The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 10 Jun 2003 - Vol 3 Issue #5  

In this issue...

Successful SEO Case Study: BirthNet

SearchKing vs Google Lawsuit Dismissed

LookSmart Shares Dive 43 Percent

Sprinks and AOL Sign Ad Deal

SEM Industry Farewells Jim Wilson

Google News Launches in 5 Countries

Overture Sued Over FAST Purchase

Successful SEO Case Study: BirthNet

By Kalena Jordan of Web Rank Ltd

This month we're going to take a look at how search engine optimization helped double the traffic to an Australian web site, contributing to the success of a unique business venture.
BirthNet is Australia's premier pregnancy website and resource for pregnancy and birth information online. The site provides information about what women can expect from their pregnancy and even provides online pregnancy and childbirth classes.
Founders Catherine Price and Sandra Robinson felt that many people could benefit from having the option of completing their childbirth education classes online and having access to unbiased pregnancy information, written for the Australasian and international Internet user. So BirthNet was born.
"BirthNet's online classes are structured to provide a convenient alternative for parents preparing for the birth of their baby. The site is especially useful for women staying in hospital during their pregnancy, those who are hungry for information, time poor, unable to access classes due to geographical isolation, or perhaps inhibited by group situations", says Ms Price.

Having been impressed by Web Rank's detailed Search Engine Compatibility analysis of the site, BirthNet asked us to provide a search engine marketing solution to ensure their site would rank well for regional pregnancy- related searches in their target market of Australia. One of the first recommendations we made was to remove existing "doorway" pages from the site, developed by an inexperienced or ill-informed SEO firm hired prior to Web Rank. Designed to trick the search engines, these doorway pages were ineffective and could have attracted "spam" penalties by the likes of Google if they had been detected. Luckily they hadn't and they were quickly removed from the site with the client's consent.
The next step was to conduct keyword research on the topic of pregnancy to produce a range of target keywords and phrases that would attract relevant traffic to the site. This was followed by an overhaul of existing Title and META Tags on each page, followed by extensive page copywriting to integrate new target keywords naturally into the site.
With the implementation of BirthNet's search engine optimization campaign, Web Rank has achieved scores of top ten positions for the site across the world's most important search engines and directories. Below are a few examples:

# 5 pregnancy due dates
# 6 early signs of pregnancy
# 5 pregnancy trimesters
# 5 pregnancy announcements
# 2 early signs of pregnancy
# 2 twin pregnancy symptoms
# 3 pregnancy sites Australia
# 5 twin pregnancy symptoms
# 1 pregnancy announcements
# 1 pregnancy sites Australia
# 1 twin pregnancy symptoms
AltaVista Australia
# 1 early signs of pregnancy
# 3 pregnancy signs and symptoms
# 1 pregnancy week by week
# 1 pregnancy questions
# 1 early signs of pregnancy
# 1 pregnancy due dates
# 2 early signs of pregnancy
# 5 pregnancy announcements
# 2 twin pregnancy symptoms
# 4 twin pregnancy symptoms
# 3 pregnancy sites Australia
# 4 pregnancy week by week
Remember that these ranking results were achieved even while competing with millions of other web sites targeting the same search terms. So what is the most obvious benefit of search engine optimization? Traffic! Below is an actual example of the growth in site traffic BirthNet experienced as a result of their search engine optimization campaign:

(Click on thumbnail for a larger image)
As you can see, within two months of the SEO campaign being implemented at the end of March 2003, site traffic increased by a whopping 96 percent from 27,793 visitors to over 54,500 visitors in the month of May 2003. Search engine referrals now account for nearly 20 percent of all site traffic, a factor that can be attributed entirely to the impact of Web Rank's search engine optimization services. What's even better is that all this extra traffic is highly targeted, having found the site by conducting a search for keywords and phrases directly related to pregnancy information.
So what do BirthNet think of the results of their search engine optimization campaign?
"We are ext
remely happy with the results that Web Rank achieved for us and our fears of the stats going through the floor when the doorways were removed was not realized, which we are very pleased about.", said Ms Price. "In the last week, visitors have jumped from 1800 - 2000, to around 2,500 a day, which is great!".
Could YOUR site use more traffic? Are you attracting the right visitors by targeting the most relevant keywords and phrases? Is your site invisible to search engines? Web Rank can analyze your site for search engine compatibility and provide an obligation-free quote to improve your search engine ranking. Just ask us!

Click Here for info on our SEO services...

