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  1. #1
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Question Paying your way up the rankings??

    Hi,

    Could anyone help me? I've been asked to look into search engine marketing and I'm not very up on it. I know how key words work, content, links, etc ....

    What I'm MOST interested in is which search engines are considered to be the top four (preferably in the UK if anyone knows) and whether it's possible to pay your way up the rankings in any of the 'major' search engines?

    Thanks,

    G

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru moonman's Avatar
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    These are the top 4 search engines, according to the last report I saw:

    MSN - 36.3%
    Yahoo - 33.3%
    Google - 24.5%
    AOL - 22.2%

    And yes it's possible to buy your way to the top of some of them. For example a top 3 (I think) listing in Overture, which is pay-per-click, will get you to the top of MSN. You can also use Google's pay-per-click advertising to appear top of that.

    I hope that can get you started, I can go into more detail if required, also, you might like to ask Aspen. He knows all.

  3. #3
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot for your swift reply. I have a meeting on this in half and hour and I was dropped in it this morning!

    Thanks for the tip on Aspen and can you remember where your stats came from?

    G

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru moonman's Avatar
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    The stats are from Jupiter Media Metrix. I'm pretty sure they're creditable. There's a heck of a lot to learn about, so if I were you I'd stick around and ask a load of questions.

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    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    God yeh! Time is of the essence for this meeting, but I think I've kinda realised that I need to learn a LOT more about this .... !

    Thanks again.

    G

  6. #6
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Google will be most important, as it powers itself (obviously) primary results at AOL, and secondary results at Yahoo.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  7. #7
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Thanks Aspen. I've thrown this together quickly -- I hope it's not too inaccurate.

    Search engine optimisation.
    Here are some of the most important things to consider when setting up your site for search engines:

    Meta tags – this are special pieces of code that carry keywords and descriptions of your site. They are very important as they usually form the core information a search engine uses when deciding where to place your site and how high up to place it on any one search.
    The copy – this must reflect keywords and descriptions. Good copy that works with the description and selected keywords dramatically improves your chances of a good ‘ranking’.
    Links – many search engines measure the popularity of your site. The more external sites that have links to your site there are, the better your chances of a high ranking. It is very worthwhile to get yourself on as many industry portals as possible.
    Regular updates – the more regularly your site content changes, the better you do. This is why search engines like Google favour so called ‘Blogs’ or web logs (online diaries). They are updated on a daily/weekly basis.
    Your domain name – this is important too. The more appropriate your domain name is to your keywords then the higher you will be favoured by the search engines.

    Paying your way to the top.
    It is possible to spend a bit of money and boost your rankings in search engines. Many search engines are interlinked with ‘affiliate schemes’ so a little careful research can save you some money.

    Google – you can’t pay your way up the rankings on Google. It lists you automatically and all of the points in the previous section are the best ways to get a good Google ranking. But Google is very important and very popular. It is the search engine behind many of the big players (including Yahoo and AOL) so a good Google ranking will equate to a decent ranking in other major search engines too without spending any money.

    That said, Google do some good advertising schemes too. You pay per ‘impression’ and in blocks of ‘impressions’. An impression is when your ad appears one time on a user’s search. Google do two types of ad. The Premium service, which is more expensive but gives you a top-of-the-list appearance on Google and all of its affiliate companies, and the AdWords scheme, which allows you to spend as little or as much as you want to on your advertising. This works by charging you a nominal fee for every 1,000 impressions you achieve. If you run out of money in your account they simply stop showing your ads and as soon as you top up your account again they start showing again – pay-as-you-go web advertising.


    Yahoo – Yahoo have a scheme they call Sponsored Listings. This is when you pay to appear top in a section of Yahoo’s directory (providing you are already in the directory). Getting listed in Yahoo itself requires you to submit your site. There are two ways to do this. Either free, whereby listing could take a long time, or Express. This involves a one-off non-refundable £199 charge and does not guarantee listing – what it does guarantee is that your site will be vetted within 5 working days and should you fail to be listed you’ll get a full report of the reasons why. What Yahoo won’t tell you is that they use another company called Overture to provide some of their sponsored listings.

    AOL – because of their position as top Internet Service Providers globally, the AOL search facility cannot be ignored. It is powered by Google, but like Yahoo it also has a directory section (free to register) in which you can pay for ‘sponsored links’ to boost your ranking. AOL is without doubt one of the major players.

    Overture – this company was formerly known as Goto, and is the best known pay-per-click search engine. You can open an account and bid against your competitors to appear top in your sector or on a specific search. Overture can guarantee listing and then it’s up to you how much you spend on staying top, but it is worth bearing in mind that the top three in every category in Overture will automatically appear in the Sponsored Listings in Yahoo. That means that through clever use of Overture’s system of paying so many pence per click, you can kill two birds with one stone and get a good Yahoo listing as well. Overture also covers Excite, another big search engine and most importantly MSN – the Microsoft search engine. A top three ranking in Overture will put you at the top of MSN too, and on the last figures released MSN was the most popular search engine of all on account of it being the default for all Microsoft Internet browsers when they’re installed – Microsoft have the lion’s share of the browser market.

