Four Evil Search Engine Myths
by Mark Joyner, CEO, Aesop.com

In this issue you will learn:

  • Exactly how many search engines are there?
  • 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 you.)

Myth 1.  "90% of all traffic comes from the major search engines."

Not true.

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 marketing efforts.

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 results.

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 engines.

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, and Excite).

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 rank."

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 widgets

or

Fine Widgets, Widget Accessories, and Widget Services
Visit our site today and get a free 2nd bronze widget with the purchase of every gold widget.

As you see, a listing that looks like the first example above will probably not generate many clicks even if it is a "#1 rank."

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 cases).

Now, I mentioned above that I would show you an easy way to get a decent rank in the search engines without much effort.

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 friendly.

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 results.

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 search engines.

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 tasks. 


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.



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