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Jill's Search Engine Optimization Process - Issue No. 002

March 13, 2002


*Introductory Comments:
---->  How do you know if you're in BOW?

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->  Jill's Search Engine Optimization Process

*This Week's Sponsor:
---->  WordTracker Keyword Research

*Grand Finale:
---->  Send me your tired and your poor

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

We are certainly off to a great start with the Advisor!  Thanks to
everyone who sent me their well wishes, congratulations and kudos
regarding the first issue.  It truly meant a lot to me, and it was
great to know that I was on the right track with everything.  Of
course now I've set the bar so high that I have the unenviable task of
making each issue as great as the first.  All I can say is that I'll
do my best!

Quick follow-up on last week's interview with Barry Lloyd (if you
missed it, you can read it here:
</issue001.htm>) - Many people asked how
they could tell if they were in Inktomi's Best of Web (BOW) database.
Unfortunately, there's no definitive way to check this.  Here's what
Barry told me:

You can make a fair guess by doing the following:

Look for the web page results for a search term on MSN.
Check to see which results have a redirect-west.inktomi listing (you
can see this by hovering over the search engine result and seeing the
referring URL at the bottom of your browser). If the sites are
reasonably well optimized, sites that appear above the bulk of
redirect URLs are probably in BOW. If there are a lot of sites before
the bulk of redirect URLs and just one or two redirects up at the top,
odds are that these sites are in BOW and paid-inclusion. BOW sites
tend to have the LookSmart title and description if the sites are also
in LookSmart.

This method tends to work on competitive phrases where there is likely
to be a fair number of paid-inclusion sites. For others, it is a lot
tougher to work out.

You can also see some examples in this forum thread:
4&perpage=20&pagenumber=2> [Moderator Comment: Barry's nickname in the
forum is MakeMeTop]

