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Is Google the be-all-end-all search engine?


Some people focus so much on Google that they neglect other parts of their business marketing to the point of losing sales. Google currently has a little over half of the search engine market according to most estimates. There are still thousands of searches every day on Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and a myriad of other search engines and online services.


Do you think that a grandmother who never had a computer before and just got AOL for her 90th birthday so she can see pictures of the grandkids in email will go to Google to look for something online when AOL has that nice handy search box at the top? Of course not.


As any business advertisement, we must use every tool at our disposal to promote our businesses. How many cones would a Dairy Queen sell if they had no ads in the paper, on the radio or even signs on the store? A few, but not as many as if they put up that big sign with a cold delicious ice cream cone on it.


How many serious and successful business people do you know that don't have business cards? What about letterhead with their business info at the top? Radio ads? TV ads? Newspaper ads? A listing in the Yellow Pages? Business cards tacked up at the local grocery store? Signs on the business, their car and even stitched into their clothing?


We should be no different with our websites! If your site is personal interest then put it in your signature every time you send an email or post in an online forum. If it is for a business then use all of the above examples and more - and make sure you add your website URL to the cards, ads, bumperstickers, signs, etc.


Another thing to consider is that for any given search engine you may be chasing a pipe dream trying to rank highly. For a real world example, I have a client that has a charter fishing business. On Google his site was #38. Not awesome but considering the competition it was a great start. Last November they made a change to their algorithms that calculate where your sites fall in their search results. My client's site was nowhere to be found! I looked through the first 500 results and nothing! With a great deal of work and help from other experts I have gotten back to #48 on one term but still in the hundred-somethings for the others.


At the same time all of this is going on, I am going higher and higher in the other search engines. Here's the current status on just a few of the phrases (not counting paid advertising results):


>Term                                   Google        Yahoo     MSN
Key West fishing                       361            44       27
Key West fishing charter               129             3        4
Key West fishing charter boat           21             1        1


As you can see, the more precise I get the better my results. That is because other sites may not use the words "charter" or "boat" in such a way as I have. This speaks to guessing what people will be searching for.


The important lesson here is that I could chase the star named Google and try to get the site below 361 or I can understand that "Google's a good thing but everyone else added together is a good thing too." Don't make yourself crazy chasing Google and miss out on the other great tools you have for marketing your site.

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