With Search Engines, Money Talks

Stop me if you’ve been in this situation before…

You want to get your new web site listed on the most popular search engines. So you check out a few “how-to” sites on search engine placement and get right to work.

First, you comb through your page and make sure that you follow all the unwritten rules of search engine spiders meta tags, alt tags, relevant text, etc. Basically, your web page needs to look like a generic typewritten book review from high school. No pictures, no interactivity, no pizzazz.

Then, you must go to EACH search engine and post your URL. At this point, the waiting game begins. Some spiders will actually index your site within the week. Some, however, take four, six, even eight weeks to get to your URL. Ridiculous!

Even then, does that mean your job is complete? Hardly! Finally, after waiting up to two months from your initial submissions, you find your site is listed as number 1,026 on LYCOS. Who has the top listings? It looks like some kid with a sex site tricked the search engine into getting his URL on the first page for just about any search term.

What happened? What did you do wrong? Actually, probably nothing. But since most search engines don’t seem to give a hoot about your situation, or provide useful and helpful hints at what their particular spider prefers, you haven’t got a clue about what to do differently. But you try. You start the process all over again: re-tweaking, re-formatting, re-submitting, crossing your fingers, voodoo dolls, tarot cards, magic eight-balls, rock-paper-scissors, ANYTHING!

Even still, suppose you DO (through some sort of magic karma) get a respectable listing on a search engine. Every other site that is trying for the same listing now takes a lesson or two from your web page. Now, when the spider makes it’s next trip around, you get bumped out of your cherished top spot. Now you’re back to ground zero starting all over again.

To make matters worse, recent months have seen search engines increasingly turn to “indexed” formats, where an actual, real live person reviews the site to determine its relevancy. In this case, the “spider” is taken out of the equation completely.

AOL (and many others) uses the Netscape Open Directory. Excite even uses an “index” to list sites (which preempts its spidered listings). Now, at the click of a button, a human can make the final decision on whether your site is relevant or not. This is basically another crapshoot for that brand-new web site you are trying to give exposure to.

What’s a web site to do?

We at E-Troop.com have found a very successful alternative to this time-squandering, ill-conceived, ridiculous guessing game of search engine promotions.

Pay for Position Search Engines

When search engines like FindWhat.com and GoTo.com started showing up, people at first thought “Why would I want to PAY for listings when I can get my site listed for free on every other search engine? Besides, the Internet is supposed to be about FREEDOM, right? Paying for the top listings is exactly what we were trying to get away from with the World Wide Web!”

That sentiment seemed valid at the time, but quickly gave way to simple economics and business logic. We have found it much more cost effective to simply pay for our search listings. How?

Think about it.

Why pay somebody a nice hourly or salaried wage to sit there and “optimize” a site in Notepad? So you pay somebody several hundred dollars a week to do promotions, and wait months for results that may actually never come. This is certainly not efficient or cost effective. Why?

Because now you have gone for a month or more without good search engine listings. That costs you money. In addition, you are paying somebody to sit there and submit to search engines (that may not even list you anyway) like some sort of latent, ineffectual little drone. That also costs you money. All that time wasted, all that money spent, and what do you have? Nothing certainly not listings!

FindWhat.com, GoTo.com and other pay-for-position sites have easy-to-use web interfaces that allow you to bid on keywords and monitor the activity 24 hours a day. You only pay for people who “click through” to your web site from a paid listing. This means that you actually get “qualified traffic” the best kind you can get!

This means that if you have a shoe store on the web, every visitor from a pay-for-position search engine listing is brace yourself looking for shoes! You can even cap the amount you wish to spend on keywords, thus ensuring that you stay within your allotted advertising budget for a given month or year.

Speaking of traffic, what kind of traffic do these search engines get, anyway?

A lot. According to its latest press release, FindWhat.com gets almost three million searches per day! In addition to the main FindWhat.com site, its search engine listings are featured on such sites as Go2Net, Dogpile, Mamma.com and others.

Traditional search engines will probably remain an important part of Internet promotions for a few more years and simply cannot be ignored. Admittedly, we still tweak our pages and jump through the hoops to appease the whims of most major search engine spiders out there but we don’t get bent out of shape anymore when our listings defy logic. It will take a mass exodus from these ridiculous, marginally-useful spiders for them to change their tune and provide truly useful search results.

In the meantime, our success continues to be with the pay-for-performance model, and we expect it will continue this way for quite some time.

Besides, who doesn’t want qualified traffic?

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