The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines | 1 July 2004 - Vol 4 Issue #4  

In this issue...

Before Launching Your SEO Campaign

Overture Partners With Search Engine College

LookSmart Withdraws "Free" Clicks

Google Buys Into Chinese Search

Exclusive Offer for Search Light Subscribers

Class Action Suit Building Against SEO Firm

Overture Launches Paid Local Search

Before Launching Your SEO Campaign
By Kalena Jordan of Search Engine College

One of the most important aspects of a search engine optimization campaign is also one of the most overlooked - preparation!
As I'm always explaining to my SEO101 students, there are some important steps to take in advance of launching your campaign that will make sure it has a better chance at succeeding.
Before You Start
Before you start any search engine optimization campaign, whether it's for your own site or that belonging to a client, you need to answer the following important questions:
1) What is the overall motivation for optimizing this site? What do I/they hope to achieve? (e.g. more sales, more subscribers, more traffic, more publicity etc.)
2) What is my/their time-frame for this project?
3) What is my/their budget for this project?
4) Who will be responsible for this project? Will it be a joint or solo effort? Will it be run entirely in-house or outsourced?
Answering these questions will help you to build a framework for your campaign and establish limitations for the size and scope of the campaign.
Requirements Gathering
Next, you need to establish the project requirements, so you can tailor the SEO campaign to you or your client's exact needs. You need to know things like:
1) What technology was used to build the site? (i.e. Flash, PHP, frames, Cold Fusion, JavaScript, Flat HTML etc)
2) What are the file extensions of the pages? (i.e. .htm, .php, .cfm etc)
3) Does the site contain database driven content? If so, will the URLs contain query strings? e.g., (containing "?" symbols), or does the site use parameter workarounds to remove the query strings? (the latter is search engine friendly).
4) Are there at least 250 words of text on the home page and other pages to be optimized?
5) How does the navigation work? Does it use text links or graphical links or JavaScript drop-down menus?

6) Approximately how many pages does the site contain? How many of these will be optimized?
7) What is the current link popularity of the site?
8) What is the approximate Google PageRank of the site? Would it benefit from link building?
9) Do I have the ability to edit the source code directly? Or will I need to hand-over the optimized code to a site admin for integration?
10) Do I have permission to alter the visible content of the site?
11) What are the products/services that the site promotes? (e.g. widgets, mobile phones, hire cars etc.)
12) What are the site's geographical target markets? Are they global? Country specific? State specific? Town specific?
13) What are the site's demographic target markets? (e.g. young urban females, working mothers, single parents etc.)
14) What are 20 search keywords or phrases that I think my/my client's target markets will use to find the site in the search engines?
15) Who are my/my client's major competitors online? What are their URLs? What keywords are they targeting?
16) Who are the stake-holders of this site? How will I report to them?
17) Do I have access to site traffic logs or statistics to enable me to track visitor activity during the campaign? Specifically, what visitor activity will I be tracking?
18) How do I plan on tracking my or my client's rankings in the search engines?
19) Do I or my client have the ability and resources in place to respond to increased traffic/business as a result of the campaign?
20) What are my/my client's expectations for the optimization campaign? Are they realistic?
Answers to the first 10 questions above will determine how search engine-compatible the site currently is and the complexity of optimization required. For example, if the site pages currently have little text on them, you know you'll need to integrate more text to make the site compatible with search engines and to be able to include your target keywords. If the site currently uses frames, you will need to rebuild the pages without frames or create special No-Frames tags to make sure the site can be indexed.
This initial analysis will help you to scope the time and costs involved in advance. For those of you optimizing client sites, obtaining accurate answers to these questions BEFORE quoting is absolutely crucial. Otherwise you can find yourself in the middle of a project that you have severely under-quoted for and that's very frustrating.
The remainder of questions are to establish in advance the who, what, where, when, why and how of the optimization campaign. This will help you determine the most logical keywords and phrases to target, as well as which search engines and directories to submit the site to and which sites to pursue reciprocal links with.
You're Now Prepared!
So now you are clear about your motivations for optimizing the site, you know more about the target markets, you know how compatible the existing site is with search engines and how much work is involved in the search engine optimization process. You're ready to tackle the job!

As well as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena Jordan manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.

