The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 1 December 2006 - Vol 6, Issue #11  

In this issue...

Feature Article:

Opening Sentences That Close the Sale

FAQ1: How do I add keywords to my individual blog pages?

FAQ2: Has our site been penalized by Google?

FAQ3: How does rank compared to other search engines?

FAQ4: Something keeps redirecting my searches. What is it?

FAQ5: Can you recommend any SEO companies?

EARN CASH from your web site!

Feature Article:

Opening Sentences That Close the Sale

By Karon Thackston
It's one of the best pieces of copywriting advice I've ever been given. "As often as possible, start your paragraphs with sentences that hook readers and drive them deeper into the copy." Why? Because - after the headline - the first sentence in any paragraph is what gets read most often. After that point, customers usually skip to the next section unless they feel compelled to keep reading. That means your job, as the copywriter, is to entice them into each segment so they will consume as much of your copy as possible.
Take your cue from Reader's Digest. They crank out - issue after issue - exceptional opening lines for their articles that engage then hook readers. What happens next? The reader is pulled into the story full force. Here are some examples:
  • It was a horrific display of irreverence.

  • By the way she dressed, you would have never guessed she was only 14.

  • As he reached into the box, something inside it moved.

  • See? Those sentences boost your curiosity. They make you wonder what happens next. They cause you to visualize a scene that might be taking place. You can do the same thing from a marketing perspective when you write your copy.

    For instance, rather than starting the copy for an email to Australian hotels like this:
    "You may be aware of - we are an Australian-owned and managed online hotel booking service."
    Really capture their attention with an opening sentence that is specific to them like this:
    "Now you have the opportunity to affordably position your hotel in front of approximately 6,000 travelers every day that are looking for accommodations exclusively in Australia."
    For an Australian hotel that depends on the Internet to generate reservations, that sentence gives them many reasons to keep reading.
    Here are some other before-and-after examples of opening sentences:
    BEFORE: Hello and welcome to our website. If you are looking for [enter product name here], you are at the right site. (In this case, the example is from a wedding photographer's site.)
    AFTER: We don't take pictures. We capture precious memories that you can enjoy for a lifetime.
    BEFORE: Our site has been online since 2000, and this marks our 6th year online providing designer-inspired sunglasses.
    AFTER: How do you get the latest designer-inspired looks without paying outrageous prices?
    BEFORE: Our cruise website offers unbeatable rates and a diverse array of travel services guaranteed to satisfy even the most discriminating vacationer.
    AFTER: Just imagine yourself on the white sand beaches of Honolulu, hiking through the balmy rainforests of Belize or whisking down a powdery, snow-covered mountain in Aspen, all at up to 50% off!
    BEFORE: Thank you for shopping for your corporate gifts at We hope your shopping experience is delightful.
    AFTER: When you truly impress your clients with distinctive corporate gifts, they remember you longer, feel a closer relationship and are more likely to reward you with increased sales.
    See the difference? The "before" sentences are dull, average and unflattering. The "after" sentences are intriguing, imaginative and enticing.
    Don't stop after you create inviting headlines. Keep the momentum going by writing intriguing opening sentences, too. When you do, you'll help convert more site visitors into paying customers.

    About the Author
    Karon Thackston is owner of Marketing Words, Inc. a full-service copywriting company specializing in search engine copywriting. Copy not getting results? Learn to write SEO and online copywriting that impresses the engines and your visitors with Karon's Copywriting Course. Register today at Search Engine College.

    Exclusive Discount Offer from Proposal Kit
    As a valued subscriber of The Search Light, we are pleased to provide you with an exclusive discount coupon code for redemption towards the proposal templates of your choice from Proposal Kit.
    The coupon code WEBRANK will give you a 10% discount on your next purchase at Proposal Kit. Make sure you enter coupon code WEBRANK in the refer/upgrade field to claim your discount. So what are you waiting for? Go choose your templates and start closing more sales today!

    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:
    "It's a bird, it's a plane, no... it's a hole in the ozone layer!"
    "Don't worry son, grandad will get off the roof just as soon as he remembers who he is".
    "Terry and his son watched in awe as the Victoria's Secret billboard went up".
    Winners announced next month. For your chance to win, submit your own caption entry by midnight GMT on December 30.
    Congratulations to David from China Search Marketing Tour who submitted November's winning caption. David has won a free Link Building 101 self study course at Search Engine College.

