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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings® Advisor: New and Improved 10 Tips to the Top - Issue No. 150

October 12, 2005

*Introductory Comments:
---->   Seminar Early Discount Extended Until Oct. 14th

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   New and Improved 10 Tips to the Top

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   Synergy Site Manager Suite

*Guest Article:
---->   Discovering KeywordDiscovery

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   New ClickTracks 6 Free Trial
----> Interviews Jill
---->   Jill on eMarketing Talk Show

*High Rankings® Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Google PageRank

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Not Any Taller

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!

When you're in the SEO trenches day after day for 10 years, it always
seems as if the methods and processes you use don't really change;
that is, until you read one of your old articles and start disagreeing
with yourself!  I wrote my original "10 Tips to the Top" article many
years ago, and have updated it numerous times since then.  In fact, it
was last updated in March of 2004, which doesn't seem like that long
ago.  Recently, a client was quoting things from that article to me in
reference to how to optimize a site he was working on.  That's when I
realized that I really needed to revisit and update that article
because there were so many important things missing from it.

So today you get to be the first to read my new and improved "10 Tips
to the Top." I promise to burn the old one just as soon as I'm through

I've also got a great overview of a new keyword research tool called
"KeywordDiscovery" that was launched by our friends at Trellian.

Plus, you should know that we extended the early sign-up for the High
Rankings® seminar until 5 PM EST this Friday, Oct. 14th.  Learn more
about the seminar and register here:
</seminar>.  It will be held in
Philadelphia, PA on Nov. 3-4, 2005, which is right around the corner!

Okay, let's get to the good stuff! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++New and Improved 10 Tips to the Top++

Having a website that gets found in Google, Yahoo, and MSN, etc. isn't
hard to do, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are
my latest and greatest tips to get you started:

1. Do not purchase a new domain unless you have to.  Due to Google's
aging delay for all new domains (see this forum thread:
</forum/index.php?showtopic=12535>), your
best bet is to use an existing domain/website if at all possible.  If
you're redesigning or starting from scratch and you have to use a
brand-new domain for some reason, you can expect to wait a good 9-12
months before your site will show up in Google for any keyword phrases
that are important to you.

2. Optimize your site for your target audience, not for the search
engines.  This may sound counterintuitive, but hear me out.  The
search engines are looking for pages that best fit the keyword phrase
someone types into their little search box.  If those "someones" are
typing in search words that relate to what your site offers, then they
are most likely members of your target audience.  You need to optimize
your site to meet *their* needs.  If you don't know who your target
audience is, then you need to find out one way or another.  Look for
studies online that might provide demographic information, and visit
other sites, communities, or forums where your target audience might
hang out and listen to what they discuss. This information will be
crucial to your resulting website design, keyword research, and

3. Research your keyword phrases extensively.  The phrases you think
your target market might be searching for may very well be incorrect.
To find the optimal phrases to optimize for, use research tools such
as Keyword Discovery </keyworddiscovery>,
Wordtracker </wordtracker>, Google AdWords,
and Yahoo Search Marketing data. Compile lists of the most relevant
phrases for your site, and choose a few different ones for every page.
Never shoot for general keywords such as "travel" or "vacation," as
they are rarely (if ever) indicative of what your site is really

4. Design and categorize your site architecture and navigation based
on your keyword research.  Your research may uncover undiscovered
areas of interest or ways of categorizing your products/services that
you may wish to add to your site.  For instance, let's say your site
sells toys.  There are numerous ways you could categorize and lay out
your site so that people will find the toys they're looking for. Are
people looking for toys to fit their child's stage of development?
(Look for keyword phrases such as "preschool toys.")  Or are they more
likely to be seeking specific brands of toys? Most likely, your
keyword research will show you that people are looking for toys in
many different ways.  Your job is to make sure that your site's
navigation showcases the various ways of searching.  Make sure you
have links to specific-brand pages as well as specific age ranges,
specific types of toys, etc.

5. Program your site to be "crawler-friendly." The search engines
can't fill out forms, can't search your site, can't read JavaScript
links and menus, and can't interpret graphics and Flash. This doesn't
mean that you can't use these things on your site; you most certainly
can! However, you do need to provide alternate means of navigating
your site as necessary.  If you have only a drop-down sequence of
menus to choose a category or a brand of something, the search engine
crawlers will never find those resulting pages.  You'll need to make
sure that you always have some form of HTML links in the main
navigation on every page which link to the top-level pages of your
site.  From those pages, you'll need to have further HTML links to the
individual product/service pages. (Please note that HTML links do NOT
have to be text-only links.  There's nothing wrong with graphical
image navigation that is wrapped in standard <a href> tags, as the
search engines can follow image links just fine.)

