June 16, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Can You Increase My Traffic?
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> New HitsLink ver. 3.0
----> Copywriting Combo
----> Monetizing Your Site
*Stuff You Might Like:
*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
----> Non-paying Client!
*This Week's Sound Advice:
----> Choosing the Best Keyword Phrases
----> Computers and Windows
Hey everyone! I've got some great information for you today. The
first section discusses the email exchange I had with someone last
week who was wondering if I could increase traffic to his site. The
second section has a new article by Scottie Claiborne that provides
some great advice on how to monetize your site.
Also, today's sponsor, "HitsLink," has just released its new version
3.0 product for advanced Website statistics and keyword analytics, so
be sure to check it out.
On to the good stuff! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Can You Increase My Traffic?++
I had an interesting email exchange with someone last week that
brought forth some very important issues I thought I'd share with
The original email went something like this:
"Can you increase the traffic to my site? Here's the URL. If you
think you can, I might be interested in retaining you for your
My reply was very simple:
"I don't know what the current traffic to your site is, so there's no
way for me to know if I think I can increase it."
So he sent me a ranking report. Not a traffic report, just a WPG
ranking report. So I replied:
"You sent me a ranking report, but that still doesn't tell me how much
traffic you receive, so I still can't say whether I think I can
increase your traffic."
I found this little exchange interesting because the guy obviously
understood that it was targeted traffic he was interested in, but
because he was contacting an SEO, he assumed that rankings were the
important measurement. (Either that or he just mixed up the word
"ranking" with "traffic" in the first email.) At any rate, I decided
to take a look at the ranking report, just for the heck of it. The
site had obviously been "optimized" for many seemingly related
phrases, and according to the reports, it was ranking very well for
many of them.
I imagine what had happened with this guy is that his SEO company had
done what they said they would do -- get him ranked highly for some
specific keyword phrases -- but he was finding out that it wasn't
bringing much traffic to his site. Unfortunately, this is a very
common occurrence. I've previously dubbed this "guinea pig SEO"
because I like to say that my daughter's guinea pig could also get
rankings for keyword phrases that nobody is searching for.
However, beyond the "guinea pig SEO" issues, there were other, more
important things going on. The first was that the WPG report was run
with Google as one of the engines automatically queried. This is
specifically against Google's terms of service, and if they have any
inkling that the owner or Webmaster of any particular site is running
these reports (either WPG or any other software that doesn't go
through the Google API) they can and do penalize or outright ban the
site. I decided to mention this to Mr. Increase My Traffic, just in
case he wasn't aware of this issue.
After spotting that, I decided to visit the site in question to see
what else might be up. There was a large Flash animation and pretty
much no other text on the home page. I was surprised that this page
was ranking so well for the phrases I saw on the WPG report, and
decided to check out the source code. Just as I suspected, there was
some shady stuff going on there. The SEO had placed hidden links in
the code to a number of his other clients' sites, as well as to his
own "guinea pig SEO" firm, which most likely meant that the other
clients' sites all had links back to this site. It also had
overstuffed Title and Meta tags, as well as a hidden H1 tag with the
main keyword phrase contained within it. Since the phrase in question
actually had zero searches in the last 332 million search queries
(according to Wordtracker), it obviously didn't take much to get this
page to rank highly for it.
Of course, the same rankings could have been easily achieved without
having to use deceptive SEO practices. It turns out there were only
24 pages in Google that even used that phrase in the Title tag (2 of
those were from this particular site).
Anyway, after seeing all that, I felt it was my duty to inform the
site owner of what was happening on his site. Because this site
discussed things of a legal nature, it seemed even more important to
let him know what was happening. He emailed me back right away and
asked what he should do about the search engine spam. I wrote him the
"If you leave it, you run the risk of being banned. I doubt in your
line of work that you want to project yourself as someone who attempts
to deceive the search engines. It's true that it's not illegal, but
many would argue that it is unethical. And if you were aware of what
your SEO was doing, then of course that makes it even worse. But even
if you didn't know, it's your site and your responsibility as far as
the engines are concerned. If you get banned, going to them later and
saying you didn't know isn't really going to help you.
"I would think that being associated with that SEO firm and the code
they have on your page is not in your best interests. It appears that
the spam is only on the front page of the site and could be easily
removed. But they're going to need to remove your link that they're
hiding on their other clients' sites also. Those might not get you in
trouble, as anyone could hide links to other sites, but it's doubtful
that the SEO will want to keep them up, and really, if I were you, I'd
want them gone.
"Your next step would be to do some homework to find yourself a real
SEO consultant who understands best practices and whose rates are
within your budget. I assume you didn't pay much for the garbage you
currently have (at least I hope you didn't), but a real SEO who
doesn't use deceptive practices will probably cost you a lot more.
That's how those companies stay in business; they're generally cheap
because they don't have to do any real work. Just hide some links,
hide some keyword stuffing and they're done. Works great until the
stuff hits the fan and you're banned.
"You may want to spend some time at my forum
</forum>, as there are many great SEO types
who know what they're doing who hang out there to help. You might
find someone good there who can clean up your current mess."
He wrote back to thank me for my "sage advice" but that's the last I
heard of him. The spam is still on his site as of this moment.
