June 18, 2003
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
----> Jill's SEO Mailbag Bonanza Issue
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Hidden Links and Extra Domains
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> LinkSurvey Link-popularity Software
----> Pesky Keyword Phrases
*More SEO Questions:
----> How Search Engines Work
----> Cloaked Affiliate Links
----> Tips on Using Wordtracker
*Stuff You Might Like:
----> Start Your Company Ezine Fast Kit
*Other SEO News:
----> Importance of SEO for CMS
----> FAST Acquires AltaVista (Kinda Sorta)
----> Call for Guest Articles
Hey everyone! It's been a wild week over here. I was quoted in a
search engine marketing article in the Wall Street Journal called
"Playing the Search-Engine Game" and the phone has barely stopped
ringing since. I thought it was pretty neat to be in the article, but
others who actually read the WSJ say it's a *really big deal*! I'm
just happy that the journalist (Mylene Mangalindan) didn't take
anything I said out of context to make me look stupid or whatever.
(Yes, I realize that wouldn't be too hard to do!) There's nothing
worse than talking to a reporter for a half hour only to find that
they printed the one dumb thing you said, disregarding all the truly
brilliant quotes they could have used. So kudos to Mylene, and thanks
to all who alerted me to the article. My husband thought it was
pretty cool too and brought me home a hard copy of the paper to save
Since I don't have a guest article for you today, I figured it was
time for another SEO Mailbag Bonanza. That just means that I'll be
answering a whole bunch of shortish search engine marketing questions
that have accumulated in my inbox over the past week.
On to the good stuff! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Hidden Links and Extra Domains++
Thank you for your wonderful newsletter! I am new to the world of
Website design and SEO and have learned quite a lot from your site.
I have some SEO questions if you don't mind:
1st -- In your most recent article you discuss hidden links. I am not
sure what they are and I am afraid I am employing them (I link almost
exclusively from images) -- Is this a problem?
2nd -- I have a new URL -- what should I do with it? I have set up a
single page that describes the site and links to my old URL - is this
ok or considered some sort of spamming?
3rd -- I also purchased a domain name that contains my keyword phrase
because Google in particular seems to reward sites with keywords in
the name. Again -- what can I do with this to see if it is more
effective than my other URL without running the risk of spamming?
Thank you in advance for your help and your wonderful site.
Glad you like the newsletter!
> Hidden Links
Linking from images is fine and not considered invisible links.
They're links for your human visitors, right? The visitors know
they're there? Hidden links are ones that real people aren't supposed
to actually notice or click on. They generally link to doorway pages
built strictly for the search engines. They are links purposely
created to be invisible, unlike regular graphical links. Image links
are a standard way of linking Web pages, and they're not a problem.
As long as you don't go making transparent images into links, or
teeny-tiny graphical links, you should be fine and dandy.
> New URL
You should simply "park" both domain names on your one site server
(same IP address if possible). It's fine to have 2 or more domain
names with one site. I've got about 10 domain names for my site. Your
Web host should be able to show you how to safely park them. Of
course, you'll want to only promote your main domain to the Internet
directories and the like. Extra domains are definitely not something
you should be using for search engine promotion efforts. They're fine
for things like making sure you have both the .com and the .net domain
for your brand, or for using a shorter URL in your print ads, and that
sort of thing. Definitely DO NOT buy domain names thinking you'll use
them to fool the search engines or anything like that. Don't submit
more than one of the domains to directories such as DMOZ or Yahoo or
whatever. Once you start doing stuff like that you're pretty much
spamming the search engines and will be walking on thin ice!
> Keyworded Domain
You don't need keywords in your domain name. You can park that one
also if you want, but again, don't go promoting it in the engines or
directories. Choose one domain name and stick with it! Your domain
name (and the keywords in it) is not what is going to get you high
rankings. What will are the words you put on the page, the Title tags
and the links that point to your site.
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++How Search Engines Work++
From: Harshith Rai
This is a request for some academic explanation on how search engines
work. It would be great to have a comprehensive comparison of the
techniques used by major search engines. I'm also curious to know more
about the commercial aspect of search engines.
You're in luck! Even though I couldn't even begin to explain to you
how search engines work, I just so happen to have a good friend who
wrote a book on that exact subject.
For a full explanation on how search engines work, you'll want to
purchase and read Mike Grehan's book:
++Cloaked Affiliate Links++
From: Armando B. Silva
Congratulations, Jill. You've got a great e-newsletter.
I am concerned about this comment in your last newsletter by Christine
"...if you did a really bad thing (like cloaking) your site might be
I cloak ALL my affiliate links e.g., http://mysite.com/cloakedlink.htm
...and all such web pages have been indexed by Google.
What's wrong with such a technique?
Armando B. Silva
Don't worry, nothing is wrong with that! Cloaking affiliate links is
fine. That's a whole 'nother ballgame than search engine cloaking.
The only similarity is that they're both called cloaking.
You can learn what I consider to be search engine cloaking and why
it's "evil" here: </issue041.htm#guest>.
++Tips on Using Wordtracker++
From: Nancy Wunderlin
I just read your newsletter for the first time and I got enough info
to keep me busy for weeks!
I am trying to use Wordtracker to find out what the best keywords are
for our products. Can you give me some tips on using Wordtracker? I
find their site hard to understand not helpful.
For example, one of our software products creates tournament brackets
for double elimination tournaments. According to WordTracker the
phrase with the highest KEI is "printable blank tournament brackets."
I find it hard to believe that's better than "tournament software." I
must be doing something wrong. Thanks in advance for any tips you can
Wunderlin Software, LLC
You're correct. Most likely "tournament software" is the better
keyword phrase to shoot for in your search engine optimization
The main thing that you're doing wrong is putting any stock into the
KEI part of Wordtracker </wordtracker>.
Personally, I rarely bother to look at the competition reports because
they don't give me much (if any) valuable information. When you don't
know better, you might think that the competition report is telling
you how many pages are actually optimized for a particular keyword
phrase in any given engine. But they're not telling you this at all!
All they can tell you is how many pages show up in a search for that
particular keyword phrase.
This may seem like useful info, but it's misleading. You may see that
there are 100,000 pages that show up when someone types in a
particular search query, however, there may very well be only 4 or 5
of those pages that have specifically optimized been optimized for
that keyword phrase. The others may just happen to be using the
phrase (or the words within it) somewhere on their page. Even a
beginner SEO should be able to easily get ahead of those pages in the
search engine results pages with some rudimentary optimization.
The whole KEI thing is supposed to make your optimization job easier
by telling you which phrases will be a breeze to optimize for.
However, you can't be afraid to optimize for the keyword phrases that
are the most relevant to your products and services, regardless of KEI
numbers. As long as you stay away from one-word keywords and some
two-word keyword phrases that are used so frequently that they might
as well be one word, then don't worry too much about the competition.
Personally, I recommend doing just steps 1 and 2 in Wordtracker and
skipping the competition reports altogether. Don't look too closely
at the numbers; just pay attention to the phrases and their relative
position to each other in the list. Then take your keyword phrase
list and choose the ones that make the most sense for your site. Pick
two or three different keyword phrases for each page of your site and
optimize the copy, Title tags and links accordingly.
I've written about KEI a few times in the past here:
</issue028.htm#seo> and here:
~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
++Start Your Company Ezine Fast Kit++
I've said it before and I'll say it again: One of the most successful
forms of marketing I do is this email newsletter. The one you're
reading right now. I give out lots of useful information about search
engine optimization and in return I'm in over 20,000 people's faces
each and every week.
When you think of SEO, do you think of me? It's hard to get better
exposure than that.
Email newsletters (also known as ezines) work wonders if you know what
So how do you learn? For me, it was lots of trial and error.
