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High Rankings Advisor: Changing Domains and Renaming Pages - Issue No. 125

January 5, 2005
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Welcome Back!

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Frequent Spidering Doesn't Help Rankings
---->   Case Sensitivity: To Cap or Not
---->   Titles and Meta Tags

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   High Rankings Seminar CD - Half Price
---->   SEO Copywriting Combo

*Guest Article:
---->   Changing Domains and Renaming Pages

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   SEO Coaching & Training with Dan Thies

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Forum Upgraded!
---->   Header Tags

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   Never Neglect Your Meta Description Tags

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Swimming with the Dolphins
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hi everyone!  I hope your holidays went well.  Personally, I'm glad to
be back at work because there's nothing I like better than playing all
day on my computer. :-)

I've got lots of good stuff for you today, including some SEO Q&A, a
guest article with tips on what to do if you're changing domain names,
and a special introduction to Dan Thies' new SEO training program.
Enjoy! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Frequent Spidering Doesn't Help Rankings++

Hi Jill,

I've been following your newsletter for ages now (since before you
went solo with High Rankings) and would appreciate your help with this
question. I've been speaking with a client about changes to their web
site. They have been told previously that using rotating images on a
web page helps to keep a site "fresh" for search engines. That sounds
odd to me.

Plus, based on comments you have made in previous newsletters, I get
the impression that good content does not need to be updated to remain
high on search engines' results. So please help me...how important is
updating content? Do search engines reward sites with recent changes?

Thanks heaps -- and I hope you enjoyed the SES conference and your
time in Florida at Christmas. It's pretty warm here at the moment.

Stuart

++Jill's Response++

Hi Stuart,

Thanks, I did enjoy the SES conference and also our short vacation
last week in Florida.  It could definitely have been warmer though!

You are correct that changing images to keep your site fresh seems
odd.  It is!  There are a few basic flaws with the whole concept,
which stem from people only half-understanding what they hear or read
online.  There are people who think that a site that is visited often
by the search engine spiders will rank higher for its optimized
keyword phrases.  But that's simply not true.

What IS true is that a site that is considered "popular" by the search
engines may rank higher for its optimized keyword phrases.  And sites
that are deemed popular will also tend to be visited more often by the
spiders.  What has happened is that people have mixed this up and
think that a site visited more often will rank higher.  With that
erroneous thinking in mind, they go to great lengths to entice the
spiders to visit more often.  The truth of the matter is that there's
no evidence to suggest that rankings are affected by how often your
pages are visited by the spiders.

The *only* reason why you might care if the spiders visit your pages
often is if you are actually adding new content on a regular basis.
That's exactly what the spiders are looking for when they try to
decide how often to visit your site.  They will find the new content,
determine how often you add stuff, and try to schedule their visits
accordingly.  It's got nothing to do with rankings, however.

Hope this helps end your confusion about this.

Jill

_______________________________________________

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__________________________________________________

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marketing seminar from November '03 -- was $279, now $139.50!

What is covered:
SEO Basics, PPC, Copywriting, Measuring Traffic, and Conversions.

Also includes complete PDF presentations from the speakers.
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__________________________________________________


++Case Sensitivity: To Cap or Not++

Ms. Whalen:

Following your advice (again), I've been working with Wordtracker on
optimizing my second website and it is definitely one of my best
investments. Thank you for your December 8th newsletter
</issue123.htm>.

I would be grateful for your thoughts on whether to capitalize or not.
I use bullet points throughout my site and given that it appears that
many more searches are made by not capitalizing, even in the case of
brand/designer names, should I "cap" or not?

If I don't capitalize my bullet points, given the higher number of
searches, in most instances, according to Wordtracker, will this lead
to eventual, better SE placement (all other things being equal), given
that significantly more searches are made in all lowercase letters?
Would you expense aesthetics/proper grammar for SEO?

I'd be grateful for your guidance on this issue.

Thanks again, and all the best!

Moises

++Jill's Response++

Hi Moises,

The search engines don't distinguish between caps and lowercase these
days, so it doesn't matter how you use them.  Use them in a manner
that looks best to the people visiting your site.

I would also suggest when you use Wordtracker
</wordtracker> that you use the "compressed
search," as that will put the capped and lowercase search counts
together.

Best,

Jill


++Titles and Meta Tags++

Hi Jill,

I want to thank you for the Nitty-gritty handbook. I am finally ready
to use it. I really appreciate the information; however, there is
nothing on writing good Titles and Meta Tags. It would have been great
to have those strategies laid out so I could have had everything at my
fingertips.

