October 6, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Sites Getting Indexed Before They're Ready
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> Web CEO
----> SEO Copywriting Combo
----> The Keyword Tools Trap
*Stuff You Might Like:
----> "How To Quench Your Web Site Visitor's Thirst"
*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
----> Hiding Content from Competitors
*This Week's Sound Advice:
----> Misconceptions About Google's PageRank
----> Man, It's Quiet Around Here!
Hey everyone! Lots of info today, so let's get straight to the good
stuff! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Sites Getting Indexed Before They're Ready++
I have a site I'm still working on. I've uploaded it to my server, but
I have not yet submitted it to any search engines.
My question is: Do those robot spiders seek out fresh sites even
before they've been put into any search engines?
If they do, that would be tragic, because I'm making so many changes
that I'd have to start all over again with a new domain name, etc.
Yes, the search robots do seek out fresh sites before anyone has
submitted them. However, most of the time they're not smart enough to
find any sites without having some knowledge of their existence. In
other words, if there aren't any links from pages already in the
search engine's database that point to your site, they can't find and
add your pages.
On the other hand, when you *want* your site to be added to the search
engines, all you have to do is get a link to it from any page that is
already in their database. Then, when the robot finds your link on
one of its crawls, it'll schedule your page for inclusion and further
spidering. This is why submitting to the engines these days is never
necessary, and probably won't actually help. For instance, I have a
special test page on my site with no links to it from anywhere. I've
submitted it to Google's add-URL page a few times, but it's still not
indexed and I don't expect it ever to be since there are no links
pointing to it. (Please note that for a new page on an existing site,
a simple link from any other page of the site is all you need to
eventually get it indexed.)
Now, I can't say with 100% certainty that your brand-new site without
any links pointing to it won't find its way into the search engines
somehow. Many people have reported that their sites have been indexed
without links and without anyone submitting the URL directly. Some
believe that this can happen if you have the Google Toolbar installed
on your browser. They feel that Google can be made aware of any page
you visit in your browser, and may make note of those that they didn't
previously know about, and schedule them for indexing. There's really
no way to know for sure if this is true, however.
Speaking of the Google Toolbar, if you do have it installed you can
check to see if your site is already in Google by visiting your
homepage, then right-clicking your mouse, then clicking on "Cached
Snapshot of Page." If your page has been indexed by Google, you'll
see its cached version.
But do not fear! Even if your not-ready-for-prime-time site does end
up getting into the search engines, it's really no big deal. You most
definitely won't have to get a new domain and start over from scratch.
Just because your site is not as you'd like it to eventually be
doesn't mean it's a problem. Unlike human-edited directories, once a
spidering search engine indexes your site, you're not stuck with it.
Their robots will continue to come back for your updated content on a
regular basis. In fact, it could be a good thing because you know
you're already on their list of sites to spider. Once your content is
the way you want it, it shouldn't take long for the robot to re-index
Of course, when you're ready, you'll want to be sure to get some
outside links pointing to your site to make sure it "sticks" in the
database. Very often the engines will just temporarily add a URL,
then remove it later if it doesn't appear to be linked to from
If you absolutely don't want your site indexed before it's ready,
there are a few things you can do to prevent this. You could put up a
robots.txt file and exclude all robots from all pages. This isn't
foolproof, but will work for the major search engines. (They may
still end up with your URL indexed, but no other info from the pages.)
You may also want to put your working prototype site behind a
password-protected directory. The search engines definitely can't get
into those, because they're just not up on the latest password-hacking
Hope this helps.
++The Keyword Tools Trap++
My friend and fellow forum admin, Scottie Claiborne, wrote today's
article. Be on the lookout for Scottie's upcoming small business web
marketing seminar on Tuesday, Nov. 16th from 9-5 in Orlando, FL. This
seminar will focus on practical strategies for Website owners to
increase their Web marketing. You can learn more and register here:
Before we get to her article, I have the honor of announcing that
Scottie has merged her Right Click Web Consulting company with
design/SEO agency "The Karcher Group." You may have heard of The
Karcher Group through our High Rankings forum moderator and seminar
speaker, Matt Bailey. Scottie's Right Click Website will soon be
co-branded with The Karcher Group. Scottie tells me this is a win-win
situation as it gives her the opportunity to take on bigger projects
while providing Karcher with her expertise and experience. Let me be
the first to wish Scottie and The Karcher Group much success and good
luck in this new venture! - Jill
The Keyword Tools Trap
By Scottie Claiborne
When it comes to keyword selection, clients always want to optimize
for the most searched terms (according to keyword research tools) and
those alone. It takes some convincing to get them to go after lower
search volume, but more relevant phrases. It's become a regular part
of the cycle with my clients, especially those who are learning about
SEO and the process of optimizing a site.
