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Website not getting listed in search engines?

You have launched your website and submitted it to popular search engines. You made a great deal of effort in creating several meaningful and relevant pages for your website and are now waiting endlessly to find your website listed in the search result pages of search engines. Frustrating! Isn't it?

You may spend several thousand rupees in building your website and if your website does not appear in the first 5 pages of popular search engines with keywords/key phrases relevant to your business, your investment goes down in the drain. People who reach your website through keyword search are the real targeted visitors and are most likely to buy. Not being able to reach them would be quite disastrous for your business.

Most of us have to face this reality and it appears that all your hard work and investment that you put on building your website and hoping to earn some revenue have gone down the drain.

Not so! Read on to understand what you should do to get your website listed on search engine results pages. It would help you correct some of the mistakes that you might be making, and re-submit your website for search engine re-consideration. We have attempted to provide you an insight into search engine optimization (SEO) which will help you work towards making your website more visible to search engines.

There are no well stated permanent rules telling you what you should do and what you should not do for SEO success. Search engines keep changing their ranking algorithms and related criteria on which they determine what factors they consider important for delivering the most relevant results to user search queries. However, there are certain fundamental criteria which remain permanent, and we will speak about these criteria here.

Gestation Period

When you submit your website to a search engine, the search engine is not at your beck-and-call that it would immediately get going to crawl your website and index it. Search engine robots are the busiest software in the world, especially with several million websites on the internet today. You have to be patient and wait for your turn to come. Some times this wait could be as long as 6 months. However, if even after 6-8 months your website does not show up with search engines, you have a reason to re-look at your website pages.

How to check whether your website has been indexed by a search engine or not?

Open the search engine's search interface and type the following search term:


Please note that there should be no blank space in between, the entire term is a single word. If the search engine does show at least one page of your website, it means that it did crawl your website and has already indexed it. However, if you are finding only very few of your website pages listed, you need to review the pages that have not been listed.

Website Theme

For spam-free and relevant results, search engines often evaluate an entire website as a single page to find the main theme covering all pages of the website. Most major search engines have become theme-based.

Search engines extract and analyze words on all pages of a website to find out its common theme. The more keywords found on your website that relate to the user's search query, the more points you get for the theme. Therefore, if your website includes many products or services, try to find the theme that covers them all.

Your home page content would also play a role in letting search engines (as well as your site visitors) understand your overall website theme. Briefly touch upon all your product and service offerings on the home page. Write in a natural tone keeping the readers in mind while consciously making use of the relevant keywords and key-phrases at appropriate places - without over doing it. Your keywords and key-phrases must flow naturally with the text. Anchor the most relevant keywords and key-phrases with links to corresponding inner pages where that keyword related topic is discussed in more detail.

In the inner page, make use of the keyword or key-phrase a few times. Use various semantic variations instead of using the same keyword or key-phrase again and again. A thesaurus can come in very handy. You can use synonyms, singular and plural versions, past, present and future tense, and so on. In some cases, use of certain antonyms may also help. Just think of the reader while writing your content and at the same time be conscious of your main topic keyword/key-phrase.

Optimizing Page Content

Content of your page is the most important part. You should always give due importance to writing your content for the human readers and not for search engine robots. However, you can consciously insert your keywords/key phrases that are well spread out on the page, without destroying the effectiveness of your content presentation. Here are a few guidelines related to writing your content - keeping SEO in mind.

Your primary keywords should be placed at the top of your body tag (first 25 words) and as close to the beginning of a sentence as possible. Do not forget to use them again in each paragraph. Keywords should not be repeated one after another. For search engines that check keyword presence at the bottom of the body tag, you should use your most important keywords within the last 25 words of the page as well. Extra emphasis to keywords is given by search engines when you underline them or make them bold, thus helping higher rankings for these keywords.

First heading on the page (H1-H6)

<H1>Keyword in the Heading</H1>
<H2>Keyword in the Heading</H2>

It is important that keyword/keyphrase is present in the very first heading tag on the page regardless of its type. If the keyword is also used as a first word, you will raise its prominence.

All Headings

There are standard rules for the structure of HTML pages. They are written in a document-like fashion. In a document, you start with the title, then a major heading that usually describes the main purpose of the section. Sub-headings highlight the key points of each subsection. Many search engines rank the words found in headings higher than the words found in the text of the document. Some search engines incorporate keywords by looking at all the heading tags on a page.

Invisible Text

Your HTML page may contain several invisible or partially visible texts. These texts are often found in link title and image alt attributes. They are also included in anchor names and HTML comments. Anchor tags on the page can also have keyword-rich text as anchor names. This text can be important to some search engines and therefore also for the rankings of the destination pages. You can create anchored links with keywords in them to link pages of your website. Let us look at each of these:

Link to another page


<A href="anotherpage.html" title="keyword rich short description of link">keyword</A>

Link to a content section within the same page

Link Syntax:

<A href="#xyz" title="keyword rich short description of link">keyword</A>
Content Section First Line:
<A name="xyz">Keyword rich heading for content section</A>

Text in the ALT attribute of image tag


<a href="anotherpage.html"><img src="someimage.jpg" alt="keyword"></a>

Images like buttons, banners, etc. may include alt attributes as a text comment describing the graphic image. If this image has been used as a hyperlink, the alt attribute is interpreted as a link text by some search engines, and the destination page will have a significant boost in rankings for the keyword in the alt attribute. Use graphic links with keyword-rich alts to link pages of your website.



<!-- Comment: keyword rich comment -->

This tag lets webmasters write notes about the page code, which is only for their guidance and is invisible to the browser. Most search engines do not read the content of this tag, so Comments optimization will not be much helpful. The Comment tags need be populated with keywords only if the design of the web page does not allow more efficient and search engine-friendly methods.