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       Hello Readers!

    Are we heading into another dot com boom? With Google shares hitting $500 and more tech start-ups launching each month than you can poke a stick at, it sure seems like it. Hope you're getting your piece of the dotcom action. I have just started a new share portfolio and I'm quite excited about it. I'm not quite keen enough to buy Google shares while they're so high, but there are a lot of interesting tech stocks that are worth investing in.
    Speaking of good investments, one thing you should always invest in is decent copywriting for your site. A gal that knows all about this is copy genius (and SEC tutor) Karon Thackston. Karon's our Guest Author this month with her article about how to use knock-out opening sentences. Just one look at the before and after examples should get your creative juices flowing.
    Another treat we have for you this month is the launch of our new affiliate program for Search Engine College. You are one of the first people to hear about this program, so get in quick! By simply adding a small image or text link to your web site, you can earn big bucks by referring traffic to Search Engine College. You earn 15% commission for every student that successfully registers for a course after clicking on your link. This includes our Pathways courses that range up to USD 1,195, so this could become your most profitable affiliate program ever! See the bottom of this newsletter for information on how to join as soon as the program is launched.

    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: How do I add keywords to my individual blog pages?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I have a doubt plz help me. I think you can help. How do we add different keywords to each page of a blog like we do in a website? this blog has done it. How did he do it?
    thank you

    Dear John
    To add tailored Title and META Tags to your blog pages, or to optimize them for keywords, you need to edit the HTML template for your blog. If you use Blogger, you simply access the tab marked "Template". For other blog templates, this article should help you.

  • FAQ2: Has our site been penalized by Google?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    An excellent website! have found many useful articles in the "ask kalena" section.
    I was curious as to whether our website has been penalized for some reason. We have recently changed our navigation from image based to text links to increase the amount of keywords on the page. Is it possible this website has been "sandboxed"?
    It looks like Google's indexing of the site is weak compared to MSN. Any feedback you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for your time and have an excellent day.

    Dear Simon
    Thank you for the coffee! The caffeine is greatly appreciated.
    I've had a look at your site and the first thing that strikes me is that there is no Google cache for many of the pages. Your home page has a healthy Toolbar PageRank of 5 out of 10 so there is no penalty. Next, I entered your URL into Google's new Site Status Tool. Bingo! I found two problems:
    1) Googlebot last successfully accessed your home page on Jul 29, 2006 (which explains the caching issue).
    2) Google does not know about all the pages of your site.
    I'm not sure when your major re-design occurred, but if it was around the end of July, then it's highly likely the site has since been sandboxed, as you guessed. Best course of action is to prepare and submit an XML sitemap to Google Sitemaps and wait till Googlebot travels your way again.
    After verifying your site with Google, you can check if Googlebot struck errors during his last crawl.
    Good Luck!

  • FAQ3: How does rank compared to other search engines?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    How does rank compared to other search engines?

    Dear Natasha
    I am assuming by "rank" you mean popularity with searchers? This can be measured via search market share. According to the latest figures, holds somewhere between 3 and 6 percent of the US search market right now.
    Why the range? Well unfortunately, search market stats can be less than accurate, as Danny Sullivan points out in his recent post Search Popularity Stats: Sliced and Diced.

  • FAQ4: Something keeps redirecting my searches. What is it?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    Something is redirecting my searches to sites I don't want and suggesting links I don't want. What could cause that?

    Hi PB
    Sounds like you have a serious case of spyware on your hands. Better invest in some spyware removal tools, pronto!

  • FAQ5: Can you recommend any SEO companies?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    Can you recommend any SEO companies and/or consultants? Preferably affordable ones.

    Hi Tom
    I'm not in the habit of recommending one SEO firm over another (especially as I run my own SEO consultancy!).
    What you probably want is a list of sites that each have a substantial list of recommended SEO/SEM companies.

  • EARN CASH from your web site!
  •    Got a web site? Like to earn extra bucks simply by having a text link or image on it?

    Then become a Search Engine College affiliate and earn up to $179 per conversion. That's right! You earn 15% commission from every course registration that results from your referral.
    Pre-register to become an affiliate and we will send you the sign up link as soon as it goes live. Then you can grab a banner, logo or text link for your site. So how do you pre-register? By completing our short contact form and typing AFFILIATE in the comments field.

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