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High Rankings Advisor: Optimized Copy Still Not Ranking Well - Issue No. 044

February 19, 2003
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Straight to the Good Stuff

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   JavaScript Pop-up Links
---->   Optimized Copy Still Not Ranking Well

*This Week's Sponsor:
---->   Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines

*Other SEO News:
---->   Overture To Buy AltaVista
---->   Gimpsy Is Spiderable Again
---->   Atlanta Seminar Details Coming Soon

*Stuff You Might Like
---->   Revisiting Past Stuff

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Off to the Computer Hospital
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  I've got another full issue for you today, along with a
long wrap-up, so let's skip straight to the good stuff. - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

From: Paul Antico

Hi Jill,

I love your cut through the hype no nonsense, no bs style!

I am a photographer with an image based website.  The pages on my
site, on the third level down, use javascript to open pop-up windows
when viewers click on the thumbnails on those pages.  Can/will the
search engines follow those links to those pages?  There are no other
links to those pages.

Does it matter if they find those pages?  If it matters and they can't
follow the javascript openwin() command, would a no frames tag be
indicated or perhaps something else?

By the way, just following your basic advice in ONE WEEK my site went
from being one zillion to NUMBER ONE and TWO on Google (and by
default, Yahoo) on some of my selected keyword phrases!!!!  Wow!

For some reason, on my other keyword phrase I show up as #65.
Considering I was never found before unless someone typed in my actual
name or business name, this is fabulous!  All I did was change my
title, add carefully written text at the top of the page where there
was only a logo, adjust the description and keyword meta-tags,
add/revise alt tags and link title tags and voila!  Search engine
success!

Paul

++Jill's Response++

Hi Paul,

Glad you like my style!

It's great to know about your search engine success.  I hear similar
stories almost every day from my subscribers, and it definitely makes
me psyched!  If more people would simply remember that the key to high
search engine rankings is to use common sense and to *think like a
search engine* (or a search engine programmer), they'd find it's a lot
easier than they might think.

Regarding your JavaScript links to pop-up windows, no, the search
engines generally can't follow those types of links.  Does it matter?
Only if you care whether the info in the pop-up windows is found in
the search engines.  If they're simply samples of your photos with no
written content, there's really no need to have them spidered by the
search engines.

However, if there's info contained in those pages that you definitely
want spidered, you should use the <noscript> tag and place spiderable
hyperlinks in it.  (You would not want to use the <noframes> tag, as
that's only for framed sites.)

As for the keyword phrase you're having trouble ranking highly with,
most likely that phrase is more competitive than the phrases you're
doing well with.  By more competitive, I mean that there are more
pages in the search engine's database that match the query.  In other
words, when you type in your highly ranked keyword phrase, there may
be 5,000 other pages that show up in the search engine results pages
(SERPs).  But when you type in the keyword phrase you're having
trouble with, you may find that there are 10,000 pages showing up.
This means that there's twice as much competition for that phrase.

Many people are scared to optimize for phrases that they consider *too
competitive*.  However, just because a phrase is competitive doesn't
mean you shouldn't optimize for it.  It simply means that you
shouldn't make it the cornerstone of your optimization campaign.

Think about it...if you had optimized only for that one elusive
keyword phrase, you'd be sitting there thinking that you stink at
search engine optimization. Since you were smart enough to optimize
for some easily attainable phrases, you have gained confidence in your
SEO skills.

Now that you've seen what works for the less competitive phrases, put
it to work for you on the more competitive phrase.  In order not to
ruin what you've already accomplished, you may want to optimize other
pages of your site for the more competitive phrase.  The more
competitive a phrase is, the more times you'll need to use that phrase
within your page copy, Title tags, Meta tags, and links.  Larger, more
informational sites also seem to have an advantage with competitive
phrases.  The more pages of information you have for your site
visitors, the better chance you'll have of ranking highly for your
best phrase or phrases.

As long as you have optimized for a variety of phrases within the
pages of your site, go ahead and shoot for some competitive ones too.
Why not? You've got nothing to lose!

Jill

__________________________________________________adv.

Want to charge more for your copywriting services?
__________________________________________________

Online copywriters who know how to write for the search engines
as well as for site visitors make *more* money.  It's true!

Writing for the search engines doesn't come naturally to most
copywriters.
Yet, if you're already a great online copywriter it's an easy skill to
learn.

The copywriters I've personally trained learned to write with keyword
phrases in mind after practicing with two or three pages of copy.

