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Search Engine Submission Services Why You Don't Need Them

So you've registered your domain and your website is up and running online. And, next thing you know you get an email telling you you need to sign up for something called search engine submission. For $xx.xx a month they'll submit your site to 200 (or 300 or 600 - the number varies) search engines and that this is the only way you'll get listed. And, here's the kicker, to remain listed you should pay them every month otherwise you may drop off of the search engine listings completely.


Great! sign me up! Right? Wrong, while this may not technically be illegal, my personal opinion is that it's a pretty shady practice targeting new and usually un-web-savvy website owners by selling them a service which is of little actual value.


Getting More Links to Your Art Website The Places You Teach

Do you teach art classes or workshops? Does the college, studio, art center, etc. where you teach have a website where you can display your profile. If so, have them include a link to your website.


People participating in your classes/workshops are artists/art lovers and may be potential customers or have connections to potential customers.


In addition, for search engine optimization purposes, it's another link into your website from a respected relevant source. And, if the place you teach has a .edu domain name (most colleges and universities do), the link in may be given even more weight by the search engines because .edu domains are not available on the open market.

Get Better Search Engine Results Quick Tip #8 - Stay Up to Date

circle the dateUpdate your website regularly - search engines like to see fresh content on websites.


Think about it, if it's 2014 and your site talks about your event that is upcoming in July 2010 - you are out of date. Your site may even look as though it has been abandoned.


Every site can use a little house cleaning every once in a while - keep it fresh and you'll be more relevant


Read more tips for attracting more traffic to your website


Tip #1 – What You Write is Important


Tip #2 – Be Specific


Tip #3 – Be Local


Tip #4 – Talk About Your Art


Tip #5 – Get Other Sites to link to Yours


Tip #6 – Some Links Carry More Weight


Tip #7 – Link to Others

How Google Works Part 3 - Games, Elixirs and Potions

Pills and PotionsPart 1 covered the behind the curtain mechanics of how Google works. Part 2 went over the economics of the great "free" product we all enjoy.


Google is used more and more in our daily lives. Everyone is getting a supercomputer, aka smartphone, in their pocket. When you're out and about, need to know the hours of your closest coffee shop, Google it. How amazing is that!?


Nowadays, if your business isn't found with a Google search, YOU DON'T EXIST. More accurately, if you don't show in the first 30 results, and preferably the first 10, you don't exist. Google doesn't publish their secret sauce ingredients, or their ranking algorithm. This leaves everyone to speculate and conjecture the magic of Google.


This has created a new industry called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. The objective of SEO is to get Google to place your website higher up in the search results than everyone else. The techniques can range from simple wording tweaks and adding relevant content, to shady, unscrupulous elixirs. Google acknowledges this industry and encourages webmasters to tailor their sites to human beings first and foremost. Google publishes articles and videos on how to work within their rules, including rules that should not be broken. What's the penalty for breaking Google's rules? At one extreme, they'll blacklist your website! These days, if your site is blacklisted, you might as well close up shop. Less drastically, they can make sure your website does not show in the top search results.


One of the original SEO techniques has been termed "link farms". The premise is that Google likes sites that have a lot of other websites linking to them. If you pay a bunch of link farms to link to your site, then Google should like your site. Google caught on to this technique and highly discourages it - they will downgrade a site's quality rank when they see these techniques employed.


The SEO industry is a lot like the weight loss industry. With the rising percentages of Americans in the overweight category, most of us could stand to lose a few pounds. So how do you do it? Different techniques work for different people. There are diets, diet books, fad diets; diet club memberships, diet meals in a box; exercise programs and workout routines; then there's the magic pills n potions. For every legitimate diet business or program, there are a few get thin quick schemes (think late night infomercials). Some products seem to claim they can make you thin by the end of the month by just taking a pill. The reality that many studies have shown is that weight loss is hard work involving a combination of diet change and exercise regimen - that produces the most successful long term healthy results.


By the same token, every website could use some tweaks and adjustments that could help in their Google ranking. Just like the weight loss industry, there are a plethora of businesses ready to take your money, and optimize your site to get it "to the top of Google by the end of the month". These companies engage in shady high pressure cold-call sales techniques followed by rule breaking techniques that can get you blacklisted from search.


