The Mender

Metamend's Website Optimization and Marketing Newsletter
Issue 24
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Advice and techniques for the promotion of your website plus Search Engine Optimization News and valuable resources for the serious on-line marketer.

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Welcome to "The Mender" Issue 24

SEARCH ENGINE AND RELATED INDUSTRY NEWS
  • Google Users To Experiment in Labs
    Google Labs, an experiment page where users can experience new Google R&D technologies. This move is the latest in Google's efforts to expand its R&D activities, with the experiment page allowing Google to receive valuable feedback on their new technologies while also allowing clients to experience new search technology.

  • Search Engines Now Ranked By Search Hours
    Jupiter Media Matrix and Nielsen/NetRatings have begun providing data on the total number of search hours users spend at a site, a new means of judging search engine popularity. The top dog is no surprise: Google leads by far ahead of its competitors. Yahoo comes in at second with roughly half as many search hours.

  • Child-friendly Domain Approved
    A new area within the dot-us domain has been approved for the creation of an Internet zone aimed at children 12 years old and under. The goal is to ensure that any websites in the domain, easily identified by a dot-kids.us address, will be free of violence, hate speech, sexually explicit material and/or pornography, and any other material not suitable for minors.

  • Inktomi Unveils XML-based Search Toolkit
    Inktomi just introduced Search Toolkit, an XML-based server tool targeted at enterprise Web developers and systems integrators. The new technology promises to extract data from structured, unstructured, and semi-structured content.

  • Cookieless Future
    A cookieless future dawns. Scottish researchers are working on developing a new kind of Web monitoring software that can collect enormous amounts of data while remaining virtually undetectable by surfers.

  • Infospace Rolls Out New Metasearch Engine
    Infospace and its partners have launched the new Excite Metasearch as part of a plan to return former heavyweight Excite (whom they acquired after the portal's demise) to its former glory.

  • Shutdown of RealNames Threatens Asian Naming Market
    RealNames announced its intended shutdown yesterday following news that Microsoft Corp. would no longer offer its keyword addressing system through Internet Explorer. This move would also mean RealNames would no longer be used to resolve internationalized domain names - something Asian naming authorities are calling a serious hardship.



HIGHLIGHTED ENGINE OF THE MONTH
We thought we'd take a different tack this month and give you a list of all the Search Engines which have recently passed into the either of Cyberspace or have been replaced through various company mergers. There are more than you think. There is a good list here.



WHAT'S NEW AT METAMEND

NEW HOSTING PARTNER - FuelHosting - High Octane Web Hosting
FuelHosting is a pre-IPO web hosting company specializing in a diverse range of services from web hosting, custom application development, to systems consulting. Their number one focus is customers, and they work towards this primary goal - High Octane web hosting at an affordable price. Welcome aboard Fuel Hosting.

NEW HOSTING PARTNER - Gig City
GigCity is a scale model of the music industry including A&R, radio, distribution, publicity, fans and sales - A full service, worldwide music web site. It also promotes positive artistic and professional growth by enabling the music community to share ideas and experiences. GigCity focuses on musicians' needs and career paths and is becoming an exciting, dynamic hub of music information. Its unique format and comprehensive content attracts an ever-expanding base of fans that want up to the minute, searchable information about the music scene. We invite all musicians to check out Gig City, another great Metamend partner.

NEW HOSTING PARTNER - HCD Websolutions *Link No Longer Valid
HCD Websolutions offers personalized website services to companies, organizations and private individuals. Quick and efficient template driven websites. HCD Websolutions is available to service clients worldwide.

NEW CHANNEL PARTNER - Moneris (U.S.A)
As one of the top merchant processors in the U.S., Moneris Solutions provides a wealth of experience and knowledge in the credit card acceptance industry. Working with a range of corporations, from large-scale, state-of-the-art merchant processing to individualized, custom-fit payment solutions, Moneris Solutions is a highly focused, client centered organization that is committed to your success. As a respected leader in the industry, Moneris provides access to the latest advantages in payment processing equipment, e-commerce solutions and PC software.



ADMINISTRATOR'S CORNER - Search Engine Ranking Reports
by Richard Zwicky

Many times in conversations I have been asked why does Metamend not offer a "ranking" report. There are a variety of reasons, and I shall tackle them here. The most obvious reason we avoid them is the synonym to rank is "stink" and that's what these reports do. The other major reasons we avoid use of such a tool are:
  1. Unreliable
  2. Unobjective
  3. May result in IP banning
1. All ranking checkers we have checked out, including the market leaders, are highly inaccurate. For this reason alone, anyone offering such a service should offer so many disclaimers the buyer ought to know it's virtually a worthless tool. We even resorted to writing our own customized solution but found there was no measurable way to produce good, honest, reliable results.

