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Is Search Engine Positioning Dead?

By Michael Buck
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2004

One of the trendiest takes on Internet marketing these days seems to be this notion that securing top search engine rankings “no longer works.” Where it started, I have no idea. But rarely does a week go by when I don’t see one or more Internet marketing “experts” claiming that search engine positioning is largely a waste of time and should not be a primary focus of web site owners.

Well…as the saying goes, “there are two sides to every story.”

But let’s not make this article about my side, or your side, or anyone else’s side. Let’s forget about my opinion and other “experts” opinions and stick to the indisputable facts, as reported by highly credible 3rd party sources:

=> According to a Forrester Research Media Field Study, getting a loyal audience in the first place is best done by Search Engine Placement.

=> According to a GVU Users Survey, 84.8% of Internet users use Search Engines to find websites.

=> In a study released by ActivMedia Research in September 1999, Search Engine Positioning was ranked as the #1 website promotional method used by eCommerce sites.

=> And look what I just found in the April 2000 issue of Target Marketing Magazine. (Source: IMT Strategies - imtstrategies.com)

"Top Ways Websites are Discovered"

Banner ads: 1%

Targeted email: 1.2%

TV spots: 1.4%

"By accident": 2.1%

Magazine ads: 4.4%

Word-of-mouth: 20%

Random Surfing: 20%

Search Engines: 46%

You’ve now seen the numbers and know that search engine promotion is very much alive and kicking. But let’s take this a step further. Let’s talk about the *quality* of prospects coming to your web site through search engines as opposed to other advertising mediums.

Every time your potential customers use the search engines, they qualify themselves as *hot prospects* by conducting searches on keywords that are directly related to your product or service. Their choice of keywords is proof that they have a genuine interest in what you offer. These people spend their valuable time exploring the search engines for your type of product or service.

Think about that.

They didn't stumble upon one of your ads, or wander past a hyperlink to your site. And they didn't get a banner ad thrown in their face. They made the *decision* to actively search the keywords that brought them to YOUR website. And when they get there, they are ready and willing to do business with you. At the very least, they're seriously considering it!

But merely getting your website “indexed” or listed in the search engines is not enough. In order to get any significant traffic from the search engines, your website must be listed within the top 30 search results (preferably the top 20).

Very rarely will anyone look beyond the first 30 results returned from a search. This makes perfect sense because the most relevant sites are always listed at the top. So if your prospect doesn't find what they want within the first 20 to 30 listings, they'll simply do a new search.

If your site falls anywhere below the 30th listing, you don't stand a chance against anyone in the TOP-20. Hence, it should be your goal to achieve Top 20 positions.

So how do you get your website listed in the top 20?

1) You can attempt to gain these Top 20 rankings yourself. However, this can easily become a full time job. (I think this is why so many marketers advise against focusing on search engine positioning.)

2) You can hire a reputable company who can achieve AND maintain your Top 20 rankings for you (be sure they guarantee their service and have several verifiable clients that currently have multiple Top 20 rankings).

3) You can do nothing at all. But as you’ve seen from the third party statistics I referenced above, search engine positioning is something you can’t afford to ignore.

Whichever choice you make, I hope that your eyes have been opened to the tremendous profit potential that exists with top search engine placement.

About the Author
Michael Buck is a marketing consultant & Director of Marketing for SearchEngineWebPromotion.com. To find out more about top search engine placement and how you can attract targeted traffic with multiple Top 20 rankings - visit (http://www.SearchEngineWebPromotion.com). You may also call Mike at (310) 798-0467.