Complete your SEO copywriting training through my new special report,
"The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines"
</seo-writing.htm>.
__________________________________________________


~~~Next Question~~~

++Optimized Copy Still Not Ranking Well++

From: Pete Kever

Hi Jill,

Love the newsletter. Nothing like good, common sense, truthful stuff
in this sometimes noisy and confusing marketplace! I have enjoyed
learning from you.

Here's my question:

Knowing that good content is the best way for a search engine to
effectively index a website, my question would be...where do you go
after you have "filled up" your website for a particular term?

For example, I have effectively optimized each relevant page on a
client's website for a specific term, let's say "computer desks." Of
course, only the pages that are relevant to computer desks are
optimized for that term.

But the client is still not ranking high enough for computer desks. My
intent is to add more pages that relate to that topic. I suppose I
could also further flesh out more existing pages for that term, but
after a while I begin to repeat myself! What's more, how can one
pontificate on "computer desks" for very long without borrrrrring the
end user, or even getting myself blacklisted somehow?

As I am sure this topic has come up before, I am quite positive you
will have some advice for me.

And I thank you for your time and consideration!

Sincerely,

Pete Kever

~~~Jill's Response~~

Hi Pete,

This question actually fits nicely with today's first question, and is
a problem that I have to deal with a lot on the sites I optimize.

There are two parts to the equation.  The first depends on whether
your pages are truly optimized as best as they can be for the given
keyword phrase.  I've rarely seen a page (except for those that I
optimize!) that has all its on-the-page bases covered.  Make sure you
haven't missed any opportunities to work your keyword phrase into the
copy or tags, where it makes sense to do so.  If you've eked out every
available keyword spot within the copy, the next step is to see if you
might be able to place your keyword phrase into the internal links
that point to the optimized page.

In other words, is the phrase "computer desk" being used in most of
the navigational links on your site that point to the page about
computer desks? Or do they say "click here" or "more information" or
something like that?  A simple change in the hyperlink words can
sometimes be the tactic you need to push your site up in the SERPs for
your keyword phrase.

The second part of the equation is the addition of as many
high-quality outside links that also utilize your keyword phrase.
Requesting links can help, but these days links are at a premium; many
site owners are reluctant to give them away to just anyone.  I don't
blame them, either.  Personally, I trash every link request I receive
because they're all sent through automated programs.  If the people
(or programs) sending these think they're fooling anyone into
believing they've actually visited your site and they really like it,
etc., then they must be dopes.  (Or if you actually believe those
emails, then you must be a dope!)

The best way to get *real* links -- the ones that really and truly
mean something to you in terms of traffic they will bring and improved
link popularity -- is to create a site that is worth linking to.  It's
not easy, nor is it something that can be done overnight.  It may even
take a full year or more to begin to see results.  You may even need
someone working on your site full-time who will be in charge of adding
content on a regular basis.

The bottom line is that people link to sites that provide great
information and that seem to be an authority in their field.  To
become an authority, you need to prove that you know what you're
talking about.  One way to do this is by writing articles and adding
them to your site.  Another way is to request permission to reprint
other people's articles on your site.  Or how about starting a weekly
or monthly newsletter, and then posting each one in an archived area
of your site?

If you look at many of the top-ranked pages in Google, you will see
that they are generally informational sites.  Again, nobody said this
would be easy.  You have to be willing to invest the time and/or money
it will take to do it right.  Google has set the bar pretty high.
Give them what they want and you will find that over time, others in
your industry will link to your site (yes, even your competitors!).
This, in turn, will increase your PageRank and your rankings in the
SERPs.

This method works best if your on-the-page optimization is already in
tip-top shape.  However, it can even work without tons of keyword-rich
copy on your site.  This is why you'll often see sites with home pages
that are nearly all graphics ranking highly for competitive keyword
phrases.  Personally, I find it's easier when you have your
on-the-page stuff down pat.

<shameless plug> That's why I wrote my new report, as this is exactly
what it was designed to teach you to do. If you're not sure whether
you're maximizing your keyword phrases within your current copy, I
strongly suggest you purchase "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the
Search Engines." </shameless plug>

Good luck!

Jill


~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Overture To Buy AltaVista++

So I was surfing around at some search engine forums last night, and
saw a post that Overture was planning to purchase AltaVista.  I had to
blink and rub my eyes to be sure of what I was reading, and then went
to the news sites to see if it was true!  It was and is true -- to the
tune of $140 million in cash and stock.

As with the impending Yahoo/Inktomi deal, the speculation began within
hours after the announcement.  Personally, I've been wracking my brain
trying to understand what Overture would want with AltaVista.  I've
read other people's guesses, but none of them hit the mark for me.
The one thing that I keep thinking (and I'm not sure if others have
mentioned this) is that perhaps Overture wants to add relevancy into
how they position their PPC ads.

For instance, with Google Adwords, you don't bid on a first-place,
second-place or third-place position.  Your position is determined by
your bid price PLUS the relevancy of the words in your ad PLUS your
clickthrough ratio.  Maybe Overture wants to do something like that
and needs a relevancy algorithm to set it up?

