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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings Advisor: Hiding Stuff from Search Engines- Issue No. 018

July 10, 2002
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Using My Time Wisely

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Hiding Stuff From the Search Engines

*This Week's Sponsor:
---->   Customized Training Screensavers

*Other SEO News:
---->   No Need to Activate LookSmart Accounts
---->   Search Engine Strategies Report From Sydney

*Stuff You Might Like
---->   Search Engine Optimization Report

*Advisor Wrap-Up:
---->   Drooling Kids
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Ah...summertime.  The time of year when the kids are home from school
and have a zillion dentist and doctor appointments.  Thank goodness
for my laptop.  I got a nice chunk of this finished while sitting in
the waiting room while the kids got their teeth cleaned.  My oldest
has her first cavities.  :-(   (Apparently my sweet tooth runs in the
family!)

Anyway, I've got a little bit of everything for you today.  A question
and answer, a report from the Sydney conference, a search engine
optimization report review, and a silly little chocolatey wrap-up.

Enjoy! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

Hi Jill,

First, let me say how much I enjoy reading High Rankings' Advisor.
Even an old boat mechanic like me can pick up a tip or two, although
I'm generally scared to try anything different. Any rankings I have
must be through your preached "content is everything" method. :-)

What I was wondering about are two hidden (I guess) areas of a
webpage.

#1- On my sitemap, I make use of some tool tips so that when a visitor
hovers over a link it gives some idea what's on the page. Most of the
time they contain a description and text that may not be anywhere else
on my site...but may contain "more good content."

Do the spiders see the pop up tool tip text on their journey through
my site?

#2- I have a redirect page that I send new subscribers to after they
sign up for my newsletter. This redirect contains links to a couple of
older newsletters. I'm thinking of adding links there to all my past
newsletters. This "thank you" page is normally only viewed after
submitting the form for subscriptions.

Do the spiders see this page and then spider the newsletter links, or
have I somehow hidden a few pages on my site?

I don't make a living with this website, so I guess it's no big deal,
but for the life of me I can't find the answer!

Thanks sincerely for a great newsletter.

Wayne Weber
Broke Boats.com

++Jill's Response++

Hi Wayne,

Glad you enjoy the newsletter!  My goal is to always make it
understandable to the average Web site owner, and it's nice to know
that I'm on the right track.

As to the "hidden" information within the links on your sitemap page,
it doesn't appear as if Google can index that information.  To test
this, I did a search using the exact wording from one of your hidden
text areas, plus your domain.  For example, you have the phrase
"Safety equipment is the Law" in one of your mouseovers.  So I put
"Safety equipment is the Law" + "brokeboats+com" in the Google search
box, and no results showed up.  I tried it with a few other phrases
also, and none of them panned out.  (If you search for the phrases
without the quotes, you can see where some of those words are showing
up on other pages of your site, but not on the sitemap page.)

Now, this doesn't mean that Google isn't taking note of those words
and perhaps counting them as being relevant to your site, but only
Google knows that for sure.  What I would do, instead of using those
fancy mouseovers, is put a visible description under each hyperlink.
These words could be keyword-rich, and they'd definitely get indexed.
Plus, it would be helpful to your visitors who may be using older
browsers and can't view your mouseovers.

In answer to your second question, if the links to the pages you're
asking about are on the "thank you" page and nowhere else, then the
search engine spiders won't be able to find those pages.  The search
engines don't sign up for your newsletter, and therefore can't get to
your "thank you" page.  If you want the old newsletters to be indexed,
you should definitely put links to them on your sitemap page.

Hope this helps!

Jill


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~~~Other SEO News~~~

++No Need to Activate LookSmart Accounts++

I've got some late-breaking news for you!  Everyone who didn't
activate their LookSmart account (i.e., didn't provide a credit card
number) thought that they were going to lose their listings any day
now. Well, the latest scoop from Chairman Evan Thornley is that
activation is no longer required.  LookSmart will automatically credit
all past Express Submit and Basic Submit customers with 100 free
clicks per listing each month through December 11, 2003.

I guess they didn't want those thousands of listings to simply
disappear from their "directory" (if you still want to call it a
directory).  This is good news for those of us who have lost all faith
and trust in LookSmart.  I don't know about you, but I sure didn't
want them having access to my credit card details.  Now we don't have
to worry about our sites disappearing for good, or having our credit
cards charged inadvertently.  Sites will probably still disappear each
month when the free clicks are used up, but at least now we don't have
to think about it.

If you previously activated your account because they scared you into
it with their strong email urgings, you might try emailing them to see
if you can get them to "deactivate" you.  (Assuming you aren't
planning to add any money to your account.)

Everyone I talk to lately is having great MSN success through their
Inktomi listings, so LookSmart is becoming even less of a factor than
it used to be.  I highly recommend deactivating your LookSmart
account, and then forgetting about LookSmart forever.  They are no
longer part of any of my SEO campaigns, nor will they ever be.


