May 29, 2002
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
----> Guess My Answer
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Doorway Pages
*This Week's Sponsor:
----> Click Patrol
----> Whatever Happened to Proofreading?
*Other SEO News:
----> SEO and the IRS
----> Espotting Approves Bid-Management Software
*Stuff You Might Like
----> Still Waiting for Good Stuff
----> Sardine Ice Cream?
Today's SEO question focuses on whether or not creating doorway
domains is a good idea. Can you guess what my answer will be?
I've also got a great guest article for you from Owen Johnson. It's
not really relevant to search engine optimization, but it is relevant
to anyone who has a Web site or has self-published any piece of
writing. Read on to see what it's about! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
From: Laurie Heron
Recently, I was approached by an SEO who had "analyzed" my site, and
they informed me that my site was devoid of keywords, which was odd.
I'm convinced that this company is not a quality SEO, but they did say
something that I was curious about. I copied and pasted the following
directly from their web site:
5 Doorway Pages
All Doorway Pages Include:
Unique URL and Unique Domain - that will cause search engines to see
them as completely separate websites you will now have 6 times the
power in Search Engine Submissions. Bi-Weekly Submission to 8,500
Is there any legitimacy to this strategy?
Thanks for the newsletter and tips.
Thanks for your question! When you say this company approached you,
does that mean via unsolicited email (spam)? There seems to be a
plethora of "submission" companies out there that prey on unsuspecting
Web site owners through spam. They make them believe that their site
is not being found in the search engines, and that they can help.
You've probably all received spam from a fictional "Christine Hall."
Ms. Hall even sends her slime to me regarding the Rank Write site,
which currently ranks #5 in Google for the phrase "search engine
optimization"! I truly doubt she could do better!
The first rule of thumb is that if a company approaches you about
their SEO services (when you didn't ask them for info), they're
spamming you. If they participate in email spam, there's a 99.9%
chance that they'll participate in search engine spam. So right off
the bat, you have to be suspicious about anything they say they'll do
for you. Your best bet is to simply trash those emails as fast as you
can hit the delete key. The only thing those companies do is give
legitimate SEO companies a bad name.
That said, let's look at what this company says they'll do for your
* 5 Doorway Pages
That in and of itself is bad news, in my opinion. I've never been an
advocate of doorway pages, as they simply add clutter to the search
engine databases. Sure, there are occasions where the design of a
site necessitates the use of doorway pages; however, these pages
should always be integrated into your main site and become an
important part of it. They should never be stand-alone pages that
simply point to your main page.
It sounds like what this company wants to do is even worse than simple
doorway pages. They want to take it one step further and create a
whole new domain and URL! No, no, no, no, no! Don't ever do this or
let another company do this for you. Not only does this create
duplicate content in the search engine databases, but it can also hurt
your current site's rankings.
It's true that in the past you could often get away with such
techniques, although they were always considered spam. These days,
you might still get away with it for a while; however, there's a good
chance that you'll eventually get caught. Once you do, your doorway
domain as well as your main site stands a chance of being penalized or
even banned. These sneaky doorway domain techniques have become so
prevalent over the years that the search engines (especially Google)
are really starting to crack down on it. It doesn't matter if your
doorway domain has totally different content from your main site. The
content of an *extra* domain is not considered to be unique, and would
be classified as spam by nearly every engine.
Besides, why create keyword-rich content pages for a new site when you
could be doing this for your main site? You don't have to worry about
having too much copy on your site. People really don't mind reading a
bit when searching for products or services. In fact, I'm quite sure
that they want to learn as much about their potential purchases as
they can. If you don't have a lot of information, why should anyone
buy from your site?
Content is what it's all about, folks. Content is great for both the
search engines and your potential customers. It's what was important
in the past, and what will continue to be important in the future.
Don't ever let an email, a company, or a sales rep talk you into
believing that SEO is about tricking the search engines. SEO is about
helping the search engines and helping your customers, which in turns
helps your site!