There are also pure hearted SEO businesses using legitimate techniques that may help in improving your search ranking over the period of months or years. In the end, good SEO starts with a little hard work - adding content that people can read about your business and products, and networking with other like businesses. People and Google alike want to see websites that answer the basics: who, what, where, when, why. Who are you, what is your product/what can it do for me, where can I see/buy it, when can I have it/when are you open, why do I need it. By providing the answers to these questions, you may get better search engines results for your site.


See some of our other articles on SEO for practical tips and techniques.

How Google Works Part 2 - Free? Follow the Money

MoneyPart 1 talked about how Google search works, what about the economics of search, how do we get all this for free? If search works like a library, the underlying financing works like an old national television broadcast network (ABC, CBS, NBC). In the days before cable, how much did you pay to watch a TV show? Zero, nothing, zilch; well, kinda. Many of those actors were making bucks, where did the money come from? Advertisers. The broadcast networks paid for the TV shows, advertisers paid the broadcast networks, and you paid the advertisers (like when you buy Coke, Spearmint gum, and your Ford Taurus).


In much the same way, you are not paying Google directly for the search results. So who is? Advertisers. Google show ads on the right side of the search page (and often at the top and bottom of the page). Google has two pricing schemes for advertisers. One is priced by "impressions", which is modeled on the TV broadcasters where they estimate how many people watch a show; the more viewers, the more the advertiser pays. The other price scheme is to "pay per click", where the advertiser pays each time an ad is clicked. Ads can get expensive quickly.


So, with this pricing model, it begs the statement: "Great, so I can just pay and have Google put me anywhere I want!". Wrong. Google makes a clear distinction when taking advertising money -- it is for advertising. When you search, you get two separate sets of results - "organic results" based on the GoogleBot catalog, and the advertisements. Nobody can pay to influence the organic results, and the advertisements have strict rules of their own. You cannot pay Google to show "Sally's Home Baked Cookies" when someone searches for a new car - ads must be relevant to the search.


Google has gotten so big, so ubiquitous, that if you're not well liked by Google, nobody will ever find you --you don't exist. This created a new industry where everyone wants to claw their way to the top of Google, which we'll cover in Part 3 (coming soon).

How Google Works Part 1 - The Man Behind the Curtain

How Search WorksThis three part series pulls the curtain back on the great Google that we are all using more and more every day. It is a very complicated topic that we (attempt to) simplify.


Google works a lot like a public library, is funded a lot like an old national television broadcaster, and has spun off entire new industries.


In case you haven't been to a library in the last decade or so, here's a refresher. Libraries are large buildings with lots of books in them. So how do you find a book? In the era before computers, you might check the card catalog. Card catalogs categorize by author, title, or subject / keyword. Each card contains information about the book, along with where to find it in the library. The card then includes a short sentence, or sometimes even an abstract or summary of the book. If you want assistance, there is a librarian that is skilled and trained to help you through.


So how does this relate to Google? Well, Google is similar to the librarian with the card catalog. Google's catalog just covers the internet. You give Google some keywords, a subject, or a phrase, and Google gets you a list of website pages they believe match. So the websites are like books, and the website pages are like pages in books. Google searches through its latest catalog of the internet to get your search results.


So how does Google build its catalog? Google has what is referred to as a spider that crawls the web -- their spider is named GoogleBot. GoogleBot starts by cataloging and indexing a single website. Then it looks at the links from that website to other websites, visits each, cataloging and indexing along the way. By doing this, going from one site to another, over and over, GoogleBot can get to much of the internet.


Relating back to books, books may have references to other books or periodicals. With a book, how do I know if it is a good book without reading it? We could judge the quality of the book by it's cover, but that's not very useful. Usually we look for reviews of the book by others we respect. I'd believe a finance book is good if it is well reviewed in the New York Times, but maybe not if the review is from The National Enquirer. Also, if other quality books reference this book, it's more likely to be a good book. Academia and research scientists rely heavily on references. If a researcher wants to be published in a quality scientific journal, they are sure to reference other relevant, quality research. Also, they want other researchers to reference their work. The more quality references to their work, the more prestige they, and their work receive.


Google uses this same principle for websites. When you do a search, there may be millions of pages that have your search terms on them. But you don't want to look at millions, how about the top 10. Google assigns a quality rank to each site it indexes. This quality rank is part of how they get the most relevant results to the top. Again, the quality of a site is partially determined by how often other quality sites refer to it -- just like the scientific article or book.


Check out Part 2 for the economics of how all this Google goodness is free.