The MenderMetamend's Website Optimization and Marketing Newsletter
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Advice and techniques for the promotion of your web site plus Search Engine Optimization News and valuable resources for the serious on-line marketer.
Welcome to "The Mender" Issue 26
SEARCH ENGINE AND RELATED INDUSTRY NEWS
- Specialty Search Application Enhanced to Monitor Trademark Violations
TrademarkBots.com has updated its web-based trademark search and monitoring software to allow attorneys and trademark owners easier monitoring of trademark infringements. Powered by Intelliseek's Enterprise Search Server, the application scours and retrieves information on both the "visible" Web most people are familiar with, and an estimated 550 billion "invisible" web pages that are usually missed by traditional search engines like Google.
- NTT Develops Fastest Large-Volume Search Engine
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. has developed new technology that virtually instantaneously runs a thorough search of large volumes of data on the Internet.
- Yahoo Acquires Interest in Finnish Wireless Co.
In an effort to boost overseas business, Yahoo purchased a 15% stake in Finland's Sonera Zed, with the option to acquire 100% over the next years.
- Atomz Search and Promote Service
Atomz Promote service integrates site search and Web content management, allowing search admins and marketing people to site search requests and add relevant content to search results. Provides a powerful framework for search recommendations.
- Inxight MetaText and VizServer: SearchTools Report
Inxight has released MetaText, a metadata extraction tool focused on summaries, related document, people, places and things. The other new product, VizServer, offers visualization technologies for relational databases.
- Netrics Renames and Updates Search Engine
Netrics has renamed the LikeIt search engine to "Netrics Search", and added new platforms and APIs.
- Oracle Text, Ultra Search, interMedia Search
With Oracle 9i, the text search engine is renamed to Oracle Text, Ultra Search provides a web and multisource interface, and interMedia performs multimedia management and search functions.
- Spiderline Search Service: new features
The Spiderline remote search ASP has added new features, including compatibility with all recent versions of Microsoft Word, indexing with passwords, cookies, session IDs and SSL, Remote Crawl Requests (update triggering via HTTP), search zones, and search results in XML.
- AOL Moves Fully To Google
AOL Search changed to being fully "Google-powered" last week, completing a transition that was announced in May. Now both paid listings and crawler-based editorial results come from Google.
The motto for the Robotcop project is "robots.txt: it's the Law."
- Typically Spanish
Bilingual directory and search engine for Spain-related sites.
WHAT'S NEW AT METAMEND
NEW HOSTING PARTNER - Trillium Technologies
At Trillium Technologies, professional website services mean a complete solution. That's why their business is designed around solving your online business and communication needs. They believe that your website should be central within an overall strategy which incorporates all your business systems from your office PC to your Internet presence and allows your company to take full advantage of Information and Communication Technologies.
NEW DEVELOPMENT PARTNER - Microsoft FrontPage Developers
Metamend is proud to be a member of the Microsoft FrontPage Add-In Center. The Add-in Center was designed to provide a place where thousands of developers and designers that use FrontPage can download and submit add-ins. It also provides access to FrontPage newsgroups, where users of all types can discuss FrontPage, add-ins, downloads, and more with their peers. Metamend clients who use FrontPage can download this new module for free.
ADMINISTRATOR'S CORNER - Selling SEO-Part One- Creating Awareness
by: Richard Zwicky
One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the sales process - Introducing people to what our company does. It doesn't matter if the individual I am speaking to is an individual web site operator, or the CEO of a major hosting company, most of them do not understand what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is or does. That's not to say they do not understand search engine listings are crucial to ebusiness, but there is still something of a general notion that "if you build it, they will come."
This notion goes a long way to explaining why out of the 150 million domain hosts in use, less than 15 million have any metatags. Of the 15 million, most only have a <title> and <revisit> tag. When a search engine claims over 1 billion pages indexed, those are pages from within the sites that are visible. An overwhelming majority of the 150 million sites in use as of Jan 1, 2002, are totally invisible to all search engines.
