If you market online, you may think that SEO (search engine optimization) is the only ways to get traffic. Most people, when you mention the words ‘search engine’ think only of the big three: Google, Yahoo and MSN. The names of these search engines have become so interchangeable, that they’ve become verbs in our vocabulary: Why don’t you just Google it?
There are many more search engines than just these three. In fact, there are hundreds of search engines. If you focus your marketing strategy to just Yahoo, Google and MSN, you could potentially be missing 30% of daily online searches.
Among alternative search engines are niche engines, meta-search engines and there are some that are even human driven. Niche engines, as you might guess from the name, focus on one item, like blogs or articles. DogPile and Widow are two examples of meta-search engines. Mahalo and DMOZ are examples of human driven search engines where the site is a directory edited by humans for the best content. Since these search engines have high page ranks, they should also be marketed to.
For any number of reasons, sometimes personal, sometimes political, there are Internet searchers that do not want to use Google. Yes, Google is very popular. But it most definitely is not the only search engine out there. The perception that Google is ‘the’ search engine turns off a lot of people and thus you lose the opportunity to reach those potential customers if you focus your site towards Google.
Which brings up SEO. A lot of time and money is spent researching the right keywords to bring traffic to a site. And what is interesting is that this can all be a waste of time. Customers are becoming very savvy and are getting tired of reading keyword loaded sites. Customers are reacting negatively to sites where SEO and keyword density determined the search rank.
Then consider the spiders which are crawling all over the Internet. All over? Not really. For even the largest search engine it is impossible to cover the entire Internet. (See Wikipedia article).
When considering the amount of material that a spider needs to crawl, by the time it is finished, a good portion of the information could be outdated. Pages may have been deleted. Or new information added. If using just one search engine, spiders are not the best means for finding good results. It’s also not very cost effective. This is where the meta-search engines fit in, searching and gathering results from more than one search engine.
The two best know meta-search engines are probably dogpile.com and (spider)widow.com. When doing market research for product and keywords, keep in mind search engines such as these. Try to rank in one of these meta-search or smaller niche search engines. If you can, then you’ll have a better opportunity of making contact with one of the almost 30% of Internet users who do not use Yahoo, Google or MSN.
While the number of people you will reach through the smaller search engines is certainly a lot less than the number who might find you through Google, they are more likely to be the customers you are looking for who will buy your product. Your goal is to reach the quality site visitors. And you can do that by not centering your marketing strategy around one search engine.
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