6. Label your internal text links and clickable image alt attributes
(aka alt tags) as clearly and descriptively as possible.  Your site
visitors and the search engines look at the clickable portion of your
links (aka the anchor text) to help them understand what they're going
to find once they click through.  Don't make them guess what's at the
other end with links that say "click here" or other non-descriptive
words.  Be as descriptive as possible with every text and graphical
link on your site.  The cool thing about writing your anchor text and
alt attributes to be descriptive is that you can almost always
describe the page you're pointing to by using its main keyword phrase.

7. Write compelling copy for the key pages of your site based on your
chosen keyword phrases and your target market's needs, and make sure
it's copy that the search engines can "see." This is a crucial
component to having a successful website. The search engines need to
read keyword-rich copy on your pages so they can understand how to
classify your site. This copy shouldn't be buried in graphics or
hidden in Flash. Write your copy based on your most relevant keyword
phrases while also making an emotional connection with your site
visitor.  (This is where that target audience analysis comes in
handy!)  Understand that there is no magical number of words per page
or number of times to use your phrases in your copy.  The important
thing is to use your keyword phrases only when and where it makes
sense to do so for the real people reading your pages. Simply sticking
keyword phrases at the top of the page for no apparent reason isn't
going to cut it, and it just looks silly.  (Purchase and read our
Copywriting Combo </combo.htm> for exact
tips on how to implement this correctly.)

8. Incorporate your keyword phrases into each page's unique Title tag.
Title tags are critical because they're given a lot of weight with
every search engine. Whatever keyword phrases you've written your copy
around should also be used in your Title tag. Remember that the
information that you place in this tag is what will show up as the
clickable link to your site at the search engines.  Make sure that it
accurately reflects the content of the page it's on, while also using
the keyword phrases people might be using at a search engine to find
your stuff.

9. Make sure your site is "link-worthy." Other sites linking to yours
is a critical component of a successful search engine optimization
campaign, as all of the major search engines place a good deal of
emphasis on your site's overall link popularity. You can go out and
request hundreds or thousands of links, but if your site stinks, why
would anyone want to link to it? On the other hand, if your site is
full of wonderful, useful information, other sites will naturally link
to it without your even asking. It's fine to trade links; just make
sure you are providing your site visitors with only the highest
quality of related sites. When you link to lousy sites, keep in mind
what this says to your site visitors as well as to the search engines.

10. Don't be married to any one keyword phrase or worried too much
about rankings.  If you've done the above 9 things correctly, you will
start to see an increase in targeted search engine visitors to your
site fairly quickly.  Forget about where you rank for any specific
keyword phrase and instead measure your results in increased traffic,
sales, and conversions. (You can sign up for a free trial of
ClickTracks </clicktracks>, which easily
tracks and measures those things that truly matter.) It certainly
won't hurt to add new content to your site if it will really make your
site more useful, but don't simply add a load of fluff just for the
sake of adding something. It really is okay to have a business site
that is just a business site and not a diatribe on the history of your
products. Neither your site visitors nor the engines really give a


(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~~~

++Discovering Keyword Discovery++

David Temple writes today's guest article, which is a nice overview of
Trellian's new KeywordDiscovery tool
</keyworddiscovery>.  David is the SEO
Manager at TopRank Online Marketing. In his free time, he blogs about
global search engines <> and
is a contributing editor at Multilingual Search.  He also manages the
Global English Salon, a website for English learners with visitors
from more than 100 countries.

Take it away, David! - Jill

Discovering KeywordDiscovery
by David Temple

Keyword research is a vital first step in any search engine marketing
campaign. There are basically 2 types of keyword research software:
keyword suggestion tools and keyword analytical tools. Many search
engines have their own keyword suggestion tools which provide a list
of related keywords but usually don't indicate much more than the
number of times that particular keyword was entered. Keyword
analytical tools, on the other hand, not only give you alternate
suggestions to your keywords but also supply information on the number
of times any particular keyword was typed into the search engines
(based on their current data), how much competition you can expect for
those keywords, and other important information. Trellian's
KeywordDiscovery </keyworddiscovery> is one
such keyword analytical tool.

