BEACON Websites

» FAQs: Submitting a site to Search Engines


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  I created a site with OurChurch.Com but it's not showing up in Google or any other search engine! What's wrong?

There are two reasons you may not be able to find your website in search engines:
  1. Maybe you were not looking in the right way. Make sure your search is as specific as possible. If your website is for First Baptist Church, Springfield, Illinios, search for that first to see if your site is listed. If you search for "first baptist church" alone you may not find your website among the hundreds of other first baptist churches. You may need to try several different search combinations to find your site.
  2. If you still can't find your website, it's probably not listed, or at least not yet. Websites are not automatically listed in search engines. Search engines do seek out new sites to be listed, but waiting for a search engine can be hit or miss. Following the tips shown on this page will help.

Note: Sometimes people get confused about the best way to get to their site. The best, most direct way to get to a website is to type in the URL if you know what it is. So if you have just created a website, simply enter the website address in the address bar (at the very top) instead of trying to find it in a search engine.
  Why should I care about search engines?

Just as important as having a great website is publicizing the site. After all, what's the point of having a website if no one sees it? We've provided some important information about search engines and some tips on how to best publicize your site.
  What do search engines look for in a site?

There are two types of search engines: those that accept keywords and descriptions based on a form you complete upon submission (like Yahoo! and all Christian sites out there today) and those that acquire keywords and descriptions directly from your web page (like Hotbot and Altavista). Those that get the keywords from your web page usually make use of three special pieces of information hidden in the header of your pages: the title, description, and keywords. Some search engines place more emphasis on the text (content) of your web page and so will ignore the keywords. But keywords are important nonetheless.

According to Web Developer magazine, only 21 percent of websites use this special information. OurChurch.Com helps you use this to get your site at the top of search engines.
  What is the "header" and how can I edit the header information using BEACON?

Every website has information that the web visitor cannot see. Much of this information is found in the header, which is simply HTML code that is read by browsers to determine various things about the site such as the language being used, the author of the site, etc. The header makes use of something called "meta tags," which can be used by search engines to derive information about the site. Some of these meta tags include the aforementioned title, keywords and description.

You can edit the header information for your site by going to your Webmaster page. Then choose "Edit Titles and Headers" in the right-hand column.
  What is the Title?

The title of a web page is shown on the left top edge of your browser window and is the most important bit of information on your page. By default, we make this your organization name. But you can improve search engine response by adding a few keywords. For example, "First Baptist Church - Tampa, Florida" will significantly improve your response with those searching Tampa and Florida over "First Baptist Church." Another example, "Robertson Consulting - Custom Software and Network Development Services" is dramatically better than just "Robertson Consulting."
  What is the Description?

The description is used by search engines to describe the content of your site. Include about 25 words (200 characters maximum) in your description. This is distinct from the text that you have on your homepage, although it should sound similar. It's good to include important words in your description and to minimize small, common words. For example, "First Baptist Church is Christian community focused on sharing the gospel of Christ with the people of Tampa and helping believers develop into fully devoted disciples of Jesus" has distinctive words (Christian, community, gospel, Tampa) making it far superior to "We are a caring group of believers open to all people and supporting each other in love. Come visit us on Sunday for an uplifting service."
  What are the Keywords?

Keywords should correspond to the search terms people use to find your site. Your keywords can be a lot longer than your description. You can use about 150 words (1000 characters maximum) separated by commas. Place the most important keywords first and the least important at the end. It's good to include multiple variations of words like "create" and "creation" as well as multi-word phrases; however, some search engines will penalize you if you repeat keywords.

Since some search engines ignore the keywords tag, remember to scatter your keywords within the main text of your pages as well. This will help search engines find you based on the terms that are most likely to be used by people searching for your site.
  I changed my title, description and keywords but I still can't get my site to come up in the search engines. What's wrong?

It takes time, often weeks or months, for search engines to "spider" your site. Be persistent. You may visit the free submission sites shown on the "Register with search engines" link in your Webmaster page. However, for best results, visit the various search engine sites and submit your site to each one individually.
  I need help promoting my site. What marketing services does OurChurch.Com offer?

We can help you rise in the search engine rankings — guaranteed. Please visit http://marketing.ourchurch.com for details.

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