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The Search Light Newsletter - Vol. 2 Issue #6



                THE SEARCH LIGHT

          Guiding your web site to the

            top of the search engines...



27 May 2002                        Vol. 2 Issue # 6       


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 or quotation via our site, sent us
 an FAQ or someone has forwarded it to you.
 UNSUBSCRIBE instructions are at the end of this
 newsletter. (Replying to this email WILL NOT unsubscribe you).

 If you like this newsletter, please forward a copy of it to any
 friend or colleague who is responsible for a web site and
 would like to improve their ranking in the search engines.



    =>  Editor’s Message
    =>  Sponsorship Notice
    =>  Feature Article – WebPosition™ Releases v2.0 Beta & Rejects   
                                   Reporting Issues
(Interview with Brent Winters, 
                                   President of FirstPlace Software™)
    =>  Industry News Google, AOL & Dilbert Share the Sheets
Search Engine Strategies Sydney Update
Overture Announces 3 Year Deal with Yahoo!
Open Directory Forum Gets Two Thumbs Up
LookSmart Asks For Feedback – Too Late
The Feedback LookSmart DIDN’T Ask For
Google’s New Editorial Policies Baffle Advertisers
Maximizing Your Profits on Google AdWords Select
                                  – Countdown to Launch of SEO Consultants Directory
    =>  Search Engine FAQ's – The Ole “Hyphenated Keywords In the Domain” Trick
    =>  Site Spotlight – Win a FREE Pass to Search Engine Strategies Sydney!
=>  Subscribe / Unsubscribe information


Dear Readers,


We’ve got a bumper issue this month! Lots of search engine
news, events, gossip and even a competition. What’s more,
we’ve finally included our interview with Brent Winters that
was held over last month thanks to the LookSmart fiasco.


As you all know, Search Engine Strategies comes to Sydney
next month. The bad news is, I’ve only got around two weeks to
prepare my multiple presentations for the Conference - Aarghh
The good news is I’ve been fortunate enough to score a free pass
to give away to one of you lucky readers! See our Site Spotlight
section at the end of this newsletter for how to be in the draw. The
winner will be notified by email & announced in next month’s issue.


The other good news is that I’ll finally be taking a long overdue
vacation after the Sydney Conference, from June 13 to 23. My
husband and I plan to spend a few days tracking down the best
coffee in Melbourne, followed by a trip to Tasmania to track down
a mountain or two (hopefully those with a hot spa at the bottom!).


Next month we’ll bring you a review of WebPosition Gold’s™ full
version 2.0 software, which is due for release in the next few weeks.
We also expect to have loads of industry news and gossip to share
with you from Search Engine Strategies.

Due to my vacation, our June newsletter will probably be out a couple
of days later than normal. Meanwhile, enjoy this issue and spare a
thought for me hiking through the wilderness of Tasmania’s National
Parks in the middle of Winter.

Till next month,

Kalena J



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WebPosition Releases v2.0 & Rejects Reporting Issues
(Interview with Brent Winters, President of FirstPlace Software™)
                     by Kalena Jordan

As you would have heard, FirstPlace Software™, creators of the hugely popular WebPosition Gold ™ search engine marketing software, recently announced the forthcoming release of the long-awaited version 2 of their product. WPG v2.0 is already available in Beta format (see link below) and boasts an impressive number of new features to help web masters ensure their web sites are spider friendly, ranking highly and submitted to the most appropriate search engines and directories worldwide.


I recently took the opportunity to interview President of FirstPlace Software
Brent Winters about their new product and also about
his views on the increasing crackdown on automatic reporting tools by some of the major search engines.

Below is a transcript of the interview:


(WR) = Web Rank, (BW) = Brent Winters

Question 1 (WR) - Why has it taken so long for FirstPlace Software to release a new (BETA) version of WebPosition Gold™?


