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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings Advisor:Yahoo's New Paid-inclusion/PPC - Issue No. 090

March 17, 2004


*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Overture Site Match/Yahoo Paid-inclusion/PPC

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   High Rankings Search Engine Marketing Seminar
---->   SEO Copywriting Combo

*Guest Article:
---->   Copywriting Case Study - Conclusion

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Why Not Just Call 'em Zebras

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Higher PR, Same Ranking

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   What Is Search Engine Spam?

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Green Snow

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Just a reminder that this is the last week to register for my seminar
at the early-bird price, so don't forget to sign up!

Today we've got my take on Yahoo's somewhat convoluted new
paid-inclusion/PPC program, as well as the conclusion to Karon's
informative copywriting case study.  There are a few other interesting
tidbits thrown in for good measure.

Enjoy! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Overture Site Match/Yahoo Paid-inclusion++

From: Jackie N.

Hi Jill --

I have been a low-key lurker of the Search Engine trade
magazines/newsletters for several years.

I feel the announcement on March 4th by Yahoo! of their Overture Site
Match to be quite a radical new pricing model for SEOptimizers.
Clearly, we knew something was coming, and perhaps we could have even
anticipated it, but nonetheless it is a wholly new pricing model
affecting all of our clients who were up for annual renewal of their
paid submissions.  It changes budgets and plans radically.

And, yet, I am finding very little buzz and comments in the trades.

Is it just me? Do you have any comments and thoughts on the new model?

Thank you kindly for your response.


++Jill's Response++

Hi Jackie,

Actually, there's been a lot of buzz about Yahoo's new Overture Site
Match paid-inclusion/PPC program since it was first announced the week
of the NYC SES conference.

At this point, it isn't exactly clear how much return on investment
(ROI) one would get from this program, as it's brand-new and therefore

We've been discussing this for weeks at the High Rankings Forum, which
may be of interest to you if you have a few hours to spare.  Here's
the link:

What is Site Match?

The press release David Warmuz from Trellian <>
posted at the forum says:

"Site Match is Overture's new paid inclusion product offered by
PrioritySubmit, which provides a very simple yet effective method for
online businesses to be considered for inclusion in the main body of
search results pages on multiple portals. By subscribing to Site
Match, your web pages are reviewed for quality and submitted to a
database that provides search results to Yahoo!, AltaVista, AllTheWeb,
Overture and many other portals. Your listings will be included in
relevant search results, providing your business with a source of
targeted customer leads."

Okay, so that's the official explanation.  Do you get it now?  No?  Me
neither! ;-)

Here's the real scoop, as I understand it.

Yahoo owns Inktomi, AltaVista and AllTheWeb. It used to be that if you
wanted guaranteed inclusion with 48-hour updates of your pages, you'd
pay for each one of those engines separately.  They are now merging
the databases, and any paid-inclusion fees will get your URL included
to all of the above (including Yahoo), assuming it passes the
editorial review.

The prices per year are as follows:

$49 for the first URL from any domain
$29 for URLs 2-10 and
$10 per URL if submitting 11 or more URLs

Seems like a decent deal on the surface, with all those engines
included. But wait!  You haven't heard the kicker yet!

On top of the per-URL fee, you get to also pay for every click to your
site from any of Yahoo's properties.  This PPC fee will be either 15
cents or 30 cents each, depending on the category your site falls
into.  I believe any business-to-business site falls into the $.30
price, and I'm sure there are many other types that also fall into
this category.

If you read my reply to David at the forum, you'll see that my very
first question was "What do we get for this -- top listings or just

The answer was "just indexed."

So should you do it? Definitely not if your pages are already indexed
by Yahoo and its other search properties.  I say definitely not
because your only benefit will be the frequent crawling and the
click-reporting feature that Yahoo provides.  Unless you have no
current reporting or a really urgent need for frequent crawling, I
can't see why you'd want to pay for something that you already have
for free.

You will not get an increase in rankings by paying.  Remember that.

At least that is the official word.

At the SES conference, there was an evening session where Danny was
discussing this a bit.  I believe he said that the Yahoo reps told him
that there was a sort of extra "check box" that gets checked for any
pages in the paid-inclusion program.  This checkmark is supposed to
signify that the page has passed the editorial review process.  Taking
that one step further, it sounds as if Yahoo's algorithm takes into
consideration whether a site is checked or unchecked when determining
where it should rank for any given search query.

