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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings Advisor: Attacking the Search Engines - Issue No. 037

December 18, 2002


*Introductory Comments:
---->   Jill the Procrastinator

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Attacking the Search Engines

*This Week's Sponsor:
---->   Logo Design Guy

*Guest Article:
---->   Getting the Most out of PPC and SEO

*Other SEO News:
---->   Google vs. Evil
---->   FAST Boosts Relevancy
---->   Search Engine Glossaries
---->   AltaVista History
---->   Washington Post SEO Article

*Stuff You Might Like
---->   The New and Improved HotBot
---->   Search Engine Optimization Sound Advice

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   I Did It!

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

So much to talk about and so little time.  Well, actually, there *was*
time, but I procrastinated the morning away.  Now it's noon, and I'm
just starting this thing...bad Jill, baaaaaad Jill!  But, you know...I
had to read all my forums and a few newsletters, email some friends,
answer some SEO questions...I *had* to.  Really.  And here I am,
procrastinating the writing of the meat of this thing -- right now!
(I usually do this intro last, but am doing it first today!)
Thankfully, I received a great article from our old friend Barry Lloyd
this morning.  So even if I never get my act together, at least you'll
have that!

Anyway...I'm sure it will be a good issue, so let's get to it! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Attacking the Search Engines++

From: Chris and Pete M.

Good Morning Jill,

I am about to launch a new business that will involve giving very
small groups of American tourists a personally guided tour of
Southwest UK.

Whilst we have our company name and domain name already launched, I
was thinking about buying another domain name to "attack" the search
engines with!  I.e., I am trying to get a second chance for the search
engines finding and rating me with an additional, but slightly
different domain name.

My question is this: If I choose a domain name with what I think will
be the search words used to find us, will the search engines penalise
me if I have it too long?  What it the optimum length of words /
characters I should be using for my domain name?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Kind Regards,

Chris and Pete M.

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Chris and Pete,

Long-time readers are probably chuckling right now, knowing what's
going to come next.  It's probably not what you want to hear, but
unfortunately, it needs to be said.

I can't answer your question about the length of your new domain name,
because your basic premise is flawed.  You don't need to "attack" the
search engines at all.  What you're thinking about doing is
essentially "spamming" the engines with an extra domain for the sole
purpose of gaining multiple listings in their results pages.  They
don't like this.

This is an old technique that was never a good idea, because it
cluttered the engines' databases with useless duplicate pages all
leading to one main site.  That's not to say that the technique didn't
work!  It worked very well for many years.  In fact, it probably works
very well for the short term, even today.  However, it's an
unnecessary extra step in promoting your business, and a shortsighted
one at that.

There's no need for an additional domain.  If you have additional
products or services, simply add pages to your existing site.  Every
page is a gateway to the rest, and they can all rank highly if
properly optimized.  You might be thinking that only your main home
page can rank highly, and that's why you need a whole new domain.  Or
you might be thinking that getting found in the search engines is all
about finding the best ways to *trick* them into ranking your site.
If it ever was that way, it's not anymore.

You may also be thinking that keyword-rich domain names are what get
sites high rankings.  The truth is that domain names have little if
any effect on where your site shows up in the spidering search results
pages.  When you see sites ranking highly that happen to have
keyword-rich domains, chances are they're also optimized in other
ways.  It's those other things, i.e., keyword-rich Title tags, body
copy and links pointing to the page, that are more likely responsible
for the high rankings.

As to the length of any domain name, it's not really a factor.  Choose
domain names based on your company's brand, and make it something your
users will remember.  Many people (like me) don't bookmark sites, so
memorable domain names that make sense are much preferred over
keyword-rich domain names that look like canned luncheon meat!


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~~~Guest Article~~~

++Getting the Most out of PPC and SEO++

Those who've been with me from the beginning will remember my very
first Advisor issue </issue001.htm> where I
quizzed Barry Lloyd of MakeMeTop on everything he knew about Inktomi
(which was a lot!).  Since that first issue, a ton of stuff has
happened, and Barry and I even met in real life at the London SES
conference.  He's one of those people who are even better in person!
(See my wrap-up for an explanation of what I mean by that.)

Take it away, Barry!

Guest Article
Getting the Most out of PPC and SEO
By Barry Lloyd

People say that a year on the Internet is equivalent to a decade in
the "real" world! Certainly the changes that take place in search
engine marketing occur at breakneck speed. Who would have thought just
one year ago that Google would power some 70% of searches on the Web
by the end of the year - but they do.

