April 7, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> The Role of Your SEO/SEM Company
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> SmartSearch Marketing Workshops
----> IPB Award-winning SEO Software
----> Directories as Link Partners
*Stuff You Might Like:
----> Discount on High Rankings Chicago Seminar
*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
----> AdWords Campaign Budgets
*This Week's Sound Advice:
----> Misconceptions About Google PageRank
----> Housekeeping Notes
Hey everyone! I've got another informative issue for you today.
After exhausting most of the quickie Q&A-type emails over the past two
weeks, I've stooped to poaching other lists for good newsletter
fodder! (See the Search Engine Marketing Issues below.) I've also
got a great article about directories written by the Gimpsy
directory's founder, as well as info on how you can get 10% off your
registration for our High Rankings seminar in Chicago. Don't delay
with the seminar thingee because April 23rd is only a couple of weeks
away, and we're starting to run out of space! Also be sure to check
out the "housekeeping notes" in today's wrap-up for some important
news about your High Rankings subscription and other interesting
On to the good stuff! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++The Role of Your SEO/SEM Company++
My weekly newsletter-writing procrastination ritual this week involved
reading the latest LED Digest
<http://list.audettemedia.com/archives/led.html> that had been
delivered to my inbox while I slept (yes I do sleep every now and
then!). I noticed the heading of one of the posts was "Choosing an
SEO," so I scrolled down to see what it was all about.
Like many posts that I read in newsletters and forums, this was one of
those where I really felt compelled to respond. I decided I might as
well kill two birds with one stone and use it as today's newsletter
content. The gist of the post was someone saying that the only job of
an SEO was to get high rankings. Nothing more, nothing less.
Oh, how I wish that were actually still true! Believe me, it would
certainly make my life a lot easier.
Getting high rankings is what I know, what I'm good at, and something
that's easy to measure. Heck, it's my company name, for goodness'
sake. So, I'm certainly a champion of high rankings. I loved it when
that was all we had to worry about. That said, whether we old-timers
like it or not, the industry is growing up. It's fairly clear these
days that where your site shows up in the search engines for certain
keyword phrases is only marginally important, and even then, it's only
a first step.
Sure, it looks great to show the CEO a bunch of ranking reports with
his or her site in the top 10 for lots of keyword phrases that appear
to be relevant to what they do. And in fact, it may actually be
great -- but then again, it may not be so great. What if the targeted
keyword phrases were not right for the site? Keywords that are too
general may bring traffic, but it will probably be comprised of people
who are looking for something totally different than what you offer.
On the other hand, keywords that are too specific may never be used by
real people at all.
High rankings for too-general or too-specific keywords may look good
on paper, but never translate to a positive return on investment.
Aside from choosing the right keyword phrases, your professional SEO
company should be well versed in other Web marketing areas. For
instance, once you receive targeted traffic, you need those people to
take action at your site. This means that there needs to be a certain
level of usability and professionalism with your design, copy that
speaks to your target audience and all that other good stuff. Smart
SEOs know this and have the in-house resources or partnerships with
people and other companies that can provide you with everything you
need for a successful campaign.
If your site traffic is leaving as soon as they get there, or if
people get lost on your site, your SEO company should be able to help
you diagnose this. They should also be able to help you measure the
effectiveness of your campaign by showing you how to analyze your log
files. With the latest Web analytics software packages on the market,
you can easily and effectively measure the things that really count.
So, the answer to the original question "Isn't an SEO's job to just
get high rankings?" is a big fat no. The high-rankings part is just a
start. An SEO's job is to make sure your site is found through
keyword phrases that ultimately convert into paying customers, and to
help you do everything within your power to make your site the best it
_________SmartSearch Marketing Workshops______________adv.
Optimization (+) Advertising: A Winning Combo!
Attend this 1-day workshop presented by SmartSearch Marketing.
Learn to successfully integrate optimization and search advertising.
