Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - Houses on Sand
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Title: Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - Houses on Sand
Word Count: 1291
Author: Mike Adams
Article URL: www.submityourarticle.com/articles/easypublish.php?art_id=2261
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Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - Houses on Sand
Copyright 2005 Mike Adams
Do you depend on free search engine traffic for your
I admit it. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking
about Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine
Optimization (SEO), keyword density, keyword relevance,
KEI, incoming links and link text, and where my web site
and web pages rank in the Search Engine Results Pages
(SERP) for my targeted keyword phrases.
This afternoon I had a shock. I discovered my main web
site was dropped from Yahoo! Not one page could be found
in Yahoo, out of hundreds! This was after months of
working to completely revamp the site, rebuilding it with a
nice content management system and lots of pertinent
on-topic content, building links, writing and publishing
articles, creating RSS news feeds and publicizing them...
I thought I was going to have a heart attack. It's a clean
site - no black-hat SEO techniques, nothing that should get
me banned, just good information, the heart and soul of the
I checked my logs, and thought, "Oh my God, it doesn't look
like Yahoo has crawled my web site in over a month." This
was after getting used to Yahoo's spider crawling my web
site daily because of all of the new, pertinent information
(and especially because of the RSS news feeds and pinging).
But I hadn't noticed because traffic was still high, even
Frantically I searched the Web for information about Yahoo
making changes. Sure enough, I discovered that Yahoo
apparently changed their search algorithm around the time
Yahoo stopped crawling my web site. What could I do? What
if the other Search Engines dropped my web site, after all
those months of long nights and long weekends really
working to create a quality web site?
In the midst of this chaos, my wife looked me in the eyes
and said, "Don't worry about it, you still have traffic.
The web site is doing well!"
I replied, "Well, yeah! In fact the web site traffic has
doubled since Yahoo apparently dropped the site a month
Then it struck me. Traffic really had doubled, despite the
fact that none of the traffic was coming from Yahoo any
more. And I wasn't doing any pay-per-click advertising or
any sort of advertising. All of the work I was doing
really was paying off - in ways I hadn't really imagined.
I just lost all incoming traffic from one of the two or
three biggest search engines and yet my traffic doubled!
Have you ever heard the expression, "Don't build your house
Or how about, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket?"
There are only about three important search engines at any
one time. As I write this, I would say those three are
currently Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. The more dependent you
are on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and placing high on
the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) in these few search
engines, the more you have built your house on sand or put
all of your eggs in one basket. You know that search
engines regularly change their algorithms, right? One big
change and your web site can disappear or all but disappear
from a major search engine. And you won't know if it's
temporary or permanent. If you're in this position, you
are at the mercy of the search engines.
So what can you do to change this, to ensure that one
single algorithm change won't wipe out your business?
One way, perhaps the best way, is to build alternate
traffic streams to your web site.
1. First things first: Make sure you have a web site that
people would want to visit. Ever visit a web site that was
so bad you wondered how they make any money? Guess what,
I'll bet they don't. Unless your web site is just a sales
page and you direct traffic to it from other web sites or
from affiliates, now is a good time to start building some
quality content - lots of it, if you don't already have it.
2. Get lots of incoming links... but change the way you
look at links. It used to be that links drove the Web.
That was how people found your web site - by surfing in
from other people's pages. Then something strange
happened: search engines. But as the search engines
evolved, they started measuring the quality of web sites -
and determining your site's position in the Search Engine
Results Pages (SERP) - by how many incoming links you have,
and what keywords are in the link text. Then people began
to link just for Search Engine Optimization, not for actual
traffic from those links. Do you really think people are
going to find your web site and surf in from a page of 200
uncategorized links hidden behind a link at the bottom of a
page and called "Partners" - in an 8 point font? If you
want to get traffic from links again, regardless of what
the search engines do, you have to change your links pages
and you have to change the type of link partners you link
to. There's a very nice free service, Honest Links, that
is a grassroots effort by Webmasters to get back to linking
for traffic, not SEO. You can learn more at:
3. Write and publish articles related to the theme of your
web site. Publish them in the many article directories on
the Web, as well as the many mailing lists for authors and
publishers. Webmasters and Ezine publishers will pick them
up and publish them if they are good. You can get
hundreds, even thousands of links into your web site by
just including a little "Resource Box" at the end of your
article with a link to your web site. (Look at the end of
this article for an example of a Resource Box.)
4. Publish a newsletter and start building a list of
subscribers. It's one of the best ways to get people
returning to your web site, along with the next one...
5. Start a blog on your web site. Post interesting and
useful information related to your web site's theme and
ping the various blog and news directories after each post.
You'll get links from these directories AND you'll build
up readers syndicating your posts on their web sites and
reading them in news feed readers. Recently people have
been gaming this, too. People post and ping just to get
noticed by the search engines and get spidered more often.
It will do that, but if you don't have quality posts, you
will still be at the mercy of the search engines. Create
quality content and you will build loyal subscribers as
I can't say it doesn't bother me that my web site was
dropped from Yahoo. It feels like I must have done
something wrong. But I know I have a good site, with
great, useful content that is on topic. I know that my
site could be back in Yahoo tomorrow, or it could take
months. In the meantime, I'll keep building a quality site
that people want to visit and doing everything I know I
should. Traffic has doubled every month for the last two
months. I'll bet it will again next month - with or
Here's another old saying for you, "Dig your well before
you are thirsty." If you're too dependent on search engine
traffic now, maybe it's time to start digging that well.
The five steps above should get you started.
About the Author:
Mike Adams has been building web sites and playing with
Internet marketing since 1996. Looking for an Internet
marketing solution? Visit www.timberway.com/