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High Rankings Advisor: SEO Predictions for 2003 - Issue No. 038

January 2, 2003


*Introductory Comments:
---->   Dynomite Break

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   SEO Predictions for 2003
---->   Tongue-in-cheek Predictions

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

*Other SEO News:
---->   Yahoo To Purchase Inktomi

*Stuff You Might Like
---->   Search Engine Yearbook 2003

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   The Times They Are a-Changin'

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  I hope your holidays were merry.  I'm glad they're over
and am looking forward to buckling down for 2003.  My hopes of
catching up while it was quiet in the business world were dashed by
the fact that it's not quiet at home when my kids are home on
vacation!  I spent more time driving my oldest daughter and her 5
million friends around town than I did working.  Then when I had a
chance to actually do some work, I just wasn't in the mood and instead
played Dynomite at Yahoo for too many hours!  Oh well.  I guess I
needed the break.

Anyway, this is a slightly shorter newsletter than usual, but I didn't
want to wait another week to send it to you.  I thought of some pretty
funny tongue-in-cheek predictions for the upcoming year, and couldn't
wait to share them.  While I was at it, I came up with some *real* SEO
predictions.  In the past, I've stayed away from this sort of thing,
mostly because everyone else does it and I hate to be a copycat.  This
year, I haven't seen too many (yet) so I decided to give it a whirl.
If I'm being unoriginal, oh well...ya can't win 'em all!

Hope you like 'em! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++SEO Predictions for 2003++

Here are a few thoughts about where SEO is heading in the new year.
Some may be wishful thinking, and some may take more than one year to
happen, but these are the trends I'm currently seeing:

SEO consultants will move more in the direction of "fixing" existing
pages of sites to rank higher, as opposed to creating new ones, due to
the high level of long-term effectiveness this approach has.  We've
seen this trend in 2001 and 2002, but it will become more the norm in
2003.  Those that refuse to change with the times will eventually
close up shop, or perhaps become PPC experts.

The line between SEO and usability will become increasingly blurry, as
many will realize that a people-friendly site is also a
search-engine-friendly site.

Companies paying for full-service SEO will expect a total package that
includes usability as well as copywriting for sales conversions and
high rankings in the search engines.  Optimization companies will need
to have specialists in each of these areas, or have partnerships with
specific companies that do.

PPC will continue to grow in popularity, but so will the price tag.
Bids for keywords on Overture and Google AdWords are already out of
reach for many sites, and this will only get worse.  This in turn will
make "organic" search engine optimization more popular than it
currently is (and it's pretty darn popular).

For those willing to learn how to do SEO for their own sites, it will
be cheaper than ever to optimize a site for high rankings in the
"regular" search results. Paying for inclusion will no longer be
necessary, as the search engines will attempt to keep their databases
fresh and as full of as many pages as their spiders can index.  If
not, and it actually gets more expensive, then Google will jump that
much more ahead of the pack as search engine of choice for most

It will be more expensive to hire SEO consultants to optimize your
site, as the good ones will have more work than they can handle.
Smart SEO companies will offer paid site analysis at a price
small-to-medium-sized businesses can afford, while providing solid
information that will enable the client to do the SEO work in-house.

Google will remain the dominant player in the biz, with more and more
*regular* people believing that Google = Search Engine.  We will also
see Google continue to get bashed by Webmasters who can't figure out
how to get a decent listing.

If Google goes public in 2003 (and I'm not making any predictions on
that), we will see it start to suck by 2004.  By "suck" I mean become
like all the other engines.

The mainstream media will keep printing everything negative they can
about Google, but the general public will not give a hoot.

If HotBot spends time and money publicizing their new format of
gathering results from the top four search engines, AND if they keep
their interface clean, heavy-duty searchers will flock to them.  (I've
personally been using HotBot when I need to find something obscure,
and really like it -- just wish they had a cache function.)

I will hold a search engine optimization seminar in Atlanta in the

This newsletter will become required reading for every Webmaster in
the world and will have at least 25,000 loyal subscribers by the end
of 2003.


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A. The copy!

