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High Rankings Advisor: Increase Conversions - Issue No. 108

August 11, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Advisor List Move

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Search Engines and Rollover Navigation

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   SEO Copywriting Kit
---->   IBP Award-winning SEO Software

*Guest Article:
---->   Increase Conversions by Analyzing Your Server Logs

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   High Rankings Boston SEM Seminar

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   SEMPO

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   Using Duplicate Content and Mirror Sites for SEO

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Conferences, Vacations and Work, Oh My!
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!  If you read all the way through the last newsletter,
you probably figured that the Advisor email list had been moved to the
new server by now.  Unfortunately, we've hit a few snags along the way
and it appears as if we are going to have to go to (yuk) double
opt-in.  This means that all of you current subscribers will need to
be SURE you reply or click on the link in the confirmation email that
will be sent to you this week.  I'm sure I will lose tons of
subscribers, but the stinkin' sp@mmers have made it impossible for the
rest of us to get our newsletters delivered.

So if you want to continue receiving this newsletter, please be on the
lookout for your confirmation email.  It may very well end up in your
delete/trash/bulk folder as these things often do.  All I can do is
send 'em, but you've got to confirm 'em!  The good news is that this
should help those people with certain ISPs that have blocked the
newsletter erroneously.  The idea is that all those who *want* to
receive it are easily able to receive it, while all those who don't
want it won't receive it.  We'll see how it goes!  If you don't
confirm, you may get additional emails to remind you.  Sometimes if
the first one gets inadvertently filtered, the second (or third) might
get through.  I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Enough administrative junk...time to get on with the good stuff! -
Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Search Engines and Rollover Navigation++

Hi Jill,

If our navigation buttons are rollovers, I understand that search
engines can't follow the links. Do you recommend repeating them as
text links at the bottom of the page or is this unnecessary?

Best regards,

Marla

++Jill's Response++

Hi Marla,

Some rollovers are search-engine-friendly, and some aren't; it all
depends on the code used to create them.  There are many rollover
scripts that are "crawler-friendly" and can be followed by the search
engine spiders.  Usually, if you view the source code and see that
there are <a href>-type links in your code, the links can probably be
followed.

However, not all JavaScript menus are created equal.  Many do use
certain coding that some search engine spiders still have a hard time
following.  Moreover, some rollover navigation menus are designed with
a Java applet and not JavaScript.  These may be even less
crawler-friendly!

Regardless of the type of navigational menu you use, it never hurts to
put the same links at the bottom of the page.  Many users expect there
to be links there and they look for them when navigating your site.
Of course, if you have tons and tons of links in your rollovers, it
will probably look silly to list them all at the bottom of the page.
Definitely don't do anything that looks silly to your human visitors.

Here are two alternatives you can try:

* Put the links from your rollover navigation into a <noscript> tag in
the HTML code.   (View the source on my site to see this in action.)

* Create a site map page that is accessible from all pages of your
site via a text or image link which lists all the pages of your site.

Before going to any trouble or making any drastic changes to your
site, do a search for your site's pages at the major search engines
such as Google and Yahoo to see if they are having any problems
crawling your site.  To do this in Google, type this command into the
Google search box (substituting your own site for "yoursite"):
inurl:yoursite.com.  One of the results that shows up should be a page
from your site that also has a link with the option to click on "more
results from this site."  Click that link and you should be presented
with a nice list of all the pages from your site that Google has
indexed.

At Yahoo type site:yoursite.com, and as with Google, you should then
see some pages of your site and the option to view more results from
your domain.  Click that link and see which pages show up.

Many times we assume the engines won't crawl certain pages or links,
but they actually do crawl them fine. The search engine techies are
always working on ways to improve their engines, and they've come a
long way from the old days of following only simple text links.
Sometimes, however, you will find that Google may crawl your site
fine, but Yahoo doesn't, or vice versa.

When in doubt (or even as a safety net) use the <noscript> tag and/or
a site map. Redundancy never hurts in this type of situation!

