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WebPosition: ''...because submitting is NOT enough.''

Many of you have been looking forward to my article on how to improve the link popularity of your Web site. I've been collecting data on techniques that work and those that don't. It should be a great article, however, after reaching a record 16+ pages for this month's newsletter (and being late in sending it), I had to put some topics off to next month.

The AltaVista news and tips alone consumed over 11 pages! Many of you have been frustrated with AltaVista recently, so I felt it was important to give you all the information I could on this topic. I also believe many of you will find the results of the recent I-Search Submitting survey very interesting.

Therefore, although this issue is long, I'd strongly encourage you to print it out and read it all the way through. I guarantee you'll learn something new that will make it worth your time!

Independent survey ranks the most popular submitters

An independent survey of 300 I-Search newsletter readers, published March 21st, asked what Web-based or auto-submit software they currently use. We were pleased to see that WebPosition Gold was used over FOUR times more often than its nearest competitor:

    44% - WebPosition Gold
    9.4% - SubmitWolf
    9.4% - Proprietary
    9.4% - VSE BeFound (Mac)
    6.3% - Exploit Wizard
    6.3% - JimTools
    6.3% - SubmitIt
    09% - Other*
    *(grouped and in order): SubFrog, AddwebPro, bCentral

As many of you may know, the greatest market share does NOT always fall to the most superior product or company. I will readily admit that although the above survey indicates that we are the market leader in this category, it does not necessarily mean we've sold more units than our competitors over the years.

For example, Submit-It, now owned by Microsoft, has been around a lot longer than WebPosition Gold. Most likely, it has sold more units, or in their case "subscriptions," over the years. As much as I'd like to say that more people have purchased our product than anyone else's, I cannot honestly say that.

Since we've never advertised in the I-Search newsletter, I know that has not skewed the number of WebPosition users found in the survey. Therefore, you might ask how WebPosition Gold could be so far ahead? Although the first version of WebPosition came out in June 1997, we have not been around quite as long as some of the "bulk submission" only services such as Submit-It. We don't even submit to as many engines as most of the products on the list.

So how is WebPosition Gold at the top? The answer can be found in what the survey question was asking: What submission product do you CURRENTLY USE? The question does not ask what products the consumer HAS USED in the past.

Many WebPosition Gold customers are Web marketing veterans who have tried many products and services over the years. According to this I-Search survey, over four times as many people continue to use WebPosition Gold over any other product. It has stood the test of time. Serious webmasters know that it's not the quantity of their submissions that counts, but the quality. Submitting does you no good if you're not found when someone searches on keywords relating to your site.

For years, most search engine marketing companies have tried to play the numbers game, focusing only on how many sites to which they could automatically submit. They paid little attention to the quality of those submissions or the ranking achieved afterward. They sold their product on the premise that "more is better." Unfortunately, the majority of people who tried these products did not see any significant new traffic to their site and they stopped USING their tool(s). If they were still using those products and services, the I-Search survey would have shown them to be topping the list.

The idea that quality counts is further reinforced by the survey we did a few months ago showing 94.4% of our customers were satisfied to extremely satisfied with WebPosition Gold. An even greater percentage were impressed with our product support which, by the way, is free!

The I-Search survey also reinforces the many outstanding reviews and awards WebPosition has received over the years in such publications as Newsweek, PC Magazine, Search Engine Watch, Web Marketing Today, CNET, and others:



Which is better: Manual submission or automated?

Besides illustrating WebPosition Gold's market leadership, the I-Search survey presented some opinions that, at first glance, might be surprising. Most notably, 84% of those surveyed submit their sites manually. Many claimed that it's more effective than automated submissions.

Therefore, the question arises: Is manual submission really better? The answer is YES, in some cases. If you're going to submit to directory sites like Yahoo, Open Directory, Snap, or Looksmart, then we have always recommended you do this manually. The reasons are explained in our Directory Submission Guide in WebPosition Gold's Submitter. These directories can bring you tremendous traffic if you take the time to submit to them PROPERLY and follow the tips we outline. Yahoo, alone, commands over 50% of all search engine traffic according to most surveys, so its importance cannot be understated.

