The Searchers

In the 1956 movie "The Searchers," John Wayne's character searches, all right: For seven years he rides over hundreds of rugged miles on horseback, looking for his kidnapped niece. It is a story of perseverance and hardship.

Columns From: 12/1/1999 Modern Machine Shop, ,

In the 1956 movie "The Searchers," John Wayne's character searches, all right: For seven years he rides over hundreds of rugged miles on horseback, looking for his kidnapped niece. It is a story of perseverance and hardship.

If you've tried using search engines lately to find metalworking-related info on the Web, you probably know just what The Duke went through.

If you haven't, then enter "grinding" as a keyword into various search engines on the Web and compare your results.

Now, imagine some of the people who you built your Web site for in the first place (potential customers), using those same search engines, trying to find you.

It isn't pretty. And it was supposed to get better by now.

At least twice a week, I'm still asked, "How do I get my site to the top of the search engines' lists?"

The answers to this question are as complex and unique as the businesses tackling this issue are from one another.

Many influential factors vary from search engine to search engine and cannot be controlled.

Confused? You should be.

Trust me on this one point: the amount of time and energy you could spend on search engine placement would, in all likelihood, result in a hairline like the one you see at the top of this page.

My advice is that you not worry so much about search engines right now. The more familiar technical people become with using the Web, the less they use search engines as primary information sources, anyway.

Focus on creating Web pages with good coding principles. Concentrate on placing links to your site on other sites that attract the types of people that would be interested in you.

Also, concentrate on informing current and prospective clients through multiple media (phone messages, letterhead, invoices, mailings, etc.) that your site is there for them. And focus on serving your current customers, who already know where to find you online.

If you want an excellent source that describes search engines, take a look at www.searchenginewatch.com.

But remember: Some things are worth spending time searching for, and others aren't. Make sure that once your site is found, the experiences on the site are more memorable than the journey to get there.

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