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Don’t Fall for These Web Marketing "Great Ideas"

By Virginia Lawrence

If you have a Web site for your books or services, you have probably received messages like the following:

"We place good Web sites in the top ranks in the top search engines. We have exclusive technology, and our technology will get your web site ranked higher than every other company in your field!"

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, usually the guys who claim to have a secret technology are doing one of these three types of things:

  1. They have a browser toolbar that they offer free. Then everyone who uses that browser toolbar sees in position #1 the Web sites that paid for marketing. This is cute. Trouble is, the people who download the toolbar are 18-year old guys, so this technique works best with products for that group. This method is worthless if the target market does not download the toolbar.

  2. Result:

    At best, spending money on marketing through a proprietary toolbar as described above will result in no improvement in search engine ranking for the Web site. There’s not much of a marketing downside, other than wasting the money.

  3. They build Web pages to function as intro pages with keyword text changing supposedly daily using their secret technology. (Actually it's just a script that any good Web developer has on hand.) They claim that they have hundreds of writers and that the text is real and helpful. I researched one of these, reviewing the Web site the sales guy held up as successful. The text on the page was nonsensical. It was way down on the page, so that only the search engine would see the text. 99% of visitors would never see the text, and it did not change over the course of the week that I followed it. That was about a year ago, and I was pretty upset that Google put that page in position #1. It's gone now, as Google gets more and more sophisticated.


    At best, spending money on such intro pages will result in no changes in search engine ranking. At worst, the money spent could result in changes to the Web site that would anger Google enough to cause Google to drop the site from the listings.

  4. They offer to submit your Web site to their secret list of 5,000 (or 10,000 or 100,000 or…) search engines. The first problem with such offers is that the actual number of real search engines is very small. We usually submit to about 15 search engines, plus a number of specialized directories. The companies offering to submit a site to thousands of search engines are actually submitting to Free-for-All sites. Those are sites using free software, posing as search engines. Submissions are listed on those sites for two to three days, and then dropped. However, those sites keep the e-mail addresses forever so that they can sell the addresses to spammers.


    There is no best result for this choice. It will not result in any improvement in search engine ranking. It will result in a huge increase in spam to every person who paid for the privilege of getting on spammers’ lists.

Just as there is no quick and easy way to write an outstanding book, there’s no quick and easy way to great search engine rankings for your Web site. Before signing up for marketing, be sure to evaluate the offers well and get references.

–©2006 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is a professional Web Developer and Online Marketing Consultant. She routinely places client sites on the first page of a Google search. Contact her at or visit her Web site at



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