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High Rankings Advisor: Understanding the SEO Industry - Issue No. 074

October 8, 2003



*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Keywords by Page or Site?

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   High Rankings Seminar with Jill and the Gang
---->   Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines

*Guest Article:
---->   Understanding the SEO Industry

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Early Seminar Sign-up Price Extended

*Other SEO News:
---->   MSN Drops LookSmart Due to Relevancy

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Customers as Friends

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   Misconceptions About Google PageRank

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   It's Done!


~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Got another full issue for you today!  Let's get straight to the good
stuff. - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Keywords by Page or Site?++


I'm confused in general about some SEO stuff.  I was beginning to
think I understood and then someone threw a wrench into my thoughts.

We talk about the importance of keyword phrases -- is that a per-page
thing or a per-site thing?  I mean for example if you are submitting a
site to -- you submit -- now Google
evidently will spider that whole site when doing searches, is that
correct? Then if your whole 10-page site was dedicated to middle-aged
women, is keyword density based upon one page in that site or the
whole site?


Dawn Burian

++Jill's Response++

Hi Dawn,

The easy answer is that as far as the search engines are concerned,
every page of your site has its own unique keyword phrases based upon
the information it provides.  This means that when a search engine is
determining which page in its database is relevant to the search query
at hand, it's looking for the best, most relevant *page* -- not

For many years, there was a lot of talk in the search engine
optimization world about themes and theming.  The belief was that if
an entire site was focused on one particular theme (or set of keyword
phrases), its pages would have a greater likelihood of ranking highly
for the keywords in its theme than other pages that weren't part of a
tightly focused site.  I for one never put much stock in that theory.
Most sites by their very nature are focused to a certain extent on one
major subject, but even if one wasn't, it never seems to hurt its
search engine rankings.

For instance, for years I hosted a site in a separate directory of my
old domain that was selling screen enclosures.  The rest
of my site was about search engine optimization (and in the old days,
Web design).  Yet, the screen enclosure pages ranked fine for their
keyword phrases, and the rest of my pages ranked fine for their
keyword phrases.  So I wouldn't worry about any off-topic pages on
your site "breaking your theme" and hurting your rankings or anything
like that.  It shouldn't be a problem at all.

On a deeper level, however, all of the pages of your site actually do
play a role in how you'll get your rankings.  For instance, if you
just have a one-page site, you may have difficulties getting decent
rankings with it.  This is mostly due to the fact that years ago
one-page doorway pages were prevalent.  The engines place a bit more
scrutiny on a one-page site than those with many pages of content.

Another way that all of your pages work in conjunction with one
another is through the linking structure.  Let's say your home page
links out to all of your inner pages, and your inner pages only link
back to your home page, but not to each other.  This signals to the
search engine that the home page is the most important one on the
site, and therefore it may have a better chance at ranking highly for
its targeted keyword phrases.  Also, if your inner pages link to your
home page with a specific keyword phrase in the hyperlinks, this could
help the home page rank highly for that phrase.

Your question also addresses submitting your site to Google.  You are
correct that Google requests that you submit only your home page, and
it will spider the rest.  In reality, you don't even have to submit
your home page, just make sure it's listed from another page on the
Web that's in Google's database, and it will get spidered that way.
Don't be concerned if *just* your home page is listed for a few weeks
to a few months with a new site.  Google tends to add the inner pages
more slowly than the home page.

Regarding the keyword-density issue, if your 10 pages are devoted to
"middle-aged women" there will still (hopefully) be a sub-focus within
the middle-aged women category, on each page.  So instead of focusing
on the phrase "middle-aged women" on every page, you would want to
focus on something more specific.  In other words, you might have a
page that talked about "empty-nest syndrome."  That should be the
keyword phrase for that particular page.  You may or may not want to
also focus on the "middle-aged women" phrase along with it.

Keyword density as a whole is measured on a per-page basis, if it's
even measured at all.  It's really not something you need to worry
about.  No need for keyword-density analyzers and percentage
calculators that make your head spin.  Just read your copy; read it
silently, and read it out loud.  If you hear your keyword phrases
cropping up incessantly, then your keyword density is too high.  If
you can read the copy and know exactly which keyword phrases you're
optimizing for, and yet it sounds like wonderful prose, then you've
done your job as an SEO copywriter perfectly!

Hope this helps.


