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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings' Advisor: Search Engine Marketing Q&A - Issue No. 023

August 21, 2002
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   San Jose Success

*Search Engine Marketing Q & A:
---->   Optimizing Individual Product Pages
---->   My DMOZ Listing is Showing Up in Google
---->   Indexing a Framed Site
---->   Using Mini-sites for High Rankings

*This Week's Sponsor:
---->   Search Engine Marketing Tactics 2002 Amsterdam

*Other SEO News:
---->   Overture and Google Guidelines
---->   New Paid-inclusion Partnerships

*Stuff You Might Like
---->   SEO Consultants Directory

*Advisor Wrap-Up:
---->   Don't Miss Out on Your Discount
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  Did you miss me last week?  I had a great time at the
SES conference in San Jose, and I've gotta say that I didn't miss you
guys at all.  Of course, I did meet a whole bunch of you there, so
perhaps that's why!  The conference was great, the weather was great,
the Google Dance was great and the people I met were great.  It's
always fun to get away from the computer and talk to people as opposed
to typing to them (although I could often be found with my laptop out
by the pool area during the day!).  My assistant, Lorelle Smith, was
able to attend the conference and it was nice to get to meet her in
person.  She is quite the shutterbug and took a ton of photos at the
various functions.  If you're interested in seeing them, they're
posted here:  <http://www.webwordsmith.com/ses2002/>.  Most of the
ones of me pretty much suck, in my opinion (sorry Lorelle), but you
guys all look great!