Warm regards,

Marta

++Jill's Response++

Hi Marta,

I didn't put that info in the handbook because my Nitty-gritty Guide
is strictly about the body copy of your pages.  However, you can find
the info on Title tags and Metas in my free articles here:

Title Tags: </allabouttitles.htm>
Meta Description Tags:
</metadescription.htm>
Meta Keyword Tags: </metakeywords.htm>

Or for a quick summary, I recently wrote about these tags in a
previous newsletter:

Title Tags, Descriptions and Keywords:
</issue112.htm#seo>.

Look for the specific article on Title tags, and the specific one on
the Meta description tag.

Good luck!

Jill

(P.S. If you'd like to republish any or all of the above Q&A
articles -- or any past articles -- please email me your request.  Let
me know where they will reside, and I'll send you a short bio you can
use with them for your site.)


_________Powerful SEO Copywriting Combo______________

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.
</combo125>
__________________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Changing Domains and Renaming Pages++

Michael Bluejay, the owner of WebsiteHelpers.com, wrote today's guest
article. WebsiteHelpers.com provides discount Web design and Web
services to small businesses.  This is Michael's first article for the
Advisor, so let's have a warm Advisor welcome!  Take it away
Michael...

Changing Domains and Renaming Pages
By Michael Bluejay

Moving a site to another domain, or even renaming a page, always
carries the risk of losing rankings, usually temporarily, but possibly
long-term. Using Apache 301 Redirects is supposed to preserve your
rankings, but my experience is that that doesn't work in every case.
The best strategy is the old saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure. Spend some time planning your directory structure and
filename conventions so you don't find yourself wanting to change
filenames or directory names once the site is already set up and
you're already ranking well.

You may still find yourself in a position someday where you want or
need to move or rename files. The best way I've found to do this is
with the Redirect command in the Apache server software. If you're
using some other kind of server software (e.g., Microsoft), then
you'll need to find alternate methods.

Redirect commands are placed in the .htaccess file at the top level of
the server (the same level where your index.html file is). If you
already have such a file there you can edit it. If there's no
.htaccess file then you can create one. It's just a plain text file.
Note that the filename begins with a period. Also note that some FTP
software doesn't show filenames that start with a period unless you
explicitly tell it to do so, and neither Mac OS X nor Windows like
filenames that start with a period.

If you're editing an existing .htaccess file, you can put the new
commands anywhere in the file, either at the top or bottom, it doesn't
matter. If you have an existing .htaccess file, back it up first
before you start messing with it. Also, realize that any error in your
.htaccess file will bring your whole site down. If you introduce a
syntax error, then visitors will see the dreaded "Internal server
error" message when they try to access any page on your site. So every
time you edit an .htaccess file, reload your site in a browser and
make sure it works okay. This is not just something for newbies; I
reload my site in a browser every time I edit an .htaccess file, no
matter how simple the change. Every time.

To redirect all requests to a new domain, assuming the file structure
on the new domain is identical to the old one, type:

Redirect 301 / http://newdomain.com/

The Redirect tells the server it's going to be sending requests
somewhere else.

The 301 is the code sent to the requesting browser or bot to tell it
that the file has permanently moved. This is how you inform the search
engines that your files have moved for good. If you wanted to move a
file temporarily, you'd use 302 instead.

The / means that you want all files starting at the root level, and
all the subdirectories, and all the files within them, etc. In other
words, you want to redirect a request for any file on the site.

The http://newdomain.com/ is where the request actually gets sent.
This mirrors the old domain. If someone requested
http://olddomain.com/booboo they're going to wind up at
http://newdomain.com/booboo automatically.

Note that the reference to the old domain is relative (without the
http://) and the reference to the new domain is absolute (must use the
http://). Also, note that the reference to the new domain ends with a
slash. If you omit that then it won't work -- the request in the
previous example would have gone to http://newdomain.combooboo.

To redirect specific pages, either within a domain or to a new domain,
you can use a bunch of 301's right after another:

Redirect 301 /oldpage1.html http://domain.com/newpage1.html
Redirect 301 /oldpage2.html http://domain.com/newpage2.html
Redirect 301 /oldpage3.html http://domain.com/newpage3.html

There's a more powerful -- and complicated -- way to redirect pages
with Apache called Mod Rewrite which lets you redirect requests based
on any combination of filename, directory name, extension, referrer,
or even IP address attributes. The simple Redirect command above is
all you need for basic redirects, but if you ever find yourself
needing to redirect in a way that you can't do with the Redirect
command, be sure to look into Mod Rewrite.

Michael Bluejay
WebsiteHelpers.com
http://WebsiteHelpers.com/


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++SEO Coaching & Training with Dan Thies++

Are you just learning SEO?  Do you need tips on running your SEM
business?  Are you struggling to gain rankings for your company
Website?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you are a perfect
candidate for my good friend Dan Thies' brand-new coaching and
training classes.  It's specifically geared to those who want to take
their search marketing knowledge to a new level.

