Search Engine Optimization

Location: Oregon, United States

College Student and Small business owner.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Google grabs top Microsoft exec for China lab

Microsoft sues, says Google not poaching by the code

When Google announced yesterday that it had hired a top Microsoft executive, Kai-Fu Lee, to head up its nascent R&D facility in China, Microsoft said the search giant had violated an unwritten code of conduct that requires corporate poachers to stomp loudly around in the woods when hunting -- and filed a lawsuit [click for copy of the complaint, courtesy Siliconbeat].

First, the good news for Google: Dr Lee is quite a catch, as a quick read of Microsoft's complaint against him will attest.

The highest ranking Microsoft executive to defect from Redmond to Mountain View, Dr Lee served until earlier this month as corporate vice president of the Natural Interactive Services Division (NISD), where he was responsible for the development of technologies and services to make user interfaces simpler and more natural. Under that umbrella, Dr Lee was working the point for Microsoft in a number of key areas known to be of high interest to Google, including speech technologies, natural language use and advanced search and help.

According to the complaint, Dr Lee was directly responsible for the development of MSN search -- including its desktop search tool, which was an area pioneered by Google.

Google's hire names him as the company's vice president for engineering and president of Google China, where he will oversee the opening of a product research and development centre in an as-yet unnamed city.

That's something he will know how to do because he did virtually the same thing for Microsoft, where, beginning in 1998, he founded Microsoft Research Asia, located in Beijing.

The Microsoft China R&D centre is now widely acknowledged to be among the premiere technology R&D centres in the world, holding, as Microsoft says, "a prolific publication and product transfer record."

According to the Seattle Times, Microsoft had known before the event that Dr Lee was heading over to Google, but got a terrific shock when they found out -- from Google's press release on the hire -- what he'd been hired to do.

"The job they hired him to do is absolutely in direct competition with the work he was doing at Microsoft," Microsoft lawyer Tom Burt told the Seattle Times. "Not only is it at a competitor, it's directly competitive work."

What's at issue may not be just the fact that Dr Lee will head up a China-based R&D centre but more about his immediately past leadership role on Microsoft search tools and the depth of his familiarity with Microsoft's business strategies for China. Billions will ride on the success each company has in tooling up for Chinese users, and the R&D centres are likely to be competing in a very specialised way.

Microsoft said in the lawsuit it filed only hours after the announcement that it was moving to protect its intellectual property.

"We are asking the Court to require Dr Lee and Google to honor the confidentiality and non-competition agreements he signed when he began working for Microsoft.

"Creating intellectual property is the essence of what we do at Microsoft, and we have a responsibility to our employees and our shareholders to protect our intellectual property.

"As a senior executive, Dr Lee has direct knowledge of Microsoft’s trade secrets concerning search technologies and China business strategies.

"He has accepted a position focused on the same set of technologies and strategies for a direct competitor in egregious violation of his explicit contractual obligations," Microsoft said.

Worse, lawyer Burt told the Seattle Times, Google broke "a certain code of conduct in the technology industry" in which poaching companies come clean about their intentions.

But, as Sun Tzu might have said, given the stakes, why in the world would you expect that?

Make no mistake: Microsoft views Google as a serious competitor.

In remarks at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit on 18 July, Bill Gates had a telling exchange with Maria Klawe, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, in which he put Google at top of mind.

When Microsoft opened the China R&D centre in November 1998, it said the centre would be devoted to long-term research in areas such as multimedia, internet technologies and speech recognition.

Much of the centre's work was oriented toward Dr Lee's special skill set, in particular "next-generation user interfaces" that included voice, expression and gesture recognition systems, something many have seen as key to spreading computer use to the general China population.

So, even though, as Microsoft has often said, the work of the China centre is more in 'edge' research than development, the centre is not a pie-in-the-sky kind of place.

And Microsoft, while not specifying how much it is spending on research in China, is very proud of the fact that it is spending $US7 billion a year on R&D, globally.

Google is, however, almost pure research -- and Dr Lee was apparently drawn to the place like a moth to a flame.

"It has always been my goal to make advanced technologies accessible and useful to every user, as well as to be part of the vibrant growth and innovation in China today," Dr Lee said in the Google announcement. "Joining Google uniquely enables me to pursue both of my passions and I look forward to returning to China to begin this exciting endeavor."

Less formally, he told the Seattle Times: "Everybody I talked to [at Google] really has an incredible passion and excitement," he said, describing the company as "a very collegiate environment in which I think I can really amplify the ideas I have."

And they have a high regard for him in China, as well.

Google quoted Gu Binglin, President of Beijing's Tsinghua University as saying: "Dr. Kai-Fu Lee possesses the perfect combination of technical brilliance, leadership excellence, and business savvy, and he cares deeply about the students and education in China."

Google responded to the Microsoft lawsuit rather dismissively, given the stakes.

"We have reviewed Microsoft's claims and they are completely without merit," the company said.

According to Siliconbeat, Google fired off a letter saying: "Google is focused on building the best place in the world for great innovators to work. We're thrilled to have Dr Lee on board at Google. We will defend vigorously against these meritless claims and will fully support Dr Lee."

According to the New York Times, Dr Lee had made it known he wanted to go back to China, but Microsoft was unable to offer him a leadership position there senior enough "to suit his desires."

Google got lucky, to take a phrase from its search engine interface.

The Google China R&D center will open in the third quarter of 2005, Google said, joining other R&D centres in Tokyo, Japan; Zurich, Switzerland; Bangalore, India; New York, New York; Santa Monica, California; Kirkland, Washington and its home base, Mountain View, California.

More on Dr Lee

According to Microsoft, Dr Lee was the president of Cosmo Software, the Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) multimedia software business unit, before coming to Microsoft.

Before that, he was vice president and general manager of Silicon Graphics' Web products division, responsible for several product lines and the company's corporate Web strategy.

Before joining SGI, Lee spent six years at Apple, most recently as vice president of the company's interactive media group, which developed QuickTime, QuickDraw 3D, QuickTime VR and PlainTalk speech technologies.

Prior to his position at Apple, he was an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, where he developed the world's first speaker-independent continuous speech-recognition system.

While at Carnegie Mellon, Lee also developed the world-champion computer program that plays the game "Othello" and that defeated the human world champion in 1988.

Dr Lee earned his doctorate in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and holds a bachelor's in computer science with highest honors from Columbia University. He is also a Fellow of the IEEE.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Google's SEO Advice For Your Website: Content

The web pages actually at the top of Google have only one thing clearly in common: good writing. Don't get so caught up in the usual SEO sacred cows and bugbears, such as PageRank, frames, and JavaScript, that you forget your site's content.

Publication Date: 7/18/2005 8:21:27 AM

by Joel Walsh

The web pages actually at the top of Google have only one thing clearly in common: good writing. Don't get so caught up in the usual SEO sacred cows and bugbears, such as PageRank, frames, and JavaScript, that you forget your site's content.

I was recently struck by the fact that the top-ranking web pages on Google are consistently much better written than the vast majority of what one reads on the web.

Of course, that shouldn't be a surprise, considering how often officials at Google proclaim the importance of good content. Yet traditional SEO wisdom has little to say about good writing.

Does Google, the world's wealthiest media company, really ignore traditional standards of quality in the publishing world? Does Google, like so many website owners, really get so caught up in the process of the algorithm that it misses the whole point?

Apparently not.

Most Common On-the-Page Website Content Success Features

Whatever the technical mechanism, Google is doing a pretty good job of identifying websites with good content and rewarding them with high rankings.

I looked at Google's top five pages for the five most searched-on keywords, as identified by WordTracker on June 27, 2005. Typically, the top five pages receive an overwhelming majority of the traffic delivered by Google.

The web pages that contained written content (a small but significant portion were image galleries) all shared the following features:

* Updating: frequent updating of content, at least once every few weeks, and more often, once a week or more.

* Spelling and grammar: few or no errors. No page had more than three misspelled words or four grammatical errors. Note: spelling and grammar errors were identified by using Microsoft Word's check feature, and then ruling out words marked as misspellings that are either proper names or new words that are simply not in the dictionary. Does Google use SpellCheck? I can already hear the scoffing on the other side of this computer screen. Before you dismiss the idea completely, keep in mind that no one really does know what the 100 factors in Google's algorithm are. But whether the mechanism is SpellCheck or a better shot at link popularity thanks to great credibility, or something else entirely, the results remain the same.

* Paragraphs: primarily brief (1-4 sentences). Few or no long blocks of text.

* Lists: both bulleted and numbered, form a large part of the text.

* Sentence length: mostly brief (10 words or fewer). Medium-length and long sentences are sprinkled throughout the text rather than clumped together.

* Contextual relevance: text contains numerous terms related to the keyword, as well as stem variations of the keyword.

SEO Bugbears and Sacred Cows

A hard look at the results shows that, practically speaking, a number of SEO bugbears and sacred cows may matter less to ranking than good content.

* PageRank. The median PageRank was 4. One page had a PageRank of 0. Of course, this might simply be yet another demonstration that the little PageRank number you get in your browser window is not what Google's algo is using. But if you're one of those people who attaches an overriding value to that little number, this is food for thought.

