September 10, 2003
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
----> Check Out the Forum
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> How To Reach All the Engines
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines
----> Press Release SEO - Media Kit Linking Campaigns
*Other SEO News:
----> Tampa Seminar Registration Open
*Stuff You Might Like:
----> Treatment That Works
----> See You Next Time
Hey everyone! Today's newsletter is a little bit different than usual
as I have a continuing discussion in it, rather than just the usual
answer to one question. If you like this sort of thing, you're a
perfect candidate to visit the new High Rankings Search Engine
Optimization Forum </forum>. This
newsletter is great for getting *my* take on things, but in the forum,
you get my take, plus the take of a bunch of search engine marketing
experts too. So stop by and say hi!
On to the good stuff! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++How To Reach All the Engines++
I don't know if you will recollect, but we have communicated several
times and your feedback is always so helpful. Hope you can give me a
little assistance here.
I am using WPG's page critic. It is quickly apparent that what works
for one search engine is frequently quite different on another. What
is the answer?
I could use a robot.txt file and create a different version of each
index page but is this a smart approach? Does this look to be like
spamming? How do you handle these differences?
Thanks in advance.
Nice to hear from you!
The answer to your problem is to simply not use PageCritic. It's
totally wrong, from my perspective. Pages can and do rank highly on
all the search engines. There's never a need to design a page for any
particular engine at the exclusion of others.
Make your pages the best they can be for your users and search engines
in general, and your site will do great!
[Apparently my reply didn't quite answer Jerry's concerns, so he wrote
me back with additional questions. See below...as the Q&A
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The thing that drives me crazy is how well all of my sites do on
Google and how poorly they do on MSN (why, btw, do all of MSN's
results come from LookSmart?). So, knowing what needs to be done to
the page to move up in MSN is important. Do I simply rely on
Searchenginewatch or others for that insight?
I'm surprised to hear your response. I know better than to use the
[WebPositionGold] submitter or the page generator but I thought their
knowledge base and page critic were good tools for getting general
insights on a page vs. search engine.
Do you mind telling me how you determine what to do on a page when
faced with a similar dilemma?
What is about WPG that you believe makes it an invaluable SEO tool?
Again, thanks for your help and feedback.
> The thing that drives me crazy is how well all of my sites do on
> Google and how poorly they do on MSN (why, btw, do all of MSN's
> results come from LookSmart?).
MSN is all about the money. If you care about doing well with them,
you probably should pony up to LookSmart and pay for every click to
your site. Unfortunately, the Inktomi listings only show up *after*
the LookSmart listings. Of course, even Inktomi wants some of your
cash these days. If you absolutely need to be doing well in MSN, you
can use paid Inktomi inclusion and tweak your pages to your heart's
content. You'll be spidered every 48 hours and can see what works and
doesn't. You'll need to shoot for the phrases that have no LookSmart
listings, though, as there's no way to beat them with Inktomi
> So, knowing what needs to be done to the page
> to move up in MSN is important. Do I simply rely
> on Searchenginewatch or others for that insight?
All of the search engines want the same thing -- to show the pages
that are the most relevant to the search query. Keep working on your
pages so that they are the most relevant in all respects, and you'll
eventually get lots of highly targeted traffic and sales.
> I'm surprised to hear your response. I know better than
> to use the submitter or the page generator but I thought
> their knowledge base and page critic were good tools
> for getting general insights on a page vs. search engine.
If you like numbers, I suppose PageCritic can be interesting. But
years ago when I ran some high-ranking sites through the PageCritic
and it told me that they needed to be changed, I decided never to look
at it again. It only works for the algorithm du jour. If you want to
chase whatever algorithm is up to bat on any given day, more power to
I prefer a long-term approach, which blankets all the engines with
lots of keyword phrases that are relevant to my sites. This way when
some phrases are ranking highly in some engines, and others are
ranking highly in other engines, I still have good representation
across the board. Rankings do change. They can change on any given
day. Up and down, down and up. That's life in the SEO game. The
trick is not to look at the minutiae, and see the big picture instead.
Forget about rankings even. Are you being found in the engines for
relevant phrases, and are you converting that traffic into sales?
That's what matters.
> What is about WPG that you believe makes
> it an invaluable SEO tool?
It's really not an invaluable tool to me anymore. Five years ago,
when we had many competing search engines and it was important to be
ranked highly in all of them, WPG was an easy way to check positions.
