April 21, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
----> Issue Packed , not Suitcase!
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Google's Link Command
----> DMOZ Descriptions Gone from Google
----> Copywriter Credibility
----> Unique Meta Descriptions
----> Do Automated Submittals Hurt Rankings?
----> Search Engines and Punctuation
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> SmartSearch Marketing PPC Workshops
----> SEO Copywriting Kit
*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
----> How To Get Banned from the Search Engines
*This Week's Sound Advice:
----> Optimizing Dynamic Content for High Rankings
----> Last-minute Seminar Sign-ups
Hi everyone! I thought this was going to be a shorter issue than
normal since I really need to pack for Chicago, but it looks pretty
full (and I'm still not packed!). I chose questions today that had
fairly short answers, but which are ones that seem to always be on
Enjoy! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Google's Link Command++
I am a subscriber and I enjoy your newsletter.
When I type link:www.mysite.com I get 16 listings as my own web pages
showing up as links, and the rest show up as outside links. I am
linked with many other sites, but they don't show up in this search.
Do you know why this would be? I know it is not a time issue and it
doesn't appear to be a reciprocal link issue.
Thanks for all your past informative newsletters.
This appears to be the question of the month, as I've been asked it a
Here's the deal. The link command is not a very helpful command at
all in Google anymore. It's useless, as it doesn't actually show you
the sites that are linking to yours. All it appears to do is show a
small, representative sample of links. Many people say that Google
only shows links that have a PageRank of 4 or above with this command,
but that's not an accurate statement. They don't show every
PR4-and-higher site that links to yours, and they do often show sites
that are below PR4.
As far as I'm concerned you learn nothing about your site and its
links by using that command. I really think it's just one more way
that Google attempts to mess with Webmasters' heads. Don't let them
get to you! I recommend that you forget it ever existed (as well as
the Google toolbar "backward links" check, which is the same thing).
Instead, I suggest you use the following command in the Google search
box to get a more accurate accounting of the sites that link to yours:
(Obviously substituting yoursite.com for your actual site.)
This command will show you all the pages linking to yours, minus the
pages from your own site. If you want to see your own site links too,
just remove the -site:www.yoursite.com part, as that's the syntax for
[Please note that with that command, you will also see sites that
might just happen to mention your site by URL and not actually have a
link. But it's still a heck of a lot better than the link: command!]
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++DMOZ Descriptions Gone from Google++
I was wondering why the writer who submitted a question in last week's
newsletter </issue094.htm#seo> said, "Now
that Google has stopped using [DMOZ descriptions]..."
I was looking up something on Google today and ended up on a page
within directory.google.com that lead me to the DMOZ page for
submitting a site. It appears that Google is still using DMOZ for its
own directory tree. Is there some other aspect of this to which the
writer was referring?
You are correct that Google still has the DMOZ directory integrated
into their site; however, they used to show a site's individual DMOZ
description when a page would show up in their regular search results
pages (which is different from their directory pages). Recently, they
stopped showing this description altogether in their regular results.
I believe it's been less than a month since they made this change, so
it would have been easy for many people not to have even noticed.
Hope this explains it for you!
How would I approach potential customers about copywriting their
websites, in order to show credibility? Would I just say that I have X
numbers of years in journalism and study web copywriting, or that I
have taken copywriting classes online through your e-books?
The best way is to have samples of your work so your potential clients
can see firsthand how you write.
I'd never hire a copywriter unless I LOVED the copy that they wrote
for their clients. I couldn't care less what their credentials are;
either they write well or they don't!
Unfortunately, many people who claim to be copywriters and have all
the credentials in the world fall far short once you actually read
their copy. I believe that copywriting is a lot like SEO in that
there are many different levels to it. The average copywriter, or the
average SEO, is simply adequate. They are generally about mid-level
in ability. That's fine, especially if you can hire them at a decent
price. However, people with years of experience who work daily to
improve their skills, do perform at higher level.
This is why you'll see a great disparity between the pricing of very
experienced copywriters and SEOs as compared with those who only have
a few years (or less) of experience.
MarketingSherpa's SEO Copywriting Kit with Jill Whalen
Includes Jill's "Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines"
handbook, the audio CDs and transcript of Jill's recent teleseminar
with Anne Holland, PLUS a bonus copy of Karon Thackston's new "How
To Increase Keyword Saturation Without Destroying the Flow of Your
Copy" ebook. The teleseminar CD and transcript portion includes
verbal review of a ton of sites belonging to the seminar participants.
A *steal* at only $99! </seowritingkit>
++Unique Meta Descriptions++
As usual, I enjoyed another one of your informative newsletters.
Thank you ever so much. I have a quick follow-up question per your
response to Henrik Ranch in last week's newsletter
Our original web designer told me several years ago that the same
single Meta description (preferably 1-2 sentences) should be on every
page of the site, even if the site has 2-3 categories/departments.
Based on reading your 4/14 response to Mr. Ranch, I am wondering if
this is no longer the best idea.
So, my question: Is it advisable to vary descriptions (say 2 or 3) for
the appropriate 2 or 3 departments within a site?
Thank you very much. You are appreciated.
Your Web designer was simply lazy and/or had no idea what he/she was
talking about. It's never been a good idea to use the same Meta
description on every page of your site, because every page of your
site is different!
That said, yes, you'll find the same Meta description on many pages of
my own site, as I am one of those lazy people who don't want to be
bothered with it!
++Do Automated Submittals Hurt Rankings?++
Love your newsletter.
I'm stymied. My site was ranking #1 or #2 on Google for its main
search phrase. All of a sudden it has dropped to #127. Do you think
my recent use of [an automated submission program] has had an adverse
effect on my ranking?
All automated submission programs waste search engine resources and
bandwidth when they automatically submit your URL to them. Automated
submissions are against every major search engine's terms of service,
so yes, it's possible that your site was penalized for using that
My question to you would be, why submit a site to the engines that was
already in the database (not to mention ranking highly)?
That said, it's also very possible that your drop in ranking had
nothing to do with the automated submissions and was simply an
algorithm change. Pages are constantly moving up and down and in and
out of Google. You may simply need to wait it out and see what
++Search Engines and Punctuation++
What an awesome service you provide - thanks so much for the wealth of
information you've published on your site, it's been super helpful
when thinking about search engine optimization!
My question involves punctuation. Put simply, do search engines pay
attention to commas and semi-colons when scanning copy for keywords?
The search engines are blind to punctuation marks, and basically treat
each as a space.
~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~
++How To Get Banned from the Search Engines++
A member of the forum received an email from an alleged SEO company
and posted about it at the above link. To summarize, you should NEVER
reply to any email spam you get regardless of what they promise you.
Do you ever reply to the ones selling you pills to help you grow
certain parts of your anatomy? Do you ever think they might be real?
The emails regarding search engines are sent by the same sleazoids.
Trash them, forget about them, and then go about your business. Tell
the same thing to your clients who send them to you wondering if they
are missing the boat.
++Optimizing Dynamic Content for High Rankings++
(This audio recording changes each week.)
That's all for today! I'm leaving Thursday morning for Chicago, and
am looking forward to seeing old friends and new. If you're a
last-minute kinda person, you're in luck because you can still
register for it here: </seminar>. What are
you waiting for?
See you there on Friday or here next week! - Jill