One of the big problems faced when determining a web site's search engine ranking, is taking into consideration the search engine's index variance. Use any engine you want, but we'll use Google to illustrate this point. When you type any query into Google, where is it accessed? Type Google.com into the engine; sometimes I end up there, sometimes at www.google.com, sometimes at www.google.ca. Earlier in the day I was sent through to www.googlede. - Which gave me the impetus to write this article.

Depending on whether you check rankings on "google.com", "www.google.com", or any other variant, including Yahoo!, and again depending on whether the index you queried is the most up to date, the results you get differ dramatically. The reasons for this vary - server loads, indexes spread across hundreds if not thousands of web servers, ongoing indexing, time of day, position of the moon relevant to the sun, (did I catch you dozing?) are all factors which make ranking report results unreliable. We will not give you data which we cannot back up with scientific proof.

2. How objective are the reports you are receiving? In a scenario where you have paid someone based on a "Top X Ranking" guarantee, the
report they send you may or may not be worth as much as the paper they are printed upon. They definitely are not worth the cost of the monitor you would view them on. After all, the person or software you chose is reporting on their own success. The data they use will be most favorable to themselves. Are these the actual queries being searched for by the general public? Are they truly the most commonly used terms? Are they objectively the "right words" or are they the ones you commonly use? This obviously affects your results. We will not feed you erroneous or false results that deceive you.

3. Lastly, as evidenced by the backlash by some engines against ranking reports. Google actually shut down 100 IP addresses from ComCast because the engine charged the provider with hosting accounts which abused Google's terms of service, by performing an overwhelming number of automated queries.

The conflict centers around ranking reports and has raged around software that attempts to rank where a web site, and where its competitors, placed within the search engine results. Google and other engines have long stated an aversion to computer-generated
search requests. They view these requests as a hostile attack on their systems, somewhat akin to "Denial of Service" attacks. These queries take up substantial amounts of server resources and bandwidth by hitting the engines with hundreds of queries simultaneously, queries that are essentially all variants on the same terms, just with the words mixed into different orders.

These queries slow up the engines for the real clients - users like you and I who are looking for something. Further damaged are the engines that use the number of queries leading to click throughs as part of their algorithm for ranking results. These engines are damaged as the software or service can be taught to automatically follow certain url's, thus spoofing the engine into believing the site in question is more popular than it really is, forcing it to rank higher in subsequent searches. Not ethical.

While the enforcement tactics Google used on Comcast's subscribers were heavy-handed, I doubt they took this action without consideration. Further, I doubt this will be the last time we see this type of action. Denying service to blocks of IP addresses when it
cannot track down the specific abuser may seem harsh but running a business where individuals try to manipulate your production requires vigilance and the occasional "warning shot across the bow." This escalation may be the first step in a battle which could see many more innocent web site operators, (who are not trying to spoof the engines,) caught in the crossfire. How would you like to be a web site operator whose site becomes inaccessible by an engine because others from within the same IP range used "ranking" report software for their web site? They could effectively shut down your business, albeit unintentionally. Bottom Line - Metamend will not consciously contribute to this problem. We prefer the honest, verifiable approach.

MARKETING - Where on Earth is Your Web Site?
by Robert K. McCourty

You've just finished congratulating your marketing team. After six months of concentrated effort you can now actually find your own company site within the search engines. Everyone is busy handshaking and back-patting when a voice from the back of the room rises above the din. "Yeah this is great! Can't wait until we can find ourselves on wireless devices."

All conversation comes to an abrupt halt. Eyes widen. Everyone turns to the fresh-faced intern standing in the corner with a can of V8 juice in one hand and a PALM device in the other. You, being the Department Manager, barely managing to control your voice and temper, ask the intern, "What do you mean find ourselves on wireless? We just spent thousands on our web site visibility campaign!" "Well... Explains the now nearly frozen with panic intern, "There is no GPS or GIS locational data within the source code of our pages. Without it, most wireless appliances won't be able to access our site."

Guess what? The intern is absolutely correct. Anyone interested in selling goods and services via the Internet will soon be required to have some form Geographical Location data coded within your web pages. There are approximately 200 satellites currently orbiting the Earth. (even Nasa won't confirm the exact number) Some are in geosynchronous or geostationary orbit 27,000 miles above your head. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the name given to the mechanism of providing satellite ephemerides ("orbits") data to the general public, under the auspices of the International Earth Rotation Service Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF). Sounds like Star Wars doesn't it? It's pretty close.