(BW) A couple of factors contributed to the delay.  We under-estimated the
amount of work to keep the current version up to date with the continuous changes at the search engines, while still contributing resources to version 2.  We ended up
spending time adding and removing engines in the existing product, adding new features, etc. so we were not standing still since version 1.0.  In fact, we are on version 1.60.5 now. 


We eventually added new developers to accelerate work on version 2.  In

addition, version 2 includes a tremendous number of new features and engines. In retrospect, we should have scaled back the number of features for version 2 and saved more for version 3.  Fortunately, our customers will benefit from getting a lot of bang for their buck when they upgrade. 



Question 2 (WR) - In your opinion, what is the most important or significant
feature of the new version?


(BW) There are so many important features it is difficult to boil it down to a

single most important feature. Every customer will have their favorite

depending on how they tend to use the product.  Certainly the support for new

country specific engines is a big one.  Unlike other products, this support

extends beyond just submission and reporting.  The Page Critic also provides

valuable advice for how to improve your rankings in over 75 major engines.  A

current (although not exhaustive) list of new features can be found at:



Question 3 (WR) - The BETA version of WPG v2 includes regional search
engines – something your customers have been asking about for years. Why
did it take so long to include these?


(BW) See above



Question 4 (WR) - Only a handful of countries were included in the regional
engines. Do you plan to include other country search engines (e.g. New Zealand and more Asian countries) in future releases?


(BW) Please keep in mind that you are looking at a beta version right now.  We are working hard to add new engines to fill any significant gaps and are listening to customer feedback.  For example, you mentioned Asian countries.  We already have support for some Japanese and Chinese engines and are working on adding more.  We support a dozen different regions currently: Global/US, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Spain/Latin America, Russia, Italy, Japan, China, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. 


Some countries like the UK have support for eight or more engines already (or

will very shortly).  Others have only a few.  How many they have depends on how many popular engines we are able to locate for that region, and how far along we are in the development of that region.  Even after we release the product we will continue to add more engines (or remove engines) as things change and we receive feedback from customers.  We may add support for entirely new regions depending upon demand.



Question 5 (WR) - The major search engines, most noticeably Google, have
recently been taking a stand against the use of rank reporting software and
even banning the IP addresses of persons using it. How has this impacted WPG sales and how will it affect future releases? Can you confidently say it is safe for customers to use WPG right now to check their ranks?


(BW) A very small percentage of customers had their IP blocked by Google in early 2001.  I've heard of no one having their IP blocked for using WebPosition on any search engines for over six months since we released updates to more

precisely emulate a browser.  Version 2 includes an additional safety feature

to slow down searches to a user-definable amount.  That way you can be more

courteous to the search engines while maintaining a lower profile.  We continue to encourage customers to keep their queries to a minimum with the search engines  (For example, there's generally no reason to run reports every single day or for hundreds of keywords).  You should also run reports at night

whenever possible.


As far as our sales, they remain strong and demand for the product remains

strong.  Businesses with an on-line presence have a significant need to track

and improve their search rankings.  That is not a need that is likely to change

anytime soon.  Only the methodology and techniques to improve visibility on the engines have changed over the years and will continue to change.  We'll

continue to update the product to accommodate that.



Question 6 (WR) - Is there any scope for arrangements with search engines
that allow your software limited access to their servers in a restricted reporting
capacity, similar to Overture's recent 3rd Party provider agreement with Bid

Management Software companies?



(BW) We already have formal affiliate agreements with many major engines
including Overture, FindWhat, Looksmart, Bay9, Ah-Ha,, and others. It is our goal to work with the search engines whenever possible and reach mutually beneficial agreements.  We approached Google last year, sending over half a dozen letters and faxes to various VP's in their organization. 


We offered practical proposals to create a more mutually beneficial relationship. Eventually we gave up on the matter when their VP continued to fail to get back with us as promised.  It does not appear to be a high priority issue at Google right now from what I can tell.



Question 7 (WR) - Do you have any exciting new features you plan to add to
future WPG releases?


