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High Rankings Advisor: Choosing A Copywriter - Issue No. 054

May 7, 2003


*Introductory Comments:
---->   Lots of Good Stuff Today

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Overture Ads' Effect on Google Rankings

*This Week's Sponsor:
---->   Web CEO Software

*Guest Article:
---->   Choosing a Copywriter

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Atlanta Search Engine Optimization Seminar

*Other SEO News:
---->  Better than Nothin'
---->  You Can Be a Famous Canadian Too
---->  London Free-Pass Winner

*Sound Advice:
---->   Paying Your Way to Search Engine Success

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Waste of Bandwidth

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone! We're taking one more break before finishing up Kim's
usability series so that I can bring you a great guest article about
choosing a copywriter.  If you're a search engine optimizer who has
never hired a copywriter...what are you waiting for?  This article
should come in handy for when you're ready to take that step, and/or
if you ever need to find a new copywriter.  (And if you *are* the
copywriter, you might learn something from it also!)

I've also got some info on Overture ads, as well as the name of the
lucky London conference free-pass winner.  Enjoy! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Overture Ads' Effect on Google Rankings++

From: Cathy Pedigo

Hi Jill!

Here's a tough question...I've been frustrated by the thousands of
dollars a month I've been spending with Overture.  It seems ridiculous
to keep lining their pockets, so last week I decided to put all my
terms offline and see what a difference it made in sales. So far, not
too much of a difference; I'm doing way better than I was afraid might
happen, which is amazing to me!

I'm concerned as to whether or not this will hurt my high ranking in
Google. Does Google give me a higher ranking because of my thousands
of terms in Overture and all the links that would come from there? Or
just from regular sites that link to me?

I'd appreciate any news you might have on a situation like this.


Cathy Pedigo

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Cathy,

Your regular Google rankings have nothing to do with any ads you might
run with Google AdWords or Overture, so rest easy!  Google and the
other search engines are smart enough to tell the difference between
most PPC ads and real links.  Thank goodness, or they'd have a real
problem with their rankings and relevance otherwise.

On another note, your situation brings up a number of things that may
be of interest to others.  The fact that you didn't notice much
difference in your sales can mean a few things.  It might mean that
you're simply not doing a good job with your Overture ads, and therefore
are not seeing a good return on investment (ROI).  Are the keywords
you're bidding on too general?  Do they exactly describe what your
site offers?  Are your bid amounts reasonable for the keywords you
want to show up under?

I'm certainly no PPC guru, but I do know enough to understand that
there's a delicate balance between what will provide you with a decent
ROI, and what will end up costing you money.  You might want to check
out Andrew Goodman's "21 Techniques to Maximize your Profits on Google
AdWords" </issue006.htm#seonews2>.  Yes,
it's geared towards Google ads, not Overture, but the same techniques
should apply to both in many cases.  The idea is to get your bid
amounts down and your clickthroughs up.

The other thing that struck me when reading your email was that your
sales may not have changed much when you stopped advertising on
Overture simply because everyone's using Google to search these days.
Since you have high rankings with Google, it may very well be all you
need.  Plus, you can always purchase Google AdWords to supplement any
keyword phrases you may not be able to target through their regular
results for whatever reason.

Hope this helps!



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~~~Guest Article~~~

++Choosing a Copywriter++

As one who's had to contract with many copywriters over the years, I
can tell you that Alyice Edrich's guest article today is right on the
money.  I have dealt with many of the things she mentions.  The one
that rings the most true for me is having the right "chemistry" with
your copywriter.  Most definitely!  When someone is writing copy for
you or your clients, you really need to have a fairly close
relationship.  There will be many emails and/or phone calls for
various reasons and you might as well make it fun!  I've been lucky
enough to work with some of the best copywriters in the biz, and it's
always been a pleasure.  But I did have one copywriter many, many
years ago where we simply didn't click.  Her writing was fine, and she
understood what I needed regarding writing for the search engines, but
I just didn't sense any chemistry.  After that, I decided I would only
work with copywriters (and other subcontractors) whom I could have fun
with and feel like they were my friends (even if they were only
pretending so that I would pay them <g>).  I think this is even more
important when you work by yourself.  We loners have to take our
friends wherever we can get 'em!

