The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 31 December 2006 - Vol 6, Issue #12  

In this issue...

Feature Article:

11 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Job in Search Engine Marketing

FAQ1: Is there a practical limit for Alt Img text?

FAQ2: Have we been penalised by Google?

FAQ3: Does the definition of hidden text include different shades of the same color?

FAQ4: Why doesn't Google index my client's site any more?

FAQ5: How can I attract more visitors to my site?

EARN CASH from your web site!

Feature Article:

11 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Job in Search Engine Marketing

By Kalena Jordan
Are you currently seeking employment? Looking for a new profession? Considering a career change? Then a job in the field of Search Engine Marketing should be at the top of your list. Here are 10 reasons why:
1) The Search Industry is HOT
The first dot-com bubble may have burst 6 years ago, but the current bubble is getting bigger and stronger every day. One of the main reasons for the current dot-com boom is the skyrocketing growth of the search engine industry. No longer the territory of geekdom, search has exploded into the mainstream over the past few years and businesses are falling over themselves to get seen by online searchers. And they'll pay big bucks to search engines for the privilege.
Have you noticed that Google shares recently hit USD 500 EACH? It's not a coincidence. Search giants like Google, Yahoo and AOL can't fail to make money because everybody wants a bit of the search action. There's no denying, search is HOT, HOT, HOT.

2) It's Considered one of Four Jobs on the Cutting Edge
According to a recent article on MSN Careers, the position of Search Engine Optimizer is considered one of four jobs on the cutting edge right now. Who gave it this title? A representative from the world's largest specialized recruitment firm - Robert Half International Inc.
Search Engine Optimization is considered a sub-set of Search Engine Marketing. If you're unsure what a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) does, below is a definition provided by MSN Careers:
"Search engine optimizers (SEOs) increase a firm's Web site traffic by improving its search-engine page rankings. This is an especially important task in today's Internet-driven world, where many customers first learn of an organization and its products or services through the Web. Because of a shortage of experts in this relatively new area, many top SEOs receive multiple job offers. SEOs typically supplement their knowledge of how various search engines operate and determine page rankings with strong marketing skills, as well as the ability to communicate effectively and program using HTML."
Wikipedia also defines Search Engine Optimizers here.
3) The Pay is Fantastic
A job in the search industry can be unbelievably lucrative. As noted recently by Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide, "There are quite literally more jobs than there are skilled marketers and salaries can skyrocket to almost embarrassing levels."
Have you seen the type of salaries that search engine marketing and search engine optimization consultants are currently commanding in the US? Clearly, the search industry is making some people rich. Here are some typical salaries in USD:

  • Entry level SEO/SEM position = $30-45K
  • Three to five years experience / online account managers = $50-75K
  • Five + years / organic SEO specialists = $75-90K
  • Senior management level = $70-120K
  • SEM Director = $95-150K
  • VP Level = $100-315K

