There's a lot of misinformation, misconceptions, assumptions, and lies about search engine listings. I agree that one should not pay for placement and listings. The people who offer these services seem to have a spammer's mentality, or that of one of the crummy hosts we hear about frequently - promise them anything and get their money.
I have read statements by people who focused on and investigated these services and listings in general. They came to the same conclusion, paying people for listings is worthless.
I suspected search engines were overrated for finding information due to the tremendous amount of listings returned, most in no particular order. Portal sites dealing with the subject are often much better due to their specialized focus. Testimonials by some of my customers confirmed this fact, evne though their listings were in the top 10.
The information about finding methods and search engines at http://websnapshot.com
, which I discovered last year, helped confirm my suspicions. Among the search engines, Yahoo has remained substantially ahead of all others. I believe it is because it is principly a directory, rather than a search engine, with neatly catergorized entries, making sites easier to find.
Of course, they utilize a search engine also, just as the search engines have added directories.
One of the things that should make anyone question these listing services is that various search engines use different methods for determining placement order. Some use how many times you list keywords in the text on the page, others use more cryptic algorithms. It is difficult to get a top listing in all of them.
I've been successful (and lucky) at getting a number of my customers in the top 5 on Alta Vista, and near the top on a few others. It wasn't magic (though I wouldn't rule it out), I just read their criteria and followed it.
Incidentally, many of them share the asame IP address, disproving that bit of bogus information (that you need a unique IP to be listed, or get a high listing). I just checked a couple of them earlier tonight. They come up as number 4 using the most common key words, and as high as number 2 for specific products.
With Yahoo, you need to submit a no nonsense, no hyperbole, accurate description, and hope they will include it. Remember, it is reviewed by their editors. Get it right the first time. If it gets included, it is highly unlikely they will ever change it. It took me 6 months (and writing to the vice president) to get them to change the URLS for two customers of mine (about 5 years ago). I've been trying for longer than that to get them to change a description and am about to try other means.
If you read messages at searchengine watch.com, keep in mind that there is a lot of false information. For instance, there are cases where someone with a shared IP spams the search engines, gets blacklisted, and then blames it on the shared IP. The fault is with the spamming, but they don't want to see that or tell others.
I would suggest reading what the search engines say (at least the top ones) about placements, do what they say
, and don't break the rules. It's worked for me, and some of my customers have two
listings in the top 10 on Altavista.