Anyway, it seems that Alyice has "been there and done that" from the
sounds of her article!  She's a freelance writer, simplistic web
designer, and editor of The Dabbling
<>, an online magazine for busy parents.
Heed her words if you're ever in the market for a new copywriter!
[Shameless self-promotion: You might want to make sure your new
copywriter has a copy of my "Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search
Engines" </seow54> handy also!]

Without further ado, here's Alyice! - Jill

Guest Article
Choosing a Copywriter
By Alyice Edrich

Copywriters come with many skill levels and talents and varying
amounts of experience.  Choosing the best copywriter for your business
will depend not only upon your needs, but also upon what you can
afford to pay.  But what do you look for when your company is small-
to medium-sized, and you simply don't have that "BIG BOY" budget?

Writing is a skill that is learned and perfected, based upon someone's
natural ability to write and his willingness to constantly study his
field.  Many men and women consider themselves both freelance writers
and copywriters based on the simple fact that they have their own
websites and newsletters, have been praised by friends and family, and
have sold a few pieces to other webmasters.

Technically, they are writers!  But are they the "type" of writer you
are looking for?  While there are many great writers and copywriters
on the Internet who deserve a shot at being successful, not everyone
is the perfect candidate for the job.

When looking for a copywriter for your business, consider the

* What's the quality of work on his own site?
* What's the quality of the work on his clients' sites?
* If you handed over a bunch of notes, could he make sense out of
* Does he ask questions to make sure he understands your needs?
* Is he willing to make changes quickly and cheerfully?
* When he speaks with you, does he make you feel important or
* If he's writing for the web, can he add keywords and phrases in your
copy, so that it still makes sense?
* Is he a yes man or will he thoughtfully discuss why your thinking
won't fit a piece and why?
* Does he offer suggestions that complement your piece and/or make it
* Is he reliable?
* What timeframe does he offer for getting your work done?
* Are his copywriting rates feasible and are they spelled out in clear
* If the copywriter has never written for your industry before, do you
have the patience to work with this writer until he has an intimate
familiarity with your business and its terminology?  If yes, does the
copywriter show enough potential to warrant your time and money?

Once you've had a chance to interview copywriters based on the above
questions, you'll need to help your copywriter do his best job, by
making sure that you have given him enough background information to
understand your project.  Information such as:

* Any published marketing materials
* Interoffice company memos
* Notes from business meetings
* Technical letters and product specs
* Your marketing plan

Above everything else, you need to make sure that you and your
copywriter have the right "chemistry."  If you find your relationship
tense, or always formal, you may want to find another copywriter.
After all, success comes from "teamwork."

So how much does a copywriter charge?  Current rates vary from as
little as $12.50 an hour (new writers) to well over $300 per hour!
It's true you get what you pay for, but if you can't afford $100 or
more an hour, you can still find a qualified, affordable copywriter to
meet YOUR company budget.

Utilizing a more affordable copywriter may simply require a bit more
of your involvement in exchange for a lower rate.  You may need to
provide more information so that the copywriter's primary duty is to
finesse the language and create dynamic text that will appeal to your
intended audience -- even if he doesn't come to the table with a
thorough background in your particular field.

Alyice Edrich
The Dabbling

~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Atlanta Search Engine Optimization Seminar++

We're getting close to the wire on my May 16th search engine
optimization seminar </atlanta>.  Make sure
to sign up today, if you've been putting it off for whatever reason.
Where else are you gonna learn everything you need to know to make
your site the best it can be for your users and the search engines?
(Well, besides this newsletter!)  For only $299 you can spend half a
day in Atlanta while I pass on my 9 years of search engine
optimization wisdom to you.

If you're having trouble assimilating all the info provided in this
newsletter and the other SEO resources you may read, you need to come
to this seminar.  You really do.  Everything will be presented in
logical order in words that everyone can understand and in ways that
you can easily implement.

