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14 Marketing Myths That Can Hurt You

... What They Are and What You Can Do About Them!

In this article, I am going to discuss some of the myths that I am constantly dealing with -- and the realities behind them! Knowing the reality is critical to your Internet marketing health and success ... So read on!

First of all, we'll discuss the search engine myths:

Myth #1: All websites get listed in the search engines.

Reality: If you don't register with the search engines, you will be lucky if you end up listed in one or two of them! Why? Because the search engines send out spiders to search for and index webpages. A spider may follow a link, find a page on your site, and Voila! You're listed in that search engine!

However, unless you purposefully "announce" your webpages to the search engines, don't count on this! Are you really going to leave the success of your business to chance?

Myth #2: I've announced my webpages to 800 search engines ... All I have to do is sit back and collect the money!

Reality: Even when you DO announce your webpages to the search engines, do not count on anything. Why? It is because some of them, like Yahoo (Yahoo is actually a directory), only index a third of all sites submitted. For example, Yahoo won't even look at your site unless you have your own domain -- and even then, you have to jump through hoops to get listed.

Of the other 799 sites you submitted to, many of them are not true search engines. With those that are, each has a different algorithm (set of rules similar to a recipe) that it uses to index your webpages. For example, one search engine may give you a great top-10 position because of your excellent "meta tags" and "description." A second one may totally discount your "meta tags" and give you a rank of, say, 386 due to its interpretation of your webpage "content" and your "titles."

To top this off, you need to be careful when deciding what keywords people will use when searching for your product. For example, say you are selling bathtub gizmos for kids, and decide to use the phrase "bathtub gizmos" in your meta tags, description, title and content. The problem you will have is that no one searches using the phrase "bathtub gizmos"!

Myth #3: My high priced designer created a glitzy website! I'll get great search engine positions because of this!

Reality: The search engines don't care! Your website could be the most beautiful thing on earth -- right up there with the Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel or the statue of David. And you could have hired the hottest award winning designer available. Your website could even have dancing graphics, streaming audio, video, a thousand and one bright colors and so on. But the bottom line is that the search engines don't care! The search engines are concerned with:
  • Structure (HTML coding)
  • Content, content, content!
So a perfectly hideous site can obtain a high search engine ranking while the beauty next door is ranked at 2549! Now don't get me wrong. People WILL see you site, and WILL be influenced by how it looks, how it is laid out and how easy (or hard) it is to navigate. Your overall site design IS important ... Just not to the search engines!

Myth #4: All I have to do is get my main (index) page listed in the search engines. Once the visitors are there, I can lead them through my sales process!

Reality: Visitors will arrive at your main gate, in which case you CAN lead them through your sales process. However, they will also arrive at every single other page on your site, so be prepared! I know this might be a surprise to some of you. How can this happen if you have registered only one page (your main page) with the search engines? Let me explain ...

You register your main page. The search engines come looking and they index it (or not). At the same time, or maybe weeks later, they poke around the rest of your site. Maybe they see a page they like and give it a higher ranking than your main page. Maybe they just index that one. The bottom line is, you now have search engine listings that provide direct links to other pages on your site and not your front door.

You need to be prepared for this!

Say a visitor arrives at page 5 of your sales process. If you don't give them an easy way back to your main sales message, you'll probably lose them because your most compelling sales material is on page one! You should have navigation tools as well as your name, address and contact information on every single page of your site. Make it easy for your visitors to start on page one or to jump to your order form if they wish!

Myth #5: Since sex-related words are statistically in the top-10 search words lists, all I have to do to get loads of traffic is put "sex" in my "meta tags" and "titles."

Reality: There are probably a dozen reasons for not doing this. Here are a few of the major ones. First, if people are looking for "sex sites," do you really think they are going to stop and buy your "kid rated" bathtub gizmos? Second, if you are paying your ISP for traffic, you are going to be paying for all sorts of *useless*, unqualified traffic.

Many of the search engines check "meta tags" and "titles" against content for relevancy. If they see unrelated stuff, they may determine that you are spamming them (also called "spamdexing"). Not only will your page(s) never get listed, your entire site could get put on their "spammers" list!

Many people have programs installed that filter out "sex" and other unwanted sites for many reasons. You may have just done yourself out of thousands of your best potential customers!

Myth #6: All the good domain names are gone, so why bother?

Reality: Yes, a lot of the good ones are gone. But people are coming up with new ones all of the time! Now that you can get 67 character names, your chances have increased again. Don't give up! As soon as you think of a great idea that has not already been registered, grab it! Even if you don't intend to use it right away, register it and park it because it could be gone tomorrow. You can try for suggestions!