Sound a little fishy to you? Me too, but that's the way I understand

To be fair, I'm told that this checkmark thingee has been around for
quite some time and was included in Inktomi's old paid-inclusion
program.  So the whole *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* comments that you
won't get an extra rankings boost by paying for inclusion may or may
not be accurate.

All in all, I suggest that you use your own judgment when deciding
what to do with Yahoo.  They've done a fine job of crawling the Web
over the past year, and chances are that your pages are already
indexed.  If you've been reading this newsletter for a while and have
put my advice into practice, you're probably seeing great rankings at
Yahoo these days.  (In fact, one of my past clients emailed me
recently to say that he could swear that Yahoo must have consulted
with me when figuring out their new algorithm!)  It does seem as if
they do put a lot of weight on having great keyword-rich copywriting,
which is the cornerstone of my SEO method.

So see how you're currently doing before signing away your URLs to a
lifetime of paid clicks.  The thought of paying for every single site
visitor seriously makes my stomach churn.  It's just not the way
things should be.  (I know...grow up, Jill, you're in advertising
now...blech.)  But even hard-core marketing/ad people who are used to
paying per click are finding this new program hard to swallow.

I just read a ClickZ interview with Dana Todd of SiteLab
<> and found a quote worth sharing:

"They've got this flat fee they're shoving down people's throats. It
bothers me that they have the power to make that kind of decision,
because frankly, they control a lot of search inventory."

Dana doesn't mind so much the PPC aspect, but doesn't seem to like the
idea of not being able to control her price-per-click spend.

The other thing I wanted to mention about this is the whole mixing of
ads with what people perceive as "natural" search results.  When
someone pays for every click on his or her URL, it seems to me that
the listing now becomes more of an ad than just a listing.  I realize
this is debatable, and it is being debated ad nauseum in our forum
thread, but it is certainly something to think about.  I also realize
that the same thing has been going on through the trusted-feed
programs for a while too, but that doesn't make it right.

You know how in the newspaper or in a magazine when there's something
that appears to be an article but it's really an ad, it has to be
labeled as a paid ad?  Well, shouldn't the same rules apply for search
engine listings?  The reason why it's debatable is that you could say
that you really didn't pay for the position, so it's not really an ad.
But I dunno...that seems a bit lame to me.  In my mind PPC = ad.
Maybe my mind is just mixed up from lack of sleep!

At any rate, it will be interesting to see where this whole
paid-inclusion/PPC brave new world takes us.  Is it a sign of things
to come?  Is this kind of change inevitable as search engine marketing
grows up?  It may very well be.  If so, it's our job to go with the
flow and figure out how to best deal with it.


_____________April 23, 2004 in Chicago_________________

Last Week To Save $75 on Jill's Search Engine Marketing Seminar

Everything You Need To Know for a Successful SEM Campaign!

Jill will cover the search engine optimization basics from start to
finish, then her moderators from the High Rankings forum will teach you
link popularity building, PPC, writing for your target audience and
the search engines, plus how to measure traffic & conversions.

The early-bird price for the High Rankings search engine marketing
seminar is set to expire on March 25.  Sign up now before you forget!
Seating is limited to 50 participants and we anticipate a sell-out.

