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High Rankings Advisor: Paying To Play - Issue No. 098

May 19, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   London SES Free Passes

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Paying To Play

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   SmartSearch Marketing PPC Workshops
---->   SEO Copywriting Kit

*Guest Article:
---->   Copyright Law and SEO - Part 2

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Search Engine College

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Rankings vs. Conversions

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   The Future of Search Engines and SEO

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   I'm Just a Curbside Prophet
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey!  If you didn't make it to the Toronto SES conference last week,
you missed a great time.  I really enjoy the smaller conferences.  The
New York and San Jose ones can get awfully big and scary for lil ole
me!  There's another chance to meet me and the other search engine
marketing ladies and gents at the London SES in just a couple of
weeks.

Danny Sullivan has graciously extended me a free pass for one
newsletter subscriber, as well as one for a registered member of our
High Rankings Forum </forum>.  I'll be
posting a thread at the forum sometime tonight.  If you want to apply
for that one, please find the thread and follow the instructions in
it.  If you'd like to apply for the newsletter subscriber pass, all
you need to do is email me at freepass@highrankings.com and tell me
why I should choose you over all the others.  (Hey, a little
self-promotion never hurt anyone!)  I will choose the "winner" as soon
as possible so that you can make plans, so send your email within the
next few days.  Please don't ask for the pass unless you're sure you
can cover your travel and hotel expenses.  I can only give you free
entrance to the conference!

Okay, time for the good stuff! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Paying To Play++

PFI, PFP, PPC and Trusted Feed

It seems that everywhere we turn these days in the search engine
marketing world, we are constantly hearing the phrases
pay-for-inclusion (PFI), pay-for-performance (PFP) and pay-per-click
(PPC).  Here is a quick primer to explain what each of those programs
means.

Pay-for-Inclusion

For the past few years, many of the search engines (except Google)
have offered a simple PFI model so you could speed up the indexing of
any page of your site by paying a fee.  This fee covered a year of
inclusion in the search engine database plus frequent respidering of
the page, if it met with the engines' quality requirements.

Many human-edited directories have also offered PFI programs in order
to list your site.  For instance, if you have a business or any type
of commercial site, you have to pay Yahoo $299 for them to consider
your site for inclusion in their directory. Once reviewed by their
editors, if they believe your site is up to snuff, they'll then add it
to the directory, and you simply have to pay a yearly fee to keep it
there.

My personal feeling is that a Yahoo directory listing is not as
beneficial as it used to be, however.  In fact, we've had many forum
discussions about this.  For more info, please read this discussion at
the High Rankings Forum:
</forum/index.php?showtopic=5579>.

Pay-per-Click

The search engines also offer PPC programs where you purchase ads that
show up at the top, side or below the search results for the specific
keyword phrases you bid on.  Google Adwords and Overture are the best
known of these programs.  Ads that you place with these companies show
up at the search engines as well as many content sites (if that option
is turned on).  Generally they are labeled as "sponsored" or
"featured" results.

In March 2004, Yahoo announced their new Overture Site Match(tm)
program that combines PFI with PPC.  They still offer their
traditional PPC sponsor ad program, but they no longer offer a simple
PFI program.  Now, if you want to speed up your inclusion in Yahoo and
its search properties and partners (currently AltaVista, FAST, Yahoo
and some of MSN), you'll have to pay a fee for each URL that you want
included, PLUS 15 or 30 cents (depending on your category) for every
clickthrough to your site.

There are three important things to note about this program:

1) The money you spend goes solely towards placing your site into the
search databases, and enabling 48-hour respidering of your page
content.  You can pay them all you want, but this program is not going
to give you a higher ranking, so keep that in mind.

2) It's *not* actually necessary to pay to be listed.  Yahoo is not
removing pages that aren't paid for, and they continue to add new
pages for free.  Their spider (Slurp) is constantly on the crawl for
new information, and new pages are in fact getting added fairly
quickly these days - again, for free.

3) If your site has been around for a while and other sites are
linking to it, chances are that your pages are already included in
their database for free.  Beware of paying for what you already have,
and then paying for every click thereafter.

You can check whether your pages are already included in Yahoo's
database by going to Yahoo and typing into their search box the
following command:

site:www.yoursite.com (be sure not to leave a space after the colon in
site:www).

