Web Publisher Gold

Rankings are all about the perfect balance of:
a)TITLE contents
b)META TAG contents
c)INDEX.HTML contents that duplicate both of the above http://www.netmechanic.com for free sample analysis
d)POPULARITY(the amount of sites that link back to you) Check: http://www.linkpopularity.com

All of the search engines toy around with various formulas of the above, which vary/change from time to time.

The latest trend seems to be to "get it from someone else". dmoz.org, google.com are major suppliers of info to other search engines.

Another big thing, unfortunately ,is the "pay per click" model. They charge about a quarter per "hit" that comes to your site from the search engines (you can pay whatever you want and will be ranked higher depending on amt). These are often called "Sponsored links" and appear above the rest. I think that model is unfair and makes it more difficult for the smaller guy.

For us, the web page is an important part of our advertising campaign. The intent is for them to see a direct mailing, radio, yellow pages, or newspaper ad with the address; and go check it out for more detailed info. Search engines reach a much larger (international) audience. What i'm getting at is that its good to be listed high, but keep in mind who you want to attract. For example, if you want to attract people who might be searching for CUSTOM FRAMING MEMPHIS or PICTURE FRAMERS IN INDIANA, it's probably a good idea to include the cities as part of your formula; and be #1 in your area for those searches.

Most search engines will also search down "one level" inside your site and also list the contents of those pages too, but at a lower ranking than the opening page. For this reason, it's a good idea to have links that point to each page somewhere on your opening page.

Search engines can take from a week to 8 months to list free entries. They would rather have 199-299 for paid placement, so they make you wait. I have never paid anyone for any of our sites and they're all listed well, so it's possible if you have patience.

A site with some really good information is: http://www.searchenginewatch.com It tracks current trends, news, and gives lots of free advice.

Hope this is helpful,