CogniText web development and online marketing

Specialists in Internet Web Sites Since 1995

Online Marketing for Book and Publishing Web Sites:
Step 5, Site Rank Evaluation

© 2001 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

While we are marketing our sites, we must measure the success of our efforts, use that information to improve our methods, and update our marketing plans. Although there are myriad marketing schemes, most marketing starts with good search engine placement. To evaluate the results of our search engine marketing, we must audit our site’s standing in the most important search engines. We want to know what happens when someone searches on our most important keywords. Does our site come up #1 in the listing? Or is our site #3,462?

Every site owner would prefer that when someone searches on his keywords, the site appears on the first page of the listing for that keyword. Achieving that goal is not a one-step process, since the individual search engines categorize sites in different ways. To make our quest even more fun, the search engines change their selection algorithms frequently, and they are constantly receiving new registrations, so our site’s standing can change from day to day.

The top search engines to visit include: Google, AltaVista, LookSmart, NorthernLight, Yahoo, Hotbot, and Open Directory.

Researching a Site's Search Engine Ranking

We can do the research inexpensively by simply going to each search engine and searching for each keyword, then noting our site's position in the list. This can take a while, but it is certainly a good way to begin researching our site ranking. This method also has the advantage that we can see which sites lie above ours in the ranking.

To save time, we can use one of several software programs to research our site's ranking. The most popular of these is WebPositionGold from

If we find that our ranking is not high enough, we compare our site and its meta tags to the competing sites listed higher than ours. Then we find a legitimate way to improve our key words or description.

Paying for Higher Search Engine Ranking

One good way to improve ranking is to bid for ranking. The best name in companies accepting bids for search engine ranking is supplies many of the top search engines with their higher listings. lets us set up an account with $25 or more. Then we specify the keywords and the amount we are willing to bid for those words, starting as low as 5¢ per click. When our bid is higher than everyone else for a particular keyword, our site appears #1 in the search engine rankings for that word. We pay our bid price only when someone clicks on our listing to actually get to our site.

Obviously, bidding for search engine ranking will be sensible only when our site is selling something, and we expect to recoup our bidding investment. High bids for popular keywords makes great sense for sites offering high-ticket items such as hotel rooms, expensive jewelry, cars, etc. Bidding at a low level on relatively esoteric keywords makes sense for less expensive products, such as books. That is, a small book site would not bid on the keyword books, because it would be far too expensive. However, the small book site could do well by bidding on book topic keywords, such as grandparenting or Six Day War.

However much marketing we do, we should evaluate the effect of our marketing on our site's search engine ranking. It's very satisfying to see a site move steadily upward in the search engine rankings.

~ Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is an Information Architect who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at

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