++Search Engine Strategies Sydney++

The Search Engine Strategies conference has been making its way around
the world and was recently in Sydney, Australia.  As much as I would
have loved to visit Australia and be a part of the conference, it was
just a wee bit too far away for me to be able to swing it.
Thankfully, my friend Kalena Jordan was one of the speakers, so I was
able to get a full report for you.  (Which is more than you usually
get when I attend since I'm too busy socializing -- okay, drinking --
to take any notes!)  Kal is the owner of one of the very first SEO
companies in Australia (Web Rank Ltd.), so she definitely knows her
stuff.

So without further ado, here's Kal:

=====

Attendees at the Search Engine Strategies Conference held in Sydney on
June 11 & 12 seemed very impressed with the quality of the information
presented and the organization of the event itself. The first
search-specific Conference held in Australia, SES Sydney demonstrated
a maturing of the search industry in the region and paved the way for
future similar events.

My sessions went well and I was able to talk to many of the attendees
between events. They all agreed a Conference of this type was long
overdue to meet the burgeoning search market in Australia and New
Zealand. Actually I was pleasantly surprised to see so many attendees
from New Zealand - perhaps organizers will hold a similar Conference
across the Tasman soon.

Probably the biggest news that came out of the Conference was the
strong support for Google to establish an Australian version of their
search engine.  Currently, Google is in a legal dispute with the
existing owners of the domain Google.com.au and have delayed setting
up a regional version until the dispute is resolved. But Google's
International Manager David Lee said he was so impressed with the
support shown by Google fans at the Conference, that he may lead
discussions about the possibility of launching Google Australia on a
temporary domain, ahead of schedule. Google also hinted at the
possibility of rolling out country-specific pricing for their AdWords
product, following complaints by Australian users that the U.S.
traffic-based pricing did not accurately reflect the regional markets
and out-priced many potential regional clients. (By the way David,
where's my promised T-shirt? LOL!)

I also got chatting with Kevin Eyres from AltaVista International at
the Conference.  Kevin found it interesting that many Australian-based
audience members were choosing to search at AltaVista.com, despite the
availability of AltaVista.com.au.  The reason? A perception that the
regional domain would provide a limited number of relevant results
compared to the U.S. version. This just isn't true, according to
Kevin. In fact he claims that all U.S. AltaVista content is available
on each of their country indices. He also claims that AltaVista.com.au
has the most relevant Australian content of all the regional search
engines, with 16 million local pages indexed.  During his
presentation, Kevin also mentioned that currently, AltaVista uses over
100 different factors in their ranking algorithm. This, they say,
makes it almost impossible for spammers to manipulate the search
results.

The Open Directory Project (ODP) representative, Clive Ronneberg, also
had some interesting points to make at the Conference. One tidbit was
that ODP only employs two full-time staff, with the rest made up
entirely of volunteers. Clive also made a point to mention that
Australian Web site owners often make the mistake of thinking they can
only submit to one ODP category, when they can submit to both a
topical category AND a regional category. Of course this applies to
Web site owners worldwide - so make use of that extra category if you
haven't already! Clive also provided a URL that listed all the ODP
editors - very handy if you need to follow up:
<http://dmoz.org/edoc/editall.html>. LookSmart Australia announced a
number of new partnerships at the Conference, which have their own
news stories featured below.

Also, some revealing facts about search engine use in Australia and
New Zealand were shown during one of the final sessions. According to
Gavin Appel of Sinewave, only 23.2% of Australian searchers actually
use regional search engines, with 76.8% preferring to use
international search engines. The figure is even more significant in
New Zealand with only 20.5% using regional search engines and 79.5%
using the international engines, according to Peter McNamara of
Internet Marketing Engine.

What makes these figures interesting is the fact that New Zealand has
around twice as many regional search engines as Australia, yet the
huge majority of searchers still use U.S.-based engines and
directories. Could this be the result of poor advertising and
promotion?

Finally, a big thank you to Danny Sullivan for being so friendly,
welcoming and supportive to all the speakers. Thanks also to moderator
Detlev Johnson and Conference organizers for making it run like
clockwork. You did a splendid job and I look forward to taking part
next time SES heads Down Under.

If anyone missed the Conference and would like to see my presentations
on Designing Search Engine Friendly Sites and Successful Site
Architecture, they are now available for download from the conference
Web site here: <http://australia.internet.com/events/ses02/>.

Kalena Jordan, CEO
Web Rank Ltd.
http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/

=====

Thanks, Kal!  If you're interested in hearing more from Kal, check out
her monthly SEO newsletter, "The Search Light," here:
<http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com/free_newsletter.htm>.

