1. If I do business in Europe, do I need to get listed on local search engines and directories?

The majority of people worldwide rely on a small number of US-based search companies. Yahoo and the Open Directory each have international branches of their directories, and Google has versions of its search engine for many different countries.

If you can get listed on a smaller regional or local website directory, it will help your search engine placement on all of the major search engines by increasing your "popularity" (the number and quality of links to your site). Some local directories provide direct links to websites listed, while others use scripts to track clicks on the sites listed. If the directory is using a script, your listing in that directory will have little impact on your ranking in search engines that factor in popularity. Still, that link may drive a few visitors.

2. Once you begin using SEO, how long until you see improvement in your search engine placement?

The amount of time you will have to wait will depend on which techniques are employed in your efforts to optimize your website. Assuming you've rebuilt your site and loaded it onto your server, replacing the old files, you need to be prepared to wait anywhere from a few days (if you use a pay-for-inclusion service) to a few months.

If your site has already been on the Web for some time, and is already listed in all of the major directories, then you will probably begin to see improvements in your search engine rankings within 4-6 weeks.

3. How many web sites are there in the World Wide Web?

There were 2,970,000,000 web pages indexed by Netcraft as of February 2007, and 70,392,567 websites were indexed by Yahoo! as of August 2005. These are the most recent figures:the longer or later on in the year it goes there will be more websites so you could check it one day and then the next day check and 1000 more sites could be up

Google announced on 7/25/2008 that it had indexed over 1 trillion unique URL's.

Every day, more sites get created. That means this answer will change fairly rapidly over short periods of time.

4. Which is the most used search engine?

Google is by far the most used search engine today. In addition to providing Web search at its home page, Google.com, Google also provides web search results to several of the most popular Internet destinations, including Yahoo! [Note: As of 02/18/2004, Yahoo! no longer uses Google as its default search engine.] and AOL. Google does far more than 200 million (>200,000,000) searches every day through Google.com. That number was reported by Google all the way back in 2001, and they have consistently refused to update it, but you can be assured that Google does substantially more than 200,000,000 searches every day through Google.com.

5. Explain link popularity and how it helps exactly.

In a general sense, link popularity is determined by the number and quality of websites that have linked to your website (often referred to as "backlinks"). The effects of link popularity are threefold: (1) links to your site give Web users ways to find your site while visiting other sites; (2) links to your site give search engine spiders (robots) trails to follow to find and index or re-index your site; (3) links to your site are essentially votes for your site in search engine ranking algorithms, but not all votes are counted equally.

When two sites are equally well optimized for search engine performance on any given keyword phrase, the search engine will generally rank the one with more link popularity above the other.

6. How do I submit my site to The Open Directory (ODP or DMOZ)?

How to submit step-by-step:

1) Go to http://dmoz.org.

2) Use (a) the search engine or (b) the directory links to find the perfect category for your site.

3) Look in the upper right-hand corner of the directory page for a text link that says, "add URL" and click on it.

4) Carefully read the page. If you've used all of your wits, and you are truly at the most appropriate category for your site, then fill out the form. Just put your URL in the text field labeled "Site URL" which already includes "http://." Then put the title of your site in the text field labeled "Title of Site." Put a description of your website in the field marked "Site Description." Put your e-mail address in the field marked "Your E-mail Address," and hit the button at the bottom of the page marked "Submit."

That's the whole process. Following are tips for ensuring that you get each step right, which is harder for some people than many would guess.

7. How do I get my site listed in the Google Directory?

To get your site listed in the Google Directory, you need to get your site listed in the Open Directory. The Google Directory is created from the data included in the Open Directory.

8. Is there any way to prevent a spider from grabbing URLs that you want to keep off search engines?

Absolutely - there are many ways, and you should use them all. For a quick overview, search for robots or spiders on Google, visit The Web Robots Page, or visit B.4 Notes on helping search engines index your website from the World Wide Web Consortium. The most fool-proof method to block spidders is to password protect any files that you don't want indexed by the search engines. See Can a search engine index pages that are password protected?

In general, you should create a robots.txt file for the root folder on your site, use the robots meta tag on pages you don't want indexed, and password protect any files you're serious about protecting.

Here is a robots meta tag:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">

9. Does the spider program run through all links on a Web page?

No spider ever has indexed every link on the Internet. The Internet is growing so fast that it is difficult for any to keep up. There is a strong chance that every page on YOUR website will be indexed, and that every link on each of your Web pages will be followed.

Generally, when a new site is launched, a search engine spider will index the home page only. On subsequent visits, the spider will go deeper and deeper into your site, over a period of time that is determined by the number and quality of links from other websites that point to your website. Getting your site listed in the major directories will accelerate the time it takes to have your site fully spidered. Remember, links from directories are links to your website. Google specifically recommends submitting your site to Yahoo and to The Open Directory if you're having trouble getting indexed by the Google spider.

10. What exactly is a spider?

A spider is a piece of software that follows links throughout the Internet, grabbing content from sites and adding it to search engine databases.

Spiders follow links from one page to another and from one site to another. That is the primary reason why links to your site are so critical. Getting links to your website from other websites will give the search engine spiders more opportunities to find and re-index your site. The more times they find links to your site, the more times they will stop by and visit. This has been true since spiders began. Recently there has been an incredible amount of attention paid to links. That's because Google came clean and said in public that the number and quality of links to your site will directly impact its rankings in the search results.

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