Myth #7: I paid an "expert" submit my site to over 800 search engines. Now, all I have to do is get ready for the traffic!

Reality: There are thousands of sites with search engines out there. But only the top 10 will bring in significant amounts of traffic. Unless you have optimized your site to get good ratings with each of these search engines individually, you probably won't get a top 10 or even top 50 ranking. You must optimize your site for each of the top ranked search engines!

The following engines drive over 90% of all search engine traffic. These are the ones you should be concentrating on: If your site is not optimized for these search engines using the proper keywords and key phrases, and if your webpages are not content rich, it won't matter if you are registered with a thousand search engines! You will be better off if you take the time to maximize your ranking in the top 10 search engines -- this is where the majority of your traffic will come from!

Myth #8: Once I get a top 10 ranking with a search engine my work is done!

Reality: People are going to try and outdo you every single day! There are well over 150,000 new domains registered each and every month! Many of them want YOUR top 10 position -- and as soon as they get it (which eventually, they will), you will find your listing sliding further and further down the list.

In addition to the competition, search engines are regularly changing their algorithms. So when they send their spiders to reevaluate your site, you may receive a much lower ranking.

The reality is that your search engine work is never done. You have to keep checking your position -- and when you slip, do something about it! If you do get a top 10 position, don't fiddle with it. Don't resubmit this keyword in an attempt to get an even higher listing. If the engine's algorithms have changed you could end up being bumped down the list instead!

Myth #9: There are dozens of "dirty tricks" I can use to fool the search engines. I'm smarter than any "machine!"

Reality: Think again. If you know about the trick, chances are, the people who program the search engines probably do too! There are real people behind the "machines" and they get pretty annoyed when people try to trick them. If they catch you, they may prevent your site from ever getting listed.

Here are some of the tricks that some search engines will penalize you for:
  • Key word stuffing. If one keyword, say "marketing," will get noticed, then repeating the word "marketing" over and over will get you a good listing, right? NOT so! In fact, it will probably get you on the "hit" list!

  • Hidden text. You can hide text by using color or size (making the font the same color as the background or hiding text in small, 1 pixel by 1 pixel tables). While invisible to the human eye, some search engines see it.

  • Non-related key words. We've already discussed using the word "sex." But some people also use competitors names or product names as keywords. In addition to being frowned upon by the search engines, you could get sued for it. Playboy is getting so much money from its lawsuits that it could be consider another source of income!

  • Redirects. The trick here is to have the search engine rank a webpage (or a website) by loading it with keywords and content, but when a visitor comes looking they get directed to a different site. Algorithms recognize this.

  • Content switching. It's the old "bait-and-switch" trick. You build the perfectly optimized page, let search engine spiders visit it and then substitute the "real" stuff.
You might get away with one or all of these tricks with some of the search engines, but not all. And if you're ever caught, your IP address (and not just your domain name) gets banned for life! Do you really want to take a chance like that?

Myth #10: Participating in email discussion groups, forums and bulletin boards is a great way to build traffic.

Reality: Of course, when you are first starting out you will want to actively participate in these arenas in order to not only start building traffic but also network with your peers. However, doing this correctly takes time and patience. Once you start to generate traffic, you need to be careful how much time you spend doing this -- there are other, more important marketing techniques that will need your attention!

Participating in some of the better discussion groups is useful, since you can get valuable information and help. And if you help others with their questions or problems, you can build a good reputation. You may also locate people or sites to joint venture with in a variety of ways. Don't discount this method of marketing, but don't spend a lot of time here either. Your time is precious, so be careful not to waste it!

If you get a reasonable amount of traffic from this marketing method, consider hiring someone to do this for you on a part- time basis. Instruct them as to what they should be watching for and how they should promote you and your company.

You should also be aware that getting your name and email address listed in these arenas will result in a considerable amount of spam from people who harvest addresses for the purpose of either sending bulk email or selling them. Sorting through junk mail will be an additional drain on your time.

Myth #11: People use search engines because it is the only way to find information on the Internet.

Reality: Maybe! Yahoo is one of the most popular search sites, but even Yahoo only indexes a very small segment of what's really available on the Internet. Some surfers may try one or two search engines, or they might use a meta search engine such as Ask Jeeves -- at -- or WebFerret -- at For those of you who are unfamiliar with meta search engines, they are used to compile results produced by numerous search engines (5 or more, such AltaVista, HotBot, LookSmart, etc.)