Everything you need to run an *affordable* pay-per-click campaign.
Coming to a city near you. Find out more:
++Directories as Link Partners++
Mordechai "MC " Chachamu, the CEO of the Gimpsy directory
<http://www.gimpsy.com>, has written today's guest article
regarding... well... directories!. MC's Gimpsy is unlike traditional
directories, since it classifies "interactive sites" according to the
online activity provided. I invite you to check it out for yourself
to get a better feel for it.
So without further ado, take it away, MC! - Jill
Directories as Link Partners
By Mordechai Chachamu
While traditional directories are edited by humans, search engines are
pure computational sites. The billions of pages now held in the search
engine databases render human intervention impractical. From the
gathering of web pages using robots or crawlers to their indexing of
that information and finally the ranking of those pages in the search
results, it's all done by software and computation.
The first two stages (assembling and indexing) are relatively simple,
but the third (ranking) presents a much higher challenge. How would
the search engine determine which of the many millions of pages that
contain a particular word or phrase should be shown first? Get it
right and people will be using it time and again. Get it wrong and you
will be dropped like a hot potato.
The one engine that seemed to consistently get it right was Google.
Its secret was the addition of PageRank -- Google's form of link
popularity. According to Google, a link is considered a vote of
confidence from one page to another. The more links, the more votes.
Moreover, votes from important pages are valued higher than votes from
non-important ones. A higher PageRanked page is one that has a lot of
other pages voting for it; in other words, it is heavily linked to.
Link popularity now plays a significant role in the ranking algorithm
of all the major search engines.
The challenge for site owners and webmasters is to increase link
popularity, which in turn increases the likelihood of pages from their
sites appearing high in the search results. One of the best ways to
start a link campaign is to get links from directories. If you put the
right amount of effort (and money) into it, you can see your link
popularity increase significantly in a short space of time. The
question is: How to judge the relative merits of directories? Which
ones are worth paying for? What elements do you need to look for to
help you make an educated decision?
To gain link popularity, the search engine must know that you are
listed in the directory. In other words, the search engine must
capture the pages of the directory and index them. Only then can it
add the link from the directory to your site to your link popularity.
Find out if the directory has good presence in all the search engines.
You will soon discover that some search engines are notoriously
difficult to get indexed by, while others are relatively easy. A good
spread of page visibility among several search engines increases the
chances of your site being picked up and indexed by them too. Thus,
not only will you gain in link popularity, but also your site will be
present in their index!
PageRank and Backward Links
Not all links are created equal -- some are more important than
others. If you have the Google toolbar installed, it will give you a
rough estimate of the page's PageRank (PR) using a scale of 0 to 10. A
directory with a high PR is more important than a directory with a low
PR. A directory with many sites linking to it (backward links) is more
important than a directory with just a few.
The devil, as always, is in the details, so it pays to pay attention
to them. Invariably, the home page of the directory will have the
highest PR, but very few (if any) sites will be listed there. You
should try to examine the PR of the specific category in which your
site will be listed to get an idea of the strength of vote you are
likely to receive from it. For example, although DMOZ has an
exceptionally high PR of 9 on its home page, the deep categories may
be just PR 4 or less. There is nothing wrong with a PR of 4, quite the
contrary, but it is not exceptional.
While some directories provide a totally free, no-strings-attached
submission option, many directories expect or require something in
return. In most cases it's simply money, ranging from a few dollars to
several hundred. Few require an annual subscription to keep your site
listed, but most are satisfied with a one-off payment.
In addition to (or instead of) payment, some directories insist on
getting a link from you before they agree to list your site. Others
may require you to agree to get periodic emails that include
promotional material for various products. Still others suggest that
your site will only be listed if you join them and become an editor.
There are many variations, and some directories offer several options
to site owners.
