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A Free Resource for Website Promotion,
Search Engine Optimization and Web Tools
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Website Promotion

1. Search Engine Submission 
2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
3. Reciprocal Linking
4. Banner Exchange Programs

5. Posting to Forums

6. Writing Articles for E-Zines
7. Ineffective and Unethical Promotion Methods

2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay-per-click is one of the most cost-effective advertising programs available today. Offered by many search engines, pay per click programs allow you to bid on keywords relevant to your site. When those keywords are searched on, the search engine would display your ad (i.e., a link to your site) on the results page along with natural (non-paid) search results. If you do a keyword search on Google, you'd get the natural results on the left column along with paid ads on the right. Advertisers are charged only when their ads are clicked on. Some search engines display paid advertisements above non-paid search results; others, like Google, devote more distinguishable sections of the page to paid and non-paid results. Generally, the higher you bid on a keyword, the higher your ad will be placed in search results for that keyword.

The two major players in pay per click are Google Adwords and Overture, a Yahoo! company. Unlike the usual URL submission process, which could take several weeks or months for your site to be listed, pay-per-click will allow your site to appear in search results almost immediately (ah...the miracle of money!). We routinely use pay-per-click to bring instant traffic to a new site while waiting for the search engines to index it. This site, for example, is getting around 200 visitors a day just from our Google Adwords campaign alone.

For this site, we might target such keywords as "website promotion", "search engine optimization", and "URL submission".  The only problem is, our competitors are willing to pay up to $5.00 a click on these keywords.  Since this site contains mostly free content and is likely to generate minimal revenues, there is no way we can compete with them.  We could bid $0.05 a click on these keywords on Google, but chances are, our ad won't be shown very often as Google can make a lot more money by showing our competitors' ads.

Alternatively, we might target less popular keywords like "free website promotion tips" or "free URL submission". True, there will be fewer searches on these keywords, but there'll also be fewer advertisers competing for them.

Overture has a nice Keyword Selector Tool for estimating how often a particular keyword will be searched on.  Another excellent tool from Overture is their View Bids Tool, which allows you to see how much people are willing to pay for a keyword.  We use the  Keyword Selector Tool in conjunction with View Bids Tool to find less popular keywords that have low or no bids from other advertisers.  

Google Adwords requires a minimum bid of $0.05 a click on a keyword, and Overture sets the minimum at $0.10.  For a non-commercial site that generates little or no revenue, it is hard to justify paying  $0.10 or even $0.05 for every visitor you get.  Fortunately, there are smaller companies offering lower minimum bids.  WebLaunch.us, our very own PPC program, offers keyword bidding starting at just $0.01 a click.  A potential disadvantage of using smaller pay-per-click search engines is that they do not have the reach of the 900-pound gorillas.  For best results, we recommend that you use a combination of both  large and smaller PPC programs to get the most out of your investment.

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