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From: Shari Thurow
Subject: Online Promotion Scam

I've noticed a trend in many of my clients' spam mail, and I ended up sending them the same e-mail over and over again. Right after I finish designing a client web site and begin submitting the site to the search engines, of course, the new site's e-mail box is bombarded with spam about the site not being listed in the search engines. If my client is a newbie, I would expect them to react with concern because they just don't know that these e-mails are spams. To help many of the newbies with this typical form of spam, I thought I'd share the same e-mail and conversations I have with my own clients that helps alleviate their concerns.

First, all search engine and directory submissions have lead times. What this means is that your web site or web page is submitted to the search engine, the site has been recorded by the search engine spider, but it will take some time before your web page is added to the search engine catalog.

For a directory, your site must be reviewed first, accepted into the directory, and then added to the catalog. The time between submission and addition to the catalog is called the lead time. Infoseek's, Hotbot's, and AltaVista's lead times are about 2-5 days. Excite/AOL NetFind, WebCrawler, and Lycos have a lead time of about 3-4 weeks. Yahoo's lead time is the longest, about 8-10 weeks, but Yahoo is a directory. So I would expect their lead time to take the longest.

Now, I've noticed that the spam mail usually comes after a Yahoo submission, but I'm sure other promotion companies have found similar trends. If you have a new web site and if your site was recently submitted into the search engines and Yahoo, when you get an e-mail stating that your site is nowhere to be found in the search engines, delete that e-mail.

Your site has not had enough time to be added to the catalogs, and these scam artists are trying to take advantage of peoples' ignorance about lead times. If you hired a good search engine optimization specialist, your site will show up eventually, just not immediately.

Also, these scam companies assume that they can figure out your keywords and key phrases just by looking at your meta-tags on one page. A good online marketing specialist knows how to strategically place keywords throughout your site, not just in the meta-tags, for optimum search engine indexing. He/She knows how to use singulars and plurals, synonyms, and well-written headings throughout your entire site. Just because one keyword does not get you in a Top 10 position does not mean that your site cannot be found on search engines.

Only you can determine which keywords and key phrases people are using on the search engines and directories to find you (on your site reports). You might find that people are finding your site using a certain phrase or your service and a location name, such as "web site designer Illinois." Once you determine how people are finding your site, then you can adjust the HTML coding accordingly.

So please don't be in such a rush to hire these scam artists. They are relying on your ignorance. In fact, just last week, the scam promotion company that e-mailed my client stated that their site was nowhere to be found on any of the search engines. Her site is currently #1 on both HotBot and AltaVista for one key phrase, and #2 on both HotBot and AltaVista on another key phrase. Her site was added to Yahoo in 10 days (a personal record for me). I had to print out these results and mailed them to my client to show her that the e-mail was just spam.

Take care,
Shari Thurow
Grantastic Designs-Custom Illustration and Graphics
For FREE design and marketing tips, visit us at:
http://www.grantasticdesigns.com

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