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High Rankings Advisor: Title Tags - Issue No. 073

October 1, 2003



*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Title Tags for Gift Suggestion Pages

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   High Rankings Seminar in Tampa
---->   Xerocity Hosting

*Guest Article:
---->   Digging Deeper into Search-friendly Design

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines

*Other SEO News:
---->   Finding the Right Keyword
---->   Google AdSense Changes
---->   Search Engine Strategies Chicago

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Is it "Just a Job" or Do You Have To Believe?

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   How Many Words Do You Need for High Rankings?

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   So Much Going On!

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Got a really full issue for you today, so let's get straight to the
good stuff! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Title Tags for Gift Suggestion Pages++

Hey Jill, how are you?

I have a quick question about a client's web site. It's for a site
that sells gifts from recycled, reused and natural materials.

RE: the Title tags for gift suggestion pages.  Should it say Gifts
under $25, Gifts over $50, or should we say what the gifts are and not
mention price, which might scare or annoy some people?

Thanks in advance,


~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Ilise,

Since the Title tag is given so much weight in the search engines, you
should use whatever keyword phrases you're optimizing the page for.
So if you're optimizing the page for "gifts under $25" then you should
use that one in the Title tag.  If people are actually searching for
that phrase, then having it in the Title tag will help the page to
show up in the results.  Those people will be more apt to click on
your page, because it will obviously have what they're looking for.

I decided to do some quick Wordtracker research out of curiosity and
came up with these numbers for similar kinds of phrases ("gifts under"
and "gift suggestions"):

Ct,  Predict,  Keyword
29,     26, gifts under $10
26,     23, gift suggestions
15,     13, gifts under $20.00
8,      7,  gifts under $20
7,      6,  gifts under $25
5,      4,  gifts baskets under $25.00
5,      4,  gifts under $5.00

So there are *some* searches being done on those types of phrases; not
a lot, but some.

Regarding the "gifts over" types of phrases, according to Wordtracker,
people just aren't searching that way, which makes sense intuitively,

For fun, I tried looking up keyword phrases having to do with recycled
materials and that sort of thing.  Without really knowing what types
of gifts your client is selling, it's difficult to choose keyword
phrases, but there are a few phrases that get searched on having to do
with recycled stuff.  For instance, if you're selling "homemade
recycled products," that is actually an okay keyword phrase with a
Wordtracker count of 41.  (Nothing great, but better than the "gifts
under" keywords.)

I would suggest spending a day at Wordtracker
</wordtracker> to seek out all the related
phrases you can, then write your copy based around the best, most
relevant ones, and create your Title tags accordingly.

Hope this helps!


P.S. If you are totally confused by Wordtracker or choosing keyword
phrases in general, I highly recommend that you contact Dan Thies from
SEO Research Labs </seoresearchlabs> and
outsource this aspect of your SEO campaign to them.


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Join Jill and her merry band of search engine marketing experts in
sunny Tampa, Florida on Nov. 7 for a full day of learning and fun!

Learn SEO copywriting, Titles and Meta tags, search engine no-nos,
choosing keywords, link pop., PPC, measuring success and more!

