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High Rankings Advisor: SEO for Pure Content Sites - Issue No. 053

April 30, 2003
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   SEO for Pure Content Sites

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   TestWEB Monitor
---->   Learn SEO in Atlanta

*Guest Article:
---->   Is Your Website Self-Centered or User-Centered?

*Other SEO News:
---->   Free Pay-per-click Masterclass
---->   PageRank Mania Revisited

*Stuff You Might Like
---->   CloudMark's SpamNet

*This Week's Sound Advice
---->   Beware of Marketers Bearing Browser Keywords

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Apple Martinis are not Fruit Juice
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  More great stuff for you today. Kim's back with Part
Four of her usability series, and there's plenty of other search
engine optimization info.  So, let's get right to it! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++SEO for Pure Content Sites++

From: John G.

Jill,

Great newsletter.  Always a lot of great information.

A lot of questions I see for search engine rankings are extremely
valuable for those sites that have a product or service to sell.  What
about sites like mine that are purely content?  Our content is dynamic
and refreshes daily.  We don't sell anything on our site.  All revenue
is derived from advertising.

How valuable is an SEO campaign when every day our content changes and
keywords gain and lose value in a matter of days?

John G.

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi John,

Glad you like the newsletter.

Regarding your site, it's difficult to give you a good answer without
actually knowing what your site is all about.  However, I can tell you
that for search engine purposes, you would definitely want/need some
static content.  Even though your site is informational and changes
all the time, there must be some central theme, right?

For instance, a news site may have ever-changing news articles, but
the basic theme of the site is that it provides a constant supply of
up-to-date news (on a given subject, or just generally).  If this were
your type of site, you'd then want to do some keyword research on how
people might search for news.  Maybe people type in "current events"
or "recent news" or "news about _____" or whatever.  This is where
your keyword research is so very important and comes in handy.  You
may find that people search in ways you never imagined.

What about archived articles? Do you have any of those on your site?
If so, you'll have built-in static content right there.  You don't
necessarily have to "optimize" your articles, but simply do some
rudimentary optimization that ensures a proper Title tag describing
the content within the article.  You'd be surprised how many people
find sites because certain keyword phrases they were searching for
appeared in an article.  The same is true for archived newsletters.
When I write this newsletter, I definitely don't write it with keyword
phrases in mind -- the way I would if I were specifically optimizing
certain pages of a site.  However, people searching for some of the
various topics I write about find the archived newsletters naturally.
In fact, Google's goal is to make sure they index sites in this
natural way.  They would actually prefer it if nobody optimized their
sites for particular keywords.  (Doesn't mean we should throw all
optimization out the door, however!)

So what's your basic theme?  Figure it out, do your keyword research
and create static pages (or use your current archived material) which
will let the world know exactly what your site is all about and why
they would want to come to it. It's rare that search engine
optimization *can't* benefit a site at least a little bit.  It may not
be the be-all-end-all for every site, but the search engines are the
first places most people go to find information.  The great part is
that informational sites are generally the highest ranked in Google.
You'll notice that they seem to favor them over commercial sites
nearly every time!


_______________________________________________Adv.

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_______________________________________________

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* Monitor 5 or more URLs up to every 30 seconds.
* Receive instant email notification when a site is unavailable.
* Check both external and internal HTTP and HTTPS sites.
* Keep an eye on competitors' sites and be notified of page changes.

Free 7-day trial available: <http://www.testweb.com/TWM_home.htm>.
______________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Is Your Website Self-Centered or User-Centered?++

After a week off, Kim Krause is back with her fourth article in the
usability series we're running.  To refresh your memory, in part three
of this series Kim emphasized user testing throughout the lifespan of
your website.  In today's installment we'll learn how to forget about
what *we* might like to have on our sites, and instead use elements
that *users* are looking for.  By removing your own self-interests
from the equation, you will do a better job of meeting the overall
business objectives of the site.  The end result will be a website
that meets both your and your customers' expectations.  You may even
find some good ammunition to shoot at your boss who insists on keeping
that Flash splash page!  Enjoy! - Jill

Being Tops with Your Users and the Search Engines - Part 4
Is Your Website Self-Centered or User-Centered?
Guest Article
By Kimberly Kopp Krause

Always remember who will be using your website.  It's not your company
CEO, marketing department or programmers.  The truth is that your
website visitors have the power to bring fame and fortune, or ruin a
reputation and sour investors.  On the Internet, competition isn't
just in the next town; it's just one easy click away.