Jill

__________________________________________________

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 reviews of a ton of sites belonging to the seminar
participants.

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


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Increase Conversions by Analyzing Your Web Logs++

Dianna Huff writes today's guest article.  Dianna is a B2B marketing
communications consultant and copywriter. She is also the author of
the e-book "25 Ways To Grow Your E-Newsletter List," which can be
found here: <http://www.growalist.com>.

Let's give a nice warm Advisor welcome to Dianna! - Jill

Increase Conversions by Analyzing Your Server Logs
By Dianna Huff

Most people now understand the "front end" of search engine
optimization (SEO): compiling keywords and optimizing content, page
titles and meta descriptions in order to increase rankings on search
engines.

Yet, judging from my experience with clients, few people pay much
attention to the "back end" -- analyzing their server logs. Either
they don't look at them at all -- or worse yet, they don't have any!

Effective SEO is based on real data: number of unique visitors, the
keywords and phrases people used to find your site, the pages that are
downloaded most frequently, and that all-important metric --
conversions.

The easiest place to get that information is from your server logs. If
you haven't looked at your logs and don't know where to begin, the
first step is to contact your hosting company. Many ISPs and Web hosts
such as Earthlink, Readyhosting and GoDaddy offer Web analytics as
part of their monthly hosting fee -- all you do is log on to your
server's control panel and type in your account password.

If your site sits on your own server and you don't have server logs,
purchase a Web analytics program such as Urchin or WebTrends, pronto!

Once you have your server logs in hand, you want to pay particular
attention to the following data:

Number of Unique Visitors and Page Views

Don't be swayed by the number of "hits" to your site. This is a
misleading indicator as it is simply a measurement of every downloaded
image and file on your site.

Instead, pay attention to the number of unique visitors and conversion
rates. To determine simple conversion rates, take the number of unique
visitors and divide by the number of people who took the desired
action, e.g., downloaded a brochure, submitted your contact form,
signed up for a newsletter, purchased your e-book, etc.

Top Pages

The "Top Pages" metric can give you a wealth of detailed information.
You'll see which pages are most popular on your site, which in turn
can help you plan future content. Pay particular attention to the page
or pages you want people to click on -- for example, I want people to
click on my newsletter sign-up page. Using the number of "unique
visitors" to my site, I can determine how many actually went to that
page, and then measure that against how many actually signed up for my
newsletter. I can also quickly see how many click through from my
newsletter to special offers or landing pages.

Top Keywords

Analyzing your keywords will show you which phrases people are using
to find you, and which ones they aren't using. Remember, just because
you think your prospects should use specific words to find you doesn't
mean they are using them. I learned this the hard way a couple of
years ago. I had always assumed my top keyword phrase was "freelance
copywriter." It's what others and I used to describe what I do. But,
it wasn't until I started analyzing my server logs -- and purchasing
Overture search phrases -- that I learned with a jolt that my
number-one keyword phrase was "marketing communications." I have since
revised my page titles and content using variations on this phrase --
significantly increasing traffic and conversions.

Top Referrals

Sites that rank highly in search engines also have a number of sites
that link to them. You can quickly see which sites are sending you
traffic by looking at your "Top Referrals" metric. Most of these
referring sites will be search engines -- but if you drill deep
enough, you'll get some meaty information. For example, I paid $250
last year to be in a marketing database. Not one person has clicked
through from this database to my site, which means I won't be
purchasing a listing this year.

Top Domains or Robots/Spiders

While you're reading your logs, do a quick check to make sure the top
search engines are visiting your site. Some programs will show this
information as "Top Domains" or "Robots/Spiders." Make sure you see
listings from "googlebot," "MSIECrawler," "Inktomi Slurp" and other
spiders or bots.

Good search engine optimization practices include regularly analyzing
your server logs and giving visitors the content they want by:

* analyzing top downloaded pages,
* researching and continually tweaking keyword phrases,
* building a solid external link structure (and making sure it's
working).

If you are continuously doing these things, you'll see a steady rise
of site traffic and conversions over time.

Dianna Huff
25 Ways To Grow Your E-Newsletter List
http://www.growalist.com

_________IBP Award-winning SEO Software_______________adv.

High search engine rankings in Google and the new Yahoo!
__________________________________________________

IBP is an award-winning software program that helps your web
pages get top rankings in Google and in Yahoo's new search
engine.  Reach 94% of all Internet users!

Thousands of satisfied webmasters all over the world swear by
IBP. Why? Because it just works. Recommended by many experts.

Free trial: <http://www.axandra.com/top-google-and-yahoo.htm>
__________________________________________________


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++High Rankings Boston SEM Seminar++

We've finalized the details of our September seminar in the greater
Boston area (Natick, MA).  Here's some of the info:

When: Thursday and Friday, September 23 and 24, 2004
Where: The Crown Plaza Natick/Boston

The cost will vary depending on whether you choose just Day 1 or both
days.  Day 1 will be a similar program to our past seminars, and Day 2
will be all-new hands-on workshops.  To attend Day 2, you must attend
Day 1, or have attended one of the previous High Rankings seminars.
(Contact me directly if you are looking at this option.)

The early-bird registration fee for attending both days is $999 and
the early-bird fee for *just* Day 1 is $575.  (Early registration ends
on August 31st, so sign up soon!)

Please see my seminar page for more details and pricing:
</108seminar>.

The registration form will be ready shortly -- hopefully by the time
you receive this newsletter or very soon thereafter.  I'm still
playing catch-up after a short vacation, and am a wee bit behind
schedule!


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

</forum>

++SEMPO++

I've actually been off the forum for the most part while I was on
vacation, and haven't had a chance to find a good thread for the
newsletter.  However, Mike Grehan wrote a great article regarding
SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) which may be
of interest to many of you:
<http://www.netimperative.com/in_depth/Who_needs_SEMPO_Part_deux>.

In case you're wondering, I wholeheartedly agree with everything Mike
says in this article.

We do have a forum thread where we have been discussing SEMPO as well
as a previous article Mike wrote on this topic.  You can read that one
here:
</forum/index.php?showtopic=8234>.


~~~Sound Advice~~~

++Using Duplicate Content and Mirror Sites for SEO++

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

~~~Article Follow-up~~~

To follow up on Lorelle Smith's Wordtracker/AdWords experiment which
she wrote an article about in the last newsletter
</issue107.htm#guest>, it turned out that
Wordtracker had mistakenly classified the word "chic" as an "adult"
word. At some point WT had set everyone's Adult Filter default to
"on," causing the skewed results Lorelle found in Wordtracker for
"shabby chic." If you use WT and are getting strange results, you
might want to set your filter to "off." Be sure to notify Wordtracker
if you run across a word being filtered that you believe shouldn't be
in the "bad" list.

It's good to know that it was just a filter problem and that
Wordtracker wasn't as far off the mark as we had originally thought!


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

Last week's conference was as fun and informative as usual.  It was
great to see my old friends and meet many new ones.  My sessions
seemed to go really well!

After being in San Jose at the SES conference all last week, I came
home for one night, and then headed out with the family to Lake George
in NY.  I just got back last night to find my forum was giving
database errors, my email was clogged with over 3,000 sp@m and people
had been wondering where the heck I'd been all this time. Not to
mention that I had to put the finishing touches on the seminar
registration pages, and try to coordinate the newsletter platform
move. Oh well...I'll be caught up by tomorrow or Friday... I think...
I hope.

At any rate, both trips were a lot of fun.  Scottie put some great
photos from the conference online here:
</photos/thumbnails.php?album=9>.  I've
been so out of touch that I had to learn about these photos from
Robert Clough's Search Engine Guide newsletter! (You should sign up
for that one too, if you aren't already on the list:
<http://www.searchengineguide.com>.)

Catch you next week -- assuming you double-opt-in as necessary
<grin>! - Jill
 
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