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Search Engine Information > SEO Specialists Column > #1 SEO Scam 

- Questions & Answers with Sharon and Roy Montero -
Learn SEO Promotion and Optimization The Write Way
The Monthly Search Engine Optimization Q&A Column

Things Your Mom May Not Have Taught You About SEO

Once a month Contributing Authors Sharon and Roy Montero answer a Search Engine Optimization question submitted by one of our newsletter subscribers. This month's column answers the question,

What Is The #1 SEO Scam That I Need To Know About?

June 2004


Please let me know some free or cheap search engines to advertise my Website?

Amita Narayanan


Hi Amita,

You ask a really good question and one that we will be able to quickly answer for you since there are only a handful of search engines and not the 50,000 or so that you may have seen advertised all over the Web.

All of the current search engines are free and all of them also have a fee-based inclusion program except for Google.

First, we want to let you know that there is no need to submit your page(s) to the free "Add URL" pages of the search engines since doing so will not get you indexed.

• Search Engine Submission Is Not Necessary

The #1 SEO scam that you need to know about is where literally thousands of unscrupulous companies will try to "trick" you into believing that you need to submit your pages to the search engines in order to get indexed and then some will even go so far as to "trick" you into believing that you need to submit your pages to the search engines every week or every month so that you can be sure to acquire high rankings, which of course, is a just scam to separate you from your money.

So don't waste your money on these services or even buy search engine submission software. Don't use services and/or software of this kind even if they are free as they are completely useless. When search engines first came on the scene (circa 1996) it was necessary to submit to them since there were very few Websites around and therefore they needed to know where they were all located, but since around 1998 that has not been necessary because the search engines want to know that your pages are well connected to and from important pages on the Web before they will deem them worthy of inclusion to their free databases.

All you need to do to be indexed by the search engines is to be properly linked from pages that are already in the databases of the search engines and the more links you can acquire, the more likely your pages will remain in the search engines.

If you are the impatient type and don't want to wait for the (free-based) spiders to find your pages and index them, then you can pay for inclusion to all of the search engines (except for Google) to send out their (fee-based) spiders to index your pages.

Paid Inclusion Programs

The quote below from Google founders, Brin and Page, explain why Google will not accept payment in return for a promise to include Web pages.

After IPO, Google Founders Plan to Remain in Control

While Google derives 95 percent of its revenue from ads, Brin and Page said Google will not accept payment in return for a promise to include Web sites in online searches. (The ads appear to the right of search results.)

"Google users trust our systems to help them with important decisions: medical, financial and many others," the letter said. "We will live up to our 'Don't Be Evil' principle by keeping user trust and not accepting payment for search results."

Yahoo Inc., which was identified as Google's biggest competitor, says it allows companies to pay for inclusion in a search but does not guarantee they will appear in search results.


Paid inclusion programs mean that, in exchange for a payment, a search engine will guarantee to list certain pages from your Website. These programs don't guarantee that the pages will rank high for particular queries but just that they will be included and updated about every 48 hours. Whether your page ranks high will still depend on the search engine's algorithm and your ability to optimize these pages.

Search Engines and Their Paid Inclusion Programs

  1. Yahoo!, AltaVista and AlltheWeb - Powered by Overture Site Match™
  2. Ask Jeeves and Teoma - Powered by Teoma
  3. WiseNut - Powered by LookSmart and Zeal

As mentioned, submitting will not get your page indexed, no matter how many times it is submitted. Also there are only 3 search engines that you need to be listed in that will deliver you any significant referrals -- Google (41%), Yahoo (27%), MSN (19%) and the #4 ranked search engine in terms of referrals is Ask Jeeves (2%).

• Pay-Per-Click Programs

Also known as paid placement programs, here you can bid for placement on Google with AdWords or on Yahoo With Overture's Pay-for-Performance Search as well as a host of lesser trafficked Pay-Per-Click Search Engines. If you are new to pay-per-click type advertising then we highly recommend that you start your initial campaign with Google AdWords and forget about the rest. Then once you have AdWords mastered, you may want to look at the other types of PPC (pay-per-click) programs, but be warned, they are vastly different from AdWords in how they perform and in price.

