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High Rankings Advisor: Leading Your Web Designer to SEO - Issue No. 068

August 27, 2003
________________________________________________________

~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Just Your Typical Intro

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   What Are Links and How Do I Get 'Em?

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

*Guest Article:
---->   Leading Your Web Designer to SEO

*Other SEO News:
---->   Jill's SEO Seminar in Tampa
---->   FindWhat Increases Bid Minimum

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   The Internet Marketing Master Class

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Great Time in San Jose
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Summer in the U.S. is winding down, but I'm back with another edition
of the High Rankings Advisor.  Hope you didn't miss me too much last
week when I was at the conference in San Jose.  Check the wrap-up at
the end of the newsletter to see how it went!

I've got a great Q&A and an interesting guest article, along with news
regarding my Tampa seminar in November.  So let's get right to the
good stuff! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++What Are Links and How Do I Get 'Em?++

From: Rochelle Fellig

Hey Jill,

I thank you for your site. It has really opened my eyes in many areas
of SEO where I was lost before.

My question is this: I keep reading and hearing about links, links,
links. But I am still utterly confused on what links are, how you get
them, why they are necessary?

My website has very, very few items so I think it will be easy for me
to get high rankings for those specific items because I can target
them so well.

What route do I need to take? Where should I start? Do I need to get
someone to revise the Meta tags? Edit the keywords? (That I can
probably do on my own since I know inside out what keywords people
look for when searching for the items I'm selling.)

Anyhow, a little light shed in the dark would be MUCH appreciated.

Again, I thank you for sharing your wisdom with us little guys ;-)

Rochelle Fellig, Chief Operations Officer
RetroLuxury Inc.

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Rochelle,

Glad you like the site.  Let me take your questions separately, since
they are somewhat diverse.

1. What are links, how do you get them and why do you need them?

In really basic terms, links are the words people click on to surf the
Web.  Technically, they are called "hyperlinks."  Links are what make
the Web work, and are how we find sites.  When someone says their site
is "listed" in Google, for instance, it means that Google has a link
to their site.  When you recommend another site, you put a link to it
on your site so that others can visit it.  When you submit your site
to a directory such as Yahoo or DMOZ, you are essentially requesting a
link from them.

In order for the search engines to determine which sites should show
up for which search terms, part of their ranking formula is determined
by how popular any given site is on the Web as a whole.  One way to
determine popularity is by looking at how many other sites link to a
site.  This is what is known as "link popularity."  Google has its own
name for their version of link popularity, called PageRank.
Basically, a link is assumed to be a vote in favor of a site.  The
more votes for your site, the higher probability it will be able to
rank highly when a relevant keyword search is made at the search
engine.

That explains what links are, and why you need them.  So how do you go
about getting some for your site?

The number one way to entice people to link to your site is by having
a super-terrific site that is informative, helpful and/or unique.  You
want people to say, "Wow, that site is awesome, I have to tell all my
friends and associates about it on my site!"

Along with simply having a wonderful site, you also need to get the
word out about it, so that people know it exists in the first place.
To do this you should submit the site's URL (domain name) to any and
all of the Internet directories that exist.  Directories are different
from search engines, as they are human-edited, categorized online
catalogs of Web sites. If your site is non-commercial, you can submit
it for free to the most popular directory, Yahoo.  If it's a business
site, it will cost you $299 per year for a review.  However, there are
many other free or low-cost directories you can submit to.  The Open
Directory <http://www.dmoz.org> is one, and JoeAnt
<http://www.joeant.com>, GoGuides <http://www.goguides.org> and Gimpsy
<http://www.gimpsy.com> are others.  (Some of these directories
require you to become an editor or to pay a small listing fee if
you're not an editor.)  It can take many weeks or months to be
accepted in some of these directories when you submit for free, so be
patient!

Many companies will find that there are also industry-specific niche
directories they can submit their site to.  In fact, I recently
published a guest article entitled "Finding Free Niche Directories,"
which you can read in the archives here:
</issue064.htm#guest>.

2. Do you need to get someone to revise the Meta tags and edit the
keywords?

Many of my readers already know this, but it's always good to
reiterate every now and then.  Your Meta keyword tag, and the
information contained within it, really won't impact your rankings in
the search engines.  Most engines ignore it, or only use it when
there's nothing else worthwhile on your page to index.

What you do need to work on in order to gain high rankings is the
visible copy on your page.  That is, the words people read once they
get to your site.  You'll need to make sure each page of your site
contains 2 or 3 keyword phrases that people might be typing into
search engines to find your site.  Make sure each page has a good 200
to 300 words of text on it, and use your keyword phrases as many times
as you can within the copy.  If you have no idea how to do this, you
might want to hire a professional SEO copywriter and/or purchase my
"Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" report.