* Frames. The top two web pages listed for the most searched-on keyword employ frames. Frames may still be a bad web design idea from a usability standpoint, and they may ruin your search engine rankings if your site's linking system depends on them. But there are worse ways you could shoot yourself in the foot.

* JavaScript-formatted internal links. Most of the websites use JavaScript for their internal page links. Again, that's not the best web design practice, but there are worse things you could do.

* Links: Most of the web pages contained ten or more links; many contain over 30, in defiance of the SEO bugbears about "link popularity bleeding." Moreover, nearly all the pages contained a significant number of non-relevant links. On many pages, non-relevant links outnumbered relevant ones. Of course, it's not clear what benefit the website owners hope to get from placing irrelevant links on pages. It has been a proven way of lowering conversion rates and losing visitors. But Google doesn't seem to care if your website makes money.

* Originality: a significant number of pages contained content copied from other websites. In all cases, the content was professionally written content apparently distributed on a free-reprint basis. Note: the reprint content did not consist of content feeds. However, no website consisted solely of free-reprint content. There was always at least a significant portion of original content, usually the majority of the page.


* Make sure a professional writer, or at least someone who can tell good writing from bad, is creating your site's content, particularly in the case of a search-engine optimization campaign. If you are an SEO, make sure you get a pro to do the content. A shocking number of SEOs write incredibly badly. I've even had clients whose websites got fewer conversions or page views after their SEOs got through with them, even when they got a sharp uptick in unique visitors. Most visitors simply hit the "back" button when confronted with the unpalatable text, so the increased traffic is just wasted bandwidth.

* If you write your own content, make sure that it passes through the hands of a skilled copyeditor or writer before going online.

* Update your content often. It's important both to add new pages and update existing pages. If you can't afford original content, use free-reprint content.

* Distribute your content to other websites on a free-reprint basis. This will help your website get links in exchange for the right to publish the content. It will also help spread your message and enhance your visibility. Fears of a "duplicate content penalty" for free-reprint content (as opposed to duplication of content within a single website) are unjustified.

In short, if you have a mature website that is already indexed and getting traffic, you should consider making sure the bulk of your investment in your website is devoted to its content, rather than graphic design, old-school search-engine optimization, or linking campaigns.

About the Author

Joel Walsh's archive of web business articles is at the website of his business, UpMarket Content, a website content provider.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Your Search Engine Optimization Strategy: Make Love, Not War

Your Search Engine Optimization Strategy: Make Love, Not War

When it comes to search engine optimization strategy, there are basically two camps – those who view search engines as adversaries to be conquered at any cost and those who regard search engines as partners in their online marketing efforts. Long-time readers of my articles probably already have a good idea of which camp I fall into; however, I believe both approaches can be effective optimization methods.

Adversarial Optimization Methods

Service providers who have this “adversarial” philosophy will tell their prospects that the formulation of a search engine optimization strategy is much like a high-stakes game of chess. It’s an “us vs. them,” “winner-take-all,” and “every man for himself” mentality. It’s also rooted largely in technology – under this philosophy, success is defined as unraveling the latest search engine algorithm to find new optimization methods and exploiting its technical aspects for immediate benefit.

The underlying premise of this search engine optimization strategy is that you must use optimization methods that trick the search engines into showing a website predominantly in the results since the site isn’t currently offering attributes that the search engines consider valuable. The primary benefits of this approach are that it doesn’t require much work on the part of the client and that results can be realized more rapidly. These qualities both stem from the fact that there isn’t a large amount of additional content needed, nor are there many wholesale changes to make to the website when using such optimization methods.

While this is not the methodology that I recommend, it is a valid – albeit potentially volatile – search engine optimization strategy.

Partnership Optimization Methods

Those who view search engines as partners have a very different search engine optimization strategy. These service providers embrace the idea that the attributes and optimization methods that give a website high rankings in search engines are, by and large, the same ones that make the site more valuable to website visitors and potential customers.

This theory makes sense. Every search engine needs to return results that their users find to be the most relevant and useful. If search engine R&D people operated in a vacuum, they would probably find their market share rapidly diminished while they lamented about how “people are stupid”. This means that each of the major search engines spend endless research dollars to determine exactly what it is that search engine users find valuable, and each has a high stake in the results of the research. No search engine marketing or web design firm has the resources or motivation to conduct studies of this magnitude. It is, therefore, highly advantageous to use the findings of these studies, deduced from common algorithm traits of multiple search engines, to improve your search engine optimization strategy and website.

I consistently hear from companies who are puzzled as to why their expensive, cutting-edge website is perpetually outranked by a site of perceived inferior quality – “our website is better than theirs” or “we are a much bigger company” are common remarks. Beauty is, as always, in the eye of the beholder. The sites that consistently rank highly are almost always using optimization methods that offer something of value to people who entered the search query. Search engines care as much about the size of a company or how much it spent on its website about as much as they care about what you had for breakfast this morning (I had blueberry muffins, but Google hasn’t called to ask).

The advantages to the “partnership” search engine optimization strategy are numerous. Rather than chase the ever-changing technical attributes that can get you short-term results, you instead use optimization methods that leverage your company’s knowledge of your industry to create something useful for the searcher. You can improve your website and offer the information and products that prospects are seeking, even if those prospects are in the earliest stages of the buying cycle. In general, you will not have to watch your rankings swing wildly based upon new spam filters and algorithm shifts, and thus will enjoy a higher level of predictability when it comes to your website (although with search engines, there are never any guarantees). Since you aren’t constantly forced to re-address your site’s search engine optimization methods, you’ll have more time to focus on other online marketing areas that need attention, such as the website’s conversion rate, an e-newsletter, or online PR.


It’s a fact that websites rise and fall in the rankings all the time. The only real constant is that the sites of TRUE value, the ones that offer something relevant and important to the searcher, are generally always near the top – even after the latest algorithm shift has sent the “adversarial” crowd into a frenzy of activity as they attempt to reformulate their search engine optimization strategy.

While it may take a little extra effort, I like to think of the relationship with search engines as a “partnership” in a real sense. We use optimization methods that apply the attributes search engines have deemed to be valuable to a website, which improves both the website and the website’s search engine rankings. The search engines, in turn, send highly-targeted visitors who have shown an interest in your industry, products, or services. Sure, it may seem that we get more out of the deal, but the engines don’t complain. They haven’t even acknowledged our partnership.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

U.S. Manufacturers Resist Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Online Sales Leads

New study shows how poorly U.S. manufacturers use natural search engine optimization (SEO) as an online marketing strategy to generate new sales leads.

Cleveland, OH (PRWEB) June 2, 2005 -- A new study of 350 U.S manufacturers found that most of these companies fail to embrace basic natural search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that can help trigger online sales leads.

“U.S. Manufacturers Resist Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Online Sales Leads,” prepared by Cleveland, Ohio-based Fathom SEO (, covers such SEO topics as web site page titles and META descriptions, site architecture barriers and visible text.

The report, for example, notes that 75% of U.S. manufacturers don’t appear to use effective keywords in the home page title tag, which heavily influences how well a web site will rank on search engines. More than 80% don’t use a suitable title on primary interior pages, such as the about or product summary pages.

Get a free copy at:

Manufacturers also can take a quick survey about whether they use SEO strategies. Fill out the survey here:

“It doesn’t make sense for manufacturers to ignore SEO,” said Michael Murray, vice president of Fathom SEO. “Whether it’s one local facility or a large company with many regional offices, these businesses often sell throughout the United States, and globally in some cases. An effective SEO strategy can take them to the top of search engines – a prime way to attract new customers.”

Online searches aren’t limited to celebrities, news and sports, Murray said. Plenty of business owners hunt for everything from bearings to plastics.

The study, which includes META tag case studies and insights about keyword selection, also found that most manufacturing web sites include a reasonable amount of visible text that could be optimized with search terms – if companies make the effort. Manufacturers also avoid splash pages (with the “skip intro” button) and frame architectures that may limit rankings.

Murray is available to discuss the study, search engine marketing tactics and related trends. He can be reached at 216.861.5951 ext. 111.

Fathom SEO, based in Cleveland, Ohio, is a market-leading firm dedicated to Search Engine Marketing (SEM), with an emphasis on organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As an SEO firm, we also provide pay-per-click (PPC) bid management, link building, web analytics, custom web site development and permission-based marketing services.

Clients include Eaton Corporation, The Cleveland Clinic, Little Tikes, Sauder, Bissell, Kent State University and Darice and FedEx Custom Critical. Fathom SEO developed as a division of Fathom IT Solutions, also based in Cleveland. Since its start in 1986, Fathom IT has been in the forefront of applying state-of-the-art interactive business technologies to solve client problems. In the early 90s, Fathom IT proved its leading-edge vision by embracing Internet technologies. Fathom SEO has seasoned and knowledgeable SEO consultants with diverse skills.

Visit us at

Friday, May 27, 2005

Search Engine Optimization Firm Pole Position Web Re-brands as Pole Position Marketing

The search engine optimization and marketing firm Pole Position Web is now officially called Pole Position Marketing and has the new URL of

Reno, NV (PRWEB) May 27, 2005 -- The search engine optimization and marketing firm Pole Position Web is now officially called Pole Position Marketing and has the new URL of The seven-year-old company has established itself as a top search marketing firm with clients throughout the world. As time has gone on, the firm has added more and more marketing services to better meet the needs of their growing client base. “Due to the primary focus now being on marketing, a name change was called for to better reflect the company’s core services,” says Stoney deGeyter, company president.