Barry Lloyd
Microchannel Technologies Ltd.

~~~Search Engine Marketing Question~~~

Are you up for some Q&A today?  Here's a question I received last week
that may be relevant to you:

From: Michael Lawford []

Hi there,

Something regarding SEO has been puzzling me for quite some time now.
It seems to me that even though search engine algorithms are
constantly changing, the methods we use are staying more or less the
same.  As far as I know it is a simple(ish) process of:

1.  Keyword selection
2.  Meta tag optimization
3.  Link popularity establishment

Surely there must be other elements to the whole process?  It seems
like there is really no need for doorway or hallway pages anymore.  To
me the best route is that of pay-per-click optimization.  What do you

Best Regards,


~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Michael, and thanks for your question.

Well, you've got a good start to your search engine optimization
methods, but you've forgotten the most critical element to the whole
process.  That is, utilizing your keyword phrases within the body copy
on the page.  Without that, all your keyword selection, Meta tag
optimization and even link popularity building will be for nothing.
As to doorway pages, you're quite right; there's no need for those
anymore (nor was there ever any need, in my opinion).

To me, search engine optimization (SEO) has always been about making
your site the best it can be.  Adding doorway pages that are only
there for the search engines does nothing to enhance your site.
Creating great, visible copy that explains exactly what your site and
your business are all about enhances your site tremendously.

Let me tell you about the SEO process I go through with my clients,
and hopefully this will help you with your own SEO campaigns.

The first thing I do when starting a new SEO campaign is find out the
goals for the site and the optimization in general.  For instance, is
the goal simply to drive more targeted traffic to the site or is it to
get people to sign up for a newsletter?  Is the goal to get someone to
make a purchase online, or is it to entice people to call or email for
more information?  Usually, the goals will be a combination of things.
Very often different pages within the site will have different goals,
and these need to be kept in mind throughout the SEO process.  This
information will also help us figure out how much rewriting or editing
of the copy will be necessary to reach those goals.

With the end goals in mind, the next step is to compile a brainstormed
keyword phrase list.  At this point, we ask the company to send a list
of the phrases that they feel are important to their site.  It's
important to also go through the existing site pages and pull out any
keywords that appear naturally within the copy, and add these to the
list.  With list in hand, it's time for some heavy-duty keyword
research over at WordTracker.  Plug your keyword phrases into
WordTracker and see what comes up.  Very often you'll find that
keywords the company thought were important are not actually searched
upon by real people.  Luckily, WordTracker will give you alternate
suggestions to test.  Eventually, you will be armed with WordTracker
list of actually searched upon, highly targeted and relevant keyword
phrases.  Send this off to your client, whose job it will be to weed
out irrelevant phrases from the list and rank the relevant ones in
order of importance to their business.

Once this new "short list" is compiled, it's time to brainstorm with
the client on which two or three phrases to focus on within the copy
of each page of the site.  The home page of the site should usually
focus on the main two or three phrases that encompass the general
theme of the site.  Inner pages should each focus on two or three more
specific phrases.  If the pages already have some copy to work with
(say 150 - 250 words or more), take a look at the existing words on
each page and see which two or three keyword phrases in your short
list will fit best with the current copy.  If pages of the site don't
have much copy to begin with, or if there is no specific focus on any
given page, a rewrite from scratch will be necessary.

Once the keyword phrases are chosen for each page of the site, it's
time to get down to the nitty-gritty and start utilizing them within
the copy.  If you're rewriting from scratch, be sure your copywriter
understands which keywords need to be used, what the goals of the site
are, and who the target market is.  Obviously this information will
affect how they write the copy, so the more they know, the more
accurate your copy will turn out.  If you're lucky enough to be able
to edit in the necessary keywords, that's your the next step.  Once
your copy is finished and approved, you should now have a number of
pages focusing on two or three keyword phrases each, and the real fun
begins!  You're now ready to optimize the actual HTML code.

Optimizing the HTML code includes creating Title tags, Meta
description tags, Meta keyword tags, headings, image alt tags, and
hyperlinks.  All of these are important factors in helping the search
engine spiders to properly classify your site.  Rather than go into
detail on how to perform all of these tasks, I'll direct you to some
of my previous articles at:
</articles.htm>.  You can also search
through the archives at Rank Write
<> for even more specific info.

When your code is optimized, it's finally time to upload your new
pages to your server and submit them to the search engines.  More info
on this process can be found in my article entitled "Submitting to the
Spidering Search Engines" at:
</sesubmitting.htm>.  At this point it's
also time to perform your directory submissions or directory change
requests.  Some experts recommend that you do these before all the
other work, so that you can start getting rankings right away.
However, I prefer to wait until the copy changes have been made and
uploaded.  The newly focused copy helps the directory reviewers to
more easily understand what your site is all about, and they'll be
less apt to edit your submitted description.  If you submit before
your site's copy is using your specific keyword phrases within the
copy, the reviewer may feel these keywords don't belong within your
directory description.  More info on directory submissions can be
found here: </directorysubmit.htm> and
here: </payforplacement.htm>.  (Both of
these articles are slightly out of date; however, the general
information on creating descriptions, etc., is still accurate.)

Now it's time to begin your link-building campaign.  As with directory
submissions, I prefer to wait until the site is in perfect condition
before starting to request links.  The better your site is, the more
likely others will be willing to link to it.  Link building can be
done in a quick burst, but should also be an ongoing process.  You
should always be on the lookout for sites that are a good fit with
yours and contact them about exchanging links.  For more info on link
popularity and its effect on search engine rankings, please read this
article: /linkpopularity.htm.

At this point, the only thing left to do is wait for your rankings to
roll in!  If you've paid for inclusion with the search engines and
directories that offer this, you'll start to see results within a week
or two.  If the rankings aren't as high as you'd like them to be, I
don't recommend changing anything for at least three to six months.
You'll need to give your link-building campaign time to kick in, as
well as simply give your new site time to age in the engine's

That's all there is to it!  Pretty simple, eh?  Did I miss anything?
Do you have another process?  With thousands of SEO firms out there,
I'm sure everyone has their own tried and true methods.  The one I've
outlined here has served me well, and I'm sure you'll find it will do
the same for you if performed correctly.  However, there's always more
than one way to skin the SEO cat, so if your method differs a bit,
don't worry about it if it's working for you!

Good luck everyone!


Not according to WordTracker!
(But a few search for "SEO experts")

Don't even *think* about doing SEO without
researching your keyword phrases...

Sign up for a WordTracker subscription today!


~~~Grand Finale~~~

So, how are you doing?  Still awake over there?  Feel free to send me
your questions, comments, kudos, flames or even your tired and your
poor!  Send me anything but spam.  (I really like chocolate - which
reminds me...thanks, Chad!)

Over 9200 subscribers...whoohoo! Catch you next week!

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