$575 before March 25th: </hra90seminar>.

~~~Guest Article~~~

++Copywriting Case Study++

Conclusion of "Knowing your Customers' Buying Process"
By Karon Thackston

In the first part of this case study, I introduced a client of mine
(AEwebworks) who suffered from some copywriting traumas.  The basic
diagnosis was a lack of synergy within the copy, ineffective use of
testimonials, a lack of focus on the target customer's buying process,
and the inability of the current copy to support the search engine
goals of AEwebworks.

After doing some research, I created a plan of action for writing SEO
copy that would impress the engines AND AEwebworks' visitors.  You can
view the original copy in PDF format here:

The Rewrite

After finding the revelation that most of those who were shopping for
online-dating software were already familiar with the features (and
the associated benefits) of the software, I decided that focusing on
those elements would simply make AEwebworks sound like every other
developer of dating scripts.  That would definitely not get the
results I was looking for.

My probing uncovered that almost all dating software customers have
three primary concerns: installation, upgrade policies, and support.
It just so happened that AEwebworks had phenomenal offers for each of

The headline was changed from:

"Get into Internet dating business with reliable, effective and
profitable online dating software"


"Customizable, Full-featured Dating Software Complete With Free
Installation, Lifetime Upgrades & Outstanding Support"

The new headline highlighted three extremely valuable benefits to the
visitor and also included one of the chosen keyphrases.

The body copy began by making an emotional connection with the
customer.  It recognized the frustration the customer faced when
trying to choose between the different dating software programs and
dating scripts.

The copy then continued to connect by stating the fact that AEwebworks
developed their software with the help of their clients by listening
to their complaints, needs, and wants.  It also merged quickly into a
section that offered firm, proven solutions to dating site owners'
most pressing problems.

As the customers continued to read, they found out about specific
benefits of buying software from AEwebworks as opposed to other
developers.  And -- of course -- scattered throughout the page were
links to the ordering section of the site.

In addition to the emotional connection and the problem-solving
aspects of the copy, it was also search-engine-optimized (SEO'd).
You'll notice the subtle use of keyphrases throughout the copy.
Enough to promote good search engine rankings, but not so much that
the copy is "stiff" or "forced."

Every other word is *not* a keyword.  The copy has a natural flow to
it, but yet it is fully optimized to do its job where rankings are

You can view the current copy here: <>.

The Results

I always find it best to let the client handle this part of the
article.  To quote, "I wanted to tell you the good news!  It looks
like our rankings are improving. We are back in Google and traffic has
doubled. We have record-high sales for the last two weeks...  about
70% higher than our next best-selling two-week period ever!

"Overall, running our site got much easier after adding your copy
because people ask fewer questions about where to find information...
they are able to sort it out for themselves from the site copy.  We
previously had about 5-10 e-mails a day on average from prospective
customers; now we get at least 15 a day!  Wow!!  So, in short, thank
you very much for your great work!"

They are now back in play on Google and also have exceptional rankings
with other important engines like Yahoo, MSN, and AltaVista.

Another happy ending!

Karon Thackston
How To Increase Keyword Saturation
(Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy)


Your site's only as good as its copywriting. You need the "write" skills.

If your site is poorly written, your sales will be slow.  You *must*
speak to your target audience with each and every word you write.  
At the same time, keeping your keywords featured prominently is
a bit of a juggling act.

Save $10 on the most powerful copywriting combo available today!

Karon Thackston's Step-By-Step Copywriting Course & Jill Whalen's
Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines.  Click the "Buy Both"
button on this page:  </combohra90>.

~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++ Why Not Just Call 'em Zebras++

This must be the month that the spammy doorway-page companies have
their "win a trip to Hawaii" for the salesman who sells the most spam
to the most unsuspecting businesses.

Suddenly I'm seeing tons of questions in the forum, in email
newsletters, and in articles wondering about doorway pages (or some
form thereof).  I know, I know, you'd think that in the year 2004
people wouldn't be getting fooled by this sort of thing, or that the
spam companies would have all gone bye-bye by now, but apparently it's
still a lucrative business.  Not one that works for the client, mind
you, but for the spam company who uses it.

If you've ever been to a Search Engine Strategies conference, you've
probably heard Danny Sullivan mention "zebra pages."  He got quite a
kick of it when I coined that phrase back in 2002.  So now seems like
as good a time as any to point you to my old classic, "Why Not Just
Call 'em Zebras?"

You can read it here: </issue021.htm#seo>.

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

++Higher PR, Same Ranking++

Apparently Google just "updated their backlinks," according to forum
members who study such things.  Not surprisingly (to me at least),
many have noticed that an increase in toolbar PageRank doesn't seem to
affect a page's ranking in the search engine results for its keyword

The simple explanation, of course, is that PageRank is only one of
many factors Google uses to determine a page's ranking.  Otherwise,
the Google homepage would show up for every single search query on
Google due to its PR10.

Read the thread and participate in the discussion here:

~~~Sound Advice~~~

++What Is Search Engine Spam?++

And fitting in nicely with the zebra page article is this week's Sound
Advice, "What Is Search Engine Spam?"

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

Wow...this is newsletter #90 already - whoohoo!!!  #100, here we come!
Any ideas for a special 100th newsletter celebration?  If you think of
anything, let me know.

Can you believe we got a pile of snow last night?'s St.
Patrick's Day...the snow is supposed to be melting, not still coming
down!  (Would be cool if it were at least green snow!)  The good news
(or bad news if you're a kid) was that school didn't get cancelled.
Although, my oldest did get a 2-hour delay, which was good cuz she
really needed to catch up on her sleep. That's really something I
should do too, but after all these years on the Internet, there's
still always something I just gotta see or do every night until at
least 1 AM.  Sometimes I'm bored to tears, but do I go to bed? Nope.
Maybe tonight I'll shoot for an early bedtime of midnight.  Or maybe
not.  Hmm...I wonder if Scottie's on Messenger?

Cya next time! - Jill
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