The company’s expertise lies in search engine marketing and website optimization. Pole Position Marketing offers a broad range of affordable and cost effective search engine marketing services, including optimization, sponsored ad management and web development. The initial goal of top search engine placement is followed with an on-going maintenance to make sure their clients’ sites stay at the top and are driving the most targeted customers to their sites. In addition to the placement services, the company employs experts in many different aspects of website marketing and Internet business so that clients can benefit from this wide range of expertise through having their site improved upon in many areas along with achieving top placement and the success of their website.

About Pole Position Marketing
Pole Position Marketing, established in 1998, is dedicated to their tagline which is “Position Your Business First.” Their goal is to place their client’s websites at the top of the most popular search engines thus gaining the client’s a more targeted audience and boosting their return on investment with their site. Pole Position Marketing is able to achieve top rankings for their clients through research and implementation of marketing strategies that are constantly being revised and altered to keep up with the ever-changing Internet world.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Buying Text-Link Ads

It is widely agreed that SEM (search engine marketing) is one of today’s most cost efficient and effective methods of marketing a web site. One of the most important aspects of SEM is obtaining link popularity. For example, if you expect to rank high in Google for the search term “search engine optimization” it is important to have other sites link to you with “search engine optimization” within the text of the link. This is called anchor text. Generally the more sites linking to you with your target keyword within the anchor text the better. However, it should be noted that not all links are of equal value. There are two primary factors to consider when assessing the value of a link.

1. Link Weight
An established site that has already obtained a fair amount of link popularity is generally a more valuable location to park your link. The Google Page Rank is a general assessment of the link popularity of any given page. If a page has PR5 it is considered to have above average link popularity. For each 1 point increase in PR the link popularity is increased by about 7-10 times. So a PR6 link should theoretically be as valuable as 7-10 PR5 links but there is more to the story.
The weight of a page is distributed evenly to each link within the page. Lets say we have two PR5 pages. One page has a total of 10 links, the other has only one link. In this case it is about 10 times as valuable ,weight wise, to park your link on the page with only 1 link. It should also be noted that a PR6 page with 10 links is roughly equal to a PR5 page with only 1 link.
Many webmasters only take into account the link weight when purchasing a text link. Link weight in itself is not worth much. Link weight when combined with link relevance is another story entirely.

2. Link Relevance
Link relevance is fairly straight forward in principle. It is more valuable to park your link on a site that is relevant to the search term you are optimizing for than one that is not. Large search engines closely guard their ranking algorithm for determining link relevance and placement. People have been able to reverse engineer the PR equation but for something with as many factors as placement and relevance it is next to impossible. Therefore we can only speculate as to which terms are close in relevance and which are not.
My opinion on the subject is you can’t go wrong with a page that is optimized for the exact term or even slight variations of the term you are optimizing for. However, if you are considering optimizing for a term like “xbox” and you find a site to host your link that is optimized for “games” there is risk in believing these terms are relevant. Of course it can be inferred that these terms are relevant. After all, xbox is a major gaming platform but we have no idea how close in relevance the search engines consider these terms to be.
To be safe value exact terms and variations of the term to be highly relevant. All other terms within an industry such as items, buzz words…should be considered relevant. All other terms should be considered non-relevant.

Now we basically know what to look for in determining the value of a potential link. There are many ways to go about building your link popularity. I am going to focus on a few of the paid methods.

1. Paid Directories
There are a ton of link directories that will host your link for a fee. Some work on a month by month basis but most are either 6 months, 1 year or permanent. Yahoo is an example of a paid directory. They cost $299 for a 1 year listing. This may seem expensive and it is. Yahoo is a high end directory which is quite valuable in comparison to other directories. However, there many smaller directories that are more cost efficient. Usually directories are only relevant to your search term assuming you are listed in a relevant category. Some niche directories can be considered highly relevant.

2. Link Brokers
There are several link brokers out there who gather potential websites willing to display your link. This is an excellent method to obtain highly relevant links. The only downside is the brokers will generally charge a listing fee to the website so they must sell the links for more than they would otherwise be willing to sell them for to cover expenses. If you are checking out a broker see what their listing fee is before you purchase any links. I wouldn’t buy from a broker that charges more than about 20% of the value of the purchased link.

3. Directly contacting webmasters
There are literally millions of sites out there more than willing to display your link for a fee. In my opinion the best method of purchasing text links is to get out there and contact webmasters for price quotes. Its certainly not hard…if you are optimizing for the search term “SEM” simply type it into google and find the top 10-20 sites listed for the term. Then either email or better yet directly call them to get price quotes from each site. Then decide which sites offer the most value and spend within your budget. It is also a good idea to ask for quotes for a 6 month and a 1 year term in addition to the standard 1 month term.
Some webmasters will see you are competition and will refuse to list your site. This is perfectly acceptable, thank them for their time and move on.

Note: Building link popularity is only one aspect of SEM. If you are not familiar with SEM or SEO basics then I advise you to read up on keyword research and on-site optimization before you start purchasing links.

About the Author
Dane Lyons
Lyons Craft
Article Archives
I can be contacted at for freelance SEO or web design.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

PPC v Natural Search – A Cost Comparison Case Study

By Glenn Murray | Advertising Copywriter & SEO Copywriter *

The attraction of Pay Per Click (PPC) online advertising is
undeniable. Each click costs virtually nothing, you only pay
for the clicks you get, and you set your own daily budget so
you know exactly how much you're going to spend. Most
importantly, your listing appears instantly.

On the other hand, a high ranking in the natural search
results seems unobtainable. There's a perception that
hundreds of thousands of other businesses are competing for
your keywords, and that makes it seem like a real rat-race.
And it also seems like such a big mountain to climb; it's
true that it can take months to reach the first page for
your target keywords. To make matters worse, thousands of
opportunistic (and some very dodgy) `SEO companies' have
emerged, looking to make a quick and big buck out of market
naivety. So to CEOs, BDMs, marketing managers, webmasters,
and business owners, the road to natural search ranking
seems expensive, risky, and beset with traffic.

But does this mean you should forget natural search?

Definitely not!

Firstly, most user studies to date have found that people
pay more attention to natural search results because they're
more relevant. That's the foundation of the success of
companies like Google and Yahoo (and the reason they keep
their indexing rules a secret).

What's more, it's important to put things in perspective.
Hundreds of thousands of other businesses may be competing
for your keywords, but in most cases, they're at least as
confused and disheartened as you. So the sooner you figure
out the real story, the sooner you'll have the jump on them.

And yes, it can take a while to reach the top, but because
your competition is – for the most part – traveling blind,
your early progress will normally be quite quick. In fact,
for most businesses, it's not until you reach the top few
pages that your progress will slow.

And again yes, there ARE some dodgy SEO companies out there.
But there are also some very good ones. (Go to and sign up to a forum if you want to
find out who they are.) So long as you know the basics of
SEO you won't be taken for a ride. (See for a rundown of SEO
basics in layperson's terms.)

But let's talk bottom line…

Is it more expensive to obtain a high ranking?

Certainly not! In comparison with other forms of advertising
– even PPC in the long run – reaching the top of the
rankings is NOT expensive. The following case study explains


For the past year, I've been working hard on the natural
search results for my copywriting business, Divine Write.
For my primary keyword, I'm now on page 1 of (out
of approximately 900,000 search results). I've done this
simply by writing helpful articles and submitting them for
publication on the Internet. Luckily for me, I'm an SEO
copywriter, so writing articles is all in a day's work. But
had I paid an SEO copywriter to write my articles for me,
I'd have spent approximately USD$5,000.

Over the same period, I spent approximately USD$3,000 on
Google AdWords (my ads appeared towards the top of the paid

Now I hear what you're saying; my natural search campaign
definitely cost more in the first year than my AdWords
campaign. But now that I've reached the top of,
I've paused all my AdWords ads, so I'm not paying anything.
If I hadn't chased the natural search results, I'd have
continued paying for AdWords, spending at least another
USD$3,000 next year on AdWords, and another USD$3,000 the
year after that, and so on.

Of course, I have to retain my high ranking. If I was paying
someone to write my articles, that would involve an
investment of approximately USD$1,000 per year (a saving of
67% each year).

So it breaks down like this:

Google AdWords investment: 2 yrs = $6,000, 3 yrs = $9,000, 4
yrs = $12,000, 5 yrs = $15,000

Natural search investment: 2 yrs = $6,000, 3 yrs = $7,000, 4
yrs = $8,000, 5 yrs = $9,000


Obviously the competition for keywords in the copywriting
field isn't as fierce as in a lot of other industries, so
the actual dollar investment discussed in this case study
may not apply directly to your business. The important thing
to understand is that – over time – a high ranking in the
natural search results can actually cost less than a high
position in the (arguably less effective) paid listings.

Also, these figures are based on me submitting articles to
various article banks on the Internet myself. (This is a
routine task requiring little skill. You should be able to
purchase a list of 50 or more article submit sites from your
SEO copywriter or consultant for as little as USD$99.)