When you see the list of results, find the one that has a link that
says "More pages from this site" and then click on that link.  That
should give you a general idea of how many pages of your site are
already indexed.  If it appears that they've got most or all of your
pages, then you're all set -- no need to pay!

Trusted XML Feeds

One additional way to pay Yahoo to include your pages across their
search network is called "trusted XML feeds" (sometimes just "trusted
feed," or "XML data feeds").

This service is generally reserved for very large, dynamically
generated ecommerce sites that add or change products frequently.
With trusted feed, you don't have to pay a submission fee for each
page you want to include, just a pay-per-click fee.  The benefit of
trusted feed is that many of the Yahoo/Overture feed partners will
actually optimize your XML feeds for you.  I've worked with
PositionTech for one of my large clients, and they provide this
service at no extra cost.  Also, you can turn off your feeds at any
time if they don't appear to be providing you with a positive ROI, so
be sure to track your clicks and conversions to make sure you're not
just throwing your money down the drain.

My personal opinion on paying to play is that for most sites, paid
inclusion is not something it is necessary to sign up for.  However, I
do believe there are many benefits to running PPC ad campaigns.  If
there are certain keyword phrases you're having trouble ranking highly
with in the regular search results, a PPC campaign is a great way to
maintain your site's exposure.  PPC also comes in handy as a way to
gauge interest in your site, as well as its products and services.  It
also makes a nice tool for judging which keyword phrases people are
typing into the engines, as well as which ones do a better job
converting your visitors into buyers.

So I give a thumbs-down to paid-inclusion (with or without paying for
clicks) and a thumbs-up to PPC campaigns.  With a thumb squarely in
the middle for XML feeds depending on your particular site needs!

Jill


_______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:
<http://smartsearchmarketing.com/workshop2.asp>
__________________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Copyright Law and SEO - Part 2++

My friend Ian McAnerin wrote today's guest article on copyright law
and how SEOs and Webmasters can use it.  Ian is a former lawyer who
now practices SEO full-time as the CEO of McAnerin Networks, Inc.
When Ian isn't working on client sites (or hobbling around conferences
with his broken ankle!) he's moderating at the High Rankings forum.

Copyright Law and SEO - Part 2
By Ian McAnerin

What protection do you or your client have in the face of content
theft? What can you do to prevent it, and what remedies are available?

In a previous article
</issue077.htm#guest>, I described what
copyright is and how it applies to SEO, and why it's a very good idea
to protect your content rights. But what do you do when someone
ignores your carefully crafted copyright notice and steals your stuff
anyway?

This is where life gets interesting -- enforcing your copyright can be
a scary issue. One of the questions I hear most often is "What happens
if it costs more to sue than you might win?" Or worse -- "What happens
if you sue and lose?"

Let me preface the rest of this article by saying that what is or
isn't open to a successful lawsuit can vary depending on the
circumstances, and you should always have a lawyer look at the actual
content involved before going anywhere near a courtroom. There is an
old legal maxim that says "A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for
a client."

Having said that, there are 2 venues to enforce your copyrights as an
SEO, Webmaster, or content creator: the courts, and the search
engines. Yes, that's right, the search engines. All the major search
engines will support a copyright holder against an infringer, and
there is nothing like the sense of satisfaction you can get when the
infringer is told to stop stealing your content or they will no longer
be in the Google or Yahoo databases because of it. Frankly, I think
it's more effective than clogging the courts.

With both tactics, the first step is the same.  If you or the
infringer are in the US, get your copyright legally registered:
<http://www.copyright.gov>. You forgot to register? That's okay -- you
can register up to 5 years after you create the content. You are in a
much better position if you registered before the infringement, but in
order to show up in a court you need some sort of paperwork saying you
have a copyright. It's cheap -- only $30. Note that this is not
strictly required for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), but
I strongly advise getting it anyway.

I suggest registering your whole site at least once per year, and
after every major revision. The chances are that even if you are
constantly editing your site, the infringer will steal something that
hasn't changed, and then you are protected as best as you can be.

