December 4, 2002
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
----> Some Cool Press
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Search Engine Optimization Glossary
*This Week's Sponsor:
----> LinkSurvey Link-popularity Software
----> How To Get Your Web Site Content Syndicated
*Other SEO News:
----> Thanksgiving Surprise from Google
----> WebmasterWorld Forums Breaks Alexa's Top 1000
*Stuff You Might Like
----> Recap of Past Stuff
----> Dallas SES Conference
Hey everyone! Hope my fellow Americans enjoyed your Thanksgiving
holiday, and that all my international readers enjoyed the quiet time
while we pigged out and watched football!
A lot has happened since last time. Peter Da Vanzo from Search Engine
Blog interviewed me and we discussed my approach to search engine
optimization, my old RankWrite newsletter, my most memorable
conference experience and more! Read the interview here:
I also started a weekly audio segment entitled "Sound Advice for
Search Engine Optimization" in conjunction with "What's Working in
Biz." These two-minute SEO tips can be found at Microsoft's
WindowsMedia.com business section, or from my redirect link for the
What's Working in Biz site here:
</soundadvice>. This week's audio tip is
entitled "Are Cutting Edge Designs Killing Your Rankings?" Look for a
new section in future Advisors to announce each week's audio tip. (Or
just click on the "Sound Advice" graphic on my press page:
</press.htm>.) Let me know what you think
Okay, enough about me...let's get to the good stuff! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Search Engine Optimization Glossary++
From: Nancy Houtz
I have newly entered the field of Internet marketing, and more
specifically pay-per-click bid management as a result of my employer
turning over a big pay-per-click account to me, and finding I am a
natural at it and truly enjoy doing it.
I was introduced to your newsletter and find it very informative and
helpful; however, I find myself continually frustrated by many of the
abbreviated terms used in the articles that I don't understand the
meaning of. I try second-guessing, and figure out many of them, but
some have me stumped!
Right now, I feel like the kid in school, afraid to raise his/her hand
and ask a "dumb question"... but perhaps, like that kid, there are
others afraid to ask too! I realize to sound knowledgeable you need
to use the accepted "jargon"; however, would it be possible to include
a list at the bottom of the article of brief explanation and spelled
out meaning of all the abbreviations or terms? Example: From most
recent newsletter, SEO (Search Engine Operative?), ODP, paid inclusion
URL, DMOZ link, Googlebot - know what Google is, but not the "bot"
If I'm the only one, then please disregard. Just thought I'd
Sorry to have confused you! Please don't worry about asking any
"dumb" questions, as that's the only way to learn about anything.
Your comments are well taken and you're definitely not alone. I do
try to give the full word and put the abbreviation in parentheses most
of the time, but apparently I've been lax at doing this! Some of the
terms, e.g., DMOZ, are just so commonplace to me that I forget that
others may not know them.
So let's define the ones in your email plus any others I can think of.
I'm sure you won't be the only one to appreciate this mini-glossary.
(Please note that with some phrases such as SEO, there will be people
who disagree with my definition. That's what keeps this industry
SEO = Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Optimizer (depending
on how you use it).
My definition of SEO is "optimizing" your existing Web site to be
search engine friendly. Search engine friendly simply means that your
keyword phrases have been researched and carefully chosen, and have
been incorporated into a few hundred words of visible copy on the
pages of the site. It also means that the design of the site is such
that search engines can follow the links throughout the site and read
the information provided on every page. Other aspects of SEO include
creating search engine friendly HTML (hyper text markup language)
coding such as keyword-rich Title tags and Meta tags.
Modern-day professional SEO does not try to *trick* the search engines
into believing your site is relevant for particular keyword phrases,
nor does it create hundreds of keyword-laden pages meant for search
engine "eyes" only. This is what is known as search engine spamming,
not search engine optimization.
SEM = Search Engine Marketing.
This phrase and acronym is often used interchangeably with SEO;
however, it's actually much more than SEO. Search engine optimization
is actually one type of SEM. The other major type of SEM would be
pay-per-click advertising (PPC). Many companies specialize in all
types of SEM, but plenty of them specialize in either SEO or PPC. My
area of expertise lies in the SEO end of things.
