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High Rankings Advisor: Effectiveness of SEO - Issue No. 126

January 12, 2005

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Effectiveness of SEO

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   High Rankings Seminar CD - Half Price
---->   MailMentum - Easy Email Marketing

*Guest Article:
---->   Google's Aging Delay for New Domains

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Black Hat / White Hat Article

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Web Developer Added an Invisible Link

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Working Under the Gun

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone! Hope you're having a good week so far.  I've got lots of
good stuff for you today, so let's get straight to it! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~


I am planning to start a web design business, targeting small business
owners, within the next year.  I want to make sure that my clients
receive the best advice from me that they can about how to attract
visitors to their web sites.

I have searched the web high and low for an answer to my question
regarding the effectiveness of SEO, and have not found a satisfactory

Since my clients are going to be small business owners, and there are
gazillions of web sites relating to all of the search terms they could
possibly come up with, how can SEO help them?  What are the odds, even
with expertise such as yours, that they will achieve a ranking high
enough to enter the consciousness of their potential customers?

Thanks for your help,

Linda S.

++Jill's Reply++

Hi Linda,

This is a great question!

Obviously, the effectiveness of any SEO work is going to depend on the
knowledge and skills of the company performing the SEO, but if we
assume that they know what they're doing, of course SEO can be
effective for a small business!  SEO consultants and companies would
not still be around if they weren't actually increasing their clients'
traffic and sales.

Yes, there may be gazillions of sites competing for the search phrases
related to your client's site, but that's what keyword research is
for.  You're not going to get a small business site to rank highly for
a general one-word keyword, but who cares?  What you want to do is
carefully research your client's niche, then find the hundreds of
phrases that people are using to search for their products or
services.  Some of these phrases will be searched for hundreds of
times a day, and others will be searched on just a few times.
Regardless of the number of times, you want to optimize for those that
are the most relevant to what your client offers.

The biggest mistake made by rookie SEOs (and even some established
ones) is not doing a thorough job on keyword research.  Good keyword
research will take time -- lots of it; but I can't stress enough how
"key" this is to the success or failure of your optimization campaign.
Everything you do for SEO stems from this research. The site
architecture, the navigation, the link text, the copy on the pages,
the Title and Meta tags, as well as the directory descriptions, all
are determined by your choice of keyword phrases.  If you get them
right (and know what to do with them!), you almost can't fail.  Your
client's sites will definitely see their targeted traffic rise over
time, and if they've thought about conversions and usability, so will
their sales.

I wrote an article awhile back which chronicled the success of a few
of my small business clients, which you may be interested in.  It's
called "Search Engine Optimization and the Bottom Line" and can be
read here: </seobottomline.htm>.

I highly recommend using Wordtracker:
</wordtracker> for your keyword research.
However, if you dislike keyword research, or just don't understand how
to do it correctly, you may want to consider outsourcing it.  In fact,
I don't mind passing along my own keyword researcher, Lorelle Smith
(who also proofreads this newsletter).  Lorelle's lifelong passion for
words, combined with an ever-growing vocabulary, gives her an edge
when it comes to conducting keyword research, and she does a great job
with it!  Feel free to email me and I'll put you in contact with her
if you'd like more info.

Hope this helps!


(P.S. If you'd like to republish the above Q&A article, please email
me your request and where it will reside, and I'll send you a short
bio you can use with it for your site.)