Common Elements Are Like an Internet Handshake

Your website has one chance to offer a firm handshake or a limp one to
those who are introduced to it.  Does your site offer proof that your
company provides expertise in its field, or are company details vague
and unimpressive? Is the shopping cart and checkout process easy and
intuitive, or does it simply frustrate users to the point of no
return?  Don't just put "something" on a page.  Think about how the
presentation and inclusion of that "something" will enhance and
improve your users' experience.

Another important thing to consider is how your visitors may have
found your website. Did you bid on or optimize for accurate keywords,
or did you lead your visitors down a path to nowhere, with a site that
doesn't match its advertised claims?  We've all wasted lots of time
clicking on search engine ads that sound great, but then don't deliver
what we expected.  Be honest and realistic with your ads and your
keywords.

Be the one in the meetings who reminds everyone to THINK about each
little thing they want added to the website. Always return to your
business and functional requirements (which we talked about in Part
One </issue049.htm#guest>).  Return to it
again and again, as necessary.  Ensure that every element you place on
your website, every hub, link label and page complements your original
goals for the site. If your goal is to be famous, it won't happen if
you build a website that doesn't perform to user expectations. Do what
filmmakers do: they may absolutely love a scene, but if it doesn't
move the story along or if it complicates what they want to convey,
that scene ends up on the cutting room floor.  Don't be afraid to cut
out design elements that don't work.

Comfort Zones

People are conditioned to look for things on websites in certain
places.  Therefore, every site designer should consider including
certain common pages and elements, and make them easy to find from the
homepage.

Tagline - with keywords
Introductory content
Alt and/or title attributes
Universal navigation
About Us page
Contact - with email link or form
Privacy policy
Terms and conditions
Sitemap and/or search function
Hubs - sections or categories of interest

All of these common elements are reassuring to your website users.
This doesn't mean you can't throw them a curve now and then, but make
sure that new cool/nifty thing isn't going to frustrate them.

You may want to also add some optional common elements, which are
great for establishing authority, authenticity and credibility:

Investor relations page
Press relations page
News or announcements
Help/FAQ section
Meet the team/staff page
Testimonials
White papers
Articles

For interactive websites and ecommerce sites, you will likely need the
following common elements:

Shopping cart
Login area
Contact form
Sales lead form (such as registration)
Site search engine
Newsletter signup forms

Build It So Users and Search Engines Love It

Building a site so that users and search engines love it is much more
important than your loving it. You may think you have the greatest
website on earth, but if nobody agrees, what are you left with?
Insist on adding user conveniences and search engine optimization
elements throughout your website while it's still being built.

If you can perform at least 5 things from the following list, you're
already likely to be ahead of your competition:

1. Add a keyword-oriented Title tag specifically written for each
individual page.
2. Add a Meta description tag that describes JUST the content to be
found on that particular page.
3. Write accurate headings and subheadings that make sense to your
visitors and the search engines.
4. Provide a link to a text-only print version when designing a
graphics-heavy site.
5. Make sure your forms are considerate of people from all countries.
Not everyone lives in a "state" or has a "zip code."
6. Don't pummel your visitors with popups and banners.
7. Check for broken links.
8. Keep pages short and concise, or if long, add "top of page" links.
9. Make sure off-site links open up a new window.
10. Use templates so there's consistency between pages and navigation.
11. Ensure that a way "Home" is easily found on inside pages.
12. Use logical, consistent call-to-action labels for every link.
13. Add a link description via the alt or title attribute.
14. Write effective, professional content. (Don't babble.)
15. Design for graceful rendering in as many browsers as you can,
including Opera.
16. Check CSS on all browsers and correct problem areas.
17. Request and welcome website feedback.
18. Don't insist that your users only view your website with Microsoft
products. (Offer alternatives.)
19. Avoid teeny tiny text and font styles that are uncommon to all
types of computers.
20. Let keyword phrases be your guide by limiting topics to one or two
phrases per page.

The best advice I ever received was "Quit designing and think about
what you want the user to see or do first."  Don't assume that just
because you included a page, application, graphic, or hub means you've
automatically satisfied a business or functional requirement.  Show
the website around. Ask people to try it out.  Be open to their
suggestions and fix what frustrates them. And then ask, "If you found
this website in a search engine, would you stay or leave?"

Being number one for your keyword phrases won't miraculously bring you
a return on your investment, but satisfied users will.

Next Week - Part 5: Search Engine and User Testing of Your Website

Kimberly Kopp Krause
Cre8pc.com: http://www.cre8pc.com
Cre8asiteForums.com: http://www.cre8asiteforums.com

__________________________________________________

Come to Atlanta on May 16th and Learn How To Get Listed
__________________________________________________

Have you signed up for Jill's seminar yet?  Better hurry up! It's a
fun
half-day of unraveling the mysteries of high search engine rankings.