    Ask – this is an increasingly popular search engine where you ‘Ask Jeeves’ a question and he gives you a list of possible ‘answers’ as well as a standard search engine listing beneath. Again, the tips in the first section will help your ranking, but you can sponsor listings to boost yourself and even sponsor Jeeves’ ‘answers’ to get right to the top. Price is on application and depends on the popularity of the question that you’d like to answer.

    Lycos – like Google, Lycos is a traditional search engine, though it’s believed to be less active and rely more heavily on directory listings and affiliates (in the same way that Yahoo does) nowadays. Like Yahoo, you can apply to join the Lycos directory, and though if you pay they will guarantee listing, they’ll offer no guarantee on your ranking position. Lycos (like quite a few search engines) only ‘deep-crawl’, meaning they only consider pages with a certain amount of content. At last check Lycos only indexed pages with more than 75 words on them.
    G

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast Shaggy's Avatar
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    Thats a great report for a short time

    Can i give that to my boss and say i wrote it?
    Ladies and gentlemen, Shaggy Higgins
    "Almost there. Only a couple of more times over the horizon."

  9. #9
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    If you pay me!

    (And that's assuming it's right!)

    G

  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru moonman's Avatar
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    Not bad, not bad at all.

    You might wanna throw in Looksmart too. I wouldn't recommend it cos they are a bunch of (insert expletive here). Looksmart are a directory similar to Yahoo. The difference being that you have to pay Looksmart $0.15 per click. This, for Looksmart alone is not worth it, believe me. Thing is, Looksmart results also appear in MSN and you can get good results from them, although they appear under Overture results.

    With Looksmart, you can set the amount of money you wish to spend per month, once that money runs out, your listing disappears from Looksmart and MSN until the next billing month begins.

  11. #11
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Thank you!

    That's very similar to the way Overture works isn't it? We had a salesman in from Goto before they got bought about a year ago and they could do similar plans .... unless Overture don't offer that and it was Goto only ... ?

    G

  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru moonman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by greg.harvey
    That's very similar to the way Overture works isn't it?
    Difference being on Overture you know where you'll appear, with Looksmart you pay $0.15 to appear 1st and $0.15 to appear 2000th.

  13. #13
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Ahhhhh! I see. That sucks!

    So how do you push yourself higher up the rankings in Looksmart when everyone's paying the same? Does it fall back on to meta tags, copy, etc ... ?

    G

  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru moonman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by greg.harvey
    So how do you push yourself higher up the rankings in Looksmart when everyone's paying the same? Does it fall back on to meta tags, copy, etc ... ?
    Bingo!

    If you're gonna pay Overture to appear on MSN, don't bother with Looksmart. For me it worked out ok, I pay $0.15 per click to appear #5 on MSN for a very competetive keyword, other aren't as good/lucky.

    If you wanna be really thorough, have a look at Inktomi aswell. They charge an annual fee for each url and updated all the pages every 48 hours. The first url is $39, the rest are $25 each. Inktomi results appear in MSN too, below Overture and Looksmart. They also appear in HotBot and Overture, and some smaller engines too.

  15. #15
    Drupaler bronze trophy greg.harvey's Avatar
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    Cool. Thanks again for all your help!

    G

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard johnn's Avatar
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    Meta tags are useless for google, aren't they?

  17. #17
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by johnn
    Meta tags are useless for google, aren't they?
    Yes.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  18. #18
    Level 8 Chinese guy Archbob's Avatar
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    From my experience, google is more important than MSN, but for others it might be different. Also for MSN it is harder because they do overture paid results first I believe.

  19. #19
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    I'm pretty sure that the stats presented in the second post aren't accurate- they add up to about 110% Also, (and I'm sure aspen could clarify this) I don't think they're all search engines per se, but rather sites through which search engine results are served. Aspen said in another post that the 4 most popular are Google, Inktomi, Fast, and Altavista.

    Hope this helps (and that it's not made up or completely untrue)!

  20. #20
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Blayze108
    I'm pretty sure that the stats presented in the second post aren't accurate- they add up to about 110% Also, (and I'm sure aspen could clarify this) I don't think they're all search engines per se, but rather sites through which search engine results are served. Aspen said in another post that the 4 most popular are Google, Inktomi, Fast, and Altavista.

    Hope this helps (and that it's not made up or completely untrue)!
    4 most popular search engines are those.

    4 most popular search websites are MSN, Yahoo, AOL, and Google... of course Google now powers Yahoo, AOL, and of course itself.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
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