IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE – IT DEFINITELY IS!
A client emailed us recently, and asked about an offer he had received via email. A company was offering to blast his url (the domain address of his website) to no less than “500,000 search engines and directories,” to really boost the Internet visibility of his website.
He had a very good question: was it a good deal, and was he missing out on something?
If it seems too good to be true… as the old saying goes. We’ve graded a lot of papers on this theme before and can say, that this article is quite important for your business. In fact, this is not a good deal. It’s a waste of money. Whether or not it’s a scam is debatable. You be the judge. What’s going on here is that the unsuspecting consumer pays a fee (often a monthly “refresher” for something like $19.95/month) and their url is blasted out to hundreds of thousands of website addresses. For the vendor, it’s a click of a button. For the buyer, it can be the start of a very bad experience.
The top search engines send out “spiders,” or computer programs, across the web, searching for well-optimized webpages. If your website is designed properly, and submitted one time to the top engines, it will be found by them. Submitting to Google, for example, will do precisely nothing – your website will be found by Google anyway, and it will only be indexed if it is optimized.
The same is true for Yahoo. It’s worth submitting your site at the launch to the major engines (something we do for you when we build your site) but you don’t need to do anything more in terms of submission. So who are the other 499,950 search engines and directories out there? Mostly, they are not sites you’d want to be listed by. Maybe you’ll end up in “Fisherman Bob’s Favorite Sites” directory, or “Black Orchid,” “Danny Boy,” or “Lycos Japan,” to name a few of the sites listed in the offer made to our client. Not only are you being submitted to sites you don’t want, you will very likely end up on spam lists that will definitely waste your time and drive you crazy.
There are some good, general interest directories on the Internet, and there can be good marketing reasons to submit (sometimes for a fee, sometimes not) your site to them. But the good ones guard entry to the directory very strictly, and submitting to quality directories is a manual, time-consuming task that must be performed one directory at a time. It is impossible to get into the good directories with a computerized blast.
Finally, even in the cases where your site does end up being listed in a search engine or directory, is that good? Not at all, unless your site is optimized correctly. A site can be “indexed” by Google, for example – which means that Google is aware of the site. But if it’s not delivering the goods in terms of content, it will remain on page two thousand, or whatever the page might be, where it will never be seen. Being indexed is one thing, ranking highly, which is what brings your site the traffic, is another thing entirely. As with everything else, exposure on the Internet costs time or money, or both. As opposed to TV, radio, and newspapers, the Internet is new, so scams abound. But as in real life, if it seems too good to be true, it most definitely is!
IF IT LOOKS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!
Since writing in the previous newsletter about the multitude of internet-based offers promising to place your website in thousands of search engines and directories, a small but important consumer victory was scored against one of the many fly-by-night companies littering the internet and engaging in these deceptive practices.
A “search engine optimization” company based in Redmond, Washington (home of mighty Microsoft), which promised that they could rocket their customers’ websites to the top of the search engines, was fined and ordered to pay customer refunds by the Washington State Attorney General. The Seattle Times reported that the company, Internet Advancement, “had promised to get its customers ranked in the top 10 to 20 results on the search engines for $980 to $1,500 in set-up fees and monthly fees of $79.80 to $89.95.” Well, apparently, they couldn’t, and their resulting $25,000 fine, while it may not put them out of business, is a step in the right direction for this fledgling industry.
It should also serve as a warning bell for everyone with an interest in the internet: if an offer sounds too good to be true, it definitely is! If you come across a deal that sounds irresistible, send us an email. We’ll be happy to help you evaluate it.