March 19, 2003
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
----> Toilet Cleaning, Anyone?
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Titles, Descriptions and Keyword Focus
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> JoeAnt Directory
----> Copywriting Combo
----> Difference Between Google.com and Google.co.uk
*Other SEO News:
----> How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows
----> Atlanta Seminar Registration Open
----> Importance of Keywords Near Links
*Stuff You Might Like
----> Two Great Interviews
----> My Winning Excess Voice Limerick
----> Done Babbling
Hey guys! Wow, I can't believe how packed this newsletter is again.
You probably think I'm kidding when I tell you that I wait until the
last minute to write this thing, but it's really true. I block off my
entire Wednesday to write it in its entirety. Oh sure, I may (or may
not) have some idea of what I'm going to write about, but that's about
it! I suppose this isn't really something to brag about, as I should
be more organized...but alas...I'm not and never will be. The funny
thing is, the whole time I'm supposed to be writing it, I'm *still*
putting it off by answering emails that can wait, or whatever else I
can think of not to do it (I even thought about cleaning that toilet
that hasn't been cleaned in about a year!). Amazingly enough, it
always manages to get done and be somewhat useful to people (the
newsletter...not the toilet). I generally write this intro and the
wrap-up part at the end, and by this time I can barely see straight or
think straight. But, I can see enough today to know that this is a
terrific issue (if I do say so myself).
Anyway...I'll stop rambling and let you get to it! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Titles, Descriptions and Keyword Focus++
From: Steve Tauber
I never miss an issue of your meaty, no-fluff newsletter! You have a
flair for making the reader feel like you are personally talking to
them. It is a goldmine, and required reading for an SEO master, or for
anyone even contemplating a site -- and that is no exaggeration!
I have saved up all my questions regarding many things you have said.
Hopefully you'll think the answers might be helpful to your readers.
[Jill's note: Rather than posting the questions twice, in the
interest of saving space (and your time) I'm leaving them out of the
original email question and just pasting them into my answer.]
As you can tell, I really value your opinion. Thank you in advance,
for your valuable time.
Thanks for your kind words about this newsletter. Even if it's just
an obligatory suck-up, it makes me feel good, nonetheless! (Remind me
to one day tell you about the hilarious fake email my daughter Corie
once sent me that had all the parts of the typical email I
receive...including but not limited to the "obligatory suck-up"!)
Okay, let's get right into those questions of yours:
Q. In the Title Tag, you say one should not stuff it with as many
keywords as possible. But why not use up the approx. 60-115 characters
with as many keyword phrases as are even closely related to the page
content, and then repeat them on the page saying something like
"people who are interested in these things, will especially enjoy this
A. Because then you will dilute your actual keyword phrases!
Optimizing any one page of a site is all about focus. Focus, focus,
focus. Personally, I have no problem with long Title tags, and use
them often; however, they are absolutely focused on the main two or
three keyword phrases that I optimized a particular page's content
for. It sounds like you're thinking you can optimize a page's content
for tons of different keyword phrases. But again, in doing so, you'll
lose your focus and end up with zippo!
Q. You say less than 250 words of copy is okay, but how about just 30
words (say on a catalog page simply describing one product for sale)?
A. Generally, I like 250 words, but like anytime I deal in numbers,
they're not written in stone. It all depends on what (and how many)
keyword phrases you're optimizing the page for. If you're optimizing
for a highly competitive phrase where there are thousands of other
sites optimized for the same keyword phrases, it's doubtful that 30
words of copy will be enough to utilize your keyword phrase
appropriately. On the other hand, if you simply want to rank highly
for the keywords "ProductName Part# 342392" you may certainly have
enough to go on with only 30 words on the page. It really depends on
how many other sites sell that particular product part, and how
search-engine-friendly they've made their site.
Q. To have more keyword space, are commas (or even the normal space
after commas), necessary in Titles or Description Tags?
A. You don't need to have more space in either your Meta keyword tag
or your Meta description tag. Doing so will only serve to dilute your
two or three highly specific keyword phrases for that page. That
said, I still create my Meta Keyword tags with a comma and no space
between the words, but it's only out of habit from the old days when
(like you) I thought I should conserve space in these tags!
Q. Will shorter Title or Description Tags (or copy) increase word
importance to engines?
A. This is something debated by many SEOs on a daily basis. Many
seem to believe that you should focus on only one keyword phrase per
page, and use only that one keyword phrase in the Title tag. I don't
happen to agree. Certainly, you *can* optimize that way if you want
to, but to me, that's such a waste of a good page! Why optimize for
one phrase when you can optimize for three? I don't know about you,
but I'd much rather give my page the potential for showing up under
three highly relevant phrases in the search engines than just one
phrase! You won't always rank highly for all three phrases when you
do this, however. Sometimes you'll rank highly for only one of them,
or sometimes for two. Regardless of how many you end up ranking
highly with, you'll have more chances just by the fact that you
optimized for three instead of one. Unfortunately, as discussed
above, once you go beyond three, you stand a good chance of diluting
them all, and ranking highly for none of them.