Real Searches vs. the Numbers Game
Last week, a client wanted to know why I had suggested several phrases
to them that showed 0 searches in Wordtracker. The reason? Those
phrases were showing REAL referrals in their logs for several
variations. People were actually using those phrases to search, and
although they found my client's site, it wasn't doing a good job of
focusing on these relevant searched-for terms.
The Keyword Research Process
I usually have the client provide me with the typical words they think
someone might be using to find the product, service or information
that they offer. We look at what competitors are optimizing for and
then I look at their log files. When possible, I talk to the client's
salespeople and a few customers about the words that describe the
products or services.
Then I may play with AltaVista <http://www.altavista.com> to see what
phrases it thinks are related (you see a list of related searches to
the right of the search results in AV). Then I'll hit Wordtracker
</wordtracker> and the Overture suggestion
tool <http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/> to
get an idea of how people are searching in that industry.
Other keyword research tools that may be helpful are:
* Search Term Research by PrioritySubmit
* Keyword Research Tool by Webmaster Toolkit
* Keyword Suggestion Tool by Digital Point Solutions
* Google AdWords Keyword Tool by Google
* Keyword Suggestions for Google by SEO Chat
* Keyword Generator by Espotting Media
(Thanks to "BobMutch" for the list of keyword research tools -- see
more great info on his Free Seo Tools page
These tools are a great help in suggesting possible phrases that you
may want to optimize for, but they are limited. They aren't inclusive
of all searches, and they can't foretell the future. Just because
people searched on a term last week doesn't mean they'll search for it
Many people today simply run through Wordtracker, grab the results
that have a high KEI, and set about optimizing for those phrases.
Some of the problems with this tactic are:
* They believe that general phrases are relevant because they show a
high number of searches. However, general phrases often bring
traffic -- but no sales. Specific phrases bring traffic that
* Wordtracker's KEI function doesn't tell you much. It doesn't really
show how many other pages are competing for your phrases, and it
doesn't matter anyway. You are only concerned with the top 10
* Many keyword phrases are seasonal -- seeing what people searched for
last month doesn't always tell you what they will search for next
Common-sense Keyword Selection
What many people miss is the common-sense aspect of search: what words
will people who want to find your goods or services use to search for
it? Besides consulting keyword research tools, your client, their
salespeople, and their customers, here are 3 additional ways of
finding out what people are typing in at the search engines to find
what you offer:
1) trade organizations or industry news sites
2) usability testing/surveys
3) log files
A note about log files -- they can be deceiving. If you have a
high-traffic phrase that is garnering lots of referrals, and you have
a high exit rate from the page that is receiving those referrals, it's
likely people aren't finding what they wanted. On the other hand, log
files are a treasure trove of information. You can find some great
search terms that are not very competitive and maximize them on your
Competitive phrases may not be as competitive as you think (check the
top 10 search results to see) and the highly searched-upon phrases may
not be as lucrative as you would hope. People often refine their
search 2-3 times before getting the results they expect.
When it comes to keyword research, the bottom line is that it pays to
know the industry. Use all the great tools available to help you come
up with variations and alternate terms to target, but use common sense
when targeting terms. Go for the ones that are going to convert!
The Karcher Group: http://www.TheKarcherGroup.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!
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Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines.
~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~
++"How To Quench Your Web Site Visitor's Thirst"++
Usability consultant Kim Krause has just come out with another short
handbook that provides tips, checklists, and practical ideas for
increasing Website conversions and newsletter signups and making each
search engine clickthrough count. It's called "How To Quench Your Web
Site Visitor's Thirst," and it's available for instant download for
I skimmed through it the other night, and found the kind of great info
you'd expect from Kim! You can learn more and purchase it here:
~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~
++Hiding Content from Competitors++
New forum member "iangriff" wonders if there's any way he can let the
search engines index his content, but prevent his competitors from
Read and post about it here:
++Misconceptions About Google's PageRank++
(This audio recording changes each week.)
That's it for today!
Timmy's at his yearly weeklong field trip to "Nature's Classroom."
Even though he and I are usually just typing away at our respective
computers when he's home, I never realize all the interaction I
actually have with him until he's not here. It's quieter (not in a
good way) without his background singing/humming and silly jokes in
his old-man Edgar voice! I find myself turning on The Simpsons at
7:30 and watching it by myself, even though I rarely watch it with him
when he's here. I guess it just reminds me of him, as it's the only
show he's been tuning into since he was 4 years old!
It's not just Timmy gone today either. I get an unusually long day by
myself because Jamie has afterschool drama class, and Corie has a
cross-country meet. I'm really not complaining though. It's nice
having a quiet house to yourself once in awhile.
Oops...Corie just came clamoring in with a few cross-country
friends...so much for the quiet! Catch you next week. - Jill