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Paying for inclusion in directories

June 27, 2008       (Updated from our Oct. 15, 2001 article)

More and more is being said about Pay for Inclusion (PFI) search engines and Pay per Click (PPC) search portals. Today, there are a good number of ways that search directories and search engines are charging companies trying to get their web sites conveniently listed on the Internet.

What is really important to underline when talking about this popular topic is that funds invested into most PFI programs go mainly in getting your web site indexed into the various search databases. There really isn't much more to it. Some promise you to be listed within seven days, others tell you it may be sooner.

Companies can pay these directories as much as they feel like it, but PFI will not yield those web sites higher placement in the engines. It would be foolish to believe that the mere inclusion of a URL in such directories will propel any web site in the first position.

Business people should be extremely careful of hyped promises to be at the top, with just a directory inclusion. As you are about to find out, it takes a lot more than that to be at the top in the search engine results pages (SERP's) of any major search engine.

With any type of commercial web site or business in any field, companies have to pay Yahoo just in order to be considered for inclusion. After their editors have reviewed it, they will add the web site if they believe it is of good use to their searchers ux research curso para ebaconline. If, on the other hand, the site in question is refused for any reason, they will still keep the $ 299 fee.

Now if you read their terms of service (TOS), they apparently call the shots and companies don't have other options to be listed in their directory. Having said that, and in most cases, Yahoo does a pretty good job at adding most submitted PFI sites, provided the submitting party isn't trying to spam their index in any way.

There's another PFI search engine on the block
Another pay-for-inclusion search engine and directory that is gaining a lot of popularity these days is Global Business Listing. Launched in the early part of 2003, what makes Global Business Listing truly unique is you can make a regular search just like any search engine using its query box, or you can do an industry-wide search using its extended directory of global industries and businesses.

Global Business Listing is priced lower than Yahoo at $ 269 for a whole year, plus you also get a fully personalized page, complete with your company logo and products & services description. Additionally, Global Business Listing members also benefit a 10% annual discount on their web hosting fees, thanks to a partnering arrangement with Canadian web hosting wholesaler Sun Hosting.

You could say that spamming includes (but isn't limited to) doorway or gateway pages and submitting duplicate sites or mirror sites that are very similar in content or that add no basic value to their index as a whole.

At Yahoo, after one of their editors decides that a web site complies to their generally accepted standards and then adds it to their database, that site gets no priority treatment in any way, as far as the quality of the rankings are concerned. That explains the reasons why it is very important to carefully prepare keyword and key phrase-rich text content before submitting the site to Yahoo for inclusion.

One important word of advice
Make certain of the category you want to submit the site too. After Yahoo has included it, if you are not happy with its overall description or category placement that it falls in, it is strongly recommended you email them to let them know. Conditional on the category changes you ask them to do and the exact reasons motivating them, Yahoo may or may not agree to your request. Be persistent if you know you are right. Demand to be treated fairly.

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In terms of your placement and how high it is the Yahoo SERP's, it would appear that the more visible and the more popular any given site is on the web in general, and the higher its Page Rank, the better are its chances for a high placement in the Yahoo directory.

Again we will stress the real importance of building a web site that is search engine-friendly, filled with your most important keywords and key phrases.

The DMOZ index (or Open Directory Project)
The DMOZ or Open Directory Project (DMOZ or ODP) has no PFI program to speak of and mostly any categories of web sites can be submitted for free. There are no plans for a PFI program at this time. However, be prepared to be patient when submitting to DMOZ. Many sites take anywhere from two to four months to get listed! We have even heard of delays of 6 months and more.

Currently, the Open Directory Project relies strictly on volunteer editors to properly evaluate and index web sites in their respective directories. Click here for some important tips on how to properly submit any website to the DMOZ directory.

Almost all search engines that have web crawlers (or spiders) have some sort of PFI program in effect. Alta-Vista, AskJeeves-Teoma, Lycos-Fast and most of the Inktomi family of engines now have them. Most of these PFI programs are designed in a way that specific pages of a given web site will be included to a directory's main database, within a set period of time. Some will even be re-crawled on a regular basis, depending on the directory in question.

To be included in these PFI directories, costs vary by specific programs from about $60 to $299 (in the case of Yahoo) per website, for one year of inclusion in their directory. One word of clarification here: directory PFI differs from search engine PFI since the search engine crawlers pickup the information directly from your web site, as compared to just using the title on any specific page and description that somebody would submit to any directory.

A word of caution about any PFI programs
However, keep in mind that PFI programs will NOT improve your positioning in any way in the results pages. All they will do is make certain that your site is somewhere in their main database. As things currently stand, your website could be in the top twenty or it could sadly end up number 300 or lower. It is your responsibility to have your site carefully optimized in order for it to be in the top ten results.

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Remember that search engine optimization is a science as well as an art. If in doubt on the correct way of doing any of this, you should consult a good and reputable professional optimization firm. Remember that certain web sites sometimes get penalized or banned altogether, for failing to follow the Terms of Use of most major search engines and directories. There are people who will still try to abuse or spam the engines, at the site's own perils.

On a more positive note, one benefit of using a PFI program is that most optimization work can be seen and appreciated fairly quickly, if it is done correctly. Lately, Google has taken longer and longer between most of its regular "deep crawl" monthly updates. This case was even aggravated in April of 2003, as the April monthly update at Google took almost six weeks to complete.

Also, remember that Google is still the most widely-used search engine, updating more than three billion pages of the web every month.

There are also PPC ad programs
On top of having PFI programs, some companies also offer PPC (Pay per Click) programs. Two of these are Find-What and Overture. Google now has Ad Words. There will probably be more such programs soon. These marketing programs are basically like publicity campaigns, as compared to classic search engine optimization.

More on the Google Ad Words program:- One major leader in the PPC landscape is Google, with its Ad Words Select program, or AWS for short. The Google Ad Words Select links are posted along the right-hand side of the results pages. You can see them in the little coloured boxes, clearly identified as "sponsored links".

Improving your marketing chances by bidding for key phrases and keywords on the Google AWS program is substantially different from PPC programs offered at Overture, even if most of the basic principles are the same for both programs.

On these PPC ad programs, businesses bid on certain pre-defined keywords and key phrases and if they happen to be among the top bidders, their ads appear in the sponsored-advertising section of these search engines and/or directories. What seems to make them work is many searchers apparently believe these ads to be actually relevant to their searches.

In essence, it doesn't hurt to try. Most companies or marketers should view PFI and PPC programs as a complement to the actual, real process of professional SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

The downsides to using PPC
To be sure, there are some downsides to most PPC programs. One of them is that you will need to invest quite a bit of time in effectively managing all your bids to make sure that you are in fact getting the lowest possible cost-per-click price. Additionally, one major drawback in using most PPC programs is, once you stop paying for PPC key phrases and keywords, your web site will have completely vanished from the sponsored/featured listings.

In such a scenario, all present and future traffic will be gone forever, unless you re-initiate your PPC program as it was and start all over.

If you still choose to go the PPC way, it is strongly suggested you carefully optimize your web site so that it will still appear in the regular search results. In such an instance, if the overall budget and associated costs of managing your PPC program is still too high, at least you will still have the regular search results (SERP'S) listings in replacement, which, for all intents and purposes, should substantially improve your ROI.

Important reading
In this rare paper, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page explain the anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual web search engine and its main functions.

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Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
President & CEO,
Rank for $ales
Copyright (c) Serge Thibodeau 2001

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