The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 31 Oct 2006 - Vol 6 Issue #10  

In this issue...

Feature Article:

How To Bring Sales To Your Business Through A Weblog

FAQ1: Should I use | to separate keywords in my Title Tag?

FAQ2: Why isn't my site in the top 2000 results on Google?

FAQ3: Is it considered black hat SEO to hide H1 tags within CSS?

FAQ4: How do I update my RSS feed?

FAQ5: What does the term "long tail phenomenon" mean?

FAQ6: How do I change our domain name without losing existing customers?

Feature Article:

How To Bring Sales To Your Business Through A Weblog

By Danny Wirken
An increasing number of business entities are actively using blogs as part of their marketing strategy. Why? Blogging is providing them the ability to connect with their audience thus encouraging goodwill which in turn helps bring sales.
Marketing through Blogging
It is nothing you have not heard for quite some time now. Blogging has caused quite a stir. It has, in fact, continued to proliferate rapidly. In early days, a blog is just a personal online diary. It is a place to publish one's thoughts, to collect and share things that one finds interesting. It is a venue to express one's rants, raves and musings.
Today, professional and amateur journalists, political pundits, business honchos, entertainers, everybody seems to be blogging. Blogs are now being used to promote a business, run a political campaign, elicit publicity, among others.
A blog or weblog is an online diary of events arranged in reverse chronological order. The author of a blog is known as a blogger and writing or maintaining a blog is referred to as blogging. An individual entry or article is called a post and is available in the form of a blog page for the public to read.
A blog may have a commentary box for readers to leave comments or opinions. These comments act as stimulus for further conversations. A business or corporate blog is simply a blog about a specific business. It is an effective medium for communicating with current and potential customers to share knowledge and expertise and foster relationships.
A company that employs a well-planned blogging strategy can spur significant market gains and sales earnings. Marketing is not just promoting a product or service. More importantly, it is about understanding the needs and wants of customers and developing products or services that satisfy these needs and wants effectively.
A blog enables a company to reach out to current and potential customers, in a more personal way. A blog builds connection and links between the company and its key audience which helps the company use this network over time to improve overall business.
A business blog especially if regularly updated can inform readers about a company product or service, information, industry news, tips, tutorials or company developments. Links to industry-related stories can also be found in a blog. The way the targeted audience responds to these information or content is important to any company.
A blog is a good venue for customers to air issues, concerns and give comments. Through a blog, customers can give their own inputs. A company can hear directly from customers and understand what they desire to get from a product or service.
Sometimes, the most well-intentioned product under perform because of lack of customer feedback. With blogging, a company can ask for feedbacks, albeit not the whole world, but at least the blogging community. Once a company has insights into what a large community thinks of the product or service, the company can then further improve the product or service to meet customer requirements. After all, customer satisfaction is of utmost importance.
A company who listens and responds to customer feedback conveys the message that there is somebody who listens behind an otherwise faceless company. Because a blog is conversational, it gives the company a human voice.
This assures customers that there is a "real" person who will take care of their needs. Customers will feel an affinity with the company. Regular visits brought about by regular updates through fresh blog entries will familiarize the customers with the company and make them feel that they personally know the company. In due time, trust and loyalty is built and relationships fostered. As we all know people generally buy products or avail the services of people they know and trust.
Rest assured that return visits to the blog, maybe for more information, will transpire even after a purchase has been made. As they say, customer loyalty is the end-all-be-all of marketing.
A company that utilizes customer ideas, feedbacks, and opinions can further satisfy customer needs and wants and thus facilitates goodwill in the blogging community. It is standard practice in blogging to provide a link to a thought originator which is important because backlinks are a method for search engines to rank a blog. Search engine ranking is very important. Google and Yahoo are two of the most popular search engines. A blog is typically written daily thus the blog post is new.
The search engines index the new post more often than the regular website. The result is a high rank compared to a website. If a company has a product to promote and publishes blog posts about the product regularly, chances are one of the blog posts will be found by readers who may be looking for information about the product.
Hopefully, after reading the blog post, the potential customer will visit the company website and make a purchase online or buy the product in a "brick and mortar" store. Marketers acknowledge that potential customers can be customers once they find the information they want about a product from the company's blog.
Another feature of a blog why search engines love it is a blog's high number of incoming links. Bloggers link to other blogs, articles and websites. The reading audience is exposed to a plethora of information. Bloggers, thus, create and retain a loyal following of readers. PageRanks for blogs are usually very strong too. As you and I know, high search engine ranking translates to high traffic and more sales leads.