If you've been reading this newsletter for a while, or if you've spent
any time at my High Rankings Forum, you are probably familiar with
Dan, his SEO Research Labs keyword reports, and his logical yet
common-sense approach to SEO.  Dan's been in the game for many years,
and takes the same basic approach to search marketing that I do.  In
fact, I like his style so much that I've recently invited him to speak
at our next High Rankings Seminar (more info on that in an upcoming
newsletter).

Dan's new coaching program is a unique combination of one-on-one
training and group training.  Plus, it's all done virtually, so there
are no travel costs involved.

Dan and I had a chance to discuss his program at the recent SES
Chicago conference, and it was apparent that he was excited to roll it
out to the world.

Here's some of our conversation:
----
Jill: Dan, this program sounds great, can you tell me a bit more about
whom it's best suited for?

Dan: The folks we hope will participate in this coaching program are
either SEO/SEM consultants or site designers who want to grow their
business and provide better results for their clients. We're limiting
participation because I want to provide a lot of personal attention,
which you don't get from most training. This is more than training,
it's coaching and collaboration.

Jill: How is the program arranged?  Are there different sections?

Dan: There are three main components of the program. The first part is
to really drill down into how search engines work, and fill in the
gaps on folks' knowledge of SEO. I've done a lot of research and
testing over the past couple of years. We're going to help everyone
put that into practice, and work on processes and strategy that can
make them more effective for their clients.

The second part is to help these folks grow their business in a
healthy way that fits with the lifestyle they want. I've been selling
business solutions for over a decade now, and I've learned a lot about
what clients want, and how to deliver it. We'll spend a lot of time
looking at best practices, how to sell more effectively, position
yourself as a business partner instead of just a vendor, and work more
efficiently so you can handle more clients.

The last piece is the set of SEO tools that we've developed.
Participants will get access to some of these private tools, and have
a chance to provide input on how we develop them further. This
includes our keyword research tools, tools for looking at site
structure and internal linking, and tools to help manage the process
of SEO.
----

All I have left to say is that it's about time that someone with Dan's
SEO experience, knowledge, and sharp mind has decided to offer
something like this.  I am constantly getting emails from people
looking for exactly the sort of training that Dan will be offering,
but haven't had the time or inclination to offer it myself.  I can
guarantee that not only will you learn a ton from Dan, but you will
have fun doing it as well.  Dan is one of the funniest guys I know.
Beware though; you may not get his jokes until hours later!

Something this intensive and useful is of course not going to be
cheap.  The cost of this program is $1,495 per participant until
January 15.  This includes a $200 "early bird" savings off the regular
price of $1,695.

The program includes all of the following:

* Website review, critique, & recommendations for your website
* One-on-one telephone consultation (Up to 6 total 1-hour sessions)
* 15 weekly group teleconferences & presentations (60-90 minutes each,
with Q&A time)
* Recorded conference calls & presentations - all are available for
download.

Learn more or sign up using my affiliate link here:
<http://www.seoresearchlabs.com/hr/seo-course.php>. If you do decide
to take your business to the next level with this training, please let
me know how it goes.  I'm positive that you won't be disappointed!

Jill

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

++Forum Upgrade++

Before getting to the thread of the week, I am pleased to announce
that the High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum
</forum> has undergone a major upgrade and
is looking better than ever!  Scottie and I had a bit of a rocky start
due to some database conversions that took waaaaaaaay longer than
expected; but thanks to her perseverance and some help from Mike
Churchill (Christine Churchill's hubby) we got everything in good
working order.

There are lots of new features with this version, and more are on the
way once Scottie has a chance to configure the additional modules. We
still have the same great info with plenty more on the way.  Stop by
and say hi!

++Header Tags++

Which is better? <H1> <H2> <H3> or does it even matter?  Check out
this thread to see what other forum members think:
</forum/index.php?showtopic=11662>.


~~~Sound Advice~~~

++Never Neglect Your Meta Description Tags++

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

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's it for the SEO stuff.  Hope it was a worthwhile read!

We had a relaxing time in Florida visiting my grandmother last week.
She's 96 these days, and thankfully still going strong!  The kids and
hubby all went swimming with the dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium
<http://www.miamiseaquarium.com/wade.htm>, and seemed to have fun.
They would have preferred it to be a bit warmer as none of them have
much meat on their bones to keep them warm, but they enjoyed it
anyway.  I got to be the cameraperson, which was fine with me.  The
thought of touching a dolphin (much less riding one) doesn't
particularly interest me.  I do have to admit they're pretty cute
though, as fishy mammals go at least! <grin>

Catch you next time! - Jill

 
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