You'll also want to make sure that your Title tags reflect the keyword
phrases you've based your copy around as much as possible.  Title tags
are given a lot of weight in the search engine ranking formulas.  In
fact, if your keyword phrases aren't very competitive, just putting
them into your Title tags can do wonders for your rankings.

Those are the very basic things you need to do for your site.  You
should read reputable articles and newsletters on the topic for more
information.  I would suggest that you sift through the previous
newsletters that are published on my site.  You may want to also
browse around the High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum and
ask a question or two.  You can find it here:
</forum>.  Many industry experts (including
me) are there at all times of the day and night to answer questions.

Good luck!

Jill


____________Nitty-gritty Special Report__________________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!
</nittyhra68>
__________________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Leading Your Web Designer to SEO++

Veteran search engine optimization consultant Christian Nielson wrote
today's guest article.  If you're subscribed to any SEO email
discussion lists, you're sure to have seen Chris's posts at some time
or another.  I do believe he's been in the SEO game nearly as long as
I have.  At least it seems that way!  He's the owner of Nielsen
Technical Services <http://www.nielsentech.com/>, which provides
Internet consulting and SEO services, including the optimization of
dynamic database-driven sites.

Let's give a warm Advisor welcome to Christian!

Leading Your Web Designer to SEO
By Christian Nielsen

Many SEO projects involve taking a site that has already been built
and changing or adding optimization elements to help the site rank
well in the search engines. For a site that has already been built,
the web designer is usually not involved in the process.

However, there are two situations where the designer should be very
much involved in the SEO process: when a new site is constructed, or
when an old site is being redesigned.

When building a new site, the SEO consultant should be involved as the
site concept is being developed. The perspective of the SEO consultant
is much different from that of the design team and the site owner. The
SEO understands that a balance of keyword phrases and well-written
marketing copy is what helps the site attract traffic and convert
visitors into buyers.  The SEO can also provide advice on the best way
to add new content.  For example, a site that is about food will draw
many visitors if it has a section that offers recipes, and a site
about music will see many more visitors if it also offers MP3 music
files.

More importantly, the SEO can provide advice on how to best construct
the site. SEO consultants understand that sites which have 100% of the
content in Flash or that use frames will pose problems during the
optimization process. The consultant will also understand how to
overcome some of the SEO limitations that dynamic sites pose.

When the design team is aware and involved in the optimization process
from the beginning, a site can be optimized "from the ground up" as it
is being built, which will involve less time spent by the SEO
consultant later. This can also provide a level of optimization that
is often not practical after a site has already been constructed.

When keyword research is completed before the site construction has
started, designers can use the best keyword phrases when they create
new pages and graphics files in order to derive the benefit of
keyword-rich filenames (e.g., instead of using names like "logo" and
"header," the designer can choose keywords that are more descriptive).
The SEO can also provide a basic Meta tag set that can be used for the
site. By including the Meta tags in the site templates, the work of
editing each page later can often be avoided.

What about redesigns?

The first and foremost role the SEO has when a site is being
redesigned is to ensure that the web designer doesn't change all the
page names when performing a site update. Otherwise, when the new site
is launched, the traffic to the site may substantially drop off when
people click on search engine listings for pages that no longer exist.

To combat this phenomenon, the consultant will advise the designer to
re-use the old page names as much as possible.  If that's not
possible, there are two ways to deal with this problem:

1) A custom 404-error page can be installed to inform the visitor that
the page(s) no longer exist and present them with several options to
continue into the site.
2) Redirection pages can be set up which use the old page name and an
informative message for the visitor. The pages should offer one or
more clickable links, and might include a timed-redirect that should
be at least 30 seconds before taking the visitor to the page with the
new name.

The second option is more desirable, since it allows the search engine
to note the change, follow the link to the new page and add it to its
index at some later point.  And of course, if new pages are added, or
the filenames have to change, it provides a chance to use filenames
that can be optimized with keyword phrases.

Just as you are unlikely to turn an SEO consultant into a web
designer, you can't turn a web designer into an SEO. However, SEO
consultants and designers should work together to bring all of their
skill sets to the table.  The SEO needs to understand that graphic
images can be very important in the visual appeal of a well-designed
web site, just as the designer needs to understand the benefit of
having a home page title that says more than just "Home."

