I could devote a whole site to search engines and on how to get good
search engine placement, but for the purpose of this article, I will give
a brief outline of what they are and what they do, the benefits of
achieving a high placement with them and a few general tips.
Basically, there are two types of search engines, the first, such as Alta
Vista and Excite, will use an automated programme to search your site (A
"Robot" who will "Spider" your site). All Search Engines use slightly
differing criteria and methods (algorithms), so if you set your site up
for one engine, it will not necessarily follow that another engine will
give it the same listing - or any listing at all!
Some engines will read your "Meta" tags - see the guest article below for
more information - - and some will ignore them and read the actual text on
your home page. Some will spider through your whole site, listing a large
number of your pages and others will only list your home page. Over the
years Webmasters have attempted to trick the engines into giving them
higher rankings by various methods, but they have become wise to most of
the tricks and now either ignore them or de-list a site altogether!
The second type of Search Engines are directories, the most important of
all being Yahoo. With them once a url is submitted for consideration, the
site will be looked at (eventually) and may, or may not be listed. They do
offer an express listing service for $199 where they will look at your
site within a week or so, but they still give no guarantee of actually
Generally speaking, for the average web site, particularly one that is not
part of a major off-line company (e.g. Ford, General Motors, IBM) the
majority of the traffic is going to come from a good search engine
position - I have seen statistics showing it to be as high as 85%. It is
not enough though, just to get listed - if you were in every search engine
and directory in the world you would get no traffic unless people
searching for you found your site in the top 20 or 30 in their search
The majority of surfers only look at the first ten or a dozen results and
ones past number 30 are rarely visited.
So to obtain a good search engine position, you can do one of three
Pay a good Search Engine Placement company to place your site - the good
companies give you a guarantee as to the number of top ten places they
will obtain for your chosen search words,
Study the Search Engine Placement articles in the archives on my site or
on many of the excellent sites dealing with the subject and try and do the
job yourself. My favourite site for articles and info on this is:
Get listed in a "pay to search" engine.
The choice between the first two options is that of between time and
money. A good search engine placement is vital to really make your
business grow and if you have the budget, spend some of it with a good
placement company and spend your time on marketing your business.
If however, you are just starting the business and have very little
capital, take the second route and at least spend some time on optimising
your meta tags, keywords, keyword placement etc. If you are in a
non-competitive area you may be able to achieve reasonable placings in
some search engines yourself.
The majority of traffic will come from the top engines and while it does
no harm to get your site listed on the hundreds of engines and directories
that some auto-submission programmes will do for you, often free of
charge, you will never get much traffic from them. The major sites to
concentrate on are :
If you are going to attempt Search Engine Placement yourself, I can
recommend that you download Web Position Gold Trial - this is a FREE
thirty day, limited trial version of the programme that is widely accepted
as the best web positioning programme available. Even if you do not go on
to sign up for the full product, you will learn a great deal from this
trial version to help you in the future.
If you then wish to take your own Search Engine Placement one step
further, check out the JER Group, Inc. who have been producing online
courses since 1994 and whose latest course is specifically on Search
Engine Placement using Web Position Gold.
The final course of action is to try Pay Per Click Search Engine placement
through the likes of GoTo.com, Rocketlinks.com and 7search.com. The idea
with these is that you bid on a certain keyword or phrase and dependant on
where your bid is in terms of other bids for the same phrase, determines
where in the search result your site comes. If you have the highest bid,
your site comes out number one and so on. You only pay for the number of
hits your site actually receives from someone searching for it.
Whilst Go To is by far the largest, it may prove less expensive to try one
of the others. On Go To you are able to check out how often a particular
phrase or word was searched for in the previous month and how much it
costs to bid on it to achieve the required position in the search results.
There may well be a large gap in the bidding between number one position
and, say number three, and as both sites would be seen on the same page by
the person doing the searching, it may well be more economical to set your
bid to come third or fourth, without losing much impact.
Another trick on these pay per click search engines, is to bid for several
keywords that are not searched upon very often, rather than the leading
keyword. If, for example the most searched for keyword relevant to you
cost $2, ten visitors to your site would cost you $20. If however you bid
on ten keywords for only 10c each, your $20 dollars would bring you 200
hits! Whilst the top keyword applicable to you may receive 1,000 hits per
month, you get the same hit rate by bidding for 10 keywords that each
receive 100 hits per month. It takes a little longer, but is far more cost
The last time I updated my bidding at GoTo, I found several phrases that
had been searched on 30/40 times in the previous month, but had received
no bids. I was therefore able to ensure coming out top for those key words
for just $0.01 per click, so I am getting 100 hits per dollar!
By - Tony Murtagh
Tony Murtagh has spent all his career involved in sales, sales
management, marketing and PR. He was a UK National Sales Manger
(Major Accounts) for a mobile communications company, had his own
publishing company producing a monthly Business to Business
magazine and has acted as a PR consultant for a number of small
businesses. He is now sharing his wide experience of sales, marketing
and promotion in his new web site: -
and in a weekly e-ezine Aardvark Marketing, which you can subscribe
to from the site, or