Last week to save $50! </73seminar>
Still time to submit your site for review by our experts.

~~~Guest Article~~~

++Digging Deeper into Search-Friendly Design - Part II++

Today, Scottie finishes up her interview with Shari Thurow of
Grantastic Designs <>.  If you missed
part one, you can read it online here:
</issue072.htm#guest>. - J

Interview with Shari Thurow
By Scottie Claiborne

Let's recap Shari's 5 Basic Rules of Web Design:

1. Your Web site should be easy to read
2. Your Web site should be easy to navigate
3. Your Web site should be easy to find
4. Your Web page layout and design should be consistent throughout the
5. Your Web site should be quick to download.

[Scottie]: #3 is "easy to find."  A lot of Web professionals insist
that every site should have a search function.  Do you think that's

[Shari]: Absolutely not.  Smaller Web sites with good site
architecture do not need a site search.  Larger Web sites with a lot
of products to sell probably do need a site search function.

I don't think the issue is whether or not a site should have a search
function.  I think the issue is having a GOOD search function.  People
use these free search engines without thinking through the whole
search process.

First, you have to determine how your search engine results pages
(SERPs) will look.  Are you going to use the Title tag for the
hyperlink?  If so, how many characters will you display?  Are you
going to use the Meta-tag description underneath the Title tag?  If
so, how many characters are you going to display?  Will you use
Meta-tag content to determine relevancy?

Second, you have to think about how a "keyword not found" page is
going to look.  A lot of developers forget about that.

Third, and most importantly, when you have a site search you have some
great data.  Usability experts consistently say that with most sites,
using the site search is a strong indication that people are unable to
find what they're searching for based on the site architecture.

What you do with the site search data is very important. If people
come to your site and consistently search for specific keyword
phrases, then you know you are not making those keyword phrases
obvious to visitors.  So you might have to rewrite and redesign
sections of your site to make them more obvious.

Additionally, if people are performing a search and not clicking on
the most relevant result, the Title tag and Meta-tag description (if
you use them for the SERP) might not be effective.

[Scottie]: #4 is "consistent in layout and design."  What are the most
common problems you see with lack of consistency?

[Shari]: One of the biggest problems we see is lack of consistency
between Title-tag content, headlines, and navigation buttons.  If you
call a navigation button "Shopping Bag," use that same term throughout
the site.  Don't change it from page to page, or from section to

Most of the sites we do follow 4 specific design templates.  All
product pages will have the same layout.  Headlines, product photos,
product descriptions, calls-to-action (i.e. Add to Cart) will all be
in the same place.  One product description might be longer than
another product description, but they will be in the same place on
every product page.

Consistency in layout and design communicates credibility and trust,
and every site needs to communicate that in order to make a sale.  If
you make it easy for visitors to form a mental model of your site by
making your page design templates consistent, you will have higher

[Scottie]: #5 is "quick to download." Do you have a favorite resource
for testing download times?  Or do you just maintain a dial-up line
and an older computer for checking?

[Shari]: For usability-testing purposes, we do maintain a dial-up
line.  But there are also some great online tools.  Andy King has a
great tool available at:
<>.  We have also
used NetMechanic <>.

I know I'm beating this usability thing to a pulp, but it's so
important.  A top search engine position is not the
be-all-that-ends-all in search marketing.  You have to get people to
your site and convince them to take an action (subscribe, buy, enroll,
register, etc.).  Usability is a huge part of that equation.

Ideally, if a page downloads between 5 and 12 seconds, that is great.
However, usability expert Jared Spool found that perceived download
time is more important than actual download time.  If people feel that
they are getting what they want, they will perceive the download time
to be shorter than it actually is.

Our rule of thumb is to keep most pages less than 60K, including
scripts, style sheets, and graphic images.  For sites where download
time is expected to be longer (such as an entertainment site), we will
go up to 100K.  If a page must be larger than that, we make sure that
there is plenty of search-engine-friendly text in the first 100K of
the document.

[Scottie]: Great information, Shari!  Thanks for taking the time to go
into so much detail.

Scottie Claiborne
Right Click Web Services

[Thanks again, Scottie and Shari!  As I mentioned last week, don't
forget to check out Shari's book, "Search Engine Visibility"
</searchenginevisibility>, at your favorite
bookstore. - Jill]

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~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines++

My $49 report to teach you where to place those pesky keywords!

~~~Other SEO News~~~

++Finding the Right Keyword++

Check out this Inc. Magazine article I was recently quoted in:

++Google AdSense Changes++

Back in June, when Google AdSense was fairly new, I published a guest
article called "Making Sense of Google AdSense"

I just got the word that tomorrow Google will be adding some new
features to the program.  To keep up to date with the latest changes,
visit the "What's new with Google AdSense?" page here:

++Search Engine Strategies Chicago++

The agenda for Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Strategies conference in
Chicago on December 9-11 is now posted here:

I'll be presenting in 3 sessions:  "Writing for the Search Engines,"
"Dealing With Directories" and one of the Site Clinics.  Other
speakers will be announced shortly on Danny's site.

~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~

++Is it "Just a Job" or Do You Have To Believe?++

Karon Thackston, author of the Step-by-Step Copywriting Course
and High Rankings copywriting forum moderator, posed the following
question the other day:

"When it comes to writing copy, is it 'just a job' or do you have to
believe in the product/service you're writing about?"

Participate in the discussion here:

~~~Sound Advice~~~

++How Many Words Do You Need for High Rankings?++


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

Lots going on around here this week.  If you're not interested in all
my personal musings, now would be the time to hit the delete button!

The windows for my new office came in today, meaning they can finish
up the work soon -- yay!  Can't wait to move my stuff into it.

Timmy is away all week with his school at "Nature's Classroom."  Weird
to not have him sitting nearby with the laptop, singing away, as he
makes his daily rounds of his favorite Internet sites after school.

Jamie's adjusting to her new school beautifully, and doing really
well!  Her first progress report had some wonderful comments on it,
and we're hoping she'll keep up the good work.  She told me yesterday
that she's one of the few kids in her math class who "gets it" and
even had one kid tell her how smart she was!

The whole family is heading out on Friday to Boston for the "Mix Fest"
concert <>.  We decided to splurge on some
really good seats, so it should be a lot of fun.  Corie may even get a
backstage pass with a friend of hers who happens to know one of the
deejays.  We're not sure about that yet, but she's hoping to get it
because she's dying to see Jason Mraz up close and personal!
Unfortunately, Corie will also have to get up early the next day for
her cross-country meet.  <ugh>

Until next time. - Jill

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