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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings Advisor: Search Engine Marketing Issues - Issue No. 030

September 30, 2002
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Lots of Quickies

*Search Engine Marketing Issues:
---->   Following Links in Flash Navigation
---->   Top Positions Without Paying
---->   SES Conference Worth

*This Week's Sponsor:
---->   Step-By-Step Copywriting Course

*Notes from Search Engine Strategies Conference:
---->   I'm So Confused

*Other SEO News:
---->   Jill's Seminar Open for Registration
---->   Espotting Targets Italian Market

*Advisor Wrap-Up:
---->   Off to Munich!
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey! Got another full issue for you today.  Lots of quickie questions
and answers, plus another great report from the Search Engine
Strategies conference.  I've also got my seminar registration form all
ready for you!  (See below or here:
</seminar>.)

Let's get right to the good stuff! - J


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Following Links in Flash Navigation++

From: Rick Kollmeyer

I'm in the midst of revising my web site, and want to use Flash for
the navigation scheme.  I'm assuming that the search engines will have
no way of following my links, and therefore, [the site] will not get
indexed. I can think of two solutions:

1. Submit each page individually. Does this cause any problems?
2. Somehow invisibly embed the links elsewhere on the document. Not
sure exactly how to do this, or if it would even trick the engine.

Thanks Jill,

Rick Kollmeyer

~~~Jill's Response~~~

You are right that the search engines won't generally be able to read
the links (nor any information in the Flash).

> 1. Submit each page individually. Does this cause any problems? <

It wouldn't work because the engines would view them as "stand-alone"
pages since they would see no links to/from the pages.  They don't
like stand-alone pages because that's how all the "bad guys" used to
make pages to trick them (doorway pages).

> 2. Somehow invisibly embed the links elsewhere on the document. Not
sure exactly how to do this, or if it would even trick the engine.<

There is an HTML code called the <noembed> tag for browsers that can't
read stuff that's embedded on the page.  It's similar to the
<noscript> tag, which I use on my own page so the engines can follow
the links in my DHTML menu.  You could put your navigation links in
that tag if you wanted to.  You could probably use the <noscript> tag,
but it wouldn't be technically up to code, so to speak!

Also, to be on the safe side and make it even easier for the search
engine spiders, I'd put regular old text links to the main pages of
the site at the bottom of each page.

Jill


~~~Next Question~~~

++Top Positions Without Paying++

From: Kim Adams

Hi Jill,

Do you think it's possible to get a good "close-to-the-top" position
without paying?

I work for a small company who really doesn't want to invest too much
on search engine placement because the website was just for their
current customers.  However, I think it would be great if we could
pick up new business by having a better placement in the search
engines.

I just haven't been too successful with getting a top listing, and
wondered if it's even possible.

Thanks,

Kim

~~Jill's Response~~

Hi Kim,

If you know what you're doing, it's absolutely positively possible to
get #1 positions without paying anything.  I do it all the time!
(People pay me, but I'm often not paying the engines anything.)  In
fact, you CAN'T pay Google.  There are certainly some helpful things
(such as a Yahoo! listing) that you *could* pay for, but they're not
necessities.

If you have more time than money, SEO is very easy to learn and
implement at very low costs -- yes, even today.  But if you have more
money than time, it's probably wiser to pay someone who already knows
exactly what to do to make it happen.

Pretty much like any profession, really!

Jill


~~~Next Question~~~

++SES Conference Worth++

From: Michael Pedone

Hi Jill,

I am seriously considering attending the Search Engine Conference in
Dallas later this year. As a small SEO company, the $1,000
registration fee isn't chump change...my question is, is the
conference worth it?

Sincerely,

Michael Pedone

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Michael,

It's hard for me to judge whether it's worth it because I come to it
from a different perspective than most attendees; however, the people
I talk to at the conference always say that it was worth it for them.
It can be a bit confusing, as there's often a lot of conflicting
advice given.  But as long as you're able to assimilate it and use
your own judgment, you should be able to learn a lot.

If you do attend, I'll be speaking there.  It's not confirmed yet, but
I may be doing a session on submitting to directories such as Yahoo!
and DMOZ.  Plus, I'll still be doing the Writing for the Search
Engines session that I do with my former Rank Write partner, Heather
Lloyd-Martin.  We may also have a writing clinic tacked onto it.  The
agenda will be posted here <http://www.jupiterevents.com/sew/fall02/>
within a few weeks.

Jill

__________________________________________________adv.

Learn to write like the pros! Step-By-Step(tm) Copywriting Course
__________________________________________________

Q. What's the most important factor in getting high rankings?
A. The copy!

Q. How do I get my site visitors to my site to buy my products?
A. The copy!

Q. How do I learn to write copy that does all of the above?
A. Purchase Karon Thackston's online copywriting course!

(Read Jill's review:
</issue009.htm#stuff>.)
__________________________________________________