Today, there are only 2 or 3 search databases that anyone cares about,
making it easy enough to do some spot checking by hand. Or even
better -- to simply check server logs. That's the best indication of
how you're doing.
Hope this helps!
++Press Release SEO - Media Kit Linking Campaigns++
Mike Banks Valentine writes today's guest article describing how to
obtain links to your site in ways you may never have thought about.
This is *exactly* the sort of thinking you guys should be doing.
Forget about linking software and sending unsolicited email requests
for reciprocal links. That stuff doesn't cut it for professional
companies who are doing business on the Web. Even if you can't do
exactly what Mike describes in his article, hopefully it will get you
to think of your own creative link-building campaigns. Or to quote my
friend Debra Mastaler, "It's not linking, it's marketing!" - Jill
Press Release SEO - Media Kit Linking Campaigns
by Mike Banks Valentine
Search engine optimization requires strategizing as well as optimizing
for SEO firms seeking online visibility for their clients. Last month
a client of our firm sought counsel on their web strategy for an
already optimized site. We had tightened up their keywords, focused
their content and appropriately titled each well-crafted page.
The only thing lacking was a linking campaign and extra
keyword-focused content beyond their product-centered but limited
text. What more could we do for them?
The single line item NOT accepted from among a list of recommendations
made was a link campaign, early in the SEO sales process. We had
discovered later in the beginning phase of optimization that the CEO
believed a linking campaign meant begging industry web sites for a
He had refused that concept without discussion due to a preconceived
notion of link building as panhandling.
Once discovered, the panhandling concern was easily overcome with a
simple request to the CEO: May we have a copy of your press kit?
Press releases very often contain important industry buzzwords, highly
relevant, keyword-rich text and an ideal word count for optimized web
page content. Press releases are tightly focused on single themes and
can be easily plugged into themed sections -- ideal for SEO.
We had discovered that the client had a media kit that was widely
distributed at trade shows. This kit offered press releases which
trumpeted a stellar Fortune-500 client list. Curiously, the slickly
printed, beautiful media kit listed an access URL for a
password-protected area of their web site where members of the press
could download a Word.doc and PDF files of this same press kit.
Essentially our client was hiding this content from the public due to
concerns that the in-house PR staff would be inundated with emails and
phone calls from NON-media types and [gasp!] customers abusing
published contact information from press releases. Maybe, but they
were also hiding valuable content, customer testimonials, and that
stellar client list from everyone but very determined media
professionals willing to request site-access passwords to download
That press kit held the complete solution to our link-popularity
conundrum. We put it all in publicly accessible pages. By posting
those documents online in HTML format and carefully structuring the
page title and headline of each page, then linking those press
releases to relevant sections of the company web site, we dramatically
improved search engine visibility for this client. The search engines
indexed it all quickly while expanding the content and increasing site
Their Fortune-500 clients have now linked to a vendor that they had no
reason to link to before because the releases were posted on those
client sites with live links back to their site. Links from
well-respected and visible companies increases PageRank dramatically.
Press releases emphasizing business relationships with
product-centered events featuring small businesses and larger
corporations can focus on news hooks that will attract search engine
visitors. Visitors that would not have otherwise known about the
business relationship or products offered may suddenly find themselves
Small companies doing business with larger corporations should widely
distribute their press releases announcing marketing partnerships and
sales to those companies. The big players will often find ways to make
news with public relations involving smaller partners and will
sometimes use those press releases on their own site for publicity.
With innovative PR professionals working in concert with small
businesses, they may even get the corporate client to use their much
greater resources to distribute those press releases through giant
corporate distribution channels (far beyond the miniscule reach of
small businesses). This will gain them press coverage and help
establish their brand while linking them to the image of larger
corporate clients in the minds of their customers.
A word to the wise though -- make your press releases professional and
concise with complete contact info and links to relevant data. Include
short, single-sentence "About Us" company information and don't forget
a URL! That web address included at the foot of all releases is your
key to link popularity. Link from your release to the corporate client
site you reference in partnership announcements, and choose headlines
that contain keywords relevant to your site and your business.
For an excellent tutorial on creating an online pressroom and case
studies on effective online PR strategies, visit the newsletter of PR
diva BL Ochman at
Search engine optimization professionals recognize the value of online
pressrooms as exceptional opportunities to present highly relevant,
keyword-focused content that encourages linking from well-known
corporations while exposing that existing content to the search
engines. If those press releases also gain media coverage for your
business as intended, your linking campaign has struck gold.
