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High Rankings Advisor: SEO and the Zen Factor - Issue No. 138

April 27, 2005


*Introductory Comments:
---->   Toronto SES Conference Pass

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   SEO and the Zen Factor

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   GoGuides Directory
---->   Dan Thies' SEM Kit
---->   SEO Copywriting Combo

*Guest Article:
---->   How To Structure a Virtual SEM Business for Success

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   How Often Should I Resubmit My Site?

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   No Newsletter Next Week

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey all! I know it's short notice, but if you live in Canada and are
interested in attending the Search Engine Strategies conference in
Toronto next week (May 4th & 5th), I have a free pass available.
Email me at to let me know why I should
choose you!  Please be sure that you can indeed attend, and also can
pay for your own transportation and lodging.  Since the conference is
quickly approaching, I'll be choosing someone by Friday, so get those
emails to me as soon as possible if you'd like to be considered.  You
can learn more about the conference here:

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

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~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

The following article may not seem to have anything to do with SEO at
first, but bear with it...there is a connection! - Jill

++SEO and the Zen Factor++

I don't get a chance to read much that isn't related to search
marketing these days, but since I'm traveling more, I've been using
those long plane flights to read different types of books.  One of my
favorites has been Dr. Wayne Dyer's "The Power of Intention"
</powerofintention>, which I bought after
seeing him speak on public television.

In the "The Power of Intention" every sentence has a powerful meaning
that really needs to be pondered in order to get the most out of it.
When I read a book that is packed with such deep concepts, I find that
the best thing for me to do is read through it once without trying to
grasp everything that is being said.  At that point I find that I have
understood the information at only a very basic level.  I may know
what the author is talking about, and I may not be confused by it, but
I really can't verbalize it to anyone else.  I'm now on my third or
fourth read of Dyer's book, and am a bit more at home with the
concepts he presents, but I find that with each read I get more and
more out of it.

Currently, I'm reading another book on a similar topic, but it's
presented in a totally different manner.  This book ("The Power of
Now" by Eckhart Tolle </powerofnow>) has
helped me further understand Dr. Dyer's book, just as Dyer's book has
helped me understand this book.  I've also realized there is so much
to learn on this subject that I'm sure I could read a hundred books
and never understand everything.

By now, I'm sure you're totally confused and wondering what the heck
my personal reading habits have to do with SEO.  Stay with me, as I do
have a point!  When I think about the vast information that *any*
subject contains, be it SEO or personal growth, I realize that when
people first get interested in something, there's a steep learning
curve involved.  Every day I hear from people who are just learning
SEO, and they're simply not grasping what I consider the very basic
concepts.  For those of us who live and breathe SEO, it's sometimes
difficult to step back and remember what it was like when we were
first learning.

Even though SEO isn't as complicated as Zen Buddhism, it's still going
to take most newbies a lot of time and study to truly understand
things at a fundamental level.  For those of you just starting to
learn SEO, you may read some of the more ethereal stuff written on the
topic (such as my "Art of SEO" article
</issue105.htm#seo>) and simply not be able
to grasp it -- yet. But don't despair!  If you immerse yourself in the
topic, you will find that every day you understand more and more.

When practiced at the level of those of us who've been in the game for
5-10 years, SEO is in fact very Zen-like.  We can look at a website
and know exactly what needs to be done to make it the best it can be
for the site visitors and the search engines.  Often, it's easiest for
us when we can just roll up our sleeves and do what we know needs to
be done, rather than try to explain the whys and wherefores.  Many
times it's not even possible to explain exactly why we are doing a
specific thing, because it simply comes from the gut.  Unfortunately,
many clients and even more budding SEOs aren't cool with the
explanation "it just feels right"!

There will always be SEOs who need to do their work based on some
logical, formulaic reasoning.  These people may never be able to
simply trust their own instincts. To them, it can't just "feel right,"
because search algorithms and how to beat them have got to have a
logical explanation.  However, as time marches on, search engines are
becoming ever more sophisticated.  The logical among us have all kinds
of theories and acronyms (e.g. LSI) that supposedly explain how the
engines will be determining relevancy in the future.  Personally, I
prefer to believe that they're simply adding a "Zen factor" to the

In fact, I think I'll go meditate so that I can manifest the best
title tags for my latest client's site. :-)


(P.S. If you'd like to republish the above 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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~~~Guest Article~~~

++How To Structure a Virtual SEM Business for Success++

Today's guest article was written by Stacy Williams, founder of
Prominent Placement, Inc. She's been providing strategic search
marketing services to clients since early 2001. Stacy and I were on
the Virtual SEM panel at the Chicago Search Engine Strategies
conference, and this article is loosely based on her presentation

Take it away, Stacy! - Jill

Virtually Perfect:
How To Structure a Virtual SEM Business for Success
By Stacy Williams

The business of search marketing continues to expand -- offering what
seems like endless opportunities for SEM professionals to grow their
business.  But the idea of growth often conjures up images of working
in a traditional office setting, which for many of us has little to no

Fortunately, technology enables many in our industry to operate
virtually -- conducting regular business from their living room or on
the road.  There's no need to trade off this work-style to capitalize
on the market opportunity and take your business to the next level.
You simply need to lay the foundation for virtual success.

