A site Google will NEVER add to its listings
By Mitch Tarr
A reader named Jack recently wrote us to ask the following:
Currently, I am an affiliate for a large network company which provides websites for its affiliates. However, the URL required to reach the website is too long and cumbersome. Accordingly, I use my own short domain name to forward my domain name to the website provided by the network company.
My question is: Is it possible to submit my own domain name to any search engine and get the same results as if it were my own website? Or will the search engines recognize that the URL is masked and will either ignore or reject the URL?
Jack, I’m sorry to tell you that the answer is no — the search engines will not recognize your domain as a valid page to rank in their listings.
Why? Because your domain is what we call a “redirect.” A redirect has no content of its own. Its only purpose is to send people to another web page. And the search engines absolutely HATE web pages with no content in them — because providing searchers with useful content is what they’re all about.
It’s important to remember that search engines aren’t simply providers of a free service. They’re businesses. And their business is to get as many users as possible, so they can convince companies to spend big money placing advertisements where all those users will see them.
However, in order to get those users, the search engines have to make sure they give searchers what they’re looking for — useful information!
Obviously, a site that has no content won’t be able to offer much in the way of useful information.
When you’re running a business, it’s all too easy to assume that the search engines have an obligation to include your site in their listings. But the search engines don’t exist to serve webmasters who want to get their site listed in the search results — they exist to provide searchers with the most meaningful search results possible.
That’s why they pay such careful attention to a site’s content and to the network of links pointing to that site. They want to make sure the sites they list contain relevant content that other sites recognize as being valuable enough to link to.
But Jack, just because you can’t submit a redirect site to the search engines, it doesn’t mean you can’t use proven search marketing techniques to drive traffic to your affiliate site.
Here are two ways you can use the search engines to get more visitors — and more sales:
1. Build a content-rich page that points visitors to your affiliate site
Instead of using a redirect, Jack, I recommend you build a content-rich information site that drives people to your affiliate site.
The main advantage to this approach is that you WILL be able to optimize your content site for the search engines — which means a lot more people will be able to find it.
And the more people who arrive on this content page and find your information valuable, the more people you’ll get clicking through to your affiliate site to see what you’re offering there.
Not only that, you can include an opt-in form right on that site so you can start building a list of subscribers you can market to in the future. Simply offer a valuable free report — or some other useful information — in exchange for people’s email addresses, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your opt-in list will grow.
The great thing about having a large opt-in list is, you won’t have to limit yourself just to the affiliate product you’re currently trying to sell.
In fact, you’ll be able to promote a wide range of different products to your list — that way, you can test to see which products sell best so you can focus your marketing efforts on them instead of the ones no one’s interested in buying!
2. Become active on relevant community sites — and build a solid link structure
One of the best ways to drive a site up to the top of the search engine listings is to build an extensive structure of links pointing to it. An effective way of doing this is to become active on industry forums and blogs and include a link in your signature block that points back to your site.
You could also set up pages on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace and include links on them that point back to your site.
I strongly recommend that these links all point to a content page — like the one I described above — rather than to your actual affiliate site.
That’s because you’ll find it far easier to sell to your opt-in list — people who have shown strong interest in what you have to say and have actually given you their email address — than to first-time visitors with whom you haven’t yet formed a strong relationship. And you’ll find it easier to grow your list with an opt-in form on an info-rich content page than on a site that’s clearly advertising a product.
I hope that answers your question, Jack, and gives you some new strategies to try out! Please keep in touch and let us know how your marketing efforts go from here.
If you are interested in learning more about the proven search engine marketing techniques you can use to boost your visitor count (and your sales!), please pay a visit to our exclusive Search Marketing Lab. There you’ll discover all the latest tips and strategies that are absolutely essential to your success with the search engines.
[Ed. note: Mitch Tarr is IMC’s Vice President of Marketing.]
Reprinted with permission from The IMC Insider | September 10, 2007 | Issue #164
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