The Mender

Metamend's Search Engine Optimization Newsletter
Issue 37
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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.

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Welcome to "The Mender" Issue 37



Google AdSense and Optimizing Your Context
How Google can add cents to your bottom line
by Michael Marshall


TEK Search Engine Focuses on Needs of the Poor
The Communication Initiative
Original Source: BBC News


Internal Linking Structure Elements Strategy *Link No Longer Valid
By Barry Schwartz
Source: SEO Chat


Conference on Content Management
By The Gilbane Report
September 9-10, 2003
San Francisco, CA


New Alliance with ExactSeek Search Engine

Metamend and the ExactSeek search engine, have teamed up to produce a special search engine optimization, "Seal of Approval" tag, which provides pre-approved indexing within ExactSeek's search engine. Your site will be listed faster and given priority clearance because it meets Metamend's SEO standards. We highly recommend you take advantage of our newest SEO innovation, exclusively available to Metamend Clients. You can sign up for the ExactSeek express inclusion tag via your members control panel interface. Select "Edit Technical Information," scroll down to select the ExactSeek tag, then select "update changes." It's that easy. Pricing for this exclusive feature has been set at a reasonable $3.00 per month. Give your web site a BIG marketing boost. Select the Exactseek tag today.

ADMINISTRATOR'S CORNER: Keyword Ownership: What It Is and Where It's Headed?
by Richard Zwicky

Have you ever received one of those silly Email that offers to let you own a keyword? Silly question. How many such Email do you get every day?

A number of such services regularly email me offering keyword ownership of premium keywords for $300/year. They say that anyone can type the keyword I bought in the address bar of Internet Explorer, instead of typing in a URL, and they will be sent directly to my site. In total, about 3% of Internet users worldwide have implemented this system in one form or another.

Data shows that between 4% and 7% of search queries are performed by entering something in the address bar. By default for I.E. users, these searches are automatically routed through to MSN search. However, over time many of us have unknowingly installed software that re-routes these search queries to other search portals such as iGetNet or others. This often happens if you've installed any file sharing software. We have all heard or read about how many extra 'features' come with programs like Kazaa. This means that your default search from the address bar may no longer be MSN, but the basic principle still applies. Of the queries that are actually run from an address bar, at least half are unintentionally performed by people mis-typing the desired URL.

So how exactly do these address bar plug-ins work? There are many companies offering this kind of service with each selling the very same keywords to different, and sometimes competing clients. To make things worse, the keywords you might buy will only work with the issuing company's proprietary address bar plug-in. Moreover, in order to provide keyword search functionality from the address bar, each of these service providers needs to get individual Internet users to download and install their plug-in and then remember to run searches from the address bar.

How effective can a marketing strategy of this nature be when the various tools are not interchangeable, numerous competitors are selling the same keywords to different companies and only a small fraction of Internet users are being targeted? If your ad is being displayed because it's similar to the search query, are you paying for irrelevant results? This can happen. If there isn't a perfect match to a search query, the next closest match may be displayed.

Competing with these companies is any search engine that offers its own toolbar; none of which are tied into any of these keyword ownership schemes. You can download a free toolbar from any number of engines and easily run searches on any keyword or phrase, obtaining that search engine's selection of closest matches from all the web sites they have indexed.

Who Started This?

Started in 1998, Realnames was the first company that tied searching via the address bar to a web browser. At the time, it was touted as a value-added solution for businesses around the world that wanted their products found quickly but didn't want their customers wading through a sea of Web addresses.

In part, it was deemed necessary because so few web site operators were search engine savvy, and fewer still knew anything about search engine optimization and promotion. The Realnames solution allowed a web site operator to buy a keyword which when typed into the I.E. address toolbar automatically sent the I.E. user to the web site that owned the keyword.

Realnames hoped to profit from businesses that wanted to reach Internet users who found it simpler to type keywords into a browser address bar than to remember URLs or to use a standard search interface.

Unfortunately for the company, the service was entirely dependent on Microsoft and, when Microsoft stopped supporting the technology in May 2002, the company was forced to close. Unlike today's keyword vendors, the Realnames service did not offer a downloadable plug-in but was instead directly integrated into Internet Explorer by Microsoft.

