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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings Advisor: Contextual Search - Issue No. 092

March 31, 2004

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Google Highlighting of Keywords
---->   Switching to a New Domain Name
---->   Submission Services
---->   Importance of a Site Map

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   SmartSearch Marketing PPC Seminars
---->   High Rankings Chicago Seminar Apr. 23
---->   SEO Copywriting Combo

*Guest Article:
---->   Is Contextual Search Advertising Right for You?

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   ClickTracks Version 5.0 Released

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Competitive Terms, What Are They?

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

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Stay Tuned

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  Last week's Q&A newsletter was such a hit, I decided to
do a similar issue today since I still have lots of "shortish"
questions to answer.  I've also got a great guest article on
contextual advertising, so be sure to scroll down that far!

On to the good stuff... - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Google Highlighting of Keywords++

Hi Jill,

I just noticed that Google search results now highlight the searched
criteria in the file/document name. Does this mean they are giving
more weight to this than in the past? I always use relevant file names
as a part of my optimization process, but understood it only carried
weight at a few places.


++Jill's Response++

Hi Jim,

Nobody really knows what it means except for Google.  However, it's my
opinion that it doesn't mean anything other than the fact that their
new highlighter sees all the search words on the page, even words that
are not parsed by a hyphen, etc.

It's doubtful that this has anything to do with Google's algorithm.
They recently changed their look, and this is just a manifestation of

I am doubtful that Google would put any additional weight on file
names or domain names in their ranking algorithm.  If anything, I
would imagine they'd be moving further and further away from giving
those fields any weight.

I also think that this new little twist is just another way to drive
SEOs and Webmasters crazy, and give people like Danny Sullivan and me
more questions to answer!

Thanks Google...we love you too! ;-)



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++Switching to a New Domain Name ++

Hi Jill,

I have always enjoyed your newsletter and personal email responses
because they are so direct and easy to understand. I am hoping you can
continue that precedent with this question.

I have a customer that has been known by Google for quite awhile. We
have had moderate success with SEO.

However, the customer now wants to drop the domain name in favor of a
new one.

Do you have any advice on how to "swap" domain names for a website in
Google without adversely affecting rankings? My fear is that if we
suddenly drop the old domain name, Google will take a while to catch
up and continue ranking the site effectively. Thank you so much in
advance for any insight.

Doug B.

P.S. This feels like that episode on Seinfeld where Jerry is
attempting the roommate swap and George keeps yelling "No! No! It's
impossible, don't even think it!"

++Jill's Response++

Hi Doug,

LOL at the Seinfeld reference!

All you've gotta do is set up a 301-permanent redirect (at the server
level) from the old domain name to the new and it should work itself
out with Google in about 2 or 3 months.  The other engines aren't so
great at following the redirects and will probably use the old domain
name, but there's not much you can do about that.  At least people
will get to the new domain once they click on the link from the

Good luck!


++Submission Services++

Hello Jill,

I have been a longtime fan of your newsletter and appreciate your help
with many issues. I have a question which I am sure is not new to you.
I have been using Inktomi for all my URL submissions and have been
quite happy with their programs. Now the new Overture Site Match is in
place and we have no choice but to use this service when adding new
URLs. I DO NOT want to use this new service; I think it is unproven
and way too expensive for my taste and for my customers.

Are there any other services for submitting your URLs at a basic cost
per page (relatively cheap like $25 per page) out there? And what
search engines do they subscribe to?

Best regards,

Deirdre D.

++Jill's Response++


Whatever you decide, do NOT subscribe to any automated submission
service or buy any automated submission software.  You will be
throwing your money completely down the drain if you do.

However, the good news is (as I mentioned last week) that you
absolutely do NOT need to submit your URLs to Yahoo at all.  They will
find and index all your pages for free if you just give them a
crawler-friendly site and the time to do so.

Remember, most of you don't need Overture Site Match for your sites.
Chances are your pages are already securely listed for free.


