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High Rankings® Advisor: SEO Mailbag Bonanza - Issue No. 151

October 19, 2005

*Introductory Comments:
---->   High Rankings® Seminar Approaching!

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Question About 10 Tips to Top Article
---->   Overture Data and KEI
---->   SEO Basic Questions
---->   Optimizing a Flash Site

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   SEO Copywriting Combo
---->   SEM Kit

*Guest Article:
---->   Secret Weapon in the Link Wars

*Job Opening at Search Creative, LLC
---->  SEO Keyword Researcher, Editor, etc.

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

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Another Seminar Reminder

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey everyone!

I know it's supposed to be an "off" week for the Advisor, but we're
getting close to the High Rankings® seminar in Philadelphia, and I just
wanted to be sure to remind you all to sign up if you've been thinking
of attending.  You can still get your 25% discount if you're a forum
member: </forum/index.php?showtopic=16649>.
Learn more about the seminar and register for it here:
</seminar>.  (The dates are Nov. 3-4.)
Plus, we're having a cocktail reception on Thursday the 3rd that is
proudly sponsored by ClickTracks

I had just enough time today to put together an SEO Mailbag Bonanza
issue as well as an article from our pal Dan Thies.  Make sure you
check out Dan's teleseminar training/coaching classes, as registration
for those close shortly: </danstraining>.

On to the good stuff!  - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Question About 10 Tips to Top Article++

Dear Jill,

You are the best.

Regarding tip one of your Ten Tips to the Top, "Do not purchase a new
domain." Does this mean that I should not purchase an existing site
from a competitor and change the Whois to me? In the offline world
companies buy out competitors all the time.

I have read that Google may monitor Whois databases for changes. If
they do, would they throw a site into the sandbox for a Whois change?

Best regards,


++Jill's Response++

Hi Art,

You were one of many who emailed to ask about that statement in last
week's new and improved "10 Tips to the Top" article
</tentips.htm>.   Unfortunately, the way I
wrote that first tip, it sounded like I was telling people to go out
and buy old sites and domains.  But in reality, that's not at all what
I meant.  All I was trying to say was that if you have an existing
site/domain, you should use that one when you're set to optimize or
redesign, and not go out and purchase a new one for that purpose.

I was not at all saying anything about buying expired domains, or old
sites, or anything like that.  It is my understanding that Google
starts the clock ticking again on any domains that are purchased from
someone else.  I can't say for sure that they actually do this, but
that's at least what they tell people that they do.

I've since slightly changed the wording on that sentence so that my
meaning is a little bit clearer.

Sorry for any confusion it may have caused.


++Overture Data and KEI++

Hi Jill,

I have just launched a new site and am really confused about search
engine optimization.  I was given the suggestion during a seminar to
use the Overture (Yahoo now, right?) PPC site and try to find keywords
to "float" at between $.10 to $.20.  My understanding is that it is to
see which keywords have the most potential.  What I am coming up with
a lot of the time (using Wordtracker/Overture) are phrases with KEIs
of 1 or more with no previous bids.  I don't know if that's good or

Any advice for a novice who really can't afford to hire someone to
help her at the moment?

Thanks so much.


++Jill's Response++

Hi Lynne,

Yes, the best advice I can give you is to not look at or worry about
KEI (as shown in Wordtracker), as it's not a measurement that is
helpful to anything.  You need to optimize your pages for the phrases
that people are searching on which are relevant to it.  Your Overture
data should be very helpful in providing you with many of those

Hope this helps!


_________Powerful SEO Copywriting Combo______________

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.

++SEO Basic Questions++

Hi Jill,

I value your SEO opinion so I have two questions for you. First, how
many characters should a Title tag and a Meta description have?

Second question -- is it bad to have a sitemap with over 200 links on
it? Should I break it up or just leave it as is?


++Jill's Response++

Hi Frank,

There's no specific number of characters that your Title or Meta
description should have.  I find that it's smart to keep your titles
to no more than 10 or 11 words, but really you can do them however you
like.  No rules in this game.

Meta descriptions really matter less. Just write a sentence or two
that naturally use your main keyword phrases and if you're lucky, the
engines will show it as your "snippet" when your site shows up in the

As to your sitemap, search engines generally will index up to 100
links on a page, so to be safe, I'd definitely break yours up into at
least 2 pages, perhaps more.  Have you thought about creating a sort
of mini-directory of your site?  With 200 links, that seems like it
would be a good solution for you.

Good luck!


++Optimizing a Flash Site++


I'm about to take on a new web project and the company wants a total
Flash site. I remember reading an article from you that talks about
how to get a Flash site ranked. Any way you could point me in the
right direction?

Thanks for all of your hard work; without you I would not be in


++Jill's Response++

Hi Mike,

The best way to get Flash sites to show up in the engines is to
provide a link to an alternate HTML version of the site for those who
do not have Flash installed and for those that just plain dislike
Flash.  (And for the search engine spiders, of course!)  Make sure
that the link to the HTML version of the site is outside of the Flash,
not embedded in it.

Hope this helps!


(P.S. If anyone would like to republish any or all of the above Q&A
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.)

~~~Guest Article~~~

++Secret Weapon in the Link Wars++

Dan Thies, the author of 2 popular books on search engine marketing,
SEO Fast Start and the Search Engine Marketing Kit
</semkit>, writes today's guest article.
Dan has a few spots left in his latest round of online training and
coaching programs, but they're going fast! If you're interested, you
can learn more and sign up here:

Take it away, Dan!

Secret Weapon in the Link Wars
By Dan Thies

Are you paying to get links to your website? How much? When I hear how
much some people are paying to rent links from text-link brokers, paid
directories, and other sources, I laugh. Seriously, I've met folks
with budgets in the thousands of dollars per month, and all I can do
is laugh.

Why am I laughing? Because every linking campaign I've done for the
past few years has turned a profit all by itself. That's right - if
search engines didn't exist, I'd still be counting up the profits from
my link-building efforts, while the poor guy with the $3,000/month
link-rental bill stares at his search engine ranking reports and
wonders if it's really helping.

I have no doubt that some of those paid links *are* helping folks get
their websites better exposure, whether through search engines or
otherwise, and I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't submit to
directories. However, if you had an opportunity to promote your
website and build links without spending as much, wouldn't you take a

The reason I make money on my link-building campaigns is that they
aren't really linking campaigns at all - they're content-distribution

So, what's a content-distribution campaign and how does it work?

Well, you're looking at one right now.

Jill is happy to run my article because her readers will enjoy it. Her
readers are happy too, because they get useful information. When
readers like my article, some will click on the link that appears in
my bio, and some of you (I hope) will buy something from me. That's
where my immediate profit comes from - the cost of writing and
distributing my articles is far less than the added profit I gain.

In fact, all of the back issues of the High Rankings Advisor are
archived online. When this issue goes onto Jill's website, I get a
link, but it doesn't stop there.

A lot of people will read my article and they will want to send the
same information out in their own newsletter or put it on their own
website. When they contact me, I will be happy to have them distribute
my article and post it on their website. In fact, I might even update
it a little and give them a personalized version to use.

 It's a lot easier for me than it used to be because I have a
recognized name, but even when nobody knew my name, I made a profit on
every article. That includes the very first one I sent out, which
generated over $1,500 in sales in one week for my then-new e-book, SEO
Fast Start.

So how can you get started? The first step, and it's very important,
is research. You need to find out what kind of information your target
audience is interested in. If you're a mortgage broker, for example,
folks might enjoy an article explaining what the heck "escrow" is. I
still don't know, so don't ask me, but I'm curious and I'd open any
email offering to explain it.

You can find good topics and good information on websites like, which conveniently enough shows a list of the most popular
articles on each topic. Just pick a topic and search for
information - you can use the built-in search, or another search
engine like Google (try searching for "mortgage" and
you'll see what I mean).

Once you've selected some topics, you need to write the articles or
pay a professional to do it. Good ezine articles run 500-1,000 words,
are written with simple language, and provide clear, useful
information. Many professional writers (like our friend Karon
Thackston of <>) will write articles for

My recommendation for those just starting out is to produce no more
than 2-3 articles at first. Once you've written your articles, it's
time to distribute them. I'd recommend sending out no more than one
article per week. You have a few good choices for this:

1) You can distribute them yourself via the "article announcement"
mailing lists that many ezine publishers use to find content. Start at
Kevin Bidwell's site, where he provides some great information on a
group of announcement lists he manages:
2) If you'd rather not do it yourself, you can hire someone to
distribute articles to ezines. Phantom Writers
<> can help with this, as can, and others.
3) You can submit to article database websites, such as,,,,
and others. You will find a regularly updated list of article
databases at
4) You can use also software like Article Submitter Pro
<> to submit your article to
multiple databases at the same time.

In addition to the above methods, a little research will usually
uncover dozens if not hundreds of topical websites that carry guest
articles. A little trick of mine is to use the "Site Targeted
Campaign" tool in my Google AdWords account to find websites that are
running Adsense ads related to a topic. These sites are often very
hungry for content.

One downside to writing ezine articles is that you can't always tell
your whole story in 1,000 words or less, and this is one of those
times. There's plenty more I'd like to tell you, like how we follow up
on our articles to double or triple the number of links, build
partnerships, create joint ventures, and more. But I guess that's an
article for another day.

I wish you success.

Dan Thies
SEO Research Labs

________SEM Kit For Search Engine Marketers____________adv.

Confused About the Best Way To Run Your New SEM Biz?

Dan Thies' new SEM Kit from SitePoint provides you with a book &
CD-ROM that includes a client-management form, SEM sales
presentation, SEM process flowchart, keyword-research worksheet,
sample agreement, proposal, pricing calculator and a whole lot more.

And that's just the CD!

The book is chock-full of SEO/SEM strategies.
Order now: </semkit>

~~~SEO Job Opportunity~~~

My Search Creative, LLC division <>,
located in Cambridge, MA, has a job opening for an SEO keyword
researcher, editor, and all-around SEO project manager / helpful,
kind soul.  We are looking for someone with some knowledge of SEO
but are also willing to train the right person.

We're generally looking for an entry-level person who will definitely
have to do a good deal of "grunt work."  This job opening is not for
someone who's highly experienced and looking for a high salary.  You
would be required to work at our Cambridge office, as we're not
looking for a virtual worker at this time.

Skills that would be great to have are some keyword research skills,
some knowledge of HTML, spreadsheet experience, a great grasp of the
English language, and good phone and email skills.   Please email me
at if you are interested. - Jill

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

++Google Update++

Apparently, our friend Google has had another fairly significant
algorithm change.  It didn't seem to affect as many sites as some
previous ones, but of course our forum is abuzz with speculation of
what might be going on.  You can read the thread here:

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

Just another quick reminder to check out the upcoming seminar and get
yourself registered here: </seminar>.

Catch you next week! - Jill
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