* Glenn Murray is an advertising copywriter and SEO
copywriter and heads copywriting studio Divine Write. He can
be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at Visit for further details or more FREE

Monday, April 18, 2005

Initial Search Engine Placement:Tips to Get Listed on Search Engine

Initial Search Engine Placement:Tips to Get Listed on Search Engine by Ryen Kim

You can get listed on search engine within a week or maximum within 2 weeks without even submitting your URL. Moreover, it is widely said nowadays that letting the search engine 'spider' index your web site is better strategy than submitting URL. That is, don't submit URL to search engines: instead, let search engines find your web site, because search engine values the site (which is found during usual crawling) more than the one crawled by submission.

How to let search engines find your home page?

It's not difficult nor technical. In theory your site must be indexed on search engine without submitting your URL because search engine spider program will crawl your web site unless you totally hide your web site on the web. Tips are the techniques that force the search engines crawl your site so that your home page can be listed on search engine within a week just after you upload your HTML files on your host. There is one condition, though. Your web pages must have some contents. Don't be panic. I believe almost every web site has decent content pages.

How to know your site is indexed or listed on search engine?

Before applying following tips, check weather your site is listed on search engines. To do that, type "site:your homepage address", for example, "" without quote in the search box of Google, Yahoo! Search or MSN. If your site is indexed, you will see list of your web pages. If not and if you see something like "Your search ... did not match any documents.", your site is not listed yet.

If your site is listed, you don't need to read this article further. You have to focus on how to improve your search engine ranking.. If you're not indexed in search engine yet, apply following tips and you'll be listed on search engine within a week or two.

Tip #1:Create RSS feed and add it to your My Yahoo and My MSN account

Whether you know about RSS or not doesn't matter. Just create RSS feed of your web content pages or articles on your web site and I'll show you how to create RSS feed and explain how to use it to make your home page get listed on search engines.

First, create RSS feed

You can create RSS feed with "FeedForAll" software (for Windows user) without any background knowledge of RSS. It enables you to create RSS feed and update your RSS feed whenever you add new contents to your web site without hassle.You can download free trial of "FeedForAll" at FeedForAll free trial or buy FeedForAll here.

Another way to create RSS feed is:

* go to RSS Headline and choose the number of headlines you'd like to include in your RSS feed file.

* Then a form with boxes that you need to fill out-your web page title, your web page location (URL) and description of your web page-will be appeared. Enter the right information, then click the "Make The Code" button. You'll notice that this is a bit tedious job but it's the cost of free. :-)

* It only generates RSS version 0.91 but fortunately many of RSS reader can handle it. I checked its update function but unfortunately it didn't work correctly. This means probably whenever you update your site, you need update your RSS feed file manually.

* Copy the generated code to your favorite text editor and save it with extension rss, for example, mypages.rss.

* Upload it to your ftp server so that your RSS feed location can be for example ""

Now you're half done. Let's move to the real tip.

Add your RSS feed to YOUR "My Yahoo!" and "My MSN"

If you don't have "My Yahoo!" and "My MSN" account, create them now. You can create them at "" and "" and they are free. After having these accounts, locate "add to My Yahoo!" and "MY MSN+" buttons linked with your RSS feed file on your web site. To locate those buttons, do the following.

* Go to "FeedBuner" , and follow their instruction. Its service is free and it not only save your time but also gives you some benefits, for example, you can place amazon ads on your RSS feed file.

* Using your original RSS feed, FeedBuner will create RSS feed for My Yahoo! and My MSN. You can place either all the RSS feed buttons or only one xml button on your web site. It's your choice.
Important thing for your web site getting listed on search engine is to use add to My Yahoo! and add to My MSN button and to add your RSS feed content to your own My Yahoo! and My MSN account.

* Also ask your friends to add your RSS feed to their accounts. This enhances the chance to get listed on search engines. I experienced, however. that without bothering my friend , that is, adding my home page RSS feed to only my own My Yahoo and My MSN, I could get listed in search engine within a week.

Why adding your RSS feed to your My Yahoo!" and My MSN account guarantees you to be indexed?

Within 24 hours after you add your RSS feed to your account, Yahoo! Search and MSN search engine will crawl your site. More than 90% certainty, your site will be indexed in Yahoo! Search and MSN. But it will take about a week or a bit more to be listed because there is a delay between crawling and indexing.
Now what can you do? Just wait? No, there is something more you can do. It'll give you 100% certainty and furthermore help you to be listed on Google search engine. So, please keep on reading.

Tip #2: Post questions or opinions to the forum.

Subscribe to the forums that is relevant to your site theme. You can find lots of forums by typing "forum your-site-keyword" without quote in search box. Choose one or two forums that seem to have many members and to be active. When you register the forum, write down your home page address in the registration form (most of forums provide the box that you can fill with your home page address). And provide your home page link at signature box. One of ways to provide link is using "BBCode", for example, "My home page:[url=]My Home Target Keyword [/url]". You can make a link by using HTML code if they allow.
After registering, post some questions or reply to other members posts. Why is this good for you?
The search engines frequently crawl the forum sites and whenever they crawl those sites, they follow the links in forum as well.

So, the more post you do with your home page link in signature box, the better chance you get listed.
By doing this, together with Tip #1, you'll be indexed in Yahoo! Search and MSN for sure. And this gives you higher chance to get listed on Google as well.

Tip #3 Use your blog to promote your home page.

It seems everybody is blogging. If you're not in this trend, please consider stating blogging.
I presume your blog is listed on search engine (If not, following tip doesn't help). Place your home page link in your blog. This helps your home page get listed on search engines with the same reason as Tip #2
This tip is actually about getting inbound link. Because you can control your blog, this is the easiest way to get inbound link. If you can have inbound links from other web sites, it not only assure you to be listed in search engine but also to improve search engine ranking. Whenever possible, try to get quality inbound link. It's a great way to get targeted traffic, to improve search engine ranking and the only way to get listed on Teoma/Jeeves at this moment.

Using the above three tips, you will certainly achieve the initial search engine placement on Google, Yahoo! Search, MSN and probably other search engines. You even don't need to submit your URL and moreover it's not recommend nowadays. The initial search engine placement is easy and sure thing if you apply the above tips..

If your home page doesn't seem to get listed on search engine after a week...

If this is the case, something went wrong. Check following things:

* do your links in forum, blog, and RSS feed file correctly direct to your page?

* do you have any site construction on your home page?

* are there any broken links in your web sites?

Correct the above problems, if any, then keep on posting and blogging and try to get inbound link. Also update your web site with new content, then update RSS feed and ping your updated RSS feed to My Yahoo! and My MSN.

To ping your updated RSS feed, copy the following address (remember you have to change "" with your RSS feed file URL), paste it to your browser (e.g, IE or Firefox) address bar and hit Enter.

to My Yahoo!

to My MSN

Hopefully, after correcting the problems and keep on applying the above tips, you may achieve initial search engine placement within another week.

About the Author

Ryen Kim is an MBA, specialized in marketing research and analysis. His current focus is the "Affiliate Business" as a work-at-home scheme. For that matter he's running Home Based Affiliate Business and Internet Marketing Blog.

Competing with the Big Names

by Derek Croote

If you have ever been in an industry with long established, big name companies then you know it is hard to beat them in the search engine rankings. So you go to their pages to see how they are ranking so high, but they are not using the techniques you were told to use. Furthermore, they only have the word you searched for displayed once in their body text, not in their title tag, heading or meta tags. This can't be right! However, it is. The only possible way to compete with the big names is with links, frequently updated content and name recognition.

The long established sites have received so many links over the years they don't have to plaster their pages with certain keywords for high rankings.

Links can be hard to come by, especially if your site is new. There are countless ways to get them, but here are a few that will get you high quality links:
* Writing articles
* Reciprocal linking to relevant sites
* Participating in forums
* Frequently updating content
* Creating free tools
* Submitting to directories
* Buying text links

Frequently updated content will generate a large number of one-way links, if people know about it. For people to find your compelling content, you have to get your site name out there. If no one knows about your content, how will you get links? To get you name out there you have to:
* Become the leader in your industry
* Write press releases, articles and free ebooks
* Use paid advertising
* Start a newsletter/e-zine and a blog.
* Target the right keywords

Beating the leading names may be difficult, but it is achievable. Gaining links and getting your name out there will be key in competing with these powerful sites. You will get to the top of the rankings in the search engines with time and hard work.

About the Author
Derek Croote is a SEO, web design and usability enthusiast. Derek is the webmaster of, a small homeowners association. You can reach him at

Thursday, April 14, 2005

What Is Waiting for Us? :: Tomorrow's SEO Industry

by: Irina Ponomareva

Today, SEO is swiftly approaching saturation point. More and more webmasters realise the necessity of learning SEO basics, and as they do so, SEO professionals are facing difficulties finding new clients. With all the niche sites optimised, it will be harder to compete for good key phrases. Link building opportunities will be easily found and utilised by everyone, keyword density will reach its optimum value, meaning that the SERPs will consist of equally good and equally relevant sites - at least from the traditional SEO point of view.

Spammy techniques, still popular and sometimes even effective, will exhaust themselves even quicker. There are, really, not so many different methods of deceiving the search engines and increasing a site's relevancy artificially; today they just differ in details. Perhaps it explains why we don't see spammy sites in the SERPs as often as we used to - our smart spiders catch them quite soon and throw this low-rate stuff away to keep the web cleaner. As soon as spiders become smart enough to recognise spam on the fly, the particular class of "SEO specialists" propagating such rubbish will find themselves out of their jobs. It is not really hard to tell an ugly doorway from the real thing.

