The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 31 January 2007 - Vol 7, Issue #1  

In this issue...

Feature Article:

Is Your Web Site Ugly Enough?

FAQ1: How can I stop link farms from linking to us?

FAQ2: How can I get a top position in Google for my site?

FAQ3: How will search engine ranking be affected if I change domain names?

EARN CASH from your web site!

Feature Article:

Is Your Web Site Ugly Enough?

By Ray L. Edwards
What gives a website owner fuzzy feelings inside is not the same thing that makes the site sell. In fact, it has been proven and shown over and over again that UGLY, but functional sites outsell fancy looking websites designed to win creative awards.
Think about the most popular e-commerce sites online: eBay, Amazon, MySpace and Skype, and you'll see that they are not big on design. But they are simple, clear and very intuitive for the visitor to use.
So skip the Flash introductions (or your visitors will!) and all those slide show graphics because they are just distracting at best to what you want to accomplish. When a prospect comes to your site you don't want to try and win their attention because you ALREADY have their attention. Instead you want to GIVE them attention by making their task easier.
Speaking of tasks, people come to your website with a certain aim in mind. You have to build a site that would facilitate the accomplishment of that aim. So if you are promising a free report then show them CLEARLY how they can get the report in the least steps.

One characteristic that marks web surfers is that they are impatient. If you website doesn't satisfy the advertised need, then your competition is just one click away. No driving required, no walking to the next closest store, but just one mouse click and they are gone!
Here are some ways in which you can design a website that's functional:
1. Make your navigation system as intuitive and consistent throughout the website. Same placement, color scheme etc.
2. Watch the layout of your text to make the information readable. Not too many dense paragraphs and use a lot of white space.
3. Make your headline stand out by using a larger font and attention-getting color.
4. Guide the user step-by-step in accomplishing their task. Number these steps if possible. Do not assume too much. What's obvious to you the owner of the site may not be obvious to a new visitor. (Much like your home.)
5. Label action buttons appropriate, such as: "Click Here To Buy", "Click Here To Subscribe!"
As a copywriter, I've found that 'marked up' sales letters - yellow highlighting, underlines, bolding, etc. had a higher response than clean looking copy. And what people SAY is often the opposite of what they DO! (Welcome to the human family.)
So in other words, the colleagues who tell you that your website looks "pretty" don't buy from such sites. "Does this site look good?" is a wasted question.
"Would this site sell?" - that is the question.
Don't be flattered by the friends who tell you, "WOW, your site looks good!" Aim for the UGLY site that fattens your bank account.

About the Author
Ray L. Edwards is a published author, a copywriting coach and internet marketing consultant. You may find more information on boosting your online sales by visiting his site Your Web Site Conversion.

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Cre8asiteforums Educational Scholarship Fund
Selects Search Engine College

I'm thrilled to announce that Search Engine College has been chosen by members of Cre8asiteforums to be one of the five recipients of the first Cre8asiteforums Educational Scholarship Fund.
Cre8asite members were asked to take part in a poll over the past month to vote for the training institution they would most like to see allocated $400 US of forums revenue in order to cover search engine marketing tuition for a deserved forums member. Search Engine College came in as 3rd most popular training provider behind SEMPO and FreshEgg Internships.
It is my great pleasure to announce that the first recipient of Search Engine College training for this educational scholarship is Elizabeth Able from Olympia in Washington. Elizabeth is a long-time crea8asiteforum member (nickname = ablereach) and is interested in accessibility, data analysis, seo and just about anything in between.
But that's not all folks! We were so impressed with the educational vision that Cre8asiteforums came up with that we decided to match their scholarship fund dollar for dollar so that two people can participate in our programs. The second lucky scholarship winner is Miriam Ellis of Solas Web Design.
Miriam is another long-time cre8asite forums member (nickname = SEOigloo) and besides helping answer lots of webmaster questions in the forums and running her own web design business, she is also an accomplished artist. Miriam will receive a $400 credit from Search Engine College towards any Certification course of her choice in our curriculum.
Congratulations Elizabeth and Miriam. I hope you enjoy whichever Search Engine Marketing courses you choose to take.