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Read Jill's review of the Step-By-Step(tm) Copywriting Course

++Tongue-in-cheek SEO Predictions++

Just for fun, I came up with some tongue-in-cheek predictions for the
world of search engines, SEO and online marketing for 2003. Enjoy!

Search Engine Blog <> will make
worldwide news when Peter interviews the "father of the Internet," Al

Doug Heil (Ihelpyou Forums) and Anthony Muller (ZenHits) will start an
organization called the "Guardian Spamgels."  Members will be seen all
over the world wearing red berets and painting a scarlet "S" on
cloakers' homes and cars.

Heather Lloyd-Martin will NOT wear a baggy sweatsuit to the next
Search Engine Strategies conference.

MarketingSherpa will send out a newsletter where every word has an
asterisk (*) in it so as not to trigger any sp*m filters.

Some SEOs (not me) will continue to set up free Hotmail accounts in
order to submit sites incognito to LookSmart, ultimately saving their
a$$ for another year.

Matt Cutts (Software Engineer at Google) will go to Bob Massa's
(Search King/PRadNetwork) house and literally take food off his table.

Mike Grehan will never see me in my lingerie (because I'm not that
kind of a girl), nor will Danny Sullivan ever touch the hem of Mike's
robes (because he's not that kind of a boy).  (If you missed Mike's
hilarious interview with Search Engine Blog, which I'm spoofing, you
can read it here:

Mike G. *will*, however, have lunch with Larry Page to explain how
search engines work.  Larry will listen patiently and work hard not to
say "you know" more than once each sentence when responding.  (See
this transcript from a PBS interview with Mr. Page:

By the end of 2003, the SEO Consultants Directory
<> will have declined 1,415,312 "SEO
companies" and approved 207.  Edward will also hire the Guardian
Spamgels to rat out companies that place more than 3 words in their
alt tags, and make them stand in the corner.

~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Yahoo to Purchase Inktomi++

You've probably already heard the news, and have also read the
speculation regarding this purchase.  All I can say is who knows what
lies in store for us at Yahoo for 2003.  We're all just gonna have to
wait and see.

~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Search Engine Yearbook 2003++

André le Roux from Pandecta has just finished his Search Engine
Yearbook 2003, and it looks like a winner!  I haven't had a chance to
read the whole thing (it's huge!), but I did read the entire section
on search engine optimization and found nothing to disagree with.  You
know me -- if there *were* something I would have found it!  André's
been researching search engines since 1997, so he has a good sense of
where this industry has been and where it is headed.

André says the Yearbook is his sincere attempt to compress the entire
search engine world into a book -- no easy feat by any means.  There
are seven sections, each filled to the brim with as much common sense
info and advice as possible.  There's stuff for searchers as well as
for Webmasters and SEOs.  All of the major search engines are
discussed, with attention paid to Google and its little quirks.
Smaller search engines and directories are also discussed.  There's
even a HUGE dictionary of online marketing terms, which I know many of
you could use!  To learn more or to purchase a copy, here's André's
Yearbook page: <>.  Let me know what
you think if you purchase it!

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

A few days ago I remembered that last year I had written some stuff in
the newsletter (Rank Write) right after January 1st about making
changes.  I searched for that issue in the archives, and it turns out
it was written exactly one year ago today.  Here's an excerpt:

"Of course, seeing things more clearly is one thing, but taking
control and actually making changes is another matter entirely. I
don't do well with change. I guess that's my goal for 2002!"

As evidenced by the fact that you're reading the High Rankings Advisor
and not the Rank Write Roundtable, it looks like I achieved my goal! I
had no idea at the time what changes I would make, but did know there
would have to be some.  Along with changing the newsletter, I also
changed many aspects of how I ran my business, and even found a new
and improved attitude.  With 2002 behind me, I can safely say that
change is a GOOD thing!  I had my most successful year ever, both
personally and professionally.  Change is very difficult at first, but
if you make changes for the right reasons, you'll be so very glad you
did.  I hope that in the future I can embrace change and not be afraid
of it like I've been in the past.  How 'bout you?

Here's to a great 2003 for us all!  See you next week.  - Jill
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