~~~Notes from Search Engine Strategies Conference~~~

++I'm So Confused++

And speaking of SES conferences, I've got an interesting report on the
"I'm So Confused" session from Elisabeth Osmeloski, Editor of SEO
Newsnet <http://www.seonews.net> and SEO Consultant at Beyondink.com
<http://www.beyondink.com>.  (Don't ask me how to pronounce her last
name, as I don't have a clue!)  Like I mentioned above, SEO is full of
conflicting advice.  This session at the conference is supposed to
clarify things a bit.  Let's check in with Elisabeth to see if it
actually did! - J

Guest Article
I'm So Confused About SEO/SEM!
Elisabeth Osmeloski

See, it starts there (with the title of this article) -- the world of
online marketing has been changing so rapidly that people aren't
really even sure what to call it anymore.  In the last year, Search
Engine Marketing (SEM) has slowly become the preferred term for the
practice of SEO -- optimizing Web sites for better search engine
performance.  For many marketers and companies new to the world of
SEO, the learning curve can be steep, and there are often many points
of confusion about search engine algorithms, pay-for-inclusion
services and SEO tactics in general.  At times, even those people who
have experience with search engine marketing can be perplexed at the
moves made by search engines and sudden changes within the industry.

At the recent Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, two
search engine reps (from Yahoo! and Google), and one experienced
search engine marketer cleared up some myths and misinformation.  One
staple of quality search engine marketing came through loud and
clear -- create good content for your audience and you'll be fine.
From a usability standpoint, this makes good sense.  Traffic to your
site is useless if it does not elicit the desired reaction.

Yet there is still confusion about how to handle various aspects of
search engine marketing campaigns, and whether that critical step of
creating quality content has been accomplished.  For example, Matt
Cutts from Google indicated that people are becoming too obsessed with
their measurement known as PageRank (PR), and often leap into linking
arrangements that can be dangerous.  They do this all for the sake of
acquiring a minimal piece of the PR pie, even though that small sliver
does not always translate into a top-10 ranking.  There are many other
important factors for high rankings on Google, including having
relevant content, high-quality directory listings, and the ability of
your site to be successfully crawled.

Questions arose about the effect of Google AdWords and whether they
impact rankings on Google in the "organic" search results.  Google
stated that these programs are paid advertising and do *not* influence
rankings in any way, shape or form.  However, this was debated further
in another conference session ("Standards, Please!"). Greg Boser, an
SEO consultant and owner of WebGuerrilla.com, claimed that several
engines had purposely dropped sites from the natural index only to
then make sales pitches to the unlisted companies for paid-advertising
slots, thus preying on their desperate need to recoup lost sales.
Despite this debate, Google AdWords remains a quick and effective
method of gaining visibility for your Web site while optimizing it
organically.

And what about Yahoo! Business Express (aka BizEx)?  Is it worth the
$299 annual fee?  Should non-commercial sites pay?  Many are unsure
now that Google apparently has a significant influence over the
ordering of Yahoo!'s search results.  Stephanie Blair, lead surfer at
Yahoo!, reminded the audience that non-commercial or non-profit sites
can use the BizEx service as a guaranteed method of getting reviewed
quickly, rather than rolling the dice and waiting for a free listing
to be reviewed.