However, there are many tried and true methods and resources available
to help you start yours with a little bit less trial, and way fewer
One product that can help is Jessica Albon's brand-new "Start Your
Company Ezine *Fast* Kit." Not only does this kit tell you exactly how
to start and name your ezine, it provides you with great tips on what
sort of content should go into it. To top it off, the kit even comes
with a whole bunch of newsletter templates so you don't have to figure
out how to design one yourself. There are HTML templates for those of
you who like pretty colors in your ezine, and also plain text
templates for old fuddy-duddies like me!
Jessica's added in a zillion other interesting bonus features,
including one called "Ezine Secrets Revealed" that you'll get 75 days
after you receive the kit. (This is so you won't be overwhelmed with
information overload.) This bonus contains interviews with numerous
successful newsletter publishers, including one with me where I
discuss how I made the High Rankings Advisor newsletter so successful!
You can learn more and purchase the kit using my affiliate link here:
</ezinefastkit>. Once you've downloaded
it, be sure to read the welcome letter that Jessica emails. There's
so much included in the kit, you'll need it to help you know what's
Enjoy! - Jill
~~~Other SEO News~~~
++Importance of SEO for CMS++
We've all seen Web sites that have been created by content management
systems (CMS), which are impossible or nearly impossible to get
indexed by the spidering search engines. This is because so many CMS
programs were not developed with search engines in mind.
With search engine marketing such a big deal these days, CMS
programmers can no longer afford to overlook how the search engines
deal with their resulting sites. CM Focus magazine recently
interviewed a number of industry experts (including yours truly) and
put together a great article about this. You can read it here:
++Confused About Where To Place Your Pesky Keywords?++
Think how easy it would be if we could simply put 'em in the
Meta tags and suddenly be #1! <grin>
We all know it doesn't work that way -- and never did.
Google doesn't even look at the Meta keyword tag.
If you want to be top-10 you've gotta get your keyword
phrases into your visible page copy -- the stuff people read.
Learn how through my "Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines"
~~~More SEO News~~~
++FAST Acquires AltaVista (Kinda Sorta)++
Okay, this one may seem a bit confusing. You may remember that
Overture purchased both FAST and AltaVista some months ago. So how
can FAST now be acquiring AltaVista?
Well, this just goes to show what a crazy Internet we live in! If I
understand things correctly, Overture only purchased certain parts of
AltaVista and certain parts of FAST (the commercial search engine
parts). Apparently, the purchases didn't include the "enterprise
search" components of either company. That means FAST's enterprise
search division was free to acquire AltaVista's enterprise search
Maybe this quote from their press release will help...
"FAST's acquisition of AltaVista's enterprise search business will
allow FAST to provide AltaVista's customers uninterrupted support and
maintenance on their current platform and an opportunity to migrate to
FAST Data Search(tm), FAST's powerful suite of enterprise search and
real-time filter solutions."
LOL...does that clear things up? Didn't think so!
(Don't mind me...I get a kick out of making fun of press releases.
Each one seems to take gobbledy-gook marketing tech-speak to a new
According to another press release I received today, pay-per-click
providers Espotting and FindWhat will soon be merging. There's no
mention of what the new company name will be. How about "FindSpot"?
That's all for today! Thanks to everyone who sent in their suggested
locations for my next seminar. We're tabulating the results and will
decide on a venue and approximate date over the next few weeks. Looks
like Chicago was the big winner as far as votes. But since my next
seminar may be in November, and Danny Sullivan is holding a Search
Engine Strategies conference there in December, I'll probably wait and
perhaps do a seminar there in April or May next year. I'm leaning
towards someplace warm for November...hmmm...
Oh yeah, and I'm in desperate need of some good guest articles! I'm
only interested in original articles that haven't been published
elsewhere. If you have some ideas you'd like to run by me, or have an
article or two up your sleeve, give me a holler!
Catch you next time! - Jill