Hopefully, he's just taking his time seeking out a professional
company to work with and it will all get cleaned up soon.
_________Free 30-day Trial of Website Statistics___________adv.
Target Your Keywords with New HitsLink ver. 3.0!
HitsLink website statistics is a great way to analyze your site for
search engine optimization. With no software to install, you can be
up in minutes tracking visitor behavior, search terms, conversions
and more. For as little as $9.95/month you can track 100's
of statistics. To take advantage of a free 30-day trial click here:
++Monetizing Your Site++
Scottie came through with her follow-up to last week's "Links Are Good
for Business" article
</issue100.htm#guest>. In this one, she
provides you with even *more* ways to improve your online business. -
Monetizing Your Site
By Scottie Claiborne
Many people these days are looking for ways to "make money on the
Internet." These are not people looking to take their
bricks-and-mortar stores online to expand, or sell things they have
manufactured, but people who are looking to create revenue from having
It's not an impossible goal, but it's not as easy as the spam e-mail
you receive would have you believe. It takes real work, just like any
other business, but done correctly, there are some tried and true ways
to make your website turn a profit.
The best way to go about it is to turn something you love into a
valuable resource site for a specific audience. You may be devoted to
the conservation of a river in your area or have great ideas for
keeping kids occupied during the summer. Why not build a site around
your unique knowledge and ideas?
(See "What is Content? Part 1"
hp>, "What is Content? Part 2"
hp> and "Building a Link Library"
</issue099.htm#guest> for more ideas on
building your resource site.)
So you've built your site and it rocks -- the people who visit leave
you great feedback and send you e-mails about how helpful it is. You
are adding to your content regularly and keeping it updated and
interesting -- now you need to turn up the volume on the traffic.
Start by seeking out similar and complementary sites to yours. Send
an e-mail describing the value of your site to their visitors, and ask
them to include a link to it. There may be commercial, hobby, or
other resource sites that would be happy to direct their visitors to
your useful resource.
Find any forums or other venues that are complementary to your topic
and participate in them. Some forums allow a signature link in your
posts that will help people find your resource site. You might even
consider starting your own forum if none already exist.
Send out a press release to your local media and to online press
release distribution services (e.g., PRWeb <http://www.prweb.com>)
detailing the newsworthy aspects of your site. Write articles on your
topic for reprinting on other sites, and require them to include a
link back to your site.
Banner ads have a bad reputation, but I'm finding that highly targeted
banner ads convert like crazy. If you are selling what the reader
wants, they will pay attention.
Selling text links for link popularity is a slightly controversial
but as long as you are selling links to related sites, then it makes
sense. When you start accepting paid links from unrelated industries,
your site looks silly. In some engines (like Teoma) you might even
confuse them as to the topic of your site, which may make your site
less relevant in the search results. Be careful when accepting paid
Apply for Google Adsense and you can be showing relevant Google ads on
your site in no time. Every time a visitor clicks one of the Google
ads, you earn money.
For many sites, Adsense alone can turn a hobby site into a
Build a Directory
This is not a short-term, quick-money strategy. But a directory can
make long-term revenue for you!
The problem with most industry directories is that they start out
asking for payment, before they are a proven resource. Build your
directory first with free listings, possibly requiring a link back in
exchange. Once you've proven to companies that your directory sends
them business (with your free listings), then you can start to charge
Consider giving new listings a free trial period even after you move
to paid listings -- your goal is to have the most comprehensive
industry directory possible. Once you have that, you've achieved
critical mass and it's no longer a question of "should I join" the
directory, but "should I pay extra to be featured" in the directory.
There really isn't a quick way to make money from the Internet. The
time spent dreaming up get-rich-quick schemes and trying to stay one
step ahead of search algorithm changes is better spent building a
resource that will grow and continue to produce revenue for years to
__________You need the "write" skills____________________
Your site is only as good as its copywriting.
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: </combo101>.
~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~
++ Non-paying Client!++
Forum member "Mida" gets some great advice about how to deal with a
client that doesn't appear to want to pay his bill:
++Choosing the Best Keyword Phrases++
(This audio recording changes each week.)
That's it for today. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learned a
School's nearly out for my girls (my son has been out already for a
couple of weeks), which means my workdays will probably be shortened a
bit. I tend to get lazy and sleep late when I don't have to prepare
any lunches or drive anyone to school. The beauty (or tragedy?) of
working from home!
Not much is going on here this week except that all three of the
computers are giving me grief in one way or another. The brand-new
laptop is already having a problem with its power cord, so guess where
I have to go once I send this newsletter out? The 10-month-old laptop
is having a problem with its cooling unit, so I will have to see what
can be done about that while I'm at it. It works okay when we keep a
cold pack under it, but I figure I better do something before its
1-year factory warranty is up. My main computer is just getting old
and running out of space. I dread getting a new one and having to
reinstall all my software and stuff though. But I suppose it would be
a good idea to do that before it dies completely...hmm...maybe I'll
check out the desktops while I'm waiting for them to fix the laptops!
Computers...can't live with 'em, can't throw 'em out the window. (Or
is that MS Windows? <grin>)
Until next week! - Jill