Anyway, there's a ton of great info packed in here today, as I had
quite a backlog.  So let's get right to the good stuff! - J


~~~Search Engine Marketing Q & A~~~

++Optimizing Individual Product Pages++

From: Clarence Seneca

I subscribed to your newsletter a couple of months ago and I must say
you've got me hooked! I keep all of your newsletters and try to catch
up when time allows.

I have a few questions about optimizing my site. I recently adjusted
the title of my index page.  After the change it temporarily jumped
from 127 to 37 in Yahoo under my main keyword phrase.  I checked again
later and the ranking returned to around 124, with the title having
the original wording. Will the spiders eventually re-read it and
change the ranking again (hopefully higher)?

Here's the next question. Each one of the brands is on its own
individual page. Does that mean I could optimize them each somehow and
get them in the search engines also?

One last thing please. I'm also just beginning to research the subject
of copywriting, and I'm considering a total rewrite of the index page
after I'm confident I've learned enough to do it right.  Is it a bad
idea to tweak pages a little at a time, like changing phrases here and
there, as opposed to doing a final draft and changing everything at
once?  I get the impression that it is, but I can't figure out why.
Sure hope I make sense, and thanks for everything.

Clarence

++Jill's Response++

Hi Clarence,

Glad you like the newsletter!

>From your Yahoo! results, it sounds like you're actually talking
about the Google results that are within Yahoo! (i.e., Yahoo! Web
Pages as opposed to Yahoo! Web Sites).  If you see the Google logo at
the top of the results page, you're actually viewing Google results.

If you were talking about actual Yahoo! Directory results, your
description/title would not change when you alter your site's code.

Therefore, the changes you're seeing are normal, because Google often
gets the information from your new page, but then reverts back to the
old page for awhile.  It's nothing to worry about, as they will
eventually pick up your new information within a few weeks to a month.
You simply have to have a little patience and wait it out.  The good
news is that you already have seen a preview of how it will rank once
they have it in the database for good!

Regarding your individual product pages, you absolutely can and should
optimize them according to the brands they're selling!  Remember, your
main page can only do so much if you're selling a variety of products,
services or brands.  For these kinds of sites it's imperative to make
sure all your inner product pages are search engine friendly, i.e.,
the spiders can find and index them, and that they make use of
keyword-rich copy, titles, metas, and other optimizable HTML code.

You don't have to worry about submitting them individually to the
search engines, but you do need to make sure their links are easily
spidered.  A good rule of thumb is to provide a sitemap which links to
all of the optimized pages, and have a link to this sitemap page right
on the main page of your site (and every other page too, if possible).

As to your copywriting question, it really won't matter if you tweak
your copy a little bit at a time, or do it all at once.  The only
thing to keep in mind is that you never quite know when the search
engine spiders may come a-crawlin'. Therefore, they may find your copy
in various states of readiness.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing,
but unless you're paying for frequent page spidering, it could take a
month or more for your latest revisions to show up in the search
engines' databases.

Good luck!

Jill


++My DMOZ Listing is Showing Up in Google++

From: Roger Clark

Jill:

Thanks for your wonderful newsletters - they have offered me many
wonderful suggestions and hints that have helped me receive better
positioning.  Recently I have seen my listings improve notably, but I
have an interesting situation that I don't know how to approach.

Several months ago I was crawled by Google and watched my listing
fluctuate substantially from being #10 to disappearing altogether, and
other positions in between.

But in the past week I have noticed that I am now #4 in one of my key
phrases, but the actual listing is the path to the page in DMOZ's
directory which has my site listed alphabetically.  I believe that I
have just recently been included in DMOZ, which is great - I have been
waiting so patiently for this event - but being listed in this manner
is very confusing to those using this search term.  Interestingly,
when I search using [a different keyword phrase] in Google, I come up
#1 with the listing nicely posting the name of the business and a
direct link to my home page.

What can I do to change my main search phrase results from showing a
path to DMOZ, to one that directly states my business name and shows a
direct link to my home page?

Thanks, Jill!

Roger Clark

++Jill's Response++

Hi Roger,

It's not your site that is ranking number four for that keyword
phrase, but the actual DMOZ results page that has the number four
ranking.  You have no control over that.

What's happening is that your page must not be as optimized as it
could be for your main keyword phrase (which I'm guessing is also more
competitive).  All you can do is be sure to optimize your site better
for the more competitive phrase and hopefully it will get back to the
top 10 on Google at some point.  Also, be sure to obtain some outside
links that use the main keyword phrase in the hyperlink.  This can
help big time!

Don't forget, you have lots of pages of your site that you can "play"
with.  You can optimize different pages for different phrases; it
doesn't always have to be the main page that brings you high rankings
for your different phrases.  Choose a very specific inner page, and
optimize accordingly!

Hope this helps!

Jill

_________________________________________adv.

NO SANCTIMONIOUS "ETHICS" FLUFF!
Search Engine Marketing Tactics 2002 Amsterdam (Sept. 23 & 24)
_________________________________________

Two days' worth of tried and true SEO tactics that will show