Admittedly, there are some Domains which are private and are set to be invisible to the engines on purpose, but there are many website operators out there who still do not know how to prepare their site for SEO. Don't feel bad. There are just as many people working in the hi-tech industry for whom this is still an area of great mystery. A little while ago I did a search for "Accountant" in two major engines. Only ONE of the major firms (KPMG, E&Y, Anderson, PWC) showed up in the top 100 results - PWC Bulgaria. If they are not showing up there, they probably do not show up under accounting, financial planning, financial management, audit, tax advice, tax return, etc... For any independent accounting firm, this is great news - they market is wide open, but it really just goes to illustrate that even the biggest companies, which regularly spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on ads, don't realize a simple and effective SEO strategy will get them the equivalent of Yellow Pages listings in every appropriate category Worldwide.
I repeatedly come across many of the same myths in my sales conversations. I have decided to list out some of them, as they may be questions some of you have wondered about, but never asked:
Q. Won't My Website Get Listed Properly Eventually?
It's very unlikely that your web site will be found, let alone properly indexed if you do not prepare it for the engines, and
promote it to the engines. If a tree falls in a forest does anyone hear?
Q. I Bought Submission Software and Services. Isn't That Enough?
It's enough to get you started, and to give you a step up on the people who do nothing. But just having a title, keyword and description tag is not going to be enough, unless you are in a market so unique that you have no competition. Under the term "alaskan fruit pies" McDonald's Thailand www.mcthai.co.th is number 3. The reality is, you, or most of your customers will have some competition. The software you bought or downloaded probably is a great submitter, but does little or nothing for optimizing your website for the search engines. It tells the search engines your website is there, but it does little to ensure that when they come to visit, they will be able to see anything useful by which they can index your site. Search engine algorithms change frequently, and without warning. Also, the secondary search engines come and go daily - so you might think you are submitting your site to 100's of engines, but most of those may no longer exist or do no more than add your email address to a thousand spam collection sites. A piece of software you download or install also needs regular maintenance, patches and upgrades to keep it current. A web based service like Metamend is always up to date. When we update and upgrade our core system, the service is upgraded for all our clients universally. We do the work you gain the benefits.
More Q and A in Part Two - Next Issue...
MARKETING - Pay Me Tuesday for a Hamburger Next Year
by: Robert McCourty
I hate it when my marketing budget is running on empty. This usually happens every three months, at the end of a quarter of the business year or which ever comes first:) Funny thing is I always seem to receive lots of great offers for marketing and promotional vehicles, just as the funds are getting low. I know it's not just me who is running into this problem. There are plenty of people out there vying for your marketing dollars and it's hard to weed through all the offers for the best possible return on investment.
My favorite kind to turn down are the ones with the longest turnaround. Quite often event organizers will send me information demanding a commitment (and deposit) well in advance of the actual event. For example; "Come to our trade show in October 2003!
Registration deadline July 31st 2002? Hold on a minute. You're asking me to commit marketing funds from a future budget (which I haven't received yet) simply to help you with your advance costs. Ridiculous. This is called consumer "carry-the-load" and IMHO is a very unprofessional way to do business. I know some will say, hey, if you can't forecast your budgets that far in advance, you shouldn't be in business. Maybe, but let me throw it back at the organizers of such events. Perhaps you should have enough money in your budget to cover all the costs of the event (in case no one shows up) or don't bother holding it in the first place. Carry the load scenarios are very much like buying on credit and we all know where this reality has taken our society. Basically you're doing nothing more than helping the organizers cover their costs well in advance and allowing them to earn interest on the money you sent. Quite nice of you. You must not have needed that extra money yourself.
I much prefer doing business with people where the product will show up quickly or at least within a reasonable time period. I like to see what I'm getting for my money. I'm not adverse to a three month turnaround because of publishing deadlines nor even longer commitments, for TV or Radio production, but in these cases it's usually a deposit upfront and the balance on publication. This seems fair, but voluntarily funding an event six months or a year from now, is simply tying up money I can use for other things.
It's about time some of my fellow marketing professionals out there woke up and smelled the coffee. Not all small businesses have enough reserve funds to commit a years worth on future events and even if they did, why should they bother? What happens if something better comes along in the meantime and all your money is tied up? The reality is, the prudent business person will hold onto their money till the last possible moment or at least look for opportunities which provide a quick turnaround. It's human-business nature and good common sense.
