|Search Engines are the absolute most common way to find anything and everything in, on, or near the planet. Become a pro on the engines and you can retire to Bali and live with beautiful naked men in a mud hut.
In a perfect world this would be an easy feat!
What is a search engine?
What!?! Do you live under a rock? You know perfectly well what a search engine is!
Search Engines are gigantic database driven sites that store everything mankind knows. If it exists on the ‘Net, it can be reached by search engine. Oddly enough, while Search Engines collect all the known data in the universe they are (needless to say) rather difficult to use and get valid results from. If you know what you’re looking for - and I mean really know, then you just might find it. If you’re just poking around, then you’re very likely to find everything you weren't looking for - as well as a boatload of porn. It’s the great Mystery of Search Engines – it’s there IF you can figure out how to get to it.
What is Search Engine Traffic like?
Engines can take bad traffic and make it worthwhile. You can take a totally useless surfer who does nothing more than run your bandwidth bill through the roof, and dump them off on an engine.
Mainstream traffic can be wickedly productive coming off the engines. Surfers can do detailed searches for whatever it is that flips their switch. Sooner or later, they will sign up for something. The surfer just decided they where going to buy a new top of the line hammer and if you sell brand new top of the line hammers you may just bag them right off the bat.
The same goes for porn but to a lesser extent. Engines have changed over the years and you might have to pay a pretty penny for that top spot on a keyword like 'blowjob'. You’re still going to convert like a bandit when you send them to a site full of blowjobs but you’re probably going to be paying the engine half of what you make.
Who should use a search engine?
One and all! Come line up -- regardless of what your site is, or what your page is, it should be listed in the engines. Submit every freaking thing you ever built to every engine you can find, because Search Engines are dice you can't afford not to role. As the ultimate work-horse, the meat and potatoes of traffic, you can make a killing with a well ranked page on the right engine.
But if you want serious traffic volumes then grab your checkbook and get ready to spend some money because the engines have discovered how profitable their traffic is.
Gone are the old days when you could “build it and they would come”.
Demystifying the Search Engine
You want to have the highest volume widget site in the world? You sell widgets at a fair rate and your widgets are better than everyone else's widgets right? This article couldn't possibly give you all your widget promotion options but we can touch on some.
Free Listings and Paid Listings:
Some of the engines are full-time, all the time, pay engines like Overture. You can't get listed on Overture unless you cough up the bucks. Oh, and you will pay every time someone clicks on the keywords you have selected. You can't haggle over the price because your bidding on the ‘words’ so bid wisely.
Overture will keep track of the clicks and you really aren't in any position to dispute their numbers. I'm not suggesting that those numbers wouldn't be accurate only that you’re paying and you’re doing it on their terms. If you don't like their stats your only option is to stop buying from them.
Some of the engines are a mix of free listings and paid listings. Obviously the paid listings appear before the free listings so again, you pay - you get traffic. You are always have the option to submit your pages for free but don't expect to get the prime real estate because that is reserved for the paying customers.
The last of the dying breed is the free submission engines. They sell advertising but it’s in the form of a banner not a look-alike text listing.
Engines like this don't command the same level of traffic that the mixed engines do. If they did they would be charging for those listings too.
The best days of search engine traffic have passed now that the engines have discovered that people will pay to be listed. Not to say you can't get traffic without paying its just not as easy as it once was.
People say the hey-day for Internet porn has passed because it is so much harder to get traffic than it used to be. In the past you built up either real sites or just spider friendly sites and got your traffic without much work. Many modern day Internet porn kings started out getting their traffic primarily from the Search Engines.
The evolution of the engines has made it harder for the little non-commercial websites to survive. If you are operating a hobby site or maybe your just poor and you want to see your work in a place people can find it… How are you supposed to get traffic to your site if you don't have any money to spend?
Pay for it? Oh, Hell No!
If you can't swallow the idea of paying for search engine traffic then you need to make plans to bury yourself in the trenches and learn the engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a full-time job, figuring out what works and what doesn't. Each individual engine makes their own indexing rules (tech term: algorithms)- and they change on a regular basis, but it is still possible to master the engines.
Head over to http://www.searchenginewatch.com and get familiar. This is a nice old site with lots of good information on how the engines work, and how they rattle all of us with their changes. It is probably the best place to start learning what makes the engines tick. No better time to learn than now - so buckle up and get to work!
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