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High Rankings Advisor: SEO for Graphical Pages - Issue No. 136

April 6, 2005
*Introductory Comments:
---->   Last of the FAQ

*Search Engine Marketing FAQ:
---->   SEO for Graphical Pages
---->   Switching Server Hosts
---->   Site Redesign and File Name Changes

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

*Guest Article:
---->   Creating a Search Engine Copywriting Plan

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Dan Thies' SEM Kit - Now Available!

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   RSS / XML - Need Help

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Successful Seminar in Seattle
________________________________________________________

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey all! I do believe we've come to the end of the SEM FAQ today, so
I'll have to find something else for you in the upcoming weeks.
Eventually, I'll put these FAQ all together somewhere for easy
reference.  (Hopefully that "eventually" will be sooner rather than
later, but I'm not making any promises!)

So let's get straight to the good stuff! - Jill


~~~Search Engine Marketing FAQ~~~

++SEO for Graphical Pages++

Q.  My boss has a gigantic head and has spent $50,000 for an
all-graphical home page.  Will it help if we place keyword phrases in
[alt tags] [comments tags] [a hidden layer] [text the same color as
the background at the bottom of the page]?

Jill: I'm afraid that using keyword phrases in any of those places
won't help get your home page found in the search engines.  Alt
attributes (alt tags) are ignored on images that are not clickable, so
those won't help.  Comment tags have nothing to do with search engine
optimization, and are not indexed by the spiders, so don't bother with
those either.

Hidden layers may actually help, but would most likely be considered
spam by the search engines unless the content in them is exactly the
same as on the graphical images on the site.  If you simply hide
keyword phrases in a hidden layer, be sure to look over your shoulder
constantly, because your paranoia about one day getting penalized
isn't all that paranoid; it could very well happen! If you like to
sleep at night, this may not be the best route for you to take.

Your alternatives are to simply use the power of your Title tag and
the power of the links pointing to your home page.  You could also
concentrate more on the inner pages (assuming they are not all
graphical) and optimize them for the keyword phrases that are
important to you.

Don't forget that you can always just use PPC ads and not worry about
the organic/natural results.  That is a very real option these days,
and for those not willing to compromise a wee bit to gain natural
rankings, it's probably the best one.


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++Switching Server Hosts++

Q. I get no respect from my current Web host so I'm switching
providers.  Will this affect my search engine rankings?

Jill: No, it won't affect your rankings, but it wouldn't hurt to leave
your site up on the old host for about a month to ensure that the DNS
propagates across the Web and that the search spiders are indexing the
pages at the new host.  Once you see the spiders in your log files at
the new host, it should be safe to take down the site at the old
server.


++Site Redesign and File Name Changes++

Q. I've finally redesigned my circa-1997 Web site, and all the file
names have changed.  What should I do to ensure that the search
engines index my new pages?

Jill: There are technical things you can do at the server level to
redirect all the old file names to the new ones, but quite frankly, I
would simply wait it out and allow nature to take its course in due
time.  Unfortunately, there may be a period of a few months where your
old pages are still indexed, and your new ones aren't, but things will
work themselves out over time.

Do make sure that you have a custom 404-error page in place that will
display when people click to one of your old pages from the engines.
Also be sure to have some sort of search box and or sitemap on your
404-error page so that the visitor can actively and easily seek out
what they came to find.  Plus, don't forget to check that the old URLs
serve up an actual 404 HTTP header code so that the engines know to
purge them from their databases eventually.  You can check this using
any HTTP header viewer tool, such as the one here:
<http://www.delorie.com/web/headers.html>.

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.)


______________Missed the SEO Seminar?_______________

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!
(Yes, it's old, but no, it's not out of date!)

SEO Basics, PPC, Copywriting, Measuring Traffic, and Conversions.

Also includes complete PDF presentations from the speakers.
</cdhra136>
__________________________________________________


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Creating a Search Engine Copywriting Plan++

We've got another great article from SEO copywriter and Seattle
drinking buddy (Coke for her ;-) Karon Thackston. Enjoy! - Jill


Creating a Search Engine Copywriting Plan
By Karon Thackston

Search engine copywriting has become an extremely important part of
the overall search engine optimization process.  However, search
engine copywriting has also developed into a misunderstood craft.

Shoving keywords in anywhere they can possibly go is not search engine
copywriting.  The process is more defined than that. Successful SEO
copywriting takes planning.  Any half-hearted efforts at writing copy
geared strictly toward the engines will usually result in a decline in
your customer's experience at your site.  This is not a good thing.

What's the best way to write SEO copy?  Starting with a plan is always
a good idea.  Keep in mind, these are guidelines that can be used *IF*
they make sense for your site visitors.  I never recommend writing
solely for the search engines.  In the case of search engine
copywriting, the customer is truly #1.

1) Use Three Keyphrases Per Page - Not a carved-in-stone rule, the
guideline of three keyphrases per page gives good variety and helps
keep the copy from sounding too repetitive.  I always choose
keyphrases first -- before I write -- because they can have a direct