WEBMASTER'S CORNER - Please Feed The Spiders
by: Todd Hooge
Back in the day, if a website developer wanted to generate lots of traffic on their website, they could easily load their keywords, description, and main content with as much 'popular' content as they wanted such as "mp3", "free software", or "Brittany Spears." The search engine spiders would then take all of this information home with them and store it in their database without so much as blinking. Someone using that search engine would search for "mp3", "free software", or "Brittany Spears", and presto - that website would eventually show up as a relevant result. But if the website was really just trying to sell coffee online, what value was there to the person who came across their site? The person looking for MP3's might end up buying coffee online, but probably not. In fact, that person might just feel (like millions of other avid search engine users), that they were deceived in some way and never visit or refer that site again.
Today, search engine spiders are much more intelligent than in years past. They now have the ability to cross-reference keywords with content, and in doing so ignore those sites which are trying to deceive surfers with irrelevant or popular content in an attempt to generate higher volumes of traffic. Spiders also look for things like hidden text (i.e.: trendy text with an identical color to the background color of the site), so the user can't see it through a browser, but a spider can. These practices are now very much prohibited amongst most of the major engines.
Aside from just deceiving users, the search engine companies themselves are at risk by allowing such activities because in today's online environment, there is increasing pressure for them to provide relevant results to their users.
However, there are some very accepted techniques for website developers to ensure the search engine spiders have lots of relevant content (A.K.A. "spider food") to take home with them. One proven way is to ensure that all of your image ALT tags contain good relevant terms and phrases. Not just your main images, but all of them, such as any spacer graphics you happen to use. Keeping the ALT attributes in all your images with meaningful and relevant content is also a great way for you to increase the amount of content for your site if you don't have a lot of content to begin with. Quite a few sites out there have something called a splash page - not a bad idea, except from the spider's eyes, graphics alone don't help, but loading the ALT's with content will. Remember to feed the spiders, they're appetites are insatiable.
Appropriate metatags are another way to keep the spiders interested. As I mentioned before, if keyword metatags don't have anything to do with your main content, the spider may leave and not come back for a while. The best thing you can do when generating your keywords is to look at them objectively - NOT SUBJECTIVELY. Just because you think "columbia" is a great keyword for your online coffee store, does not necessarily mean people are searching for coffee using this word. Would you search for Columbia Coffee? I suggest by having the keyword "Colombian" in your main content you will be more relevant.
Getting the spiders to stick around is not hard, it requires good textual content (spider food), an up-to-date understanding of how the engines work, having all the proper HTML formatting in place (spiders need a road map too) and above all - an objective and patient perspective when designing your site.
TECH TIP - Static-Dynamic Websites
by: Jonathan Schlackl
Dynamic websites are all the rage these days with their flashy interfaces, rotating content and eye-catching graphics. As fancy as they look, dynamic sites are continually less favorable to the search engines than classic static HTML sites. We've found that while you can achieve visibility in the search engines for your ASP, CGI or PHP driven site, it can take up to 50 percent longer to achieve the desired result than a static site of similar size and content.
The workaround to this problem is simple enough. Create a static-dynamic site. A static-dynamic site contains mostly static HTML files that are regularly rebuilt using ever-changing content. The dynamic content is stored in a database and is "pulled" together by tools which create the static HTML pages for use on the website. So, what you get is a completely dynamic content set which is displayed through a completely static set of HTML pages. Nifty.
Depending on how far you wish to take this model, you can have automated scripts that regenerate pages and rotate content on a daily/weekly basis. There are some sections of your site that will need to stay dynamic such as shopping carts or discussion forums, however the majority of your site will fit the S/D model. By creating a static-dynamic website you can take advantage of the inherent favourability given to static sites by search engines, without losing the benefits a dynamic site can offer.To double your visibility chances, see the article above on loading your ALT Tags.
METAMEND CLIENT OF THE MONTH
Catalpha Advertising and Design
Catalpha has been providing marketing and creative support to businesses for 15 years. New companies depend on Catalpha for corporate identity, marketing advice and implementation. Larger companies, such as Black&Decker, use Catalpha to support their marketing efforts and create effective advertising and marketing tools that work.
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Metamend Automated Website Promotion
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