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High Rankings Advisor: Organic vs. Pay-per-click Landing Pages - Issue No. 127

January 19, 2005
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Dispelling Some SEO Myths

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   Web CEO - 10 SEM Tools in One!
---->   High Rankings Seminar CD - Half Price

*Guest Interview:
---->   Organic vs. Pay-per-click Landing Pages

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   High Rankings Seminar and Workshops in Seattle

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   You Tell Me!

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   Link Popularity and PageRank

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Back from a Cold Day in NYC
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey all!  Lots of good stuff today, so let's get straight to it. -
Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Dispelling Some SEO Myths++

Jill,

I have been doing website development for a number of years, mostly
for a big organization where optimizing for an intranet didn't mean as
much as it would for the Internet.  So I've read books and bought SE
CD's to bring higher rankings, and it has helped!

I have not completely read all your information, but I was wondering
if you have things in your literature where you have certain
guidelines, like using so many characters/words in the title, or so
many characters/words in your description, or repeating keywords so
many times in your main content? Everyone seems to have different
ideas, but I'd like to see where someone has these kind of guidelines
and results to back them up.

I also have the following questions:

* Is manually submitting each site better?
* Once submitted ...do you keep submitting ...if so how often? (So you
don't get kicked out.)
* The Microsoft submit supposedly submits to hundreds of search
engines and directories.  Is this good or bad (the number of SE's
submitted to)?  I heard the more the better ...but there are some
pretty cheesy search engines out there!
* What about stop words ...do you cover this?
* I heard you should leave out commas between keywords ...any truth to
this?
* If you are indexed in the Open Directory  (DMOZ) do you re-submit to
directories?
* Are there truly reputable submission companies...and might I add
...that get results ...proven results?
* What about the Google AdWords program?
* One more thing...SEO stands for search engine optimization, correct?
* I also have a few sites that I'm just starting to build, and they
are one-page sites... a separate domain for each site. These sites are
linked to a main site, as a 2nd way to find the main site. No trying
to mislead anyone, just trying to work off separate keywords and types
of products.  Are these okay?

Regards,

Pat

++Jill's Response++

When I first read Pat's email and questions, I almost thought it was a
joke email, because it was as if Pat had found every SEO myth ever
discussed, and then asked me about them!  So I wrote Pat back and
basically said that he/she had obviously gotten ahold of some really
old info and that he/she should erase it all from his/her memory bank
and start fresh by reading my articles here:
</articles.htm>.

Pat wrote back very quickly and again asked if I would at least answer
some of the questions posed.  I realized that Pat really was not
joking, and that if he/she had these questions from reading some bad
info that is still out there somewhere, many of you may have similar
ones.

So here's what I wrote back to Pat:

Dear Pat,

There are no specific guidelines for number of anything in SEO (which,
yes, stands for search engine optimization).  There's no number of
words that is optimal in the tags, or in the copy, or in anything.
Every page is unique and the right number for one page won't be the
same as for another page.  SEO is really more art than science, when
done correctly.  (See "The Art of SEO"
</issue105.htm#seo>.)  Many people are
looking for a magic bullet or formula that will propel their sites to
the top, but there just isn't one.  And even if you found one that
worked today, chances are it wouldn't tomorrow.

Let me answer some of your questions and you'll see what I mean:

>>Is manually submitting each site better?<<

You don't actually need to submit your site at all to search
engines -- neither manually nor in an automated fashion.  They all
have spiders that "crawl" the Web and find all pages that exist, as
long as there is a link to them from a page they already know about.

>>Once submitted ...do you keep submitting ...if so how often?  (So
you don't get kicked out.) <<

Never.

>>The Microsoft submit supposedly submits to hundreds of search
engines and directories.<<

It's a waste of time and bandwidth.

>>Is this good or bad (the number of SE's submitted to)?<<

It's neither, just useless.

>>I heard the more the better ...but there are some pretty cheesy
search engines out there!<<

"The more the better" is incorrect.  There are only 4 major search
databases that matter: Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves.  Their
databases power all of the other engines that make a difference.

>>What about stop words ...do you cover this?<<

There's no such thing as stop words.  You need to use all the words it
makes sense for you to use regardless of whether someone somewhere has
classified it as a "stop word."

>>I heard you should leave out commas between keywords ...any truth to
this?<<

It makes no difference.  The Meta keyword tag won't actually help your
site rank highly for the keywords that are important to it, and commas
don't matter as they're treated as a space anyway.  Yahoo does know
about the words and phrases you put in this tag, and they recommend
using commas to separate your phrases.  I've always used commas as
well, but again, it's not going to matter for the keyword phrases that
matter the most anyway, so don't worry about it.

>>If you are indexed in the Open Directory  (DMOZ) do you re-submit to
directories?<<

You can submit to directories one time (not search engines, but
directories).  If you're already listed in DMOZ, there's no need to
resubmit to them, but there's nothing wrong with submitting to other
directories that are unrelated to DMOZ.

