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The Search Light Newsletter - Vol. 1 Issue #5


                THE SEARCH LIGHT

          Guiding your web site to the

            top of the search engines...


17 November 2001                        Vol 1 Issue # 5       

Editor : Kalena Jordan, CEO, Web Rank Ltd


 Welcome to the "THE SEARCH LIGHT".

 You are receiving this monthly newsletter because you
 are one of our clients, you've subscribed, requested
 a free ranking report via our site, sent us an FAQ to
 be answered or someone has forwarded it to you.
 UNSUBSCRIBE instructions are at the end of this
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 If you like this newsletter, please forward a copy of it to any
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 would like to improve their ranking in the search engines.


    =>  Editor’s Message
    =>  Sponsorship Notice – I Help You - Free Search Engine Forums
    =>  Feature Article – How To Target Your Niche Markets
    =>  Industry News – Lycos Re-Launch Reverses Damage
                                  Hasta La AltaVista, Baby!
Yahoo! Bows To PPC Pressure
Fast: The Next Google?                                 
    =>  Search Engine FAQ's – Accidental Spamdexing
    =>  Site Spotlight – Web Rank Partner Opportunity
=>  Subscribe / Unsubscribe information


Hi readers!

Well November has been an interesting month in the search engine space.
First came the announcement that AltaVista were going to update their index
for the first time in about 6 months, then we learn that Fast / All The Web are
pulling out all stops to give Google a run in the search engine popularity stakes
and now we find out that Yahoo has finally caved in to the PPC trend by signing
on Overture as their paid listings partner.

That’s a lot to get a handle on in one month! Our own heads are spinning, so I
can only imagine how confusing the whole search engine industry must seem
to the uninitiated. In this issue, we’ll do our best to sort through the developments
and the impact they may have on your web sites.

Now there’s a lot to get through, so let’s get on with it!

Kalena J


Want some free advice on how to promote your web
site? Trying to optimize your site for search engines?
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How To Target Your Niche Markets
            by Kalena Jordan


Does your web site target a particular market? Is it geographic or demographic?
Male or female, young or old? Business or consumer?

Targeting your niche market via search engines can be a very efficient and
effective way of pinpointing your visitors with the most potential to buy your
products and services. With a little planning, you can determine exactly who
visits your site and who doesn’t. How? Well, by using search terms throughout
your site that are geared specifically towards your own niche markets. We’re
going to show you how to do it right now. 

Take a minute to write down the specific markets your products and services
are aimed at. Now drill down even further. Do you service only one country,
State or city? Are you mainly targeting men in their twenties? Parents? Low-
income earners?

To give you an example, let’s take a fictional florist located in Miami, Florida
who specializes in wedding bouquets. Their target markets would be something
like this: 

        -          women in their early to late twenties
-          people living in Miami and surrounding suburbs
-          brides-to-be living in Miami and surrounding suburbs
-          dating males
-          couples (especially around Valentine’s Day)

There are probably more potential markets than this, but let’s stop there. Ok,
now that you have narrowed down your target market/s, try to get inside their
heads. If you were a single parent/ frequent traveler/ retiree, what would YOU
type in to the search engines to find the goods and services offered on your
own site?

Start writing down these search terms as they come to mind. Using our florist
example again, relevant search terms could include: 

        -          flowers
-          roses
-          bouquets
-          Valentine’s Day
-          wedding flowers
-          florists
-          gifts

Now start adding qualifying terms that will help define your market even more
closely, ensuring the chosen terms are extremely relevant to your geographic
region, or specific product / service offering. Unless our fictional Miami florist
sends flowers outside the State, they wouldn’t want to attract any web site visitors
from outside Florida right? Perhaps not even outside Miami. Also, if somebody
searches the web looking for advice on growing roses, our florist wouldn’t want
them visiting either, agreed? Adding qualifying terms reduces the likelihood of
these visitors. For example, let’s add the following terms to our original list:  

        -          [send] flowers [Florida]
-          [send] roses [Miami]
-          [wedding] bouquets [Miami]
-          Valentine’s Day [gifts Florida]
-          [Florida] wedding flowers
-          florists [Miami]
-          [send] gifts [Miami]

See how a few selective terms narrows down the searches considerably?
Visitors that arrive at the site after typing in such specific search terms are
already highly qualified to buy from the site. This increases the visitor/sale
conversion rate while reducing the “click away” rate considerably.  

Ok, now you know your niche markets and you’ve narrowed down your target
search terms to reach these markets. What next? Well, now you scatter these
search terms throughout your web pages, in a logical way so as not to interrupt
the flow of writing. Then replace keywords in your existing META keyword tag
with your new target terms and use the most important ones within your META
description and title tag too. If you’re not confident enough to do this yourself,
give the terms to your web designer or a SEO and ask them to do it. Now
resubmit your site to the major crawlers.

Now when the search engines index your site, they’ll find it more relevant for
these target searches and (hopefully!) rank you highly for these new terms.
The result: effective targeting of your online niche market, less “click aways”
and more real customers.


The above article may be re-published as long as the following paragraph
and URL link are included at the end of the article:

Kalena Jordan, CEO of Web Rank Ltd, was among the first
search engine optimization experts in Australasia and is
well known and respected in her field. For more of her tips
on search engine ranking and online marketing, please visit: 


Lycos Re-Launch Reverses Damage

After a year of continual search market decline, Lycos (or TerraLycos as it
prefers to be called) has re-launched itself into the search engine marketplace
this month by revamping its layout and making significant improvements to its
search results. The changes come following the announcement that the company’s
Q3 revenues are up by 24% and page views are up by 5% on this time last year.