The NAVSTAR GPS system is a satellite-based radio navigation system developed and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense. (DOD) The NAVSTAR system permits land, sea, and airborne users to determine their three-dimensional position, velocity, 24 hours a day, in all weather, anywhere in the world, with amazing precision.

Wireless devices, WAP, Cellular, SATphones and a whole host of newly emerging technologies and indeed, new software applications, will all utilize some form of GPS or more likely GIS data retrieval. GIS stands for Geographic Information System and relies on exact Latitude and Longitude coordinates for location purposes. Several car manufacturers currently utilize GPS for on-board driver assistance and the Marine and Trucking Industries have been using it for years. Obviously your web site is a stable beast. It sits on a server somewhere and doesn't move much, so at first glance it seems quite unplausible you'll need GIS Locational Data within your source code. On the contrary... One aspect your web site represents is your business's physical location(s) and if people are going to try to find your services and products, shouldn't you at the very least, tell them where it is, and how to get there?

Let's look at it from the other end of the spectrum. The end user approach. Let's say you're vacationing in a new city for the first time. Once you get settled into your Hotel room, what's the first thing you do? Look for Restaurants? Bank machines? Stores? So you pull out your hand-held, wireless, device, log onto the web and search for "Italian Food in San Francisco." Five Hundred results come back so you click the new "location" feature on your hand-held (which knows exactly where you are) and ten Italian restaurants, (who were smart enough to code their web sites with GIS data,) light up on the screen. Guess which restaurants didn't get selected? The other four hundred and ninety. Starting to get the picture?

How does this affect you and your web site marketing? GIS Latitude and Longitude co-ordinates will soon be a must have on every web site operators and developers list and an absolute necessity for anyone wishing to trade good and services via the Internet. This data may relate to the physical location of the web site or where the site is being served from (if applicable) or where the actual business represented by the site is physically located. There may be multiple web site locations and coding involved, if for example, you have a franchise with multiple locations, each location will probably need a page of it's own with the correct corresponding locational data.

If you run a home-based business, I doubt if the co-ordinates to your living room are going to be necessary but you should provide the latitude and longitude of the closest city or town. Large corporations such as banks may want to code the exact location of every, single automated teller machine across the country. Industry standards and the methods of serving out this data are still in the development phases but it's a safe bet to assume there are plenty of people working on the solutions right now (including Metamend) and given the speed of technology, implementation will probably be much sooner than later. Give yourself an edge. Find out where in the world your web site is, before your web site is nowhere to be found.

TECH TIPS - FrontPage and Metamend
by Jonathan Schlackl

If you are a web developer or site operator who uses Microsoft FrontPage to modify and update your website then you may be overwriting the optimization work that Metamend performs each month. Luckily we have developed a remedy for the problem - a Metamend FrontPage Add-In.

The Metamend FrontPage Add-In combines Metamend search engine optimization technology with the FrontPage's simple-to-use interface to guarantee your web pages stay optimized. The Add-In modifies the existing "Publish" feature within FrontPage. When the "Publish" button is clicked, typically FrontPage uploads any documents that have changed on your local system since the last publish to the specified website/server. However, with the new Metamend Add-In installed, FrontPage will query the server for any "new" Metamend optimization information, download it if necessary, and automatically optimize your HTML pages as they are being uploaded by FrontPage - Yes, we said Automatically!

All the necessary Metamend optimization information is stored inside a "metamend" directory that is created and maintained by the Metamend solution. You MUST be a Metamend client in order to take advantage of the features of this Add-In. Metamend has just released the BETA version and we're looking for testers. We expect to release the Add-In to all Metamend clients in July 2002.

If you are a Metamend client and use Microsoft FrontPage to manage your website you should contact our support department at [email protected] for a free BETA version of the Add-In.



Metamend Client of the Month: Rainforest Tea
Using herbs native to the Costa Rican Rainforest, Rainforest Tea manufactures, markets and distributes single herbal plant remedies for everyday ailments.


Metamend: Innovative website optimization and marketing service which automatically corrects keywords and meta tags increasing website relevance and popularity within search engines.


Want some free advertising for your website? This space [              ] free to all Metamend clients. Just ask. We'll be happy to include you in a future issue. Let the promotion begin.

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Metamend Automated Website Promotion
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