(BW) We always have many features we'd like to add.  However, we're focusing
our efforts right now on finishing the long-anticipated version 2 and making sure
all the features included in it work really well.  We may not bang out a major new upgrade every six months because we focus a great deal of effort to

refining the product to work as advertised.  Many companies focus on including every bell and whistle under the sun, whether it has value or not, and then invest little time to fixing bugs reported by customers.  This can be maddening as a consumer and a huge time-waster if you buy a whiz-bang great product and then do nothing but waste time trying to battle crashes, lock ups, etc. 


In our case, we are so serious about producing a quality product that we offer

up to $50 bug bounties to customers for being the first to find and report a

problem. (These are credits good for the purchase of an upgrade, knowledge
base subscription, or other product).  It should also be kept in mind that we
update the product weekly if not more often so our technology is never standing still between major upgrades.  We also prefer to give customers new features and updates for free rather than trying to stick them with a new paid upgrade every six to eight months. 


With version 2, we'll be continuing our policy of free product support.  Much

of our competition offers no phone support, or charges $50 or more per call.

We're also striving to maintain average e-mail response times at 24 hours or

less. This has always been a priority issue for me since I've personally been

on the receiving end of bad customer support many times.  I promised myself to run things differently when I founded this company ten years ago.

Web Rank would like to thank Brent Winters for taking the time to respond to our questions. If you have additional questions about WebPosition Gold™ as a result of reading this interview, please visit the links below, or email WebPosition support staff via If you’d like to trial the Beta version of WPG v2.0 please download it from the link below.

Assuming it is released in time, next month I will feature a review of the full release WebPosition Gold™ v2.0. So stay tuned!


More: (home page) (outline of new features in v2.0)



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 Australia and New Zealand and is well known and
respected in her field. For more of her tips on search engine ranking and
online marketing, please visit:


Google, AOL & Dilbert Share the Sheets

On May 1st, Google announced they had secured a deal to provide their
search technology to AOL properties including Netscape, Compuserve
and AOL Search. The deal also sees AOL portals utilizing Google’s paid
listings product, AdWords Select.


Google AdWords listings now replace Overture paid listings on those portals,
cementing Google’s status as a major competitor for Overture in the PPC
arena. It is expected Google’s search technology would be integrated within
the sites over the next few weeks.

In the case of Netscape Search, this has already happened, with Google
results now being served up in the search listings. AOL Search is set to follow
next, by replacing their current combination of Inktomi and Open Directory
listings with Google search results.


Google also took time out this month to partner with Scott Adams, cartoonist
and creator of the popular Dilbert™ office worker character. Dilbert and his
boss will appear on Google’s home page each day this week as they attempt
to design Google’s new logo. The final logo will be revealed on Friday.

“Dilbert has had a large influence on Google's management style," said Sergey
Brin, co-founder and president of Technology, Google Inc. "I am planning to
adopt a pointy hairdo."



Search Engine Strategies Sydney Update

Well the Search Engine Strategies Sydney Conference is only a couple
of weeks away, taking place at Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour on
June 11 & 12. Keynote speakers include founder of Search Engine Watch,
Danny Sullivan, as well as search engine optimisation specialists, search
technology experts and representative from all the major international
and regional search engines.


The conference will have a special focus on the Australian and New
Zealand search market and issues particularly relevant to our region.
I’ll be speaking at a couple of sessions, including Designing Search
Engine Friendly Sites, Successful Site Architecture.
I’m also on the
panel for Site Clinic so if you do attend, make sure you say hello!


Whether you are completely new to search engine promotion or an
experienced marketer wanting the latest search engine industry news,
you’ll find this conference extremely valuable. If you want some advice
on the search engine compatibility of your site, don’t miss the Site Clinic
session where we’ll be critiquing the sites of audience members live on
stage. Apparently tickets are selling fast so make sure you book early!


