Friday, February 17, 2006

Don't buy into useless search engine submission programs

I can hardly believe that many web design companies are still offering search engine submission programs and calling it 'search engine optimization'.

Let me be clear - submission to search engines is a waste of time and resources. It comes from flawed reasoning that your pages need to be submitted to search engines in order to be found. This is simply not true.

Search engine technology works with spiders that crawl all of the links it can find on the web. The spiders index every page they find. If the spider cannot find your page this is indicative of a larger problem that will not be solved with submission.

Pages that cannot be found are either hidden behind internal site links that cannot be crawled (for reasons like poorly designed Java script coding, complex dynamic URLs or pull down form navigation) or completely hidden from the rest of the web because there is not a single link from another site pointing to the page.

If your pages are not indexed in the search engines, then your site has much bigger problems than submission can solve.

Search engines derive a great deal of information about the content of pages from the sites and pages that link to them. The quantity of inbound links to your pages, the quality of sites and pages that link to them, and the words in and around the links themselves play a major role in the ranking of web sites in the search results. Even if your poorly linked page is in the search engines index because of submitting, it won't have a hope of ranking in the top results without better linking.

With a good linking strategy, your pages will be crawled and indexed by the search engines regularly. With our search marketing dashboard, we monitor the various search engines spider activity on all our clients sites. Typically, we see the spiders on our sites every day.

A note to a possible question that may be in the minds of some - even though search engine submission is useless, you shouldn't confuse this with directory submission. Submitting to directories is an important part of inbound link generation. Search engine spiders often start with crawling the major directories as a jumping off point to find sites and links to crawl.

We recommend submitting to all of the major directories, local directories, and researching industry specific directories related to your industry. It is important also to regularly check the directories to make sure your listing has been accepted and is posted. Many volunteer edited directories, like Dmoz, can take many months to be included.

No comments: