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High Rankings Advisor: Finding Niche Directories - Issue No. 064

July 23, 2003
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Free San Jose SES Pass

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Where Do We Start Optimizing?

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   DIY Web Marketing and SEO for Small Business
---->   The Karcher Group

*Guest Article:
---->   Finding Free Niche Directories

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Recap of Past Stuff

*Other SEO News:
---->   ClickTracks Professional 4.0

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   20th Anniversary
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone! Thanks to all who sent in their requests for the free
San Jose Search Engine Strategies conference pass.  You've all got
great reasons for me to choose you!  Too bad I can only pick one of
you.  If you haven't had a chance to email your request, and are sure
you can pay for your travel and lodging, feel free to tell me why I
should choose you by sending an email to: freepass@highrankings.com.
My son Timmy and I will choose the big winner before next week's
newsletter.

Got lots of good stuff for you today, so let's get to it! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Where Do We Start Optimizing?++

From: Bharath Rejeti

Hi Jill,

Congratulations on this winning newsletter. From the time I was
introduced to your newsletters by one of my colleagues, I learnt quite
a lot.

For the past 3 months, we have been submitting our URL to Google for
the spiders to crawl and index the website. It may be too early to
expect to see that results, however I notice that there is little
improvement. What frequency do you think I need to resubmit our
website to Google?

Based on your newsletters, I revisited my site in optimization
perspective. As a popular product company, we have so many links that
are pointing to our website - many of these are from our customers'
websites. The content, look and feel of the website is acclaimed
across the board and we had a good feedback from the visitors. With so
many backward links to our website & depth in the content, I do not
understand why I should not appear in non-commercial results of
Google!

I find that there are a few things that are not clear to me at this
point of time. Firstly, we have our competitor keywords in our
keywords tag. These should have been there for some time without my
knowledge. I am unsure if we are getting penalized for this with every
request to index our website. Secondly, we appear for just two of our
important keywords in Google (after 5/6 pages though) and I do not
understand why we might not appear for rest of our keywords too.

Moreover, I recently approached an optimization company that claims to
drive traffic from a different domain name. This appears to be
redirection of the traffic and I am not sure if I will get penalized
for such practices. It would be helpful if you could tell me now on
what's right and what's not, especially with Google.

Please advise on where I could start on optimizing our website.

Bharath Rejeti

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Bharath,

Thanks for your questions, and I'm glad you enjoy the newsletter.

Regarding your submissions to Google over the past three months, you
should actually stop doing that immediately!  There's no reason at all
to submit to Google on a regular basis, or even at all.  It won't help
your site move up in the rankings.  If your site is already indexed
(and by your message it sounds as if it is), why would submitting it
make it move up in the rankings?  The only reason to submit a URL is
to let a search engine know of its existence.  As with all of the
major search engines these days, you don't need to *ever* submit.

The search engine spider bots are constantly crawling the Web, and
since you have many high-quality links from your customer sites, your
site will not have a problem remaining in the databases.  Your
customer links will definitely help the engines to understand that you
have a popular site, but that doesn't necessarily translate into high
rankings for your keyword phrases.

For instance, if you have very little (or no) keyword-rich copy on
your pages, there will be no way for the search engines to know how to
classify your site.  And what about your Title tags, do they contain
your most important keyword phrases?  All the links in the world won't
help you if it's not readily apparent what your site is about.

You mentioned that you're using competitors' names in your Meta tags.
Although the keyword Meta tag won't help you obtain high rankings for
the keyword phrases you have placed in them, you definitely need to
remove your competitors' trademarks as soon as possible because it
could open you up to a lawsuit.  It's doubtful that you're getting
penalized for it because the tag is generally ignored, but it's not a
good idea to have competitor stuff in there, regardless.

You also said "...we appear for just two of our important keywords in
Google (after 5/6 pages though) and I do not understand why we might
not appear for rest of our keywords too."

I think that sentence sums up the crux of your problem; it appears as
if you are thinking that you should be ranking highly for keyWORDs as
opposed to keyword phrases.  You've got to erase that idea from your
memory banks immediately!  Your search engine success depends upon
your doing appropriate keyword research for your site to determine the
most relevant keyword phrases that people are actually searching on.
Once you've determined these, you'll need to start from scratch and
re-optimize your site for them, as opposed to the one-word keywords
you may have previously optimized for.