It's NOT about Meta tags, guys.  Learn exactly how Jill places her
clients at the top of Google, Yahoo & AOL, etc. each and every time!

All it costs is the price of the seminar.  Getting the high rankings
will come easily after that -- just implement what you learn!

Send your Webmaster, your site designer, your assistant or YOU.
You *need* to know this info. </seminar>
__________________________________________________


~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Free Pay-per-click Masterclass++

As you know, the advertising side of search engine marketing isn't
really my forté since I concentrate my efforts and knowledge on the
optimization side of things.  However, I know that many of you are
interested in this topic.  Luckily for us, Peter DaVanzo from Search
Engine Blog has taken the time to provide a virtual roundtable
discussion with some of the best PPC minds in the biz: Ammon Johns,
Andrew Goodman and Jim Banks.

This five-part pay-per-click masterclass is must reading for anyone
who wants to know the answers to questions like:  Why should you
undertake PPC? What tactics should you use? How do you get the most
out of your PPC campaigns?  And many more.

This is great stuff, but I warn you, there's a LOT there.  You will
probably need a break (or a drink) between each part!  Read it all for
free here:
<http://www.searchengineblog.com/interviews/pay-per-click-part1.htm>.


++PageRank Mania Revisited++

This morning I was answering a question that had to do with PageRank
and why I don't believe it's something one should worry about or
attempt to manipulate.  In order to help explain my position on this,
I revisited my PageRank Mania article/rant that I had written back in
issue No. 004.  Reading through it again I realized that what I wrote
over a year ago nicely summed up my feelings on the subject.  If you
read it when it was first published, read it again and see if your
feelings have changed.  (Many disagreed with it at the time, but many
others agreed.)  If you're a new subscriber who's never read it,
please read it now. It's something that every person trying to get
high search engine rankings should read.  You can find it here:
</issue004.htm#seo>.


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Cloudmark SpamNet++

If spam is getting the best of your inbox, you might want to give
SpamNet <http://www.spamnet.com/> a trial run.  I don't know about
you, but I get thousands of pieces of email spam every day.  I had
been filtering them by subject lines, but just as you get the latest
disgusting subjects filtered, the next batch comes rolling in.
Spending 15 minutes each morning to add the new words to my filters
was not my idea of fun.  Not only that, a good amount of real mail was
getting filtered out also.  I'm not sure how many subscriber questions
I may have missed, nor how many business inquiries were lost because
of this.

Last week I read some great reviews of CloudMark's SpamNet program and
figured I'd give it a whirl.  It was an easy install that integrates
into your Outlook email program.  (I'm not positive, but it may only
work with Outlook and not other email programs.)  I have to say that I
am mighty impressed!  It uses the power of the community of SpamNet
users to determine what is spam and what isn't.  When you get a piece
of spam that didn't get caught by the existing filters, you simply
click the SpamNet delete button which then alerts the central database
to that particular spam.  If enough users delete the same stuff, it
then starts getting filtered for everyone who uses the program.  You
still get all your email, but the junk goes straight to your spam (or
delete) folder.

It's been very accurate for me so far.  I've not had to pull out any
of my newsletters or real email from subscribers out of my delete
folder like I was previously doing.  I keep browsing through it just
to be sure, but I'm just about ready to start deleting it all without
even looking at it.  It's been that accurate.  The time I save not
picking through the crap will be more than worth the subscription
price of $4.99 per month (after the free trial).

The program doesn't catch everything, and I do still get lots of spam
in my inbox.  But I can at least take pleasure in the fact that I'm
helping others get less spam with every one that I delete, and not
worry that I'm missing any good stuff!

You can learn more about SpamNet here: <http://www.spamnet.com/>.  (I
have no affiliation with it.)


~~~This Week's Sound Advice~~~

Beware of Marketers Bearing Browser Keywords:
</soundadvice>


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's all for today!  I had a fun time at the Pub Conference in
Boston on Saturday.  I learned lots of things, like not to drink apple
martinis as if they were fruit juice.  I only had three of 'em, but I
was totally knocked on my butt from 'em.  (Ask any of those SEOs who
saw me wobbling back from the restroom.)  I didn't even mind my
husband's crazy driving home from Boston (he was sober!).  But it was
nice seeing old friends and meeting a few new ones.  Next
stop...London for the SES conference.  I'm choosing the free pass
winner in just a bit, and will notify you if you're the one!

This weekend it's off to Baltimore for my cousin's wedding.  Should be
a nice chance to catch up with family, but I'll have to remember that
most people there won't have the slightest idea of what SEO means!
Boooooo!

See you next week. - Jill
 
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