Generating Sales from Blogging
The way to get the most from blogging is by building a strong brand. A brand is simply value for the customer. It is good customer service and products or services that will satisfy customer needs and wants. A blog can help a company demonstrates its expertise in its industry or field. Blogs do create buzz about a company's authority in its niche. A blog connects a company to its target audience and peers and starts a more dynamic conversation with the marketplace. A blog helps to show a company's value, its online brand on the web. Once a company has built a strong brand, sales will just follow.
Publishing a blog will not automatically generate higher sales. However, it is an efficient way to communicate with customers and prospects. A blog in itself is an excellent tool to support a business, provide value, build relationships and establish brand and image. The ultimate purpose of a blog is to brand, to communicate and to connect. Increased sales should only be viewed as a positive indirect effect of a successful blog.

About the Author
Danny Wirken can be contacted via The International Journal of Internet Marketing.

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Enter our Funny Photo Caption Competition
Got a funny caption for the photo above? Submit the funniest and win a self study course of your choice from Search Engine College. Here are some examples:
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Congratulations to Adrian from New Zealand who submitted October's winning caption. Adrian has won a free SEO 101 self study course at Search Engine College.

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   Hello Readers!

The new buzz word in the search industry this month seems to be "certification". Every man and his dog appears to be discussing search industry certification in one form or another.
Others are offering scholarships or internships to help people learn search engine optimization or search engine marketing within a commercial environment. I am delighted at this newfound interest in education that seems to have swept the industry. It shows that Search has finally been recognized as a vibrant career path.
Here at Search Engine College, we too have been concentrating on our curriculum. We are about to launch SEC Certification Pathways, a series of bundled SEC courses that follow 3 distinct tracks of study:
Pathway A: Certified Search Engine Optimizer
Pathway B: Certified Pay Per Click Marketer
Pathway C: Certified Search Engine Marketer

As a Search Light Subscriber, you are amongst the very first people to hear about these new Certification programs so spread the word!
But enough about us. In this month's feature article, Danny Wirken talks about how you can connect with your customers and generate sales from a commercial weblog. We've also got a huge mailbag of FAQs for you this month.

Enjoy this issue and remember to visit the daily Search Engine Advice Column to check out my answers to frequently asked search engine questions or submit one of your own.
Till next time - wishing you clicks and conversions...

  • FAQ1: Should I use | to separate keywords in my Title Tag?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    This is a great website, there's definitely a cup of coffee coming your way. Wondered if I could ask your opinion on the following.
    Title Meta Tags, I was recently looking at a website by a guy in the UK who works for an SEO company, I noticed he had separated his Keywords in his title tags by using the | character. Do you think this makes any difference whatsoever as far as search engines are concerned?
    Thanks again Kalena

    Dear Graham
    The short answer is no. If you actually conduct a search for the "|" (vertical bar) in Google, you get zero matches, suggesting that Google ignores that symbol. However, according to this site, Google uses the vertical bar as an operator that means the same as "OR" when conducting advanced searches.
    I don't believe this would prevent Googlebot from indexing a Title Tag containing "|", but it may confuse things. At best, the symbol would be ignored. To be on the safe side, I would avoid using any symbols in your Title Tags to ensure your entire keyword phrases get indexed in the order you prefer.