A full agenda for the Conference is now online at the URL below and if
you book now you can take advantage of early bird savings. If you plan
to attend and haven’t yet booked, you can go into our draw to win a
FREE pass. The winner will be announced this Friday 31st May and
notified via email. Details on how to enter are in our “Site Spotlight”
section at the end of this newsletter.






Overture Announces 3 Year Deal with Yahoo!

This month, Overture announced they had signed a deal with Yahoo! Inc.
to extend their relationship for a further three years. The deal sees Overture
continue to provide paid search listings on via Yahoo! Sponsor
Matches, strengthening their position as the search industry’s No. 1 Pay
Per Click provider.






Open Directory Forum Gets Two Thumbs Up

For some months, I had been experiencing a problem trying to get a
client site listed in Open Directory (, so I decided to try
out the new ODP Public Forum. Because this particular client had been
burned by a rogue SEO using unethical submission methods in the past,
some of their search engine listings had been jeopardized in the process.
I suspected the site’s damaged “reputation” was causing the problem at ODP.


The ODP Editors in the forum confirmed my suspicions and were helpful
enough to point out a number of duplicate sites in the Directory that my
client was unaware still existed. They even arranged removal of the dup
sites and forwarded my submission to the correct category. It was added
3 days later!

If you are having problems getting your site listed in ODP or choosing the
right category, I strongly suggest visiting the forums. The forum members
are friendly, knowledgeable and are very open to discuss problems or
delays regarding getting your site listed. Just keep in mind that ODP is
run by volunteers in their free time, therefore be courteous and patient;
your listing may take some months to be reviewed and added.



LookSmart Asks For Feedback – Too Late

In my experience, if you ask senior executives at LookSmart if they are
receiving a lot of customer complaints about their new PPC model, they’re
likely to answer in the negative. Seems strange then that this week I receive
an email from the ”LookSmart Small Business Team” stating that:


 “…we’ve received a wide range of feedback from customers. We’ve learned
that many search marketing firms are facing difficulties managing the transition
of multiple clients from the old Site Submit product to our new Small Business
Listings product”.


I don’t know about you, but that reads “customer complaints” to me. The email
went on to outline the most common issues “search professionals” have with
the new model and ended with a survey asking for my feedback on the product
and suggestions for how to make Small Business Listings an “indispensable
tool for you and your business”.


But what really got to me was the following statement:

Because you are a customer and a search professional, we consider your

feedback to be an invaluable part of our development process.


Hmmm. So let me get this straight LookSmart – NOW that you’ve lost my
business and my trust, I’m suddenly important to you as a customer? NOW

that you switched the product I bought without consultation with me at all
and NOW that you want me to pay extra for a new product that (in my opinion)
offers no value to me or my clients - NOW you want my feedback?


If customers like us were such “an invaluable part of your development
as you claim, why on earth didn’t you request feedback DURING

the development process and not after the fact?


My response to LookSmart’s survey? Thanks but no thanks.


The Feedback LookSmart DIDN’T Ask For


Meanwhile, the voices speaking out against LookSmart are getting
louder. What with an FBI investigation and a Class Action suit filed
(see link below), LookSmart must be feeling the pressure right now.
Adding fuel to the fire are two new articles that have appeared about
LookSmart in the past couple of weeks.


The first one is from MarketPosition’s™ Brent Winters, criticizing
LookSmart’s new PPC model from a customer perspective. The
other article is by a journalist at Wired™, cataloguing the backlash
LookSmart is currently suffering. You can read those articles here:


More : 
 (class action)

Like their new product or not, it seems people are still having a hard
time understanding how it works. Some customers are especially angry
at the way they have no control over their existing listings, even when
they’ve ”activated” their accounts. Let’s hope LookSmart sorts this out.


I’m still receiving feedback on the issue from LookSmart customers.
Below are a couple more examples I’ve received following my feature
article “LOOKs Can Be Deceiving” and my interview with Damian
Smith of LookSmart Australia that appeared in our Search Light
Special Edition newsletter last week:



Hi Kalena


I just read your latest article on the Looksmart changes.