you *exactly* how to improve your search listings.

Learn from SEOs who "do it": Jill Whalen, Fantomaster,
Mike Grehan, Ammon Johns, Robin Nobles and more!

15% discount for Advisor subscribers who register by Aug. 22!
 <http://internetconferences.nl/ic-register-highranks.html>
_________________________________________


++Indexing a Framed Site++

From: Eddy Baker [Eddy@webstartdesign.com.au]

Hi Jill,

Thanks for your great newsletter and all the useful information you
provide on your web site.

I hope you can provide some insight into a problem I have. It might
even qualify for inclusion in your newsletter.   :-)

My problem is that Google seems to only be indexing the first layer
deep on my frameset structured web site, i.e., for a classic 3-frame
frameset, Google is only indexing the contents menu, banner, and
introduction pages.

I make good use of the <noframes> tag by including text links to all
other main pages and a decent amount of body text derived from general
site content with a bunch of the keywords to boot. All pages in the
sites have reasonably appropriate Title, Description and Keywords,
etc.

I like framesets because they make administration and maintenance so
much easier but must wonder if they are restricting my SEO efforts.

Is there something I have missed, am I too impatient or is a touch of
paranoia starting to show? Any advice greatly appreciated.

Keep up the good work.

Cheers,

Eddy Baker

++Jill's Response++

Hi Eddy,

It's really hard to say for sure why Google isn't indexing your inner
pages.  It's possible that they do not trust the noframes content as
much as they used to, because of how easy it is to abuse it.

Perhaps the long list of keywords in your noframes tag (where they
don't belong), is to blame?

Here's what I found when viewing your source code:

<p>Webstart Design webstart design web site website web page site web
home page web design web design company web designer web page builder
web site builder web site designer web site maintenance web site
updates page designer developer develop creator builder create
shopping cart shopping cart australian sydney australia nsw mortdale
hurstville saint st george area eddy baker world wide web www asp vbs
javascript frontpage dreamweaver photoshop webcentral flash html dhtml
e-commerce ecommerce shopping purchase sell selling online on line
on-line shopping cart catalogue commerce database data secure software
internet based shop ecommerce web store electronic commerce ecommerce
web development web publishing web site design web page design webpage
design website design website publishing web site publishing home page
design web designer home page design internet b2b consultant
professional strategy strategies maintenance custom search engine
search index list listing search prepare preparation optimise
optimisation keyword key word meta tag planning plan hosting host
services service code coding portfolio example domain name url
registering availability retail retailing retailer business commerce
corperate enterprise small business with need for in make how want a
find locate to me us i help assistance new south wales qld queensland
vic victoria tas tasmania sa south australia wa western australia nt
northern territory act australian capital territory north south east
west brisbane melbourne hobart adelaide perth darwin canberra
parramatta city suburb suburban Sydney Australia</p>

The search engines just don't take kindly to that sort of thing, and I
wouldn't be surprised if they penalized you for it.  Can't really be
sure, but since those words aren't actually being used in your visible
text, that's probably your culprit.

Good luck with it!

Jill


++Using Mini-sites for High Rankings++

From: Michael Sopa

Hi Jill,

Lately I've been hearing some Internet gurus discuss "mini-sites" and
how they're the best things since sliced bread for getting high
rankings.

What exactly are mini-sites and do you recommend them as a viable SEO
technique?

Regards,

Michael

++Jill's Response++

Hi Michael,

Good question!  Mini-sites are really nothing other than another name
for doorway sites, doorway domains, gateway sites, and all those other
names that they've been called over the years.  Like doorway pages (or
"zebra pages" if you prefer
</issue021.htm#seo?hra023>), "mini-site" is
just a new name for an old trick.

The main difference is that the affiliate program crowd, as opposed to
the SEO crowd, is promoting mini-sites.  Apparently, some affiliate
gurus are heavily pushing the use of multiple sites to sell one
product or ebook (usually one they have an affiliate link to).

Does it work?  Apparently so!  Many people are making big bucks using
the mini-site method.  Will it work for the long term?  That's
doubtful.

The creation of additional sites for the sole purpose of getting other
sites ranked highly in the search engines has become a huge problem
for the engines.  All these mini-sites are clogging up their results,
and they are definitely working on ways to combat it.  In fact, my
friend Mike Grehan, whom you might remember from a review I wrote on
his book </issue018.htm#stuff?hra023>, had
an article published in FantomNews this week
<http://fantomaster.com/fafnissue1.html?hra023> where he touched upon
the subject of "nepotistic linkage."  (Dontcha love that phrase?)

Just as the search engines have gotten much better at detecting mirror
sites and duplicate content, they are getting better at detecting
sites that are put up simply to direct traffic to other sites.  As
Mike recently told me, it's not really very difficult to detect these
sites.  After all, they may all be linked together and have great
links pointing to the main domain, but who is going to link to the
mini-sites?  Hmmm...good question.

Can you say PR0? (PageRank Zero)

Jill


~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Overture and Google Guidelines++

This morning (while doing my usual newsletter-writing-procrastination
routine) I read a great article at ClickZ.com by Danny Sullivan.  He
compared the editorial guidelines between Overture and Google AdWords,
which is something I've never seen done before.  It was very
