Internet search engines
Internet search engines:
- International and UK internet search engines and directories
- Paid listing/indexing for International and UK internet search engines and directories
- Pay for high ranking internet search engines and directories
1. International and UK internet search engines and directories
Part of your strategy to capture search engine traffic will require you to get listed in the right places. International search engines and directories will pick up a lot of US traffic. Then there are country specific operations for UK and many other countries, which may be independent or subsidiaries of international brands (like Alta Vista or Yahoo). The international brands do not all operate in the same manner from one country to another, or take feeds in the same way.
Remember that your ranking can change for the following reasons:
- Other web sites have been added to the search engines database.
- Web sites already in the search engines database have been updated.
- The search engine has adopted a different method for assessing web sites.
- Your server could have been down or there could have been another reason why your website was not responding when the search engine came to visit to take the information it requires (called 'spidering').
See the search engine relationship chart here! The chart explains the syndications, suppliers and partners of all the major players in the global search engine market.
2. Paid listing/indexing for International and UK search engines and directories
Search engines and directories have been under pressure to show a profit to shareholders and have begun to move more and more towards the model of paid submission/inclusion. This means that you pay them money for considering a listing in their engine or directory.
A common misconception is that this means that you can pay for a specific position on a list. In most cases you are simply paying for the search engine staff to consider your request. The rank your site achieves is still very much dependent, in most cases, on the construction of your pages (see search engine optimization).
The three largest engine/directories that offer paid listings are Yahoo, Inktomi and Looksmart. Others are available but may not be suitable for all businesses and should be treated with caution. There are advantages and disadvantages - depending on your budget.
Yahoo.co.uk - In the US and now here
Yahoo, the best known of all the internet engine/directories, has rolled out
its paid inclusion system.
Inktomi UK - Inktomi provides the
information on which many search engines base their results. A good listing in
Inktomi can significantly impact upon your rank or even presence in MSN,
Looksmart, Freeserve, AOL, Hotbot, Goto and many other less well known engines.
It is absolutely vital that the pages you pay to submit on Inktomi have been
properly optimised. If this has not been done then you will be listed, but so
far down the rankings that you will have wasted your money.
Looksmart UK - Looksmart was one of the
first directories to break ranks and start a paid submission service. They do
have free listings, taking these from the Inktomi database, but the only way to
be sure of a listing is to pay for its consideration. A good listing in
Looksmart can influence your presence or rank in: MSN, AltaVista, and others.
3. Pay for high ranking search engines and directories
There are a number of 'pay for listing' engines and
This is where the distinction between a search engine and an advertising tool becomes blurred, yet they are becoming increasingly popular as they offer a measurable and highly effective way to attract targeted traffic.
Specialist directories: Very often these exist for specialist industries or market sectors. We would recommend you consider these as they can be excellent value for money; although there is no guarantee. However, the costs involved are generally so low that its worth the risk. Alternatively, strike a deal with the directory owner for a free 'monthly trial' on the basis that if you receive the promised hits you will sign up for the service. If the owner is sufficiently confident of his/her directory thay are unlikely to turn you down.
'pay-for-position': Overture is currently the best known 'pay-for-position' search tool and it has become more popular in the UK because it supplies results to top searchengines such as Freeserve, AltaVista and Excite. You simply choose the keywords that your customers might use and then bid money for them. The site that bids most for a term will be ranked first, and so on. You can add a title and description related to each search term bid, whilst the flexible account management tool allows you to make alterations when necessary. You can bid on as many terms as you want from as little as 5p. The beauty of the Overture service is that your account is only debited once someone clicks on the link to visit your site - and then it's down to you to convert a prospect to a customer. (see sales leads)
Advertising panels: Another option to consider
is advertising panels, or small banners that appear in relation to a keyword
search. Google is one of the best offers. You can buy a small panel that will
appear to the right of the searched results, once your targeted keywords are
searched for. Up to 8 panels can be listed, ranked in order of popularity.
Costs will depend on the number of times your 'ad' is displayed not the number of times it is clicked to get to your site. For those websites that can't otherwise achieve a top ranking through optimization, this scheme is an alternative way of gaining visibility with your target customers.
Conclusion: As the commercial realities of the Internet continue to impact on searchengines and directories, there can be benefits for your website if you have the budget available. Choosing the best option for your market can be difficult. All the paid routes described here should be considered as it means that you can achieve visibility almost immediately, rather than wait for several months by using the traditional free submission route. However, remember that you will still need to optimise your site and directory description to get the most for your money.