So who will survive? What is the way to tomorrow in SEO science?

First of all, we should monitor and analyse the latest tendencies, then extrapolate them and make good guesses on how things may look in the future. Finally, we put them to test using logic and common sense.

This will show us the true answers and help us compete when the time comes to offering ground-breaking SEO services that exploit the new qualities of search engines.

And common sense tells us that the core purpose of the search engines will never change. They are supposed to deliver the best results they can. If they are not always so good at it today, it is often explained by their restricted resources; but that will change over time.

The search engines of the future will be capable of reading JavaScript, CSS, Flash and other things that are invisible to them now. It is technically possible already, but requires more complicated algorithms and more bandwidth, so they are not so eager to implement it just yet. They prefer to sacrifice additional capabilities in favour of spiders' speed and the freshness of their indices. But as the technical factors improve, SEs will improve and create new sensations every day, all the more so since they always have to compete with each other.

Thus, JavaScript links will count. CSS spam will be easily detected and banned. Flash sites will become a new niche for SEO specialists - at the moment they require an HTML version to subject to search engine optimisation.

But these changes are not the most important ones. Link popularity analysis algorithms are sure to become more sophisticated - and capable of analysing the "likeliness" of one or another link pattern given the information on a site's age, size and content. That will mean death to link schemes, link farms, pyramids, automated submissions, and numerous links with the same anchor text - and, perhaps, shake the basis of the today's reciprocal linking strategies. Relevancy will mean more, and in cases of complementary businesses linking their sites to each other, search engines will become capable of seeing if they are really complementary, not just pretending to be so.

Also, sites written in different languages but relevant in theme will be translated on the fly and count as relevant - which perfectly fits the worldwide tendency of forming international businesses. That makes international SEO companies more likely to survive.

And, most important, search engines will become capable of analysing context. Google is already playing with stemming and buying semantic packages; synonym analysis and related words (i.e. affordable services - low prices - tight budget - financial flexibility - and, perhaps, even small business package in the same row) won't take long to come.

That will bring revolution to the whole SEO copywriting industry. Today the SEO copywriter's skills are determined by his/her ability to include targeted keywords in the SEO copy without breaking its readability; in most cases it is bound to reduce the quality of the text, unless you hire a very capable writer. Tomorrow, exact keyword matches will be less important. That will make the copywriters' work easier in some ways - and harder in others. It could be hard to part with the habits acquired over time and develop totally new approaches and methods.

But the Net will benefit from it.

Those who want to make their SEO copy flexible and artistic might lose points today, but will win tomorrow. And that will be the end for doorways - completely and irreversibly.

Be prepared to accept new SEO This is the only advice that seems reasonable. My forecast may not be precise, but today's tendencies have already confirmed that this course of events is the likely one.

So, when optimising your site today, think of its contextual relevancy. Of course, include your targeted keywords - but also make sure the overall subject of the site reinforces the point. Do not be afraid of synonyms and related words: they will make your copy more natural and attractive today, and are very likely to make it more relevant tomorrow.

When building links today, vary your titles and descriptions from directory to directory and from link partner to link partner. Throw away all the automated submitters; do it manually. It is hard and time-consuming, but it is also a reliable and strong method of protecting your site from future algorithm whims. It means quality; and I strongly believe that quality will never betray you.

And never stop learning. Visit forums, read fresh articles, exchange opinions with other SEO professionals. Never assume you know everything.

And never be satisfied. It is only inquiring minds that will win in the end.

More on Topic:

There is a new king on the horizon by Rob Sullivan

Are Keywords Destroying the Flow of Your SEO Copy? by Karon Thackston

Search Engines Can Read Macromedia FLASH SDK by Jim Hedger

About The Author
Irina, Ponomareva, 32. I joined Magic Web Solutions ltd. (UK), Dartford, Kent, on March 2003. I've been acting as a web master, a developer, and an SEO specialist ever since.
After practising search engine optimisation for a year I then launched Spider Friendly ( - the autonomous SEO branch of Magic Web Solutions (UK) offering SEO/SEM services - in co-operation with my colleague Dmitry Antonoff.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The "Unethical SEO" Myth

by: Damian Smith

"The use of black hat SEO techniques are completely unethical." Really? I completely disagree.

Is it unethical because these techniques are attempts to give a webmaster an advantage over their competition? If this is the case, stop participating in SEO forums, stop using WordTracker, stop studying or engaging in SEO at all, because any of those things are ways to help get you a leg up on your competition. In fact, if it is your argument that this is unethical because it gives one person an advantage over another, stop building websites because there are plenty of businesses out there that don't have a website. You may be taking advantage of a medium some people don't have access to.

Is it unethical because it violates Google's Webmaster Guidelines ( If this is the case, again, abstain from any SEO whatsoever, because those guidelines state 'Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"' If you are building sites for your users and disregarding search engines, things like "SEO", "keyword density", "SERPs", etc. hold no interest for you. By even considering what effect your actions have on your SERPs you are violating Google's guidelines.'s primary definition for "unethical" is based on "approved standards". Who sets these standards? Google? Google is a company. Google's primary focus is on generating profits, as any company their size has to be. Do you have any doubt that they are willing to take advantage of nearly any legal opportunity to gain an advantage over Yahoo or any of their other competitors?

Why do people in this industry choose to set their "moral compasses" by a company's guidelines? Google sets these guidelines because it makes it easier for them to produce search results superior to their competitors'; they don't want to have to expend resources on excluding sites that game their algo. I like Google, they have a fantastic product and they are one of those companies that I find easy to admire, but I certainly don't believe they created those guidelines in an attempt to create this utopian internet where everything is "fair"; they didn't and never claimed to.

Most of the world's economies are based on capitalism and free trade. Google has a cash cow and her name is AdSense/AdWords. Webmasters compete against each other with their cold hard cash to see who can be #1. Is it unethical to squash your competition by outbidding them? Even if it was an unemployed guy with two ex-wives, three kids, a mortgage, $5 to his name, and a mammoth drug habit? Nearly everyone in this industry would say, "No it's business."

If you are an SEO professional and you are optimizing sites, is it unethical to use "black hat" techniques on clients' sites? I certainly don't think so, as long as you make very clear to the client what risks are involved beforehand. Now if you don't tell them they will get banned if caught; I would certainly call that unethical. Ammon Johns, known as Black_Knight at his site, the Cre8asite forums at who, in a post, said "To my philosophy, the SEO who refuses to properly inform their clients of all available techniques and the costs risks and benefits is not ethical. Whether that is failure to tell them of risks, or failure to tell them of strengths. It is the clients role to make the choice, and a truly ethical SEO will enable the client to make a fully informed choice, not just one that meets what the search engines say is okay for all."

So is cloaking, creating doorway pages, search engine spamming, or other similar "black hat" techniques illegal? I know of no law that forbids this stuff as long as you aren't violating someone's copyrights by duplicating their text, stealing their bandwidth, etc. I would be the first to label such techniques "unethical", frustrating, illegal, deplorable, name your word.

The remaining unanswered question is, "Who decides what is 'unethical', who sets 'the standard'?" You and I as internet professionals do. Some people choose to draw the "unethical" line just beyond what they do to improve their own SERPs; anything past that is "unethical". In relation to this subject, I draw this line pretty close to what the American government calls "illegal". I would call almost anything done with a primary intent to damage another website/company "unethical"; and most anything done under those circumstances is also illegal.

Having said all that, to my knowledge, I'm not doing anything on any of my (or my clients') sites that any major SE would consider banning me for; I'm certainly aggressive with the "white hat" stuff. I have dabbled with some of the more risky techniques in the past, but I have put way too much work into my sites (the ones that are worth trying to achieve high rankings for, anyway) that I'm just not willing to risk getting them banned; the risk isn't worth it to me. So while I don't participate in any "black hat" (or what I prefer to call "risky") activities, I just don't like the idea of those who do being labeled "unethical".

This is certainly an issue where people who have an opinion are passionate about it, but I invite you to examine your own motives for calling aggressive search engine optimization techniques "unethical".

About The Author
Damian owns a small website development business dedicated to providing affordable websites to small businesses. You can visit his website at or contact him at

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Getting One Way SEO Links - The Easy and FREE Way

by: Bob Frazer

What we are hunting for?

Unique Domains,
One Way Links,
Text Link copy of our choice ,
The ability to change those links
Sites that have PR and cover our choice topic ....
Enter the Free Hosting Sites
One of the easiest and most often overlooked resources on the net today are the free hosting companies. Free hosting companies make money by upgrading accounts into paying accounts or selling services to you.

One of the huge advantages to a free hosted account and your SEO efforts is that search engines are more and more looking at the number of unique inbound one way links that are pointing to your website.

So what is a aspiring SEO junkie to do? Well luckily my link addicted friend there is an answer..FREE and ME rhyme for a good reason. There are 100's if not 1000's of free hosting companies dying to give you 50 - 100 MB accounts for your email address. I am going to give you a step by step way of building as many inbound links as your little (or big) SEO heart desires.

Step 1: Find the Freebies!

Fisrt start by going to our friends the search engines and search for "free web hosting", "free web site" or any other permutation of the free hosting terminology.

