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What We Do Not Do

We don't do 'search engine submission'

We never submit any of our client's sites to search engines as it simply isn't necessary.

We don't do 'website promotion', 'search engine promotion', or 'search engine submitting'. This is commonly what the inexperienced offer, and especially website builders, as an additional feature with their packages. What they often mean by this is that they use a software tool to 'submit your site to 1,000 search engines'. This takes about five minutes and isn't what you might call a cost-effective service. You probably don't realise this but they often only 'ping' them anyway: just a quick data packet to tell them you're live. You don't think they are going to visit 1,000 SE websites and lodge your details with them by hand - for £100 or $200?

You could get one of these programs yourself and cut out the middleman - they take no skill or knowledge to use, so fire away. It won't do you a lot of good, though.

This is what a beginner or someone who knows almost nothing about SEO would do. To be honest we did this many years ago when we started, since it was an accepted procedure at that time. The realisation came pretty soon that there are about a hundred better ways of going about it. No ethical SEO agency does this now, since for experts it is verging on fraud. For novices and the inexpert it is not dishonest, as they simply don't know any better.

Try this simple test: go to your server control panel and look at your site statistics. AWstats is the best of the free ones, if you have a choice. Look at the Search Engines section, titled 'Robots/Spiders visitors (Top 25)' in AWstats. This is a list of the search engines' remote indexing 'bots' or 'spiders' that have looked around your site. If you have anything whatsoever showing up in here, then the search engines know you're there.

Most likely Google or Yahoo searchbots will show here, as their site detection and spidering are better than others. If Googlebot doesn't show up in this section, you've got a problem. Essentially, it means that your site doesn't have a single link. You need to fix this before you worry about anything else! And conversely, of course, if there are spiders reported here - then you have no need to submit to them, as they know you're there and have inspected your site.

Why would you want to submit your site to a search engine that's already spidering your site?

Why would you want to submit your site to a search engine who might rank you at #348 and where you cannot appear high in the results?

Presumably someone somewhere thinks this is a good idea. We would suggest they are misguided.

There are at least a hundred other things that ought to be done instead.

Submitting: ethical or not?

Perhaps you may think it debatable whether the use of software tools to submit to search engines is an ethical SEO process. We think the answer is that for an experienced full-service SEO agency, it cannot be an ethical method (as it doesn't work and surely they must know this); but for beginners who don't know any better, it is simply an obvious indicator of that condition. If something produces no discernible improvements and is a waste of time and money, together with the fact that there are many far more effective ways of producing what seems to be the required result, then it cannot be anything other than dishonest for an experienced and knowledgeable person to engage in it and charge a fee for. If you charge a fee for something that doesn't work, and you know it doesn't work - then this has to be unethical. On the other hand, if your knowledge is limited and you think it may work - then in theory this is not unethical as you simply don't know any better.

What can be stated with absolute certainty is that anyone who attempts to charge a fee for submitting your website URL to multiple search engines either doesn't have a clue about SEO, or is attempting to acquire money dishonestly - you choose. It doesn't work, and there are dozens of better ways to create traffic.

The Top Twenty search engines

In any case it is not only pointless to include a thousand search engines, it is a direct waste of resources.

If you asked me to research the top 1,000 search engines, I'd say,"Why?", and then about two seconds later, "How?" We only need to worry about those that affect more than 1% of our clients' business, so that excludes 99.9% of search engines for a start. In fact, it most likely only leaves around six or seven. We like to play safe, though, so we normally stretch that to twenty - which allows us to keep an eye on the comers, and on expanding markets. If you have a busy website, you'll see from your site statistics than more than 50 search engines crawl your site. However, only a few of these deliver real traffic.

We wouldn't normally bother with any more than the top twenty search engines in any case. These by the way include some up and comers from new markets like India and so on, where our clients might have business. Sweden has a growing influence on visual market areas. Opening an account with an important search engine is of course different from 'submitting' to them, as the two things are done in different ways and are unconnected processes.

Minor search engines

There is an interesting case for submitting your URL to minor search engines, though. It's true that many small search engines are very inefficient at spidering new sites - or any site, to be honest. In fact you could even make this case for some of the best-known search engines, the middle-ranking ones that rate around 4 through 8 in volume, for example. Their spidering and indexing is very incomplete.

As far as the small search engines go - those you either never heard of or wouldn't even know how to search on as their search page is not exactly common knowledge - then it is hard to see what benefit would be achieved by even placing at the top of their rankings, as their search volume is so low. For a busy site with plenty of traffic that is crawled by upwards of 50 search engines, such players return one visit per week or thereabouts; nothing much to write home about. So as far as being indexed by them but not being placed well in their SERPS goes - forget it. You might get one visit per month in a good year.

Now, middle-ranking search engines are different. There is an honest case to be made for stating that (a) they don't even spider big sites well so small or new sites have little chance; and (b) if you look after them, maybe you can get some traffic this way.