So let's see what else this supposed SEO company does. Oh
lookee...they submit your site bi-weekly to 8500 search engines.
<gulp> Sounds kinda cool, huh? Again, no, no, no, no, no, no and
First of all, there are not 8500 search engines that could accept the
average Web site. There is a whole pile of "Free-for-All" (FFA) sites
that will, however. FFA sites are pages that anyone can submit any
site to, but they are really just email-harvesting farms. They make
you submit your email address along with your site, then sell the
email addresses to spammers. And guess what else? You'll never get
any traffic from these 8500 sites anyway! So although it sounds
impressive on the surface, it's really just a scam. Apparently this
scam continues to fool newbies, which is why it's still offered on so
So what about the bi-weekly submissions? Isn't that a good thing?
Nope! They're also worthless and another big no-no. Submitting to
worthless sites every other week won't help you because...well,
they're worthless sites!
But even if the bi-weekly submissions were only to the major search
engines they *still* wouldn't be a good thing; in fact, they might
even be a bad thing. If your site is already in the search engines,
no amount of resubmission will make it rank higher. If it's not in
the search engines, submitting it every other week won't do anything
to speed things up. At best, your submissions will simply be ignored.
At worst, your submissions will brand you and your site as "a pain in
the butt doo-doo head" by the search engines and you'll be put under
extra scrutiny. Do you really want the search engines checking your
site with a fine-toothed comb to see if it's complying with their
standards? Why call any extra attention to your site?
These days, free submissions to the search engines are basically
passť. If you don't want to take the pay-per-inclusion (PPI) route
offered by Inktomi, Lycos/FAST, AskJeeves/Teoma and AltaVista, then
just wait it out. If it makes you feel better to submit your URL to
their free add-URL pages, then go ahead and do it ONCE; it will
certainly not hurt you. More importantly, however, you'll need to
submit to directories such as DMOZ/ODP and Yahoo!. Once either or
both of those directories have indexed you, the crawling search
engines will eventually find your site. You should also seek out
other relevant, high-quality sites that might be willing to add a link
to yours, as these will also help it to be found. (For more info on
pay-per-inclusion, please see Advisor issue 007:
To recap, here's a summary of today's "don'ts":
* Don't read spam.
* Don't create doorway pages.
* Don't create extra domains and URLs for more chances of being found
in the engines.
* Don't submit to 8500 (or even 1200 or 90) "search engines."
* Don't submit on a periodic basis to any search engine's free add-URL
And here's a summary of today's "dos":
* Do create keyword-rich content for the existing pages of your site.
* Do submit to directories such as Yahoo! and DMOZ.
* Do seek out relevant high-quality links.
* Do pay for inclusion in the spidering search engines if you're
looking for fast results, and/or have ever-changing content.
Hope this helps!
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++Whatever Happened to Proofreading?++
By Owen Johnson
One of the great things about the Internet is it has made us instant
communicators, instant authors and instant ad copy writers. One of the
WORST things about the Internet is it has made us instant
communicators, instant authors and instant ad copy writers. Too many
people just type an email and hit "send," including emails intended to
sell us something. Or they build a nice looking web page, type their
content and immediately go to their FTP program and upload it. They
don't bother to read what they've written first.
We see the results of this daily: email ads so poorly written we
instantly delete them and web sites with so many typos we have no
confidence in the business's abilities or integrity. In short, lost
sales. (The author of a guide I recently read about spotting scams on
the Web mentioned that some things they all seem to have in common are
misused and misspelled words, misused or missing punctuation and
typos--sloppy work.) We've all seen web sites that seem to be written
by people whose first language was something other than English and
the whole message was lost.
And here's one worth a chuckle--or a shake of the head: While reading
an eBook telling me how to write one and stressing the importance of
proofreading, I saw more typos and misused words and punctuation than
I could count. Now, how much should I trust this man's advice? In
fact, I've found that MOST eBooks telling us how to make money on the
Internet are put together so haphazardly I'm becoming convinced there
IS no way to make money using their methods. Anyone who throws
together their information in such a hurry they don't even proofread
it doesn't gain much credibility with me. And probably doesn't--or
shouldn't--with you, either.
