Alan Klotz debuted his photography gallery's Web site in August 1993, but Alan Klotz/Photocollect didn't list with the search engines until October. "Yahoo! wasn't going to review us more than once, so we wanted to be absolutely ready," he says. If his site wasn't ready or didn't impress Yahoo!'s editors, he would have missed his chance to be listed there.
Klotz also listed his New York gallery's site with other search engines, including InfoSeek, the only one that asked him for a fee. "We didn't pay it," he says. "They didn't enforce it." Because so many search engines are on the Web, it's likely that InfoSeek would shrink its listings if it insisted on fees.
To list on each search engine, Klotz visited its Web site and filled out a quick online form. Each registration took about a minute, and Klotz selected his own keywords to classify his site. Afterward, he tested a few by searching on his chosen keywords. He wasn't pleased by what he found. "If you type in 'Photocollect' as a keyword, it finds us immediately," he says. "But if you type in 'photography,' it brings up thousands of entries."
That's the problem many companies face and the reason that Web developers are always trying tricks to ensure their clients' sites pop up first on searches by common keywords. "I'd advise companies to list with the search engines," Klotz says. Not listing is equivalent to opening a store but not listing in the Yellow Pages. "Just be aware that they're slow and overworked. It's hard for them to keep up with the Web's growth." Klotz now uses WebPromote.com (www.webpromote.com). For $795, the service keeps Photocollect's name on 100 search engines and 200 bulletin boards.
Klotz's site (www.photocollect.com) has been very successful. "We've sold expensive things, which is a shock. We've sold prints for up to $10,000. Plus, we're currently tracking down prints for about 25 hot leads."