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   Dear Kalena,

It's hard to believe, but 2007 will be the sixth year of publication for the Search Light newsletter. Yes, our very first issue was published in text format back in July of 2001.
Back then, our business (originally called Web Rank Ltd) was operating out of a tiny apartment on Australia's Gold Coast and consisted of one staff member - me - and a small handful of clients.
Since then we've serviced over 50 SEO clients, our business name has changed to Jordan Consulting Group, our services have expanded, my husband has joined the business full-time and we've hired more staff and contractors to cope as the business has grown. 2004 was a huge year, as we launched an online training institution (Search Engine College) and had our first child. I can't believe that both will be turning three years old this year!
We're still primarily a small boutique business, but with clients in 14 countries and our turnover increasing by 50 percent annually, I feel very proud of what we have achieved since those early days.
As many of you know, building up a small business takes blood, sweat and tears. Marketing a small business via search engines can become all-consuming and it's a minefield for beginners. I hope that this newsletter has shed some light on search engine issues over the years and I thank those of you who have stuck with me since the early years and are still listening!
Just one more thing before I let you get to the educational stuff. If any of you are coming along to the Search Summit Conference in Sydney on March 1 and 2, I'll be speaking about search industry training on Day One so please stop by and introduce yourself.

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 can I stop link farms from linking to us?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I'm using Yahoo Site Explorer to check inlinks to client sites. On one site, I'm noticing inlinks from PR0 sites that are just listings of URLs and fake 'directories' that are there to pick up adsense dollars. They were not submitted by us or our client. My questions: Is there any way to remove your site from these types of pages? Do the owners ever honor any requests? Is there any way to minimize the impact of inlinks from sites like these?

    Dear Keri
    Thanks for the caffeine injection! Re your questions:
    1) You can try. If you can find a way to contact them, ask them to remove the link. A good trick I learned is to look up the domain ownership details via a WhoIs lookup and cc your email to the admin, tech and registrant emails. That shows them that you are serious about your request and have done your research about them. Most likely they will ignore your request, but you never know.
    2) I wouldn't worry too much. Google and other engines are good at filtering out links from low quality sites and any impact they have on your site's overall link popularity is minimal. However, if you find sites are duplicating chunks of your client's content using site scraping, that's considered an infringement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and you can report this to Google via this link.
    Overall, I wouldn't spend too much time concerned about either issue. As Google say on their own Webmaster Blog:
    "Don't fret too much about sites that scrape (misappropriate and republish) your content. Though annoying, it's highly unlikely that such sites can negatively impact your site's presence in Google."

  • FAQ2: How can I get a top position in Google for my site?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I am Verma from Mumbai. I submitted my site several times on GOOGLE. But I don't have any good results even my site is not listing on top 10 in google. So please can u send me some comments & Solutions . How can I get my site in google on top position...Please?

    Dear Verma
    Tsk Tsk. What a naughty site you have. And I'm not talking about the fact that it's advertising an escort service. I'm talking about the obvious spam techniques and search engine incompatibilities listed below:

  • Keyword-stuffed, over-utilized Title Tag
  • Excessive keyword repetition in META Keywords Tag
  • Duplicate content in the both the Title Tag and META Description Tag
  • Incorrect formatting of the Title Tag
  • Multiple keyword-stuffed comment tags
  • Multiple, keyword-stuffed nonsense META tags that are unsupported by any search engines
  • Use of Flash in your HTML code placed above important text content
  • Use of keyword-stuffed tiny text
  • Hidden 1 x 1 pixel links
  • Graphic navigation menu instead of text-based
  • Use of low quality link farms to inflate link popularity
  • Excessive use of flashing titty banners (ok this is not technically spam, but it should be!)

  • I could go on but I'd have to charge you a consulting fee. Nearly all these things go against Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Still not sure why your site isn't ranking? You might also want to check out this post for info about recent changes to Google's algorithm that has affected sites containing adult content.

  • FAQ3: How will search engine ranking be affected if I change domain names?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    As always, I am very much enjoying your insightful newsletters.
    I have a question for you: If I change domain names and keep the identical website on the new domain, how will search engine ranking be affected?

    Dear Marco
    If you are moving your site to an entirely new domain, you've got to be careful that your search rankings and link popularity aren't negatively affected. This can occur if you use the standard 301 "permanently moved" redirects on your old pages, or worse, use no redirects at all.
    Technically, your new domain is treated as a brand new site, regardless of whether the content you use on it has been published on another domain and therefore, Google will subject it to the aging delay for new sites.
    To avoid losing all those hard-earned rankings for the six to nine month Google limbo that is the aging delay, it's recommended that you use 302 "temporarily moved" redirects on your old domain pages until your new domain has aged the required time in Google. You can then safely switch the redirects to 301's. You can read more about this method in Scottie Claiborne's article: Switching to a New Domain Without Losing Your Google Rankings.

  • 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.
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