>>Are there truly reputable submission companies ...and might I add
...that get results ...proven results?<<

No there are not, because submitting is unnecessary and useless, so
submission companies are useless as well. Please note that I'm not
talking about paid-inclusion companies here.  They are a different
breed than submission companies.  For some sites, paid-inclusion
companies may be useful.  Submission companies -- no.  Paid-inclusion
companies -- maybe, depending on your needs.

>>What about the Google AdWords program?<<

Google Adwords is a great program if you know how to use it correctly
so that every dollar you put in pays off. (See today's interview with
Kevin Lee for more info on PPC landing pages.)

>>I also have a few sites that I'm just starting to build, and they
are one-page sites.<<

One-page sites will have a very hard time doing well in the search
engines because it's doubtful they will provide enough useful
information to users, and thus search engines will be unlikely to take
much notice.  That said, they could do okay if enough other sites find
them worthwhile and link to them, but that will rarely happen.

It sounds like your one-page sites are simply "doorway domains," which
are definitely not a good idea.

Hope this helps clear up a few things for you.  Now seriously, please
go read my articles and clear your mind of all the SEO myths that
you've picked up!

Good luck!

Jill

(P.S. If anyone would 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.)


_______________Web CEO___________________________adv.

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check your rankings,  analyze traffic (visitors, referrers,
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__________________________________________________


~~~Guest Interview~~~

++Organic vs. Pay-per-click Landing Pages++

Today I have the first in a 6-part series of interviews with PPC
expert and co-founder of Did-it.com: <http://www.did-it.com>, Kevin
Lee.  Did-it.com uses advanced strategy and technology to optimize the
performance of their clients' paid-placement and paid-inclusion search
campaigns. Kevin is a founding board member of SEMPO, and serves on
several other SEM industry committees. He enjoys sharing his search
marketing experience and strategy tips, and when not speaking at one
of the many industry conferences, can be found in NYC at Did-it.com
offices.

The interviews were conducted by Amy Edelstein, the founder of Ascent
Copywriting <http://www.ascentcopywriting.com>.  Amy's contributed to
campaigns for many of the leading SEM agencies. When not writing about
all things search, she also publishes in-depth interviews with some of
this century's leading visionaries, including H.H. the Dalai Lama
<http://www.wie.org/j14/dalai_lama.asp>.

Amy and Kevin were nice enough to let the High Rankings Advisor be the
first to publish these very informative interviews, so let's give them
both a warm Advisor welcome!  - Jill

Q=Question, KL=Kevin Lee

Q: There's a growing debate in the search marketing industry on the
differences between landing pages designed for pay-per-click campaigns
and landing pages designed for organic optimization. What do you see
as the difference between the two uses?

KL: It's a good question. The first thing I'd make very clear is that
landing pages that you're building for pay-per-click are very
different from the kind of page that you would build for organic
search. If you are building landing pages for organic SEO you want to
make sure that you build them primarily for the user of your site.
Then, secondarily, they have to be good for the search engines. Just
to spell it out, with organic optimization, all the pages have to fit
within your site's structure. They can't be something that you're
making exclusively as spider food for the search engines because that
moves into the dangerous area, particularly if that page can't be
found by other means as you navigate through your site.

Q: When you say dangerous area, you mean it potentially invites
censure from the search engines?

KL: Yes. Pages like that could be seen as search engine spam.  You can
probably go pretty far before you would get in trouble for it, but why
bother? With organic, you shouldn't really be generating lots and lots
of content only for the search engines if it has no good user value.
Now there is some kind of balance you can find where your content is
equally useful to both, where you're keeping both in mind as you write
your copy, and as you plan your site and build your pages.

Q: You don't really run the same censure risks with pay-per-click
landing pages, right?

KL: That's right. What I was just describing contrasts pretty strongly
with building landing pages or microsites for pay-per-click. There's
nothing wrong with building as many pages as you want, or even dynamic
pages, for the purpose of testing conversion or user experience for
click streams that come in from paid search. As a matter of fact,
anybody who does paid-search marketing would probably encourage it.

You see, what you're essentially responding to at that point is the
recognition that "I'm paying for that click!" The logic is, "My
creative in the search engines was interesting enough that the person
actually clicked on it. Now I want to do everything I can to meet the
needs of that searcher. Because if I can meet their needs, chances are
I can meet my needs at the same time. They're looking to buy something
and I'm looking to sell something, and if we can find that perfect fit
where they agree that what I have to sell is exactly what they want to
buy, then everybody's happy."

This is why doing dynamic landing pages and orphaned microsites are no
problem for paid search.

Q: That makes sense. Given the differences you just laid out, would
you ever use the same landing pages for organic and pay-per-click?

KL: You can conceivably use the same pages for paid that are also
being used for organic, but often the strategies that you would want
to test in a  paid environment would be very different from the kinds
of things that you'd want to test in an organic environment.

Q: Can you give an example?

KL: Well, for example, you could do a much more graphically rich page
