Oct 152012

There is a new search engine that is catching a lot of eyes recently. It’s called Million Short and it reaches out to smaller websites.

The theory behind Million Short is that major search engine rankings are dominated by larger, older websites and thus many smaller, yet quality websites are all but invisible. Million Short changes this by letting you the user drop out the top million or top 100k, 10k, 1k, 100 search results.

This means that long tail rules on Million Short. The little guy finally has a chance to show. In one of my last blog posts I had talked about why handling your website as if the search engines didn’t exist was a bad idea. Well, Million Short changes the playing field (somewhat) in that you don’t have to have a 10 year old, well branded, authority domain with a mega million dollar budget to rank well.

There are a couple of other aspects of Million Short that I like. First, you’re not claustrophobic with advertising surrounding you on the results pages. Second, on the right panel instead of ads is a list of the results of the major websites that were removed from the listings.

Results for websites such as About.com, Amazon.com, Cafepress.com and even Wikipedia.org are removed, though with a click of a button you can put them back in if you like.

The one downside that I observed was that sometimes when I type in an exact domain name into the search box (such as yourdomain.com) Million Short doesn’t pull up that website.

But, all in all, Million Short is one of my favs to pop up in recent history in regard to new search engines. Give it a test drive yourself and let me know what you think.

Oct 122012

Over the years I’ve heard various people say that you should treat your website as if the search engines didn’t exist. The theory behind this assertion is that you don’t want your website to become search engine dependent or that by some magic the search engines will treat your website more favorably in the results for not going overboard with the optimization (which is true but not the same as doing no optimization). Now, even a few of those who work at the major search engines have made similar statements about wishing SEO didn’t exist so that all results would be “natural.”

But, in an online world where search engines do exist and deliver traffic to your website, acting as if they didn’t exist is a mistake. And I’ll tell you why.

If search engines truly didn’t exist we would have to get website traffic directly from other websites such as directories, social media, article banks, blogs, complementary industry websites or even competitor’s websites.

In an online world with no search engines what we’d be neglecting to do is to pay attention to keywords. We wouldn’t have relevant keyword phrases in our website’s titles, body text, internal links, or image alt tags. There would be no meta tags. All of our external links on other websites may have anchor text that says “buy now” or “click here” instead of relevant keyword terms.

Now, if we acted like the search engines didn’t exist and did not do on-page or off-page optimization, how do you think your website would rank in a world such as we really have it with search engines? Badly. Search engines key off of keyword phrases. These phrase may be exact, partial or synonyms but they still count. And of course the words surrounding the keyword phrases count as well.

So, in an ideal world with no search engines, yes, you could act as if the search engines didn’t exist, do a lot of banner and display advertising and pay no attention to keyword phrases with text ads. But, in a world where search engines do exist deciding not to optimize your website is a strategy you can throw right into the wastebasket.