PR2 Newsletter : Issue 6

Welcome to issue 6 of the PR2 Website Promotion Newsletter.

It's been quite a while since the last newsletter... Sorry about that, folks. To make up for the long delay, this issue is a monster, jam-packed with information about listing your site with the major search engines. As usual, a quick headcount to open proceedings. This newsletter is going out to 2,747 people, well within sight of the big three thousand milestone. Please help by forwarding a copy of this newsletter to anyone you think it might interest...

To Business

Time to roll up our virtual sleeves, and get down to some serious promotion! There are so many ways to tell the world about your site, both online and in the Real World(tm). Press releases, targeted email, judicious reciprocal links, banner exchanges, contests and awards are just some of the adventures that lie in store on our Quest for Hits. Let's start at the beginning, with the search engines.

Snow White and the 7 Dwarves...

In promotion terms, there are seven major search engines and one vital directory towering above them. The seven search engines we need to concentrate our efforts on are AltaVista, Excite/Aol Netfind, HotBot, Infoseek, Lycos, Northern Light and WebCrawler. The directory, of course, is Yahoo! -- over 40% of all Internet users visit the Yahoo! site in any given month.

If you are not familiar with any of these, I suggest that you head over and get acquainted, since we'll be returning to them time and time again. Each search engine has a unique character, from the way search information is displayed to the way search results are ranked and even the rules for submitting sites. Don't worry, later on I'll show you in detail how to approach each one; a little advanced research never hurts though...

Behind these major players are a number of important up-and-coming players, plus hundreds of medium-size, minor and insignificant engines. These can provide a welcome boost to your traffic, and we'll be looking at some of these later in the course. At the moment, however, we need to focus our attention on the 8 sites above.

Understanding the Search Engines

The sources of your site's traffic will evolve as your site matures. At first, you may need to rely heavily on search engines and directories to make your hit counter spin. As time goes on, you will locate less fickle sources of visitors, and your dependence on search engine traffic will decrease. A good approach to search engines is important at the beginning of a promotion campaign. The topic of the search engines is much too wide to cover in full in this newsletter. You'll find lots more information in this special section of PR2.

To make effective use of search engines and directories, you need to understand the difference between what you want and what the search engines want. You want visitors, traffic, wonderful glorious hits! The search engines want to make money... by encouraging more people to carry out more searches and hence displaying more advertisements along with the search results. To this end, all the search engines try to ensure that the results they return from a search are as relevant as possible to the search terms (the words or phrase to search for) you specified. That way, you're going to go away happy, and you are more likely to use their services again in the future... and hence generate more income for them.

You need to be very careful when giving your pages a title. If you don't specify a title for your pages, they are likely to be indexed by the search engines under the glorious heading "No Title"; sites like this are as common as "John Smith"s in a phone book! Either that, or the dastardly search engine will use your site's URL as the title of the page.

Here's a quick look at how all the major search engines listed the main page of my Free Email site...


  • TITLE: Free Email Address Directory : Your ultimate guide to free email services
  • DESCRIPTION: The Free Email Address Directory is the ultimate guide to free email, covering over 350 companies and services relating to free email.

Excite/Aol Netfind

  • TITLE: Free Email Address Directory : Pick up a free email address TODAY!
  • DESCRIPTION: The Free Email Address Directory covers over 500 free email address providers.


  • TITLE: Free Email Address Directory : Your ultimate guide to free email services
  • DESCRIPTION: The Free Email Address Directory is the ultimate guide to free email, covering over 350 companies and services relating to free email.


  • TITLE: Free Email Address Directory
  • DESCRIPTION: Directory of sites offering free email addresses.


  • TITLE: Free Email Address Directory : Hundreds of Free Email S
  • DESCRIPTION: Free Email Address Directory : Hundreds of organizations offering free email services POP Mail Mail is sto

Northern Light

  • TITLE: Free Email Address Directory : Hundreds of Free E-mail Accounts
  • DESCRIPTION: Free Email Address Directory : Hundreds of Free E-mail Accounts Looking for a free e-mail address? You've come to the right place! Over 200 sources


  • TITLE: Free Email Address Directory : Pick up a free email address...
  • DESCRIPTION: The Free Email Address Directory covers over 500 free email address providers.


  • CATEGORY: Business and Economy: Companies: Internet Services: Email Providers: Free Email
  • TITLE: Index - Free Email Address Directory
  • DESCRIPTION: over 100 sources of free email addresses, plus lots of places to look up email addresses.

The Next Step

The next step would have been to learn all about titles, meta tags and stuff. But the subject is so vast that it can't be covered comfortably in a newsletter. Instead, I recommend you check out the new section on search engine promotion.

Putting Your John Hancock to Work

Since you're probably feeling quite dazed at this onslaught of non-stop promotion action, here's a change of pace in closing this newsletter: how much does the way you end an email say about the site you run? Hopefully, a lot.

Whenever you send an email, make sure that each message ends with an appropriate "signature" (know to aficionados as a ".sig" -- from the name of the file that traditionally contained the "signature" text on UNIX systems -- I bet you were dying to know that!)

A signature is simply 3-4 lines of text that appear at the end of every email you send, a little like your hand-written signature at the end of a letter. Usually, you can configure your email program to add a signature automatically. This is a brilliant chance to get in a plug -- subtle or otherwise -- about your site.

In structuring your signature, steer clear from any fancy formatting, since different email packages will present text differently. There was a trend -- now thankfully on the decline -- of putting ASCII art in signatures; the widespread use of email software with proportional fonts is guaranteed to mess up any attempt at art. So just stick to basics. Here's my suggestion for a typical signature.

  • Begin your signature with a small divider, such as 3 hyphen characters on a line by themselves "---"
  • Put the title of your site on the next line. Make it descriptive enough for readers to get an idea of what to they can expect to find on your site -- but keep it short!
  • Put a catchy, attention-grabbing claim or slogan on the next line
  • Finish off with the URL of your site on a line by itself. DON'T punctuate; if you put a full stop or comma after your URL, visitors will be unable to click on the link directly from their email package.

Here's a couple of examples, taken straight from some sites of mine:-

Pr2 : Free Website Promotion & Marketing Course
Your Site Deserves More Hits!

Free Email Address Directory
Simply the largest roundup of FREE email services anywhere!

Do yourself a favour: if you don't have a signature file set up yet, run -- don't walk -- to your email package and delve into the help file or documentation. Find out how you can set up your signature. After you're done, you'll advertise your site with every message you send out to friends, family, colleagues, newsgroups and mailing lists. What's more it's automatic, fire-and-forget stuff: once your signature is set up you never have to think about it again, it is just THERE.

Until next time... don't feel shy about evangelising PR2... and good luck promoting!

Edwin Hayward

Next: Issue 7

 Lots of Free Email
Domain Name Info
Search Engines
Affiliate Programs
Enter your email address below:-

This site's design and content are copyright Edwin Hayward 1998, and will be defended by legal action if necessary. All rights reserved.