|Dear Internet visitor,
My intention is
to help you own a profitable Internet
Internet Home Business course that will help and guide
you to start off your Home Business on the Internet.
PAYING FOR SEARCH ENGINE ATTENTION &
- An Overview
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
This lesson will discuss some general
principals of paying search engines for services. Search
engines are going through a shakeout at the present
time. Competition is heavy. They are changing their game
plans on a continual basis, looking for the right way to
provide a useful service to the Internet public while,
at the same time, providing a good return to their
investors. In this lesson, we will examine principals
that apply in the long run, rather than focusing on the
specifics (which will certainly change over time) of the
search engines themselves.
BETWEEN YOUR WEB PAGE AND A SEARCH ENGINE
What exactly do search engines do?
They collect information on Websites and attach that
information to certain search words and phrases. When
users search the Internet using particular words or
phrases, the search engine provides a list of Websites
matching those words or phrases. Search engines also
rank these results to determine where each of the many
pages matching a particular keyword or phrase are
displayed in a list and in what order. Sometimes, a
search engine also enhances listings with other material
or displays ads.
Websites change over time. Thus, search engines also
need to revisit Websites to see what keywords and key
phrases remain applicable to them and (if necessary) to
re-determine their rankings.
The relationship between a Website and a search engine
involves four things: 1) Initial reviewing and
including; 2) Ranking relative to specific keywords and
key phrases; 3) Revisiting, reviewing, re-ranking, and
reporting; and 4) Listing enhancements.
INITIAL REVIEW AND
As we discussed in previous lessons,
many search engines and directories do not include all
pages submitted or found. The Websites they do accept
often take many weeks or months to be reviewed and
included. Thus, there are two initial factors important
to the aggressive Internet entrepreneur: being included
and being included in a timely manner.
With almost all the search engines, you can pay for a
timely review of your site. As you may recall from our
discussion of Yahoo!, Yahoo! Express guarantees review
within seven days for $299. However, as you also may
recall, Yahoo! Express does not guarantee inclusion—only
that your site will be reviewed and included or rejected
within seven business days. Many search engines do
guarantee inclusion, though, and package it with a
timely review and other services.
The Open Directory Project, discussed in a previous
lesson, is the most notable exception to the
pay-for-quick-review opportunity. ODP does not accept
payment for review, inclusion, ranking, or anything
When looking at the search engines that do provide pay
packages, examine the package of services offered to see
exactly what you will get for your money. How soon will
your site be reviewed? Is inclusion guaranteed? What are
the total costs?
RANKING RELATIVE TO
SPECIFIC KEYWORDS AND KEY PHRASES
No doubt you have heard the terms "Pay
Per Clicks" or "PPCs." These terms apply to search
engines that let you bid on the list ranking you will
receive when someone uses a particular keyword or key
phrase to search for something on that search engine. At
the time of this writing,
the leader among these PPCs.
When you open an account with a PPC and make the
necessary deposit, inclusion in the search engine
database is guaranteed. More importantly, you can then
bid for the ranking you want for particular keywords and
key phrases. For example, when someone searches a PPC,
such as Overture, with a particular keyword or key
phrase, the Website with the highest bid for that
keyword or key phrase shows up at the top of the results
list, the second highest bid shows up second in the
results list, and so on.
The person bidding on the keywords only pays when
someone clicks the link to his or her Website. Thus, if
you bid $0.15 on the key phrase "senior discounts," and
that was the highest bid for that key phrase on the PPC,
your site would show up at the top of the results list
every time someone searched that engine for "senior
discounts." However, you would only pay the amount of
your bid (in this case, $0.15) each time someone
actually clicked the link to your Website. (Note: A
search engine that charges you each time your site shows
up in a listing, whether or not anyone clicks your
Website's link, is not a PPC. Rather, it would be a "pay
per impression" service.)
Most PPCs require a minimum bid amount, a minimum
monthly payment, and a minimum balance in your account.
Most will allow you to set a maximum monthly budget and
will withdraw your site from the results list each month
when your monthly budget is exhausted.
Many search engines, such as Google, will allow you to
place ads that show up when people search for specific
keywords or key phrases. This is slightly different from
the traditional PPC search engine because your link is
displayed in an ad to the side of the listed results,
rather than in the list itself. Google and PPCs are
similar, though, in that your ad is tied to a particular
keyword or key phrase and in that you can bid for
rankings for a particular keyword or key phrase. The top
placement for an ad on Google, though, is the top ad
position, not the top position in the search results
You can find out about current PPCs by visiting the SFI
Discussion Board. There are also a few Websites that, at
the time of this writing, provide listings and reviews
of PPCs. They are:
Many PPCs now exclude SFI Gateway pages. That means that
even though you are willing to pay for the clicks you
get, some PPCs will not accept your business if the
Website is an SFI Gateway site. This is not due to any
lack of legitimacy on SFI’s part but because of the
sheer volume of SFI affiliates establishing accounts
with PPCs. For PPCs to retain an audience of searchers,
search results must have some variety. When every search
for a work-at-home related keyword or key phrase results
in hundreds of identical SFI Gateway sites, the results
no longer have variety. PPCs have become the most common
method of advertising for SFI affiliates over the last
several months prior to the writing of this lesson.