An equally impressive rise has been the power of pay-per-click
engines, with Overture results being seen as "Sponsored Listings" at
the top of over 50% of the major search destinations, including Yahoo
and MSN. Outside of the US, Overture has equally impressive figures in
the English-speaking world and has now started to break into foreign
language markets. In Europe, Espotting rivals Overture's growing power
and influence - with their PPC results appearing on several
country-specific Yahoos and some major ISPs.

So, is there still a need for standard search engine optimization
strategies? Why should you change your site for search engine
friendliness if all you have to do is bid for the top positions?

Prominent Search Positions With a Positive Return on Investment (ROI)

With the growth in PPC, the competition and cost for the coveted top
spots have increased dramatically. The average price-per-click for
Overture keywords has risen to 30 cents; therefore, a site getting
around 1000 visitors a day from PPC (a small amount for a decent
shopping or travel site) could be paying $300.00 per day - or a
staggering $109,500.00 per year (assuming they were only paying the
average per-click price). That could buy a powerful amount of
professional SEO services! You can see why many traditional SEO
companies are transforming into well-rounded search engine marketing
companies and are using PPC to their clients' best advantage.

How To Get the Best of Both Worlds

When people look at PPC they tend to think that they should be bidding
on the most competitive keywords. After all, these are the terms that
people are searching for and the ones that should gain the most
traffic. However, they are also the ones that are the most expensive.

An example of this is in the highly competitive area of data recovery
services. Average prices are around $10.00 per click on Overture,
which is way beyond the budget of the average client. In this area we
suggest concentrating your traditional optimization efforts on getting
top rankings for the primary (and expensive) terms such as "data
recovery" and "data recovery services." However, PPC should be
utilized for secondary, more focused phrases (such as "floppy disk
recovery") where costs per click are a fraction of the price for the
major phrases. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of very focused
phrases that can be researched and bid on.  To optimize for all these
phrases through traditional SEO could mean creating many pages of
information, which in turn could be a prohibitively expensive

The Bottom Line

Concentrating your clients' optimization efforts on the terms that get
the most searches and are the most expensive on PPC can be highly cost
effective. Through this method (using the data recovery example), the
client obtains 20 referrals on PPC for $10.00 as opposed to 1 referral
for the same amount using standard PPC methods. They also get a 10%
take-up rate, which means that their cost per client is $5.00 as
opposed to $100.00! Of course, this does not include the referrals
gained through the standard optimization methods used for the main key
phrases. This reduces the costs per client acquisition to less than
$1.00 each, or 1% of the anticipated costs!

By inverting the way that your competitors are likely to be using PPC,
and coupling this with a well-focused search engine optimization
campaign for high value terms, you gain the dual benefits of high
visibility and a better ROI than your competition. While they are
involved in bidding wars for the expensive terms, you can control your
costs by only bidding on those terms that work for you on PPC. When
prices increase for certain key phrases, simply add them into your
standard optimization campaign - giving you the best of both worlds.

Having pursued this strategy for the past year on behalf of our
clients, it has proved highly successful and (more importantly)
profitable for them. It could do the same for you!

Barry Lloyd
MakeMeTop(tm) SEO Specialists

[Jill's Note: Obviously, Barry's method assumes you have the knowledge
and experience to obtain high rankings in the regular results for
highly competitive keyword phrases.  This, of course, is no easy feat.
All the more reason to read this newsletter and any other reputable
SEO resources you can get your hands on! - J]

~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Google vs. Evil++

There's a really interesting Wired article about Google here:

I love the idea of a company that makes decisions based on whether
they are for good or evil.  Yeah, it's kinda black and white, but if
you use integrity as your gauge for what's good, then you'll make the
right decision 99.9% of the time.  The best part is that it's amazing
how successful you can become by working in this manner.  (And here
you thought PageRank was the secret to their success!)

People like to deal with companies and others whom they trust.  Here's
hoping Google keeps an eye on their core values as they grow into
adulthood and into the New Year!

++FAST Boosts Relevancy (or so they say)++

FAST claims to have increased the relevancy of their search results at
AllTheWeb and their partner sites "through unique advanced relevancy
techniques including proximity of word in context, highlight hit term
in summary, and the expansion of indexed web formats..."

Looks the same to me!  My SEO sites are still on page three for
"search engine optimization," which means FAST's relevancy has got to
be a bit off as my sites are *always* the most relevant! <grin>

I also found a really weird result at #11:

KaZaZZ! - Online Guide to Music, Movies, Games and More
... Topics Music Movies Games Sports Fashion Dating Advanced Search
KaZaZZ! Wild Guide List Your Site | Advertiser Login | Link to Us |
Change Language ...

If that's more relevant than my High Rankings Search Engine
Optimization site, well then I guess ole FAST and I have different
ideas about what relevancy is!

