Inngenious B&B Web Site Promotion

Lie #1: We'll submit your B&B site to 1000 search engines

Dear Steve,

We just received this letter by email saying that nobody can find our web site because we need to be continually re-submitted to search engines. Is this true? If this is something we need? Do you offer this service?

Cindy and Karl F. - Montana

Dear Cindy and Karl,

This email you received is an absolute scam. I have seen many variations of this letter from several different companies and they all consist of asking for money to do something that is completely unnecessary. I do not offer this service because it goes against every fiber of my being to charge money for something that is pure snake-oil. My quick and easy answer is, you don't need this, don't pay for it. If you are like me and you need more details to understand why this is a scam, feel free to keep reading.

The email in question is very long and annoying to read because of the amateur tactics of huge red letters and all kinds of crazy font sizes and colors. You'll also notice several light blue letters which were hidden between words to fool spam filters. This should be the first indication that this is a scam but I'll go through the letter one piece at a time and show you the many statements it makes that are just plain lies.

The Lie: Your Bed and Breakfast Web Site is NOT Being SEEN! The Truth: They don't know that. They have not researched your site. They just send this email out to every email address they find on websites and hope that someone will fall for it. Your web site may be showing up great, or it may not be showing up well. They have no idea, nor do they care.
The Lie: YOUR web site is NOT on many search engines and at the Bottom of their listings and as a result The Truth: This statement even lies to itself. If you are not in the search engine, how can you be at the bottom of the listings? Again, they have not researched your site and have no idea of whether a search engine has indexed your web site or where you are listed for a search.
The Lie: We will submit your web site to over 850 of the worlds search engines.

The Truth: They may actually submit you to that many search engines, but it is unlikely. At the bottom of the email they list roughly 100 web addresses that represent some of the 850 they will submit your site to. The problem is, many of the addresses they list either do not exist, or are not search engines. So if they lie about the 100 examples they give you, what does that say for the remaining 750?

Currently there are three main search engines (Google, MSN, and Yahoo), and a couple of dozen minor ones that may result in measurable traffic. (related statistics) You do not need to concern yourself with the hundreds of other search engines that will bring you no traffic.

The Lie: We will submit your site with the most effective meta tags and keywords. The Truth: Search engines (the ones people actually use) don't need to have meta-tags and keywords submitted. They are designed to read them right off your web pages. The search engines have spiders that go out and read your pages, so they do not need someone to submit meta-tags and keywords. Submitting your site to a search engine is nothing more than telling them your address.
The Lie: We know what the searchengines are looking for. How do we know? We look at the top five web sites in your category and use the same meta tags and key words that they use. The Truth: This is sad. They try to look like they do research, but in doing so they admit they don't really understand the concepts. They just copy them from others who do. Fortunately they don't really need to copy anything because meta tags and key words don't get submitted to search engines, they get read off your pages.
The Lie: Your web site designer and your host are NOT responsible for getting your web site seen! Yes, they may submit your site to a few search engines periodically but to stay on the TOP of the search engines is an aggressive business. The Truth: It is true that most designers and hosts will do little to make sure you are listed in search engines. This is why it is suggested that you hire someone who understands how to optimize a web site for search engines. Submitting a site to a search engine over and over is not a solution to any problem. You could submit your site to a search engine 100 times a day and it will have no effect on how well you show up in the search engine's listings.
The Lie: Getting onto the search engines and at the top of their listings doesn't just happen. You have to be put there! The Truth: They are right in saying that it doesn't just happen. It takes a good design with emphasis on Search Engine Optimization of your site, and good links pointing to your site. It is not controlled by submission.
The Lie: Once we have submitted your web site you will receive a dramatic response by e-mail from search engines around the world confirming that you are listed on them. The Truth: None of the major search engines notify you by email or any other method when your web site gets included in their index.
The Lie: Your web site must be submitted to the search engines every month otherwise your site gets pushed off (Its a bit like a Ferris wheel, you get on and then after a while you are taken off unless you get another ticket and get back on). The Truth: This is the heart of their sales pitch and it is 100% false. You do not get taken off of search engines just because you have not been submitted every month. Google has over 8 billion pages in its index, to suggest that those are re-submitted every month is ludicrous. A well optimized website with a few good links to it will get crawled by the major spiders and be indexed in the search engine without ever having to submit anything.
The Lie: Understand the importance of Keywords, Meta tags, and Titles employed when submitting your site to the search engines! The Truth: Yes!! Understand them enough to realize that these are things that should be on your web pages, not something that you submit to a search engine.
The Lie: Having your web site professionally submitted can boost you up the listings of these larger search engines, so you can be found on them. The Truth: Submitting a site to a search engine consists of making sure you type the address correctly. Beyond that it doesn't matter whether the submitter is a monkey or a PhD, the submission can't control where they site shows up in a search. Only the web site itself and those who link to it can control how well a website shows up in the listings of the larger search engines.
The Lie: Having the Rockwell Data Group (now operating under the name Goodman Systems Inc)  expertly submit your web site every month to worlds search engines will give YOU the Advantage you need. The Truth: If you've stuck with my explanation this far, you already know this is false.

If you actually feel that your web site is not drawing in the number of visitors you feel it should, it is worth investigating. Take a look at my list of common Bed and Breakfast web site mistakes and see if any of them apply to your web site. There are many things that can be done to have your site show up better in search engines, but paying someone to submit your site to search engines is not one of them. Submitting your site to directories may help and can be worth paying for, but not search engines. The companies that send out these kinds of email are hoping that you'll confuse directories with search engines. Directories are collections of actual links that need to be submitted to, while search engines employ their own technology (spiders) to find and index web sites.

I hope this helps you.

Steve Wirt