The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 31 May 2007 - Vol 7, Issue #5  

In this issue...

Feature Article:

Does Your Web Site Need A Workout?


FAQ1: Does changing the name of a site impact search rankings?

FAQ2: What can I do to improve ranking results on regional google sites?

FAQ3: Can you offer any recommendations about bid management software?

FAQ4: Does Google favor sites running AdSense?

EARN CASH from your web site!

Feature Article:

Does Your Web Site Need A Workout?

By Kalena Jordan
Here's an analogy for you. Yesterday, I was working my butt off in the gym on the cardio machines, panting wildly with sweat dripping off me and my face as red as a beet. Not the most attractive sight, but I figure, you're at the gym to work out right? I might as well "go hard" or "go home", as they say.
As I looked around me, I could see all these people simply going through the motions. There they were, minus perspiration in their shiny new lycra and expensive gym shoes, casually walking on the treadmill or lazily turning the wheels on a bike while reading a book or glued to the TV screens in front of them. Only a few seemed to be there for the actual purpose of working out. The rest seemed to be there to check out the talent or to simply keep up the appearance of fitness, while doing the bare minimum.
Huh? I don't get it. Why have these gym bimbos paid so much money for a gym membership and all the related gear if they aren't going to take full advantage of their investment?
Then it struck me - these gymbos were just like those companies who spend thousands of dollars on a shiny new website with all the bells and whistles like graphic design, blogs, shopping carts, web analytics, the lot and then fail to take advantage of it. I see it so often, regardless of company size. Web sites that could easily be bringing in loads of traffic and revenue simply wasting away because nobody can be bothered tracking visitor activity, analyzing trends or checking for search engine compatibility and usability.
These companies are simply keeping up appearances, investing heavily in Internet technology because their competitors are doing the same. But no thought has gone into the search engine compatibility of the site, how usable it is for visitors or whether it meets accessibility guidelines. They don't look at their site statistics, they don't check for broken links and they sure as heck don't investigate why their sites aren't converting traffic into customers. What a waste!

Is your web site working hard enough for you? Run it through the following 20 point fitness assessment to find out:

  • Is your site fully search engine compatible? Are all your pages being indexed by the major search engines?

  • Do you track your visitor statistics on a regular basis? Do you use the information provided by your visitor statistics to improve your site?

  • Is your web site accessible to visually-impaired visitors? Does it meet the international standards set down by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)?

  • Do you know which sites and search engines provide you with the most traffic? Do you use this information to increase your traffic further?

  • Do you track the source of all reported errors in your site statistics and fix them promptly?

  • Do you know which keywords your site was found for in the search engines? Have you conducted keyword research to determine what search terms your target markets are looking for so you can optimize for them?

  • Does your web site HTML code validate to W3 standards? Do you check for validation regularly?

  • Does your site contain zero broken links? Do you check for and fix broken links regularly?

  • Has your site been fully search engine optimized to integrate your target search terms into your Page Titles, META Tags and visible page text?

  • Have you created and submitted an XML sitemap to Google Sitemaps?

  • Have you created and submitted a sitemap to Yahoo Site Explorer?

  • Have you checked to see if your site meets Google's Webmaster Guidelines?

  • Do you measure your visitor sign-ups and conversions on a regular basis? Do you tweak your landing page copy to increase the conversion rates?

  • Is your site navigation intuitive and are your visitors following the navigation paths you intended?

  • Do you encourage feedback from your site visitors and provide an obvious way for them to provide such feedback?

  • Are there at least 250 words of text on your home page to satisfy search engines?

  • Does your site contain a visible, text-based site map to aid user navigation?

  • Do you have an ongoing link building campaign running to secure more incoming links to your site and improve your site's link popularity score?

  • Does your site have a high percentage of repeat visitors? Are the majority of your visitors staying on your site for more than a minute?

  • Do your search engine referrals and site traffic figures grow each month?
Unless you can answer yes to all the questions in the above checklist, your web site is not working hard enough for you and needs a workout. Get to it!

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 a daily Search Engine Advice Column, Kalena manages Search Engine College - an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self- study courses in Search Engine Optimization and other Search Engine Marketing subjects.


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Have a great day!

   Greetings Readers!

People often ask me if I get bored answering all the questions that webmasters send me, particularly the most common ones that crop up over and over. The answer is no. I'm much happier seeing webmasters trying to improve their sites and asking questions than assuming the "set and forget" mentality of some companies.
This month's feature article expands on a blog rant I posted a while back about companies who spend a fortune creating a web site and then sit back and complain that they're not making any money from it. Just like a vegetable garden, a web site needs nurturing and feeding to produce a crop. It doesn't matter how much you spend on a web site - without attention, it will simply waste away and all you'll be left with are weeds.
Does your web site need a workout? Read our article to find out.