Here's what I'll be teaching you:

* Why search engine optimization?
* Best time for SEO
* Types of search sites
* Search engine considerations
* Design issues
* Choosing keywords
* Writing for the search engines
* Placing keywords into copy
* Creating killer titles and Meta tags
* Measuring clickthrough
* Submitting to search engines
* Submitting to directories
* Link popularity and PageRank
* After submissions
* Avoiding spam
* Staying away from doorways
* Paid placement
* Future of SEO
* Log analysis
* Measuring a successful campaign

Plus, there will be plenty of time for questions.  I'll be in Atlanta
the night before the event and hope to meet some of you then.  Most
likely you'll be able to find me in the hotel bar/lounge.  (The event
is at the Sheraton Colony Square Hotel in Atlanta, and that's where
I'll be staying.)

Learn more and register here: </atlanta>.

~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Better than Nothin'++

I had a lovely chat with my SEO buddy Mike Grehan in Boston a couple
of months ago.  I sure am glad the guy from FAST whom he was supposed
to be interviewing at the time didn't show up.  After much begging and
pleading, Mike agreed that I was "better than nothing" and whipped out
his nifty little microphone to record our chat.

Read the transcript of our "date" here:
<>.  We
discussed such things as naked bar waitresses, how I got started in
SEO, my Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines report, and
lots of other fun stuff.

++You Can Be a Famous Canadian Too++

Just put those words in your Overture ad like Andrew Goodman did.

How many of you think that when you tell Overture what words you want
to bid on and pay for that your carefully crafted ad will *only* show
up for those keywords?  Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

Apparently not.

Overture has taken a page from LookSmart's crazy business model and
now allows your site to show up for words that happen to be in your ad
copy.  Duh.  If you wanted to show up for those keywords, wouldn't you
bid on them?

I realize that this has been going on for months, but just read this
interesting blog entry by Andrew here:

Looks like Google AdWords is now the only major PPC player that allows
you to bid on *just* the keywords you want your ads to show up under,
and also exclude the ones you don't want to be found under.

When will these Internet companies learn that greed will *always* do
more harm for their business than good?  Just because something brings
in more short-term revenue doesn't mean it's a good business choice.
How many customers will they lose to Google AdWords because of stuff
like this?

Couple this with the other greedy things they've done lately
(partnering with Gator, their Auto-bid feature which created major bid
wars </issue019.htm#seonews1>), and it only
makes Google stronger.  As long as Google continues to do things
simply because they're *right* as opposed to what makes the most
short-term money, other companies will never be able to touch them.
Never.  (Sorry, Frank from Overture...I gotta call 'em as I see 'em!)

[Added: I just noticed the post in Andrew's blog right before this one
is about Google AdWords and how your content ads can now show up on
warez-type sites.  Definitely a dumb move on Google's part, but at
least you can easily opt out of having your ads show on the content
sites if you'd like.]

++London Free-pass Winner++

Thanks to everyone who put their name in the hat to receive the free
pass to the London Search Engine Strategies conference in June
<>.  (The hat was actually my son
Timmy's hat which they had generously sent me a few months
ago.)  I wish I could have given you all free passes, but Jupiter
Media probably wouldn't agree!  Timmy and I had a very nice award
ceremony to choose the "winner" and the lucky person was...drum roll
please...Chris Lipscomb.

Congratulations Chris!  I hope the rest of you who were hoping to go
can still make it.  Please come over and say "hi" when you get a
chance.  I love meeting my subscribers in person!

~~~Sound Advice~~~

++Paying Your Way to Search Engine Success++


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's all the SEO goodies for today!

I had a good time in Baltimore at my cousin Andy's wedding.  (As an
aside, Andy has been an Internet guru even before I was one -- which
is a really long time!  You can see his "Waste of Bandwidth" site
here: <>.)

It was nice to see many relatives I hadn't seen for years.  It's
amazing how much kids change and grow in a few years' time.  You
really see how much older we're all getting when you haven't seen
people for a while.  The cool thing about this wedding is that Andy
and his new wife Susanne are very well traveled, and know people all
around the world who were able to make it to the wedding.  Many years
ago, Andy had found some long-lost relatives who lived in Australia,
and they were even able to join us!  My kids got a bit bored at times,
but all in all it was an enjoyable trip.

Catch you next week! - Jill
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