In our previous publication about the selecting of the best classified script, we gave a general description of the qualities that the best classifieds script should have at a minimum, and explained which characteristics are the most important and most noticeable.
We hope that all those tips would come useful in helping you find the right script for your specific needs. To assist you further in building a successful online classified business, we are presenting a bit of information on the mission-critical next step of your online business establishment, which is website promotion.
You should promote your classifed ads website in a safe and legitimate way (see the extract from our previous article concerning SEO and Ethics). First, you should realize that website promotion is a continuous process that requires hard work and a lot of effort throughout your website’s existence. We will give you an overview of the most common methods of website promotion that are safe and will positively affect your classified ads website’s popularity.
But first, a couple of considerations of how search engines evaluate newly developed websites. Search engines are very careful with indexing new websites, and will never give them top places in search results right away. There is nothing surprising about this because a new website can have improper information and by default is not as reliable as time-tested sources. Unfortunately, most new websites are created for the sole purpose of earning money and are therefore useless for visitors. This is the reason why search engines filter them thoroughly.
It is impossible to describe the entire promotion process in a single article, so we decided to give you a few introductory tips on the initial and most important steps.
First, you should add your classified ads website to search engines. Most search engines use a Submit your URL form that will include your website into the list of websites to be crawled by search engine spiders. For your convenience, we added a couple of links to some of the popular search engines:
Additionally, you should sign up for services that expedite the indexing of your classified website by search engines. One of the ways to achieve quick indexing would be an RSS feed that contains all your news and any other information you update your website with.
Registering an RSS feed is much easier and quicker. There are a number of tools to assist you with that. One of them is Feedburner Feedsmith, a plug-in to redirect RSS to Feedburner.com. FeedBurner is the largest service provider for RSS Feed management.
You may wonder why RSS feed is important for your classified ads website promotion. After the publication of a new material on your website, this service sends it straight to Google and other services for indexing. RSS aggregators facilitate the process of informing search engines about newly added information and make search robots recognize and index your material faster.
You can also register a new website in various directories and catalogues. This allows you to acquire external links to your website and thus improve its relative position in search results. Only place your website URL to directories that feature websites with relevant scope, theme, or general area. Gradually, you will need to collect your own list of useful directories. We can provide you with a couple of examples:
In addition, please check out a very popular project called DMOZ (www.dmoz.org). Honestly speaking, there are mixed opinions regarding DMOZ mainly because despite its efficiency and helpfulness, it is quite difficult, if not impossible, to submit your link to many areas thereof.
Webmaster panels play a very important role in website promotion monitoring. These are the tools offered by several online services that give you detailed information about your classified website page visibility on search engines. Webmaster tools also help monitor sources of visitors that come to your classified website (such as blogs, news portals, websites with reviews, etc.). They also display a list of other websites that link to you (these links can be both quality links and broken links, which take visitors to pages that existed before, so that you can correct them), the frequency of keyword requests, and so on.
The most popular webmaster tool is the Google Webmaster. You need to sign up to it, then add your website URL, verify your ownership of the website, and then add your website’s sitemap as “your_website/sitemap.xml.” If you do not have a sitemap, order one or have it generated for your website by a number of free and paid services available on the Net.
You can also register with the MSN webmaster service and add your sitemap there. The registration process is similar to that of the Google Webmaster.
Even if you have the best webmaster services, directories, catalogues, and other resources, you will have a hard time promoting your classified ads website if you have poor and/or useless/non-unique content.
The first time your website goes live, it should have several pages worth of content. An empty website would not be interesting to anyone. You do not need to create something special though. At first, it is enough to fill out the key pages such as About Us, Contact Information, a general description of what you are doing and a couple of pages with informative articles written by yourselves.
Always remember that the content should be unique. Displaying only duplicate content taken from other online sources can and will hurt your website ratings.
Do not forget about internal links since these are important for website navigation. Provide cross-reference links for pages and articles on your website. There is no need to put many links at once on one page; two or three links per page would be enough. These links should direct not only to the homepage but also to other articles or pages of your classified website.
There is also a concept of three clicks which says that every important page on the website must be reached within three clicks from any other page. In addition to that, you can set an area near the main text where you can place announcements or useful links or you may useful information at the bottom of the page. This will simplify the internal navigation on your website.
You should update your website regularly. Do not publish all the information you have to offer at once. Search engine robots like seeing that you publish something new regularly. Long breaks in information updates are also not advisable for a new website.
Social networking is an awesome method of website promotion. Use Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks for your benefit, create corporate/personal pages through which you can advertise your classified ads website and create the buzz.
Because of the great number of users registered in such social networks, your website can gain more visitors and search engine robots will index it faster.
Having corporate pages on a social networking website is a great addition to your existing methods of promoting your website. You should fill your profile page with all the necessary information about your classified website and place your logo as the avatar or profile/display picture.
Do not forget to link all newly created pages of your website to these social resources to create a net of cross-links that will add further value to your website compared to others that are not promoted on the network.
Have you ever noticed various social buttons such as “Like”, “Tweet”, “+1” on other websites? Visitors use these to share news or publications that they like with their friends and subscribers. This system is wonderful because of its simplicity and it does not require much of your attention or effort on your part. Just a few Internet users know that they are actually contributing to website promotion whenever they click on the share/like button. It would be useful to add sharing buttons or links to every page that contains news or publications.
There are many resources like http://www.addthis.com where you can customize the selection of sharing services you want to enable, and receive at the end a code that will install a customized sharing widget onto your website pages.
Search engines prefer organic links, i.e. direct links from the contents of pages on websites with high rankings. To obtain organic links, your website content should be interesting and useful so that other websites choose to use yours as a reference for any particular matter that you excel in. As a website owner or promoter, you can be proactive in obtaining organic links. To do so, you can contact various website owners or bloggers and ask them to add a link to your website. Please do so carefully and in a non-irritating manner, keeping in mind that no other website has to do it. Instead, write awesome articles so that others would want to point to your website as a great reference source, or offer something unique (easier said than done, right?).
Blogs are updated a lot more often, and their links are indexed faster. That is why you can use blogs to promote your new website quicker. Try to choose blogs and directories of the same product niche as your website. The closer their overall theme or idea is to your website, the more valuable their direct links to your website are.
In the first 3 to 5 months of your new website's existence, your efforts should be focused on filling website with quality content and allowing search engine crawlers to index your website. You should probably keep all other methods of website promotion until later, once all key search engines have properly indexed the website.
These steps can help you create a base for further optimization and collect initial link weight. There is no need to hurry; it is more important to be consistent and take it slowly and carefully. At this stage, you should present your website as a high-quality and useful resource for your visitors and readers.
Author: Helen K.
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