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

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  • FAQ1: Does changing the name of a site impact search rankings?
    Dear Kalena...
    I am thinking of changing the name of my internet business site so as to direct more traffic because the current name, while nice, doesn't really spell out what we do. It is now Gilt-Edge Luxury Tours and Travel and I would like to change it to DC Luxury Tours. However, we have had this site for 10 years and it well indexed by the search engines. Does changing the name (but not the url which would stay the same) have any impact on the search engines? Or would I have to start all over from scratch if I changed the name?


    Dear Gilda
    A site name change is not necessarily a problem. It would be different if you were changing your domain or changing your name from one with keywords in it to one without. Losing the word "travel" from your site name may slightly impact your site's rankings for searches involving the word "travel", but only if you no longer include that word prominently in your site. Your main site heading will no longer include "travel", but you can compensate by making sure that the rest of the site is optimized for travel-related keywords.
    The other area that might be impacted is your link popularity. If other sites are currently linking to you using your old name, it might be contributing to your site's relevancy for "luxury tours and travel". But if ranking for "DC luxury tours" or "DC tours" is actually more important to you, then you should encourage sites already linking to you to change the anchor text of their link to your new site name and of course any new link partners should link to you using your new name. DC Luxury Tours is certainly easier to remember than your old name, so the change should be good from a marketing and usability perspective.

  • FAQ2: What can I do to improve ranking results on regional google sites?
    Dear Kalena...
    I am doing some very basic SEO work for a South African website that targets the local market only. The majority of local searches are done on, not What can I do to better my results on for popular keywords?
    Marco (a happy subscriber of the Search Light Newsletter)


    Dear Marco
    Glad you like the newsletter. Re your question, the best thing you can do is ensure the site is published on a regional domain ending in This is because Google gives ranking priority to regional sites where available on their local search engines. It would also help if the site was hosted in South Africa as sometimes Google will check the physical location (IP address) of a site to determine its relevance to a regional search query.
    Apart from that, try to use regional keywords in the visible content of the pages to ensure Google recognizes the regional market you are targeting and will match it to related search queries. And of course make sure the site is submitted to and indexed by the most popular regional search engines servicing South Africa.

  • FAQ3: Can you offer any recommendations about bid management software?
    Dear Kalena...
    I am currently assessing whether it's worth investing in some sophisticated bid management software but am unsure a) which ones to trial and b) how much real advantage this type of software gives - once convenience vs. cost is taken into consideration.
    The tools offered by the individual engines have sufficed to date but the scope of some (client) campaigns (2000+ keywords) can make regular bid management a time consuming process.
    Have you any experience with bid management software? Can you offer any recommendations or advice?
    Best Regards


    Dear Giles
    It just so happens that I reviewed a number of PPC bid management software programs a few years ago.
    As a result of my original review article, we ended up choosing BidRank as the best of the lot and I still use it. I really like the gap surfing feature of BidRank and they update their software very regularly so it always works with new releases of PPC programs. If I recall correctly, Google recommends them as a 3rd party product to work with AdWords and they also have a product that works with Yahoo Search Marketing. Read my full review of BidRank for more information.
    I became an affiliate for BidRank as I was so impressed and so all the links to the program within this post are my affiliate links. If you decide to purchase BidRank and you are happy to use our affiliate link, make sure you reference Coupon Code WR007 for 5% off of your purchase. If you'd rather not use my affiliate link, the direct link is here.
    I must admit that I haven't reviewed any of the programs that have become available in the last two years, so you might want to check those out and compare them to BidRank before purchasing.

  • FAQ4: Does Google favor sites running AdSense?
    Dear Kalena...
    It's nice to see language I can understand! You make instructions very clear thank you. I have a new website with Google ads on it. If I get 10 clicks per day on my ads, does Google favor my site over and above others that may be in the same category that don't run Google ads? I was thinking to some extent they might, so they can make more money. Do you know anything about this? Thanks, and I look forward to your reply.


    Dear Dean
    When AdSense first launched, there were many sceptics in the industry who predicted that Google's algorithm would favor successful AdSense advertisers. Thankfully, they were wrong. I've never seen any indication that Google gives any type of ranking boost or favoritism to sites running AdSense. The only possible technical advantage to having AdSense units on your page would be that Googlebot might visit more often. But even that is not proven.

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