Blair also answered some questions about the relatively new bulk
submission plan, which allows submitters to submit listings for 50 or
more URLs at once.  The rules surrounding this program are clear; you
may use either subdirectory or subdomain pages, or completely
different domains, but they must follow the editorial guidelines and
contain unique content.  Fortunately, the risk of investing in this
program is slightly lowered by the opportunity to submit 10-20 sample
URLs for review before paying the fees.  While bulk submitters are
limited to doing this two times per month, the reward is the discount.
You save 25% after the first 50 URLs, and up to 50% on more than 1000
URLs.

With regards to paying for change requests, Yahoo! is not currently
prepared to offer an express pay-for-service in this area, but it is
being considered.  (As an aside, to Yahoo!'s credit, I've recently had
several listing changes made quickly via the standard change form with
more than satisfactory results.)

So, what's a confused marketer or business owner to do?  With so many
respectable SEO/SEM sources on the Internet, the "truth is out there."
The lines get blurry, however, when you start reading or hearing
conflicting stories and evidence.  The best approach is to gather
information from several resources, attend conferences and seek out
forums where you can directly ask the experts. Or, if you can afford
it, retain an SEO consultant to help you sort out a solid, long-term
strategy.  Of course, you'll need to find your own path and do what
makes sense for your business, but most importantly, you should trust
your gut instincts.

Elisabeth Osmeloski
SEO Newsnet
Beyondink.com


~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Jill's Seminar Open for Registration++

Okay, the registration page for my half-day search engine marketing
seminar at the Boston Marriott Burlington is up and running and the
registrations have started to pour in.  Remember, the lunch part is
limited to the first 25 attendees who request it -- and it's filling
up fast.  So what are you waiting for?  If you sign up quickly, you'll
also save $50 through the early-bird registration.  Not to mention
that I'm dying to see how many attendees we get altogether!  So
please, do me a favor...if you're planning to sign up but just haven't
gotten around to it...could you do it RIGHT NOW?  (Don't make me come
over there and slap you into action!)

Oh yeah, and as an added incentive, I'm working on having some search
engine reps on hand for the breakfast and the break, so you can get
some info straight from the horse's mouth.  So far, I'm pretty sure
AltaVista will be a sponsor, and I'll let you know about the rest next
time.

All the information and links to register are right here:
</seminar>.  Let me know if you have any
questions about the program or the registration process.  I'll get
back to you in a jiffy! - J


++Espotting Targets Italian Market++

If you have a Web site that needs to target people in Italy, you're in
luck!  Espotting, Europe's largest pay-per-click search network,
recently announced some new deals to specifically target the
Italian-speaking market.

Rocco Benetton, newly appointed chairman of Espotting Italy, remarked,
"Espotting Media offers the Italian market a successful model of
on-line advertising that suits both big brands and SMEs. The model
enables one to target potential clients on a national and European
scale, minimising costs and maximising results."

I'm sure if you understand marketing-speak, you'll know just what he's
talking about.  Me...I'm still in the dark!  I believe if you
translate it from *marketing-speak* to *my kind of speak* it means the
following: "You can now create pay-per-click ads in Italian, and those
who speak the language will be able to see them and click on them."

You can learn more at their Espotting Italy site here:
<http://www.espotting.it/>, although this site was down (or just
really, really, really slow) when I checked it earlier today.  Just in
case, their main site is here: <http://www.espotting.com>.


~~~Advisor Wrap-Up~~~

Well, I'm off to Munich, Germany next week for the next SES conference
<http://www.jupiterevents.com/sew/munich02/>.  I'm skipping next
week's newsletter, so try to get along without me for a week.
Ironically enough, my nine-year-old son Timmy
</jill/freedombound2.ram> will be away the
week after next on a special field trip to "Nature's Classroom."  I
sure wish we could have been gone the same week.  Note to Danny
Sullivan: Next time be sure to consult with me on my kids' schedules
before choosing those conference dates! <grin>

I should at least get to see Timmy for a little while when I get back
on Sunday and before he leaves on Monday.  I'm sure he'll have a blast
and won't miss me at all...<sniff>

Oh, and last, but not least, an online marketer from Tasmania, Jason
Anderson, interviewed me for my take on some SEO happenings.  You may
find it an interesting read:
<http://www.achievenetprofits.com/archive/issue006.html#Jill>.

See you in two.  Auf Wiedersehen! - Jill
 
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