How can you make a good decision when faced with so many options and
considerations? The answer lies in limiting your options and dealing
with just a few directories. First, you must establish your goals for
your link campaign. Is it traffic, link popularity or both? Then
compare the sites that meet your requirements and rank them according
to how closely they match. Finally, add the required payment or any
other condition imposed by each directory to your ranking
Once you've done all of the above, all that's left for you to do is
visit each of your chosen directories, follow their guidelines and
submit your site!
Mordechai Chachamu, CEO
Active Sites for Active People
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~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
++Save 10% on the Chicago High Rankings Seminar++
The seminar is only a couple weeks away!
Just wanted to let you know that we've added a special discount for
High Rankings Forum members to attend our seminar on April 23rd in
Chicago. You'll need to be a confirmed registered forum member to
obtain the discount. More info and the discount code can be found in
this forum post:
More info on the seminar can be found here:
Oh yeah, and we've also had to make a little switch in the agenda.
Scottie Claiborne had to cancel her session, so we've got Matt Bailey
set to go on our Measuring Traffic and Conversions session. Although
we'll definitely miss Scottie's smiling face, Matt's a great speaker
and you won't be disappointed with his presentation.
Plus, Matt's company, The Karcher Group
<http://www.thekarchergroup.com>, has generously offered to sponsor a
"meet and greet" at the hotel lounge the night before the seminar. We
don't have the exact details yet, but look for them to be posted on
the seminar page soon. Registered seminar attendees will be welcome
to attend this event, meet with the speakers and other participants
and have a drink on The Karcher Group.
Don't forget that we also have Christine Churchill, Karon Thackston
and Debra Mastaler (as well as me!) speaking at the seminar. Check
out the agenda for more details:
~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~
++AdWords Campaign Budgets++
Wondering how much to spend on your AdWords campaign? Thinking of
giving up because you're not making any money with your ads? Check
out this High Rankings thread for some great info on this topic:
free to add your two cents while you're there!
++Misconceptions About Google PageRank++
That wraps up the SEO stuff for today. Hope you found a helpful
nugget or two to help you in your search marketing endeavors.
I have a few housekeeping announcements that I wanted to mention.
First, over the next few weeks I'll be migrating the newsletter
subscription list to a new platform. It's going to be a real pain,
and I'm sure I'm going to lose a ton of people on my mailing list
(which now stands at 29,000+), but in the end, I'm sure it's the right
thing to do. The new platform will have better features, such as the
ability to send both HTML and text-only newsletters, as well as many
The most painful part is that you will all have to opt-in again to
continue receiving the newsletter. Plus I think it all has to be
double-opt-in, which is just one more inconvenience and a great way to
lose subscribers. The new subscription form will have additional
things (besides just email address) to fill out, but I won't make
these a requirement since most people don't like to fill out a lot of
fields in order to subscribe to something. I don't even know what
I'll be asking yet, or even why I'll ask it, but something tells me
that this information could be helpful in securing future newsletter
sponsors, so I might as well do it while I have the chance.
Keep your eyes peeled for an email from me asking you to sign up for
the new list at some point in the near future. I'll be going through
it a few thousand email addresses at a time, so it's not going to be a
quick process. Any guesses on what the subscriber list numbers will
end up being after all is said and done? I'm preparing for the worst
and figure I'll end up losing a huge chunk. But since those I lose
will be ones that don't check their mail anyway, or who never read the
newsletter, I'm really not losing anything but a cool number. At
least that's what I keep telling myself. <sigh>
On another note, for those of you who've been waiting for me to start
offering full SEO services again (as opposed to just consulting
services like I've been doing), you're in luck! I've finally caught
up with most of my backload, and beyond that, I've started a new
partnership with a Boston marketing and advertising firm. Not only
will I be able to take on more full-SEO clients, but I can also offer
you a boatload of additional services such as Web design, graphics,
logos, publicity/PR, backend programming and more! Just zip me an
email if you need a quote for any of those and we'll get back to you
Until next time, don't forget to have fun! - Jill