Saturday morning and, like very morning, I get a number of letters asking me if I'd be interested in a new mortgage, a loan, health insurance and a multitude of other unnecessary offers. Up until a few months ago I used to stick them directly in the bin, that was until I heard the story of someone who got so fed up of receiving offers from companies, that they decided to use the prepaid envelope to send a brick back to the company, hoping that the offending company would pay the postage.
Now, I put all their marketing literature back into their pre-paid envelopes, letter and all, and make sure I strike out my name saying "Not Interested". It seems to do the trick and puts a smile on my face every time I do it!! I never asked them to send me this information, and waste natural resources doing so, but I can certainly help them pay for it.
There are very few search engines where you can go and manually submit your site these days. Most of them either offer paid inclusion direct to their site or inclusion as part of a larger submission process. Of the major search engines, the following offer you free submission:
Hotbot (look for ‘Free Submission’ Button)
However, they can take some time to register your site – sometimes up to 6-8 weeks. That’s why they offer a rapid inclusion service, where they guarantee to get your site indexed in 24-48 hours but at a cost (around $35-40).
Page titles are one of the most important elements to get right for a listing on Google and other search engines. Type in search words for your industry into Google and see how prominently they feature in the top-listed sites.
They are the first words that appear in the individual organic listings and are the words our eyes are often drawn to. So, they are obviously very important in terms of acquiring customers and, hopefully, directing them to our website. Notice how prominent they are in the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.
Where do they appear?
In your Internet Explorer, Netscape or Opera browser window, you will see the page title just above ‘File’, ‘Edit’, ‘View’, etc in the blue strip. Page titles are not a means to an end and should be used in conjunction with all of the 5 elements in the 5-step process. I would recommend the following approach with page titles:
Want to know how many of your pages are listed on the search engines? Market Leap offers visitors a great tool which tells you how many of your web pages are listed on: Alltheweb, AltaVista, Google/AOL and HotBot/Inktomi
The other day I heard that someone in Bristol, England was auctioning a bucket of water on eBay and that the bidding had already reached £12. As a matter of interest I took a look on eBay and found that the bidding price was now £137.50!! One of the conditions of the purchase was that you had to go to agreed place to pick it up.
However, there is a serious side to this story and that is that all the money is going to OXFAM in Southern Sudan who are drilling wells for local people who have no water. So, go to this page and bid. If you do go there, you will have participated in a little viral marketing!
This 5-step process will help you master the basics of search engine marketing. If your site has not been experiencing much traffic or relevant/targeted enquiries, then this should go some way to remedying that. Let's look at the first step - domain names.
Selecting a domain name is a very important element in this 5-step process. The first thing to check is whether your company/organisation name is available. Are you based in the USA, UK, Spain or other country? If you are, consider buying a domain name with the suffix for your country - if the the .com is available, buy it anyway - you never know how your business is going to grow.
Should your organisation name not be available, start taking a good look at the services or products you offer clients.
Selling books in Boston? Well, try out boston-books, bostonbooks, booksfromboston, etc.
Providing marketing consultancy to US companies? How about usmarketer, strategic-marketer, tactical-marketer.
A good web site for checking out domain name selections is Register. I would suggest putting a couple of keywords that describe your business into the search box - Register will throw up some possible combinations for you.
Some things to remember:
1. Your clients may type in the name of yor company, followed by the .co.uk or .com suffix - so it may be worth buying one of these.
2. Find out whether you can get a POP3 mailbox for your domain name and, if not, how much will it cost you? I have used Names, GoDaddy and Easyspace
3. If you're a UK-based company, Google tends to list the .co.uk domain names first.
4. I wouldn't recommend buying a domain name with too many words or characters - people WILL forget or mix them up!
5. Be careful not to buy a domain name using your competitor's business name or products/services.
The most popular search engines are Google, Teoma, Alta Vista and MSN. You mustn’t forget that companies that create search engine technology like Inktomi and Alltheweb, also provide results for some of the major search engines. Inktomi, for example, powers Hotbot. Another thing to remember is that most search engines provide primary and secondary search results to other search engines. One of the better search engines, and relatively new, is Teoma.
There has been a lot of consolidation over recent years and this has seen the disappearance of many search engines. The simple fact is that you have to target the major ones to get listed. If you’d like an overview of how the search engines work, take a look at Bruce Clay’s Search Engine Relationship Chart