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Paid URL Inclusion, Does It Really Work?

Jul 31, 2008
Among the most efficient ways to promote your website is through the use of search engines. Search engines are the first stop for those trying to find information, services, and products on the Internet. It is critical that your website appears quickly in their search results.

The Internet contains numerous search engines, some of which offer the option known as 'paid inclusion.' With this method you pay the specific search engine an annual fee for the inclusion of your web page in their index.

Every search engine comes complete with an automated Program, commonly called a 'spider,' that indexes all the web pages it locates online at no cost. Whether you pay or not, your web page will eventually be indexed by all Internet search engines, as long as the spider can follow a link to your page. The major issue is, then, how swiftly your page is indexed.

A search engine that offers a paid URL inclusion uses an extra spider programmed to index the particular pages you have paid for. The difference between the spider that indexes pages free of charge and the spider that indexes only pages for a fee is speed. If you have paid for inclusion, the additional search engine spider will index your page immediately.

The debate over paid URL inclusion centers around the issue of the annual fee. Since the regular spider engines would eventually index your web page anyway, why is a renewal fee necessary? The fee is necessary to keep your pages in the search engine's index. However, if you go the route of paid inclusion, your page will be removed from their index on some search engines for a certain amount of time at the end of the pay period.

As with all business decisions, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of paid URL inclusion.

The advantages are obvious: rapid inclusion and rapid re-indexing. Paid inclusion means that your pages will be indexed quickly and added to search results shortly after you have paid the fee. The time difference between when the regular spider will index your pages and when the paid spider will index them is a matter of months. The spider that performs paid inclusion usually indexes pages in a day or two. But if you have no incoming links to your pages, the regular spider will never locate them.

Additionally, paid inclusion spiders will return to your pages often, sometimes daily. You can update your pages constantly to improve their search engine rankings, and the paid URL inclusion spider will show that result in a matter of days.

First and foremost, the disadvantage is the cost. For a 10- page website, the costs of paid URL inclusion range from $170 for Fast/Lycos to $600 for Altavista, and you have to pay each engine its annual fee. How relevant the cost factor is will depend on your company and its available assets.

Another, and perhaps more important, disadvantage is the limited reach of paid URL inclusions. The largest search engines, Google, Yahoo, and AOL, do not offer paid URL inclusion. That means that the search engines you choose to pay an inclusion fee will produce a small fraction of the traffic to your site on a daily basis.

Google usually updates its index every month; you cannot speed up this process. You will have to wait for the Google spider to index your new pages, regardless of how many other search engines you have paid to update their index daily. It is only after Google updates their index that your pages will show up in Google, Yahoo, or AOL results.

One way to determine whether paid URL inclusion is a good deal for your company is to find out if search engines have indexed your pages already. To do this, you may have to enter a number of keywords; the most direct way to find out is to enter your URL address in quotes. If your pages appear when you enter the URL address but do not appear when you enter keywords, paid inclusion will not be beneficial. This is because your pages have already been indexed and ranked by the regular spider. You can spend your money more effectively by updating your pages to improve your ranking in search results. Once you accomplish this, you can then consider using paid inclusion to speed up the time it will take the regular spider to revisit your pages.

The most important factor is to decide whether paid inclusion is a good investment. To figure this out, you have to analyze what kind of product or service are you selling and how much traffic you depend on to turn a profit.

If your company sells an inexpensive product that requires a large volume of traffic to your site, paid inclusion may not be the best investment, as the most major search engines, which will bring you the majority of hits, will bring you the majority of hits. If your business offers an expensive service or product and requires a certain quality of traffic to your site, a paid URL inclusion is a sound investment.

Another factor is how frequently your pages are updated. If the content changes on a daily or weekly basis, paid inclusion will guarantee that your new pages are indexed frequently. The new content is indexed by the paid spider, then appears when new relevant keywords are entered in the search engines. Using paid inclusion in this case will guarantee that your pages are indexed in a timely fashion.

In addition, you should base your decision on whether or not your pages are dynamically generated. These types of pages are difficult for regular spiders to locate; paying to include the most important pages of a dynamically generated website will guarantee indexing through a paid spider.

Sometimes a regular spider will drop pages from its search engine, although these pages reappear in a few months; through paid URL inclusion, you can avoid that possibility. Paid URL inclusion guarantees that your pages are indexed; if they are inadvertently dropped, the search engine will try to find them immediately.

Paid URL inclusion can be a valuable investment depending on your situation. Evaluate your business needs and your website to determine if paid URL inclusion is a wise investment to suit your business goals.
About the Author
Garey Simmons writes about
Search Optimization
from personal experience. Having spent countless hours learning
SEO and how to market his many business
online, Garey has lots of tips to share. For a Free Report 'Business Owners Fear
SEO' go to http://SEOCoach.Net
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