Christian Nielsen
Nielsen Technical Services
http://www.nielsentech.com/
http://nielsentech.blogspot.com/


~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Jill's SEO Seminar in Tampa++

I have more info regarding my next seminar!  The date is Friday,
November 7th, 2003, and the place is a hotel yet to be determined in
Tampa, FL.  You will have the option of attending just the morning
session (which includes lunch), or the entire day.

The morning session will be my Basics of Search Engine Optimization
class, where I give a broad overview of everything you need to know to
optimize your site for high rankings.

The afternoon session is a brand-new offering that is still in the
planning stages.  Since I have many expert SEO friends, it seemed like
a good idea to put them to good use by having them give you THE best
information possible on this subject.  After hearing some of them
speak and partake in some high-level discussions in San Jose last
week, I'm convinced more than ever that you need the information these
women can teach you!

Right now it looks like we'll have 3 or 4 half-hour talks after lunch.
I'll have a better idea of what topics we'll be covering sometime next
week.

After the speakers talk, we will be reviewing audience member sites
and offering specific advice on how to best optimize them for high
rankings.  The number of reviews will be limited, as we want to spend
at least 15 minutes on each site. If you are interested in having your
site reviewed, be sure to sign up early.  The registration form isn't
quite ready yet, but feel free to email me at seminar@highrankings.com
to secure a place for your site.  The venue and online registration
form should be set up in time for next week's newsletter.

Here's the current pricing structure:

Morning session only (lunch included): $325.00 before Oct. 7th, $375
after.
All-day session (lunch included): $575.00 before Oct. 7th, $625 after.
Personal site review: $99 for 15 minutes with our esteemed panel of
experts.

We're also negotiating a good deal on hotel rooms, so you can come
from near or far to attend!  Watch this spot for more info.


++FindWhat Increases Bid Minimum++

GO TOAST reports that starting at midnight Eastern time on August 31,
2003, minimum bids on FindWhat will be raised from 1 cent to 5 cents.
Current listings will be grandfathered in for the time being. If you
change bids for your current listings, this will result in your
minimum bid increasing to 5 cents. You can visit the FindWhat Web site
at <http://www.FindWhat.com> for details.


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++The Internet Marketing Master Class++

Here's something that looks interesting. Mike Grehan and Jim Sterne
are offering an Internet Marketing Master Class, supported by the
Chartered Institute of Marketing.

I've never met Jim Sterne, but Mike's a good friend who knows tons
about search engine marketing.  Here's what they'll be covering:

How do search engines really work?
How do I increase my rank at search engines?
Why do "keywords and phrases" matter so much?
How do I optimise my pages for keywords?
Where do meta tags fit in?
How do I avoid strategies that may "blacklist" my website?
Which search services matter most?
What are the key points to submitting your web pages?
How about the new "Paid For" services and ROI?

If you're in the northern part of England on October 1, 2003, you can
get in on this class for only GBP 45.  (That's a really low price by
my currency converter calculations!)  Might even be worth the trip out
there if you're *not* already in the area.

You can learn more or sign up here:
<http://www.search-engine-book.co.uk/masterclass>.


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's it for the meat!  I had a great time in San Jose at the
conference last week.  You can expect to see numerous articles and
interviews with the speakers in upcoming Advisor issues.  I kept my
right-hand woman, Scottie, busy taking notes so that she could keep
you up-to-date with the sessions.

My good intentions of actually getting work done by the pool were
somehow thwarted due to having too many people to talk to and gossip
with! <grin>  I did take my laptop down and I did sit by the pool, but
I can't really say that I got much work done.  I tried to do some
while Scottie was interviewing Mike Grehan, but he kept making me
laugh -- the b*astard! (Danny Sullivan said that's not a bad word in
the UK so it's okay to say it! hehehe)

It was also great to see my two other conference buds, Debra and
Chris, along with all the other new and old friends I hung out with
along the way.  Oh yeah, and the conference sessions were also very
interesting.  There was a session called "Cleaning Up the Mess" which
I particularly liked.  Nice job, Anne, Matt and Shari!  Okay, it was
one of the few I actually went to, but I really did like it!  If it's
offered at future conferences, I highly suggest you attend it.

My Hawaiian traveler daughter, Jamie, also made it home safely.  We
met in San Jose for the weekend and pretty much just hung out
together.  I wish one of you had warned me that there's not a whole
lot to do in the general SJ area.  What I should have done was move to
a hotel in San Francisco when Jamie came in.  I think she would have
liked that area.  Oh well, maybe next year; we did have fun anyway!

Catch you next week! - Jill

 
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