Posted Friday, October 22, 2004
Pay for position search engines, also known as pay for rank or pay per click engines were pioneered just a few years ago by Goto.com. In the beginning, Goto.com was disregarded by many Internet experts who were confident that Webmasters would not choose to pay for a search engine position. At that time, the assumption was valid, given that most popular search engines accepted new sites into their listings free of charge.
Several years later, however, the Internet is a radically different place. Many big player search engines are struggling to break-even financially, their listings are populated with spam, which over time has forced many worthy Websites to accept low rankings or even to being banned for using one too many keywords on the wrong page.
The Goto.com principle is simple -- you pay to be listed. To many Webmasters this seems a terrible proposition at first glance, however after further investigation, Goto.com clients discover a flexible system that gives them far more control over their listings than was previously achievable.
To be listed at Goto you need to create an account, deposit an amount of your choosing (there is usually a minimum of $25) and create your listings. Listings consist of titles, descriptions, your Website address, keywords, and most importantly, a bid amount. The bid amount is the amount of money that will be deducted from your account every time a searcher at Goto clicks on your listing.
The amount you bid is usually determined by the amounts other Webmasters are bidding for the chosen keyword(s). So, if the number one bid for 'health' is $0.90 then you would need to bid $0.91 to become the top ranking site when someone searches for that keyword. You could also bid $0.89 and be listed in second place, which is still very effective.
==> Competition For Goto
The success of Goto.com is a problem for Webmasters with a small advertising budget. The bid amount for the health keyword above is just one example. In reality, popular keywords on Goto.com can fetch as much as $3 or $4 for the top spot. Enter the competition. Newer pay for position search engines such as Kanoodle and FindWhat have less traffic than Goto, but at the same time the cost of achieving a top listing is within the reach of many Webmasters. The cost of being listed within the top five positions at one of these newer engines can be reached by almost anyone.
==> Regional -- A New Marketplace
New, regional, pay for position search engines are emerging. Currently, the United Kingdom with its large base of online users has the most choice, with some regional engines offering to list national and international sites. The regional search engines are allowing international entrepreneurs access to markets that were previously difficult to reach -- giving a new lease on life to affiliate programs, content sites and other Web services.
==> Getting The Most From Pay For Position Search Engines
For the business owner with a very large advertising budget, Goto.com may be the only search engine with whom you need to be listed. Results from Goto now partially power sites such as AltaVista and an array of metasearch engines. However, if your budget is more modest, then the widely accepted solution is to list on as many pay for position search engines as possible, and to place low bids for as many keywords as possible. As with all vibrant markets, increased competition is providing an increasing choice for the Internet business owner.
==> Client Interfaces
All of the top pay for position engines provide dedicated Web interfaces so that clients can control their listings easily. These interfaces are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week allowing fast updates to titles, descriptions and bid amounts as well as allowing clients to add new sites as desired.
Most pay for position engines allow the creation of client accounts before payment is required -- giving you the opportunity to evaluate the ease of use of each particular system.
==> Changing Times
In the search engine world, thousands of spammers have forced the big search engines into implementing strict listing policies, often at the expense of legitimate Websites seeking a decent search engine ranking. Pay for position is helping to level the field. Most spammers will not pay for a listing, as a consequence, pay for position search engines are populated by legitimate businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to advertise to their desired markets.
With a pay for position search engine, there is no longer any need to compete with spammers and homepages for top rankings.
The new rules are:
* YOU choose your title
* YOU choose your description * YOU choose where you are ranked
It's a simple philosophy prevalent in the offline business world -- and one that is now available to online businesses, as well.
More information can be found at: (http://www.goto.com)
About the Author
Simon J. Marcantonio, a Director and founder of the UKSprite search engine at (http://www.UKSprite.com)