In that same vein, another phrase that was bandied about for awhile
was Search Engine Positioning or SEP. We don't hear that one quite as
much now that SEM has gained in popularity. Many use the term SEP
interchangeably with SEO, but since optimizers don't actually
"position" pages within the search engines, I find it to be a
misnomer. It works better to describe PPC ads, since those are really
the only way someone can actually place a site in an exact position in
a search engine.
Paid inclusion (sometimes known as pay-per-inclusion or PPI) = Paying
a search engine to include your page or pages in their database.
Paid-inclusion submissions are very often done through a third-party
company such as PositionTech <http://www.positiontech.com>. All of
the major search engines (except for Google) have paid-inclusion
programs. PPI does not give sites any special treatment other than
regular spidering (usually every 48 hours). This regular spidering is
helpful to pages that change content frequently, or for Webmasters who
are attempting to tweak their pages for higher rankings.
ODP = Open Directory Project. Also known as DMOZ (Directory MOZilla)
<http://www.dmoz.org>. This one is very confusing to people because
they call themselves "DMOZ open directory project" on their site, but
they don't seem to define "DMOZ." Seems like it would be less
confusing if they got rid of the DMOZ acronym and used only ODP
instead. You can learn more about them on their "about us" page:
<http://dmoz.org/about.html>. In a nutshell, ODP/DMOZ is an Internet
directory where you can submit your site for review and (hopefully) a
listing. Once you get a listing, it would be considered a "DMOZ link"
(or an "ODP link").
Googlebot = The automated robot (or bot) that Google sends out to
crawl the Web in order to find new pages to add to their vast
database. These bots are sometimes called spiders also. If you can
check your server logs, you can often see which bots have visited your
site. A couple of other search engine bot names are "Slurp" (Inktomi)
and "Scooter" (AltaVista).
I'm sure there are plenty of other acronyms and words that you're not
sure of. Adventive put a glossary together a few years ago, but I'm
not sure if it's been kept up to date. You can check it out here:
<http://www.adventive.com/tools/SEO.html>. If you do a search for
"SEO glossary" on Google you'll find many more. Feel free to email me
with any other terms you're not sure of and I'll be happy to explain
them to you!
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++How To Get Your Web Site Content Syndicated++
Two of my fellow moderators from the Ihelpyou Forums
<http://www.ihelpyouservices.com/forums>, Kalena Jordan and Dan Thies,
recently went through the process of setting up a syndicated news feed
for Kal's site so that her articles and blog entries could start
getting picked up by many of the big news sources on the Net. They
learned a lot along the way and were nice enough to share what they
learned in the following guest article.
You may remember Dan from his "Search Engine Fast Start" book
</faststart> and the interview I did with
him in June </issue014.htm#stuff>. You'll
also remember Kalena from the excellent coverage she gave us of the
Search Engine Strategies conference in Sydney, Australia
</issue018.htm#seonews2>. Kal is the CEO
of Web Rank Ltd. <http://www.high-search-engine-ranking.com> and was
one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australasia.
As you can imagine, Dan and Kal make quite the dynamic duo! Please
give them a warm Advisor welcome.
How To Get Your Web Site Content Syndicated
By Kalena Jordan and Dan Thies
A little known secret for attracting more traffic is to add bucket
loads of fresh content to your site. When promoted effectively, fresh
content can act like a magnet by pulling in new visitors every single
day -- giving you the opportunity to turn those visitors into loyal
followers and paying customers.
Fresh content improves the "stickiness" of your site too, which gives
visitors a reason to return on a regular basis. Plus, the search
engines reward popular sites with more link popularity and a higher
search ranking. So how do you spread the word about your new content
and get it placed in front of your target audience?
One way is by creating an "RSS feed," i.e., a special .rss file
containing the content you want syndicated. It's through this RSS
feed that news sites can instantly grab your fresh content.
Your RSS feed is just a text file that uses XML language format; it's
fairly simple to create if you're at all familiar with HTML.
Let's look at a simplified example of the RSS file we created:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" ?>
<title>Search Engine News Blog</title>
<description>search engine news web log, tracking daily developments
in the search engine optimization industry</description>
<title>Search Engine News Blog</title>
<description>Search Engine News Blog</description>
<title>Google Defines Ethical SEO</title>
<title>Yahoo Offends Gay Community in UK</title>
The RSS feed consists of one or more "channels." A single channel will
be sufficient for the majority of sites. Each channel contains
information about one or more news articles on your site.