Danny Sullivan has some other ideas in his Search Engine Watch article
here:
<http://www.searchenginewatch.com/sereport/03/02-altavista.html>.


++Gimpsy Spiderable Again++

Lately, I've been advising companies to submit their sites to some of
the up-and-coming general directories such as JoeAnt
<http://www.joeant.com>, GoGuides <http://www.goguides.org> and Gimpsy
<http://www.gimpsy.com> because they're much easier to get listed in
than Yahoo and DMOZ.  They can bring traffic in their own right, and
the links often count towards your overall link popularity with the
spidering search engines.

Unfortunately, the Gimpsy directory had made some navigational and
structural changes to their site at some point which made their link
listings un-spiderable.  This meant that a listing with them didn't
have all the same benefits as a listing with GoGuides or JoeAnt.
Luckily, the people at Gimpsy have been working diligently on this
problem and have resolved it nicely!

You can read about the recent fixes and enhancements at the Ihelpyou
forums:
<http://www.ihelpyouservices.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=714
9l>.  A quick check at Google doesn't currently show any of the
directory listing pages; however, you can expect that to change over
the next few months.

Good luck, Gimpsy!


++Atlanta Seminar Details Coming Soon++

Yes, I will definitely be presenting my half-day search engine
optimization seminar in Atlanta sometime in the spring.  I was hoping
to have the finalized details to you today; however, we're still
choosing a date, time and venue.  I promise to have the information to
you by next week's newsletter.


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Revisiting Past Stuff++

Here's a quick rundown of some past "stuff," with links to my reviews:

"Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" by...me - a special
report to teach you where to place those pesky keyword phrases within
your visible page copy
</issue043.htm#stuff>.

"Step-By-Step(tm) Copywriting Course" by Karon Thackston - a
full-blown copywriting course disguised as a PDF file
</issue009.htm#stuff>.

"21 Techniques to Maximize your Profits on Google AdWords Select" by
Andrew Goodman - a special report that shows how to do exactly that
</issue006.htm#seonews2>.

"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:
</issue018.htm#stuff>.

"Search Engine Optimization Fast Start" by Dan Thies - an SEO ebook
for very busy people </issue013.htm#stuff>
(and you can read my interview with the author at
</issue014.htm#stuff>).

"Search Engine Yearbook 2003" by André le Roux - an attempt to
compress the entire search engine world into a book
<http://www.pandecta.com/jw>.

Please note that those are my affiliate links, and I get a percentage
of any sales that may result from your visits using the links. It's a
nice way for you to support the Advisor and also gain some extra SEO
information!


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

I hope those of you who celebrate them had a nice Valentine's Day and
President's Day!  I don't really believe in Valentine's Day, so that
one is a non-event in my household.  (And besides, I get plenty of
chocolate from you guys!)

We did take advantage of the three-day weekend, however, with a
mini-trip to the Boston Science Museum.  They're having a special
exhibit called "The Quest for Immortality"
<http://www.mos.org/quest/?rd=209>, which we enjoyed.  We also stayed
overnight at a nearby hotel.  The kids had a blast playing around on
the transparent elevators, and met a number of other children doing
the same thing.  Apparently, the hotel folks must be used to it,
because nobody yelled at them to knock it off or anything.  The cool
thing about the hotel was how the rooms were all around outside of the
center atrium, so you could easily find your kids as they were running
themselves ragged in the halls.  My husband and I were able to have a
few drinks in the lounge, and still keep our ears and eyes (somewhat)
on the kids.  (Before you call Child Services on me, don't worry --
they're old enough to be wandering around a hotel by themselves!)

Unfortunately, we were driving home just as the blizzard hit.  The
Mass. Pike was covered in snow, making it a stressful ride back.  To
add insult to injury, when we did finally get home, I tried to
download my 750 spam emails and got a "cannot reach the server" error.
My Internet access was totally gone!  After hours on the phone with
technical support (I made a nice friend there during all the rebooting
time), my problem was still not resolved.

The next day I decided to purchase a new network card to see if that
might solve the problem.  When it didn't, it suddenly hit me that
perhaps the wireless network I had installed about a month ago was the
culprit.  I bypassed the wireless router, and bam, the Internet
connection worked!  Duh, duh, duh!  Could have saved myself a trip to
Best Buy had I thought of that the day before (or thought to tell the
support guy).  So today I reset the router and the modem and basically
reinstalled the network.  So far, so good!

Now if I can just finish this newsletter off, I can pick up my laptop
from the computer hospital where it's receiving a keyboard transplant.
With my kids home from school this week, we need every computer we can
get!


And with that...I'm outta here!  See you next week.  - Jill
 
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