Set Your Search Engine Marketing Preferences (1,596 words)
By Brian Howard
Search and deploy.
Just ten years ago, who had ever heard of a search engine? Now search engines are vital links between ready-to-buy Web surfers and Web sites seeking traffic.
A mitigating factor in the dot-com crash was the fact that the concept of display advertising (randomly placed banner ads) was too unreliable as a means of driving traffic and leads to a Web site. Mere clicks and hits are meaningless without some sort of inherent intent to buy.
Search engines have become the Internet's robotic lead-qualifiers, matching interested buyers with willing sellers.
But getting your site listed on a search engine—and more important, getting listed in a high-visibility position—is not as simple as point and click.
There are numerous strategies for getting listed on search engines, and the best plan is to incorporate all of them into your search engine marketing mix.
But before we get into that, a clarification: There's a common misconception about what, exactly, a search engine is.
Ask around the office about favorite search engines, and you'll get answers such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN or About. Your co-workers would be right in regard to Google—perhaps the only engine people routinely "go" to for results—and wrong about the rest. Yahoo! and its ilk are portals that import their search results from various affiliated engines.
Along with Google, big search engines like Overture, FindWhat and Inktomi, and smaller engines like SearchFeed, Sprinks, Kanoodle and Xuppa are populating the search results of portals and affiliates.
While search engines are associated with spiders—algorithms that crawl the Web and bring back results based on things such as relevancy, link popularity and content—the industry is moving toward pay-per-click and pay-for-performance models that, while inherently pricier, can pay off for those who use them wisely.
Sites that employ spiders are searching for certain qualities when performing a search. For example, when a surfer goes to Google.com and types "bowling balls," Google's algorithm will return pages that best match the search criteria.