You should get yourself a subscription to WordTracker
</wordtracker>, or if you are too confused
by that, then pay the good people at SEO Research Labs to do your
keyword research for you:
</seoresearchlabs>.  (Both of those links
are my affiliate links.)

Until you do proper keyword research, high rankings will always be
elusive.  I cannot stress this enough.

Once you have your list of highly relevant phrases, you'll need to
incorporate 2 or 3 of them within each page of your site.  Not in the
Meta keyword tag, but on the pages of the site.  Then you wait, and
wait and wait for the search engines to find and index your spiffy new
pages.  If you do it right, it will be well worth the wait when your
site finally starts getting found when people are searching for your
products and services.  If you don't feel like waiting, most search
engines (except for Google) have paid-inclusion programs that will
ensure your pages get indexed very quickly.  This is really only
necessary if you want in *now*!  In most cases the engines will find
your pages even if you don't pay them.  Remember, they all want to
have the most comprehensive databases, so it's in their best interest
to keep them up to date.

Regarding your last question about a company that will drive traffic
to your site through a different domain name -- I would be very wary
of that kind of offer.  They may bring your site some traffic, but
just remember that they will *own* the traffic.  As soon as you stop
paying, your traffic will stop.  If you are okay with that, then
there's probably nothing inherently wrong with it.  However, if and
when you do stop, you need to also be aware that the company could
start selling that traffic to your competitors.  To me, it makes much
more sense to fix your own site up so that it brings traffic and sales
in its own right, forever and ever with no additional fees!  That's
what a good, professional search engine optimization will do for you.

Jill

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_____________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Finding Free Niche Directories++

Everyone knows how important it is to find some credible sites that
are willing to link to theirs.  They bring traffic in their own right,
along with establishing link popularity and PageRank.  Unfortunately,
it's difficult to figure out where to find places that will list your
site.  Today's guest article, written for us by Kathryn Katz of
Searchwiz Marketing, should help solve the mystery!

Like most of us who've been in the SEO field for awhile, Kathryn fell
into it in a roundabout way.  She was a freelance copywriter for a web
design firm in the late 90's while working on her B.A. in English, but
when she graduated from college, she got a job doing Internet
technical support for AT&T and then Bellsouth. After that she jumped
head first into search engine marketing when she joined Searchwiz.
This is interesting to me because I'll betcha no two search engine
marketers have followed the same path to get where they are.

Anyway, please give Kathryn a warm Advisor welcome! - Jill

Finding Free Niche Directories
By Kathryn Katz

As search engines place more and more emphasis on "link popularity,"
web site owners find themselves pressured not only to optimize their
site, but to find other quality web sites in their niche market that
are willing to link to their web site. Many niche web directories like
Business.com, IRED.com and MedMarket.com are willing to list your web
site, but at a price. For those web site owners that are working on a
tight budget, paying for every link is not only expensive, but not in
their budget.

But don't despair; there are many quality, free niche directories out
there. The biggest challenge is finding them. Here are three easy
methods to find free niche directories:

Method 1: "Search Engine Search"

Go to your favorite search engine (mine is Google), and type in
general keyword(s) related to your site. For example, if I have a
wedding caterer site, I would type in "wedding." Usually, well-ranking
niche directories will place in the Top 10 results. In this case
WeddingLinksGalore.com is ranked #1 and mentions in the description
that the directory offers free links. Click through to the site and
look for an "Add a Link" or "Join Vendor Directory" button or link
somewhere in the navigation.

Method 2: "Directory Search"

Go to a standard directory, like the Google Directory, and click on
"Reference."  Click on "Directories" and then select the major
category that relates to your web site. For example, if I have a CPA
site, I would click on "Business." At this point, I could choose to
submit the site to the general directories listed under "Business"
like CEOTrak.com or narrow my search further to "Accounting Firms"
like CPADirectory.com. Probably, I'd end up going through both the
"Business" and "Accounting Firms" categories and submitting my site to
all free directories that were relevant to my niche market.