  • Additional Salary information:
    from ClickZ
    from Search Engine Watch Forums
    4) You Don't Need a College Degree
    Because the search industry is relatively young, there are only a handful of online courses and certifications offered in the field of Search Engine Marketing (Search Engine College being one such training provider).
    Most search engine marketing practitioners are self-taught, learning the trade by experimenting with their own sites, researching trends, attending conferences and participating in discussion forums and so employers don't generally require SEO / SEM certification or a tertiary qualification as a pre-requisite for a position in the industry.
    However, candidates who hold a marketing degree or specific industry certification in Search Engine Marketing may well have an edge over their fellow applicants when it comes to interview selection.
    5) You Can Learn it all Online
    Everything you need to know to become a Search Engine Marketer, you can learn online. All the information is out there, you just have to find it. To become an expert in SEO / SEM, you need to do research, research and more research. Read everything you can get your hands on relating to search on a daily basis, including articles, forums, ebooks, blogs and newsfeeds. Then you need to put this knowledge into practice by experimenting with your own sites, or finding guinea pig sites to practice on such as those of friends, family or charity sites until you find the methods that give you the best results. Programming knowledge is not a pre-requisite for SEO / SEM jobs, but it does help to learn basic HTML. There are plenty of free HTML tutorials online.
    If you don't fancy years of research or are in a hurry to jump-start your career in search, consider taking an online Certification course in one of the many Search Engine Marketing disciplines such as the Certification Pathways provided by Search Engine College. These type of courses are usually tutor-led and designed to fast-track your training and ensure you gain the right type of skills to make you immediately employable within the search industry.
    6) You Can Be Your Own Boss
    Because most of the work you'll be doing is online, Search Engine Optimizers and Search Engine Marketers often have the freedom of choice to work for an employer, work from home and/or freelance. Many SEO / SEM freelancers end up hiring workers and starting their own company due to the massive demand. This gives search engine marketing experts the work from home lifestyle that others can only dream of.
    7) Search Marketing Has the WOW Factor
    Once they know what they're doing, it's very easy for a Search Engine Marketer to wow their clients. The difference that a successful SEO or PPC campaign can make to a client's bottom line is substantial. I've seen online conversion rates for a client zoom from 1% to a massive 5% after just two small tweaks to their web site. And although rankings are not as important as actual conversions, clients still get very excited to see their site listed in the top 10 search results for certain keywords. It's the WOW factor in action.
    8) The Demand is Strong and Growing
    As mentioned in relation to search engine salaries, there are literally many more jobs than there are skilled marketers to fill them. This extreme demand means Search Engine Marketers can pick and choose their jobs and/or clients. The more skilled marketers are head-hunted regularly. For Search Engine Optimization firms, there are more than enough clients to go around and rarely a need to advertise for new business. That's why you often find SEOs turning away clients or recommending their competitors during extremely busy periods.
    Experts in select specialties such as Pay Per Click Advertising (a sub-set of Search Engine Marketing) are currently enjoying even higher demand than usual, as advertisers out-bid each other to have their site shown for popular keyword searches on Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Another indicator of high demand is the sheer number of search-related job postings seen on employment sites such as those listed here.
    9) The Industry is Hip and Groovy
    There's something very trendy about people in search that I can't quite put my finger on. There's a constant buzz around them. If you've ever been to a search engine conference or to Google's headquarters you'll know what I mean. Maybe it's the fact that they've come from so many different professions. Or that the age range of search marketers varies from teens to Baby Boomers. Or their whacky dress sense. Maybe it's the smell of money and happiness that they give off. Maybe it's the fact that they are constantly in the media. I don't know. All I know is that it's no longer uncool to be a geek. In fact it's downright hip to be square.
    10) The Skills Are Portable and Global
    Skills in search engine marketing are portable and global. You don't need to be at a desk, in an office or on the phone all day. You don't even need to meet your clients. Of all my clients, I've probably only met 20 percent of them and spoken to half of them on the phone or via chat. You can be on vacation for six months out of the year in various locations and still conduct business. You literally only need a computer and an Internet connection. The Internet is the universal equalizer. You can service clients in any country in the world, in many different languages. You can compete with one man operations and Fortune 500 companies on the same level playing field. The flexibility of the search industry is a huge advantage over other career options. Have laptop, will travel!
    11) Job Satisfaction is High
    Search is a fascinating industry. With all the hype, daily gossip, corporate take-overs, start-ups and geek toys, I can guarantee that you won't get bored. This combined with the flexible work hours, low start-up costs, ability to be your own boss and the excellent income keeps job satisfaction high for Search Engine Marketers. So what are you waiting for? Go get a job in search!

    The above article may be re-published as long as the following paragraph is included at the end of the article and as long as you link to the URL mentioned below:
    About the Author
    Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business, Kalena 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.

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       Hello Readers!

    Well the response to our new Search Engine College affiliate program has been staggering. Thank you to everyone who registered as a new affiliate, we look forward to sending you generous commission payments. For those who missed it, our affiliate program has now been publicly launched and you can find out more via the link at the bottom of this newsletter.
    Meanwhile, another Christmas is over and 2007 arrives in just a few hours. Did you have any time off over the holidays? I can't believe how busy the search industry always seems between Christmas and New Year. Now the analysts are talking up a merger between Yahoo and AOL as a way to topple Google from the throne. I'll believe it when I see it.
    Have you decided on your New Year's resolutions yet? I think my main one is going to be to take a holiday. It's been nearly a year since I've taken time off and I know I deserve it. All work and no play, yadda yadda. The New Year is also a time people think about making important life changes such as moving house or finding a new career.
    If you've ever thought about gaining employment in the fast-paced search industry, this month's feature article might convince you to take the plunge. It contains 11 reasons why you should consider Search Engine Marketing as a career choice.

    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: Is there a practical limit for Alt Img text?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    Is there a limit to how many words are practical within alt image text? I'm not talking about stuffing it with junk but having a text of maybe 5-7 words.

    Dear David
    There is no hard and fast rule about this, but I would recommend no more than say 3 or 4 words. The text should also be an accurate description of the image itself, not just a bunch of unrelated keywords. This is to ensure it passes spam filters and also makes sense to visually impaired visitors. I would also avoid using more than 2 or 3 alt tags on a single page if you can help it.

  • FAQ2: Have we been penalised by Google?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    Hi, what a useful website you have.
    Our site has dropped from the first page of results in google to page 5 and upwards, resulting in thousands of pounds worth of business lost per month. Have we been penalised for something?

