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((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) March 15, 2001

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Sponsored by: Informative Graphics and Building Dynamic Web Sites Conference __________________________________________________________________

This week we have Alison Berke Morano with a story about search engine strategy. She discusses when you can get away with just meta tags and when you need to dive in and purchase a special service.

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http://www.webreference.com *- link to us today http://www.webreference.com/new/ *- newsletter home http://www.webreference.com/new/submit.html *- submit article

New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. TWO NEW CONTESTS: Submit & Win HoTMetaL Pro 6.0 and XMetaL 2.0!, Signup & Win! 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Search Engine Question 3. NET NEWS: * Megisto: Building the Mobile Net * The Universal Cell Phone * You Own Your Own Metadata ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. TWO NEW CONTESTS: Submit & Win HoTMetaL Pro 6.0 and XMetaL 2.0! Signup & Win

>Submit & Win NetObjects Fusion 5!

Submit your article today and you could win SoftQuad's HoTMetaL Pro 6.0 and XMetaL 2.0! If your article makes the cut, and we publish it on the site or in this newsletter, you win! Alison Berke Morano wins NetObjects this week for her article about search engine strategy. See the submission page for details:

http://www.webreference.com/new/submit.html

>New Signup & Win!

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Search Engine Question

Okay, so the cards are on the table. There is basically no way into the top search engines without paying for it in SOME way.

I know, I know, search engines are supposed to be free and everyone has a level playing field when it comes to listings and "He (or she) Who Has the Best Meta Tags" wins. But, it's now more than that. Your well-developed meta tags still count for a lot, but if you even want them looked at, you're going to have to pay for it.

Two search engines (Yahoo! & LookSmart) ask for money just to be considered for inclusion, others offer ways to 'buy yourself to the top' or additional advertising in your categories or through your keywords.

You could say that you're standing firm, and refuse to give in to the extortion, and keep submitting the regular, old-fashioned way, through the free submission pages or by using submission software. But, at this point, with some search engines actually blackballing you from using their own submission pages (e.g. Inktomi), you have an uphill climb on your hands.

So, if you are trying to decide where your money should go, what the best Return-On-Investment (ROI) is, and who to give your hard-earned money to, there are few must-do submission payments you should make:

1. Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com) - Yahoo!'s $199 for submission is the ONLY way you're going get into their top-level categories. Even though they say that the money only guarantees 'consideration' for your listing, it's a pretty good bet that you'll get into their directory if you do it correctly. (For Yahoo! Submission tips, please see my page http://www.keywordmarketing.net/yahoo.asp)

Experience Notes: After submitting several Web sites to Yahoo! using their Express service – these are my helpful hints:

a. Save your "Yahoo! Listing [Order #xxxxx]" e-mail – this comes when your listing has been accepted into the directory. It has a unique return e-mail address that you will need if you want to make a change, or "appeal" the listing they give you.

b. They have yet to place my listings correctly. Three different times a site I submitted was added to a "Yahoo! Local" category and not a top level category. (The "Get Local" categories are supposedly still free to get into). I've had to go through the APPEALS process to fix these errors -

c. You get 1 (one) chance to fix your listing if it's not added to the directory properly. They call this the APPEALS process and you must write to the original e-mail address that you received with your Yahoo! Listing e-mail mentioned above.

If all else fails, I have gone so far as to actually call them on the phone and explain my position and beg for what I need.

***Additional Note about Yahoo!; once you're in the directory, Yahoo! also offers the opportunity to "Sponsor" your category. For prices ranging from $25 - $300/month (more for REALLY popular categories), you can have a text ad running in the Sponsored Sites area above the regular results. This is great if you're one of only 5 sponsors for that category. When the category has over 5 sponsors, and the ads are rotated each time the page comes up.

2. LookSmart! (http://www.looksmart.com) - With 75% of Internet Search traffic, and alliances with: MSN, Alta Vista, Excite, iWon & CNN, $199 (or $99 for a basic submit, which can take up to 8 weeks) is also an excellent investment of your marketing $$.

3. Inktomi (http://www.positiontech.com/inktomi/) Formerly one of the largest Search Engines out there, Inktomi now has secure listing results coming up in over 125 Search Engine partners, including: AOL, iWon, MSN & HotBot. For $20 per URL (& $10 for each additional page per URL) you will be listed in the directory in 24-48 hours, and they will RESPIDER your page every 48 hours.

4. NBCi( http://www.nbci.com/LMOID/resource/0,566,home-1078,00.html) - While NBCi (formerly Snap - a VERY popular Search Engine) doesn't charge to 'submit' your Web site, they are now offering a "Promote Your Site" option. For $199 (after March 1, 2001), they will guarantee that one of their live editors will review your Web site for inclusion in their 'recommended sites' listings. Since NBCi is a human-edited directory, your placement improves greatly if a live person has a hand in your listing.