Looksmart's rep came out with this crass statement in the interview you


We're giving our legacy customers US$300 in value-that's more than
they ever paid in the first place.


Is it just me or does anyone else see the flaw in this argument? Are we
supposed to be grateful for this? It may be more than we paid but it is not
the value we paid for. The fact that they have arbitrarily fixed a per-click
price and then given us $300 worth does not wash. My original payment
was supposed to guarantee a listing ad infinitum. Soon after the switch
over I got a mail from Looksmart saying the clicks had been used up and
generously advised me to stuff more money in their pockets, such that:


LookSmart recommends raising your monthly budget to $375 in
order to get the maximum value from your listing(s) in the future.


If I was silly enough to actually give them more money (which I am not)
then I could, by their calculations, end up paying $13,500 over three years
instead of the product that I originally bought which cost me $199 for as
many clicks as I could get over as many years as the site is published.


[Name withheld upon request]





Looksmart U.S. have acted in a plainly unethical manner, by promoting

and selling its product to customers on a one-time only basis with no

recurring fees, then reneging on the original understanding…


What makes this even worse from our company's viewpoint, is that

Looksmart U.S. sold us 2 additional categories for US$268 in a direct

mailing campaign.  Despite the campaign being only 6 weeks before the

introduction of click fees, there was no mention of the impending

change.  This can only be described as a deceptive last-ditch money

grab, to extract every last cent from customers before changing the
rules on them.


To add fuel to the fire, Looksmart U.S. unilaterally removed our
listings when we refused to activate our account under their new terms.


The whole experience demonstrates the arrogance of Looksmart U.S.,
their unethical business practices, and their willingness to alienate their

own customer base.


David Cain.

Director, Asia Chat




Google’s New Editorial Policies Baffle Advertisers

In direct response to their new deal to display AdWords listings on AOL
properties, Google has introduced some new editorial rules for AdWords
Select customers, apparently to satisfy AOL’s relevancy standards.

The new rules require advertisers to avoiding excessive or unnecessary
capitalization, punctuation, and superlatives such as “best”, “cheapest”, etc.

While not as strict as Overture’s editorial policies, the new rules are still
annoying and confusing customers who cannot understand Google’s
apparent obsession with caps vs no caps. For example, apparently if you
list your site URL as, your ad will be rejected until you
change the URL to

You also can’t insert call-to-action phrases such as “Click Here” or “Look
Here”, making it even more difficult to entice visitors to click on your ad.

More :




Maximizing Your Profits on Google AdWords Select


If you are having trouble coping with Google’s new editorial policies, or
if you just can’t seem to reach that desired click-thru rate on your AdWords
ads, a new report is available to help you.

Titled 21 Techniques to Maximize your Profits on Google AdWords Select,
the report was developed by Andrew Goodman of Page Zero Media, a well
known search industry expert. The report helps you
make the most of your
AdWords account by showing you how to set up and track a campaign,
step-by-step and ensure you see a return on your investment.

I have been meaning to review this report for some weeks and now that I
have I really wish I’d read it sooner! Then I could’ve made the most out of
my AdWords campaigns all this time, instead of leaving them to chance.

What I like best about this report are the practical examples Andrew uses
throughout – they make his methodologies crystal clear and very easy to
replicate. Some of the methods Andrew demonstrates in the report include:

-          how to bid on popular keywords no-one else has thought of

-          how to measure your ad effectiveness by regular tweaking

-          how to utilize clever (allowable) tactics to entice more click-thrus

-          how to track your ROI so you never exceed your budget and
always make a profit

With Google fast becoming the most popular search engine, together
with their deal to display AdWords paid listings on AOL, you simply
cannot afford to ignore the power of AdWords paid listings anymore.

But to implement an AdWords campaign AFTER absorbing the advice
provided in this report is like backing a thoroughbred in a race full of
mules: you simply can’t lose! Well done Andrew – an excellent resource.

