One thing that concerns people when they set up a web site is how others using the internet will find them. Obviously typing in the web address of the organisation takes you straight to their site, but what about those that don't know your address? Many people will use a search index like Yahoo or Google. Below is a short explanation of how they work which is important to understand before launching into a web site.

Listing with Search Indexes such as Google, Lycos and Yahoo

It is very difficult to move up the Google listing by having a site in isolation. Google prioritizes sites according to how many other sites have links to them. So if your site is mentioned in other web pages (not yours) you will feature high up in Google's listing. The problem with Google and Yahoo is that they are indexes not search programs so no matter what your key words are, if other people don't link to your site, you won't come up high on a Google search. You get round this in one of two ways:

1. Pay Google a listing fee to put your page on the list when a search happens for certain keywords.

2. Pay other index sites to put links to your site on their pages so you move up the Google ranking. This is slow because Google (and Yahoo) use a program called a crawler (or spider) to literally check all the links on the whole web and then prioritise them. This means even if your key words match, the crawler is not looking for them, only links. It basically means popular sites get more popular  because they're the ones people find using Google. (This is why Google is disliked by many web based companies). Also Google's crawlers detect whether the links are there as what they call natural links (from similar sites) or from a site designed to make links (which Google discount from their crawl deliberately).

Get Found!

On both Google and Yahoo if you search for combinations of words you get better results - e.g. Footprints academy and if you narrow it to country specific, particularly if you have a domain.

The Pudding Designs site is currently being listed with a few more sites and so should move up the ranking but ultimately unless you pay Google (or have a very unique product) it takes a long time to happen. Currently Google run a scheme called ad words where when someone types in your key words your company ad appears on the right of the screen - its about £5 to set up and you pay per click through to your site - which sounds good, but they have a minimum charge of about £5 per day which is expensive.

Yahoo run a similar program but more blatantly call them "Sponsored sites".

So ultimately having other sites link to your site is the way forward to move up in the ranking, even local business pages, yellow pages listings etc. move you up.

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