Q. As with Title Tags, can one make slightly different Description
tags for each site page?
A. Can one? One absolutely MUST! Each page of your site is totally
different (or it better be!); therefore, of course each description
tag must also be different. Not slightly different, but totally
different. If your pages are so similar that your description tags
are nearly the same, then you'll probably want to rethink your whole
site strategy. Every page of your site should be completely unique,
because people don't want to read one page of your site, then click to
another page only to read pretty much the same thing there. If that
happens, you can kiss your visitor bye-bye right then and there!
Q. Can Description Tags be in all capital letters?
A. Why would you want them to be? They can be anything you want. You
could fill them with numbers and exclamation points if you want to,
but what would be the purpose? Since Meta description tags show up in
many search engines' results pages, you generally want to use a nice
descriptive sentence or two. All caps would probably not look very
attractive to the average person looking for your site. The search
engines aren't case-specific anymore, so it probably wouldn't matter
as far as rankings go, but it might make a difference to the users.
Q. Even with commas, if I don't put dashes between keyword phrase
words in Title and Description tags, how will spiders know they belong
together? Thus if I sell many types of gifts, can I put the word
"gifts" numerous times, each time beside a different type of gift
(i.e., science gifts, toy gifts, etc)?
A. Well, again, you should be only optimizing each page for up to
three keyword phrases. Now that you have a better understanding of
this from my previous answers, I think you can figure out this one
Q. Besides a minimum, is there an optimum number of times a keyword
should be repeated in Title and Description tags, or copy?
A. Every page is unique, and every optimization is unique. Therefore
there will never be an optimum number of times to use any particular
keyword or keyword phrase in any of the tags or in the page copy. You
should use them in the way that makes the most sense for the
particular page you are working on.
That said, for Title tags, I wouldn't use any one word more than two
times. It's the same for the Meta description tag. With the Meta
keyword tag, I wouldn't use any one word more than three or four
Within the actual page copy, I have no number to give. My rule of
thumb is to use the two or three keyword phrases as many times within
the copy as it makes sense to do so without making it sound stupid.
<Shameless plug> My recently released report, "The Nitty-gritty of
Writing for the Search Engines," can definitely help you figure out
how to do exactly that -- get keywords into the copy. You can learn
more and purchase it here:
</seo-writing.htm> </Shameless plug>
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++Difference Between Google.com and Google.co.uk++
From: Mike Brogan
Thank you for a very informative and entertaining newsletter. I look
forward to it every week.
I have a question about differences in Google's regional search
engines. I'm running a site that is hosted in the UK. It promotes
yacht charters to a worldwide audience. I've recently found
significant differences in the site's rankings on Google and Google
(UK). I would have expected to see some differences but these are so
huge that it almost looks like the site has been penalised on the main
This situation came about in October last year. Previous to that date
my site had good listings on Google as well as Google (UK). I know
that Google did a major reorganisation around that time so this is
probably related to that.
My question -- is Google now using the country where the site is
hosted as a factor in its listings? If so, how can I get my listings
back to what they were prior to October last year without moving the
site to a US based host?
Keep up the good work
Since I generally work with the U.S. engines and am not up to speed on
how the UK and other international engines work, I sent this question
to my friend and fellow Cre8asite Forum
<http://www.cre8asiteforums.com> moderator/administrator, Ammon Johns.
You may recall Ammon's great article, "Overture Auto-bid Feature
Creates New Bid War Tricks"
</issue019.htm#seonews1>, which he wrote
for us in July 2002.
Since Ammon is an Internet Marketing Consultant based in the UK, I
knew he'd be easily able to answer Mike's question. So, without
further ado, here's Ammon:
A lot of people wonder about the relationship between the main .com
search engines and their UK regional versions. In most cases, the
search engines simply add two things for the UK market. The first is
the .co.uk regional top-level domain, and the second is a simple radio
button that allows surfers to restrict searches to just UK pages.
That's about all the difference you usually get. :)
Since your question was specifically about Google.co.uk, let me
address that specifically. Google UK offers the exact same default
search as Google.com unless you set different options using the search
preferences settings. Google provides the standard radio button under
the search box that allows users to specify UK-only results if they
When a user selects to have UK-only pages shown, Google uses the same
search algorithm as normal, but removes all the listings for companies
that are not known to Google to be UK-based. The pages that are left
either have a .uk domain, or are .com domains hosted on an IP address
that is registered to UK use. That's all there is to it.
Your site isn't penalised in Google.com, it just has a lot more
competition that isn't hosted in the UK, and isn't faring as well as
it used to. Your PageRank score is only a 4 and could certainly be
made higher by ensuring that your site is listed in all the major web
directories. You could also improve the optimisation of your primary
keyword phrases on your pages. On following those steps, you should
find that your positions will improve over the coming months against
the greater competition that the wider world presents over the more
limited competition presented just within pages hosted in the UK.
