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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings Advisor: Getting Listed With Froogle - Issue No. 065

July 30, 2003
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   San Jose SES Conference

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Optimizing Dynamic Content

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

*Guest Article:
---->   Getting Listed with Froogle

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Google AdWords Phone-in Clinic

*Other SEO News:
---->   Jill's New Forum

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Great Concert
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  Thanks to all who sent in their request for the free
pass to the San Jose SES conference.  We've chosen a winner from the
magic Google hat this morning.  I've emailed him, and hopefully he can
still go.  If not, you may still have a chance -- but don't count on
it.  From the sounds of his email, this guy wanted to go pretty badly.
Well, actually his dogs wrote the email.  Umm...well, I guess you had
to be there!

Even though you may not have won the free pass, I do hope you can make
it to the conference.  You can find out more information here:
<http://www.jupiterevents.com/sew/summer03/index.html>.  I'm speaking
on the topics of "Writing for the Search Engines" and "Submitting to
Directories."  I look forward to seeing you all there the week of Aug.
18th.

Be sure not to miss my big announcement in the SE news section below.

Time for the good stuff! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

From: Jason Abbate

Jill -

We are likely to be launching some sites in the near future that will
be fully dynamic, with all of the content contained in a database
base. We want to make sure that we make the right SEO decisions. As
far as I understand, using direct submissions, we can have the pages
indexed, but we are concerned that spiders will not be able to read
this content. We have looked into XML feeds but the minimum is 500
urls and the sites we're doing are only 40-60 pages.

Is there any other approach we can take to ensure that the content is
spidered?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Jason Abbate

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Jason,

You are not alone in wondering how you can ensure that the search
engines index your dynamic site pages.  This is the question I get
asked most often these days.  Since this is such a prevalent issue,
I'm going to republish the interview I had with my friend and
colleague, Alan Perkins.  It's been just about a year since I
interviewed Alan, but the information is as good today as it was in
2002.

Alan has been working with search engines since 1995. He holds patents
in search engine technology and was lead developer of Search
Mechanics, a product to help webmasters make their sites more search
engine friendly.  Alan is also the co-founder of e-Brand Management
<http://www.ebrandmanagement.com/>, a company dedicated to helping
people build and maintain a successful online presence.

So without further ado, here's my interview with Alan:
---
Jill: Can you explain what dynamic content and dynamic URLs are?

Alan: The terms dynamic URL and dynamic content are frequently used
interchangeably. However, this can lead to confusion because they are
two separate, but related, terms.  A URL is not content - a URL is the
address of some content.

Dynamic content is information that is delivered to the Web browser in
a different form than it exists on the server.  It is usually pulled
from a database and created on the fly at the server level through CGI
programming, ASP, PHP, or by a content management system such as
BroadVision(tm) or ATG Dynamo(tm).

Dynamic URLs, on the other hand, are simply Web site addresses that
contain a question mark (?).

In contrast, static content is stored on the Web server in the same
format that is delivered to the Web browser.  And static URLs do not
contain question marks.

In general, dynamic URLs are addresses of dynamic content, and static
URLs are addresses of static content. However, this need not be the
case, as we shall see later.

Jill: We often hear that search engines have a problem indexing
dynamic content; why is this?

Alan: It boils down to two issues -- the same core content seen at
different URLs, and different core content seen at the same URL.

When the same core content is at different URLs, a small site can
appear to be very large because an unlimited number of URLs can be
used to provide essentially the same content. Spiders can fall into
"dynamic spider traps," crawling through thousands of URLs when only a
few really needed to be crawled. Since a dynamic URL usually indicates
dynamic content, the simplest way for a search engine to avoid these
spider traps is to avoid dynamic URLs altogether.  Remember, search
engines want to index any given core content just once.

Now let's consider different core content at the same URL. There are a
number of ways in which this might happen. For example, a site may
have content that may be viewed at the same URL in multiple languages
depending on the browser settings. Another example would be content
that gets updated every few minutes or so.

Whatever the means, search engines typically index only one copy of a
specific URL once every few weeks or so. Therefore, if a search engine
indexes your English content at a given URL, the same search engine
will not index your Spanish content at the same URL (during the same
indexing period). And if your content is frequently updated, the
search engine's copy of your content will not be fresh. A search
engine prefers that the visitors to a particular URL see the same
content its spider saw.

Jill: Sounds like sites with dynamic content have an uphill climb when
it comes to the search engines.  So what can we do to help them get
indexed?

Alan: The general answer is to give each search engine what it wants:
unique core content at a unique URL, plus the same core content seen
by all visitors.

But I'm guessing you want specifics. So here they are!

1. Use static URLs to reference dynamic content.

If a search engine sees a static URL, it is more likely to index the
content at that URL than if it found the same content under a dynamic
URL.  Therefore, you can turn your dynamic URLs into static URLs
despite the fact that you are serving dynamic content.  There are a
number of ways of achieving this, and your method will vary depending
upon your server and other factors. To go into all of these methods is
beyond the scope of this interview; however, you can visit the
following sites for two popular servers:

Apache: <http://httpd.apache.org/docs/mod/mod_rewrite.html>
ASP: <http://www.asp101.com/articles/wayne/extendingnames/>

2. Link to dynamic URLs from static URL content.

With limited resources, it may prove difficult or impossible for you
to implement a solution based on static URLs. Don't worry! There are
other things you can do.