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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.

~~~Guest Article~~~

++Google's Aging Delay for New Domains++

Scottie's been busy getting the High Rankings Forum in tip-top
condition since the upgrade, but still managed to find time to write
us a guest article.  Look for more enhancements to the forum in the
weeks to come, and most likely more articles from Scottie!  If you've
recently developed a new site on a new domain name, this article is a
*must* read.  Here's Scottie...

Google's Aging Delay for New Domains
By Scottie Claiborne

You've Got To Pay Your Dues

Many site owners and SEOs are worried because their new sites that
rank well in Yahoo and MSN aren't doing well in Google, and they're
blaming it on the "sandbox."  The current theory is that new sites are
somehow being penalized for obtaining too many links, too quickly.

Is There a Sandbox?

Is there some sort of link analysis going on, some sort of threshold
that will get links to new sites discounted? It sounds like a logical
possibility.  However, many of us who don't buy volume links or
participate in linking networks are seeing the same ranking delays.

New resource sites with a few good relevant links are taking just as
long to climb Google's ranks as the instant link pop sites.  I think a
lot of people are confusing the sandbox with an "aging filter" that
appeared earlier this year.

6 Months for Results in Google

I haven't seen any brand-new sites with new domains appear at the top
of the search engine results pages (SERPs) since early in 2004.  There
seems to be a delay of about 6-8 months.  I've checked with many site
owners and SEOs and I haven't found anyone who's gotten a brand-new
domain ranked well in Google.  If there's a magic bullet, no one's
spilling the beans.

What happens is that, as new sites get indexed, they appear for some
obscure queries; they may appear at the top for a week or so, but then
they drop to the bottom of the SERPs for several months.  The page
shows a PageRank in the Google toolbar, as well as backlinks.
Everything else works fine but it just doesn't rank well for any terms
in Google.  Many times not even the company name.

If you have a brand-new site that isn't ranking well, stop driving
yourself nuts wondering what you are doing wrong! Stop tweaking and
changing things, trying to influence your rankings; until the site has
been in the index a while, it doesn't seem to matter what you do to

Why an Aging Delay?

My own theory is that the age factor for new sites is Google's answer
to mini-networks and other multi-site strategies intended to
artificially inflate link popularity.  Many people divide what should
be a single site into multiple sites in order to capitalize on the
links that are exchanged between them.  Others build a series of small
sites that are only designed to add link popularity to the main site.

By delaying the ranking of brand-new sites, the mini-network strategy
becomes more of a long-term strategy than a quick jump to the top.
Site owners who might have started new sites are going to be more
inclined to add new content on existing sites in order to avoid that

Plan Ahead for New Sites

If you are launching new sites for clients, make sure you set the
expectation that it is likely to be 7-8 months before the site
achieves any real results in Google.

We used to keep a site under wraps and launch it once it was
"perfect." Now it makes sense to get a few pages up for your new site
as soon as you complete them.  The sooner Google is aware of the
domain, the better.

As soon as you have a domain name and have the hosting set up, put up
a temporary page and link to it from another site in Google's index to
start that clock ticking.

Subdomains May Avoid the Aging Delay

Pages on subdomains are generally treated as part of the main domain,
making them a possible workaround.  If your client has the option of
building their site on a subdomain of a site already indexed instead
of a new top-level domain name, let them know that this may avoid the
time delay.

Paid Placement

If search engine traffic is critical to your success, get your site
out there and linked to as early as possible and plan to run an
AdWords campaign for a few months until the site can be established in
the editorial results.  Yahoo and MSN do not have a delay built in, so
focus your early optimization efforts on these engines.

Don't worry, Google will eventually give your new site the respect it
deserves -- just give it time.

Scottie Claiborne
Successful Sites:
The Karcher Group:

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~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Black Hat/White Hat Article++

Alan Perkins has written a nice recap of our Black Hat/White Hat
session from the Chicago SES conference, which you can read here:

Unfortunately, Danny doesn't want to run that session at every
conference, so we won't be repeating it at the upcoming NYC SES in
March.  I believe he plans to run it again at some point in the
future, however, so stay tuned!  Or maybe if we're lucky, black-hat
SEO will be a thing of the past at some point, and we can all live
happily ever after! ;-)

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

++Web Developer Added an Invisible Link++

Forum member "rxs356" asks if it is a problem that her Web developer
added a hidden link from her site to his.  See what the other High
Rankings Forum members say, and leave your own comments here:

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's it for today!  It's been an interesting week here at High
Rankings headquarters.  I had finally caught up on all of my
consulting work, and felt sooooo good to be out from under it.  It was
a lucky thing too, because a few minor crisis situations arose that
needed my immediate attention.  One thing I learned was that my
procrastinating ways actually pay off sometimes because I work best
under the gun.  Nothing can be more under the gun than when there's a
business crisis!  At any rate, the crisis has been averted for now,
and I can now safely go back to procrastinating on the rest of my
work. <grin>

Catch you next week! - Jill

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