To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Search | 2 Engine Question | 2 | WebReference

To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Search | 2 Engine Question | 2


To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Search Engine Question

How 1 Search Engine listing can be worth 1,000

Don't underestimate a good ranking in one Search Engine. It could affect several others.

Most people have seen the messages on the bottom of a Yahoo! Web page that says "Other Search Engines: Alta Vista - Direct Hit - Google - dot com directory - - Infoseek - NorthernLight - - HotBot - More..." By clicking on any of the other links to Search Engines, you're search terms are automatically entered into the search boxes and you get a new return.

But, do you know how many search engines use the results from other search engines from the outset? For example, Lycos gets its results from Direct Hit, Fast Search & Open Directory. The same results also show up in HotBot. So, by getting your Web site in any of the above search engines, it could show up in four other directories.

Here are a few "shared search results" tips:

  1. Yahoo! defaults to "" when it can't find a Web site match for your search – is known for exact searches in a matter of seconds. So, the race is on to make sure your Web site is listed on Google.
  2. works on both a relevancy and popularity ranking system – so make sure your Web site has the most appropriate meta tags and you should be linked in as many places as you can on the Internet as a whole to get the best ranking. now offers RealNames results, as it's first place offering.
  3. AOL now gets most of its results from the Open Directory Project –
  4. Since a number of sites still use the Inktomi database for their results, it is still very important to be listed with them (See above for directions to be included in the Inktomi database)

Another way that one search engine listing can produce results on several sites is to use one of the 'keyword purchasing' sites. has a bidding system that allows you to bid for the top placements of all of its results pages. GoTo charges per "click," so you only pay if someone actually clicks on your link. The charges start at .05 per click and go up past $10.00 per click for the most popular terms.

Through their Partnership Programs, when you buy a spot on, your site is going to come up in the results of several other Search Engines, such as: AOL, MSN, AskJeeves, Direct Hit, Hot Bot, Lycos, CNN, Alta Vista, InfoSpace, Dogpile & This list is growing rapidly.

DirectHit offers a 'text sponsorship' program through the network, which allows you to bid per 1,000 impressions, rather than clicks. The results of your paid for ads show up on the right side of the page, next to the regular results listings for the search term. Again, these ads can show up on MSN and Ask Jeeves Results pages. – (as of 3/1/01, Direct Hit will be bringing in listings as their primary search results – the rest of their results still depend on "site popularity," e.g. how many other sites link to yours) – These text sponsorship ads will also appear in: MSN, Searchalot,,, SuperCyberSearch.

Another Search Engine that is very influential on the Internet is the LookSmart directory. According to their research, Looksmart says that they power over 74% of US Web Users, including: MSN, Excite@Home, CNN and Time Warner. As I mentioned above, Looksmart now has an "express" submission service that guarantees a review of your site in 48 hours for $199 – if your site is not accepted, the money is returned.

The last Search Engine I'll mention is Open Directory ( Open Directory is a "human edited" search engine developed by Netscape that depends on carefully screened volunteers to keep their categories updated. Editors, as they are called, each have their own category to oversee and follow strict guidelines for keeping their section in proper order. The Open Directory results can be found on the following search engines (among others): AOL –Netscape, Lycos, HotBot & Euroseek. There are now reports that after listings, Open Directory is the 2nd Most popular "lender."

So, there you have it. The search engine maze is getting larger (and smaller) by the day. Search engines are becoming a science of the Internet, and if you can figure out how the pieces fit together, your site will be everywhere faster than you think.

# # #

Alison Berke Morano, founder of, began working in the field of Web site Development in 1995. Since that time, she has been involved in various aspects of Web site design, e-commerce, and of course her specialty, Search Engine Marketing, particularly keyword placement. In 1998, Alison Berke was selected "Small Business Person of the Year" by the Nassau Council Chambers of Commerce, as well as named one of "Long Island's 40 under 40" by the Long Island Business News. She can be reached at


Created: March 15, 2001
Revised: March 16, 2001