There's a pervasive myth among Web site marketers that simply submitting your Web site to hundreds or thousands of search engines will increase traffic to your site. That's not true! Submitting alone does not guarantee that your site will be found in these search engines. When someone queries a search engine for a keyword related to your site's services, does your page appear in the top 10 matches - or does your competition's?
If you're not listed within the first two or three pages (the top 10 to 30 search matches) of results, you lose, no matter how many engines you submitted your site to. Studies demonstrate that most search engine users have neither the patience nor the time to wait for more than three pages of search matches to load. If your site isn't found in the top 10 to 30 matches when someone performs a keyword query in the major search engines, your Web site might as well be a billboard in the woods. Nobody will find it, nobody will come.
There are two barriers to solving this problem. First, you have to know the techniques that will move you into a top 10 position. Once you learn how to achieve a top 10 search position, you have to monitor your progress because rankings take time to rise and can fall without warning. Monitoring rankings manually is too time consuming. Fortunately, this critical step can be performed effortlessly with rank measurement tools now available.
A top 10 ranking in a major search engine such as Yahoo!, Lycos, or AltaVista often will generate more targeted traffic than an expensive banner advertising campaign. Plus, a good search engine position is free - anyone can do it. Consider this:
Virtually everyone begins browsing the Web at one of these 10 major search engines:
1. AltaVista.com 2. AOL 3. Excite.com 4. Go.com (the search engine formerly known as Infoseek) 5. GoTo.com 6. HotBot.com 7. Lycos.com 8. MSN.com 9. WebCrawler.com 10. Yahoo.com
Your rank within these search engines determines how many people will find and visit your Web site.
Major search engines attract more visitors than any other Web sites. Search engines are among the most visited Web sites, according to MediaMetrix.com and other audit bureau services.
Other forms of online advertising, such as banner ads, are expensive. Just a few good positions under a few important keywords can deliver the same or better results - for free!
Bulk submitting is a bit like being in the phone book. It doesn't ensure even one phone call - you need a good listing and a large display ad in the yellow pages. In search engines, the higher you rank under important keywords, the more traffic you'll get.
Search engines generate more traffic to Web sites than almost any other source. This was demonstrated by the 10th WWW User Survey conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology (paraphrased):
The ways in which people discover Web sites:
1. Links from other Web pages 88% 2. Via search engines 85% 3. From friends 65%
This study shows that almost 90% of Web users find Web sites through search engines. This confirms something most Web markers are just now learning - good positioning in search engines will produce big results!
A number of resources are available that teach the specific techniques necessary to increase your Web site's rankings in the major search engines.
Several books are available that teach search engine positioning. One of these is mine, #1 Web Marketing: Achieving Top 10 Rankings in Internet Search Engines. It's a step-by-step guide to search engine positioning available at trafficbuilding.com.
Search Engine Watch is a veritable cornucopia of search engine trivia and facts as well as a terrific Web master's resources area with information on each search engine's ranking algorithms.
Web Position Gold is a rank measurement software tool available from FirstPlace Software. It sells for $149, but a 30-day free trial version is available for download.
Attaining top 10 rankings in major search engines is not particularly difficult. You do not need to be a supertalented Web page designer to do things to your Web pages that will improve rankings. Most of it is rudimentary HTML coding. If you operate a small Web site, you may choose to perform this work yourself. Depending on your budget, goals, and the size of your site, you may need a search engine positioning consultant.
Once you invest just a bit of time implementing these specific techniques, you will move your site from "the Land of the Lost" into "the Land of the Found" - found at the top of search engines' rankings, that is.