Indonesia Export, Blogs, SEO, Google, Yahoo and Headaches

This is a picture of how i feel about seo stuffIt’s 11:34 in the morning (lunch is on the way) and I’m having yet another headache over search engine optimisation. A bog, a minefield & a money pit all rolled into one or is it the riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma (also known as piddle, misery & enema).

So, let me lay it out:

I have a real company (“real” meaning bricks & mortar), Indonesia Export that’s out here the past ten years producing and exporting handicrafts out of Bali.

We’ve been online since 1995:

Domain Name: INDONESIAEXPORT.COM
Registrar: TUCOWS INC.
Whois Server: whois.opensrs.net
Referral URL: http://domainhelp.tucows.com
Name Server: NS.FORSITE.NET
Name Server: NS1.FORSITE.NET
Status: ACTIVE
Updated Date: 17-oct-2005
Creation Date: 23-dec-1995
Expiration Date: 22-dec-2006

Which makes us about the same age as Yahoo.

Back in the day, when Yahoo was still toddling along, they had maybe 5 sites in their Indonesia directory, we were one and we knew at least one of the Yahoo folks by first name. How funny is that? At that point, google had yet to become a verb, Suharto was the undisputed king of the hill and democracy was something other people had.

So? So times (and regimes) change. Nothing wrong with that. Competition grows. That’s cool. Competition is healthy.

But how come our website totally dropped out of the Search Engines. Doh. That really irritates me.

I did a search for indonesiaexport on google the other day and found “indonesianexport”[dot]com and indonesiaexport[dot]net (I’m not making that into a real URL just in case it ups their search results).

Turned out that seven of the top ten results were other people who’d used indonesiaexport in their meta tags (damn, thought they didn’t work anymore), page titles, etc. Also, some of those people are out-and-out rip off merchants — meaning, they’ve taken text from indonesiaexport.com or taken images or both. That’s what happens when you search our company name.

If you search for the products themselves (the stuff we’ve been selling for ten years), it’s even worse: we’re way down the page behind a bunch of johnny-come-latelys… frustrating.

So, a while back, couple of years ago I think, we switched over to Overture and AdWords so that we could pay our way ahead of the pack. Boy, did that get expensive real quick. I remember we took a huge shafting around the time of the SARS virus on advertising masks — we sell balinese and indonesian carved wooden masks (one of our best selling products) and we had positioned ourselves in first or second place with the adwords… next thing we know, a couple of days have gone by and our bill from google was like two thousand bucks.

At first, we thought, “excellent!” — here we go with 500 container orders of masks. But, nope, turns out that people had been searching for “surgical” masks and, I think it was, “N51″ masks and our ad was still coming out top of the page… I call this the idiot click. A person searches for something, the results come in and that person clicks the first one or two links just because they’re there. Like an idiot. I don’t do that.

Ok, you live and learn. You change your account settings, etc. so that doesn’t happen and you move on. And you pay your money. Then you get into a clicking war. Followed by a price war. And you decide that, neat as it is, to use AdWords and Overture to position yourself, it also makes sense to have the website fall into the results pages naturally (so to speak). And, if you knew that you were all over a certain search term, you might not pay for results on that particular term. Cost-effective.

I went back to my old html hunting grounds (ya know: guru gathering) to see how best to optimise the site… obviously, if these other dudes were regularly saturating Google & Yahoo with their websites, so could I.

But here’s the dealio: they cheat. They’re blogging, and page redirecting, URL rewriting, robot.txt validating and blah,blah, blah. And it’s just not possible for me to wade through the info, run the company and keep my temper at the same time. So, in the end, most likely, I’ll have to hire a guy who’ll do it full time… and he’ll cheat. I’ll join the cheaters. Because, from what I’ve read and seen so far, the only way for an honest online business to be found is to be dishonest. It’s not even ironic. It’s pathetic.

Hmmn. I feel much better now. Thank you for sharing.

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