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High Rankings Advisor: When Will Google Backlinks Show - Issue No. 061

July 2, 2003
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

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

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   When Will Backlinks Show Up?

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

*Guest Article:
---->   Using Web Metrics To Improve Your Site

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Conversion Ruler

*Other SEO News:
---->   Search Engine Yearbook 2003 Update

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Fireworks for Me
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  I've got a great issue for you this week.  Be sure to
read all the way to the end.  I've got lots to do before heading out
for vacation, so let's get straight to the good stuff! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++When Will Backlinks Show Up?++

From: Joshua Friedman

Hi Jill,

I'm pretty new to this sort of thing and there's a LOT of info out
there so I'm hoping your newsletter can help me out.  My site comes up
great on MSN and ok on some other sites, but I'm having a hard time
getting it on Google.   I've been spending my days trying to get
reciprocal links with good (high PageRank) Websites so hopefully that
will help in the coming weeks.

I guess a quick question I would have (2 actually) is:

Roughly how long after someone adds me to their link page should it
come up in a Google reverse link search?  I've been on a few other
sites for about a week now but the Google backlinks only show me on
one site.

The second question is (and of course this is the $25,000 question):
any other quick pointers for a beginner trying to get on Google?  What
would your 1 main point be for someone like me who has a pretty small
budget but would really like a top 10 or even 20 listing on Google?  I
am all the way up to #3 on MSN when you search for one of my main
keyword phrases, but I'm nowhere to be found on Google.  I've used
their AdWords a bit but would really like a ranking.

Thanks for any further help and I look forward to reading your
newsletters.

Regards,

Joshua Friedman

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Joshua,

Once a site adds a link to yours, it can take anywhere from a few
weeks to a couple of months before you'll see it showing up as a
backlink in Google.  If the link is on a page that has a PageRank
which is less than 4, it may not show up at all.  That doesn't mean
that it's not counted towards your overall link popularity quotient,
but you may not see it in the list of links to your site.

In regards to your second question, I don't usually take a look at the
sites that people email me (cuz I'd never get any work done!), but for
some reason I took a look at yours.  Unfortunately, whatever advice
you were previously given was very bad.  Your site is basically
"spamming" the search engines, and because of this it is doubtful that
you will see high rankings in Google.  (Kind of interesting that MSN
doesn't care.)

You're focusing on way too many keyword phrases on the home page, and
then you have *stuffed* them everywhere on the site where they don't
belong.  Your Title tag is way too long and keyword stuffed, and you
have comment tags that are spammy, along with all kinds of other
keywords stuffed into non-standard tags which are not even supposed to
be used for search engine optimization purposes.

None of this will help you with Google, and most of it will probably
hurt you.

I would remove the link to the spammy search engine optimization
company who did all this for you, and start over from scratch.  I hope
you didn't pay them too much.  It's companies like that who give us a
bad name.  (And they always seem to be the ones that require a link
back to them too...sheesh.)

Please read through my articles and the past newsletters to learn how
to do things correctly, and hopefully you'll eventually have a chance
at high rankings.

Think about just 2 or 3 targeted keyword phrases per page when you
optimize, and don't simply stuff them places.  Have a writer create
some great content based on your phrases.  Professional copywriting is
worth every penny!

[Jill's note: I was going to go into a bit more detail on what the
spammy SEO company had done with Joshua's site, but since I emailed
him this info yesterday, I see he's removed the spam already! Good
work, Joshua.]

One thing I just noticed that you still have on the site is a link to
a "link farm" type of site.  They are smart enough to claim that they
are *not* a link farm, and yet they require a link to them if you want
to add your site to their directory.  I would strongly suggest that
you get out of that program quickly.  It doesn't appear that the
link-swapping site is considered a "bad neighborhood" at this time (it
has a PageRank of 5 on the main page), but it could very well be
penalized at some point in the future.

A better way to build high-quality links to your site would be to have
something interesting to offer potential partner sites.  Have you
written some articles on your area of expertise?  Many sites are
looking for well-written material they can publish online, and will be
happy to add your article (which could include a link back to your
site).  This is a much smarter approach, as you won't have to worry
about whom YOU are linking to.  Plus, you can establish yourself as an
expert in your field at the same time.

Good luck!

Jill

__________________________________________________adv.

Want to learn how to write for high rankings in the search engines?
__________________________________________________

If you don't have the time or money to see Jill's Writing for the
Search Engines presentation at conferences or seminars, for
only $49 you can learn it all in her informative, quick-read report.

Download the Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines today!
</nittyhra61>
__________________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Using Web Metrics To Improve Your Site++

Today's guest article is all about the importance of understanding
what our site visitors are doing at our site, why we need that
information and what we should do with it.  Eric Bonnici, who is an
Advisor subscriber and also a forum-mate at the Ihelpyou search engine
optimization forums, wrote it for us.  Eric first started doing
business on the Internet in 1998 as a freelance Web developer and
Internet marketer, and is currently the Director of Internet Marketing
at Alexander Joseph & Associates.

Take it away, Eric!