A channel consists of the following required information:
* Title: the name of the channel (in the above example, the channel
title is called "Search Engine News Blog").
* Link: the URL for the channel's main Web page (the page on the Web
site where the news items are displayed).
* Description: a description of the channel's purpose and content.
The first two lines in the example define it as an RSS feed. The
<channel> tag comes next and contains the required information about
the news channel. Optional information follows these items and
includes language, copyright info, contact email addresses, and an
image (logo) that can be displayed with the channel's headlines. Our
example contains all these options, but you can leave these out of
your feed if you prefer.
In addition to the required information, the channel must contain at
least one news item.
News items consist of the following:
* Title: this is the headline that will be displayed for the news
* Link: the URL where the full news item can be found (for best
results, each item should be on its own unique Web page).
* Description: a description of the news item - sometimes referred to
as a "teaser."
The first two elements are the minimum expected by nearly all sites
that carry headlines. The description field is optional, as some
syndicators will ignore this field altogether, posting only the item
headline. Because of this, our example RSS file does not include item
Next you'll see two news items listed in our example: "Google Defines
Ethical SEO" and "Yahoo Offends Gay Community in UK." Additional news
items would follow the same format, and be listed directly below
within <item> </item> tags. Finally, the last two lines of the feed
are closing tags. (XML, like HTML, requires opening and closing
To preview what our example RSS feed looks like when syndicated, click
on the following link:
igh-search-engine-ranking.com%2Fsenb.rss>. (This link may break up
and need to be copied and pasted into your browser in order to view it
Once your RSS file is set up, here are your next steps to getting it
found by content aggregators:
1. Save the file with an .rss extension (e.g., mynews.rss), and upload
it to the main folder of your Web site.
2. Validate your RSS feed by running it through the RSS Validator
<http://feeds.archive.org/validator/> to make sure it's set up
3. Display the "valid RSS" logo on your site (available from the link
above) and provide a visible link to your feed (e.g.,
http://www.mydomain.com/mynews.rss) from your site pages. We used the
Webmasters! Click below to feature our Search Engine News Blog
headlines on your site. RSS Feed For This Page.
other Webmasters to syndicate your content on their sites (the
Wytheville Community College News Center
<http://www.wc.cc.va.us/services/news/default.asp> provides this
service for free).
5. Submit your feed to content aggregators. (Some sources are provided
at the end of this article.)
6. Update your feed regularly by adding new items to the .rss file and
ensure that each item has its own link on your Web site.
7. To keep your feed fresh, try to limit your channel items to a
maximum of five by deleting older items from your feed as you add new
ones. The dates next to your news items will adjust depending on when
the content aggregators pick them up.
We've only scratched the surface of RSS feeds in this short lesson,
but it should be enough to get you started. A complete description of
the RSS 0.91 format can be found here:
Here are some additional resources for creating your own news feed:
Set Up Your Own Newsfeed
RSS: Lo-Fi Content Syndication
Blogify Your Page <http://logicerror.com/blogifyYourPage>
Content Syndication with RSS <http://rss.benhammersley.com/> (a blog
Here are a few content aggregators where you can register your feed:
Aggregator Userland <http://aggregator.userland.com/>
News is Free <http://www.newsisfree.com/>
News Knowledge <http://www.newsknowledge.com/>
Once your feed is registered, the news sites will automatically pick
up your content as you add it. You can also download one of these RSS
readers to examine your feed:
Feed Reader <http://www.feedreader.com/>
Headline Viewer <http://www.headlineviewer.com/>
So there you go. Not as difficult as you thought, huh? With a little
effort, your site can be rubbing shoulders with the big players on
major news portals. Enjoy the traffic!
Kalena Jordan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dan Thies (email@example.com)
~~~Other SEO News~~~
++Thanksgiving Surprise from Google++
So last week I'm at my grandmother's condo in Pompano, Florida,
checking my email and a few of my favorite SEO forums. Thinking that
the Internet would be pretty dead with the holiday and all, I didn't
expect there to be much going on. Whoo-boy was I wrong! It seems
that Google tried to slip in some new Webmaster guidelines
<http://www.google.com/webmasters/index.html> while nobody was
So there I am reading forum posts on how negative Google was towards
SEOs, and how people just couldn't believe Google would write stuff
like that. Hmm, I thought...what in the world did Google write? Of
course there was no way I could wait until I was back from vacation to
find out, so I clicked to the section regarding SEOs
When I finished reading it I was really confused. Where was the
negativity? I thought what they wrote was right on the money. In
fact, it seemed like I could have written it! Aside from a few minor
details that I didn't agree with, the sentiments were ones that I've
been trying to get across to the world for years.