The above are a few "must do's" for today Search Engine submissions, and please take note that "inclusion" in the Directory does not guarantee Top Placement. The only way to insure #1 positioning is through good meta tags & in the fast growing case of Pay-Per-Click & Sponsored Listings & "Shared Results":

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How 1 Search Engine listing can be worth 1,000

DonÂ’t underestimate a good ranking in one Search Engine. It could affect several others.

Most people have seen the messages on the bottom of a Yahoo! Web page that says "Other Search Engines: Alta Vista - Direct Hit - Google - dot com directory - GoTo.com - Infoseek - NorthernLight - Deja.com - HotBot - More..." By clicking on any of the other links to Search Engines, youÂ’re search terms are automatically entered into the search boxes and you get a new return.

But, do you know how many search engines use the results from other search engines from the outset? For example, Lycos gets its results from Direct Hit, Fast Search & Open Directory. The same results also show up in HotBot. So, by getting your Web site in any of the above search engines, it could show up in four other directories.

Here are a few "shared search results" tips:

1. Yahoo! defaults to "Google.com" when it can’t find a Web site match for your search – Google.com is known for exact searches in a matter of seconds. So, the race is on to make sure your Web site is listed on Google.

2. Google.com works on both a relevancy and popularity ranking system – so make sure your Web site has the most appropriate meta tags and you should be linked in as many places as you can on the Internet as a whole to get the best ranking. Google.com now offers RealNames results, as it's first place offering.

3. AOL now gets most of its results from the Open Directory Project – DMOZ.org.

4. Since a number of sites still use the Inktomi database for their results, it is still very important to be listed with them (See above for directions to be included in the Inktomi database)

Another way that one search engine listing can produce results on several sites is to use on of the 'keyword purchasing' sites. GoTo.com has a bidding system that allows you to bid for the top placements for all of its results pages. GoTo charges per "click," so you only pay if someone actually clicks on your link. The charges start at .05 per click and go up past $10.00 per click for the most popular terms.

Through their Partnership Programs, when you buy a spot on GoTo.com, your site is going to come up in the results of several other Search Engines, such as: AOL, MSN, AskJeeves, Direct Hit, Hot Bot, Lycos, CNN, Alta Vista, InfoSpace, Dogpile & Surftheweb.com. This list is growing rapidly.

DirectHit offers a 'text sponsorship' program through the AskJeeves.com network, which allows you to bid per 1,000 impressions, rather than clicks. The results of your paid for ads show up on the right side of the page, next to the regular results listings for the search term. Again, these ads can show up on MSN and Ask Jeeves Results pages. – (as of 3/1/01, Direct Hit will be bringing in GoTo.com listings as their primary search results – the rest of their results still depend on "site popularity," e.g. how many other sites link to yours) – These text sponsorship ads will also appear in: MSN, Searchalot, Bomis.com, ePilot.com, SuperCyberSearch

Another Search Engine that is very influential on the Internet is the LookSmart directory. According to their research, Looksmart says that they power over 74% of US Web Users, including: MSN, Excite@Home, CNN and Time Warner. As I mentioned above, Looksmart now has an "express" submission service that guarantees a review of your site in 48 hours for $199 – if your site is not accepted, the money is returned.

The last Search Engine I’ll mention is Open Directory (www.dmoz.org). Open Directory is a "human edited" search engine developed by Netscape that depends on carefully screened volunteers to keep their categories updated. Editors, as they are called, each have their own category to oversee and follow strict guidelines for keeping their section in proper order. The Open Directory results can be found on the following search engines (among others): AOL –Netscape, Lycos, HotBot & Euroseek. There are now reports that after GoTo.com listings, Open Directory is the 2nd Most popular "lender."

So, there you have it. The search engine maze is getting larger (and smaller) by the day. Search engines are becoming a science of the Internet, and if you can figure out how the pieces fit together, your site will be everywhere, faster than you think.

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Alison Berke Morano, founder of www.keywordmarketing.net, began working in the field of Web site Development in 1995. Since that time, she has been involved in various aspects of Web site design, e-commerce, and of course her specialty, Search Engine Marketing, particularly keyword placement. In 1998, Alison Berke was selected "Small Business Person of the Year" by the Nassau Council Chambers of Commerce, as well as named one of "Long Island's 40 under 40" by the Long Island Business News. She can be reached at mailto:alison@bworks.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Megisto: Building the mobile Net The Universal Cell Phone You Own Your Own Metadata

>Megisto: Building the mobile Net

Find out how one company is planning on changing the whole world of wireless Internet. http://www.localbusiness.com/Story/0,1118,WAS_682032,00.html

>The Universal Cell Phone

It seems like every country uses a different wireless standard, some, like the U.S., use three. Read about THE standard of the future. http://www.techreview.com/magazine/apr01/shapley.asp

>You Own Your Own Metadata

Pretty much every company on the Internet is recording tons of data on everyone, including you. Find out how about your rights and the future of metadata. http://www.feedmag.com/templates/default.php3?a_id=1648

That's it for this week, see you next time.

Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com update@webreference.com

Alexander Rylance Assistant Editor, WebReference.com arylance@internet.com

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