For non-US companies and citizens, the registration of a copyright in
the US is almost always supported by your country under the Berne
Convention. Since most jurisdictions don't have special advantages to
registration like the US does, I recommend registering in the US in
order to be able to sue in a US court, since you will get the right to
sue in your local jurisdiction automatically in most cases anyway.

Once you have this you can go to the search engine(s) that the
infringer is showing up in and fill out their DMCA notification. You
will be asked for contact information, a statement saying that you own
the copyright in question, a description of what search results are
showing the infringing content, and a few other things. You then fax
it off (or mail it) to the search engine as per their instructions. I
would always send a copy of your registered copyright, as well.

The search engine will send off notification to the domain owner in
question. There's nothing scarier for most people than getting this
email from the Google legal department. If they don't respond or can't
provide evidence to the contrary, they'll get yanked from the search
engine results pages (SERPs).

The DMCA has other uses too. You can give notification to the
offending website's host and request that the site be removed, and you
can show it to directories (especially DMOZ) and they will usually
remove the offending site. There are endless possibilities that don't
require a courtroom.

If you can prove that you lost money due to the infringement, or if it
was a particularly vile and obnoxious infringement, you can also go to
court. This is where spending that $30 for registration comes into
play. You cannot show up without it. If you were smart and had
registered the copyright before the infringement happened, you can
even get statutory damages without needing to prove a specific loss,
which is very handy because it's hard to measure in most cases. I
would strongly recommend obtaining an intellectual property lawyer at
this point, as well.

Here are some DMCA Resources:

Google: <http://www.google.com/dmca.html>
Yahoo: <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/copyright/copyright.html>
MSN/Microsoft: <http://www.microsoft.com/info/cpyrtInfrg.htm>
AOL/Open Directory: <http://www.aol.com/copyright/infringement.html>
AskJeeves/Teoma:
<http://www.askjeevesinc.com/docs/ajinc/legal/legal.html>
AllTheWeb/Lycos: <http://www.alltheweb.com/info/about/dmcapolicy>
SingingFish: <http://www.singingfish.com/company/copyright.html>

And here's a related High Rankings Advisor article by Debra Mastaler
called "Google Nails Copyright Infringer"
</issue048.htm#guest>.

Ian McAnerin
McAnerin Networks, Inc.
http://www.mcanerin.com

__________________________________________________

MarketingSherpa's SEO Copywriting Kit featuring Jill Whalen
__________________________________________________

Includes Jill's "Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines,"
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."  The teleseminar CD and transcript portion include Jill's
verbal review of a ton of sites belonging to the seminar participants.

A *steal* at only $99!  </seowritingkit>
__________________________________________________


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

I don't have time today to do a complete write-up, but I wanted to
mention Kalena Jordan's new Search Engine College website:
</searchenginecollege>.  It looks like a
great place to take online SEO/SEM classes, taught by professional
search engine marketers, including Kalena Jordan, Karon Thackston and
another of my High Rankings forum moderators, Bob Gladstein (Qwerty).

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

++Rankings vs. Conversions++

If you gain high rankings on competitive terms but the site doesn't
convert, did you still do a good job?

See what the folks at the High Rankings Forum think:
</forum/index.php?showtopic=6110>

~~~Sound Advice~~~

++The Future of Search Engines and SEO++

</soundadvice>
(This audio recording changes each week.)

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

Guess that pretty much wraps up this issue.  Only 2 more to go till
issue #100.  I can hardly believe it!

We're pretty excited at my house right now because tomorrow night
we're all going to see Jason Mraz perform at Orpheum Theater in
Boston.  He's pretty much the family's favorite performer at the
moment.  Longtime subscribers may remember that my daughter Corie saw
him in concert last year, but I was out of town at the time and
couldn't go.  The local radio station has been giving out tickets all
week to the 7th caller, which I've been trying to win.  Not so much to
get the tickets as we already have 7 of them, but because one of those
winners gets to go to the studio with Jason when he records his next
CD.  I totally intend to win that so my son Timmy (who's an aspiring
singer) can have that experience, and so that Corie can meet him again
(she met him after the show last time).  Unfortunately, there's only
tonight left for the contest, and perhaps some of tomorrow.  But I'm
definitely going to win it.  I just know it.

Catch you next week when I confirm to you that we did indeed win! ;-)

Jill
 
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