for paid using Flash and not that much copy. If you thought that you
could explain what is great about you in 50 words or 40 words or even
15 words on your paid landing page, and you wanted to include just a
Flash animation with that little bit of copy along with a call to
action, that'd be fine for paid. If that's what worked really well,
then that's what you'd want to use.

Q: You're going to put us copywriters out of business, or at least
jack up our rate per word by quite a bit!

KL: What I just described is not something you'd want to do in an
organic environment. In an organic environment, you'd want to have a
good amount of copy that really explains the uniqueness of the page.
You can use Flash but you certainly wouldn't want to embed content in
the Flash that the search engine spiders wouldn't see. So there are a
lot of practical differences between landing pages designed for
organic and pages designed for paid.

[Next week: "How To Use Landing Pages Effectively."]

Amy Edelstein
Ascent Copywriting
http://www.ascentcopywriting.com

Kevin Lee, CEO
Did-it.com
http://www.did-it.com

[Thanks Kevin and Amy! - Jill]


_______________________________________________

Buy Now! High Rankings Seminar CD - Half Price While Supplies Last!
__________________________________________________

Listen to the MP3 audio files of our Tampa full-day search engine
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.
</cdhra127>
__________________________________________________


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++ High Rankings Seminar and Workshops in Seattle++

We're nearly ready to open up registration for the next High Rankings
Seminar and Workshops!  For now, block off March 31st and April 1st on
your calendar.  This will be our first seminar on the West Coast, so
we're expecting a good turnout.  We will be limiting the number of
participants in order to keep things small.  We've found that people
appreciate the cozy atmosphere and having easy access to all of the
speakers, as compared to a large conference.

Here's some of the info we have so far:

Date: Thursday March 31 and Friday April 1, 2005
Place: Watertown Hotel, Seattle (3 miles from Downtown Seattle)

We will have a limited number of rooms available at a discounted rate
of $119 per night plus tax, as well. (Mention the seminar when you
reserve, in order to get the deal.)

We don't have an exact price for the seminar yet, but it should be
similar to the last event we had in the Boston area.  The seminar page
</seminar> will hopefully be updated with
the new info over the next few days, so check back then.  If all goes
well, registration should be open before next week's newsletter.

We've got the same great speakers as last time, plus we've added our
good friend Dan Thies to the roster.  So now we have the following
High Rankings Forum moderators presenting: Karon Thackston, Scottie
Claiborne, Debra Mastaler, Christine Churchill, Matt Bailey, Dan
Thies, and me of course!

The first day will consist of presentations and Q&A with the speakers,
and the second day will be 2 tracks of hands-on workshops.  One of the
great things about our seminars is that the speakers are all very good
friends, and we all teach the same basic SEO and SEM principles and
techniques.  This means that you will learn a cohesive search
marketing method plan that you can begin applying as soon as you go
home from the seminar.  This is the #1 thing that past attendees have
told us that they appreciate about our seminars.

In fact, I sat at lunch with one woman at our last seminar who
proceeded to tell me how her boss had sent her to a different
seminar/workshop the year before, but when she came home, she didn't
feel like she had any actionable techniques she could use.  She
basically went home and just started crying because she was more
confused than ever.  She was sooooo happy to have found our High
Rankings seminar, and told me that she already had learned more than
enough to go back and start working on her sites (and our seminar
wasn't even over yet!).  That's the kind of stuff we hear over and
over again!

Anyway, I've rambled on enough for now.  Please visit the seminar page
</seminar> in a few days and you'll be able
to see the complete agenda, speakers' bios, costs, etc.

Oh yeah, just one more thing...we are planning a dinner at Ivar's
Salmon House at 6:30 PM which will be open to all on the first night
of the seminar.  So even if you can't make it to the seminar, we do
hope you'll join us for dinner.  As with the other details, please
check the seminar page shortly for more details on the dinner.


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

++You Tell Me++

I've been out of the office (see Wrap-up) and haven't actually had a
chance to visit the forum this week yet.  I know that sounds crazy
coming from me, but it's true!  I knew if I visited it today to find
something to use for a thread of the week, I'd get sucked in and never
finish this newsletter, so I've been a good girl and stayed away.  You
can bet that as soon as this is off to my proofreader, and I've
ordered our dinner from Papa Gino's, I'll finally get a chance to see
what's been going on.  Guess you're going to have to choose the thread
of the week for ME this time!

Just go to </forum> and let me know which
of the recent ones you like the best so that I don't miss it.

Thanks! - Jill


~~~Sound Advice~~~

++Link Popularity and PageRank++

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


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's all the SEO/SEM info for today!

I'm just back from a day in NYC with my oldest daughter, who had an
interview at Wagner College out on Staten Island.  The trip wasn't bad
(we took the bus), but man was it cold!  Not the best day for needing
to be outside.  At least her interview went well, and it seems like
she has a good shot at getting accepted.  She clicked really well with
the admissions counselor, so that should help.  She's applied to 9
colleges in the New England/New York area.  She's already been
accepted to one in Maine, but it's not really one of her top choices.
At least we know she can go somewhere though!

Catch you next week! - Jill
 
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