    Dear Wayne
    Thanks for the backslap! I've taken a look at the site and checked it using Google's Site Status Tool. I don't see a penalty of any kind. Why? Because:
    1) You've got a healthy Google Toolbar ranking of 5/10.
    2) Over 4000 pages from your site have been indexed by Googlebot.
    3) Googlebot last indexed your page on 1st December.
    When you say your site has dropped to page five of search results - is that for a particular search term? Or for all of your major search terms? If it is only for a single search phrase, that is a fairly common occurence as Google changes their algorithm and adds more and more new sites.
    Your site is in the highly competitive adult industry, where search rankings change much more often than in other industries. You simply have to optimize the site for a wider range of keywords and phrases (the long tail).
    If you are seeing your site drop consistently for ALL your major search terms, then that may indicate the site has been sandboxed. Have you done a major design overall or content change recently? Sometimes this can trigger a site to be placed in the sandbox.
    My advice is to keep optimizing, build quality links and start concentrating on your exposure on other search engines so you don't sweat Google's algorithm changes.
    PS - you're not the only adult site to suffer in Google lately. See here.

  • FAQ3: Does the definition of hidden text include different shades of the same color?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I have a question about this which I read on a site:
    "The most common spam I see is accidental. A webmaster innocently does something such as using white font in a colored table, when he happens to also have a page with a white background. From a search engine's point of view this is spamming because he has hidden text. You aren't allowed to have text the same color as your page background."
    I understand her point about white and white. I have changed my background to pale blue but some of my text and all of my links are two dark shades of blue. Does she include different shades of the same shade of one color? I hope it would consider hidden text only as an identical color and shade of that color.

    Dear ContactLab
    The author of that quote is correct. It can be a problem for webmasters using tables, where if they have a white page background and a colored table, any white text in that table may trip a spam filter on a search engine on the look out for font the same color as the overall page background.
    But I think search engine robots are getting more sophisticated these days and can probably detect if a table is being used within the code. To be on the safe side, I would avoid using text in a table on your site that is the exact same color as your page background. A shade or two difference should be fine as I believe the spider would be looking for an exact color code match, not similar shades of the same color.

  • FAQ4: Why doesn't Google index my client's site any more?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    My client's site ( ) has been recently converted to Joomla (around 6 months ago). The content is the same as previously. However Google no longer indexes the site.
    The other search engines pick it up with no problems, and all my other Joomla sites are picked up by Google. Can you suggest any reasons why this one should be an exception??!

    Hi Carrie
    I've taken a look at the site and here's what I see:
    1) You've got a Google Toolbar PageRank of zero.
    2) You've got zero backward links listed on Google.
    3) Google last cached your site on 7th November.
    4) According to their Site Status Tool, Google does not know about all your site pages.
    Seeing this, I doubt that Joomla that is causing the problem, it is more than likely that the re-design has triggered the site to get stuck in Google's Aging Delay. This delay can impact new or existing sites and can last up to 9 months. You're not the only one with a Joomla site facing similar problems.
    Something to keep in mind when working with dynamic technologies and CMS's like Joomla: Google has stated in the past that they don't index pages containing session ids. I've seen such sites indexed before, so perhaps Google is getting better at this. But why take the risk? Make sure that your site either doesn't use session ids or contains a way for searchbots to grab the data via a parameter-clean URL. You can check how a search engine robot would see your site by downloading a text-based browser like Lynx and running your URLs through it.
    See this post for advice on what to do while you're waiting in Google aging limbo.

  • FAQ5: How can I attract more visitors to my site?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I have a web site that has been doing very well. The purpose of our site is to provide information both to injury victims and to other Maryland lawyers. We are first on key search terms such as "Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer" and other key phrases the injury victims and other personal injury lawyers might use. But in terms of overall number of visits, we have been flat lining in recent months. What can we do to make a good site like this even better?

    Dear Ron
    You have a niche target market, but that doesn't mean you have to limit your target keywords. It seems to me that you are casting your net too shallow. Have you performed more detailed keyword research into your market? There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of keyword search combinations that people would use to search for your services. You need to utilize a reliable keyword research tool or two (such as Keyword Discovery or WordTracker to discover the widest combination of search terms possible.
    Once you have your search terms, you need to integrate them into your web site pages and/or develop new content around them. You should also commence a link building campaign to attract more traffic from related sites. If you can secure more incoming links to your site from highly trafficked sites, you can leverage that traffic to the advantage of your own site.
    Another tactic to consider is the use of Pay Per Click campaigns such as Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing to bring in more traffic. Good luck!

  • EARN CASH from your web site!
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