Method 3: "Competition's Links"

Go to your favorite search engine and search for the web sites linking
to your competitor by typing in
link:http://www.competitorswebsite.com. Then click on each link and
find directories that your competitor submitted their site to. Or go
to your competitor's site using the Google Toolbar's Page Info >
Backward Links feature. (The Google Toolbar can be downloaded from
<http://toolbar.google.com/>.)

Here's another tip:  Don't be afraid to think outside the box when
searching for a free niche directory. When looking for a directory,
try to think of all markets that relate to your web site. You'd be
surprised at what counts as a related directory. For example, I market
a general law practice. I came across a quality, free niche directory,
WorkIndex.com, that specializes in human resource issues. Because the
law practice does employment and labor law, they were eligible for a
submission to WorkIndex.com under their "Legal Issues" category.

Keep in mind that you might have to go through several directories
before you find some quality, free niche directories that are right
for you; however, your persistence will pay off. You will find some
great directories that will boost your link popularity and maybe even
bring in some quality, targeted traffic as well.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Kathryn Katz
Search Engine Marketing Specialist
Searchwiz Marketing - division of Webcast 1, Inc.
www.webcast1.com


__________________________________________________adv.

Trouble getting your dynamic Website or shopping cart indexed?
__________________________________________________

Tangled query strings and complicated programming can hinder
search engine placement.  Don't let your site be a spider trap!

You need search-engine-friendly CMS and ecommerce programming
from The Karcher Group:  <http://www.thekarchergroup.com>.

For a free consultation call 330-493-6141 or visit us in San Jose at
the
Search Engine Strategies conference -- Booth 225 (next to Google's).
__________________________________________________


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Recap of Past Stuff++

Here's a quick recap of some past stuff I've told you about, with
links to their full reviews:

* ConversionRuler: </issue061.htm#stuff>

* SEO Research Labs: </issue056.htm#stuff>

* Sound Advice for Search Engine Optimization CD (US & CAN only):
</issue048.htm#stuff>

* Step-By-Step Copywriting Course (revised and updated):
</issue049.htm#stuff>

* Search Engine Marketing (all new 2nd edition) - The Essential Best
Practices Guide: </issue018.htm#stuff>

* Search Engine Optimization Fast Start:
</issue014.htm#stuff>

* Search Engine Visibility:
</issue041.htm#stuff>

* CloudMark's SpamNet:
</issue053.htm#stuff>

* PayPal Companion:
</issue045.htm#stuff>

* Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines:
</issue043.htm#stuff>

* Search Engine Yearbook 2003:
</issue038.htm#stuff>

* Ergonomic Computer Chair:
</issue058.htm#stuff>


~~~Other SEO News~~~

++ClickTracks Professional 4.0++

I recently got the word* that ClickTracks has released ClickTracks
Professional 4.0, the latest in their line of award-winning web
analytics products.  I've been playing around with ClickTracks for a
few weeks and hope to have a review of it for you soon.  Suffice it to
say -- it rocks!

They tell me that ClickTracks Pro is two to ten times faster than
previous releases, and offers new functionality designed to make
managing and understanding PPC and search engine marketing campaigns
efficient and intuitive.  I saw a demo of it, and it definitely has
some really cool new stuff.

Learn more or download a 30-day trial here:
</clicktracks>.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the good people of ClickTracks
sent me some Belgian chocolates to help me remember to tell you guys
about their new release.  But seriously, it really is a great product,
with or without chocolate.  (Although those Belgian chocolates are
delectable!)


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That wraps up another Advisor newsletter!  This Friday, my husband and
I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary by seeing my favorite
group, "Train," in concert in Boston.  I can listen to their "Drops of
Jupiter" CD over and over again, and in fact, have done just that many
times!  I'm not generally fond of concerts, and have only been to a
few in my entire life, but I'm really looking forward to this.  My
husband decided to check out the club where they'll be playing to see
if it was general admission or if we could get a table or something.
Apparently they have a few VIP tables set up, and when he told the
manager that it was our 20th anniversary, they told him they'd save us
a spot in that section!  So now it will be even better, as apparently
we would have had to stand otherwise, and I'm too old for that!  To
top things off, we're also going to stay overnight in Boston.  So if
you're looking for me on Friday...well...don't!

Next week I should have some interesting news for you, so please stay
tuned! - Jill
 
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