   Dear Reader,

The past month has been an exciting one for Web Rank. First we won a large new SEO project in the U.S., beating out several local competitors in the client pitch. Then I was given the opportunity of writing a regular column for the Technology section of the local newspaper here in Christchurch, The Press (which I'm enjoying immensely). You can view the latest issue here.
Lastly, we are very close to launching our Special Report - Search Engine Compatibility and the Top 100 New Zealand Companies - which reveals just how invisible the web sites of New Zealand's top companies are to the average searcher. Fascinating stuff! Watch this space next month for Report highlights and details on where you can get your copy.
We've also been busy tracking the online success of clients whose web sites we've optimized for higher search engine rankings. Our feature article this month highlights one such success story - BirthNet - and how SEO doubled their site traffic in just three months. I remember grinning from ear to ear when I received a very excited email from BirthNet's founder Catherine Price, with the subject line "Visitors have jumped!" The case study serves as a timely reminder that search engine marketing is not just for ecommerce sites.
One final thing I want to mention is how disappointed I am in Overture for continuing to partner with "scumware/adware" manufacturers Gator Corp. Gator's GAIN software installs itself on your PC when you download certain types of software and can be very difficult to remove. GAIN launches pop- up advertising to appear on web sites while you're browsing, generally encouraging you to click away from the site you are viewing to visit a competitor's site. People often don't realize they've installed it and wonder why they are being inundated with pop-ups.
As mentioned in this article in March, Overture has partnered with Gator, meaning that Overture advertisers have their ads displayed via annoying pop-ups, often without their knowledge. Once I learnt this, I immediately cancelled my Overture account in protest. Many advertisers have since followed suit.
This month, a Harvard University researcher completed a fascinating report into the workings of Gator and the way their advertisements are linked to certain web sites. The research exposed more than 8,000 web sites that were being "hijacked" by the software and the numerous pending lawsuits against Gator. Definitely food for thought.
Enjoy this issue and remember to visit our daily Search Engine News Blog for the latest industry news and gossip.

Till next time - wishing you high rankings...

  • SearchKing vs Google Lawsuit Dismissed
  •    An Oklahoma court has granted Google's Motion to Dismiss the case brought against them by disgruntled owner of SearchKing, Bob Massa.

    Last August, Mr Massa's PR Ad Network allegedly used Google's proprietory PageRank system to sell ad space on his network of portals, which led to Google manually applying a low PageRank score to his network of sites. Mr Massa responded with a lawsuit, claiming his ability to do business had been infringed by Google's manual adjustment.
    Google responded with a Motion to Dismiss the case, asserting they were immune from Tort Liability arising from the manual devaluation, because PageRank constitutes protected speech. Last month, the judge agreed with Google, stating:
    "The court simply finds there is no conceivable way to prove that the relative significance assigned to a given Web site is false," the judge said. "Accordingly, the court concludes Google's PageRanks are entitled to full constitutional protection."

  • LookSmart Shares Dive 43 Percent
  •    Spooked investors drove LookSmart share prices down by 43 percent last month, following the company's announcement that it had reduced its earnings outlook for the year.

    The company revised its forecast 2003 earnings from between USD 22 and 25 million, down to USD 13 million as a result of increased investment in product development and unanticipated costs. LookSmart stock closed at $2.17 on the Nasdaq, after recovering slightly from a session low of $2.00.

    Full Story...

  • Sprinks and AOL Sign Ad Deal
  •    Primedia-owned pay-per-click search company Sprinks has signed a deal with AOL Time Warner to provide contextual paid listings to AOL Instant Messenger, Compuserve and Netscape sites.

    The deal is significant because it allows Sprinks advertisers to bid for placement on newsletters and editorial pages of popular AOL-owned portals. Instead of bidding for certain keywords that appear in search engines, contextual advertising gives them the opportunity to bid for topics in non-search content pages such as news articles.

    Full Story...

  • SEM Industry Farewells Jim Wilson
  •    The search engine marketing industry is in mourning after it bade farewell to pioneer Jim Wilson last month. Jim (of JimWorld and Search Engine Forums fame) passed away from congestive heart failure after a long illness. A memorial site for Jim has been set up to receive tributes and messages of condolence for Jim's family.

    Click Here to leave your tribute...

  • Google News Launches in 5 Countries
  •    Google has launched five international versions of their popular news service. Google News is now available in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and the U.K. I've already spent quite a bit of time at Google News New Zealand - great stuff!

    Click Here for Google's main news site...

  • Overture Sued Over FAST Purchase
  •    May was a bad month for Overture. During the month, it was discovered that the pay-per-click giant is being sued over their recent purchase of FAST Search and Transfer. The legal action was revealed in a filing Overture made with the Securities Commission last month.
    A company called MRT Micro ASA filed suit in Massachusetts seeking permanent injunctions blocking the sale and a claim of all proceeds from the USD 70 million deal. MRT Micro claims that technology being acquired by Overture as part of the sale actually belongs to them. Overture plans to fight the law suit.

    Full Story...

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