Goto.com: Small Investment, Big PayoffsWritten by Andrew Goodman
[skimp: To deal with hastily, carelessly, or with poor material. To give inadequate funds to; be stingy with: misers who skimp their own children.]
Your web-based business is your baby. This article is all about not being stingy with your baby!
I recently completed a series of articles about search engines, and it got me thinking.
Everyone knows search engine placement is right up there when it comes to marketing your web site, product, or service. What makes it doubly important is that it is generally free, which makes this avenue of promotion vital for smaller entrepreneur.
I'm not a marketing expert. My articles on web search trends tend to focus on things like whether search engines offer relevant results, or whether they are easy to use for average consumers. But research for my most recent article [http://www.traffick.com/story.asp?StoryID=65 ] - on pay-for-placement search engine Goto.com - convinced me that this is a vastly underrated marketing tool that entrepreneurs need to find out about and begin deploying to their advantage.
Most won't, and that's to your advantage.
Of course, you should optimize your site and work on submissions to get those "free" listings in major search engines and directories first. But if you're like most, after you've done that, you are looking for means of attracting targeted (eager to buy) and incremental (not same folks who are already finding you) traffic to your site.
The days of "free" search engine positioning are coming to a close. Looksmart charges $199 for business express submission, and now, there is a new $25 fee for non-business submission. So in future, it may come down to what is most cost-effective, not what's free.
In weighing various alternatives - banner ads and expensive marketing campaigns - larger businesses ask following question all time: what's a new customer worth? Many have determined that a customer is worth a lot!
The quintessential example is AOL. They don't wait around for people to figure out that they are best Internet Service Provider. They send out as many CD's as possible, and blitz us with television advertising telling us that AOL is easy to use. So what if a lot of other services are easy to use? Generally speaking, after customer is signed up with AOL, it doesn't matter what others are doing.
You're not AOL, but shouldn't you learn from them? If a new customer is worth $20 or $50 to you, or even more, why are you content to spend zero on getting them to notice you? Even if there is a slight chance that someone may pay you $1,000 for your accounting services, or buy a $500 item from you with a $100 profit margin, wouldn't chance to have that customer come straight to your web site be worth a few pennies, maybe even more than a few?
Web & Search Engine Facts You Need to Know to Win the Marketing GameWritten by David Gikandi
To achieve any goal, you first need to know everything there is to know about your goal and its influencing environment. That way you can formulate a plan of attack that will work, and avoid time-wasting activities that will not. This applies to everything: running a business, waging a war, winning a race, and of course, marketing your web site. Information is power.
Here, we will focus on some interesting facts on search engines and Web. We shall see how we can use these facts to promote our sites through search engines more effectively. Of course, there are many more ways you can market your web site, but most effective both in results and in costs is getting included in search engines and getting a good rank in searches for your products or services. That's because getting listed in a search engine is free, but if you are placed well, traffic from an engine is literally what will feed you. Search engines are most popular tools that web users use to find new information on Net.
- General Facts
Forrester Research estimates that there are 500 to 600 million pages on Internet. That number is growing fast. However, largest search engine, AltaVista, only has about 150 million pages indexed (about 27% of whole Web), with Excite and Lycos at only about 50 million indexed (about 10% of whole Web)! From September 1996 until September 1997, none of search engines increased size significantly, despite fact that web continued to grow! To a webmaster, these are shocking statistics! The two main reasons why relatively few pages are indexed are (1) Web is growing faster than engines can keep up with, and (2) many webmasters do not know how to design and submit their pages correctly. Getting and staying indexed well in a search engine needs a little more work than most people assume it does. You need a four-step approach.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that all your web pages can be reached from your home page within three clicks. Most engines will only crawl to three levels deep when indexing your site. Also, make sure all your pages have TITLE tags and META description and keyword tags as most engines now use these. It is also highly advisable to have META category, language, and robot revisit tags, and ALT tags on all your images. Don't just slap these into your pages. Put some thought into them. For example, text in TITLE tag for a particular page should start with a word that summarizes entire page (a keyword). Say you have a page that mostly has information on vacations in Cancun, Mexico. Your TITLE tag should read something like 'Cancun vacations, tours, and travels in Mexico. Packages include diving...' The word 'Cancun' starts sentence, and rest of sentence is made up of keywords that are related to content of page. This goes a long way in getting you better rankings. Same thing with META tag text. If you use frames on your site, make sure you use good NOFRAMES tags since not all major engines support frames. If you don't, your pages simply will not be indexed by those engines. If you use image maps, make sure you have a text links navigation bar somewhere on same page too as not all major engines support image maps either. Quick note: TITLE tag text should be only up to 200 characters long, with first 80 characters being most important as these are ones most engines focus on in ranking and results display. Do not simply repeat keywords in title tag. Make some grammatical sense out of sentences but ensure that keywords feature early and are not diluted by too many 'junk' words.
The second thing to do is to submit only your home page and perhaps one other major page and let engines crawl your site. I will explain this in depth below. The only exception is Infoseek. Infoseek does not crawl so you must submit every page on your site to it manually.
Because engines are so overwhelmed, you need a third step - you must monitor your submission and re-submit your home page every couple of weeks. The engine may have taken your submission but dropped it later (happens a lot with Excite), gone to your site and found it unavailable at time, or just not indexed your site due to a technical error on their part. Resubmitting and checking on your submission every two weeks will ensure that you will eventually get in and stay in index.
You also need to get as many people linking to your site as possible. Visit related sites and ask for a link to your site. There is a trend by engines to increasingly use link popularity and traffic as an indicator of relevancy. What this means is that more people link to your page relative to your competitors pages, more you will rank highly on engines. Not only will getting many incoming links get you a better rank on engines, but it will also get you a lot of traffic (following links is second most popular way people find new sites). Furthermore, on Excite, HotBot, and Lycos, link popularity also determines whether engine will crawl deep into your site and index more pages or not. Do not ignore this fourth step, no matter how hard it sounds!
For major engines, do not leave submission process to automated programs and services. The major search engines are too important and automated services sometimes do it wrong. You are only submitting home page and one other major page to Excite, Lycos, AltaVista, Infoseek, Northern Light, and HotBot - that is not much work to do manually every two weeks!
- About Spamdexing
Because search engines are so overwhelmed, they are coming up with more ways to make their job easier and weed out pages they feel are not worth indexing. One of new developments is that most engines now insist or highly recommend that you only submit your home page to them and let engine crawl through your site and index pages it finds. If you decide to go against this recommendation and submit a whole bunch of pages through online submission forms, you will risk being tagged as a "spamdexer" (index spammer). There is also an indication that engines like AltaVista give a higher ranking to crawled pages than submitted pages. So for your own interests, you want your pages crawled so that they have a higher score. Other engines like Excite will take same amount of time to add your pages to their index whether you submit them manually or let it crawl to them from your home page. So not only will you be wasting your time submitting each and every page you have to Excite, but you will risk spamming that engine. Conclusion: submit only your home page and one other major page and let engines crawl your site. The only exception is Infoseek. Infoseek does not crawl so you must submit every page on your site to it manually. You can make a list of URLs to your pages and email that to Infoseek if you have more than 50 pages you wish to submit (see their submission page for more details).