Over the years, the engines have tried to find ways of crawling
dynamic content while avoiding dynamic spider traps. One technique
they use is crawling dynamic URLs that are linked to from pages with
static URLs. For example, if you give your site map page a static URL,
but have links to dynamic URLs within its content, there's a good
chance that the leading engines will crawl those links.  If they like
the content they find there, they will index that content. The search
engines' reasoning here seems to be, "If you're prepared to link to
this content, then so are we."

You can reinforce this reasoning by negotiating links to your dynamic
URLs from pages on other sites (especially high-quality pages which
are already indexed). Again, the search engines' reasoning here is "If
other sites are prepared to link to your site, then so will we." If
others won't link to your dynamic content, that might give you some
idea why search engines won't either! If it proves impossible to get
links to your dynamic content from other sites, then you can't expect
a search engine to link to your site either.

3. Pay for inclusion whenever possible.

AltaVista, Ask Jeeves/TEOMA, FAST and Inktomi offer one or more means
of paying for individual URLs to be spidered.  You can use these
paid-inclusion programs to get your dynamic URLs indexed.
Paid-inclusion programs only affect inclusion and do not influence
ranking, so it is still important to make sure your dynamic content is
well optimized.  For more details see the Add-URL pages of the
respective search engines.

Conclusions:

1. Search engines have problems creating links to dynamic content.
2. If you can recognize these problems, you are halfway to getting
your dynamic content indexed.
3. Where practical, use static URLs to reference dynamic content.
4. Otherwise, try to ensure your dynamic URL is linked to by content
referenced by static URLs.
5. Consider using paid-inclusion programs.

Jill: Thanks for your answers and your time, Alan!

For more information on optimizing dynamic sites, please read Advisor
Issues 027 </issue027.htm#seo> and 053
</issue053.htm#seo>.

____________________________________________adv.

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_____________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Getting Listed with Froogle++

Today's guest article was written by Susanne Cluff, who until recently
was the Web administrator and SEO for a software company.  She left to
start her own company, WebTech Promotions, which offers a variety of
Web services.  Susanne has a lot of experience with Froogle feeds, and
hopefully this article will help you get started with your own.  If
you have an ecommerce site, you really need to read this article!

Here's Susanne!

Getting Listed with Froogle
By Susanne Cluff

When I first looked at doing a feed for Froogle, I thought it was
going to be pretty complicated. All these instructions and forms to
fill out made my head spin, but I was determined and excited about the
prospect of a Google shopping search, so I tackled the project.

What I found out was that doing a feed for Froogle is simple, and
optimizing for it was a snap. When doing a feed, Froogle puts you
completely in charge of your products and how you would like them to
appear. Their instructions are concise and easy to follow.

Currently, if you have an online store you might already be listed.
Google spiders for products, but chances are it's not bringing you the
results that you want or showing your listings the way you would
prefer them to be. Froogle gives you complete control, which is why I
recommend going ahead with the feed.

The first step in obtaining your feed information is to contact Google
and request a merchant feed. To do this simply visit
<http://services.google.com/froogle/merchant_email> and fill out the
form with your store and company information. After you submit the
form you should receive a response from Google in 5 to 10 business
days.

In the email response, you will be assigned a username, password and a
URL where you will eventually upload your store feeds. A few hours
after you submit the second online form, you will receive the complete
instructions on how to set up and submit your feed. You also receive
an example spreadsheet and text file to show you what your product
information should look like.

Creating the feed is quite simple, and if you do not have a long list
of products it should take no time at all. The first thing to do is
open a spreadsheet file and plug in the field names provided in the
Froogle instructions (all lowercase characters). The "Category" field
is only required if your store is broken down into categories, and the
"ISBN" field is only required for books with a numeric ISBN. Please
note that all products entered should be available in the United
States and must be in US funds.

Here is where the optimization for your products comes in. If you are
targeting search terms such as "Shiny Blue Widgets", all you need to
do is ensure that this phrase is in your product "Name" and product
"Description" fields when you upload your feed. You should also
include the search term in your own product description on your
Website if possible.

For example, your product name might be "Shiny Blue Widgets" and your
product description might be something like "Our shiny blue widgets
are made only from the highest quality widget material possible." And
that's all you really need!

Once you've finished filling out your spreadsheet and have listed all
your targeted products, you must save it as a text file (tab
delimited) in order to have the right format to upload your feed. It
must also be saved as your username. If you told Froogle that your
store name was Widget Factory, and the username given to you was
widgetfactory, your data feed should be named widgetfactory.txt.

