By now, virtually every webmaster has heard or read that major search engines are responsible for 80% or more of traffic received by most web sites and that most searchers never look beyond first 20 - 50 search results. Not surprisingly, an entire industry devoted to search engine ranking and search engine optimization (SEO) has sprung up to capitalize on these well known facts.
Tens of thousands of web sites compete to achieve top ranking for their chosen keywords and keyword phrases. We've published numerous articles by various SEO experts on linking strategies, optimizing meta tags and page content, and relevant page content. And, undoubtedly, we'll publish many more. Achieving a top ranking for a particular keyword or phrase is a major accomplishment, but sad fact is that most web sites will never come close to reaching a top 10, a top 30, or even a top 100, listing in any major search engine.
Is it possible to be listed in top 10 - 30 search results of a major search engine? Yes, possible, just not very likely for average web site. It's a lot like playing lottery and with same appeal. Get your site in top 10 search results and payoffs are big - you just need to knock out a few million competitors.
THE RISE OF PAY-PER-CLICK
The difficulty in achieving a top ranking for a free site listing has in recent years given rise to pay-per-click search engine phenomena. Overture's singular success with this model has resulted in hundreds of search engines jumping on pay-per-click bandwagon. Pay-per-click is a great idea and taps right into frustrated webmaster/site owner market. Many site owners simply do not want to be bothered with checking keyword density, tweaking their page content, fiddling with their meta tags and undertaking linking campaigns.
With pay-per-click, you get site ranking you can afford. A simple, understandable concept. If money isn't a problem, PPC system is hard to beat.
Most experts would probably recommend combining search engine optimization with PPC for maximizing traffic. And, there you have it - two dominant methods for driving targeted visitors to your web site. Dominant, but probably irrelevant to vast majority of site owners and webmasters who don't have time to learn ever-changing art of SEO or budget for PPC's and SEO firms.
What should be relevant is how to get traffic to your site without breaking bank or having to earn a degree in SEO techniques. Where it comes from should be secondary. Don't limit your traffic building efforts to just a few of majors like Google, Yahoo, Inktomi and Overture. The top 8 or 10 search engines may be popular but that doesn't mean that your site will reap benefits.
Here are several reasons why:
1. Sometimes numbers work against you. Another billion pages added to Google or AlltheWeb are NOT going to help average site owner - they are just going to bury needle - your website - deeper in haystack. And search traffic is only important, if your website can be found.
2. The major search engines cater primarily to searchers not webmasters. Why? Because more search traffic means more revenue and there are far more searchers than webmasters.
3. Even PPC engines deliver more than top 50 search results. That means unless you're a high bidder, your website may still not be seen by many.
From a webmaster's perspective what you should be looking for in a search engine is right balance of search traffic and understandable site listing/ranking options. Engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and Ask Jeeves have massive traffic, but you need to evaluate your chances for having your web site added and then ranked well. You also need to determine if a search engine is more focused on revenue generation through ads, paid inclusion and Sponsored listings than they are in catering to your concerns about where your web site appears.