The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 24 Mar 2003 - Vol 3 Issue #3  

In this issue...

What SEOs Expect From Their Clients

Overture To Challenge Google with FAST Purchase

Google Beats Overture to Disneyland

Referrals From Search Engines on the Increase

Web Rank Small Business Special

Overture To Partner With "ScumWare"

LookSmart Lowers Pay Per Click Pricing

What SEOs Expect From Their Clients

By Kalena Jordan of Web Rank Ltd

I've seen a lot of articles around lately about how to pick and choose a search engine optimization company. That's fine and dandy, but it often works the other way around in this industry. The most successful SEOs pick and choose their own clients. Good SEOs can spot a tire kicker from a mile off and I know of a few SEOs that quickly "fire" clients that give them too much grief.
Why? Because they can. Their reputation is widely known and they are constantly in demand. Many of them are too busy to spend time haggling over price or technique and why should they? Their reputation is rock solid, their results outstanding, the ROI for their work impressive. Companies are lining up to pay for their expertise and to benefit from the amazing income generation potential that a well-executed search engine optimization campaign can bring. To quote one of the best:
"I choose clients who choose me" - Jill Whalen,
So how do you recognize top performing SEOs? Most will be regular contributers to popular webmaster or search engine forums and many will have their own newsletter or web log keeping people up to date with the latest developments in the search industry. Some write regular articles about the search engines and have links to them published in popular search engine portals and resource sites such as Search Engine Guide, Search Engine Watch, Pandia and SEO Today. Or perhaps you've seen their articles syndicated on news channels like Moreover, ClickZ or ZDNet.

Of course some of them are so busy, they don't have time to write articles. But if they have a good reputation, chances are people are talking about them. Of course the opposite is also true. Want to know more about their reputation in the industry? Conduct a search for their name in the search engine of your choice. I don't mean the name of their company either - I mean the name of the actual person who would be responsible for the optimization of your site. If you find lots of positive references, they're a keeper. Finding negative discussions or comments? Better think twice. Can't find them at all? Then they probably aren't worth talking about.
Once you've located a top performing SEO, don't expect to call the shots. Search engine optimizers have certain expectations of their clients. Let me run through a few of them. To keep your SEO happy:
1. Don't automatically expect a guarantee - not all SEOs offer them. Not because they aren't good at what they do, but because offering a guarantee can give the false impression that SEOs have full control over search engine rankings when in fact only the engine has this. Also, while many top SEOs will offer a satisfaction guarantee, many others don't believe a guarantee is necessary because of their public track record of results and because they feel a client should trust them fully before signing on rather than relying on some piece of paper to protect them.
2. Don't choose by price - the most expensive SEOs aren't necessarily the best. By the same token, don't make the mistake of thinking SEO is not worth much. Search engine marketing is not an "add on" or a short term ad campaign - it is a continuously evolving marketing channel that can bring upwards of 50 percent of your total site traffic if done correctly. Therefore you should allocate a good portion of your marketing budget towards it each year.
3. Don't assume an SEO isn't good because their own site isn't ranking highly - Remember the old adage that plumbers taps always leak? Some SEOs are so busy helping clients that they don't have time to optimize their own sites. Also, as you would imagine, competition for rankings in the SEO industry is fierce. Just because an SEO isn't ranking highly for all SEO related terms does not mean they aren't good at what they do - maybe they don't have the time or inclination to compete with their peers. For proof of results, look to their client site rankings and references.

4. Don't question the SEO process after it has begun - It should all be outlined in the initial proposal, but a SEO worth his/her salt will make actual changes to your site. They will change the visible text and/or design. They will probably get rid of that pretty Flash image or graphic from your home page. They might change your graphic navigation menu into a bland looking text menu. But remember they are doing this for a very good reason - to ensure your site is as search engine compatible as possible. Listen, learn and trust them - they're experts at this stuff.
5. Don't expect high rankings overnight - It really yanks my chain when clients call me up a week after their site has been submitted wanting to know why they're not ranking highly yet! All good things take time and it can take up to 3 or 4 months for the search engines and directories to index your optimized content and re-rank your site accordingly. That said, you should notice an improvement on some of the faster engines within 2 or 3 weeks.


   Dear Reader,

So just when you thought the search engine industry couldn't get any crazier, Overture goes and buys another search engine! I don't know about you, but I'm through trying to predict what's going to happen next. Somebody please stop this ride, I want to get off!
Seriously though, one thing that's blatantly obvious from all this wheeling and dealing is that search engine marketing is hot, hot, hot right now. SEM has finally gone mainstream and about time too. The media have started to sense it, the latest statistics prove it (see below) and companies finally realize it: search engines can deliver a large percentage of traffic and an even larger amount of business to a web site.
If you have a web site and you're not currently using search engines to your advantage, what the heck are you waiting for? Go hire an SEO quick! Just make sure you read this month's feature article so you know what to expect.
Enjoy this issue and remember to visit our daily Search Engine News Blog for the latest industry news and gossip.

Till next time - wishing you high rankings...

  • Overture To Challenge Google with FAST Purchase
   If the search industry in 2003 can be compared to a fast-moving game of chess, then Overture have just put Google in "Check". That's right, hot on the heels of their planned purchase of AltaVista revealed last month, Overture announced their intention to acquire the Web search unit of Norway-based Fast Search & Transfer.

Full Story...

  • Google Beats Overture to Disneyland
  •    Google announced this month that it has done a deal with Walt Disney's to provide paid search results in place of those previously provided by competitor Overture.

    The deal, announced earlier this month, sees Google providing algorithmic-based or "organic" search results as well as sponsored links on Later in the year, Google will also provide site-specific results and sponsored links for popular portals, and

    Full Story...

  • Referrals From Search Engines on the Increase
  •    According to research gathered by WebSideStory's StatMarket, search engines and direct navigation now make up the large majority of referrals to Web sites.

    The StatMarket statistics were collected from over 125,000 sites using WebSideStory's HitBox analytics platform, representing the surfing habits of approximately 12 million Internet users. Data was collected on March 6, 2003 and compared to statistics from a year earlier. The data revealed that search engines generated 13.4 percent of site referrals on that day, up from 7.1 percent measured a year prior.

    Full Story...

  • Web Rank Small Business Special
  •    Not achieving the ranking you want in the search listings? Need step-by-step help to make your site more search engine friendly? Got a small budget?

    Sounds like you need our Search Engine Compatibility Report. For a limited time, Web Rank is offering SECR's for just USD 175. That's right - $175!

    Tell Me More...

  • Overture To Partner With "ScumWare"
  •    More evidence has come to light that suggests that pay-per-click search leader Overture is heading towards a permanent partnership with controversial online advertising network Gator Corp.

    Gator gained infamy 18 months ago for its ability to install 3rd party ad software on computers without the user's express knowledge. Gator delivers pop-up ads to people who download their online wallet software. Unfortunately many persons downloading the software don't realize they are agreeing to receive ads in exchange for its use.

    Full Story...

  • LookSmart Lowers Pay Per Click Pricing
  •   Pay Per Click directory LookSmart has announced a number of "enhancements" to their Small Business LookListings this week, including a considerable price reduction. Changes include:
    - The ability to assign your own tracking URLs to your LookSmart listings. (Currently a free service for listings purchased on or before March 18, 2003.) 
    - The ability to configure personalized campaign reports and export them to Excel and PDF.
    - Reduced fees: Add new listings for USD29 and update existing listings for USD19 (previously USD49 each). 
    - The ability to organize your listings into multiple campaigns and accounts for advanced control and flexibility. 

    Full Story...

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