Organic SEO Blog

231-922-9460 • Contact UsFree SEO Site Audit

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Yahoo Site Match Paid Inclusion Program Misleads the Marketplace

Yahoo recently released their new Site Match paid inclusion program and quickly drew wide-spread criticism. The misleading and deceptive messages that Yahoo is sending website owners and emarketers is that in order to enhance your keyword rankings in Yahoo's natural search results, companies need only to pay a Site Match inclusion fee. The program makes one wonder if Yahoo will clearly identify all paid listings to users.

The Site Match inclusion fee is actually akin to a permanent, open, Pay Per Click invoice. Site owners and operators participating in the Site Match program will now pay for EVERY CLICK referred by the Yahoo search results. Yahoo's marketing messages suggest that Site Match is not entirely a Pay Per Click program.

Yahoo's marketing materials also suggest that Site Match participation results in enhanced keyword rankings on target keyword search results within the Yahoo search database, when in fact, it merely ensures a presence or inclusion anywhere within the Yahoo search index. Contrary to the marketing message implicit in Yahoo's Site Match promotional materials, inclusion in the program DOES NOT guarantee any particular keyword position in the Yahoo search results or 'enhanced' keyword placement.

Do websites still need to be open to the Yahoo-Inktomi Slurp and Archiver spiders in order to secure and maintain leading keyword positions in the natural search results on Yahoo? Do the Yahoo robot crawlers or spiders still need to be able to deep-index the website? If site design and site navigation obstacles are not overcome, is long-term search engine ranking success possible in Yahoo?

Don't jump into Site Match without first fully understanding that this program is not a turn-key electronic web marketing solution. This program ONLY provides Yahoo the ability to charge participants for EVERY CLICK received from their search results pages, and completely neglects the issue of search engine positioning on any other major search engine.

Before we address the other search engines that represent nearly 70% of the domestic search marketplace. Let's stay tuned to Yahoo and their most aggressive, profit-driven search engine marketing program to date. Yahoo intends to charge website owners participating in Site Match for EVERY CLICK received once an account is active. Will Yahoo searchers receive clear labeling of all paid sponsor positions?

Another important consideration for website owners and emarketers is the costly occurrence of fraudulent click activity. The opportunity for large scale, fraudulent, click manipulation of the Yahoo search results pages has now become larger than ever.

As Google cofounder Larry Page told the New York Times recently: "Any time you accept money to influence the results, even if it is just for inclusion, it is probably a bad thing."

Proceed with caution regarding Yahoo Site Match.

Jack Roberts
Peak Positions, LLC.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization News

Friday, May 14, 2004

Search Engine Industry Buzzing

Yahoo! and Google both removed adware/spyware giant from their search results pages, accusing the e-marketing firm of cloaking in order to increase their search results rankings in the major search engines.
This is isn't the first major company to have its website removed from the search engines for manipulative practices, and it almost certainly won't be the last. The veteran search technology specialists here at Peak Positions recall similar cases in the past, where major, household-name corporations employed cloaking in an effort to drive exposure and sales on the web, and were black-listed from Google for doing so. So, what is cloaking anyway?


The term "cloaking" is used to describe a website that returns altered webpages to search engines crawling the site. In other words, the webserver is programmed to return different content to Google than it returns to regular users, usually in an attempt to distort search engine rankings. This can mislead users about what they'll find when they click on a search result. To preserve the accuracy and quality of our search results, Google may permanently ban from our index any sites or site authors that engage in cloaking to distort their search rankings.

This is the definition of cloaking according to Google. Cloaking is, ostensibly, a quick, down-and-dirty and clear pathway to search engine rankings success. Taking the easy road and creating separate, static keyword and link heavy pages, specifically built to appeal to search engine spiders, instead of retrofitting their current large, dynamically generated websites - in which they have invested anywhere from 50 to 500 thousand dollars, is quick and painless.

Quick and painless can be very attractive, and has lured numerous top-level marketing teams with the promise of early returns. Most firms that practice cloaking emphasize quick turn-arounds and immediate results for their clients, and will often guarantee top 10 keyword rankings on the major search engines within 30 days. Marketing directors, feeling the enormous pressure to position their corporate website with authority on keyword targets, might find themselves succumbing to the lure of immediate results.

We alway ask two questions of potential clients that express an interest or desire to engage in the dubious practice of cloaking:

1. How can any SEO firm guarantee rankings on search engines like Yahoo! or Google, when they have absolutely no direct influence over the order in which (natural - sometimes called editorial or organic) search results appear?
2. Wouldn't you rather serve your users and online customers, as well as the search engine spiders, by simply DOING THE RIGHT THING - which is delivering relevant content in the form of HTML pages?

Rather than cloaking or participating in other underhanded tactics such as page redirects, gateway pages, automated submissions, 30 days to number 1 bogus guarantees, et cetera, marketing directors need to remain focused on serving users first.

Serving users can take several forms, but they all rest on a single principle - regularly generating and delivering high-quality, relevant text content (preferrably without neglecting good aesthetics). Many of our accounts have secured and maintained premium keyword rankings on the major search engines by focusing on content and enhancing the user experience. Content, content, content - content is king.

Next week, we'll begin our profile of proven, ethical search engine marketing techniques, that have yet to be challenged by any other SEO techniques....

Jack Roberts & Joel Dalley
Peak Positions, LLC.
Search Engine Optimization