If you've been using the search engines lately, how relevant are the results that YOU are getting? Some people resort to using specialty search engines (in other words, search engines that specialize in specific topics such as pets or animals). They do so since many have given up on search engines entirely because of the irrelevant search results they get.

So the reality is that search engines are ONE way surfers find information on the Internet. But search engines are not the only way! For example, more people than you may realize are linking between sites based on recommendations!

Myth #12: Most website traffic comes from the search engines.

Reality: This is simply not true! A very small amount of Marketing Challenge's traffic comes from the search engines. The majority of our traffic comes from linking strategies, strategic alliances, ad campaigns (banners, text links, buttons, sponsorships, autoresponders, etc) and affiliates.

Now, I won't dispute that SOME sites do get the majority of their traffic from search engines. But in order to do so they have become search engines experts and spend huge amounts of time (and money) ensuring their top positions in the search engines lists. Don't get me wrong here -- I am not saying that you shouldn't bother with search engines. They are critical when you first start out! However, as you get bigger and expand, your traffic will come from many different areas.

The reality is that good keyword and key phrase positions in the search engines will undoubtedly bring in traffic to your site. But remember, do not count on the search engines being free forever! Goto and RocketLinks have already begun charging while others are "requesting" that you advertise in order to maintain a high listing for top keywords.

What you need to do is balance your expenditure of money and time. You need to get the most amount of traffic you can from the search engines with the least amount of time spent at this never-ending job. At Marketing Challenge for example, we use two kinds of software to achieve this: Web Position to figure out where we are ranked in the major search engines and Site Promoter to submit our keywords to the top 150 engines.

To find our more about Web Position go to

To learn more about Site Promoter go to

Myth #13: I have great meta tags ... Therefore, I'll get really high rankings because of them.

Reality: Some search engines do not recognize meta tags at all! While you do need meta tags for the search engines that DO recognize them, search engine algorithms take all sorts of other information into account when ranking your webpages. Each search engine is different. You need to pay attention to the specifics of each one, and optimize your site for them all. This is why I recommend Web Position and Site Promoter. They will pay for themselves many times over because of the time they will save you and the rank they help you achieve.

Myth #14: If I put all of my advertising dollars into a banner ad campaign, traffic will flood in!

Reality: When was the last time YOU clicked on a banner? In truth, most banners receive less than a 0.5% response. Unless you generate a great response to your banners (we have banners with a 9% clickthrough), AND you have a good visitor-to-sale conversion ratio, banner advertising can be very costly.

For example, say you buy 100,000 banner impressions at $20 CPM (cost per thousand), costing you $2000. If you get a mere 1% clickthrough, you'll only get 1000 visitors. Now, what is your visitor-to-sale conversion ratio? If it's 2%, you'll convert 20 visitors into buyers. Each sale has therefore cost you $100.00! If you are selling a $1000 product or service, you might consider this to be an acceptable cost, maybe a bargain! However, if your product sells for $39.95 you've just lost a nice little bundle of money on your front-end sale.

The problem with paying for impressions is that, unless you have a fantastic clickthrough rate, you are really taking a chance with your advertising budget. A better way is to pay per clickthrough. If you know your visitor-to-sale conversion ratio, and if you have very targeted banner ads, you can actually gain control of your advertising results.

Where can you purchase pay-per-click banners? We do business with PennyWeb at -- they are really great people to work with.

The trick with paying for clickthroughs is to have banner ads that are very specific and highly targeted. You don't want to be paying for the tire kickers -- only for people who are going to be really interested in your offer!

Those are a few of the most common marketing misconceptions I run across on a regular basis. Marketing your website and your online business should never be an all-or-nothing proposition! Don't count on all of your traffic coming from search engines, or from a banner ad campaigns for that matter, or even from hours spent promoting yourself in the discussion groups.

When you are starting out, you need to spread your marketing efforts over a wide range of techniques. Get your website listed with the search engines, get your name into some high profile discussion groups, experiment with banner ads, test classified ads, develop an ezine, joint venture, work out a link exchange campaign, start an affiliate program, send out press releases on and offline, write articles, barter, etc!

And don't forget to track everything. Once your results come in, you will be able to figure out where to focus the majority of your efforts -- but never stop testing and never stop experimenting with new ways to bring traffic to your site!

----------- Condensed from the IMC Private Website -----------

Why reinvent the wheel -- wasting time, effort and money going at it alone -- when a bunch of highly successful webmasters and Internet marketers have SPILLED THE BEANS at a new Private Website? Learn our secrets and especially from our mistakes, and you'll have more time to actually grow your business!

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