++Importance of a Site Map++

Hi Jill,

I've read that a site map is a very important aid to search engine
spiders to help them navigate your site.  Is it necessary to have the
site map on all pages of your site, or is just the home page
sufficient?  (We have a fairly small site -- less than 20 pages.)
Thanks for your input!

Stacy R.

++Jill's Response++

Hi Stacy,

For a small site it really doesn't matter.  I would assume your site
is easily navigable by the search engine spiders and people.  If it
is, then you really don't need a site map at all.  If you already have
one, that's fine too.  A link from every page to the site map
certainly won't hurt.

Site maps are a great way to make your pages accessible through fewer
clicks, plus they're a wonderful opportunity for you to create nice,
descriptive keyword-rich hyperlinks pointing to every page of your



_____________April 23, 2004 in Chicago_________________

Jill's High Rankings Search Engine Marketing Full-day Seminar

Everything You Need To Know for a Successful SEM Campaign!

Jill will cover the search engine optimization basics, 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.

Sign up now as seating is limited to 50 and going fast.

~~~Guest Article~~~

++Is Contextual Search Advertising Right for You?++

Patricia Hursh has written today's guest article, providing us with
the low-down on contextual advertising.  Patricia is a search engine
advertising consultant and workshop facilitator with one of today's
newsletter sponsors SmartSearch Marketing in Boulder, Colorado.

So without further ado, here's Patricia!

Is Contextual Search Advertising Right for You?
By Patricia Hursh

Many search advertisers are currently evaluating content-targeted
programs (also called contextual advertising).  The expanded
visibility can be great, but is it right for your business?  These
programs are relatively new in the search-advertising world, and early
results are mixed.  First, let's define contextual advertising and
review how it works.  Then we'll take a look at some recent results,
and finally, I'll share a few recommendations.

What Is Content-targeted Search Advertising?

With contextual advertising, pay-per-click search ads are displayed
not on search engine results pages, but on related content pages
across the web.  This is accomplished by matching a site's content
with advertisers' keywords.  Ad sellers such as Google and Overture
determine what a site is "about" by using some combination of
algorithms and human review.  Ads are then served on these
participating sites by matching content to advertisers' keywords.  In
this way, contextual advertising is a method of distributing paid
search listings beyond search engine results pages.

Who Is Selling Contextual Search Advertising?

The two largest players in this space are, not surprisingly, Google
and Overture.  Google's product is marketed to publishers under the
name "AdSense," and Overture's program is entitled "Content Match."
Other players include Industry Brains, Enhance Interactive (formerly, Searchfeed, and Kanoodle.

Where Are Contextual Ads Displayed?

Google content-ads are shown on HowStuffWorks, Mac Publishing sites
(, MacCentral, JavaWorld, and LinuxWorld), New York Post
Online, Reed Business Information sites ( and, U.S. News & World Report online, and thousands of
other participating sites.

Yahoo!-owned Overture's ads are shown across Yahoo! (Games, Groups,
News, Shopping, and Travel), several MSN areas (MSN Entertainment, MSN
Money, and MSN Family), InfoSpace, and, to name just a

How Do I Participate?

One important detail that catches many novice marketers off guard is
that when you launch a pay-per-click campaign on Google or Overture,
contextual advertising is turned ON by default.  You must proactively
opt out of the program if you do not want to participate. Turning
contextual ads OFF is easily accomplished by adjusting your campaign

How Do I Track Results?

Both Google and Overture offer the option of separating results for
traditional keyword ads and contextual ads in their reporting systems,
so advertisers can measure impressions, click-through rate,
cost-per-click, and conversion (if you are tracking this through the
ad provider) by each type of ad.

Similarities and Differences

Contextual advertising and traditional search ads are similar in that
advertisers buy both through the same provider, as part of a single
campaign. In both cases, keywords and bids determine if an ad is
displayed, and in what position it is presented relative to the
competition. The same text ad is displayed (i.e., title, description,
and URL) either way. Finally, advertisers pay on a cost-per-click

The fundamental difference is that traditional search ads appear on
search engine results pages after someone enters a query containing a
keyword matching or related to the ones being bid on.  The key point
here is that the person viewing your ad has proactively gone to a