Internet Marketing Consultant
Please Help Jill Make Karon's Birthday Special!
All Karon wants for her birthday (from me) is to sell a "ton" of her
copywriting courses to people who will benefit from it. You know,
the Step-By-Step Copywriting Course I talk about all the time.
Let's make the birthday girl happy, teach you how to write creative
copy and save you $10 of the list price in the process!
Purchase Karon's course and my "Nitty-gritty of Writing for the
Search Engines" special report combo pack, and learn
everything you'll ever need to know about copywriting.
Scroll down that page for the special "Buy Both and Save" button.
~~~Other SEO News~~~
++Atlanta Seminar Registration Open++
The kinks are worked out, and the registration page for my half-day
seminar on May 16th in Atlanta is officially up and running! Here's
the info and registration link:
The price up until April 16th is $249. After that date it turns into
a pumpkin and becomes $299, so don't delay (and don't lose your glass
slipper in the process).
Don't forget to sign up for the limited-edition lunch with the expert
(umm...that would be me, I guess!). The lunch is an additional $35
and is available for the first 25 people who sign up for it. I see I
have neglected to post that part on my site yet. Now I have something
to do while my very able assistant is proofing my newsletter. Yes, I
could feed the kids or something, but nope...I've gotta post my stuff!
++How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows++
I read this great article the other day on Fast Company about Google:
<http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/69/google.html>. It's nice to
see that some media outlets are still printing positive stories, and
not simply looking for negative stuff to print.
Here's my favorite part of the article that spells out Google's basic
"Could it be any simpler? Build great products, and see if people use
them. If they do, then you have created value. And if you've truly
done that, then you have a business. Says Mayer: "Our motto here is,
There's no such thing as success-failure on the Net." In other words,
if users win, then Google wins. Long live democracy."
Gotta love it!
++Importance of Keywords Near Links++
My answer in last week's newsletter regarding keywords in hyperlinks
</issue046#seo> spawned an interesting
debate at the Ihelpyou forums on the value of keywords *near* a
hyperlink, as opposed to *in* the hyperlink. As you may recall, my
answer stated that keywords near the link can help a page's ranking in
the engines, although not as much as keywords *in* the link. However,
not everyone agrees with this. Read all about it here:
~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
++Two Great Interviews++
I found two great interviews in two days with two of my very favorite
SEO-type people, Alan Perkins and Robert Clough.
In Alan's interview
discusses how he got interested in SEO, his views on paid-inclusion,
pay-per-click ads (PPC), "PageRank Mania" and of course...cloaking!
Alan also gives a great summary of how to improve a site's rankings in
the search engines without resorting to tricks. You probably remember
Alan from the hotly debated "Why Cloaking Is Always A Bad Idea"
article </issue041.htm#guest>, which I
published here at the end of January.
Robert Clough's interview was with a French directory site called
"Enfin" <http://int.enfin.com/interview/r-clough.php>. He discusses
how and why he created the ever-popular Search Engine Guide (SEG)
<http://www.searchengineguide.com> Web site, along with his thoughts
on "Google-mania," PPC, SEO and a variety of other things. For those
of you who haven't heard of Robert Clough, SEG or its newsletters, you
don't know what you're missing!
The SEG daily and weekly newsletters have links to all the current
happenings in the world of search engines. Having the SEG newsletter
show up in my inbox each day ensures that I won't miss any important
articles or forum threads that have anything to do with the search
engines or with search engine optimization. Some days, I have the
time to find the decent articles on my own; however, on busy days, I
rely on Robert to find them for me! I know at the end of the day, I
can scroll through my SEG newsletter to see if anything interesting
happened that day. Sometimes Robert even highlights forum threads
that I should have seen (because I always seem to be at the forums!),
but may have missed for one reason or another. Since the world of
search engines moves so quickly, SEG is definitely required reading
for anyone in the SEO or SEM field who wants to keep up with the
latest trends and information.
By the way, I have it on good authority that Robert is looking for
additional sponsors for his newsletter and on his Web site starting
April 1st. He gets a TON of visitors to the site, so if you're
looking for some good exposure and have a search-engine-related
product or service, email him directly for more info here:
++My Winning Excess Voice Limerick++
Nick Usborne, author of "Net Words - Creating High-Impact Online Copy"
</networds>, recently ran a limerick
contest in his "Excess Voice" bi-weekly newsletter about copywriting
online <http://www.nickusborne.com/excess_voice>. The rules stated
that you had to use the words "long," "short" and "excess," plus
express a view as to whether online copy should be short or long.
Here's my SEO writing limerick, which got top-5 status at Nick's site:
If your site's to have search engine success
Long copy generally works best
Too short just won't do
Site visitors will be few
Keyword phrases must be used in excess!
Okay, I've babbled enough for one day! Hope you enjoyed it, and
learned a little something more about the SEO game.
Catch you next time! - Jill