Thus, most of the PPCs have become saturated with SFI
There is a way around this problem. As we have stated
repeatedly in this course, the best strategy is to
obtain your own domain name and build your own
content-rich Website that includes a well-placed
affiliate link to your SFI Gateway sites. You could then
list your domain URL with the PPCs and bid on keywords
and key phrases relevant to the content of your Website.
The enduring principal of the Internet is that it is
information driven. Although it takes some effort, you
must lure people to your Website with useful
information. Develop a flow of information on your
Website that leads to your SFI affiliate links. The PPCs
should not reject a Website because it has an SFI link
on it unless that is all the site contains.
Before we move on, it's important to note that the
established trend for top PPCs is to contract with
traditional search engines and directories to include
PPC results as "sponsored links" or "featured links."
The top few links on the PPC then show up in the
traditional search engines’ results. For example, at the
time of this writing, if you have bid one of the top
three spots for a certain keyword or key phrase with
Overture, your site will also show up as a "sponsored"
or "featured" link at the top of the results for Yahoo!,
MSN, Ask Jeeves, AltaVista, and many other popular
search engines. This trend is likely to continue and
accelerate in the coming weeks and months.
RE-RANKING, AND REPORTING
Although usually packaged with other
services, you can pay most search engines to review your
site within set time periods and re-rank your site
according to its improved content. This is important
because most Internet entrepreneurs are continually
working to improve their Websites by focusing more
accurately on their target market. Learning comes from
trial and error-- experimentation is crucial. If you
have to wait months to see the effects of each small
change to your Website content or your metatags, the
process is not effective. Webmasters need the search
engines to revisit and re-rank their sites frequently in
order to determine the effectiveness of the changes they
Reporting to webmasters by the search engines is also
something to look for in the package of search engine
services. Any information about the effectiveness of
your keywords or key phrases, the performance of your
site, or how to improve its ranking for particular
keywords or key phrases can be very useful.
When submitting your site to various search engines and
considering their pay submission packages, check how
often your site will be revisited and what reporting
will be available.
Although this is not presently seen as
often as the other pay services, listing enhancements is
something you should keep an eye on. For a fee, it is
possible for search engines to objectively include and
rank sites according to content and relevancy and then
allow webmasters to enhance their listing (in the place
it shows up, according to objective ranking) by bold
text, graphics, and other attention-grabbing techniques.
Search engines constantly struggle to balance the needs
of providing useful, relevant listings to searchers with
generating revenue in the process. Listing enhancements
seems to be a fair compromise in this balancing process.
SORTING OUT THE
The terminology in this subject, like
many things having to do with the Internet, often gets
confusing. Generally, paying to have your site included
in a search engine (whether or not some guaranteed
ranking is included) is called "pay per inclusion."
Paying to ensure a particular ranking for a specific
keyword or key phrase is called "pay per placement." The
term "pay per placement" is often confused with "pay per
click" or "PPC" because the PPC search engines are the
most prevalent way of paying for placement. The term
"pay per click," however, relates to the means of
payment, rather than the service for which payment is
Each search engine has its own terms to describe various
fee-based services and often packages the various
services together in different ways. Pay attention to
the specifics of the services offered, rather than the
terminology used, to avoid confusion.
When considering paying for search
engine services, examine the packages offered by each
for available services and pricing. Does it offer
guaranteed inclusion? How about ranking for specific
keywords or key phrases? If guaranteed ranking is not
included, how often will the search engine revisit your
site and re-rank it? How much and in what way do they
charge you? Is it a flat fee, an annual fee, a fee based
on impressions, a fee based on clicks to your site, or
some combination of these? If you are bidding on
keywords to pay for ranking (placement), how does the
engine process the bidding? Will you be notified if a
lower bid will maintain your position, or do you need to
monitor it yourself?
Also, you want to look at the number of exposures the
search engine will generate. The top ranking in a
seldom-used search engine is not worth as much as the
20th ranking in a high-traffic search engine. If you are
only paying per each click, this last issue is not so
important. However, if there is a flat fee or annual fee
involved, the question of exposures becomes paramount.
The goal is to get the best return on your investment (ROI)
for any paid search engine service. In the constantly
changing environment of today’s search engines and
directories, this requires that you examine the offers
in light of the concepts and issues discussed in this
WHAT’S COMING NEXT
Our next lesson will review what we
have covered thus far in this course and tie the
concepts into a practical strategy for online marketing.
by George Little
Copyright (year) Panhandle On-Line, Inc.
License granted to Carson Services, Inc. for
distribution to SFI affiliates. No part of this work may
be republished, redistributed, or sold without written
permission of the author.
For more information on the Internet Income
Course and other works and courses by George Little, see
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SFI affiliates, see www.profitpropulsion.com.
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