In recent years many search sites have capitalized on the portal trend, positioning themselves as starting points for all of a user's online explorations. The main page at Netscape.com, for example, features customizable options such as stock quotes, horoscopes, news, shopping and more. This trend has leveled off a bit with the emergence of portals and specific destination sites. However, major portals will remain a popular gateway for many web surfers. Because the top 8 most-visited search sites combine portal features with a search engine or directory, a good listing on one of these sites provides terrific exposure.
Online advertising, such as banner campaigns, can be quite expensive. Search engine placement, on the other hand, can be a low-cost process. Although some search engines have "pay-per-click" programs, paid submissions and many companies optimize sites for paying clients, there's no reason why you can't significantly increase your site's traffic by simply understanding and applying optimization strategy. Any webmaster can learn more about search engine optimization tips and submission procedures.
High search engine rankings can be more effective publicity tools than paid ads. A top position on a major search engine such as Google can increase traffic far more than an expensive banner ad. Plus, the traffic you get will be more targeted -- it will consist of people who set out to find exactly what your site has to offer.