Here are a few to get started:, and

Step 2: Get Ready to Track

With so mayny free hosting companies in existance it will be a challenge to keep track of all the data, so we will use our friend excel to help us along. Make a handy dandy spreadsheet of all the sites you find. On this spreadsheet have the following columns "Name" "URL" "Login Page" "My Username" "My Password" "My URL" "Content Type".

Step 3: Decide the content Type and Get It

After you have cataloged all of your prosepects we will need to creat content, luckily this is the easy part as there are 1000's of articles out there free for the copying (as long as you mention the author). So, choose a topis that is relevant to your website and go forth and copy...

Step 4: Sign up and Publish

Ok so we now have where we will get hosting, we have the content and a way to track it all...YAY! So what we need to do now is get started. Now, the real trick is getting your pieces of real estate and not being marketed to death. Setup a Yahoo, MSN or GMail account (if you can) to use for registering all of these accounts. Once you get your free email account, head to number one on your list and get registered, make sure you doucument all of your infomration as it will make your life that much easier in the long run.

Lets talk briefly about registering. When signing up you will usually need to create a "Sub Domain", this will be Try and find a Sub Domain that matchec the type of content you will be creating. So lets say you are making content about Real Estate, so you would try to include that keyword "Real Estate" in your Sub Domain (ie.

After you have signed up it is time to publish. Using thier free website builder or your favorite tool, create a 4 - 10 page site (using your articles and a home page). On each article look for keywords that are relevant to your site and hotlink each page at least once to your site that you are SEO'ing. Or, go the cheap route and create a footer link to your site (bah that's too easy and does not look very natural :P )

Well you get the picture :) Rinse and Repete this process as many times as your heart desieres and we are now started.

Step 5: Getting Indexed

So, we took all this time to create 1 Million (ok a little less) itty bitty micro sites, now what? Well you need to get the Search Engines to actually notice you..right? So lets go over 2 proven methods of achieving this goal.

Method 1. - Submit and wait...pretty easy method, submit your site to the crawlers and wait for them to come along.

Or if you are focusing on Google, hook up each site with AdSense and submit the site (this is unproven, but has worked for me)

Method 2. - Create the inevitable Link Chain (or PR chain I like to call it)

This is actually slightly complicated, but with our handy dandy spreadsheet, should not be too hard. First we will assume you have a site, If not go buy a link to get started :P. Either way we need to point a link at at least one, if not 3, of our free hosted account to get the link ball rolling.

After we have pointed a link at one site, we need to expand our chain of links. So our next step is on this taget domain is to link from the home page to 2 or 3 of our other free hosted domains. The important factors here are to not link back and forth within the free hosted accounts but to link one to another one way only, and not do it in large noticable quantities. The best method of this is to actually enbed the links within the text of articles.

Now, if done correctly you will never trip an algo alert because or a few factors.

1. We are linking to sites not owned by you or on the same IP address.

2. The content of each site you link to should not have any of the same content (so no duplicate content filter trip)

3. Each site will have up to 10 pages but not less than 3 (so it is not a link page only)

So to recap What exatly have we done? We have created micro sites that have good content, and is on topic to what we do. We have created a possile income source with adsense on our micro sites and we have assited our SEO efforts at no cost except for time.

About The Author
Bob is part of Top Free Web Hosting, ( )a free web hosting provider that offers 100MB web hosting accounts at no charge.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Are Keywords Destroying the Flow of Your SEO Copy?

by: Karon Thackston

With all the shuffling that’s been seen in the search engine world within the last year, the issue of obvious optimizing has become a hot button. The current line of thinking is that most engines (especially Google) are on the lookout for sites that purposely make an effort to optimize their pages in order to get high rankings. While this theory has not been proven, I agree that obvious optimization is not a good thing. Not exclusively because of what Google might think, but because of what your site visitors might think.

When a Web site is created with the intent of having it ranked highly, one thing often happens. The focus gets placed solely on the optimization and is taken almost completely away from the visitor. This leaves your site in a dangerous state of unbalance. Let’s take a look at some examples.

New Orleans Web Design

Our New Orleans Web design firm offers a high level of creativity to businesses located in the general area. Our New Orleans Web design styles are never made from templates. Each New Orleans Web design is a custom creation just for your site.

I can’t count how many times I’ve visited Web design sites that were targeting local audiences and found copy similar to this example. Forget for a moment that this copy is completely “me, us, we, our” centered, and let me ask you a question.

If someone asked you what your company did would you say, “Web design” or “New Orleans Web design”? Yes, I know the keyphrase is “New Orleans Web design,” but using that phrase interchangeably with “Web design” shatters the flow of natural language. Breaking up that phrase will help you retain your appeal to the engines and your site visitors. It will also keep you from appearing to be over optimized.

You’ll also want to vary your terms to avoid absolutely bombarding the reader (and the engines) with the same keyphrases. That *may* mean the need for longer copy *if* your target audience is one that would respond well to longer copy.

Try this instead:

Progressive, creative, upbeat. Those are phrases that best describe many online businesses based in New Orleans. Web design for your organization should match your style. Never created from templates, the site designs you’ll receive will be truly reflective of your corporate personality. Because we work exclusively with companies located in or near New Orleans, Web designs retain that Big Easy feel.

See the difference? By breaking the phrase up, you work with the flow of natural language instead of against it. To your site visitors and the engines, it appears the phrase is just part of a written conversation instead of something that has been purposely (and carelessly) tossed in for the sole benefit of higher rankings.

So, is the flow of your current copy destroyed by keywords? Are you scaring off both the engines and your visitors? One quick check can help you decide. Read your copy out loud. (Or better yet, have someone else read your copy out loud.) Does it sound odd? Does reading it feel forced or stiff? Would the sentences you’ve written in your copy seem out of place in the course of a verbal conversation with someone? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you might better take a closer look at your Web page.

Karon Thackston © 2004, All Rights Reserved

About The Author

Karon is author of “How To Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy).” Discover the secrets to creating SEO copy with a perfect balance between keywords and natural language.

Karon is author of “How To Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy).” Discover the secrets to creating SEO copy with a perfect balance between keywords and natural language with this insightful e-report.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Branding Versus SEO

by: Kevin Kantola

Branding versus search engine optimization is a marketing dilemma that larger companies will need to come to grips with on the Internet. Often companies will need to decide whether to promote their own brand name as their main keyword phrase or optimize for a more generic keyword phrase.

For instance, one search engine report states that 1.3 million visitors per month search for the term "Best Buy." This same report states that the term "electronics" is searched for by 1.1 visitors per month. The obvious choice in this scenario is for Best Buy to optimize for their own brand name first and the word "electronics" second.

But, take a competitor such as Fry's Electronics. Approximately 95,000 visitors search for the term "Fry's" every month, far short of those who search for "electronics". Does this mean Fry's Electronics (a partner with should optimize for "electronics" first and Fry's (and/or second?

At this writing (August 2004), a search on Google for "electronics" will show that Best Buy does not show up in the first two pages. Fry's ( is on the third page. But let's take a further look to see who is in the number 1 position: Sony. And Samsung is a close second.

Sony, with 450,000 searches per month for the word "sony", has managed to grab the number one spot for its brand name and the generic word "electronics". A search of the Sony homepage source code will reveal that this page is optimized for both words, "Sony" and "electronics." By optimizing for both words Sony has grabbed a lot of traffic neglected by Best Buy and perhaps even exceeds Best Buys traffic in doing this.

Another issue in branding is trademark infringement. Courts have upheld that websites using another company's branded name in its meta tags is engaging in trademark infringement. For instance, a site about cats would be infringing if it put the name Best Buy in its meta tags in hopes of gaining traffic from this trademarked word. Large companies have to protect themselves from others stealing traffic that is rightfully theirs. These companies cannot however protect a generic term such as "electronics" as that is fair game for all electronics companies.

So in order to create the largest return on investment, large companies need to optimize their websites both for their own brand names and for the generic, high-traffic keywords and keyword phrases relevant to their sites. Otherwise, they are letting tons of online business just slip away.

About The Author
Copyright © 2004 SEO Resource
Kevin Kantola is the CEO of SEO Resource and has published many articles over the past 20 years.

8 Essential SEO techniques

by: Matt Colyer

1) Title Tag - The title tag is the most powerful on-site SEO technique you have, so use it creatively! What you place in the title tag should only be one thing, the exact keyword you used for the web page that you are trying to optimize. Every single web page should have it's own title tag.

2) ALT Tags - ALT tags were meant to be for text browsers because the images didn't show in text browsers and the ATL tags would tell the visitor what it's about. You should put your main keyword(s) in the ALT tags, but don't over do it because you could get dropped in the results or even worse banned for life!

3) Link Popularity - Link popularity is the most powerful SEO tool out of all them. Most search engines don't even consider web sites if there is not at least one or two links pointing to the web site. Having another site(s) link to your web site is important when it comes to getting your site a good ranking. Your keywords should be in the links you get and keep the keywords short. When you receive requests for a link exchange, check the site out before linking with them, check for spam (Repeat keywords, hidden text, etc.).

4) Keyword Density - This is also vital and should be used with research. You should use the keyword(s) once in the title tag, once in the heading tag, once in bold text, and get the density between 5% to 20% (Don't over do it!). Also use your keyword(s) both low and high on the web page, keyword(s) should be in the first sentence and in the last one.