An SEO vs. SEM Primer

::: What is SEO and SEM and is There a Difference? :::

We define SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) as follows ...

SEO = Optimizing a Web page for a set of keyword phrases for the organic (free) listings.

SEM = Optimizing a set of keyword phrases for the pay-per-click (paid) listings.

While high rankings are usually primary objectives, they should not be thought of as the final objective in either your SEO or SEM campaigns.

The final objective must be monetization or your entire SEO/SEM campaign will fail.

Your ultimate goal is to drive YOUR target market, (i.e., people who are looking to purchase your product and/or service) to your specific landing page and then to convert them into paying customers and/or clients and/or subscribers to your free newsletter.

Therefore, the narrower you can focus your keywords, the higher your click-through rate (CTR) will be, which in turn will increase your conversion rate (monetization), which will then ultimately lead to a high ROI (Return on Investment).

This aspect is enormously important and an enormous amount of time must be spent on keyword research AND analysis BEFORE you even begin to think of designing a Web page template and writing copy for your Web pages.

The reason being that your navigation menu and your link architecture are extremely crucial aspects of the SEO process, so if you design them incorrectly, you will need to redesign it when you come to realize that you need to optimize your pages in order to drive potential customers and/or clients to your respective Web pages via the search engines.

Likewise the actual Web page copy and the various HTML elements are equally crucial aspects of the SEO process.

Therefore, if you don't write your copy correctly, then you will need to rewrite it when you begin the SEO process and for each and every page that you want high rankings for.

We'll touch briefly on SEM, but we really want to concentrate primarily on SEO.

For your FIRST or next SEM campaign we highly recommend that you concentrate solely on Google AdWords < > because it has many advantages over Overture.

Your ad's position depends on two factors instead of just one.

The cost-per-click (CPC) and the click-through rate (CTR).

The higher your click-through rate, the less you will have to pay for a top position.

Another plus is that your ad will begin showing immediately and you won't have to wait up to 5 to 7 days or so before your ad begins to run on Overture.

The last advantage we'll mention is that you can start your Google AdWords campaign for a CPC of just 5 whereby Overture starts at 10 per click.

That means your $20.00 campaign will receive 400 click-throughs on Google but only 200 click-throughs on Overture.

This will save you a tremendous amount of money when you first begin your various SEM campaigns while you are in trial and error mode, especially if you begin with a few losing campaigns before you discover the winning ones.

Since SEO and SEM are quite different, you may wish to outsource one or both of these projects.

But be careful when searching for a firm because it is rare to find a company that specializes in both.

Your best solution may be to hire different firms for each campaign. Keep in mind that pricing will vary greatly as will the cost-effectiveness (ROI) of each dollar you invest.

In the SEO and SEM industry you will find that the most expensive firms are not necessarily the best and that the most inexpensive firms are not necessarily the worst.

The process to find a reputable firm will not be simple or easy so please be forewarned.

We frequently advise clients to initially test their market via an SEM campaign to learn which keywords and landing pages will monetize the best before they start their SEO campaign.

Want To Learn All About Search Engine Optimization? We Teach A 6 Week
Online SEO Class - Learn SEO The Write Way - There Is So Much More To
SEO Than Just Meta Tags :::
Call For Your Free 1 Hour SEO Consultation - 760-378-2539 (Pacific Time)

Click here to ask your SEO Questions

2004 This article was written exclusively for Internet Based Moms™ and may not be
re-published or copied without permission from Internet Based Moms™, except to print one copy for personal use. Any questions regarding use of this article should be directed to
Linda. Comments and general questions about the article's content can be directed to the authors.


More Search Engine Information: Highly Recommended! 

Check > John Reese's Traffic Secrets 2.0 course is a must have for anyone serious about driving traffic to their website.  Learn more about this fantastic resource by clicking here.

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