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The Search Light Newsletter - Vol. 2 Issue #2


                THE SEARCH LIGHT

          Guiding your web site to the

            top of the search engines...



19 February 2002                        Vol. 2 Issue # 2    

Editor : Kalena Jordan, CEO, Web Rank Ltd



 Welcome to the "THE SEARCH LIGHT".

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 would like to improve their ranking in the search engines.



    =>  Editor’s Message
    =>  Sponsorship Notice
    =>  Feature Article – The 5 Most Common SEO Mistakes
    =>  Industry News – Overture Gets Strict With Advertisers                                
Northern Light Sold, Yahoo Profits
Yahoo! & MSN Extend Agreement With Overture
Launch of Overture Germany
Lycos Introduces Paid Inclusion Program
BidRight Becomes Overture Approved Tool             
    =>  Search Engine FAQ's – Do Search Engines Index Deep Content?
    =>  Site Spotlight – Obligation Free SEO Quotation
=>  Subscribe / Unsubscribe information



Greetings readers,

This month’s feature article was the result of a conversation I had
last week with fellow search engine optimization firms (SEO’s),
regarding the most common mistakes made by people over the
years when optimizing web sites for high search engine rankings.

The more we talked, the more we discovered common themes in
what we’d seen and that some errors are made over and over again
by unprofessional SEO’s and webmasters alike. We concluded that
this was probably due to the large amount of misinformation that
has been distributed about search engine optimization and the
enormous changes that have taken place in SEO methodology
since the very birth of our industry in the mid 1990’s.

Unfortunately, like malicious gossip, this misinformation still travels
far and wide across the Internet today. To help prevent you from
making the same errors with your sites, in this issue we have
covered the 5 most common SEO mistakes.


Happy reading till next month,

Kalena J



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The 5 Most Common SEO Mistakes
            by Kalena Jordan

Having been in the business of optimizing web sites for high search engine
rankings for over five years now, I have come across a number of “optimized”
sites that use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that are just plain


Most of these sites were optimized by persons just starting out; SEO beginners
not yet familiar enough with the industry to determine SEO fact from SEO fiction.
But what’s scary is that some of the sites I’ve seen using incorrect methods
have been optimised by so called search engine optimization “experts” who
really should know better.


Some common themes develop amongst incorrectly optimized sites. Could
YOU be making the same errors with your site? To find out, let’s look at the
five most common search engine optimization mistakes:



1) Non Utilization of the Title Tag


How many times have you looked at a web site where the browser title reads
“Welcome to [company name]’s web site” or simply “[Company Name]”? Nothing
wrong with that, I hear you say? Well if you want to achieve high search engine
rankings, there’s PLENTY wrong with it.


You see, while it may not be common knowledge amongst web designers, most
search engines index the content of title tags and consider it to be one of the
most important factors in their relevancy algorithm. What you place in your title
can make or break your ranking for particular search terms on the various engines.
If you don’t include your most important search phrases within your title tag, you
are overlooking a vital opportunity in your quest for higher search rankings.


Having said this, you should try and keep your title tag to a maximum of 200
characters, as that is the average limit most search engines will truncate to. If
you really insist on including your company name in your title and you’re willing
to sacrifice good keyword real estate to do so, put it at the very end of the tag,
because search engines give more “relevancy weight” to content at the start of
your tag.


2) Use of Untargeted Keywords and Phrases


Another common mistake made by webmasters and SEO learners is their choice
of keywords placed in the META keyword tag. Sure it might seem logical to target
the word “printers” if you run a printer repair business in Ohio, but think about it –
even if you succeeded in ranking well for such a competitive term (you won’t), how
many of the people visiting your site as a result of this search would leave as
soon as they saw your home page? That’s right, most of them. All the people who
wanted to buy printers, all the people looking for businesses outside Ohio, all the
people not looking specifically for printer repairers.


Does it become clear now that targeting such a generic word is a waste of time?
What you need to do instead is optimise your site for search terms and phrases
that are highly targeted to your precise business. Use a tool such as Wordtracker
(keyword location software) to find what people are actually typing in to the search
engines to find goods and services similar to yours and concentrate on ranking well
for those terms. The more qualified your site visitors are, the more likely you are to
convert those visitors into paying customers.