If you're interested in what they've done, you can read their press
release here:

++Search Engine Glossaries++

Remember last time when we talked about search engine glossaries?  It
seems that Chris Sherman from SearchDay has done some digging and
found a few good ones!  Read his SearchDay article entitled "Search
Engine Lingo" to find some great search engine glossaries:

++AltaVista History++

While you're visiting SearchDay to find the glossaries, if you're a
long-time Internet user you'll probably enjoy Chris's history of
Seems like only yesterday...

++Washington Post SEO Article++

I have no idea what's actually gonna end up in print, but I was
interviewed by Leslie Walker, a journalist from the Washington Post,
about 2 minutes ago for an article coming out in Thursday's paper.  Be
sure to buy a copy or check it out online at Ms. Walker's site:

We discussed all kinds of fun stuff that I have many opinions on such
as Google's fight against spam and how that affects SEOs, along with
coming search engine trends and more.  It will be interesting to see
how much of what I said makes it into print.  I've learned from past
experience that you can never be quite sure about that!

~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++The New and Improved HotBot++

Check out the new HotBot <>.  If you're new to
the Internet, you may not be very familiar with the HotBot search
engine.  In its heyday, it was a good little engine that could!
Unfortunately, like AltaVista, the people running it lost sight of
what a search engine should be, and it eventually became a repository
for ads, ads and more ads.

All that changed this week.  Today, HotBot has a nice, clean
interface, with only top sponsorship ads (clearly labeled) and
Google-esque PPC box ads down the right-hand side of the results
pages.  Not too shabby.  What makes it cool is you can search at four
different engines from the main HotBot interface.  You have a choice
of Google, FAST, Inktomi or Teoma.  Each time you visit, a different
engine is "checked" by default; however, you can select another
engines to search with at any given time.

I believe HotBot will come in handy for checking rankings across the
major engines, and also when searching for those hard-to-find
products, services or information.  The only problem is you can't view
Google's cached pages when using HotBot to search Google.  It's
amazing how you get used to having that cached link!

All in all, I think the new HotBot can be a useful tool for SEOs and
heavy-duty searchers.  Way to go, HotBot!

++Search Engine Optimization Sound Advice++

Last time, I told you that I've been creating some audio tips on SEO
and gave you a link to listen to the latest one.  Since the newsletter
has been somewhat sporadic lately because of holidays and conferences,
etc., I'm behind in getting the various tips to you.  A new tip comes
out once a week at the What's Working in Biz site

I suggest listening to them in order, as I had a logical progression
in mind when creating these.  Here are the links for the tips that
have been released so far:

Myths About Search Engine Optimization

Are Cutting Edge Designs Killing Your Search Engine Rankings?

The Difference Between Search Engines and Directories

Choosing the Best Keyword Phrases

Every Page is a Gateway to the Rest of Your Web Site

Using Title Tags to Your Advantage

Never Neglect Your Meta Description Tags

The Myth of the Meta Keyword Tag

You can go directly to this list at any time at the Sound Advice on
Search Engine Optimization page here:
<>.  You'll find
lots of great Sound Advice tips on other business subjects as well!

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

I did it!  It seems that I had a lot of pent-up things to talk about
in this week's issue.  And I didn't even get to it all.  I haven't
decided whether I'll be doing the newsletter over the next couple of
weeks.  Christmas and New Year's are both on Wednesdays, when I
usually hunker down to write, so I probably won't.  Yet I hate the
thought of missing two more weeks, especially since I missed last week
due to the conference, and not too long ago I missed Thanksgiving
week.  When all is said and done, I really do like putting this
together, even if I do wait until the last minute.  So perhaps I'll do
it on Thursday.  Or maybe I'll do just one week and not the other.
I'm gonna play it by ear and see what else is going on.  If past
holiday weeks are any indication, it's usually pretty quiet.  Most
likely there will be nothing to write about, but we'll see.

The Dallas conference was a great success as usual.  The audience
seemed more sophisticated than past audiences.  I think many were
returning attendees, which says a lot about the caliber of Danny's
shows.  Regardless of how much you think you know about SEO, there's
always more to learn.  I even picked up a few interesting tidbits this
time!  Of course, the best part is catching up with old friends and
making new ones.  I finally got to meet my link-building specialist,
Debra, which was great.  It's funny how no matter how much you *think*
you know people through email and the phone, they're always different
than you imagined once you meet them in real life.  In nearly every
case, they're much better!  Don't think I can even explain what I
mean, but if you've been in a similar situation, you'll probably know
what I mean.

Guess I better end this before I gush on forever.  I wish you all the
happiest of holidays and a happy New Year if I don't talk *at* you
before then.  Thanks for being the best 15,300+ subscribers on the
planet and making it worth "wasting" my Wednesdays! - Jill
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