Now you are ready to upload your store feed! You must do this either
through a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Client or through a DOS prompt.
The settings for both FTP and DOS prompt access are available in the
instructions given to you, using the username and password provided in
the email. After uploading your feed for the first time, you must
submit an email to mailto:feeds-support@google.com to verify that your
feed has been uploaded successfully. This will be the only time you
need to send them an email after uploading a feed. The Froogle support
team will check your file to ensure proper format; if there is an
error they will contact you with changes, and if not then they will
send you an email once it is approved.

You may upload new feeds daily, weekly, or monthly. You must upload
your feed at least once a month or your feed will expire, and the
filename must be the same every time.

That's it! If you want to view your approved listings on Froogle.com,
simply type in store:yourusername in the search box on Froogle and it
should list them all there.

Susanne Cluff
WebTech Promotions

__________________________________________________adv.

Trouble getting your dynamic Website or shopping cart ranked?
__________________________________________________

Programming that comes from a box might make parts of your site
invisible.  It's full of tangled coding that search engines can't
read.

Customized, search-engine-friendly programming is simple and clean.
More pages indexed means more traffic.  More traffic means more sales.

Visit <http://www.thekarchergroup.com?hra> or call 330-493-6141.
San Jose Search Engine Strategies Booth 225 (right next to Google).
__________________________________________________


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Google AdWords Phone-in Clinic++

Looks like MarketingSherpa is branching out into "TeleClinics."  They
are hosting one with Mr. AdWords himself, Andrew Goodman, on
Wednesday, Aug 13th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM (ET) and it sounds like a real
winner!

How many of you have actually been *losing* money with your PPC ad
campaigns?  Or perhaps you're making some money, but it's only a
little teeny bit.  There are many, many tried and true AdWords
techniques you can put into action, once you know about them.  The
great thing about tweaking your ad campaign is that you can often see
immediate results.  There's a good chance that you will come out of
Andrew's clinic with specific advice that you can implement right then
and there.  A few hours later, you may find that you're already seeing
a greater return on your ad investment.

Since most of you reading this newsletter have already purchased
Andrew's report, "21 Ways to Maximize Your Google AdWords ROI"
</issue006.htm#seonews2>, you know that
Andrew knows this stuff backwards and forwards.

The TeleClinic will give you the opportunity to ask Andrew all those
specific questions you have about his report or about your own Google
AdWords campaign.  All questions will be answered!  If you're one of
those few who haven't gotten around to buying his report, you'll be
glad to know that you'll receive a free copy as part of the clinic.
(For those who've already purchased it, you will receive a discount on
the clinic admission...be sure to ask about that.)

Another cool thing is that you can use your speakerphone and let
anyone you want listen to the clinic, at no extra cost, which means
you can get your whole company or department up to speed on how to
efficiently run your Google AdWords campaigns.

The cost for this event is $199, which I would imagine is a lot less
than a private consultation with Andrew, and surely worth every penny.
Oh yeah, and you'll also receive a transcript of the entire clinic
session, when all is said and done.

You can learn more and sign up here:
</gawclinic>.

I'm discussing the possibility of MarketingSherpa hosting a TeleClinic
for me at some point in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for that.


~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Jill's New Forum++

I told you last week that I'd have some interesting news for you this
week.  I'd like to officially announce the High Rankings Search Engine
Optimization Forum: </forum>.  It's been in
beta-testing mode all week to work the kinks out, and this morning I
upgraded my server to make sure we have plenty of space and bandwidth.
My co-administrator Scottie and I have been busily working out the
bugs, and things have been hopping all week, even before being
*officially* open.

I know, I know.  The last thing the world needs is another search
engine marketing forum!  But I like to think that this one will be
unique because I've lined up some of the best and the brightest in the
search engine marketing industry to be expert moderators.  This means
that people who are truly "in the know" will be answering your
questions.  I've met most of the moderators in person, as a good
portion of them speak at the same conferences that I speak at.  These
guys and gals know their stuff!

Please stop by, check it out, and post your questions or concerns, or
just hang out in our virtual pub!  We've created lots of interesting
search engine marketing categories, such as "Optimization Tips and
Techniques," "Copywriting" and "Search-Engine-Friendly Design and
Usability."  But it's not all about search engine marketing, either.
Since many of us run our own businesses, I've set up some categories
that you won't see in SEO forums elsewhere such as "Running a Small
Business" and "Branding Yourself and Becoming an Expert."

See you there!  Here's the link again for you to bookmark:
</forum>.

Hopefully, I'll have more good stuff to announce next week, so stay
tuned...


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

Thanks to all who sent 20th-anniversary congratulations to me last
week.  They were really appreciated!  My official anniversary is
actually Thursday, July 31st.  Our celebration last weekend in Boston
turned out to be a lot of fun.  The Train concert was totally awesome.
My husband managed to get us some special roped-off VIP seats, so we
had some room to spread out.  (It was kind of embarrassing since
everyone around us was all of squished together, but hey...how many
times do you get to celebrate 20 years of marriage?)  We did go a bit
overboard with the drinking since we knew we didn't have to drive
home, but other than the super-duper headache I had the next day, we
had a great time.  (Oh, and thanks go to my assistant Lorelle, for the
tip about bringing earplugs...I definitely needed them!)

Catch you guys next week! - Jill
 
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