informative, and a must-read for anyone who can't quite grasp what
they can and can't say in their PPC ads.

As an aside, Danny liked my "Zebra Pages" moniker so much that he
created the following fake PPC ad as an example of what Google might
permit, but Overture might not:

Zebratastic
Zebra pages raise traffic. Rated best
zebra page maker by PC Super Compute.

LOL!  Check out the full article here:
<http://www.clickz.com/search/opt/article.php/1449521>.


++New Partnerships To Monetize Search++

The Search Engine Strategies conferences have become a great place for
search services to make their major announcements, and the recent one
in San Jose was no exception.

If you were wondering where else you could spend your money these
days, both Lycos and Infospace made announcements regarding separate
partnerships they've developed to help them monetize search.

Lycos is partnering with FindWhat.com, which will provide them with
auction-based pay-per-click ads within their search results.  The new
program is called "Lycos InSite AdBuyer" and is billed as an extension
of the Lycos InSite suite of search marketing services.

A quick look at their information page
<http://insite.lycos.com/searchservices/adbuyer/overview.asp> shows
some examples of how the ads will look once the program goes live
later this summer.  Looks like Google AdWords clones to me.  Hmmm.

The new InfoSpace paid-inclusion program is also in the pre-register
phase.  InfoSpace is jumping on the paid-inclusion bandwagon by
teaming with ah-ha.com to run their program.  If you're wondering who
InfoSpace is and why you'd want to pay to be included in their
database, you're not alone!  However, they do have a number of search
properties that you've probably heard of, including Excite, Dogpile,
NBCi, Verizon Online, WebCrawler and MetaCrawler.

I was able to sneak a peek at their pricing structure, and have a hard
time imagining it will be a good deal for most sites.  The program
seems to be catering to big business sites with hundreds of pages, as
the price goes down considerably per URL if you request 100+ to be
included.  My main question is, who is actually searching at the
InfoSpace properties these days?  I sure don't know anyone who is.
For me to recommend inclusion in any search database, it's gotta be
one that people are actually using for real searches.

At any rate, you can read their press release at a page that has the
longest URL I've ever seen.  (I'm redirecting it for you here:
</infospace>.)


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++SEO Consultants Directory++

When Edward Lewis first proposed his idea to create the SEO
Consultants Directory, I truly didn't think it would fly.  Others had
tried the idea, and nothing much ever came of it.  And besides, how do
you determine whom to allow into the directory?  As most of you are
aware, SEO companies vary greatly in the services they offer, and also
in their methods used to deliver high rankings to their clients.
Personally, I have no interest in listing my company in a directory
that might place it right next to a spammer's listing.  There were
plenty of others who gave Edward additional reasons why it would never
work.

Apparently Edward has a mind of his own, because he moved forward
despite the negative feedback he was receiving.  For months, he very
carefully considered all the comments he received, and proceeded to
cautiously build the site and the database.  Along the way he decided
that he would NOT make it a list of any company that just happened to
hang an SEO sign outside their door.  He set down some very strict
rules and criteria that every company has to meet in order to get
listed (for free) in the directory.

Well, guess what?  To date, there have been waaaaaaaaay more companies
who have been declined a listing than have been accepted.  Wow.  Not
sure what that means to our industry other than we sure have a lot of
scumbags out there!  But what it means to this directory is that if
you are looking to outsource your search engine optimization campaign,
you'd be fairly safe in choosing a company that's listed in the SEO
Consultants Directory.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I wasn't too sure I
wanted anything to do with something like this, and basically put it
out of my mind.  However, once I saw how stringent Edward and his team
were being, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  So, a few months ago,
I submitted my site for their approval.  I must say I was a bit
nervous about whether or not I would get in, because they really are
very picky!  Thankfully, I was accepted quickly and have since had
several inquiries from potential clients who found me there.

If you are looking for an SEO consultant that has a good chance of
being on the up-and-up, you'd be smart to sift through the companies
listed in this directory.  By the same token, if you're an SEO
consultant that uses reliable, honest methods that all of the search
engines approve of, apply for your listing now while it's still free!
I have no idea if Edward is going to start charging consultants for a
listing in the future, but I think he should.

You can search the database or apply for a listing here:
<http://www.seoconsultants.com?hra>.  (That's just a tracking URL, I'm
not making any money from it!)

Oh yeah, one more thing...if you're one of those companies that isn't
quite on the up-and-up, there's still a place for you at one of the
other up-and-coming SEO directories.  You know, the one that you've
seen advertised all over the place recently.  Personally, I'll just
stick with Edward!


~~~Advisor Wrap-Up~~~

That's it for this week's issue!  Time for me to start planning next
month's trip to Amsterdam.  Don't forget to sign up quickly for the
SEM conference posted in the sponsor ad above.  The 15% discount for
you subscribers is good for only another day or so, and I'd hate for
you to lose out on that just cuz you're a procrastinator like me!
Here's the link again so you don't have to scroll:
<http://internetconferences.nl/ic-register-highranks.html>.

Catch you next week! - Jill
 
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