One of the problems of running a Web site – arguably the biggest problem, in fact – is letting people know that it’s there. You can spend loads on marketing, but ultimately it’s the search engines that really generate the traffic. Trouble is, search engines are notoriously hard to manipulate, so getting your site into the top rankings is always going to be difficult.
There are various ways of handling this. You can do all the search engine submission by hand, you can pay a third party to do it for you, or you can try to find a decent piece of software to do it all for you. That’s what Web Site Traffic Builder claims to be; an automated search engine submission tool.
Depending on which version of the software you buy – Standard, Gold or Platinum – you get various different options. The Standard package ‘only’ covers 140 or so engines with a single ‘project’ site. That number rises to over 2,000 in the Platinum pack (the vast majority of which aren’t going to send you any significant amount of traffic), with no limit to the number of projects, so you can use it to submit sites on behalf of clients, if necessary.
You have to fill in a few contact details and information about your site, then you can pick and choose the categories of search engine to which your site is submitted. There’s a meta tag adviser too, and a search engine ranking checker to let you know how things are progressing.
And the results? Variable at best. There was an initial traffic increase to our test site, but that quickly trailed off and we were back to where we started from after a week or so. For this to work, you have to resubmit on a regular basis, but then you run the risk of spamming the search engines, and being removed from their listings altogether.
There are some serious interface problems, too. It’s not at all clear how you go about filtering Web sites for analysis, because if you do things in a different order (i.e. country first, then language rather than language first, then country) you get different sites selected. Also, when submitting, time-outs can occur simply because your own ISP has trouble reaching the relevant search engine sites. We found that switching from one dial-up ISP to another almost doubled the number of successful submissions.
The software can also overload the Winsock client on a fast machine, eventually shutting down your Web connection. So you have to start all over again. Irritating, to say the least.
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