May 22, 2002
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
----> Was I Really That Bad?
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Let Your Trusted SEO Do Their Job
----> ODP Update
*This Week's Sponsor:
----> Click Patrol Bid-Management Service
*Other SEO News:
----> Kill Pop-ups with Google's New Toolbar
----> Espotting Ads in Messagizer Newsletters
----> Google Results on Netscape
*This Week's Fake Sponsor
----> ActDumb's Big Business Listings
*Stuff You Might Like
----> Send Yours In!
----> Could Someone Kick Me in the Pants?
Hey everyone! This morning I was "talking" to a fellow SEO about how
some clients just don't get the fact that if they change their Web
site after you've carefully optimized it, they risk losing their
rankings in the search engines. I pointed my colleague to the article
I had written on this subject a few years ago, and also reread it
I noticed two things while reading it:
1) my writing skills have dramatically improved over time, and
2) the article had some really good information that you guys could
So I put my editing skills to work and fixed up the article to be more
readable and concise. Let me know what you think!
I've also got some more info for you on how to get listed in
ODP/DMOZ -- straight from the ODP editors themselves.
Enjoy! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Let Your Trusted SEO Do Their Job++
I just don't get it. Why do some companies pay lots of money to have
an expert do a job for them and then not let them do it?
Before I sign on the dotted line with any new search engine
optimization client, I always make sure they understand that the
visible text copy on their current Web site will *have to* change in
order to achieve maximum success.
That's right, the visible text copy...the stuff that people see and
read when they visit your site.
Can't You Just Change the Meta Tags?
"What?" they often ask incredulously. "Can't you just change the Meta
tags?" "What if we make the new copy invisible?" "My nephew told me
that there are ways to do all this in the background."
Isn't There Any Other Way?
Sure, there may be other ways, but like any successful professional, I
use methods that have been proven to work for me: adding
professionally written, keyword-rich marketing copy to the important
pages of the site and optimizing them accordingly. This SEO method
worked for me back in 1995, and it continues to work in 2002. Judging
from the amount of email I receive from my long-time readers, it works
for them also!
Why Do Search Engines Exist?
Think about it for a moment: search engines exist to guide people to
pages that are relevant to their searches. What could be more
relevant than a page that "discusses" the very keywords the person is
Once I explain it like that to potential clients, most will agree that
perhaps their fancy Flash splash page should be moved off their front
page. The bulk of them also agree that perhaps a rewrite of their
copy with keyword phrases in mind is actually a good idea. And very
often, once they see that the new keyword-rich copy not only helps
them get high search engine rankings, but also enhances their
visitors' experience, they are very happy campers.
There's One in Every Crowd
Unfortunately, every now and then I run across one of *those* clients.
You know the type. They appear to "get it" and happily go along with
all the necessary site changes. They participate in the copywriting,
they make suggestions and edits and they even comment on how great
their site is turning out. Everything is 100% perfect and you know
that it's only a matter of time before the rankings will be pouring
A few weeks later, a look at the client's site shows that all of the
new text you worked so hard to create is gone! All that remains of
your carefully crafted optimization are the Title and Meta tags. Even
Alt tags were not spared the delete key!
If you think this could never happen, think again! Unfortunately,
this happens to SEO consultants all the time.
Brainwashed By Meta Tag Hype
I've never quite figured out why some clients ask for help and then
don't follow through with it. One theory I have is that because so
much is written about Meta tags and the like, there are still a lot of
people who have been brainwashed into believing that Meta tags are the
be-all, end-all to high rankings.
Perhaps these clients are simply looking for some professionally
created Meta tags, and just go along with text changes to get what
they want. If so, the joke's on them because they'll soon find out
that their Meta tags were created for their site based solely upon the
keyword-rich copy. The two must go hand in hand; without the matching
copy, the tags will be useless. (Which is also why stealing a
high-ranking page's Meta tags will rarely do any good.)
SEOs: Spell it Out in Your Contract
You can't stop rogue clients from changing their site against your
best advice. However, you can protect yourself and your company by
having a smart contract at the outset.
If you're an SEO doing work for clients' sites, be sure to clearly
state the changes you will be making to their site in your contract,
before any work has begun. If you don't have a contract, get one now!
Specifically state that the client must not change or delete the new
copy and HTML coding for at least three months. If they sign up for
continued monitoring services, ask to review any copy or design
changes to ensure that they won't affect the search engine rankings.
If you really want to cover yourself, specifically state that you take
no responsibility for the rankings if they change the pages without
your knowledge and approval.
Clients: Trust Your SEO!
If you're going to hire an expert to do something for you, whether it
be search engine optimization or building a house, you've got to trust
them to do their job correctly. Professionals do not make specific
recommendations just for the heck of it. They have tried-and-true
methods that they know will work. If you hire someone who has a good
reputation and track record, then put your faith in him or her. If
you have any inkling that your SEO is not trustworthy, look for a new
SEO. Best results are always obtained when there is good
communication between all parties. Once you've found an expert you
can trust and are satisfied that their methods are in the best
interest of your site, then whatever you do, don't sabotage their best
efforts! Your SEO wants high rankings for your site as much as you
do. Give them enough latitude to obtain them for you!
