This article is designed to inform you about the dishonest practices that many submission services are involved in that are designed to separate you from your money and provide you with no benefit whatsoever and can even result in your website being penalized by Google by your paying for these services.
Google penalties for Falsely Manipulating their Search Engine
- Buying and Selling Links: Google has been coming down real hard on anyone trying to manipulate their engine in 2007. Their most recent effort in November of 2007 was dropping the PR (Page Rank) of directories selling links for the purpose of gaining PR and thus dropping the PR value of websites that were buying those links. To protect themselves from this penalty directories were forced to place a rel="nofollow" tag on all outgoing links in their directories and thus the link count (and resulting keyword rank) dropped for all websites counting on those links. Google has promised to enforce this more in the future.
- Trading Links: Google has also devalued reciprocal (traded) links and penalized sites that traded links for a service, i.e., "You can use this software for free but you must link to my website".
- Triangular Linking: Triangular linking schemes were also penalized, i.e., "I'll link to your website from this website if you'll link to my other website over here." This is pretty easy to trace because all sites on their one website will be linking to their other website. There are many variations of this scheme.
Google has also penalized websites that gather links too fast through link submission services which brings us to the purpose of this article. Following are many submission "services" that either provide you no benefit whatsoever or can cause your site to be penalized by Google:
Manually Submit to Hundreds or Thousands of DirectoriesMany submission services use automated submission software that takes about 5 minutes of their time to submit to their list of available directories which may or may not be relevant to the focus of your website, offer no page rank or measurable traffic either. It takes about 15 minutes to an hour for an experienced web designer looking for links to find a suitable directory and then submit the website so you can be pretty well assured they are not actually doing "real" manual submissions.
If your website has gathered very few links in the past and you pay for one of these services and suddenly you have hundreds or thousands of links it can draw a red flag for Google and can result in your keyword rank dropping drastically for months due to Google filtering your website out of search results.
Trading Links with Submission ServicesIf the submission service requires you to place their logo on your site you are essentially linking to their site for a service and it will be very obvious to Google that you paid for their service because of that link. This was originally designed to provide the submission service a link boost (instead of your own site) because if everyone links to their "service" it provides them higher PR. However, now both sites will likely be penalized for participated in link submission schemes.
Submitting to Major Search EnginesWhat most people don't know is that you don't need to submit to even one search engine. As long as you have a friend or one other website that will link to your website then the search engines can pick up your website that way. The three major search engines (Google, Yahoo and MSN) accept submissions for free and it takes about 5 minutes to submit a website to all 3 of them and those three search engines either own or feed most other search engines on the internet. Following is a list of the major search engines and who owns them:
- Google (Feeds several smaller search engines)
- Teoma (powers AskJeeves which is fed by Google, powers DirectHit owned by AskJevees)
- All the Web or Fast (Owned and fed by Yahoo)
- Alta Vista (owned and fed by Yahoo)
- Overture (owned and fed by Yahoo)
- MSN (trying to buy out Yahoo)
- Lycos (fed by Looksmart, Google, Ask, DMOZ)
- HotBot (owned by Lycos)
Guaranteed Indexing in Major Search EnginesDo they guarantee your website will get indexed in a minimum of three of the major search engines? If so, be aware that indexing is not the same as ranking well in a search engine. You could be indexed in hundreds of search engines and still your rank won't go anywhere unless you have links pointing at your website because the results from search engines are dynamically driven from their database and don't reside on actual web pages. If there is no actual web page then it's not counted as a link by any search egnine.
Submitting to DirectoriesThis can't be an automated process that produces results because all directories have different rules and require different information. It costs $299 per year to get into the Yahoo directory and no one can guarantee a listing in DMOZ/ODP directory and the only way you can get into the Google directory is via DMOZ. Other quality major directories charge a submission fee from $50 to a couple hundred dollars, so it's not likely the submission service will submit to those either.
That only leaves minor directories that they will likely submit to and they will likely have no PR on the linking page and provice very little traffic. So in essence you could be paying mega bucks and getting very little results.
What is the best way to gather links?The safest method of gathering links is to provide something that people want to link to without your asking. I provide graphics tutorials, CSS and SEO tips, articles on hosting scams, tips on gathering links, etc., which bring a majority of traffic to this website. Try and think of something in your market area that people would find interesting to link to. Check your competitors and see what they are doing.
Google's explantion of Link Schemes