I've been told that this sloppiness doesn't matter much to the younger
generations, from the "X-Generation" down, and that's apparent by the
fact that they tend to be the ones who are most often guilty. But to
the older generations it matters a great deal. Now, guess which age
group is the fastest growing in terms of Internet use? Which one has
the most money to spend? And which one actually spends the most on the
Internet? It's the Baby Boom generation, those people 45 to 55. If you
want us to buy from you or believe what you have to say, you'd better
make sure your copy is well written.
It also pays to remember that your site design and your writing should
be tailored to your targeted market. If you're selling nose rings, use
wild backgrounds and slang. But if you're selling fine jewelry, keep
it simple, clean and easy to navigate and stay away from the slang.
Otherwise, you'd better carry lots of nose rings!
After you've written your sales letter or web content, read it
through. (To save yourself some time, you can use a text editor with
spell-check, and paste it into whatever program you're using.) Then
send it to someone else to check it--someone in the same age group as
your target market or a professional editor. If it's a sales letter,
send the "finished" product to yourself first to make sure the
formatting came out right.
After you've done that and uploaded your pages to your server, do it
again. Hopefully, you're going to check your links anyway, to make
sure they work, so you might as well check everything else, too. Send
the URL to a few friends with different computers and different
browsers to see that it looks as good on theirs as it does on yours.
A little time spent assuring it's right will make a huge difference in
your site's traffic, and probably in your bank account, too.
Web Site Management
Maintenance and Content Editing
~~~Other SEO News~~~
++SEO and the IRS++
I knew SEO was finally getting into the mainstream!
Even the IRS is "tweaking their pages" so they'll come up high in the
search engines. Took 'em long enough! (See the related article here:
++Espotting Approves Bid-Management Software++
Espotting (which I think of as the Overture of Europe), has announced
the approval of three third-party bid-management software tools. The
approved providers are Web Site Promotion Services Ltd, GoToast and
PPCBidTracker. According to Espotting Marketing, these tools ensure
that advertisers are getting the maximum return from their Espotting
Overture currently has approved seven bid-management campaign tools,
including our sponsor this week, Click Patrol. For a nice summary of
Overture's approved tools, check out this article at Pay-Per Master:
~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
Well, I received lots of stuff last week, but unfortunately most of it
fell into the category of Owen's article above -- a major lack of
proofreading. Blech. I couldn't get past page six of an ebook I was
hoping to review, because the typos were simply too distracting.
Some of you must have written some good stuff (which has been
proofed!) that you'd like reviewed. It doesn't have to be about
search engine optimization, either. Any sort of Internet marketing
tool or ebook would be great. Also, anything about copywriting is
always welcome. Send your stuff over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
with "stuff you might like" in the subject line and I'll give it a
All was not totally lost with last week's stuff, however. I did get
one really cool browser add-on tool. Well, actually it's a
stand-alone browser that somehow uses IE...but makes it a whole heck
of a lot better. I'm still in the process of testing it out, but will
report back on it in a week or two. So far, I'm extremely pleased
with it and all its cool functions.
That's all on the SEO front. For those of you who've read this far
and like to hear silly little personal tidbits, this one's for you.
While eating my sardines for lunch today, I was reminded of the time
when one of my kids was about 15 months old (okay, so I don't remember
which kid...but let's just say it was my middle girl, Jamie). I was
having sardines for lunch one day, but apparently Jamie thought I was
having ice cream. (It was the same kind of bowl I had previously used
for ice cream the day before.) So, as all babies do, she came
toddling over for a bite. Hehehe...you should have seen her face when
she tasted sardines instead of ice cream! (I swear I rarely eat
sardines, but I do like them and they're really good for you. It's
one of the few weird things I learned to eat as a kid!)
Catch you next week! - Jill