3) A Lack of Optimized Body Text


This one is very common. How often do you visit a home page that is made up
entirely of graphics? You know the ones – they consist of an enormous Flash file
or maybe a large logo or a montage of images, but the thing they have in common
is a distinct lack of text. Think they look professional? Think again. No matter what
you read or hear, if a site has no text on the home page, it hasn’t been correctly
optimized and has little chance of ranking well in the search engines. Now that’s 
more unprofessional in my opinion.


Beginner SEO’s often make the mistake of creating an optimized title tag and META
tags and believing their work is done. WRONG. If you want a web site to rank well in
the search engines, you need to give them what they want to see – visible content
that is optimized just as well as the invisible content. That means adding keyword-
filled body text to any page you want ranking high. Why? Because most search
engines can’t index images. Some engines don’t even index META tags anymore.
So a site with no visible content becomes effectively invisible to a search engine and
has almost no chance of appearing in the rankings for logical searches.


Also, search engine algorithms have become smarter and are now checking that sites
contain highly relevant content before including them in their index. If you expect to
rank well for a particular keyword or phrase, it’s not too much to expect to find that
keyword or phrase within your site is it?



4) Submitting to 1,000 Search Engines


I love this one. I’ve lost count of how many banner ads or web sites I’ve seen boasting
“We’ll submit your site to 1,000 search engines!”  I can’t believe the hype is still
prevalent that you need to submit a web site to thousands of search engines in order
to receive traffic. This is just NOT TRUE.


In fact, studies show that approximately 90% of search traffic still comes from the 10
major U.S. search engines and directories (listed here). Companies that advertise
submission to thousands of search engines are usually including in that list minor
engines or directories that utilize the databases of major engines anyway (so don’t
require submission) or a large number of Free For All (FFA) sites. Submitting your site
to FFA pages can damage your site’s reputation in the search engines, because they
consider FFA sites to be of very low quality and utilizing spamdexing techniques in an
attempt to falsely inflate a site’s link popularity. I’ve even seen examples of sites being
banned from a search engine for having their pages listed on FFA sites by ill-informed
webmasters without the site owner’s knowledge.


If you are targeting specific geographic markets, you might like to submit your site to
the most popular regional search engines in those countries, but the fact is that most
people worldwide continue to use the U.S. versions of search engines such as Yahoo
and AltaVista despite the fact that there are local versions available. The bottom line?
Get your site listed on the 10 most popular search engines and directories and you
will have the major worldwide traffic sources covered.



5) Resubmitting Too Soon and Too Often


So you’ve optimized your site and submitted it to the most important search engines.
But it’s been three weeks and you haven’t received any traffic. Time to resubmit, right?
WRONG. Depending on the search engine, they can take up to twelve weeks to include
your site in their index. Each search engine and directory work to their own time frame.
You need to check their average submission times (a chart is here) and be patient.


So when you’re in, what then? You should regularly submit to ensure you’re ranked
above your competitors, maybe once a month or once a week, right? WRONG AGAIN.
Once you’re in a search engine’s database, there is no need to resubmit your site. It’s
pointless actually, because they already know about your site and their robot is
scheduled to revisit and reindex all sites in the database on a regular basis. Resubmitting
wastes everybody’s time and can actually get your URL permanently banned from a
search engine for “spamdexing”.


The only time you need to resubmit your site to a search engine is if your URL changes
or if your domain suddenly drops out of their database entirely. NOT if your ranking drops,
NOT if your content changes, but if the domain is actually nowhere to be found in the
index (this can happen from time to time as the search engines Spring clean their
databases). A good SEO will monitor your rankings regularly (monthly is fine) and only
resubmit when absolutely necessary.



So those are the five most common SEO mistakes. Any sound familiar? Don’t worry,
you’re in good company. Now that you’ve recognised the problem areas and are better
equipped with the correct information, you’ll be able to reverse the damage.




