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Pay Per Inclusion Search Engines

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Pay per inclusion used to be the prime method of “buying” your way onto a search engine on the Internet, starting in the late 1990s.

At that point, with less competition on search engines because fewer companies had a web presence, natural rankings often worked, but paid inclusion was a guaranteed way to get listed on a search engine.

It usually was a one-time fee per year for guaranteed inclusion in the search engine’s index of sites.

Because pay-per-inclusion ads are virtually indistinguishable to the average user, as the Internet grew as a commercial enterprise, the market gradually began to move away from paid inclusion, for a number of reasons.

For example, the development of search engines whose ranking was based on algorithms and robot crawls, who did not offer paid inclusion as an option, led to a perception by many that these “organic” results were more “genuine” than a those listings that had appeared in search results as a result of payment.

However, there are benefits to using paid inclusion, the major one being that it bypasses the typical delay of weeks in getting your website listed on a search engine.

If you enter a pay-per-inclusion program on a search engine, your site is usually included within a few days and the search engine robot will regularly crawl your site as well, so changes you make to your site will be reflected in a timely manner.

Consequently, for many advertisers, paid inclusion has been a method to get online quickly instead of relying on SEO and robot crawls to do their magic before having their websites show up under relevant searches.

Paid inclusion underwent a total reversal in general opinion soon after Google began to flourish.

Google has consistently said they would never offer paid inclusion because they believe it taints the search process by artificially ranking paid inclusion sites higher.

Search engines offering paid inclusion took an opposite view, but in general, the Google viewpoint prevailed and search engines moved away from paid inclusion.

In March of 2004, Yahoo reopened the debate by announcing their decision to include paid listings again in their search results, stating that there would be no ranking advantage from a pay-per-inclusion submission.

The end result of the strong debate over this strategy was that Yahoo retained paid listings, and Google reasserted its position (in its IPO, late in 2004) that it believes natural search is the only guarantee of a “free and open” marketplace.

Although Yahoo is still the only standard search engine that technically offers pay per inclusion, since it is partnered with so many other search engines, paid listings, are often found in many search engine results.

In fact, paid inclusion can be a cheap supplement to keep among your online marketing strategies, especially if the cost per click of your keywords is making it difficult to maintain your pay-per-click position.

People still do act on general search results, so some analysts do suggest advertisers consider experimenting with the Yahoo program, especially if you are finding PPC on your keywords out of your dollar reach.

Remember, however, that with paid inclusion, clickthrough rates may be higher. As well, the rising popularity of PPC ads leads analysts to believe that at least 40% of all conversions come from pay-per-click ads, a trend that is expected to increase.

Some search engines offer, in addition to other paid advertising, a PPC listing fee setup. One of the leaders in this type of marketing is the search engine LookSmart.

For example, LookSmart charges $29 to set up a listing and $19 to change it. They also impose a $15 minimum per month spend, so be sure to include all the costs involved when determining whether or not paid-per-inclusion PPC is an option you wish to experiment with.

Like any paid form of advertising online, and despite the feeling many have that paid listings are tainted, there is no denying that it can’t hurt to get your website listed with those search engines that support pay per inclusion.

Keywords: Pay-Per-Inclusion, paid inclusion, paid advertising, pay-per-inclusion ads, Search Engines, organic results, natural rankings,

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