HTML Page Size

Page size matters because search engines limit the size of a cached page. For instance, Google only caches a full page if the size of its HTML is <=100 Kb. What we mean by size of html is that images and external scripts are not included. Yahoo caches text of up to 500 Kb per page. This means if your HTML page is too large, search engines will not cache the full page, and only the top part of the text will be searchable.

Last Modified Date

This attribute shows how old the web page is. It is taken from the server response to HTTP request. You can see if your page has been updated lately. Frequently modified pages score better over dead pages.

Color of Text and Background

If the color of the text on a page is close to the background color, the text becomes almost invisible. As a rule, this technique is employed to populate a page with keywords without damaging its design. Since it is considered as spam by most search engines, we suggest that you should refrain from using such a technique.

Use of Tiny Text

If a page uses CSS for text formatting and there are fonts smaller than 4 pixels, they are reported as tiny texts. Most search engines consider tiny texts as an abusive practice. Hence you should avoid using them.

Immediate Keyword Repeats

The same keyword repeated one after the other a few times is a bad practice. For example a text than contains buy sport shoes online, sport shoes, sport shoes in Delhi is a questionable text. Such repetitions are considered as spam by most search engines and may result in banning of the page or of the entire website by search engines.

Use of HTML Frames

Most search engines find it difficult to navigate through frames. Hence, if you are using frames, all pages of your website may not get indexed. You should therefore avoid using frames for your web pages.

Use of JavaScript Code in HTML

Javascript codes can be directly embedded in html. This direct embedding is all right if you have a very small script to embed. However, if your script is large, it is better to put them in a separate .js file and link the .js file from within your html page. Use of too many embedded scripts on the html page will reduce your keyword prominence, and will hence reduce your page rank. We advise putting the script in an external file or move it as close to the closing Body tag as possible. The same rule also applies to other embedded scripts such as VB Script.

Meta Tags

Each html document must be structured as shown below:

    <TITLE>A Suitable Title for the Page</TITLE>
    <meta name="description" content="A brief description of what the page is about">
    <meta name="keywords" content="Comma separated keywords">
    --- Your html content here ---

The information contained inside the head tags describe the document, but it doesn't show up on the page returned to the browser. The Title tag and meta tags are placed inside the Head tags.

The content of the Title tag is displayed by browsers on the Title bar located at the top of the browser window. Search engines use the Title tag to provide a link to the site matching the users query. The text in the Title tag is one of the most important factors influencing search engine ranking algorithms. By populating your most important keywords in the Title tag, you can dramatically increase the search engine ranking of the page for those keywords.

The META Description tag provides a brief description of the page. It is important the description clearly describes the purpose of the page. The importance of the Description tag as an element of the ranking algorithm has decreased significantly over years, but there are still search engines that support this tag. They log descriptions of the indexed pages and often display them along with the Title, on the search results page.

The length of a displayed description varies per search engine. Therefore you should place the most important keywords at the beginning of the first sentence to ensure that both users and search engines see the most important information about your site.

The META Keywords tag lists important words or phrases related to the content of the page. This tag provides some additional text for crawler-based search engines. However because of frequent attempts to abuse their system, most search engines ignore this tag. However, there is no harm in listing your important keywords here that are relevant to the page content. Similar to the description tag, there is a limit in the number of captured characters in Keywords meta tag. Avoid repetitions as search engines can penalize your rankings. Move the most important keywords to the beginning to increase their prominence.

Link Popularity

This relates to the number of links from other website pages to your page, that search engines are aware of.

Each search engine only lists links embedded on web sites that are pre-indexed by it. So, the presence of certain links in Google's index will not guarantee that Yahoo has also indexed the same sites. Therefore the number of links shown will be different from engine to engine. In general, the more number of links you have pointing to your page, the better your page will rank.

However, a large number of links is not the deciding factor that helps your website get to the top of the results pages. The quality of these links is also important. If a link to your site is placed on a page having very little importance, i.e., that page itself is linked to only a few other pages or none, this kind of link will not improve a page's popularity. The links to your pages should be subject-relevant because theme-based search engines will check the parity of content between referring and referred pages. The closer they are, the more relevant your site page is to the searcher's query for your keyword. Avoid reciprocal linking with sites that have a low weight, or a questionable reputation or are different from yours in subject matter.

The tips given here are just some of the factors that help in SEO. There are some other relatively less important aspects as well that we have not covered here. Remember that despite taking care of all of these factors you may still find that your website pages are not appearing in the first five pages of search engine results. Do not loose heart. There is stiff competition for keywords, so look to optimize your pages for keywords that may not be the most popular ones, yet are popular enough to give you decent number of hits. Optimizing for less competitive keywords may help in such a situation.

I hope the above inputs would be of some help to you in optimizing your website for search engines. Take time to go through all the pages of your website and re-work your website layout, page content, etc. Do not always depend upon SEO experts. You know your business better and hence you must spend time to write your contents in the best possible manner keeping your sales pitch intact. Best of luck!

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About the Author
Rajeev Kumar
CEO, Computer Solutions
Jamshedpur, India

Rajeev Kumar is the primary author of How2Lab. He is a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur with several years of experience in IT education and Software development. He has taught a wide spectrum of people including fresh young talents, students of premier engineering colleges & management institutes, and IT professionals.

Rajeev has founded Computer Solutions & Web Services Worldwide. He has hands-on experience of building variety of websites and business applications, that include - SaaS based erp & e-commerce systems, and cloud deployed operations management software for health-care, manufacturing and other industries.

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