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Search Engine Promotion - your options explained

By Carl Hruza
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2004

Most people have limited knowledge when it comes to search engine ranking and the various types of services on offer. We all know that having top 10 positions on some of the leading engines can bring all the traffic we can handle, and then some. But how do we get those top 10 listings and what should we expect to pay to get them?

A simple way to approach this is to look at your competition. Do a quick search on one of the leading engines like Google or AltaVista, using a search phrase that people might use when looking for your products or services, and see what comes back.

As a basic 'rule of thumb' guide -

Between 100 and 5000 puts you in a 'low competition' category.
Between 5001 and 25000 puts you in a 'medium competition' category.
Between 25001 and 250,000 puts you in a 'high competition' category.
Over 250,000 puts you in a 'Extremely high competition' category.

Here are some examples we found on AltaVista:-

"detroit real estate" - 2.7M
"curtain fixtures" - 817,000
"auto parts" - 130,000
"mortgage loans" - 84,000
"coin collecting" - 14,000
"wedding accessories" - 9,000
"florida vacations" - 5,000
"model railways" - 5,000

Based on the above, determine the competitiveness of your category, then research the level of service necessary for your site.

Once you have determined the level of competition for top positions in your business category, use the following as a basic guide:

1 - Low to medium competition with no previous 'search engine optimization' - Locate a good submission service who will give your home page a 'tune-up' then submit your site 'manually' to all the leading engines and directories. Expect to pay around $25 to $65 per month.
2 - Medium to High competition on restricted budget - try to locate a service that will go beyond basic Meta Tag revisions. Not all search engines pay much attention to what is in your Meta tags, so look for someone who will make changes to the HTML on your key content pages to give them a boost. Expect to pay around $55 to $95 per month.
3 - Sites with high or extremely high competition - you will encounter various approaches at higher service levels. Most common is to use 'Doorway' pages and a separate 'Hallway' domain. Think about Doorway/Hallway pages as pages that focus on a specific search phrase, each targeting a specific search engine. It is common to have sites with over 100 custom designed Doorway pages targeting multiple search phrases and multiple search engines. Pricing varies greatly at these levels, and almost always include a setup fee then ongoing monthly service fees.

Developing a better understanding of how it all works will help you decide the best approach for your web site, and will help you make an informed decision based on realistic expectations.

About the Author
Carl Hruza operates a successful web promotion and search ranking business, and offers advice on all aspects of Internet Marketing and Promotion. Email Carl at or visit his site at (


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