Mike Banks Valentine is a search engine optimization
specialist practicing ethical SEO for online businesses.
~~~Other SEO News~~~
++Tampa Seminar Registration Open++
Well, it's ready! We've now got the registration form up and running
for the High Rankings Search Engine Marketing Seminar in Tampa. You
know what was cool? Within ten minutes after making it live, we
received our first sign-up!
The date is Nov. 7th, and the place is the Tampa Marriott Airport
Hotel. Sign up for just the morning or the entire day. You can learn
all about it and register here:
Sponsors can also sign up by clicking on the registration form and
using the "vendor" links.
I'm looking forward to meeting many of you in sunny Tampa!
Ding-dong! Meta Keywords are DEAD!
So where do I place my pesky keyword phrases?
In the copy, silly!
Purchase the "Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines"
by High Rankings Advisor editor Jill Whalen.
Only $49 </nittyhra70>.
~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
++Acne Treatment That Works++
What's this got to do with SEO? Not much, other than the story
starting back in July due to a post at the Ihelpyou forum:
. You may not want to read that thread unless you have a lot of time
on your hands, as it's one of those really long ones. So let me sum
up what happened, and let you in on why I'm discussing an acne
treatment in this newsletter.
It started when a guy named Saleem posted that he needed an SEO
consultant for a business opportunity. He had a great acne treatment
product and a Web site to sell it through, but no search engine
rankings. The regulars proceeded to put Saleem through the ringer,
telling him why he was going about things the wrong way, etc., etc.
But old Saleem hung in there. No matter what anyone told him or said
to him, he had an answer. It was clear that this guy had a product
that he truly believed in.
Meanwhile my 16-year-old daughter, Corie, had really severe acne for
years. She had recently been to the doctors and had been using some
prescription topical medications regularly, but it wasn't helping
much, if at all. Nothing could seem to out-muscle the acne.
I read through the IHY thread with a keen interest. On the one hand,
Saleem was quite a character. On the other hand, I truly couldn't
believe that his acne treatment product could really do much for acne.
Certainly not for Corie's acne. It was obvious that nothing was going
to help her and she was doomed to keep applying more and more layers
of makeup each morning before school. I posted something to that
effect in the forum, and Saleem offered to send me a free sample. He
was that sure it would help her. I promised him that if it actually
did work, I'd be happy to mention it in my newsletter since I was sure
there were plenty of SEOs who might also have teens with acne.
By now you've probably figured out that the stuff did indeed work, or
I wouldn't be writing about it here!
But I'll let Corie tell you in her own words:
"I know from experience that it's going to be incredibly hard for
anyone reading about a new 'miracle acne treatment' to actually
believe it. But nothing ever worked for me. Ever. I went through
every over-the-counter acne treatment on the market, as well as many
prescriptions. There was never much progress at all.
"When my mom gave me this new one, I was totally skeptical and pretty
much hopeless, but tried it anyway. I won't lie and say that it's
totally cured my acne, but this stuff was the one treatment that
showed even the slightest of results. My acne is very, very, very
severe, and what it did for me was reduce the redness of my acne as
well as flattening it out, making my face feel totally clear. The
amount of new pimples I got was reduced by at least 70% and it was SO
much easier to cover up what was left with makeup. I absolutely
guarantee that this will work for anyone with acne, at least somewhat.
If it worked as much as it did for me, I wouldn't be surprised if it
could totally clear up someone's face who had less severe acne."
Pretty compelling, no? As Corie said, her acne was definitely not
cured. In fact, just recently she was getting very discouraged about
it again because she was really hoping for a complete cure. Around
the same time, her bottle of the treatment formula ran out and she
thought about purchasing something else. However, over the next few
days, her acne started coming back in full-force, and she realized
just how much the stuff had been working for her all along. I quickly
contacted Saleem and purchased a 3-pack so she won't run out anytime
We've even thought about creating our own Web site to sell the stuff,
but Corie being Corie never quite got around to it over the summer.
Now with school started again...well, it's not gonna happen for
awhile...let's put it that way!
At any rate, Saleem did offer to give Corie an affiliate link, where
she will earn $5 for each sale. So if you've got acne or know someone
who does, I urge you give it a try. It doesn't cost any more than the
prescription stuff, and in fact, I think it was actually less! In my
opinion it's worth every penny. You can learn more or order it here:
Okay, back to your regularly scheduled SEO information! - Jill
That's all for now! I already got my personal family stuff in with
that acne info, so I'll just end it with "See you next time"! - Jill