I’m told that telemarketers get in trouble if they let anyone say no or end a call pleasantly. The kindest thing to do is therefore to hang up on them, preferably while they’re speaking — “No thank you! click” doesn’t show up as a failure on their part to follow through.
However, last week I got a call that slipped past my telemarketing shields. I’d been doing linkbuilding for a software company, and the caller began by talking about the link I’d placed at his company’s directory. Sometimes calls like this matter — there may be an error or a further opportunity, so it’s worth listening.
In this case, it was simply a sales call. As discussed in “Be the Directory,” having a directory at your site can be quite beneficial, and this company has taken the next logical step by calling up the people who list their companies, and selling them things. Specifically, the caller wanted to submit my site to hundreds of search engines for me.
“We’ll submit your site to hundreds of search engines every month!” he crowed.
What hundreds of search engines?
“Really?” I probably sounded as excited as he did. While I get those emails offering to do this, just as you probably do if you have a website, I had never actually spoken to anyone who knew which hundreds of search engines they had in mind. “What hundreds of search engines do you think are worth submitting to?”
‘Twitter,” he said, enthusiasm slightly dimmed. I don’t think they expect people to ask questions like that. “Facebook, the Yellow Pages…”
The first question is this: is Twitter a search engine? From a tech point of view, Twitter does include a search engine. So does Facebook. So does this site, for that matter. Every place you can go online and find a search box has, and therefore in some sense is, a search engine.
Twitter, Facebook, and the Yellow Pages are even used as search engines sometimes, in the sense that people go there to find information. But people also go for information to many things that aren’t search engines: watches, their parents, magazines… Even those lists of search engines which are open minded enough to list LinkedIn as a specialized people search engine don’t list Twitter or Facebook. Directories, especially important ones like Thomas.net, are often listed as search engines, but they’re still directories.
What kind of submitting?
Still, let’s accept just for the sake of argument that Twitter is a search engine. How exactly would “submitting your site” to Twitter every month be beneficial to your website? Participation at Twitter can be very effective for bringing in traffic and leads. Having your website tweeted once a month by a marketing company? Not so much.
The company followed up with an email headed “Dear RebeccaHaden, Submit to 799 handpicked Directories & 6000 Search Engines guaranteed.” Apparently they felt that I wasn’t impressed enough with hundreds of search engines and needed to be offered thousands. With capital letters.
Here’s the thing: Google has the largest market share by far, and Bing is the only serious contender for second place now that Bing powers Yahoo’s search. You should submit your site to them. Once. If it’s not already indexed by them. The old competitors, including AOL search, HotBot, and All the Web, are either defunct or powered by Google or Bing.
For some fields, there are specialized secondary search engines that are worth submitting to. For example, Cheatsearch is important for game cheats and Trulia is worth doing for real estate. If you have lots of customers in China, you should make sure you’re noticed by Baidu. If you use a specialized search engine yourself in the course of your work, then you should make sure you’re included in its searches.
6000? Don’t waste your time.