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Iconocast Poll Sheds Light On Search Engine Optimization Issues

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Iconocast Poll Sheds Light On Search Engine Optimization Issues

By Danny Sullivan
From The Search Engine Report
Jan. 3, 2001

In November, the respected Iconocast newsletter surveyed its readers on search engine optimization issues. Here's a summary of key findings, based on 404 responses:

+ Manual submission was found more popular than automated submission (71 percent vs. 52 percent), but the gap between the two was much smaller than that found by a different poll conducted among I-Search readers earlier this year (84 percent vs. 16 percent).

Why such a big difference? Iconocast readers clearly could choose any choice that applied, while I-Search readers had to choose one or the other. Result? The Iconocast survey implies that many people will use both methods but manual submission is used by most. And the I-Search survey hints at why: 86 percent of those who submit manually did so because they either thought or knew it was more effective.

+ Only 20 percent said they "Paid for faster submission." However, another 20 percent also said they "Paid for directory listing," and there's the possibility that those surveyed could have been confused between the two. The faster submission option refers to using programs such as Yahoo and LookSmart's express submission services, which promise that a site will be reviewed in a short period of time, in exchange for a fee. The directory listing option refers to paid placement services such as, where top listings are sold. Short examples where provided with both options but Iconocast said it wasn't entirely clear that respondents understood the difference between the two.

+ Sadly, the Iconocast survey pointed out that only just over half the respondents (53 percent) actively measure traffic from search engines, with log file analysis being the leading method (49 percent), followed by rank checking (42 percent).

+ Meta tags remain the weapon of choice in improving rankings (61 percent), while the far more important element of page titles comes in second (44 percent). Link building is also a crucial activity, but it came in a distant third (32 percent). After these came tactics more often (but not always) associated with spamming: purchasing multiple domains (28 percent), maintaining multiple home pages (21 percent) and hidden text (18 percent).

The survey also listed most popular submission firms or companies, with Microsoft's bCentral topping the list (41 percent).

Iconocast Search Engine Optimization Poll
Iconocast, Dec. 7, 2000

Full results of the Iconocast poll can be found here.

Search Engine Marketers Prefer Manual Submission to Auto-Submit Tools, March 20, 2000

Results of the I-Search submission survey mentioned above.

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