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SEARCH ENGINE TRICKS

Are the New Pay-Per-Click SEs Worthwhile?
By: Developer Shed
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    2003-08-09

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    Are the New Pay-Per-Click SEs Worthwhile?

    Are the new pay-per-click search engines worth your time and money? Thatis, does it make sense to bid on your search engine rank at sites otherthan the now well established GoTo.com?At this time, most of these new pay-per-click search engines are in a somewhatembryonic state, so in my opinion, that question cannot be answered definitively.However, I can relate to you my own experiences and research, in order thatyou will be assisted in making an informed decision.

    In a previous article entitled "WhatAre the Right Keywords?", I described how one could use the GoTo.comSearchTerm Suggestion Box to select keywords appropriate for your Web site,and to ascertain the popularity of these keywords. The GoTo.com Search TermSuggestion Box is useful in two ways:

    (1) To select keywords that you intend to bid on at GoTo.com and/or oneof the newer pay-per-click search engines.
    (2) To select keywords so that you may attempt to optimize your Web pagesfor search engine crawlers such as the ones associated with sites such asInfoSeek or AltaVista,whether or not you intend to bid on keywords at sites like GoTo.com.

    Subsequent to my publishing "WhatAre the Right Keywords?", I opened a GoTo.comaccount on behalf of one of my clients who has an investmentoriented site. I selected relevant keywords for his home page, and alsofor his affiliateprogram. Our experiences with GoTo.comwere favorable, so we decided to open an additional account with one ofthe newer pay-per-click search engines. Of course, the question was: Whichone?

    By a strange coincidence, as I was pondering this, I received a callon my answering machine which was a solicitation from one of the pay-per-clicksearch engines, FindWhat.com. I decidedto return their call (they're at 212-255-1500 in New York City) and spoketo one of FindWhat.com's sales representatives.Although I was favorably impressed, I felt that it would be prudent to dofurther research. Therefore, I went to AllanGardyne's new page where he has critiqued a substantial number of thenew pay-per-click search engines. After studying that page, I then readtwo on-line articles concerning this topic. One article featured a rathergeneraldiscussion of pay-per-click search engines, whereas the other specificallyreviewed FindWhat.com. This research gave me sufficient confidence toestablish a FindWhat.com account.Subsequently, I bid on appropriate keywords for both my client's hedge fund site and his affiliateprogram, just as I had previously done at GoTo.com.

    Since I only established the FindWhat.comaccount very recently, I don't have alot of data on how effective it is.However, I was impressed with the ease of establishing that account andalso with the tools FindWhat.comsupplies you with to manage your account. All in all, if you have establisheda GoTo.com account and are reasonablysatisfied with its effectiveness, I would encourage you to also experimentwith one of the newer pay-per-click search engines (after performing allnecessary investigative research). You should be aware, however, that asof the date of this writing, each of the new pay-per-click search engineshas substantially less traffic than the much more established GoTo.com.

    That being said, if you are successful in increasing your site traffic,what's next? For one thing, you may want to assist visitors who elect tobookmark your site by creating a favicon; I created favicons for both mysite and my client's investment site.In case this is new to you, a favicon (pronounced fav-eye-con as in FavoritesIcon) is useful to visitors who bookmark your site while using a WindowsPC and Internet Explorer 5.0 and above. For example, if you are using theconfiguration above and bookmark Yahoo!,you will observe a red "Y!" in your Favorites Menu (as opposedto the generic icon that IE displays if you bookmark a site that has notuploaded a favicon). In addition, should you revisit Yahoo!via the Favorites Menu, a red "Y!" will also appear to the leftof the URL address one observes at the top of the page once the site hasfinishing loading. You can also downloadYahoo's favicon. Once downloaded, Macintosh users like myself can viewthe favicon.ico by opening it with a program such as GraphicConverter,although I do not personally know of a Macintosh browser which supportsthe favicon.ico as of the date of this writing. Thus, uploading a faviconwill help your site stand out (in the event that it is bookmarked by thoseusing IE 5 for Windows - a quite popular browser).

    Creating and subsequently uploading a favicon.ico file has been discussed previously inInternetDay and by otheron-line resources. Still, some clarification is probably in order. Recommendedguidelines for creating/uploading a favicon.ico file have been posted on-line by Microsoft.Ideally, the favicon should be 16 pixels x 16 pixels, using only 16 colors.It should be uploaded as "binary". Normally, it is uploaded tothe root directory, so its URL has the format:

    http://www.yourcompany.com/favicon.ico

    Should you have important pages outside your root directory which maybe bookmarked by visitors using IE 5 for Windows, you can select one oftwo choices:

    (1) Upload the favicon.ico file to all relevant directories, not justthe root directory. That is precisely what I did for my client's hedge fund site, since his affiliateprogram page does not reside in his root directory.
    (2) Alternatively, insert the following code on an important page which,while important, still happens to reside outside the root directory. TheHTML needed (but only for this particular situation) would have the format:

    <HEAD>
    <LINK REL="SHORTCUT ICON" HREF="http://www.yourcompany.com/favicon.ico">
    <TITLE>Your Page's Title</TITLE>
    </HEAD>

    Do not feel uneasy if all this seems a little daunting; it's not reallyall that complicated! If you would like to create a favicon quickly andeasily, one possible method (although not the only one) would be to proceedto Favicon.com. Once there, assumingyou have a fairly recent, Java enabled browser, you can use their Favicon Icon Generator to createa favicon for your site. Then, after it is instantly e-mailed to you, justupload the favicon.ico file (be sure to name it favicon.ico) using FTP softwareto your root directory as "binary" and you should be in business!

    Article by Frank Feldmann,owner of Kaleidoscope DTS.Frank's award winning FreeSearch Engines Secrets page contains humorous yet highly practical adviceon improving your Web site's position in the search engines. If you bookmarkthat page with IE 5 for Windows, you will see Kaleidoscope's favicon inyour Favorites List.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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