Four Evil Search Engine Myths
by Mark Joyner, CEO, Aesop.com
In this issue you will
- Exactly how many search engines
- How often should I submit to them?
- Are search engines really the "ultimate" of
web promotion tool?
I couldn't believe it. The other day I was reading a course written by
yet another new self-proclaimed Internet marketing guru (It's funny -
each of us thinks that we were the first to perfect any marketing trick
and we all refuse to believe that it was really Al Gore, and not
us, who invented the Internet - so let me set the record straight: I
invented the Internet, Internet Marketing, Penicillin, and the
Wheel. OK?) and he was claiming that search engines were the
"ultimate Internet Marketing tool."
It just burns me up to think that there are
some unsuspecting folks out there being fed this information. If
they ever learn what is wrong with this approach it will only be after
many hours of trial, error, and lost profits.
If you're one of those unsuspecting folks who
have been led down the dark path of ignorance, please allow me to shed
some light on this myth and a few others:
(Warning: If you are getting good
results from the search engines without much effort - good for you.
This advice probably won't tell you anything new, and I am never one to
argue with results. However, if you are currently struggling with
the engines and feel your business is in trouble, this is exactly what you
need. Remember, as I always say, the bottom line is what works for
Myth 1. "90% of all traffic comes from
the major search engines."
This site, for example, gets about 15% of it's
traffic from search engines. You see, we don't even really put much
time or energy into search engine positioning.
On the other hand, a friend of mine who is
quite good at search engine positioning gets about 87% of his traffic from
the engines. He, however, does not promote any other way. "The
Engines" are all he does.
To put this in perspective - this site gets
about 9 times the traffic his site does. So, with very little
effort (I'll show you what I mean in a minute) we get almost the same
amount of search engine traffic that he does with hours of
effort. Additionally, we have plenty more time to work on other
As you see, where your traffic comes from
depends entirely on how you promote. If you don't ever submit
your site to the engines, you will get exactly zero hits from the engines
(unless they are randomly spidered). However, that doesn't mean that
your site will be a failure. Not by a long shot!
Myth 2. "Search engines are the
ultimate free marketing tool."
I really wish this were true. It
would make the process of traffic building much simpler. The truth
is, if you spend your time obsessing over a top 10 position, you are
going to get a lot of traffic. That is, traffic going back
and forth from the doctors office to treat your ulcer.
Responsible search engine optimization
professionals will admit that your rank can go up and down without
warning. Getting a high rank is not a one shot deal - it takes hours
of time to maintain that position. Hours which, I believe, can be
better spent on marketing efforts which will give you longer lasting
So, why put the livelihood of your business at
the mercy of the search engines? Engines which couldn't care
less whether you succeed or fail.
Myth 3. "Submit your site to thousands
of search engines."
There simply are not thousands of search
People are confusing apples and oranges
here. In the strict sense, a search engine can be anything that
searches, but what is generally meant by "search engine optimization" is
"optimizing your site for a high rank in the spider engines."
That is, the sites that "spider" your site and rank them based on the
actual contents of your page (for example: Aesop.com, Google, AltaVista,
In this sense, not even Yahoo is a spider
search engine. It is a "directory." A directory lists your
site based on human input (what you send or what a reviewer writes), not
on what a spider finds.
Software out there that will submit your site
to "thousands of engines" is generally saying "we will submit your site to
thousands of FFA pages - and, by the way, also to a few engines,
directories, and awards."
The problem is that what and how you submit to
each of these sites should be done in a different way. (That is why
the new 2.3 version of Webmaster Multi
Tool handles spiders, FFAs, and awards as entirely different
entities. There are about 30 true search engines, or "spider"
engines and Webmaster Multi Tool submits to all of them).
FFA submissions are generally very low impact
types of promotion. Especially when you are submitting to the same
list of FFAs that everyone else is. (Again, that is why the FFA
submitter in Webmaster Multi Tool is part of the free trial.)
Myth 4. "Meta Tags will get you a high
That is just patently false. Some engines
don't even recognize meta-tags at all.
The mathematical formula, or algorithm, used by
the engines is generally fairly complex. I promise you it is not
based solely on the content of your meta-tags.
Not only that, even if you break the engine's
code for a given day, your listing must be written in such a way that it
will look good. That is, which listing would you click on:
- widgets widgets
golden widgets and gobbledygooks
widget (1942) last
updated in the stone age, "here's a story about
Fine Widgets, Widget
Accessories, and Widget Services
Visit our site today and
get a free 2nd bronze widget with the purchase of every gold
As you see, a listing that looks like the first
example above will probably not generate many clicks even if it is a
A great tool to see what your page will look
like in the search engines is the "Search Engine Snap-Shot" tool of
Webmaster Multi Tool. This tool will show you what the most popular
types of spider engines will display when listing your pages. It
also shows you how to fix the appearance of that listing when it looks bad
(there is more to it than just the title and meta description in some
Now, I mentioned above that I would show you an
easy way to get a decent rank in the search engines without much
Way back in 1995 I wrote that one should simply
create a page which is generally search engine friendly and focus on solid
content. It's a really simply concept (that certainly doesn't
require an entire book), but sometimes the job of making your site search
engine friendly is tough. The Search Engine Preparedness Checker of
Webmaster Multi Tool will run a number of checks on your pages and let you
know what you need to change in your site to make it more search engine
This is all we do here to prepare our sites for
the search engines. Literally. Now that we have a simple tool
that will check the search engine readiness of our sites for us, we are
free to focus on marketing efforts that have stronger, and longer lasting
Anyway, I just wanted to make sure you folks
knew the "real deal" about all of this search engine nonsense. There
is just way too much mis-information out there. Arm yourself with
the truth, test things out for yourself, and stop obsessing about the
Our company is just one example of a highly
successful 100% Internet based business that does extremely well
without spending very much time worrying about search engine
positioning. If anyone tells you that's not possible, you can now
proudly and confidently tell them that they are "talking out of their
backside." And you'll be right.
Mark Joyner is the CEO of Aesop.com and the editor of the
Killer Tactics Journal. He highly encourages all readers to download Webmaster Multi Tool today -
so you can automate your search engine promotion and start spending your
time on other, more important, marketing
The entire contents of this newsletter Copyright 2000 Aesop Marketing Corporation. Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or post it on your site as long as it is left intact with all links unchanged and this notice.