There's no denying it: Search engines are a dominating force on the Internet, with millions of people going online to search on their topics of interest every single day.
In fact, it was revealed at a recent industry conference that in June of 2005 alone, 10.5 billion searches were conducted online. That's 10.5 billion searches in just one month!
And people are not just looking for information...
Experts at the same conference said that roughly 25% of all online purchases originate from search engines. So it's crucial that your site gets the best possible position in the searches for your keywords.
But according to Market Position, a whopping five million pages are added to the Internet every single day. So if you plan to outrank your growing competition, you need to keep constant tabs on changes to how the search engines rank web sites.
However, you should also know that statistics show that most Web surfers never search beyond the top 30 results they receive! So getting ranked 43rd in Google is almost as bad as not getting ranked at all.
With that in mind, it's clear that top-ranking positions in the search engines for the terms most frequently searched by your target audience should be the goal of any savvy site owner.
To achieve that goal, you must keep your finger on the pulse of the search engine industry.
1. The Search Engines Are Constantly Changing........
The first thing you need to understand is that search engine submission strategies that work this week may not work a month from now -- or even two weeks from now! As a result, submitting your web site to the search engines and then forgetting about it is risky.
Your listing needs to be optimized and then maintained if you want to generate the traffic that a top spot can bring.
But as the search engine wars continue heating up between the major players and competition becomes fierce between competing search engine providers, deciding which ones to submit your web site to can be a daunting task.
Major shifts in search engine ownership, management, and control are taking place all the time. The industry is in a state of competitive flux, with heavyweight companies like MSN, Google, and Yahoo! vying for positions of power and attempting to trump one another whenever possible.
So how can a small online business expect to survive in the midst of all this chaos?
Well, start by getting to know the current state of the search engine industry. Then stay as informed as possible of the changes and updates. It's really not all that hard, once you know where to look for up-to-the-minute information.
2. Which Search Engines Are MOST Important?
Not too long ago, by submitting your web site to the top eight or so major search engines, you'd show up in most people's search results.
But that has all changed...
Nowadays, believe it or not, you really need to focus on TWO major search engines: Google and Overture.
Google and Overture together now make up such a strong search engine presence that if you are ranked well in both of these services, you will be found by well over 90% of people searching for topics related to your site.
Google is the only remaining "pure" search engine, which means that its search results are entirely computer- generated by their "spiders" that crawl the Web and their algorithms that sort the information gathered by the spiders to determine your ranking.
But not everyone goes straight to Google.com when searching for information... Google also supplies the majority of search results for Yahoo!, AOL, Earthlink, and AT&T, plus some results for Infospace, iWon, and Sympatico.
And that means that Google's "reach" on the Internet is enormous. According to NetRatings.com, Google reaches approximately 50+% of the online community.
Overture, on the other hand, is a "pure" pay-per-click search engine, meaning that its paid results are not mixed with editorial (unpaid) results. Instead, to achieve a top ranking in Overture, you must simply out-bid the next highest bidder for that particular keyword.
Overture listings now appear as part of the search results for so many different engines that it probably has a more widespread presence on the Internet than almost any other search service today.
While Google is certainly bigger (and used by more searchers), Overture provides sponsored search results for literally hundreds of minor search services, as well as such major players as:
AllTheWeb (aka, FAST)
3. Keeping Abreast of Changes
Competition between the major search engine providers keeps the industry changing all the time. Yahoo!, for instance, recently bought Overture, and also picked up Inktomi earlier in 2004...
And now MSN is in the midst of creating its own crawler (after Google rejected their bid to buy them out!) called MSNBot, and they are looking to become a major player in the search engine game.
What it all adds up to is that although Google is hands-down the biggest pure search engine around, it is constantly threatened by shifting ownerships, power relationships, and new developments in technology. With search engines, what's here today could truly be gone tomorrow, so it's up to you to stay informed.
The best way to keep on top of the changes is simply to subscribe to a couple of the excellent newsletters that are available online, published by search engine experts who make it their job to keep you informed.
Our favorites are......
Search Engine Watch - www.searchenginewatch.com
This site belongs to search engine expert Danny Sullivan and is packed full of the most recent search engine developments.
Planet Ocean - www.searchengine-news.com
Planet Ocean is the publisher of "The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning The Search Engine Wars" -- a leading online search engine resource. The book is updated monthly so whenever you buy it, it's certain to be completely up to date.
Search Engine Guide - www.searchengineguide.com
This site provides a wealth of information and articles about all aspects of search engines. Weekly and daily newsletters are offered, which compile updates and information from across the industry.
These resources will keep you on top of the dramatic changes you can expect to see in the search engine industry over the next weeks and months.
For example, a new Open Source style search engine called "Nutch" is on the horizon these days which could take a lot of the mystery out of search engine rankings. Open Source code, as some of you may know, is code that is accessible to all for use, and programmers can make suggestions, modifications, and additions whenever they like.
This new search engine would function with the same principles of give-and-take, with public access to information about the way they work. This could be very interesting -- especially since, at the moment, search engines tend to be very secretive about the rules they use to rank your web site!
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4. Final Thoughts
Keeping abreast of the most effective search engine submission strategies can be a daunting task, especially with the constantly changing climate of search engine control and ownership.
While you're busy tweaking your web site to meet the latest published search engine requirements, they're equally busy updating their algorithms, perfecting their approach, modifying their rules, and honing their systems so that they can provide the most relevant, accurate, and complete search results possible.
So it will be worth your while to keep on top of the major industry shifts so that you don't waste your time on engines that are no longer worth it, and you don't miss out on the newest developments and hottest opportunities.
After all, search engines -- no matter how much they change -- can still be a powerful means of driving qualified traffic to your site, so they can't be ignored!
About the author:
Ash Kawa has written hundreds of articles specializing in helping people succeed when the competition is tough. President of a successful Website Hosting Company http://www.hostforwebsite.com[$0.75/month & Get Un-Limit Movies, MP3 Songs, Games, TV Shows on your PC!]
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