It started out saying that there are a few unethical SEOs who give the
industry a bad name. I think they were too kind. Judging from the
emails and phone calls I receive from people who have been "burned" by
these types of "SEOs," I would have said "many" as opposed to "a few."
It has always irked me that the first thing people think of when you
say "search engine optimization" is snake-oil salesmen. One day I
hope to be able to proudly shout to the world that I'm an SEO and not
have people think I do sneaky things. Google's article and guidelines
are a small step in the right direction. I hope that my own articles,
forum posts and this newsletter are also small steps. If you add up
all my small steps and the steps of others with similar beliefs, we're
beginning to put a dent in the problem!
Please read what Google has to say and let me know what you think. Am
I just seeing what I want to see, or do you agree that Google is on
track with their information?
That said -- there were a couple of things I didn't agree with. The
first was that "Ethical SEO firms report deceptive sites that violate
Google's spam guidelines." Patrolling for spam is Google's job, not
mine! They could easily hire some people to go searching for that
stuff, and maybe they already have. It wouldn't be hard to find and
would be a pretty fun job!
The other statement I disagreed with was where they told potential SEO
consumers, "For your own safety, you should insist on a full and
unconditional money-back guarantee." In another paragraph they tell
you to beware of any SEO company that guarantees rankings, yet they
tell you we're supposed to guarantee your money back for any reason
whatsoever (unconditionally). Umm...I don't think so! Professional
SEO consists of lots of upfront work, with researching keywords,
rewriting content, fixing design issues and working out usability
problems. If we're left to do exactly what we want to do for your
site, we *will* substantially increase its rankings for the keywords
we target. But there are always factors outside of our control that
can figure into the mix. Regardless, we deserve to be paid for the
work that was done.
Another minor issue was the implication that large SEO companies are
somehow better than smaller ones. I tend to think the opposite is
true. With a large company, you could be pawned off on some junior
account rep once the contract is signed. With a small firm, you deal
directly with the "expert."
All in all though, I really liked what Google had to say, and these
few things don't detract from it too much.
++WebmasterWorld Forums Breaks Alexa's Top 1000++
Just received an interesting email newsletter from Brett Tabke of the
WebmasterWorld forums, which mentioned that they've broken Alexa's top
1000 most popular sites on the Net. Congrats to Brett and WMW! My
site's at 19,897. Looks like I have quite a lot of catching up to do!
~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
++Recap of Past Stuff++
Sorry, just a recap again!
"Step-By-Step(tm) Copywriting Course" by Karon Thackston - a
full-blown copywriting course disguised as a .pdf file
"Search Engine Optimization" Report by Mike Grehan
</searchenginereport> - This is the one
that's rocking the search engine world by providing solid facts on how
search engines work. While the rest of us have been using trial and
error to determine how to get high rankings, Mike's been interviewing
the people that invented search engines! Read my full review here:
"21 Techniques to Maximize your Profits on Google AdWords Select" by
Andrew Goodman - a special report that shows how to do exactly that
"Words That Work" reports for copywriters and wannabe copywriters to
get into the minds of their target audience. Read my review here:
"Selling Subscriptions to Internet Content" - This is the 253-page
transcript from ContentBiz's "2nd Annual Selling Subscriptions to
Internet Content Summit" which was held in May. If you have great
free content that you want to start charging for, this report is a
must-read. See my full review here:
I had a nice relaxing time visiting with my grandmother and my sister
last week in Florida. I swear my grandmother gets younger each year.
I'm crossing my fingers that this is a genetic thing! We didn't get
to swim with the dolphins as they were all booked up -- maybe next
No Advisor again next week, cuz I'll be speaking at the Dallas Search
Engine Strategies conference. Hope to see you there! For more info
or to register, check out the SES site here:
<http://www.searchenginestrategies.com>. If you can't make it, we'll
catch up in two weeks! - Jill