5) Page Size - Your web page's speed is important to your visitors and the search engines. Why? Because the robots will be able to spider your web page faster and easier. Try your best to keep your web page over 5k and under 15k in size.

6) Rich Theme - Search engines are looking at themes more and more. Build content (Articles, FAQ, tips, etc.) much as possible and keep the web pages around 200 to 500 words. Create content that's related to your market and link them out to other related content on your site. Try to get 200 web pages or more.

7) Web Site Design - This is also important, if you want to get indexed! Text content should out weigh the HTML content. The pages should validate and be usable in all of today's leading edge browsers. Stay away from flash and Java Script, search engines dislike them both a lot.

8) Insite Cross Linking - This will help you get all of your web pages indexed by the search engines. Your web pages should be no more than three clicks away from the home page. Link to topic related quality content across your site. This will also help build you a better theme through out your web site. On every page you should link back to your home page and your main service(s).

About The Author
Matt Colyer is the owner of the Network which includes and is a part-time SEO. He also is a php, CGI and ASP developer. You can read more articles like this at

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Discover Which Sales Triggers Are Most Effective When Mixed With SEO!

by: John Alexander

We all know the importance of gaining top visibility to a specific target audience on the major search engines. After all, you really need qualified traffic or those who are actually searching for goods and services that you are offering. While most of the time, we teach folks about the importance of doing good keyword research and/or behavioral research to ensure they are attracting an "ideal" target audience, there is another more natural aspect that I'd like to just touch on here.

Writing for search engine robots is not enough:

Many search engine optimizers are empowered through training, with the ability to write for search engine robots and have crafted their skills to score exceptionally well for top relevancy. It surely is essential but there is another element that we need to reflect on besides just writing for search engine robots (as important as that is). I am referring to the importance of compelling your visitor to respond right now once they have landed on the Web page as a result of finding you in the top results. Just what is the exact reason that your target audience will make a buying decision? Why will they decide to buy or not to buy? What do they need to read within your copy that will get them to act right now?

There are only so many reasons why your visitors buy:

When I first started my business, I use to love to ask questions like....Can you explain why I should buy from you? Invariably the client can often point out a number of important reasons why you might buy from him instead of the guy down the street. What you want to do is try asking a series of questions to help profile the client's target audience. After all, this is the most important group to try and understand....the "target audience". At our live SEO Mastery Workshop, we teach people powerful ways that they can research their target audiences behavior. But let's start by arming you with a few basic questions that should help you think about your writing style and communications.

Online or offline, most human beings have certain mindsets which can trigger buying. The challenge however, is we often behave a certain way without ever giving an ounce of thought to the REAL REASON why we buy. If we understand the real reason that that visitors respond, we can suddenly write much more effectively for the human brain as well as the search engine robots.

Let's start by listing a 5 simple reasons that will trigger buying decisions:

* People will buy to save money
* People will also buy to make money
* People will buy something if it saves them time
* People will buy a product or service if it makes life easier
* People will buy something if it improves their safety

Okay, now in each of these 5 examples, ask yourself the following questions:

* If people will buy to save money -

then ask yourself...

if your product or service saves them any money? (This is a trigger)
* If people buy to make money

then ask yourself...

does your product or service offer your audience any opportunities to earn?
* If people buy to save time

then ask yourself... might this apply to what you offer?
* If people buyto make life easier

then ask yourself...

are you able to name some improved conveniences?
* If people buy to improve safety,

then ask yourself...

does your product improve security or make people feel safer?

You can see how having an understanding WHY people buy, can actually change the way you present your content. These types of questions will often help you with writing much more compelling copy because you are writing with a focus that includes a reason to respond now.

But wait!...

Are these the only reasons why people buy? Absolutely not! Start by creating a list of your own "triggers" or things that caused you to "make up your mind" to buy.

The more you explore your target audience's mindset, the more fascinating this can become. Of course we have not even touched on a fraction of the many "triggers" that are at work in people's minds when they are reading Web pages.

If you want some more buying triggers to consider, I'll give you a few more

* People will buy to for specific brands (usually it has to do with prestige)
* People will buy to educate themselves
* People will buy to improve their health
* People will buy to settle their fears
* People will buy to have some fun
* People will buy to satisfy their curiosity
* People will buy to streamline their processes
* People will buy to prove they are right about some issue
* People will buy to improve their image or appearance
* People will buy to improve their quality of life
* People will buy to uniquely set themselves apart from the crowd

What other reasons can you think of that will compel your target audience to buy now?

Best regards,

John Alexander

About The Author
John Alexander is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops with Robin Nobles. Together, they teach 2-day beginner, 3-day advanced, and 5-day all-inclusive "hands on" search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe. John also teaches online search engine marketing courses through, and he’s a member of Wordtracker’s official question support team.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Increase SEO Sales by Teaching Clients about SEO Truths

by: John Alexander

In private consultations with some Search Engine Optimizers I am always amazed at how many people feel it's necessary to hype things up in order to sell their search engine placement services.

Selling hype or setting unrealistic expectations is one of the LEAST intelligent things you can do to build long term client relationships. Instead of scrambling to outdo the next self proclaimed SEO guy's claims, why not try something more in the nature of a soft sell.

By teaching your prospective clients the truth about the SEO process actually will:

* Enhance your reputation as a professional
* Diffuse those competitors who ONLY sell hype
* Increase new sales
* Generate increased referral business
* Establish long term client relationships
* Establish tremendous client loyalty
* Firmly establish YOUR CREDIBILITY in both the community as well as the industry as a professional who knows how to get results.

In other words, teach people the TRUTH about the process and you'll already gain some immediate advantages because you are educating the prospect by offering them some facts but even more important, something that is EASY to believe. Something that blows away old misconceptions.

Most people are tired of hearing a lot of sales hype.

Try de-mystifying the SEO process and help your prospects to understand what search engine optimization (SEO) can do for their business. It's really just a simple, old-fashioned principle.

More SE visibility = more success for the client More client

success = more referral business for you

Most of the time, your clients will sell your services better than you can ever sell yourself.

Every time you help someone achieve success, it is literally impossible for your business not to benefit as well. Okay, here are some real simple tips:

A. Educate your prospect by telling them the truth.

Try using some of the following points when speaking to your prospects:

* Explain to your prospect, that your job is not just building a web site. Designing a web site is relatively easy, but this is only 50% of the job. Explain that your effort continues long after the launch of the site.

* Teach them about a few of the ways your service differs from the traditional Web developer. Your true objective entails more than just concept or design.

* Your skill is positioning their web site squarely in front of their ideal target audience. Once you get them positioned for maximum exposure, it's your aim to keep them there, right in the limelight.

* If you're presenting to a group of 2 or more, ask them the name of their favorite search engine. Don't be surprised by their reply but 98% of the time, they'll name one of the MAJOR search engines. This is a great way to begin teaching them something they may have never heard before.

* Since there are only a "handful" of search engines that everyone uses (the major ones), this is where we place our best promotional efforts. You can demonstrate where their traffic will come from if other clients give you permission to use a couple of their reports as samples.

Ask your prospect, "Did you know that "HITS" are irrelevant?

"That's right, hits do not matter because a HIT is NOT a visitor." You can then explain that each HIT is really an action from the server. In other words, a hit occurs for each and every element downloaded. The number of HITS to a site, are nearly always larger numbers, but this does NOT mean you had any great number of visitors. Teach them about the importance of unique visitor sessions.

Why is this important?

In explaining this difference between a HIT and a VISITOR, you have taught your prospect a truth that could work against the next competitor who comes along behind you and only talks about HITS (which is what many do).

Why do so many competitors talk all about HITS?

Simply because they are BIG numbers which sound impressive particularly if you have no intention of providing the customer with detailed reporting. Teach your prospect the truth, that the important numbers to watch are the actual visitor session counts, not just hits.

Help your client to understand what it is you do.

Does your prospect see your "behind the scenes" service as VITAL? If not, they need some understanding! Explain, "the reason" that business owners hire you, is to ensure their web site is built and launched properly the very first time".

Explain that "Business owners are usually too busy running their business, to worry about all of the requirements of publishing and positioning a web site for targeted traffic and monitoring the results." Help them to understand that you ARE their watchdog for online success. You have come to realize that the more success you bring to them, the more your business grows. You are in this for the long term!

B. Talk to them about the components of success:

Let them know that when you work with their web content, you need some freedom to work with them and provide input. Explain that the best success formula is often a cross between re-writing their content especially for high search engine placement COMBINED with copywriting that is written for the human brain.

It's a combination of having a highly visible web site that also employs techniques that compel their visitors to respond. Explain why this second aspect is so important by saying something like, "Your business does not really begin, until we get your visitor to take action and respond to what they see.

Talk to them about your ability to research their keyword phrases from real time results. Explain to them that you must determine which search phrases will genuinely pull the most targeted traffic into their pages. Tell them you will be asking them for a list of suggested keywords to start. Explain that ultimately you will be analyzing those words and through research, you'll actually find the highest performing phrases with the lowest competition.

You can let them know that the reason your pages score well with major search engines is because you build honest, content-rich pages without the use of any types of tricks, gimmicks or spam.