The majority of search listings are now provided by Fast Search (considered a
provider of extremely relevant results), with paid listings from Overture (GoTo)
listed above these results now clearly labelled as “sponsored listings”. Where
Lycos provides its own content is clearly marked  “From the Lycos Network”.
Open Directory results are still supplied via the “categories” section at the
bottom of the results page. The new layout features less clutter, easier
navigation and a more “magazine cover” approach.



Hasta La AltaVista, Baby!

AltaVista continues to cosy up with InfoSpider this month, the two companies co-launching
a Listing Enhancements Program that enables web site owners to add logos, icons,
custom taglines, and text links to their URLs in the AltaVista Express Inclusion Program.

The move has been scoffed at by many in the search industry, who claim it merely
serves to cheapen an already outdated index. With AltaVista staff recently acknowledging
their main index has not been updated since July, it is difficult to imagine web site
owners lining up to pay for this new service. In fact search engine forums are full of
discussions about the value of Express Inclusion at all, given AltaVista’s outdated index
and declining popularity as a search tool. Many also question the ethics of AltaVista
aligning themselves with a known search engine optimization firm that uses the engine’s
client database to sell their own services via junk email.

With rivals Google, Lycos, and Fast Search ( all refreshing their
indexes regularly, one can only wonder how much longer AltaVista can stay alive in
a market that lives and dies by the freshness of results.

More :


Yahoo! Bows To PPC Pressure

In a move that has shaken the search industry, Yahoo! and Overture (GoTo) have
become bed-fellows with the introduction of Yahoo! Pay-Per-Click advertising.

Users who conduct searches at will now see search results that
include Overture's top three search listings at the top of the page in a section called
"Sponsor Matches." Users will also see two Overture listings at the bottom of the page
in a section called "More Sponsor Matches". According to Yahoo! staff, the deal, which
began yesterday and ends in April, sees Overture become the Pay-For-Performance™
search provider to Yahoo! as a short-term solution until the directory can develop the
sales force and capability to offer the paid search listings itself. The deal does not alter
Yahoo's major partnership with Google to provide Web Page results on topics not found
in Yahoo's own directories.

Yahoo! is already experiencing some backlash over the move, particularly from web
site owners that have paid the significant fee of $299 to have their site listed via
Express Submission, only to find Overture bidders will now be listed above them.


Fast: The Next Google?

Fast Search ( is being held aloft as the next search engine to
challenge Google in the “industry darling” stakes. A number of developments this
month at Fast have prompted the claim, including:

-          The indexing of up to 800 news stories per minute and real-time indexing 
   of news stories from over three thousand online sources

-          The introduction of Beta FAST Topics result navigation – where searches 
   are re-written by default to include popular phrases, using Open Directory 
   as a basis for classification. For the user this means improved relevancy 
   and ease of navigation.

-          General search index refreshing every nine to 12 days, making it twice as 
   fresh as Google.

Could our search love affair with Google become a love triangle with the appearance
of handsome newcomer Fast? Watch this space!



         *-----------------HOT TIP------------------*

            About to launch a new site? Run
            it through a free link checking utility
            before launch to ensure you have no
            dead or broken links. One is here:


         *-----------------HOT TIP------------------*

 SEARCH ENGINE FAQ'S : Accidental Spamdexing

Web Rank answers your search engine questions.
Please submit your FAQ's:



From: Alex Longhall

Last month we had our site [URL removed for privacy]
optimized by a professional search engine positioning firm
and it appears to be ranking well. 

But when I look at the new source code, there are a lot of
“hidden” and “stealth” references. I’m no programmer, but
to me this implies they are using techniques to try and hide
content, perhaps to cheat the search engines. Am I right?


~~~~~~~~~~ Kalena's Response ~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Alex

You were right! I had a look at your site and these so called
“professionals” that you hired have used known spamdexing
techniques to try and trick the search engines. They have
used CSS to cloak some content and also used “hidden text”
that is invisible to visitors, but not to search engine robots. They
have also stuffed hundreds of keywords into comment tags and
used extra unsupported tags packed with irrelevant keywords. 

Hidden text is a particular “red flag” to search engines and they
will eventually catch this and remove your site from their index.
In fact, your site can get banned from some search engines for
using these techniques. All it takes is for somebody to report it
to them.

There is no reason to resort to spamdexing to achieve good
rankings. The kind of “cowboys” that optimized your site give
legitimate SEO’s a bad name. I would tell them to remove the
offending code as soon as possible to avoid engine penalty
and maybe even demand your money back! If you’ve already
been penalized, email the engine/s in question, explain what
happened and they should re-instate you once the offending
code is removed.               

Good luck! 


Please submit your FAQ.



SITE SPOTLIGHT: Web Rank Partner Opportunity

Are you in the business of web site design or hosting?
Want to offer your clients web site marketing services
but have no time or expertise? Are your clients demanding
better search engine rankings? 

Then partner with us! Become a Web Rank Partner,
on-selling our services as part of your own and we’ll give
you all the marketing/sales material you need, plus a
20% discount on all services. Or merely refer clients to
us for a flat 10% commission!

Email us for more info


Last month we discussed several important topics including:

- Paid Submission Round-Up
Google gets a Facelift
- GoTo Changes Name to Overture

If you missed these or other key topics, you can find back
issues of The Search Light at:  


The information presented in The Search Light has been compiled from
various sources for the benefit of our clients. You should not rely on
the information contained within this newsletter as detailed advice.
No part of this newsletter may be copied without permission from
Web Rank Ltd, the copyright owners 2001.  You may forward this
newsletter, as long as it's kept in its entirety.



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