People Make the Difference

Let's face it:  Even in the age of technology, people are a critical
part of business success.  And when you are operating virtually, it's
even more important to find the right team.  You need to consider a
number of issues surrounding the set-up of your workforce.  For

1. Recruiting the Right Talent

Where do you find people?  Not just bodies, but talent that fits the
bill?  One of the greatest untapped resources:  stay-at-home parents!
We hire moms and dads that have solid experience as account managers
in ad agencies or PR firms -- they're sharp marketers and already know
how to handle clients.  A virtual agency offers many lifestyle
benefits that appeal to people who have left the corporate or agency
rat race.  You get the benefit of their experience and talent without
having to pay full-time salaries and benefits.

2. Identifying Roles

What roles do you really need to fill?  I've found that hiring
specialists with assigned responsibilities works the best in a virtual
setting.  It leaves less room for interpretation differences and
maximizes productivity.  At Prominent Placement, we have trained
account managers (for SEO and PPC), linking specialists, reporting
specialists, freelance copywriters, a bookkeeper, and a technical
advisor.  We outsource other roles, such as research, because it's
more cost-effective.

3. Working with Clients

You have three options here.  You can:

1) always be the front person (which often defeats the purpose of
having others on your team); or

2) be a control freak and insist on reviewing every last email (which
ultimately creates a bottleneck in the process); or

3) train qualified account managers to work directly with the clients.
Some of you are probably getting hives right now thinking about the
delegation.  Trust me, the only way you can get to the bigger-picture
aspects of your business is to spread the wealth.  You have to train
and then trust!

4. Jumpstarting the Learning Process

We all know how quickly this industry is evolving.  It's critical to
get your workforce up to speed and in the habit of staying "ahead of
the curve."  There are comprehensive online courses through companies
such as iMedia Learning and Search Engine College, books (two of my
favorites: Planet Ocean's online book "The Unfair Advantage Book to
Winning the Search Engine Wars" and Shari Thurow's book "Search Engine
Visibility" </searchenginevisibility>), and
of course, the ever invaluable on-the-job training.

5. Getting the Info Out of Your Head

It's incredible just how much data we store in our heads -- especially
if you have been operating as a sole practitioner!  If there is a
single, most important step to take, it's getting this data out of
your head and onto paper.  Document everything that you do.  (Yes,
it's time-consuming, but worth it in the long run!)  Then organize the
information into a Process Manual for your workforce.  This will make
your training almost seamless!  And ensure that "your way" of doing
business is replicated.


Be sure to leverage technology to its full potential.  With all of the
options in the market today, you can easily and cost-effectively
create a traditional business front for customers.

1. Email - Be sure that you set up company email addresses for all of
the individuals who will have customer interactions.  Always present a
unified front to the client.

2. Phone - There are a number of options on the phone front.  You can
have an answering service, a main local phone number with extensions
that are forwarded to each person's home phone, or Voice over IP.  If
you prefer, your workers can simply give out their individual phone
numbers.  In this case, you may want to give them tips for ensuring a
business front is always presented.   There are also great
conference-calling services such as

3. Data - Most of us are accustomed to emailing documents back and
forth.  When you add people to your workforce, it is critical that you
consider a different method for storing and sharing data so everyone
can access what they need 24-7.  For example, a Virtual Private
Network will allow staff at other locations to access your files
directly.  Or, if you don't want to be responsible for ensuring that
your network is always available, secure, backed up, and so forth, use
an outsourced extranet instead.  We've had great results with
MarketingCentral <> -- it's easy to use
and affordable.

With any company, a business plan is a necessity.  You need to know
where you are taking your business -- the path, the timeline, the
milestones, etc.  If you haven't yet done this, talk to the Small
Business Development Center <>.  The
organization offers tremendous insight and direction for creating your
path -- at no cost to you!  Remember:  If you don't know where you are
going, any road will take you there.

Stacy Williams, Managing Partner
Prominent Placement, Inc.

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

++How Often Should I Resubmit My Site?++

No matter how often and how loudly we remind people that there's no
need to EVER submit to the spidering search engines, they continue to
ask about it!  In this forum thread
</forum/index.php?showtopic=13838> many of
us decided to run some search engine submission tests so we can put
this baby to bed once and for all.

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's it for today!  Next week is the Toronto SES conference, so
there will be no newsletter. If you're in Toronto, please find me
(most likely in the hotel bar) and say hi!  I'm speaking on the
Writing for Search Engines panel on Wednesday.  Don't forget to email
as soon as possible if you want a crack at the free pass!  Catch you
in Toronto or in the next newsletter.

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