The next thing to recognize is that most of the sites that pay for the top listings are not really going to be direct competitors of your site. For example, if you search for “website promotion” on GoTo.com, the top sites are going to be pay-to-play services, such as search engine submission services or the guys that “guarantee” everyone a top-ten search ranking. Since you’re probably not competing with them, you don’t have to bid against them. It’s been proven that even a top 40 ranking on GoTo.com will get traffic, because frequent users of GoTo.com already know that they need to skim over the top listings to get to anything useful.
Finally, keep in mind that the most popular keywords will be the most expensive, but that there may be other keywords that are relevant to your site which aren’t bid on as heavily. We have seen bids as low as one cent land at the top of the list while searching on GoTo.com. These web site operators did their homework, and found the best places to bid. Using the list of keywords and phrases you created for your search engine strategy, search for each on GoTo.com to find the ones with the lowest bid cost, and bid on those keywords first. Only expand your bidding to more expensive keywords if the lower-cost keywords don’t get you enough traffic.
So, how much should you bid? We don’t recommend bidding any more for clicks on GoTo.com than you’d have to pay anywhere else. After all, you don’t need to depend on GoTo.com for all of your site’s traffic, do you? On the other hand, you can find out pretty cheaply whether it’s going to be worth your trouble. Before you give them any money, though, see how much it will cost to get a decent position for your site on the keywords you care about. Just like search engine rankings, you can’t afford to set up a bid and then just forget about it. You have to monitor it daily to make sure that you’re not being outbid. Is it worth it? It depends on your site, but it’s pretty cheap to find out.
This is a different kind of search engine. Instead of trying to rank sites by how relevant they might be with a given set of keywords, GoTo.com ranks sites based on how much they’re willing to pay per visitor. In other words, you pay to play. While it’s hard to believe that people would trust a search engine that sells them to the highest bidder, a lot of web site operators we know swear by it. If you follow the advice in this article, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether it’s worth your time without spending a penny.
To get listed on GoTo.com, you have to give them a minimum of $25 to start, and then you just start bidding for keywords and phrases. For example, you can give them $25, bid 10 cents a click for the phrase “frozen gerbils,” and you’ll be ranked based on how much you bid. If your 10-cent bid is the highest for that keyword phrase, your site will be listed first when someone searches for frozen gerbils.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the amount you need to bid to have a visible listing will change over time, as other web site operators up the ante for top listing a penny at a time. Our advice is to give up on having the top listing, and focus on keeping your site listed in the first 20 results. This will usually cost you between 10-20% of the cost of a #1 listing.
One of the most important factors used by search engines these days is “link popularity.” The idea being that your web site must be important if everyone else is linking to it. A great concept, to be sure.
So, how do you get to be so popular? There are three basic strategies:
The Honest Way: Trade links with other sites, make it easy to link to your site, and generally take the high road. This will pay off better in the end, but it does take some time and patience. Don’t let these other methods substitute for the right way of doing things. Reciprocal links do more than increase your “link popularity,” they bring in qualified visitors to your site.
The FFA Way: Submit your URL to tens of thousands of free-for-all links pages. Most FFA sites resubmit to search engines regularly, and with sheer volume, your site is going to have at least a few links to it in the search engine’s database.
The Self-Promotion Way: Create link popularity by creating links yourself. Add links to your site to your newsgroup messages, and all the sites that archive Usenet now have a link to you, at least temporarily. Create hundreds of web sites using “free” web communities, and put up gateway pages with links to your site, then submit these pages to search engines.
The added advantage to submitting multiple pages is that it will improve your site’s “popularity” rating, because the pages you submit will usually have links to other pages on your site. Not all search engines will count internal links, but some of them appear to do so. Although submitting multiple pages does take time, it’s generally worthwhile to submit at least the entry pages to key sections. Submitting all pages is probably a waste of time, since your most relevant pages (which will appear higher in the rankings) are going to be the entry pages anyway.
Keep in mind that this advice applies to search engines only! If you submit 100 pages to Yahoo! or Open Directory, you’ll probably find that they never list your site. For directories that are indexed by human beings, treat them like human beings, and don’t make their job difficult.
If you decide that search engine submission is important to your site’s success, then you should seriously consider using software to automate the submission process . Many search engines will drop your site from their index after a while, and you will need to submit your pages all over again. The more pages you submit, the longer it takes to submit them by hand.
When submitting your site to search engines, you need to be aware of how they operate. Many search engines will index only the page that you submit initially, and will only return much later (weeks or months later) to follow the links and index the rest of your site. Some will never return to index the rest of your site. Of those that return to index the rest, most will only follow links to a limited depth. In order to get the most exposure for your site, it’s a good idea to submit more than one page.
So, which pages should you submit? Your home page should be submitted, of course. You should also submit the entry pages for any other sections of your site, your FAQ page, etc. For this site, we submitted the home page, the Marketing index, the Search Engines index, the Improve Your Site index, and the Toolkit main page. When we add new articles to the site, we add those to the main search engines as well.