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Thursday, April 3, 2008

SEO !!!

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SEO is an abbreviation for "search engine optimizer." Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, from writing copy to giving advice on site architecture and helping to find relevant directories to which a site can be submitted. However, a few unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to unfairly manipulate search engine results.

While Google doesn't have relationships with any SEOs and doesn't offer recommendations, we do have a few tips that may help you distinguish between an SEO that will improve your site and one that will only improve your chances of being dropped from search engine results altogether.
Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.

Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories..."

Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for "burn fat at night" diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.
No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or through the Webmaster Tools and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
Be careful if a company is secretive or won't clearly explain what they intend to do.

Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you.
You should never have to link to an SEO.

Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of "free-for-all" links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don't affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines -- at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.
Some SEOs may try to sell you the ability to type keywords directly into the browser address bar.

Most such proposals require users to install extra software, and very few users do so. Evaluate such proposals with extreme care and be skeptical about the self-reported number of users who have downloaded the required applications.
Choose wisely.

While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also seek out a few of the cautionary tales that have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: While Google doesn't comment on specific companies, we've encountered firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.
Be sure to understand where the money goes.

While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they "control" other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn't work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you're considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.
Talk to many SEOs, and ask other SEOs if they'd recommend the firm you're considering.

References are a good start, but they don't tell the whole story. You should ask how long a company has been in business and how many full time individuals it employs. If you feel pressured or uneasy, go with your gut feeling and play it safe: hold off until you find a firm that you can trust. Ask your SEO firm if it reports every spam abuse that it finds to Google using our spam complaint form at Ethical SEO firms report deceptive sites that violate Google's spam guidelines.
Make sure you're protected legally.

Don't be afraid to request a refund if you're unsatisfied with your SEO's performance. Make sure you have a contract in writing that includes pricing. The contract should also require the SEO to stay within the guidelines recommended by each search engine for site inclusion.

What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?

One common scam is the creation of "shadow" domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client's behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor's domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

Another illicit practice is to place "doorway" pages loaded with keywords on the client's site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO's other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.

What are some other things to look out for?

There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. It's far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO:
owns shadow domains
puts links to their other clients on doorway pages
offers to sell keywords in the address bar
doesn't distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear in search results
guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
gets traffic from "fake" search engines, spyware, or scumware
has had domains removed from Google's index or is not itself listed in Google

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Managing Your List: Paid List Servers vs. Free List Servers

This week we will be discussing how to manage your email
lists. It can be a big job but we’ll discuss how you can
get a handle on it with minimal fuss.

As you build up your subscriber list, you’re going to find
yourself with a problem. Whichever mail program you’re
using, whether it’s Outlook or Eudora or something else,
it’s just not going to be set up to deal with the kind of
mass mailing involved with newsletters.

If you have more than 50 people on your list—

and that will
probably take you less than a week—you’ll need to use a
listserv. Don’t even try to do this by yourself!

My hosting company organize this for me. They have a mail
server that handles all the mail. I just send them the
newsletter and they send it out. Alternatively, you can use
a professional listserv such as Microsoft’s List Builder or

There are free list servers available too. While you can use
these if you’re on a really tight budget, I don’t recommend
it. First, they stuff their own adverts onto your
newsletter. That doesn’t just reduce the effectiveness of
your brand, it draws attention away from your own
ads—provided you can persuade people to advertise on a
newsletter like this. But their privacy policies have also
come under a lot of criticism lately and even some of the
biggest companies have been found to have used their
clients’ lists to market their own goods.

If you’re going to do a newsletter—and you should—it’s worth
investing in a professional service. That is, after all,
what you’re offering.

In conclusion, newsletters then are one of the most
effective ways to keep customers, and keep your revenue
flowing in. They remind people you’re still out there,
provide news about deals and bargains, and give customers
the confidence to buy. You can put them together in a snap,
or even pay someone a pretty small fee to do it for you. If
you sell advertising space on your newsletter, you’ll even
find each issue will pay for itself.



