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Only the big search engines count

By David Callan

Many of you have read with enthusiasm my article entitled Search engine optimization guide and believe if you follow the guidelines within the article and then submit to hundreds of search engines you will be flooded with visitors and prospects eager to buy your product.

That might be true, but you can bet your bottom dollar that only the big search engines are generating any significant number of visitors for you. By big search engines I refer to Google, Yahoo and other popular engines.

The truth is that you have just wasted your time submitting to hundreds of search engines, because only a small percentage (and I mean small) of them will send you any decent monthly traffic. They might claim to be visited lots of times but that's mostly other webmasters submitting their URL and not actually using the search engine to find websites of interest to them.

In fact there are currently hundreds of search engines out there, most of them are not much more than an advanced FFA page.
There's only one way I would submit to these and that's with good automated submittal software, just to clarify that a bit more - I would use automated software for the less important sites, but I would always hand submit to the top 15 or so engines.

So once again beware of ads such as 'submit to the top 500 search engines for only $99'. I say this because generally only the top 10 will drive traffic to your site. It doesn't take much time to manually submit to these top engines and your $99 could better be spent on Overture.com, Google Adwords, buying ads in ezines or on any of the other marketing methods which are available to the modern Internet marketing professional.
At the moment the top ten search sites - meaning both directories and search engines account for just over 93% of all search engine referred traffic going to websites. The other 6.something% is made up of hundreds of sites claiming to be search engines.

Even at that the 11th - 15th biggest search engines make up most of that figure. What are the search sites you need to concentrate on as a webmaster looking to drive proper traffic to your site? You might ask. Well here's the sites I consider the most important. This list is of course open to interpretation, but here's my opinion anyhow. A point to note is that the first five sites on the list are ordered by importance to webmasters and not necessarily by the amount of traffic the individual site can send to a website.

http://www.google.com
The most popular search engine by far, a good ranking for two or three of your keywords here could result in a lot more monthly traffic for your site. Good ranking can be achieved by distributing your keywords frequently throughout the important places of your pages and by having lots of incoming links. My article Google ranking tips should really help you here.

http://www.yahoo.com
Yahoo although losing ground to Google is still a very popular place for surfers to search on. Its search results are provided by Google so in all but a few cases good rankings in Google means good rankings in Yahoo. The Yahoo directory is still very popular with surfers so check out Yahoo submitting tips for the lowdown on getting into their index.

http://www.dmoz.org (ODP)
Dmoz.org itself will not send you much traffic, I have ranked it the third most important search site anyhow as its true importance lies in the fact that lots of third party sites including Google use ODP data on their sites. What this means is that if your listed on dmoz.org you will soon notice your site is being found on sites such as the Google Directory, AOL search, Netscape Search and Lycos to name just a few. Open Directory Project guide is a very detailed guide written by me on getting into the ODP successfully.

http://www.looksmart.com
Just like dmoz.org's main attraction is that it supplies data to many third party sites so too is Looksmarts. Their networks claims to reach vast numbers of people. However your main advantage of listing with Looksmart stems from the fact that MSN use their data prominently within results for searches conducted on MSN.com, MSN.co.uk and other international MSN's. If you're a non commercial site you can get into looksmart via http://www.zeal.com

http://www.alltheweb.com (Fast)
Alltheweb.com is a very popular search engine which is currently seeing much growth. Link popularity is a factor on this engine so get them links, also having keywords within <h1> and <h2> tags seems to be quite important here.

Here in no particular order are the other sites I consider important for anybody conducting a search engine campaign.

http://www.msn.com
- Mentioned briefly above, still very important.

http://www.altavista.com
- Not a popular as it used to be, but still can drive decent traffic.

http://www.aolsearch.com
- Used by millions of AOL subscribers everyday.

http://www.lycos.com
- Still very popular.

http://www.overture.com
- Can be a source of lots of very cheap targeted traffic.

http://www.about.com
- Very popular site. You can't just submit your site to About as you would with other engines, you must contact the guide of the appropriate category first and ask him or her to list your site. Only content driven sites will get a listing here.

About the author
Article by David Callan. David is an Internet marketing professional and webmaster of http://www.akamarketing.com/webmaster-forums/. Visit his webmaster forums for the latest discussions on search engines, website authoring and Internet marketing related issues and topics.

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