ranking does not automatically mean more visitors.

High ranking merely means a search engine finds your site relevant to a particular subject. If this is not a subject that people are interested in, you're still not going to get many visitors.

People who use search engines do not simply click on the highest results. They click on what they perceive to be the most relevant.

You can come up lower in results and get a lot more visitors than the person at the top.

It is far more important to make sure that what people see about your site in a search result is appealing, than to come up highest.

Myth 4b

Linked to this is the myth that it is your website or home page ranking that counts. Wrong.


It is the rating of both your site as a whole and of each individual page that matters. It is highly unlikely that every page on your website is going to be dealing with the exact same topic in the exact same way. Each page should be unique and each page is uniquely ranked for its own, specific content.


Myth 5

If my site gets lots of visitors I will get lots of business.

Another misperception that can waste a lot of your time and energy as you fret over your high stats and low income.


Your site must be about what people thought it was, or they won't even look past your front page, let alone do business with you.

Likewise, your site must meet the visitor's expectations and it must meet the criterion of a well developed site.

Even if you have a great site on the exact subject visitors are interested in, they will not give you their business unless you have given them good reason to. They must trust you. They must believe that you will deliver. They must be guided through what to do, without any confusion.

Some visitors are looking for something other than what you want them to be looking for. Example: your site is about widgets and you have loads of information about widgets and wadgets and wudgets. The visitor may be there because of the wudgets and wadgets instead of the widgets you are trying to sell. - Instead of trying to cover all angles with a shotgun approach, become an expert on only widgets. If you also want to give info on wadgets, then make sure you are selling them as well.

In short, focus on what it is that you want to promote.

As a tip here: making the main focus of your website about you and your company is not the way to go. Visitors are not interested in your great history and pretty faces. First and foremost they are interested in what you can do for them - your products or services.

Keep your mission statement where it belongs - off the front page.


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