Keyword Discovery gets results from 37 different search engines. The
database contains more than 20 billion searches conducted over the
previous 12 months. These include major international, pay-per-click,
meta, and regional search engines. It also provides information from
Overture broken down by 16 different regions. The interface is simple
(simple is good).  You begin by entering a keyword or keyword phrase
into the search box, then choose the type of search you want. The
results show occurrences, KEI analysis, and predicted daily numbers.

General Search - allows you to input a keyword and get a variety of
keyword phrase combinations containing the keyword you enter.

Related Search - finds other relevant keyword phrases based on the
keyword you entered. Using advanced search syntax you can discover
common misspellings, like or similar keywords, and of course related
keywords. The crawl syntax compiles a list of common keywords found on
the first 100 pages. You can also exclude specified keywords from your
keyword phrases.

You can even divide your research into projects, which helps you keep
track of the different keywords you've researched.

After you've discovered the keywords you want to use you can really
start the analytical process by clicking the Analyze button. There is
also a cross-reference tool that allows you to check your competitor's
website to see which keywords they are using.  Another feature is a
display of the top 1,000 keywords from the previous week. This also
shows whether a keyword has moved up or down. An interesting report is
the Multiple Keyword Statistics, which shows the percentage of single
and multiple keyword searches by language.

A keyword density tool checks a web page and returns a list of
keywords from that page along with the density data. The newest
feature is the keyword directory tool that lists the actual keywords
that drive traffic to sites based on their DMOZ site category

Compared to other keyword analytical tools, KeywordDiscovery has a
larger database with 12 months of data spanning 37 search engines. In
addition you can reorder your results based upon different criteria.
The keyword phrases are also separated by singular and plural
versions, which is very useful when deciding which form to use
(although you should usually use both).

As with any keyword research tool, it is difficult to know how
accurate the data is; however, this is a nice tool to add to any
search marketer's toolbox.  KeywordDiscovery provides a
limited-features free trial that is a great way to discover its
benefits.  You can try it out here:

David Temple, SEO Manager
TopRank Online Marketing

[Note: I've been using KeywordDiscovery myself for the past few months
and have really been loving it!  It takes a little bit of getting used
to, but once you've played around with it for a few clients, you'll
get the hang of it and wonder how you ever lived without it.  Like
David, I highly recommend it for all your keyword research. - Jill]


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~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++New ClickTracks 6 Free Trial++

Our friends at ClickTracks have just launched version 6 of their
awesome web analytics software.  The cool thing is that you can try it
out for free to make sure it will meet your needs.  Download your
trial copy here: </clicktracks>.  (I know
that looks like one of my affiliate links, but it's actually just a
plain old redirect to save space.  I'm recommending this one cuz it's
good stuff and it will help you to measure your SEO campaigns the way
they should be measured!)  My Search Creative
<> team has been using ClickTracks for
our SEO clients for the past 6 months or so and have been learning a
lot from the reports. Interviews Jill++

Ever wonder what a typical day for me is like?  Well, you can read
about that and more in's recently published interview:
(I can assure you that my typical day is anything but glamorous!)

++Jill on eMarketing Talk Show++

Last week I had a good time on the World Talk Radio eMarketing Talk
Show with Cindy and Brooke.  If you missed it when it was live, you
can listen to it in their archives here:
<>.  We had an
interesting conversation about site architecture as well as keywords
and lots of other fun stuff!

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

++Google PageRank++

You know it, you love it, you can't get enough of it.  But why do you
care?  Forum member Renken asks about the importance (or lack thereof)
of Google PageRank.  Read what other forum members think about it and
share your own thoughts here:

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That wraps up the 150th issue of the Advisor! Woo-hoo!  Hard to
believe I've put together 150 of these suckers.  Of course, you know I
complain but I love every minute of it!

Corie came home for the long Columbus Day weekend.  This was the first
time she's been home since becoming a college freshman. It was nice to
see that she didn't get any taller (or thinner!).  She mostly hung out
with all her other friends who were also home for the weekend, but we
did get to see a few glimpses of her now and then.  Next visit will be
during the Thanksgiving break.  Although, I'm thinking that I'll
probably head over to NYC after our Philly seminar and have a little
visit with her then.

Speaking of the Philly seminar, please don't forget to register this
week if you're looking to save a few (hundred or so) bucks with the
early discount.  And also, don't forget that you can receive an
additional 25% off by simply being a High Rankings® Forum member and
filling in the forum discount code.  You can find the details of the
discount at
</forum/index.php?showtopic=16649> and more
info on the seminar at </seminar>.

Catch you next time! - Jill
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