impact on the focus of the page.

2) Have 250 or More Words of Copy - The length of your copy depends on
several things: your target customer's preferred communication style,
whether the product is new to the marketplace, whether a detailed
explanation needs to be given, site design and many other factors.
However, the 250-word minimum gives enough room to get your message
across effectively and offer an effective level of keyword support.
Remember though, it's all about the customer.  If your target
customers prefer longer copy, write longer copy.  If they like shorter
copy, write shorter copy.

3) Write In Natural Language - "Natural language" is a term popular in
SEO copywriting.  It means that the reader should not be able to (or
should barely be able to) detect what keyphrases the page is being
optimized for.  The copy should flow as if it were not written with
the search engines in mind.  You don't want the copy to sound like you
forced keywords in there.  When you generate ideas for the page copy,
keep your keywords in mind.  Ask yourself whether you can use them in
the copy in such a way that they won't be obtrusive.

4) Use Keyword Phrases in Headlines and Sub-headlines IF It Makes
Sense - You will not blow your rankings if you have no keyword-filled
<H1> or other <H> tags.  If your headline sounds stupid with keywords
in it, don't use them.  There are countless sites online that rank
highly which have no keywords in the headline.

5) Use Keyword Phrases Once or Twice Per Paragraph - Again, only if it
makes sense.  Remember what I keep repeating?  None of these
guidelines are carved in stone.  Read your copy out loud and if it
sounds stupid or forced, take out some keywords or find ways to rework
them so they flow more naturally.

6) Use Keyword Phrases in Bold, Italic or Bulleted Lists - IF it makes
sense to do so.  Don't automatically bold or italicize every instance
of your keywords.  It will make your page look stupid and your
visitors will wonder what kind of drugs you've been doing!

7) Do NOT Use Keyword Phrases as Substitutes for Every Generic Term -
For example, do not replace every instance of the generic word
"cruise" with the keyphrase "Mexico cruise vacation."  Your copy will
sound ridiculous:

"We offer Mexico cruise vacation packages on the most popular Mexico
cruise vacation ships to the most breathtaking Mexico cruise vacation
destinations."  Oh please!!

8) Use Keyword Phrases as Anchor Text in Links - This is certainly not
always possible. If your primary keyphrase is "Mexico Cruise Vacation"
you absolutely should not write every link to include that phrase.
However, if you can include keywords in anchor text within body copy
or in text navigation links, you might score a little extra credit.

9) Test and Track - Lastly, and above all, please remember it may take
some tweaking to get your page to convert the way you want it to.  All
customers are not the same and all sites are not the same.  All
keyphrases are not the same either.  There is no magic bullet.  You'll
have to test and track and see what works best for you.

Karon Thackston
How To Increase Keyword Saturation
(Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy)
http://www.copywritingcourse.com/keyword


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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.
</combo136>
__________________________________________________


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Dan Thies' SEM Kit++

It's here, it's here! Just what you've been waiting for, the new Dan
Thies Search Engine Marketing Kit from SitePoint!

If you are a freelance Web developer and/or work for a development
firm, or if you're simply a Web site owner or Webmaster, Dan's kit is
exactly what you're looking for.  I daresay that it would also be
great for anyone on the verge of opening up a new search marketing
business.  (And I should know because I was an editor on the book!)

Just like Dan's personal coaching that I raved about a month or two
ago, this SEM kit will teach you everything you want to know about:

* Understanding Search Engines
* Search Engine Optimization
* Advanced SEO & Search Engine Friendly Design
* Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
* Running a Search Engine Marketing Business.

The best news is that the kit won't set you back all that much as
compared to Dan's personal coaching, however.  (The coaching is $1,700
and the kit is only $197.) So if you really wanted to sign up for the
personal training, but couldn't quite afford it, here's your chance to
still learn from one of the best.

You can learn more about this Search Engine Marketing Kit or purchase
it through my affiliate link here:
</semkit>.

(More info on Dan's coaching/consulting can be found here:
<http://www.seoresearchlabs.com/hr/seo-course.php>.)


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

++RSS / XML - Need Help++

Forum member "Whitney" asks for some help with RSS and XML feeds, and
as usual our HRF members don't let her down.  Read more and post your
comments here:
</forum/index.php?showtopic=13463>.


~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's it for today!

I came back from Seattle to learn that I had lucked out and missed a
ton of rain while away.  Who would have guessed that there'd be *less*
rain in Seattle.  The weather was actually pretty good to us while we
were there.  We did have to walk to our seminar dinner in the rain on
Thursday, but the hotel was good enough to lend us some umbrellas so
it wasn't that bad.  Speaking of the hotel, we were all very impressed
with the Watertown <http://www.watertownseattle.com/> and I'd highly
recommend it to anyone visiting Seattle, whether for business or
pleasure.  They took great care of us!

Let me also publicly thank my seminar planning partner, Lee Laughlin
from Fearless Events <http://www.fearlessevents.com/>, for all her
hard work before, during, and after the event.  There would not be any
High Rankings seminars if it weren't for Lee, so thanks, friend!

And of course a big thank-you to all my speaker friends who imparted
as much wisdom as they could to our attendees.  Thanks again, Karon,
Scottie, Debra, Dan, Matt, and Chris!

Catch you next time. - Jill

 
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