   Dear Reader,

Can you believe it's July already? Half the year is over and it still feels like February.
Perhaps that's because I've been so busy. Everything since the birth of my son has been a blur. I can hardly keep up with my own In-Tray, let alone what's been happening in the search industry. They say you lose brain cells during pregnancy so I guess that's my excuse!
Anyway, this month we've got an article about how to prepare for your SEO campaign, PLUS a special discount deal on our search engine marketing courses at Search Engine College, exclusive to Search Light subscribers.
Speaking of SEC, we were pretty chuffed this month to gain endorsement from Overture for our Pay Per Click courses, with ALL students receiving an Overture account to the value of USD70. You can read all about it below.

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...

  • Overture Partners With Search Engine College
  •   Recently launched online marketing training school Search Engine College received a boost of credibility recently via official endorsement from the pay-per- click search giant Overture.
    In a press release distributed to media this month, Overture pledged sponsorship of the College via the provision of an Overture Australia account to the value of AUD100 (approximately USD70) for every student enrolling in SEC's Pay Per Click search marketing courses.
    Ms Mel Bohse, managing director of Overture Australia said, "Sponsoring SEC's Pay-Per-Click courses involves Overture Australia providing all students with AU$100 to begin learning the art of search marketing in a real life situation."
    "They'll use the AU$100 to begin an actual search marking campaign for their company, using Overture's technology. SEC's highly qualified tutors will guide the students through each step in the process, helping them realise the substantial return-on-investment benefits that can result from search engine marketing."
    "By partnering with Overture to deliver the Pay Per Click training courses, SEC is able to teach search engine marketing in a real world situation", said Chris Dimmock, Search Engine College Tutor for the Pay-Per- Click marketing courses.
    "The students will have a live Overture Precision Match account, set up in their company's name and will be running real campaigns for their companies with the $100 provided by Overture. Overture's involvement literally moves the course from theory to practice."
    The College is still accepting student registrations for their first round of Pay Per Click courses, commencing this month.

  • LookSmart Withdraws "Free" Clicks
  •   Embattled search firm LookSmart has announced the end of the so-called "free clicks" they were providing customers of their LookListings pay per click advertising service.
    For the past two years, customers had been receiving free clicks each month in exchange for directory listings purchased before April 9, 2002. The directory listings were originally purchased by customers for what LookSmart then described as a "One Time Fee", only to have those listings automatically converted to pay-per- click accounts when LookSmart changed their financial model in 2002.
    The compulsory conversion of customer accounts to their pay-per-click model resulted in a a class action lawsuit being filed on behalf of customers. The expiration of free clicks on 14 June was in accordance with the terms of the settlement of the lawsuit.

  • Google Buys Into Chinese Search
  •   Google is apparently one of several investors that bought a stake in, China's largest search engine, last week.
    The move is ironic given that searchers in China were at one stage banned by the Chinese Government from accessing Google.
    Baidu, set up in California in 1999, is now Beijing-based and is China's most popular search engine. Baidu was provided a third and final round of finance last week by a consortium of Chinese and foreign companies led by Venture Capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

  • Exclusive Offer for Search Light Subscribers
  •   As a valued subscriber of The Search Light, we are pleased to provide you with an exclusive discount coupon for redemption towards the course/s of your choice at Search Engine College.
    The coupon will give you a 15% discount on your next purchase at Search Engine College and is valid until 16th July.
    CLICK HERE to receive your coupon!

  • Class Action Suit Building Against SEO Firm
  •   Law firm Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo, LLP from San Francisco is investigating a potential class action lawsuit against search engine optimization firm Traffic- operating out of Las Vegas, Nevada. The suit is apparently based on numerous consumer complaints about improper business practices.
    The SEO Consultants Directory have been commissioned by a Consortium of anonymous business owners, past and present Traffic-Power clients and a few industry representatives to research, assemble and publish a collection of online documents that refer to Traffic- The documents are extremely detailed and include details of Traffic-Power's estimated revenues, executive staff and photographs of a toga party held to celebrate the company's achievement of $100K in revenue earnings in a single week and over $300K in a four week period.
    Current and former clients of Traffic-Power are being encouraged to read the documentation and get in touch with the law firm directly for further information.

  • Overture Launches Paid Local Search
  •   Pay Per Click search firm Overture has launched Local Match, its new sponsored search product which delivers local search listings to consumers searching online for local products and services.
    Local Match enables advertisers to precisely target customers who are searching the Web to find products and services from a local provider.
    Specifically, advertisers have the ability to pinpoint a geographic area surrounding their business (between 0.5 to 100 miles) in which they would like their search listing to be shown.

    CLICK HERE for your 15% discount coupon for Search Engine College courses!

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