On the other hand, if you're submitting to a full-text search engine like AltaVista, HotBot, or Go.com, then automated submissions will save you valuable time. In the past, automated submitters fell into disfavor because they did not emulate a browser when they submitted. Many of the search engines were reported to place automated submissions into a lower priority queue, which caused it to take longer for these sites to be indexed. WebPosition Gold has always emulated a standard browser to overcome this kind of discrimination.

Another problem that has caused some to dismiss all automated submitters has been the perception that they are less accurate. When a bulk submitter submits to 500 or more sites, it's obvious many of those submissions will fail because of changes at some of the engines that occur daily. There's simply no way for these products to always be 100% compliant with all those engines at all times.

Therefore, some people concluded that ALL automated submission tools are less accurate than manual submissions. In the case of WebPosition, however, we auto-submit to only the top eight or so search engines. Therefore, our accuracy is almost always 100%. Moreover, the top engines and directories account for over 95% of the market, and so the importance of those 100's of other engines that few people have ever heard of, becomes insignificant.

In WebPosition, if an engine changes their submission format, the submission will be reported to you as "failed" and will link to a page that gives a reason for the failure. For example, sometimes engines will not accept ANY submissions for a period of days or weeks while they perform maintenance.

Even when WebPosition reports that a submission has succeeded, it links to the results page that the engine returned, so at any time, you can still manually verify that the submission was successful. Many automated submitters do not give you this peace of mind.

Submitting manually and automatically both have their place. That's why WebPosition Gold is designed to choose the best method for each search engine or directory to maximize both your time and effectiveness.

Latest News on AltaVista Blocking Sites

If you haven't already heard, AltaVista has been either blocking submissions of web sites (with an error of "too many URLs have been submitted from this site") and/or dropping sites entirely. After much research, I believe what occurs is:

a) You or someone else submits your site to AltaVista. In some cases, it may simply be AltaVista's spider re-visiting your pages.
b) AltaVista's new anti-spam rules are applied at least to the specific page submitted.
c) If you're suspected to be in "violation," they block further submissions with the "too many URLs" error until they get around to taking a closer look.
d) Later, AltaVista's automated spider or a human reviewer will check the site closer and will often drop the entire site. On occasion, the "Too many URLs" error will be removed from a site, generally a couple weeks after it starts if it deems your site acceptable.

Therefore, if you just got the "Too many URLs have been submitted" then immediately clean up your site to comply with all their latest "rules" to minimize the chance of being dropped. This article will describe in detail what those rules most likely are.

I've spent a great deal of time in March talking to other search engine experts, reading hundreds of discussion forum messages, reviewing explanations from AltaVista representatives, and surveying about 250 WebPosition Gold users. There is definitely a great deal of rumor, speculation, and even conflicting information circulating. However, I think I now have a better handle on what's going on than most.

In AltaVista's defense, stopping spam and eliminating junk pages is a noble goal. I've written a number of articles on how to avoid spamming or abusing an engine either by accident or on purpose. I've always felt that the best search engine marketing strategy is to play by the search engine's own rules. The difficulty is knowing what these rules are from one month to the next for each engine. That's where this newsletter and WebPosition Gold's Page Critic will help you. If you give the search engines what they want to see, you will rank higher and the search engines will be happier.

Unfortunately, AltaVista's new anti-spam system does not work without error. As I reported last month, there appears to be "bugs" in their system. For example, many people claim to submit a brand new site with no "doorway pages" or other elements that AltaVista might consider spam, but they are still blocked or dropped. Therefore, if this has happened to you, you can rest assured you are not alone.

If you were lucky enough NOT to have dropped, AND you already have some good rankings in AltaVista, my first recommendation is DO NOT re-submit your site! AltaVista's new anti-spam rules have not been applied to its entire database so you are not necessarily "out of the woods." Many people have reported doing nothing to their site for months, and then re-submitting their home page only to see it drop out of the index soon after. Therefore, you should revise your site to comply with AltaVista's new rules before its spider re-visits your site and before you re-submit. This will improve the odds that you will not be dropped.

What does AltaVista consider spam?

NOTE: Because of the length of this month's newsletter, the rest of the newsletter can be found at the link below.

*** APRIL 2000 NEWSLETTER CONTINUATION AT: *** http://www.webposition.com/mp-0400.htm#FIVE


There's many important topics covered so please jump over and finish reading it! You may want to print the Web page above and read the issue offline if you prefer.



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