The Challenges of Submit URL
Although Submit URL has plenty of benefits, it often doesn't provide enough qualified site traffic. This is due in large part because Submit URL (and Trusted Feed) rely on search distribution
to display their results. And currently, PFP ad listings are filling these spots. Many web site
find they need to use the Submit URL programs in conjunction with other forms of search engine advertising. The uncertainty of your results using Submit URL, as described in the following sections, pose the biggest challenges to marketers.
Are Not Guaranteed
With either type of paid placement program, you pay an exact fee for the position you want. Not so with paid inclusion. In fact, it's possible to pay for every page of a web site using Submit URL, yet
of them break into the Top 10 results. At least through Trusted Feed you'll only pay a cost-per-click fee. No traffic, no fee. With Submit URL, you're stuck paying the bill regardless of performance.
Paid inclusion allows you to buy your way in. It's your web site design, copywriting, and link popularity that determine your ability to outrank your
for popular keywords, and climb to the top. In Chapter 10, I'll cover optimization basics to help you prepare your web site for an inclusion program, and for
your competition. Before you learn about those specific techniques, consider following these five simple steps for each web page you plan on registering via Submit URL.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Keywords
Your web site has an overall theme. To support that theme, your site pages should contain secondary or subthemes. Look primarily at the page copy to identify your current keyword groupings. If they're not there, now's the time to refer back to Chapter 3, "Choosing Keywords for Maximum Performance," and brainstorm keywords for every page you want to rank well in search engines.
Step 2: Run a Ranking Report
You'll be able to benchmark improvements in your rankings by finding out where your pages rank right now. Perform a query for each keyword in your keyword universe and study the sites in top positions. Or, you could use ranking report software. Do not use automated ranking programs too often (like daily), because search engines will penalize sites
such programs. Google's Webmaster Guidelines, however, warn Webmasters against using unauthorized computer programs at all.
Step 3: Study Your Competitors
Your entire web site isn't fighting for a top position among other sites. Each web page has a unique cluster of competitors. This is where themed pages improve your rankings. Include a variety of relevant keywords within the same site page and you could outrank a competing page that is optimized for one
Step 4: Edit Your Content
You knew I'd say this, right? Well, by the time you get through Steps 1, 2, and 3 you'll see where your page content could use an infusion of the keywords you want positions for! Using keywords in the page body copy is the not-so-secret yet often-missed ingredient for successful optimization. Show these keywords to consumers, and search engines will take notice.
Step 5: Tweak Your Site Design
Why is this last? Because it's going to be difficult to change design elements of each web page without doing a total site facelift. For instance, hyperlinking keywords in one page to other pages can be done for just a few pages. But if this is not a site-wide modification, the inconsistencies won't sit well with your primary target audience: potential customers. However, if minor tweaks ready your pages for submission without
your brand or navigation, then go for it.
Organic Listings Are Positioned Below Paid Sponsors
Have you seen where natural results are posted? Almost always, they're well
sponsored listings and graphical ads. To see an example of this, return to MSN Search to run your own query. MSN's "Featured Sites" (Fixed Placement) and "Sponsored Sites" (PFP) are positioned above organic listings.
Yes, a percentage of consumers who prefer avoiding ads will skip sponsored listings and scroll down the page to find organic ones. Yet, how many people know that keyword text links can be purchased? How many of them who know really care?
Even a top ranking in organic search results might not deliver the traffic volume paid placement listings can.
Granular Tracking Is Tedious
It's easier to track details of a paid placement campaign than paid inclusion. Through unique tracking code, marketers can easily monitor sales under one report by each campaign component: search engine
, keyword, ad listing, or landing page.
A few search engines that offer paid inclusion, including Ask Jeeves/Teoma, track clicks to the page submitted (refer to Figure 8.7 for Ask Jeeves' sample Submit URL report). Unfortunately, you can forget about tracking sales because you won't know which search engine or content site click produced the sale (
that you submit the same page to multiple search engines and negotiate inbound links from other content sites to that page as well, which is recommended for a comprehensive marketing campaign).
Figure 8.7. Ask Jeeves/Teoma offers click tracking for their Site Submit program. Advertisers have to set up their own order tracking for Submit URL programs.
You might not discover which keywords drive traffic to that page either without going to a web analytics report, such as HitBox or WebTrends. But there, the data is
combined, so you'll see which keywords and search engines refer traffic to your entire site, not a breakdown of each by specific pages. It's not
to find out; however, it's not worth the time to find out your ROI on a few hundred dollars. If you're a big picture kind of marketer, this won't really matter to you as long as your overall return rate is
. If you like detail, the lack of easy access to deep data will drive you nuts.
Hindered by Sites with "Deadly Design Elements"
Got Flash? Is your site in
? Does your e-commerce solution produce dynamic pages? These are the usual culprits of search engine spider killers. A handful of today's popular design elements seriously impede your chance of getting included in a search engine's database, let alone triumphing over competing pages. These include:
Because this book does not focus on web site design and optimization, I don't address the workarounds for these complex issues. Shari Thurow goes into this in great detail in her book,
Search Engine Visibility
, by New Riders Publishing. (Bonus content from her book is included at the end of this book.)
Be aware that the way you're using these design elements likely requires workarounds before you
money submitting pages that can't outrank sites without them. Then again, if you have over 500 web pages to submit to search engines, you can
to a Trusted Feed program.