_____________Nitty-gritty Special Report_________________

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!

~~~Guest Article~~~

Last week my fellow forum administrator, Scottie Claiborne, wrote a
cool analogy on the forum about what SEO is and isn't.  It was
something I had never thought about before, so I asked Scottie if she
would flesh it out a bit more and make it into a full-fledged article.
Less than an hour later, she sent me the following!

I see Scottie's analogy as a great way for SEOs to explain what it's
all about to their potential clients, and maybe even to those people
we meet at parties and stuff, whose eyes glaze over when we try to
tell them what the heck it is that we do!  Enjoy! - Jill

++Understanding the SEO Industry++

Guest Article
By Scottie Claiborne

One of the challenges facing any new industry is creating a demand for
and an awareness of the industry in the mind of the consumer.  Since
many Website owners have only a general idea of what search engine
optimization (SEO) is and how it works, I've come up with an analogy
from another industry that makes it easier to understand.

Search Engine Marketers = Ad Agencies

Search engine marketers dealing with paid listings are very similar to
ad agencies in offline media.  They work with the message and the
creative to get people to take action: to buy, subscribe or register.
They have budgets and are able to monitor results and tweak campaigns
to get the maximum return for their clients.

It's pretty easy to see the parallels between SEMs and ad agencies,
but a little harder to understand the role of search engine
optimizers, as they relate to the "free" search listings.

Search Engine Optimizers = Public Relations Firms

A search engine optimizer is actually very similar to a public
relations firm in the offline world.  Public relations firms try to
get their clients mentioned in news stories and featured in print and
broadcast media, i.e., they obtain "free" publicity. An SEO consultant
attempts to get their client's site listed highly in the "editorial"
or "free" listings of the search engines.  As with offline media, the
editorial content (or listings) often carries more credibility with

Just as a public relations firm carefully writes press releases and
formats them in a way that is favorable to the news media, a search
engine optimizer adjusts the code and wording in a site to present it
in the way that the search engines prefer to read it.  A good SEO
(just like a good PR firm) will create content that is interesting and
useful, making it much more likely to be ranked well (or be

PR firms often act as image consultants as well, working with the
company and its executives to make sure they present the best possible
impression when meeting with the press.  They make sure their message
is consistent and in keeping with their brand, to help firmly cement
the company's image in the mind of the customer.  A professional SEO
often does the same thing for a site, making design or usability
recommendations to ensure that once people arrive they will easily be
able to find what they need.

Not All Search Engine Optimizers Are the Same

There are different kinds of SEOs, just as there are different kinds
of PR firms.  Some PR firms merely churn out press releases on a
regular schedule. They spend their time faxing and following up on
items that may or may not be newsworthy. They make very little attempt
to be creative or find truly newsworthy events within the company --
they simply send a regular stream of minor happenings out via press
releases.  They may even try to sneak releases past screening
personnel or exaggerate the truth in order to get a mention in the
media.  Ineffective PR firms waste your money; an unethical one can
even hurt your company's image.

The parallel in the SEO industry is those SEOs that use deceptive
practices to place their clients' sites in the engines. One such
tactic would be the use of software to churn out keyword-stuffed pages
instead of attempting to improve the site itself.  Another tactic
would be showing search engines different content than a human visitor
would see.  These are strategies that work in the short term.  But
just as a newspaper editor will eventually start throwing out all of
the low-value press releases from a company that has proved they don't
provide good content, a search engine will eventually do the same to
pages using deceptive techniques and which don't provide any value to
site visitors.  Eventually, those SEOs will find that their clients'
sites are penalized or banned.

Neither public relations nor search engine optimization are forms of
black magic; anyone can learn what needs to be done to get a company
noticed. There are PR companies who see the media as something to be
manipulated, just as there are SEO companies who see the search
engines that way.  However, you'll find that it's much more productive
when an SEO actually works with the search engines, rather than
against them.

Scottie Claiborne
Right Click Web Services


Full-day SEO Seminar in Tampa with Jill, Scottie, Karon and Chris

       Learn Search Engine Marketing from the Ground Up

Looking for a complete overview of search engine optimization?
Join the High Rankings 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!

Early registration extended until midnight on Friday, Oct. 10th.

~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Early Seminar Sign-up Price Extended++

Due to some technical difficulties our registration company was having
with our seminar registrations yesterday, we've extended the early
sign-up discount through this Friday, October 10th, at midnight
Eastern time.  If you've been thinking about registering for the
seminar, but just haven't gotten around to it, you might as well save
yourself or your company $50 and do it now!

We're excited at how many have already registered, and are looking
forward to seeing many more of you in Tampa next month.

We have room for additional sponsors still also.  What I'm really
hoping to get is some generous company who'd like to sponsor a
cocktail reception the night before the seminar.  Just think of all
the good will it would generate towards our 75 or so participants!
Any takers?  C'mon, you know you wanna!  But seriously, even if you
can't be that generous, we have many other levels of sponsorship
available, all of which include a link to your site from my seminar
page, plus an ad in the participant workbook.  The workbook will be so
full of information that it will be referenced for many years to come.

Register, view the agenda, and see testimonials from past seminars
here:  </74semstuff>.

~~~Other SEO News~~~

++MSN Drops LookSmart Due to Relevancy Issues++

According to an article in Search Engine Watch by Danny Sullivan, the
reason that MSN didn't renew their contract with LookSmart was because
they found the LookSmart results to not be up to par as far as
relevancy was concerned.  MSN UK ran relevancy tests comparing their
own results vs. LookSmart results and came to the following
conclusion, according to MSN product manager, Karen Redetzki:

"The testing was conclusive that the more relevant results were
outside the LookSmart listings."

You can read Danny's complete article here:
(paid subscription necessary).

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

++Customers as Friends++

Forum member "OldWelshGuy" asks, "How close should we get to

Participate in the discussion here:

~~~Sound Advice~~~

++Misconceptions About Google PageRank++


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

Well, my new office was finished up yesterday!  I haven't moved into
it yet because I need to wait for the cable company to hook up the
wires for my cable modem.  They're gonna be here on Saturday, so
hopefully I'll be typing next week's newsletter from there.

Timmy's week-long field trip went great, and so did last week's
MixFest concert!  Corie enjoyed Jason Mraz so much that when she found
out he was playing in Northampton tomorrow night, she convinced my
husband to take her and a friend!  I would have gone myself, cuz I
love Jason too, but it just so happens that I'm leaving for a
consulting gig in Wisconsin and will be gone that night also.  Weird
timing!  The trip won't be all fun and games, however.  While they're
in the western part of the state, Don will take the girls to visit
UMASS (our alma mater) in hopes that Corie may apply there for
college.  In my opinion, UMASS sure gives you the best bang for the

Catch you next week! - Jill
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