  • FAQ2: Why isn't my site in the top 2000 results on Google?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I just created a new site, its dead basic and mainly an affiliate site. I have linked to it from a couple of my other sites that have a Google PR of 4 & 5 but of course I need loads more links yet as it's in a very competitive sector (
    Its been indexed by Google this week but of course its not even in the top 2000. In your opinion Kalena, without a ton more links is that where it's likely to stay, outside the top 2000?. It seems to be a catch22 situation, if I don't have a decent PR, why would another site want to exchange links? I seem to find this concept of asking other sites to exchange links akin to begging :-)

    Dear Graham2
    If your site is brand new, you won't be able to find it for your target keywords for up to 9 months. Why? Because nearly all new sites are subject to Google's aging delay. That explains why you can't see it in the top 2000 results right now.
    As for exchanging links - reciprocal linking is soooo last year. Every link you place pointing away from your site is diluting the value of your incoming links somewhat. That doesn't mean you shouldn't link to other sites or swap links - as long as the outgoing links are useful to your own site visitors. But you shouldn't pursue reciprocal link exchanges solely for search engine value.
    The most valuable links to build up your site's PageRank are non-reciprocal links from high-quality, high-traffic sites that have a similar theme to your own. How do you find these? Do a Google search for backlinks pointing to your competitor's sites by entering "link:" in Google's search box. Take a look at the type of sites linking to your competitors and see if you can get those same sites to link to you.
    Look for niche directories, portals and search engines in the insurance industry. Submit your site to those. Write some articles about auto insurance and submit them to ezines and article annoucement lists for re-publishing on other sites. Make it a condition of re-publishing that they include a link back to your site in the Author Resource box.

  • FAQ3: Is it considered black hat SEO to hide H1 tags within CSS?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    If you make H1 tags hidden by using the CSS method, do search engines like Google and Yahoo consider this black hat SEO? I've heard that using the colour method is definitely considered bad SEO but that wouldn't be used along with the CSS method. It was suggested to use the CSS method for our H1 tags we're creating for clients but I wasn't sure if it was something that would be safe to implement as part of our SEO set up for clients.

    Dear Demi
    It depends on the intent. If you are deliberately hiding tags in your CSS because you don't want search engines to find them, that's black hat, in my opinion. If there is a legitimate usability or design reason to put these tags in your CSS, then my feeling is it's ok.
    Google's own staff recommend against using CSS to hide text so I would probably avoid it if you can.

  • FAQ4: How do I update my RSS feed?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I read your article about RSS feeds and I'm trying to create one. But I am not clear on the updating. Who updates the items? Do I update my RSS files with new stuff or if I just update the pages in the links of the RSS files will they get updated by the aggregators? I am confused.

    Hi Joelle
    If you create an RSS or XML feed from scratch, you add items manually to your feed. Every time you add a new story or post your feed will be updated. Aggregators will automatically index your RSS or XML file and recognize when new items are added to your feed.
    But these days, it is not necessary to create a feed from raw code. Most people use a blog or feed service such as WordPress or Blogger to make and add automatic updates to their RSS or XML feed. You can also "ping your feed" to alert aggregators whenever your blog or feed is updated. Learn more at Feed101, Introduction to RSS and What is RSS.

  • FAQ5: What does the term "long tail phenomenon" mean?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    What does the term "long tail phenomenon" mean?

    Dear Carmela
    Here's your long tail phenomenon definition and an article about how it relates to keyword research.

  • FAQ6: How do I change our domain name without losing existing customers?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    How do I change our domain name without losing existing customers?

    Dear Tracy
    Your question is not crystal clear to me but I assume you mean: "How do I change our domain name without losing existing customers?".
    If you are changing domain names but you want to make sure that existing customers still find you, you simply keep your old domain name and place a permanent 301 redirect on it, pointing it to your new domain. If you have access to your hosting CPanel, you can also achieve this by parking the old domain on the new one or by simply editing your .htaccess file.
    Once this is in place, anyone typing in page URLs from your old domain, or clicking on outdated links in search engines will be automatically taken to your new domain. The search engines will eventually update links so they point to your new domain.

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