Using Web Metrics To Improve Your Site
by Eric Bonnici

"...Web analytics is becoming one of the hot sectors in Internet
marketing and e-commerce technology. Increasingly, brand and
e-commerce managers -- under pressure to deliver a return on
investment -- are looking to the technology to help shape and optimize
their Web sites." Internet.com, October 28, 2002

The goal of any web presence should be to improve the business as a
whole and complement its offline marketing and sales efforts. In other
words, to help it achieve maximum profitability.

In order to do this, your online strategy must:
* drive targeted traffic to your site,
* persuade site visitors to take the desired actions you want them to
take, and
* use Web metrics to analyze and measure user behavior.

Performing these objectives correctly will ensure that you have an
effective marketing campaign and increased sales for your business.

Let's look at each of these objectives further:

Objective 1: Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Site

Driving targeted traffic begins with a search engine marketing (SEM)
campaign including pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and a search engine
optimization (SEO) strategy.

It's important to determine which keywords are worth pursuing in your
PPC and SEO efforts. Tools like Wordtracker
</wordtracker> should be used to generate a
list of possible keyword phrases. Determine how frequently each phrase
is searched for, and evaluate which are feasible enough to put efforts
into by checking how steep the competition is. Make your selections
and test them out in your PPC and SEO campaigns.

Researching and selecting effective keywords is extremely important.
Be sure to select keywords that your target market would use to find
you. With web metrics and analysis in place, you will be able to tell
where people are coming from, what keywords they used to find you, and
whether they are taking the desired actions on your site. If the wrong
keywords are chosen, you may find that you have high rankings, but the
wrong audience is visiting.

Objective 2: Persuade Your Web Site Visitors To Take the Desired
Action

Whether you are selling a product or service, obtaining newsletter
subscribers, or enticing people to download a software demo, your
ultimate goal is getting your site visitors to take a desired action.
In order to do this you must have a compelling site that draws the
visitor in, and then guides them to the goal.

Design and site architecture factors such as usability, navigation,
content, and ad copy all come into play here. The key is to monitor
how well these factors work at persuading your visitors into taking
action. With web metrics you can monitor everything and see what's
working and what's not. Armed with this knowledge, you can make the
appropriate changes to your site; continue your monitoring, and repeat
the process until you get an increase in the desired outcome.

Objective 3: Use Web Metrics To Analyze Visitor Behavior

The area of web metrics and analysis is new and evolving. Compared to
traditional offline marketing, the Internet provides an unparalleled
opportunity to specifically measure how a customer interacts with a
business. Web metrics and analysis will help you to monitor and
improve objectives 1 and 2. This is done by paying close attention to
where visitors are coming from, learning what keywords were used to
find your site, seeing how they navigated through it, and what actions
they took along the way. This information becomes a powerful tool in
growing your business.

The first web metrics were commonly known as traffic logs or site
statistics. These measured things like server hits, unique visitors,
repeat visitors, entry pages, exit pages, first page visited, second
page visited, and average time spent on a page or the site.

Today's newer log analysis software can show us more business-specific
web metrics. These include conversion ratios, browse-to-buy rates and
customer-acquisition costs. As research and development in this area
continues, we will see new metrics appear, along with improved tools
to measure them.

Currently, with the right tools it is possible to monitor web
visitors' behavior such as how and where they found your site, what
pages they landed on, and whether they took the desired actions you
wanted them to take. For this information to be worthwhile, however,
you need to use it to adjust your SEM strategies, keyword selection,
site architecture and design as necessary. Basically, you should test
and improve what is working, eliminate what isn't and figure out new
approaches that will work even better. This process will constantly
raise your return on investment (ROI).

For further details on this subject, including software and vendors, I
recommend reading "Web Measurement and Analytics" by Ashley Friedlein
<http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/web_measurement> (paid
subscription necessary). This report goes into great detail on 12
leading web analytics vendors.

Eric Bonnici
Director of Internet Marketing and Development
Alexander Joseph & Associates
http://www.aj2000.com


____________________________________________adv.

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____________________________________________

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traffic for the keywords they choose without having to pay for
every click.  Get a guaranteed top position for ANY keyword
and unlimited search engine traffic for as little as $29.95/month.
You will never have to pay for another click again.
<http://www.towersearch.com/add/add.htm>
_____________________________________________


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Conversion Ruler++

And speaking of using Web metrics...

If after reading Eric's guest article you were scratching your head
wondering how you could start measuring all that important stuff, I've
got the perfect tool for you! I've been playing with ConversionRuler
for the past three months and am pleased as punch at what I'm learning
through it.

I have to admit that when I first tried to set it up on my site, I was
one confused girl.  I thought that all I needed to do was place the
special coding tags they give you onto the pages of my site, and I
would then start collecting information about my visitors and sales.
When no data showed up in my reports, I really didn't feel like trying
to figure it out, and pretty much forgot about it.

Luckily, the folks at ConversionRuler noticed that no data was being
recorded through my account, and they emailed me to see if I needed
help setting things up.  I explained what I did, and they wrote me
back (and also called) with the information necessary to get things
working properly.

What I hadn't understood at first was that in order to track things
properly, I needed to use special tracking URLs on the stuff I wanted
to track.