However, when you run the numbers, pinging AltaVista for instance and letting them know you are live is not going to get you traffic, and certainly not enough to pay for the job of doing it. If you go out of your way and attempt to place well with them - that could be a different story as you may get a measurable number of customers. A very small measurable number, that is. Unless you are in some kind of specialist market area that might appeal to one of these middle-rank search engines, it can't be worth the effort. As for just pinging them, when you may place at #50 in the SERPS - are you serious?

Now, if you have 5 million visits per month and up, there may be some useful numbers in minor search engines. You will have the funds and staff to maximise revenue by chasing these obscure sources of income. Otherwise, your efforts are best placed elsewhere.

Rapid results

We certainly don't do 'rapid results' (see foot of page).

Monthly reports

We don't do monthly reports on 'how the search engines are rating you', for two very good reasons. Firstly, it's completely unnecessary - again - as the number-one metric is revenue: if sales are going up, then most everything else (apart from business reputation) is irrelevant. If revenue is static or dropping, then other measures are called for.

Secondly, this sounds very much like an easy software option - the sort of thing you click a button for and a program spits it out. This would be confirmed by slick formatting and generic content. Apparently, a lot of people are starting up in SEO now by getting some good results with a couple of software tools and basing a business on it. Not a bad idea, as it needs little skill and even less knowledge. It gets results of course - anything will, after all, if you work on a site with zero previous SEO. If you are offered this sort of report, get a trial version of IBP or WebCEO - Google them - and see if the 'report' matches their output. If it does, buy the software and cut out the middleman...

These software tools are an extremely useful learning tool for novices, and will help you to understand many of the basic requirements of some tasks within SEO. As for how they rack up against the provision of full SEO services - one should not criticise their users, everyone has to start somewhere. Of course an ethical SEO company can use them, perhaps as an additional tool.

How to wreck your SEO

In any case it is not true to say that these tools will always help you - you need a modicum of intelligence, and an inclination to do a little bit of research into SEO, so that you can appreciate at least the basics of search optimising. For a spot of light relief, look at this site where everything has gone hilariously wrong, even though one of these well-known tools has been used extensively (or perhaps even because of it). The site is several years old, but has a PR of zero even though there are hundreds of links. We found this site because, for some reason, they put up a link to us. For once we were not grateful...
www.  artsalon.  co.uk/  linkspage.htm
[remove the gaps we had to put in to stop it coming over as a link]

The components of correct search optimising

It should be clear that search engines are not the only component of good SEO; you need to understand marketing, accessibility and usability to do the job properly - not to mention training and documentation.

More and more of our work now concerns usability issues and training, both of which are core components of full SEO services provision, and time-hungry processes that demand skill and experience that cannot be done the quick way with software tools. On-site work is a key requirement, and cannot be expedited by writing a cheque for pay-per-click ads, or using some other shortcut. Educating our clients has become a priority, now that sites are larger, content changes are more frequent, and the Internet commercial environment is expanding so fast.

And as for the '1,000 search engines' question, I'd have to say, "What planet are we talking about here?"

We don't do 'rapid results'

- which is actually our polite way of describing black hat SEO. Without doubt these methods are extremely successful in the short term, and perhaps the medium term and even long term for those with more skill. For instance, if you wanted to get a large number of pages indexed almost immediately by a major search engine, this would be the way to go - assuming you didn't mind that at some stage the site would probably be deleted. One operator famously got 150,000 pages indexed almost immediately like this (and was widely reported to have managed 3 million, except that the SE staffer who dealt with it gave the lower figure). Perhaps a fun way to to establish a short-lived presence. In fact, there are many undetected auto-generated spam sites out there with up to 100,000 pages, which are cunningly cloaked; but the Net is a very large place now, with major search engines indexing 20 billion pages plus. Most such sites get found and delisted eventually.

And finally - the How Not To Do It list

To recap:

  • We don't tell you your brand-new site will get good results fast (unless you want us to spend what would normally be an uneconomical amount of time on it - and this certainly wouldn't be a cheap option)
  • We don't submit your site to search engines
  • We don't give you a 'monthly report' from some software tool
  • We don't promise rapid results
  • We don't promise top positions for $50
  • We don't link clients' sites to each other
  • We don't link client's sites to us (unless they might benefit)
  • We don't sell you a 'top 5 search position package' or anything like that
  • We don't emphasise any one SEO factor over another - though there are priorities
  • We don't neglect website architecture and usability issues
  • We don't choose between an emphasis on either technical or marketing issues
  • We don't think there is any one single factor that will put you at the top

We do work to a proven technical system that encompasses all the known requirements of ethical SEO / organic search, and that puts your website revenues (or traffic, or market brand awareness - whichever you use to measure your site's performance) on a gradual upward trend that builds over time.

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Most enterprises prefer a long-term stable existence with gradually improving results, and we work exclusively with such clients. Our aim in providing ethical SEO services is this: to advise on and assist with the creation of a valuable online resource; to present that resource in the best light; to make it useful for people rather than search engines; and finally, to resolve any issues that may prevent a search engine giving the site its deserved rank and search position. That's all - though it can't be done with a software tool...

Some more pages on Right & Wrong SEO:

Submit - or Link?
Why you should link
Web Business Managers