The strategies you employ are based on using phrases that are first researched and then proven to be currently in usage by consumers within their specific market.

C. Stop trying so hard to sell SEO and learn to dialogue.

Learn to "dialogue" with your prospects in a two-way communication. This is most often successful if you are the one asking the questions. Remember that whoever is asking the questions, is really the one who is controlling and directing the conversation.

Ask questions about from where the prospect would like to take business. Try asking questions like, "Would you be willing to take business from a specific location?" Ask lots of specific questions. If they are only interested in a regional presence, then begin painting a picture in their mind of where they could be getting new business from.

Remember to ask questions about your prospect's distribution of product and services. Demonstrate that you are not just interested in building, positioning and monitoring the are also interested in all aspects of the business such as how they intend to handle distribution. Such conversations not only lead to enhancing client rapport, but will end up triggering new optimization strategies in your mind.

D. Make the most of your newest successes.

Your prospects become your customers and in a short time, they begin telling stories about their success on the web. Don't forget to make the most of these opportunities, after all you've made the effort and promoted your client well, you deserve the credit.

You have demonstrated that your SEO strategies not only work, but in many cases, your efforts will have delivered a dramatic increase in business. Always ask your client's permission first, but they're usually more than happy to distribute your brochure or business cards. This is usually the start to a wonderful trend in ongoing referral business. Always remember to thank your clients for every new referral they send your way.

Ask your clients if they would mind taking the occasional reference call. All you really need are just a few of your client's names and numbers. A list of these satisfied names and numbers can be offered to new prospects. You can be sure this is just one more thing that not a lot of your competitors will be doing.

Search Engine Optimization is one of the biggest missing links in this whole web development industry. It's safe to say that building a web site without a plan for search engine optimization, is the single most expensive lesson that any dot com business has ever had to learn in the last few years. It's only good wisdom that you teach both your prospects and your clients these things up front and early. The results will be a long lasting client relationship where your client wins, your client's customer wins and YOU win too!

E. Enjoy the tremendous lift of knowing that you really are making a difference for your clients.

For thousands of business owners, the investment in solid SEO strategies, are the single missing link to their success. Take action today by employing SEO strategies for your clients and give them the outstanding results they deserve. Remember that success breeds success and when you do an extraordinary job for your client, it was YOUR SEO skills that made the difference. There is tremendous satisfaction in that too!

Best regards,

John Alexander

About The Author
John Alexander is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops with Robin Nobles. Together, they teach 2-day beginner, 3-day advanced, and 5-day all-inclusive "hands on" search engine marketing workshops ( in locations across the globe. John also teaches online search engine marketing courses through, and he’s a member of Wordtracker’s ( official question support team. John is author of the e-book Wordtracker Magic (

Thursday, April 07, 2005

How to REALLY Profit from SEO

by: John Alexander

I want to give you a few more things to think about as you excel and grow in the craft of search engine marketing. If you are anything like me, you were hooked the first time you really made a difference to someone else's success. I soon realized that being able to help business owners to get results from these optimization methods and strategies could also be amazingly profitable. I found out that customers are your greatest resources and many of them are quite generous when you make an impact on their business. So the topic here is for those who want to profit from their skills (if you are not already doing very well and having an awesome time already).

It may seem like a strange thing to talk about but before I begin, I'll say this. There are many folks out there offering various SEO services and they are still not getting the profits that they would like to make. They are not REALLY profiting the way they might if they took a little different approach. The solutions that business owners need to really make a difference in the bottom line, require more than just bringing volumes of traffic to a site. You need targeted traffic mixed with a web strategy to compel response.

Then another group that seems to be doing well at first but the truth is they are making lots of promises and sales but they are not able to hang on to clients very long because they are not delivering long term results.

Many of my SEO clients have been with me 5 years plus. (I am still taking on new ones too.)

Let's talk about the benefits of SEO to you as a search engine marketer, then we'll give you 5 ways to profit:

Here are just a few legitimate benefits of offering SEO services to your clients.

--Increase your sales There's no telling how many sales you can make when you not only can talk the talk but you can walk the walk and REALLY deliver results. Prospects can sense there is something different about you and your services. You are known as the one who fixes up Web sites that don't work.

--Increase your repeat business I learned that just because someone buys a web site, it does not mean that they are happy with it. But if you can turn that Web site around and make it work, then that same client may even BUY a second or a third Web site, not to mention, buy various promotional services. All they need to see is, that what you do… really does work!

--Increase your referral business What can I say, but word gets around quick! Business owners talk to other business owners and every time you help someone out and make them successful on the net, it's like they tell everyone else they know. Referral business is wonderful!

--Increase your credibility With the right training and talent, your client comes to think of you as simply brilliant. This is not because you are REALLY brilliant, but you just look after your client's business as if it were your own. If your client insists that they have the best web marketer and SEO on the planet, why burst their bubble? You make them prosper and they make you prosper.

--Increase your confidence There is a difference your client notices in you...right down to your body language and that inner knowing that if I've gotten other folks awesome results last week, I can do it again no problem this week.

--Increase your authority I can not say enough about solid communication and managing client's expectations honestly.

--Build Client loyalty Let the competitor just try and steal your clients with false promises or tricky claims. You've done a great job of educating your client and making them web wise. Now these things are quite profitable sounding but honestly, they are really just fringe benefits. Lets move on to talk about real profit options.

5 Ways to Profit from SEO: Here's how it starts~

1. Stop focusing on sales and start focusing on your clients success!

There are so many "webmasters", web designers, graphic artists in this business. Does it not just scare you a little bit? Don't we have to enter into competition with other web developers and does it not become a rat race?

Start focusing on your client's success.

Do all that you can do to make them successful. Pour all of your talents into making their projects work. So many folks I talk to can never stop thinking about where they will make their next sale instead of delivering results to the clients they ALREADY have and in so doing, you establish lifetime residuals.

Make your client successful and they will literally become part of YOUR sales team.

2. If you're not up to speed, you better catch up fast. A difference in your performance is a difference in your profits!

If you are not up to speed on solid SEO marketing techniques and methods, start learning now. Take a course or study at a live workshop, but however you do it, get your SEO skills up to speed so you can really help people. If you can show them a strategy that really puts dollars in their pocket, they'll put dollars in YOUR pocket!

3. How's your batting average? How about profit sharing?

If your skills are medium to above average, why not share in the profits yourself. I am referring to offering someone a vertical contract. This would be a deal where you own part of the company in return for making it successful with your SEO skills. Don't brush this off. There are some exceptional deals to be had if you start thinking laterally.

4. Don't forget your community and charitable work.

When's the last time you helped promoting a charitable work at NO cost. Build a site and promote it for the Literacy counsel or the Easter Seals Society or your Local Rotary Group or your Chamber of Commerce. Don't forget that this work will often open unusual and even surprising doors. Help make others successful and you will not fail. Many important leaders within your local community will be serving on these committees right next to you! A great way to network and meet new people and help the cause.

5. Watch the latest SEO trends and position yourself to take advantage.

The study and practice of SEO has been very good to me. Five years ago, I never dreamed that my study of Optimization would lead to the Internet lifestyle. I look after my clients well and sometimes go a little beyond what some might do in the call of duty. I have clients that pay me well for my services and demonstrate that they care about my business. As a result of the work I have done, I have enjoyed wonderful repeat business and client loyalty. Referral business is the best type of business going because it does not really involve a lot of preparation or hard work. You know that when you arrive, that they really want YOU to do the job because of your track record. It's wonderful business.

I could write a lot more but I hope you get the picture. If you have not been enjoying good profits, a rewarding lifestyle and being appreciated by your clients your need a plan of action.


1. You MUST be able to "deliver" and really make a difference. Do whatever it takes to get your SEO skills and lateral thinking skills up to speed.

2. Run a balanced business. Are you charging for what your services are worth?

There are some folks who charge steeply and don't know how to get the results. For gosh sakes, if you're good at what you do, make sure you are charging well for your services. You DESERVE fair reward if your considerable skills are helping other business owners to prosper. (some people are afraid to charge for their work)

Note: The ones that charge steeply but DON'T deliver may make a few dollars initially, but they won't enjoy the customer loyalty, the referral business, repeat business that you do and they won't have a "customer for life" like you will.

3. Don't forget to recognize and be thankful for the progress you've already made. Be sure to benchmark your victories but even more important, celebrate your CLIENT'S VICTORIES too! After all, you helped bring them about.

4. Give something back to your community (with gladness). Look for opportunities to help others who genuinely need help and avoid those who are only after your talents to exploit them. (Trust me, when your SEO talents and success stories increase, you'll have strangers coming out of the woodwork to take you to dinner and pick your brain). Proceed with wisdom.

5. You must be willing to change and take action! Performing the way you perform now has delivered a certain result. So if your happy with that result, carry on exactly the same way and you should get very similar results. If you are not happy with your results now, then you must change the way you do things.

Same action = same result

Different action = new results

Are you looking for new results?

Is it a time for a change of action?

Here’s wishing you the ultimate success.

About The Author
John Alexander is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops with Robin Nobles. Together, they teach 2-day beginner, 3-day advanced, and 5-day all-inclusive "hands on" in locations across the globe. John also teaches online search engine marketing courses through, and he’s a member of Wordtracker’s official question support team at