New Search Engine Marketing Buyer's Guide is a new directory that can help web site owners find experienced professionals to help with all aspects of the increasingly important process of search engine marketing.

The directory, from Search Engine Watch parent company INT Media, includes information on hundreds of firms that specialize in the varied tasks involved in effective search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns (Disclosure: The editors of Search Engine Watch are not involved with and receieve no financial incentive or compensation from the site).

The directory is categorized by seven major SEM services, and searching can be limited to specific services as well as location. These services include:

- Directory Submission. Submissions to major web directories (Yahoo, LookSmart and the ODP) must be done by hand, following rigorous guidelines. Submitting to directories is something of a labor-intensive art, and good SEM companies charge accordingly.

- Paid Inclusion Service. Paid inclusion services allow webmasters to submit specific URLs for guaranteed listings. In addition to guaranteed inclusion, search engines offering paid inclusion services refresh paid URLs frequently, allowing fine-tuning of search engine optimization efforts. A company that provides paid listing management should be monitoring the effectiveness of your search engine campaigns and making adjustments to improve the results you acheive.

- Paid Listing Management. Paid listings, aka known as advertisements, are purchased links, with position typically determined by a competitive bidding process. SEM firms offering paid listing management should not only be monitoring the effectiveness of your search engine campaigns, they should also monitor competitive keyword biding and make frequent adjustments to improve the results you acheive.

- Link Building Services. Google pioneered the concept of calculating relevance based on link popularity and importance. Companies offering link building services will try to help your site not only get many inbound links, but inbound links from high-quality sites that can influence your site's ranking in search results.

- "Search-friendly" Design. This is basic blocking and tackling, building pages that make it easy for search engines to determine the content of the page and determine relevance ranking. All competent SEM firms should offer search friendly design.

- Host optimized pages. Some vendors provide hosting services for pages they optimize. Traffic redirects to your site from their server. While this can reduce the burden on your own server, there are other considerations that may -- or may not -- make this an attractive option.

- Provide cloaking services. Cloaking is a process where search engine crawlers are provided with one version of the page but web site visitors see a different version of the page. While cloaking advocates claim that the process has legitimate uses, it's highly controversial and should be approached with caution.

The SEMList is free to search, and getting a listing in is free to all search engine marketers. includes information on hundreds of firms that help your Web site be found. Search by services provided, company location or company name. - Add Your Entry
Registration form for search engine marketers to add their company details to the directory.

Finding Search Engine Optimization Professionals
SearchDay, June 4, 2002
Looking for help crafting search engine friendly pages and link building programs? These directories of search engine optimization and marketing professionals can help you locate the person or firm that's right for your needs.

SEO Pros
SEO Pros is a directory of search engine marketing professionals organized by country, or use advanced search to search by postal code, province/state, city and country.

SEO Consultants Directory
Use a variety of search criteria to locate qualified consultants. All submissions are reviewed prior to inclusion in the directory, leading to a targeted result list of qualified SEO/SEM consultants and companies.

SEO Guide Expands, But Ratings Upset Some Firms
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2002
Danny Sullivan's review of MarketingSherpa's "Buyer's Guide to Search Engine Optimization & Positioning Firms." The second edition of that guide is now out, Danny will be doing a review of it for the Aug. 5 issue of the Search Engine Report.

Buyer's Guide to Search Engine Optimization & Positioning Firms
Information about the guide and the ability to purchase it online, from MarketingSherpa. FYI, the odd URL is not an affiliate link -- simply the format MarketingSherpa uses for its pages. Search Engine Watch does not benefit if you purchase a report.

FAST Introduces AlltheWeb Alchemist

FAST Search and Transfer has released Alchemist, a tool that lets you customize the look and feel of your result pages from The company also plans to use the tool to separate content and design to allow for customized presentation for various devices such as for visually or hearing impaired users, Palms, etc., according to FAST spokesperson Jami Axelrod.

AlltheWeb Alchemist

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.

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