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:


This month brought a lot of search engine news, mostly dominated by Overture.
To fit it all in, I’ve made a brief summary and pointed out links relating to each
item rather than writing a detailed article on each:

Overture Gets Strict With Advertisers

In a bid to improve the relevancy of their results, Overture has cracked down on
their advertisers by introducing new listing guidelines for all keyword bids. As can
be seen by the following quote from their announcement, this has come about as
a direct result of their recent partnerships with search engine giants such as
Yahoo! and MSN: “Given our commitment to providing a world-class search
experience, it is important that we provide highly relevant search results to our
users. High user satisfaction increases our ability to expand agreements with
leading partners such as Yahoo!, America Online, and MSN”.


Northern Light Sold, Yahoo Profits

U.S. integrated solution provider Divine has bought search stalwart Northern Light
and their collection of 7,100 articles. But it appears Yahoo! is set to benefit most
from the deal, as they have formed an agreement with Divine to offer the Northern
Light articles for sale for between USD1 and USD4 to their consumers under the
banner of Yahoo! Premium Document Search.





Yahoo! & MSN Extend Agreement With Overture

After a successful trial period for all parties, Overture has been able to extend their
agreements with both Yahoo! and MSN to provide paid search listings. The deal with
Yahoo! takes them through the second quarter of 2002, while the MSN agreement
has been extended till 2003.





Launch of Overture Germany

With the help of a partnership with AOL Europe, Overture has launched a version
of their PPC search model in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, which together
comprise the third biggest online market.



Lycos Introduces Paid Inclusion Program

Following in the footsteps of Inktomi, AltaVista and Fast/All The Web, Lycos has
become the latest of the big search players to announce the imminent launch of
a paid indexing model. The new service titled InSite Select guarantees inclusion
within the Lycos index within 48 hours of submission and promises a full refresh
of your site content every 48 hours.

More : 



BidRight Becomes Overture Approved Tool

Following on from our advice last month regarding Overture and the risks of over-
using bidding management software, it seems Overture have tackled the problem
by insisting that software providers must be authorized by Overture and agree to
appropriate usage limits in order to offer automated bidding to their advertisers.
A number of licenses have already been issued by Overture to third party vendors,
including BidRight, the winner of our PPC Software Showdown last issue.






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

            Redesigning your site? Not sure
            how good your new design looks
            in older browsers? Before launch,
            make sure you check by going to :
            should also check it in different
            screen sizes and color palettes.

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


Do Search Engines Index Deep Content?

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


Well the nature of the SEO industry means that I’m
always learning. Last month, a potential client asked
me to quote on optimizing their home page. Problem
was, their home page was buried many levels deep
under their top domain, for example:


I had a feeling that some search engines may not
index a site that is so many levels deep, but I wasn’t
sure about this so I asked my friends at the ihelpyou
search engine forums: I’ve reprinted
the response I received from member pageoneresults
(many thanks Edward!).

From: Kalena Jordan


Is there any spidering disadvantage to having content
many levels deep? For example, are there any spiders
that will not crawl past a certain level below the top
domain? Does my client risk content not being indexed
if content is placed too deep?




~~~~~~~ PageOneResult’s Response ~~~~~~~


Hello Kal! I've given this method of optimization my own term...

The Chain of Command Theory

One very important element in optimization is the directory
structure of the site. Content relative to your main theme
should be in the root directory.

Content relative to your secondary theme should be in your
1st level sub-directories. Content after the secondary theme
might go in a 2nd level sub-directory.

I like to keep everything within three levels. Your Admirals at
the top, Vice Admirals at the 1st level and then the Captains
at the 2nd level. I try to keep the Petty Officers out of there.
This is strictly Scrambled Eggs material!

For those spiders that do deep crawls like Google and a few
others, you could probably go 10 levels and still get indexed.
But I think dilution of content occurs as you travel down each
directory level.


Edward Lewis (aka pageoneresults)   


Please submit your FAQ


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Last month we discussed several important topics including:

- PPC Bid Management Software Showdown
Yahoo! Introduce Annual Submission Fees
New Version of SEO Buyer’s Guide Released
Overture Results Now on Excite & MSN
Can Engines Index Cgi-Bin Content?


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 2002.  You may forward this
newsletter, as long as it's kept in its entirety.



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