As per usual, when I find a product I am impressed with and one that
offers my clients true value for money, I sign up to become an affiliate.
The first link below is an affiliate link, but if you prefer I didn’t receive
a commission, you can use the regular link below it.

More :




Countdown to Launch of SEO Consultants Directory

In an earlier edition of The Search Light, I mentioned a new SEO
Consultants Directory was being developed by
Edward Lewis aka

I’m pleased to advise that the Directory is close to completion and
ready for official launch on June 1st.

The SEO Consultants Directory at will be
a comprehensive list of Search Engine Optimization firms worldwide,
with a detailed overview of the services they provide. The idea is to
provide a starting point for persons seeking professional assistance
with their search engine marketing campaigns.

Edward is quick to point out that the Directory will focus on quality
and not quantity:

“Utilizing a simple search interface from the home page, users can
pre-select and/or enter a variety of search criteria and focus their
directory search results. Since all submissions are reviewed prior to
inclusion in the directory, the user is presented with a targeted list
of qualified SEO/SEM consultants and companies”.

More :



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 The Ole “Hyphenated Keywords In the Domain” Trick


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

Although this topic has been covered before, I still seem
to get asked this question a lot, so it bears repeating:

From: Mark Radtke (


Hi Kalena, I do have a question:

Hypothetically, would rank
higher than if everything else
was the same? Or is better than etc?


Not whether people will remember to type hyphens or
which is graphically smoother or anything like that. Just
will there be a difference in search engine ranking? Do
the search engines recognize words without spaces
such as those examples?



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


Hi Mark


Up until a year ago, I would've said YES, having keywords in
your domain that are separated by hyphens would give you
an edge over those sites without hyphens, all else being the same.


That's because until recently, most search engines did not have
the ability to distinguish keywords in domain names unless they
were separated by a hyphen. But I've heard that some search
engines now have the ability to distinguish individual words in
their algorithm.


Also, the significance of keywords in domain names has become
less important over the past year or so, in favor of body text,
link popularity and other relevancy issues. So these days, while it
might give you a very slight ranking advantage to have a hyphenated
domain, it is not as important as it used to be in the grand scheme
of things.


Hope this helps!



Please submit your FAQ



SITE SPOTLIGHT: Win a FREE Pass to Search Engine Strategies Sydney!


Heading to Sydney for the Search Engine Strategies Conference
from June 11-12? Like to score a FREE pass to the two-day
event? We’re giving one lucky reader the opportunity to do just
that. All you have to do is email us with the answer to the following
easy question:


What is the name of the keyword research software that is considered
”Best of Breed” in the industry? Hint: the answer can be found on the
following page of our web site:


All correct answers will go into a draw for the free pass. To be in the
draw, just send an email to us with the subject line “SES Pass Giveaway” and your answer in the body of the email.


Entries close midnight EST Thursday 30th May (GMT + 10) and I’ll
be drawing the winner on Friday morning at 10am EST. The lucky
recipient will be notified by email the same day. Good Luck!



Last month we discussed several important topics including:


– LOOKs Can Be Deceiving
– Google Becomes Most Used Search Engine                             
– Looksmart’s New PPC Model
– Google Slapped With Overture Lawsuit
Looksmart AU Does Deal With Yahoo AU

– Court Orders Site to Drop Competitor References
– Yahoo Resets User Accounts to Receive Spam
– Should You Use a Company Name in the Title Tag?


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



No part of this newsletter may be copied without permission from
Web Rank, the copyright owners 2002.  You may forward this
newsletter, as long as it's kept in its entirety.


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.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Web
In providing this information, we make every effort to ensure it is
correct and up to date. However, because of the widespread nature of
our information sources, no guarantee is given for the accuracy of
content throughout this publication. Web Rank disclaim all liability in
the event of inaccuracies found.


Web Rank Ltd, Search Engine Ranking Specialists
Visit our web sites :,     



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Last Updated: December 19, 2010

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