search engine looking for something related to your products or

In contrast, content ads are not shown on search engine results pages
at all, but rather on web pages containing content deemed to be
relevant to your keywords.  The people who see your ads on these pages
are not necessarily actively searching.

This illustrates the fundamental difference between "search mode" and
"surfer or browse mode."  In fact, many advertisers view traditional
search ads and contextual ads as very different things, and believe
that contextual advertising is more appropriately compared to ad
placement in niche magazines than to traditional pay-per-click

Recent Results

Contextual advertising is not a new concept in traditional marketing
or eMarketing, but it is a fairly new option for search advertisers.
Google's program has been around for about a year, Overture's a bit
less.  So far, ad providers are reporting that results for contextual
ads are similar to those for traditional pay-per-click programs.
However, many advertisers complain that click-through and conversion
rates are much lower.

Based on this feedback, Overture now allows separate bids for
traditional and contextual ads.  Google has not followed suit; their
keywords still have *one* bid associated with them.

My personal experience is that click-through rate tends to be much
lower, and cost-per-conversion a bit higher, with contextual ads.
However, I've also found that contextual advertising can provide
substantial impressions at a very competitive rate.  For example, for
one of my clients, 80% of their monthly search advertising investment
and 83% of clicks come from traditional pay-per-click ads.  The 20% of
their budget attributable to contextual ads is, in fact, less
efficient from a pure cost-per-conversion basis.  So you might be
inclined to say, "turn it off."  But not so fast: By adding
content-targeted ads, the client has gained nearly five million
contextual impressions per month at an additional cost of only $4,000.
Because this amounts to a CPM of about $0.80, they are very pleased
with these results. (Keep in mind that this company is in a *very*
active search category -- most advertisers will not see impressions of
this volume.)


Test and measure before you invest significantly.  Content-targeted
search ads are great for advertisers wanting to maximize their reach
and frequency across the web in a very relevant way.  If you are
interested in volume of impressions or maximum exposure, contextual
advertising may be perfect for you.  This can be an extremely
cost-effective way to enhance a brand online, and your results may be
very favorable on a cost-per-impression basis when compared to other

Contextual ads are also great for companies who have already fully
utilized the traditional keyword inventory available to them, but who
continue to look for additional online advertising opportunities. That
said, advertisers who are driven solely by cost-per-conversion should
test the waters carefully before engaging in a full-scale
content-targeting program.

Additional Resources

Overture's advertising center:
For Google, visit:

Patricia Hursh
SmartSearch Marketing

[If you're interested in gaining more in-depth knowledge about PPC,
check out Patricia's SmartSearch Marketing workshops mentioned in the
first sponsor ad in the top half of this newsletter! - Jill]

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~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++ClickTracks Version 5.0 Released++

Earlier today, ClickTracks Analytics, Inc. announced the availability
of version 5.0 of their award-winning web metrics software.
ClickTracks Analyzer 5.0 ($495) and ClickTracks Professional 5.0
(pricing starts at $2995) are the latest additions to the
marketer-friendly line of software.  Version 5.0 keeps the same
intuitive, highly visual user interface of previous versions while
adding even more features to the program.

I've played around with the old ClickTracks version and it's pretty
cool.  The new version definitely seems to be worth looking into, as
it has tons of new features.  Since measuring conversions is too
important to miss (i.e., which traffic on your site is comprised of
visitors who are buying your stuff), it's really critical to have a
powerful software package that can keep track of these things.

You can learn more at the ClickTracks site here:

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

++Competitive Terms, What Are They?++

In the forum today, we've been discussing how to determine the
competitiveness of any given keyword phrase.

Come join the fun here:

~~~Sound Advice~~~

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


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

So let's see...not much happening this week in my world.  Ho-hum!
Just the same old, same old.  I may have some really interesting news
in a few weeks though, so be sure to stay tuned!

Until next week...have fun! - Jill

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