So in other words, you generally would use ConversionRuler to track
specific ad campaigns.  You can easily use it to track PPC ad
campaigns such as those you'd run with Google AdWords or Overture.
All you have to do is assign a specific tracking URL with the
parameters you want to track (the people from ConversionRuler will
explain all that to you), and then -- boom -- you can start
assimilating some important information about your campaigns.

I use it to track my measly AdWords campaigns, and it's been very
helpful; however, for my purposes it's been even more useful for
tracking my newsletter links.

Since this newsletter is text-only, it gets pretty tricky to track the
links I put into it.  You probably noticed that I often have ads for
my "Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" report in the
newsletter.  Before using ConversionRuler, I really didn't know which
ads brought the most visitors to my site, and/or which of those
visitors actually purchased my report.

Sure, I could count up the purchases that came in after the newsletter
went out, and I could look at my log files to figure out the extra
hits I got to the order page, but that really doesn't give me any
solid information that I can put to good use.

What I do now is put a tracking code such as this on each specific ad
link:

/seo-writing.htm?c1=email&source=hra61stuff

That tells me that the category (c1) is "email" and the source is the
High Rankings Advisor issue 061, in the "Stuff You Might Like"
section.  (You just have to make up your own way of naming the links
so that you can remember where they came from.)

I hate long URLs like that for the newsletter, so I set up redirects
through my .htaccess file to use something shorter like
highrankings.com/hra61. I like to track the position of the ad (first
slot or second), and/or if I mention the report within an article, I
remember to use a different tracking link.

So what information do I get out of this?  Well, that's the cool part.
I've been tracking my Nitty-gritty ads here since issue 054, and have
learned a great deal.  I know how many people clicked on a particular
ad link, and also how many of them went on to purchase the report.
This helps me figure out which ad copy works best.

There have definitely been some interesting discoveries.  For
instance, last week's ad brought in only 27 clickthroughs.  Seems
pretty pitiful, doesn't it?  However, of those 27 that clicked, 7 of
them bought the report!  That's about a 26% conversion rate, which is
not too shabby by any means.   And yet with other ads, I've had 87
clickthroughs with the same 7 sales (8% conversion).  I've noticed
that I tend to get somewhere around 7 sales from my email ads each
week, regardless of the clickthrough numbers, which is also
interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, I tested an ad for the report that didn't
really look like an ad.  I sort of sneaked it into the content and
even called it "Shameless Self Promotion" on the heading.  (You can
see it here: </issue059.htm#sponsor2>.)
Now, that one brought a ton of clickthroughs (213) compared to the
usual ads I run, but only 3 sales (1.4% conversion).  I'm guessing
that's because it wasn't clear from the copy I used that you'd be
clicking to something you'd actually have to pay for.  So, I believe
that many people checked it out, then saw it cost money and left.  In
my regular ads, I always put the $49 price tag right there so that
people will know up front.  This would account for the lower
clickthrough rate.  (Hey...I know you guys are cheap...I don't blame
ya, I am too!)

I think this information shows that creating ads that are honest
definitely works best.  I can never understand those long sales
letters that try to hide the price until the end.  If something costs
money, then let us know right away that it does and how much it's
gonna set us back.

Another week I tried making a separate sales page to push my "combo"
offer, which consists of my Nitty-gritty report and Karon's
copywriting course.  Again, I had no price in the ad, and again, this
one got many clickthroughs (255), but only 2 sales (less than 1%
conversion).

Can you see how valuable this info is?  Now, I know not to waste space
on those types of ads, and to stick with the ones that are converting.
It doesn't matter how many people click the link, it's the conversions
that make a difference, and that's what you learn with software such
as ConversionRuler.  (I'm testing a new ad today!)

I've also put tracking codes on my forum signatures, certain links
within my site, and anywhere else that I can think of.  I not only
track my report sales, but my newsletter signups.  It's cool to see
how many signups I get from those things.  I found that the big text
link I put up on the top of my home page for my report gets tons of
clickthroughs, and many sales have come through it.  In fact, it has a
2.5% conversion rate.  And of course, I can see how many people are
signing up for my newsletter from my Google AdWords campaigns also.

You can learn more about this cool tool, and sign up for a free trial
through my affiliate link here:
</conversionruler>.  It's a little bit
scary at first trying to figure out how to create your tracking links,
but once you get things up and running, you'll find that you can track
all kinds of things.


~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Search Engine Yearbook 2003 Update++

Got the word today from André le Roux that he's completed the mid-year
update of his Search Engine Yearbook 2003.  You can read my review of
the original version here:
</issue038.htm#stuff>.  For those of you
who already purchased it, you don't need the new version, but can stay
up to date on the latest changes through André's newsletter.


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

I'm heading out to Virginia with my family early Thursday morning for
the long weekend!  Don't worry if you email me and don't receive my
usual speedy response.  I'm going to try to stay off the computer as
much as possible and enjoy some "real life" conversation with friends
and family.  Don't forget to think of me when you see those fireworks
they shoot off each year on my birthday!

Catch you next week! - Jill

 
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