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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Top Search Engine

Ok, so you may know how the search engines work and you may
know that you need to be listed by them, but do you know
which engines get you more bang for the buck? In this
week’s installment, we will review the top search engines on
the Internet today.
Google has increased in popularity tenfold the past several
years. They have gone from beta testing, to becoming the
Internet's largest index of web pages in a very short time.
Their spider, affectionately named "Googlebot", crawls the
web and provides updates to Google's index

about once a
month. began as an academic search engine. Google, by
far, has a very good algorithm of ranking pages returned
from a result, probably one of the main reasons it has
become so popular over the years. Google has several methods
which determine page rank in returned searches.


Yahoo! is one of the oldest web directories and portals on
the Internet today, and the site went live in August of
1994. Yahoo! is a 100% human edited directory, and provides
secondary search results using Google.

Yahoo! is also one of the largest traffic generators around,
as far as web directories and search engines go.
Unfortunately, however, it is also one of the most difficult
to get listed in, unless of course you pay to submit your
site. Even if you pay it doesn't guarantee you will get

Either way, if you suggest a URL, it is "reviewed" by a
Yahoo! editor, and if approved will appear in the next index


Many who have access to web logs may have seen a spider
named 'scooter' accessing their pages. Scooter used to be
AltaVista's robot. However, since the Feb 2001 site update,
a newer form of Scooter is now crawling the web. Whichever
spider AltaVista uses, it is one of the largest search
engines on the net today, next to Google.

It will usually take several months for AltaVista to index
your entire site, although the past few months scooter
hasn't been deep crawling too well. Unlike Google, AltaVista
will only crawl and index 1 link deep, so it takes a good
amount of time to index your site depending on how large
your site is.

AltaVista gets most of its results from its own index,
however they do pull the top 5 results of each search from
Overture (formerly Goto).


Inktomi's popularity grew several years ago as they powered
the secondary search database that had driven Yahoo. Since
then, Yahoo as switched to using Google as their secondary
search and backend database, however Inktomi is just as
popular now, as they were several years ago, if not more so.
Their spiders are named "Slurp", and different versions of
Slurp crawls the web many different times throughout the
month, as Inktomi powers many sites search results. There
isn't much more to Inktomi then that. Slurp puts heavy
weight on Title and description tags, and will rarely deep
crawl a site. Slurp usually only spider’s pages that are
submitted to its index.

Inktomi provides results to a number of sites. Some of these
are America Online, MSN, Hotbot, Looksmart, About, Goto,
CNet, Geocities, NBCi, ICQ and many more.


Lycos is one of the oldest search engines on the Internet
today, next to Altavista and Yahoo. Their spider, named
"T-Rex", crawls the web and provides updates to the Lycos
index from time to time. The FAST crawler provides results
for Lycos in addition to its own database.

The Lycos crawler does not weigh META tags to heavily,
instead it relies on its own ranking algorithm to rank pages
returned in results. The URL, META title, text headings, and
word frequency are just a few of the methods Lycos uses to
rank pages. Lycos does support pages with Frame content.
However, any page that isn't at least 75 words in content is
not indexed.


Excite has been around the web for many years now. Much more
of a portal than just simply a search engine, Excite used to
be a fairly popular search engine, until companies such as
Google seemed to have dominated the search engine market. As
of recently, Excite no longer accepts submissions of URL's,
and appears to no longer spider. To get into the Excite
search results, you need to be either listed with Overture
or Inktomi.


Getting a listed with Looksmart could mean getting a good
amount of traffic to your site. Looksmart's results appear
in many search engines, including AltaVista, MSN, CNN, and
many others.

Looksmart has two options to submit your site. If your site
is generally non-business related, you can submit your site
to Zeal (Looksmart's sister site ), or if you are a
business, you can pay a fee to have your site listed. Either
method will get you listed in Looksmart and its partner
sites if you are approved.

Once you have submitted your site, and it is approved for
listing it will take up to about 7 days for your site to be
listed on Looksmart and its partner sites.

AOL Search

America Online signed a multiyear pact with Google for Web
search results and accompanying ad-sponsored links, ending
relationships with pay-for-performance service Overture
Services and Inktomi, its algorithmic search provider of
nearly three years

Take some time to register with these search engines as soon
as possible and watch the traffic grow.



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