And while we're on the subject of the Search Engine Strategies
conference, don't forget that there's one coming to San Jose,
California in August.  I'll be speaking there on writing for the
search engines.  The conference will be held on August 12, 13 & 14 at
the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose.  (For more conference info, visit
the Search Engine Strategies site here:
<http://www.intmediaevents.com/sew/summer02/agenda.html>.)

I also have a free 2-day pass for one of you lucky readers!  Since the
pass is for two days only, the winner will have to choose which two
days he or she would like to attend (or pay for the third day out of
pocket).  If you're absolutely positive you can attend (airfare and
hotel are not included), then please email me at
mailto:freepass@highrankings.com and I'll put your name in the
running.  I'll let you know who the winner is within the next couple
of weeks.  Good luck!


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Search Engine Optimization Report++

For the past few weeks I've been reading Mike Grehan's "Search Engine
Optimization Report" in my spare time.  If you check out other SEO
resources you may have heard of Mike's report.  He's doing a fabulous
job of marketing it and getting it into the hands of people like me
who will review it.  In fact, I've never seen quite so many
testimonials for one report before!  After reading it for myself,
however, the raves come as no real surprise.

This report is NOT one of those things that was slapped together in a
matter of hours.  Mike has spent the past year of his life slaving
away to make it as comprehensive as possible, and that's exactly what
it is.  No search engine stone was left unturned.

What I found most interesting about this report is that it backs up my
common-sense approach to SEO with cold, hard facts.  You all know that
my SEO methods are based on simple, everyday logic.  When I try to
figure out the consequences of any given SEO technique, I just ask
myself a question:  "If I were a search engine programmer trying to
provide the most relevant results to my users, how would I program for
this?"  Of course I try to back up my answers with some practical
tests, but I admit that my tests are often less than scientific.  So
when I read Mike's report explaining in detail why my approach to SEO
actually works, it was a great feeling!

Mike uses the first few sections of the report to explain how search
engines actually work.  He spent countless hours interviewing search
engine reps and gained intimate knowledge of the anatomy of a search
engine.  Beware, though, these sections may bore you!  Much of it was
way over my head, and quite frankly I really don't care how the search
engine gears turn.  But I'm not everyone.  For those of you who love
technical stuff and want to know every element, you'll be in seventh
heaven!  There's lots of info on crawlers and spiders, the
repository/database module (whatever that is!), the query interface
and the term vector database, plus a whole lot more.

Actually, the term vector database discussion was interesting to me
because I have heard that phrase bandied about at search engine
conferences and in SEO articles.  I never quite understood what it was
all about.  Apparently, neither did a whole slew of other SEOs!  In
his report, Mike explains how the phrase has been commonly misused and
misunderstood by many in the SEO field over the years.  In fact, he
goes as far as debunking the myth of "themes-based SEO."  Personally,
I've never quite bought into the whole themes thing.  It simply didn't
make sense to me for a variety of reasons.   Well, here's a great
example of where Mike's in-depth analysis, logic and proof back me up
beautifully.  I can't say I totally understood it all when I read it,
but Mike personally explained it to me on the phone, and it all made
perfect sense.  (Just don't ask me to explain it to you!)

For those of you who don't need to know all the technical details,
there's still a huge amount of information in this report for you.
Mike suggests that the less technical people just skim through the
techie stuff, and then perhaps go back to it later as their thirst for
additional search engine information increases.  Even if you skip the
technical sections completely, there is plenty to keep you busy in the
other sections.  Mike really does cover all the bases.  There's so
much info stuffed into one place that I haven't been able to finish it
all yet myself.  (It doesn't help that my electricity went out while I
was trying to read it on my monitor!)

There's no doubt in my mind that regardless of whether you're an SEO
beginner or a seasoned SEO expert (or anywhere in between), you'll
definitely get your money's worth when you purchase this report.
Definitely!

You can learn more about it, view the table of contents or buy it
through my affiliate link here:
</searchenginereport>.  Please let me know
what you think of it when you've had a chance to digest it.


~~~Advisor Wrap-Up~~~

Gotta wrap this up quickly because there are six long-stemmed,
chocolate-covered strawberry "roses" sitting on my kitchen table
waiting for me to dig in, courtesy of a grateful reader.  Actually,
there are just enough for each member of the family to have one, plus
one for my son's friend (our honorary member), Dimitri.  Since these
are real strawberries and they won't stay fresh for long, I figured I
better share this time around.  The kids keep hovering over them
drooling and asking if they can eat 'em yet, but I told them not until
I finish the newsletter.  (It's a good way to get them to be quiet
while I write!)

Grateful Reader, if they're as good as they look, you've made six
happy (and messy) new friends!  Thanks a million!

After the chocolate-fest it's off to the exercise machine for me, cuz
all this chocolate is making my belly grow for some reason.

Have a good one! - Jill

Added: Okay, we just ate the strawberries.  Right now there's one left
for my husband when he gets home.  Maybe he doesn't really need to
know they ever existed...hmmm ;-)
 
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