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Every time I discuss ODP/DMOZ in a newsletter, I get lots of feedback
from volunteer ODP editors; last week was no exception. (If you
missed it you can read it here:
>From the emails I received, it's apparent that these volunteer editors
certainly do have their work cut out for them. Most of them stressed
the fact that they are inundated with "spam" submissions, which is the
number-one reason why most listings take so long. Apparently they are
wading through mounds of spam in order to find the few gems buried
Some of the other reasons why listings can take awhile (according to
the editors who wrote to me), are summed up as follows:
* There's a lack of editors for some categories. (If you notice this,
feel free to apply as a volunteer.)
* Some people mistakenly submit local sites to main categories as
opposed to the appropriate local category.
* Some add slogans or keywords to the company name in the submitted
* Some over-submit to a whole bunch of categories at once.
* Some people submit sites that already have a listing.
* Some submit descriptions that are "all puffery and no substance."
* Some submit sites that don't have an adequate description of what
the site is all about (on the site itself).
* Some submissions have spelling errors.
* Some sites have no contact info.
So even though it may be frustrating to those of us submitting sites
to ODP, it is important to remember that these guys and gals are
volunteers doing the best they can. Help them out by following the
rules, and by taking some time to submit correctly.
Not sure what we can do about the ODP spamming problem other than
making sure we're not the ones adding to the spam heap. If I ever
find out that any of you are spamming ODP, you'll be sitting in the
corner for a long, long time - so be good!
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~~~Other SEO News~~~
++New Google Toolbar++
Today's SearchDay, written by Chris Sherman, alerted me to the fact
that Google has updated its famed toolbar. I haven't tried it yet,
but it should be worth the download just for the pop-up window killer
that reportedly comes with it. (I'm sure that doesn't make Chris's
old haunt, About.com, very happy since they seem to be the king of
I sure hope it works better than the other pop-up window killers I've
tried in the past. They've all ended up zapping forum windows and
other things that I didn't want zapped. I'll let you know how this
one works for me once I've installed it.
Oh, and just so you know, the new toolbar also comes with lots of
other cool things too! The pop-up window killer was just the one that
happened to strike my fancy. You can learn about the other new
functions from SearchDay:
you can download the toolbar directly from Google:
++Espotting to Provide PPC Ads for Messagizer++
In case you don't get enough pay-per-click (PPC) ads from the search
engines, you can now start receiving your pay-per-click ads in email
newsletters! Oh goody!
According to their May 21 press release, Espotting will provide
commercial content links within Messagizer's interest-specific
newsletters. You can read all about it here:
What will they think up next?
++Netscape Search Using Google Results++
Hmm...interesting. I just received Robert Clough's excellent Search
Engine Guide Newsletter <http://www.searchengineguide.com>, and found
this tasty tidbit -- Google is powering Netscape Search! I guess this
isn't all that surprising since AOL (which owns Netscape) recently
inked a deal with Google.
I just did a search for "search engine optimization" at Netscape, and
it did indeed show Google results. They weren't exactly the same as
what I'm seeing on Google at the moment, so it appears as if they're
putting their own unique spin on things. In fact, their press release
stated that along with Google results, they're also showing relevant
editorial results from leading AOL Time Warner properties including
Time and CNN. It's not clear how or even if the editorial results
will be labeled. Since the first result for "search engine
optimization" was Netscape's own search page (where I was searching
from in the first place), it appears that the AOL Time Warner
properties will simply be integrated into the results -- unlabeled.
The "Sponsored Links" at the top are still Overture links, not Google
AdWords. I wouldn't be surprised if this changes at some point, but I
haven't heard anything either way. I'll keep you posted!
~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
So where's your stuff that we might like? I'm still waiting for you
to send some in for my review.
I'm looking for ebooks, special reports, software or anything else
that might be of interest to Advisor subscribers. Yes, it's gotta be
really, really good stuff...but surely some of you have some stuff
that fits the bill? Send it on over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
with "Stuff You Might Like" in the subject line, and perhaps it will
be featured here in an upcoming issue!
In the meantime, here's my definitive list from past issues of stuff
you most definitely *will* like:
* Karon Thackston's outstanding and thorough Copywriting Course:
</copywritingcourse> (Read my full review
* Andrew Goodman's amazingly right-on Google AdWords Special Report:
</pagezero> (Read my full review here:
* WordTracker's don't-even-think-about-optimizing-without-it software:
That's it! Man, I never thought I'd get this done today. I don't
know why, but it took me forever to get motivated. I think I need
some new ideas (or a good kick in the pants). Let me know what kinds
of things you'd like to read about in future issues, and of course,
keep sending me your questions and other feedback!
Yay! I'm done! - Jill