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From the engines' perspective it makes some sense...once they have you buying inclusion, they want you to do it for every page, but its not much for ROI for the webmaster.
If indeed this is true, PFI seems to be completely counter-productive. Has anyone found this phenomenon to occur with new/unlisted sites that pony up for PFI? If so, what's the best strategy for a new site with few backlinks that's largely unlisted?
Also, I think PFI is currently priced way too high for too little - per page just seems ridiculous to me - why not agree to go a certain depth into links or for a certain volume of pages. Sites that don't pay frequently get 100s of pages indexed are and quite happy without PFI.
If search engines only accepted PFI listings, their indexes would be incredibly small, and miss out lots of crucial pages. They can't exclude high quality sites without losing credibility and searchers.
Clearly free listings need to be included for quality search results. Inktomi found that out and and responded appropriately with aggressive spidering of non-PFI pages. They realized their existence depended more on the user experience than lining their pockets with every listing.
IMO, they also need to realize that they depend on the client experience as well, and not penalize for PFI...perhaps even (*gasp*) give some SERP advantage for PFI. If it worked as advertised, I don't think PFI would be too terribly overpriced. With its unfortunate side effects, its long term cost may be far greater, though.
I have also been giving this quite a lot of thinking lately. Using PFI might send up the red flags and put an end to my already pretty good free lisings.
I say don't risk it.
When Inktomi first launched its paid inclusion program in November of
2000 I believe a *few sites* (not all) did loose some of their natural
listings over the first year or so. Today, this is not the case as
the product is much more sophisticated now. If you noticed, the forum
you read at Webmaster World is dated March 2002.
I checked a non-commercial page that has never so much as been submitted to a search engine and doesn't seek Altavista traffic...and there are 11 pages indexed.
But even forgetting what can only be described as a 'bug' with PFI, I remain pretty dubious about PFI in its current state. For frequently upated sites and for tweaking of pages PFI it's great, but I think there needs to be more benefits to the people that pay to use it.
I'm not saying there aren't uses of PFI, i'm just saying that there are situations where it's not necessary. If its instant traffic you want, why not pay per clicks? Depending on the site you could buy quite a lot of clicks with the inclusion fee. And if you don't have decent number of links in the first place, the chances are your ranking won't be great on the PFI engines anyway, unless your chosen keywords aren't very competetive.
If you are in a very competitive market, you would be lucky to get 50-100 clicks for the amount you pay for PFI for 1 year. I agree that you definitly need to have links, but IMHO I can't see how paying $39 to guarantee spidering for 1 year is a bad thing.
I would also recommend SEO on the PFI page (as well as your entire site) to make sure you maximize your sites ability to rank high.
PFI - I didn't say it wasn't, in fact this is just what I was trying to say in my post.
>>If you are in a very competitive market, you would be lucky to get 50-100 clicks
Again, I did say "if your chosen keywords aren't very competetive"
The situations mentioned above are good cases for PFI. I was discussing those situations where it is unnecessary.
>>I would also recommend SEO on the PFI page
I took this as given. If you don't optimise pages you are wasting your time. My argument basically comes down to this - if you promote a site well then PFI becomes pointless because well promote sites are crawled often for free.
Although i'll have to clarify this again I think: If you have a regularly updated, unindexed site with no incoming links in a competitive area, then go for PFI ;)
Yes you are correct, but it could take many many months before your site is finally crawled. So you could sit around and wait for it to be crawled, or spend $39 to guarantee it gets crawled.
If your site is not picked up 'naturally' by the crawlers you are doing something wrong IMO. So, although PFI can be a reasonable stop-gap measure if you are in this situation, alone it's effect can only be minimal.
My point being that this if what I say above is true, PFI has only minimal real uses. Which gets in a roundabout sort of way back to my original point which was that there aren't enough benefits of PFI.
Search engines don't want out of date content, so they have to visit sites as often as they can, whether they pay or not. If they only visit PFI sites frequently, then their results will be poor.
Take your time to build a good site from the ground up and you don't need PFI. To me this implies that PFI is largely unnecessary.
Sorry if I seem to be repeating myself, I'm just aiming for clarity.
So I guess what you are saying is that you don't mind possibly waiting around for 3-4 months or more before your site is picked up naturally and indexed. In the mean time your competitor has been listed and has started making sales.
Another benefit of PFI is that if you make changes to your site, the changes will be picked up within a couple of days. Without PFI you could wait a few weeks or more before your site gets reindexed.
>>A... benefit...is that if you make changes to your site, the changes will be picked up within a couple of days
I agree with you. Using PFI to tweak pages is very handy.
>>waiting around for 3-4 months
I agree that PFI gets you included quicker and is more reliable. 3-4 months seems a little long, though.
I use PFI on a number of sites and so i'm well aware of its benefits. However, I also encounter situations where I really don't need to use PFI. My overall impression of PFI so far has been that it definitely has its advantages, especially for new and regularly updated sites. That said, I am a little anti-PFI because I don't like the idea that I have to pay search engines to do what they must do anyway, i.e. crawl the web and index pages. If they don't do what I pay them for on free sites as well as paid ones, searchers will be dissatisfied with the results and this will harm the search engine in the long term. Indeed, regularly updated results and large indexes are a high priority amongst searchers. If Google introduced PFI, they would lose a substantial amount of credibility and visitor confidence as a result. Google crawls tens of pages even on lower PR sites daily using freshbot. For free.
To me this adds up to PFI in its current form being a questionable business model, and although I will use it, it is with a fair amount of unease.
>>>I agree that PFI gets you included quicker and is more reliable. 3-4 months seems a little long, though. <<
I should have clarified by saying if you have a new site don't expect to have it crawled and listed for 3-4 months.
>>>My overall impression of PFI so far has been that it definitely has its advantages, especially for new and regularly updated sites. That said, I am a little anti-PFI because I don't like the idea that I have to pay search engines to do what they must do anyway, i.e. crawl the web and index pages. <<<
If you are in a competitive market where your competitors use the PFI model, I feel if you don't use the PFI model you are losing out. While your competitors are tweaking their pages and getting them reindexed every couple of days, there you are making changes but having to wait a month or more for your site to be reindexed and your site has dropped off the charts.
Now if you are starting out in a non competitive market, what is the harm in spending $39 your 1st year to have your site indexed quickly? At least then you can work on optimizing your site and hopefully have started making sales and when the free crawler comes around your site has been fairly optimized.
If there is no connection and paying to have pages included has no effect on the unpaid pages, then the database would probably be full of duplicate pages - one version from the paid database, the other from the regular crawler eventually.
Also if there is no connection you should be able to submit a page for a year (say the homepage which is almost always included for free), stop paying and the free version should still be in the index.
I found that many of my 40 pages had somehow been included in INK's database, so I thought I would be "smart" and pay to have 2 of the KEY pages INCLUDED for better results.
Well that was stupid, because once Inktomi indexed those two pages, they dropped all my others that were in there. And this was 2 days ago - so don't give me, "oh that was their OLD way of doing things"
I'm pissed and feel like kidnapping someone.(just kidding :)
We are in a position now with a site that has been live since 17 March where we were thinking about PFI. We are indexed well in inktomi but felt that having the ability to make improvements and have them indexed every 48hrs was worth the price. NOW... from what you are saying we could risk losing all the pages we have indexed. It seems like a risk we would not like to take and although some have said it did not happen to them, others say it did.
Would you advise us not to? This is our feeling at the mo.