LookSmart Not Small Business FriendlyWritten by Lee Traupel
There is a firestorm of negative press regarding LookSmart's recent marketing stumbles via numerous discussion groups, including two of oldest and most influential, I-Search and I-Advertising Digests. Most of critiques center on LookSmart's inability to develop viable programs for SMB/SME ("small to medium business or enterprise"), difficulty in managing their new pay per click "Small Business Listings" advertising program, and their overall lack of customer service responsiveness.
Many of us in agency/marketing services world relied upon LookSmart's directory in early days; especially as an offset to Yahoo's "my way or highway" attitude when they became 20 pound gorilla in marketplace So, it's sad to say, but LookSmart appears to be morphing to just another portal with little marketing awareness of how to work effectively with tens of millions of SMB companies that have rapidly embraced a web-centric business model. Their overall terms of services are geared for big companies and their SMB programs appear to be an afterthought at best! One of core issues that frustrates many small businesses is difficulty in getting a listing that actually describes their company, products, and/or services accurately - to add insult to injury, you have to pay in some cases twice to have your listing upgraded. Apparently, LookSmart's editorial staff can't keep up with demand, or is so pressured to maintain some internal quota their descriptions suffer accordingly.
LookSmart's new Small Business Listings program is simply not "small business friendly." It is a complex program with lots of important details buried in an FAQ and there are some "gotchas" in small print - including being forced to wait up to 90 days for return of upfront deposit of $150. and paying a setup fee for a listing; but having it deactivated when you exceed dollar amount of your "monthly click limit." I can understand their dropping listing once you exceed your budget, but it does not seem equitable to charge $49. to setup listing in first place - your in essence subsidizing LookSmart's cost of doing business.
Search Engine Ranking: The Real TruthWritten by James D. Brausch
There are perhaps more myths and urban legends about how to get your website ranked well on search engines than any other subject on Internet. In this article, I'm going to tell you how you can tell fact from fiction. After reading this article, you will know how to get current facts about how any search engine ranks sites.
It is tempting to go to various newsgroups, mailing lists and discussion forums that are frequented by webmasters to ask questions about search engine ranking. Many of you have done this and been bewildered by amount and diversity of advice offered. Some claim that you should use white-on-white text to stuff your page with keywords while others claim using white-on-white hidden text will get you banned. Some say to use keywords in your keywords meta-tag while others claim that search engines don't even look at meta-tags anymore. Some claim that you must use short pages, while others claim that long pages are better.
In almost every case, you will receive massively contradictory advice if you ask other webmasters. Even worse, sometimes almost all of webmasters will agree on some topic... and be dead wrong. Sometimes information is exactly right for February, 1999 but is no longer accurate. Search engines change their ranking algorithms constantly.
So how can you find correct information? First, let me say that I rarely worry about search engines at all anymore. There really are much more effective means of driving traffic to your site than worrying about search engines. I recommend link exchanges with sites of a similar topic to your own and submitting articles to newsletters in your category as much more effective means of marketing than worrying about search engines. You should also be aware that search engines keep a "blacklist" of sites they have manually banned, often because owners bragged about some particular ranking attained in some particular way. So, once you use following methods, I recommend that you keep specific results to yourself. So let's dive into how to get search engine secrets.
Why not ask search engines themselves? Of course, all of search engines claim to guard their ranking secrets with great care, but that is actually quite impossible. By it's very nature, every single search engine has a publicly available database. All you have to do to access their database is to enter a search term. The search engine will happily tell you all of information you need to know about how it ranks sites. All it takes is a little analysis of results.
Since a course in statistical analysis would be really boring in a newsletter article (and not very useful), I'll skip all of theory and get down to an actual example of how you can find answer to almost any question you have about search engine ranking. Let's take an example step-by-step. Let's say you just heard a rumor that a particular search engine will rank you higher if your search term is present in title. Here are steps you can take to find out if that is true: