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High Rankings Advisor: Shopping Search Engines - Issue No. 113

September 15, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Seminar Is Next Week!

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Submitting a New Site
---->   Type of Links Needed
---->   Link Exchanges
---->   PR0 Home Pages

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   Search Marketing Resource Guide
---->   HitsLink ver. 3.0
---->   Copywriting Combo

*Guest Article:
---->   Five Reasons To Submit to Shopping Search Engines

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   SiteMap on HomePage

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   What Is Search Engine Sp@m?

________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

We're gearing up for next week's big event -- the High Rankings
Seminar and Workshops in Natick, MA!  The gang will be getting into
town on Wed. and the show will start bright and early Thurs. morning.
Later that evening, we have planned a great dinner event that is open
to all of you, so be sure to sign up if you'll be in the area.  On
Friday we've got the brand-new hands-on workshops, which should be a
lot of fun and very informative.  There's still time to register for
the event and/or the dinner here:
</113seminar>.  We'd like to have a fairly
accurate count by Monday (although we'll allow a few additions after
that time), so it would be really helpful if you'd register ASAP if
you are planning on coming!

Today I have a new Q&A issue for you, as well as a great guest article
on shopping search engines. So let's get to the good stuff! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Submitting a New Site++

Hello Jill,

First off, thank you for your newsletter, I find your commentary very
useful.

Although I don't do SEO work personally, I do try to keep up with it
somewhat. I was wondering if you have somewhere you could point me to
for the current "best practices introduction 101" to submit a
brand-new site being launched. Should I assume that at this point in
the game, Google and Yahoo are the only real players to submit to?
What is the best way to prepare your content for those two at this
point?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Jon A.

++Jill's Response++

Hi Jon,

There's actually no reason to submit to any engine these days, as they
will automatically find your site's pages as long as they are linked
to from another other site in their index.  You should definitely
submit to directories, however, as that's a good way to make sure the
spidering search engines find your site.

We have a list of directories which may interest you, here at the
forum: </forum/index.php?showtopic=1102>.

Also, I would suggest reading my "Ten Tips to the Top" article for
general advice on what you need to do to optimize your site for high
rankings </tentips.htm>.

I would also suggest that you read through the other articles in my
articles section </articles.htm> as well as
the past issues of this newsletter
</archives.htm> for further, more specific
advice.

Happy reading!

Jill

___________SmartSearch Marketing_____________________adv.

(Free) Search Marketing Resource Guide
__________________________________________________

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70 essential resources you should know about!

This invaluable guide from SmartSearch Marketing contains
market information, tools, resources, how-to guides and more.

Free download: <http://smartsearchmarketing.com/guide.asp>
You'll wonder how you ever got along without it!
__________________________________________________


++Type of Links Needed++

Jill,

In order to be highly ranked do we need links to highly ranked sites
from any domain, or just links to sites which produce pretty much what
we produce?  For example:  I have a site about horses. In order to
have a better rank in "horse sites" do I need links to the top sites
about horses, or would links to any top site increase my rank?

Dan B.

++Jill's Response++

Hi Dan,

It's not the links you have from your site TO other sites, it's the
links that others have on their sites that point to yours that will
help your ranking.  For the links that point TO your site, you'd
definitely want them to be from relevant sites, as much as possible.

They don't have to be selling exactly the same thing -- after all, the
other guy selling horse stuff isn't going to be interested in giving
you his potential customers if that's what you also sell.  Think
vertically and see if perhaps a site about other types of animals
besides horses might link to yours, and that sort of thing.

Hope this helps!

Jill


++Link Exchanges++

Hello Jill,

We have been building incoming links, but we have yet to start a
"linking exchange" program.  This question is rather elementary, but I
am afraid I don't know the correct answer.

When someone asks for a link exchange, do we just create an "other
informational links page" and include our links on that page?  I
suppose we could also include those "related links" on relevant
product pages as well?  I would think this approach would be better if
we have a highly relevant landing page and they would be willing to
include keyword targeted anchor text in their incoming link?

What do most people do?

Thanks very much...

McKinnon

++Jill's Response++

Hi McKinnon,

I'm really not a good one to answer this question because I'm not a
fan of reciprocal linking.  (Please note that I'm not talking about
ALL linking, just reciprocal linking.)

It's *not* because I think that reciprocal links are given less value
in the search engines.  It's because I feel that reciprocal linking
(i.e., trading links) forces people to make bad decisions regarding
which sites they'll add to theirs.  This often happens because they
are linking for the wrong reasons -- to trade links in hopes of it
helping rankings, as opposed to providing their visitors with useful
sites that they might find interesting.

So I guess my answer would be to treat the links you put on your site
this way:  As long as your first priority is to your site visitors and
you add links only when and where they make sense for them, you'll
know exactly which ones are good, and exactly where you should put
them.

Good luck!

Jill

++PR0 Home Pages++

Jill,

I know of three (unrelated) sites that had good Google PR, they now
have PR=0 on their homepages. Sub-pages still have good PR, but back
links are missing for 2 of the 3 sites. They are still listed well for
their relevant search terms and I am not aware of any SEO faux pas.
Any thoughts?

James

++Jill's Response++

Hi James,

You have no reason to worry about what you're seeing.  The toolbar
PageRank number doesn't mean anything at all these days.  For one
thing, it hasn't been updated in more than 3 months according to the
forum scuttlebutt that I've seen.  (I don't pay any attention to it
myself so I have to go by what I read in that respect.)

It used to be if you saw a PR0 for your site, that meant it was
penalized.  However, that's simply not true anymore. It often just
means the toolbar is having a bad hair day, and not able to properly
retrieve the info that it should.

Don't waste another minute looking at it or thinking about it. In
fact, I would highly suggest that you simply remove that feature from
your Google toolbar (click on the down arrow next to the Google logo,
select Options, and uncheck the PageRank box under Page Information).
You'll be a lot happier surfing without it, because it's a completely
useless measurement these days.

Bottom line is that your rankings, traffic and sales aren't having any
problems.  Why create a problem that doesn't exist, over a measurement
that means nothing?

Before you all write in, up in arms because you've had it so ingrained
into your heads that PageRank has everything to do with how your site
will show up in the search engines -- it doesn't.  PR is one factor
out of many, plus the PR that you see in the toolbar is not an
accurate representation of true PR anyway.  Look at any search results
page and you'll see that the sites are in no way sorted in PageRank
order.  That says a lot.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my link
popularity article </linkpopularity.htm>,
yes, links are important, but PageRank isn't.  They are not the same
thing.

Jill


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__________________________________________________

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__________________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Five Reasons To Submit to Shopping Search Engines++

Today's guest article on shopping search engines comes to us from
Corey Creed, who previously wrote about whether you should outsource
your pay-per-click campaign,
</issue088.htm#guest>.  Corey's new site,
ShoppingSearchInfo.com, provides information and software to help
create your shopping feeds.

Without further ado, here's Corey! - Jill

Five Reasons To Submit to Shopping Search Engines
By Corey Creed

The shopping season starts soon.  Christmas is only three months away.
Can you believe it?

Are you ready?  Do you (or does someone you know) sell products on the
Internet?  If so, part of being ready should include shopping search
engines.  What are they?  The most popular ones are BizRate,
Shopping.com, Froogle, and Yahoo Shopping.  You have probably seen or
used them already to research a product you were interested in, to
find the best price, or to read opinions.

But are you using them effectively for your products?  If not, why
should you now?

Here are five top reasons:

1.  Their Popularity Is Growing Fast

Ask anyone you know about Yahoo Shopping, BizRate, Shopping.com,
NexTag or other similar sites.  They will probably say the same
thing...  "Oh yeah!  I just recently used a site like that to buy my
___."  I have heard that from almost everyone I know.

To support this, Hitwise (a leading online measurement company)
recently reported that these sites are seeing an increasing number of
visits.  Interestingly, they are also seeing a corresponding decrease
in clickthroughs from search engines.  Why?  It seems as if once
people use these sites, they come directly to them the next time.

If people are using these sites more and more, shouldn't you want your
products there?

2.  They Advertise For You

Let me put this another way.  Are you tired of handing your wallet to
Overture and Google AdWords?  Let the shopping search engines do it
for you.

Try this.  Go to Google or Yahoo today and type in camera, digital
camera, fabrics, or any other product name.  Many times, BizRate,
Shopping.com, or some other shopping search site will show up in the
top paid-listing spots.  And you know those terms aren't cheap!

3.  Lower PPC Costs

This is basically a continuation of the previous point.  PPC costs on
Overture and Google AdWords are increasing constantly.  How much does
a click cost from Froogle?  Nothing!  What about Shopping.com,
BizRate, NexTag, and others?  Although it varies, it is frequently
less than 15 cents and seldom over 50 cents.

4.  More Qualified Leads

When someone is looking at Google and they click your ad, do they
really want to buy what you are offering?  Perhaps.

On the other hand, if someone is on Shopping.com and they click on
your ad, what do you think they are doing?  Shopping maybe?  The same
holds true for Yahoo Shopping, and the many other similarly named
shopping sites.

5.  Start Now To Beat the Competition

Remember the "good ole days" when you could list on Overture for 5
cents for most of your terms?  You probably didn't even check your
Return On Investment.  You got plenty of clicks for a great price.

What happened?  Your competition, that's what.

Now you have to pay more and work harder.  Shopping Search Engines is
this year what Pay Per Click was a few years ago.  The opportunity is
ripe to get started now and the price is right.

So now you want to list your products.  Where do you start?

Begin by doing some searches in the major shopping search engines.  Is
anyone else listing the products you offer?  If so, how does your
pricing compare?  After all, these sites are not called
comparison-shopping sites for nothing.  Many people are looking for
the best price.

But price is not everything.  In fact, shoppers are more frequently
looking for reputable sites.  So, does your site look reputable?  Does
it have good navigation?  Also, be sure to sign up for BizRate's
Customer Certified Ratings Program.  If you start now, you can get
some positive comments on your site within the next couple of months.
Many will choose to pay a little more if the merchant is more
reputable.

To get listed, you will need to sign up with each site.  Then follow
the instructions.  The process usually includes creating a spreadsheet
in a certain format and then submitting it via FTP to the appropriate
server.

Corey Creed
Shopping Search Info
http://www.ShoppingSearchInfo.com


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Your site's only as good as its writing. You need the "write" skills.
__________________________________________________

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:  </combo113>.
__________________________________________________


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

++SiteMap on HomePage++

</forum/index.php?showtopic=9399>


~~~Sound Advice~~~

++What Is Search Engine Sp@m?++

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


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's all for today!  I think there will still be a newsletter next
week even though I'm doing the seminar. I already lined up some
sponsors for the Advisor, so I guess I have no choice!  I'll just have
to actually prepare it a bit early so I don't miss out on the Wed.
night fun with the girls (and Matt!).

Make sure you register as soon as possible:
</113seminar>.

Catch you next week! - Jill
 
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