Understanding Paid URL Inclusion
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July 27, 2006
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The Internet contains numerous search engines, some of which offer
what is known as "paid inclusion." This means that you pay the specific
search engine an annual fee for your web page to be included in their
Of course, every search engine already has an automated program
commonly called a "spider" that indexes all the web pages it locates
online, and it does this for free. So
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 quickly your page is indexed.
A search engine that offers a paid URL inclusion uses an extra
spider that is programmed to index the particular pages that have been
paid for. The difference between the spider that indexes pages for free
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
The debate over paid URL inclusion centres around the annual fee.
Since the regular spider of these search engines would eventually get
around to indexing your web page anyway, why is a renewal fee
necessary? The fee is necessary to keep your pages in the search
engine's index. If you go the route of paid inclusion, you should be
aware that at the end of the pay period, on some search engines, your
page will be removed from their index for a certain amount of time.
It's easy to get confused about whether you would benefit from paid
inclusion since the spider of any search engine will eventually index
your page without the additional cost. There are both advantages and
disadvantages to paid URL inclusion, and it is only by weighing your
pros and cons that you will be able to decide whether to spring for the
extra cash or not.
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 in a very short time after you have paid the fee. The
time difference between when the regular spider will index your pages,
and when the paid spider will, is a matter of months. The spider for
paid inclusion usually indexes your pages in a day or two. Be aware
that if you have no incoming links to your pages, the regular spider
will never locate them at all.
Additionally, paid inclusion spiders will go back to your pages
often, sometimes even daily. The advantage of this is that you can
update your pages constantly to improve the ranking in which they
appear in search engines, 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 ten 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 their annual
fee. How relevant the cost factor is will depend on your company.
Another, and perhaps more important, disadvantage is the limited
reach of paid URL inclusions. The largest search engines, Google,
Yahoo, and MSN, do not offer paid URL inclusion. That means that the
search engines you choose to pay an inclusion fee will amount to a
small fraction of the traffic to your site on a daily basis.
Google usually updates its index every month, and there is no way
you can speed up this process. You will have to wait for the Google
spider to index your new pages no matter how many other search engines
you have paid to update their index daily. Be aware that it is only
after Google updates their index that your pages will show up in
Google, or AOL results.
One way to figure out whether paid URL inclusion is a good deal for
your company is to consider some common factors. First, find out if
search engines have already indexed your pages. To do this, you may
have to enter a number of different keywords, but the quickest 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, using paid inclusion will not be beneficial. This is because
your pages have already been indexed and ranked by the regular spider.
If this is the case, your money would be better spent by updating your
pages to improve your ranking in search results. Once you accomplish
this, you can then consider using paid inclusion if you want to speed
up the time it will take for the regular spider to revisit your pages.
The most important factor in deciding whether to use paid URL
inclusion is to decide if it's a good investment. To figure this out,
you have to look at the overall picture:
what kind of product or service are you selling and how much traffic
are you dependent on to see 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 for you; the biggest search engines do not offer it, and
they are the engines that will bring you the majority of hits. On the
other hand, if you have a business that offers an expensive service or
product and requires a certain quality of traffic to your site, a paid
URL inclusion is most likely an excellent investment.
Another factor is whether or not your pages are updated frequently.
If the content changes on a daily or weekly basis, paid inclusion will
insure that your new pages are indexed often and quickly. The new
content is indexed by the paid spider and then appears when new
relevant keywords are entered in the search engines. Using paid
inclusion in this case will guarantee that your pages are being indexed
in a timely manner.
You should also base your decision on whether or not your pages are
dynamically generated. These types of pages are often difficult for
regular spiders to locate and index. Paying to include the most
important pages of a dynamically generated website will insure that the
paid spider will index them.
Sometimes a regular spider will drop pages from its search engine,
although these pages usually reappear in a few months. There are a
number of reasons why this can happen, but by using paid URL inclusion,
you will avoid the possibility. Paid URL inclusion guarantees that your
pages are indexed, and if they are inadvertently dropped, the search
engine will be on the lookout to locate them immediately.
As you can see, there are numerous factors to consider when it comes
to paid URL inclusion. It 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 for your business