The Legal Question

Each of the companies offering these services has a policy designed to ensure that a web site can only buy keywords related to that site's content, but their review process is not designed to keep cyber squatters from hijacking popular names and products. This means that the rights to copyrighted material like "Pepsi" or generic words like "business" could end up in the hands of the first buyer, not the trademark or copyright owner. For these keyword ownership services to police copyright and trademark infringement would not be cost effective or practical. Thus, the purchaser may be left liable for any copyright infringement penalties, whether intentional or not.

The legal right of companies to 'sell' or rent terms was settled in the summer of 1999 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in Playboy v Excite. In a precedent setting ruling, Judge Stotler of the United States District Court in Santa, Ana, California, dismissed a lawsuit brought by Playboy Enterprises against the search engine Excite, Inc. and Netscape. The ruling limited the online rights of trademark holders, recognizing that a trademark may be used without authorization by search engines in advertising sales practices.

What About Within Meta Tags?

Is it illegal to use trademarked terms in your meta tags? Sometimes. The problem occurs with how and why you are using the terms. Web sites that use the tags in a deceptive manner have lost legal battles. However, legitimate reasons to use the terms have resulted in successful defenses. Again, two Playboy cases play crucial roles. In one a former Playmate, Terri Welles used the terms "Playmate" and "Playboy" on her web pages and within her meta tags, and the Court felt she had a legitimate right to use them to accurately describe herself, and to ensure that the search engines could catalog her web site properly within their databases.

In a separate case involving Playboy, the firm was able to prove trademark infringement, based on use of their trademark term 'Playboy' in meta tags, url and excessively within content on the web site. The defendant had no claim to the term, and was personally profiting from its use.

In Summary

It is clear that, if you have a legitimate reason to use a trademarked word or phrase in your web site, you can. You may also 'rent' the ownership from one of the keyword ownership companies. Be careful, though, it is possible that you may get sued.

Does the technology work? Yes, but only for some of the up to 3% of Internet users worldwide who have installed any one of a variety of competing plug ins that enable this type of searching. I stress a fraction of the 3%, as you would need to buy the keywords from each individual vendor to ensure reaching all 3%.

MARKETING: Proactive Versus Reactive Marketing
by Robert McCourty

In this corner weighing in at a measly 22 pounds, wearing the black and blue trunks, the underdog, Proactive Marketing.

In the other corner weighing in at 357 pounds, wearing the neon flashing, fluorescent green trunks, your hometown hero, Reactive Marketing! Let's get ready to rumble!

Sounds like a one sided fight doesn't it? The outcome assured. Let's have a closer look.

Reactive marketing is the most widely used approach in this day and age, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best way to do things. It's easy for any company to be reactive. This in essence is why it's so popular. It's the lazy way. All you have to do is wait until someone else does all the work and then simply undercut their price or change their design slightly, and call it your own. My favorite example of this is a famous fishing lure called the "Five of Diamonds." A big yellow spoon lure with of course, five red diamonds in a pattern on the back. It was a best seller for years until someone from the Asian marketplace offered an "extremely" close replica with six diamonds on it at half the price. This was reactive marketing and it's worked for years. It will continue to work as long as the consumer thinks he's getting a bargain. On a side note, the fake 'five of diamonds' rusted out in my tackle box after only a few uses. I threw it out years ago. I still have the 'real' one and it still catches fish. Lesson learned.

Reactive marketing generally occurs when a company notices their competition doing something they are not. i.e. They are having a sale, we should have one too! The natural reaction is to leap before you look. You react out of fear. We don't want them to get all the business, so we have no choice other than to compete with them. Although a natural reaction... This is entirely the wrong approach. You'd be much better off to analyze your own marketing practices and budget rather than trying to "keep up with the Jones'." Some of those Jones's may have pretty deep pockets. Trying to match them dollar for dollar may not be a prudent decision.

Proactive marketing on the other hand is a lot more work, but the return on investment can be much higher. It utilizes a different way of thinking to analyze each aspect of a marketing campaign. You need to be original and creative. You need to think outside of the box. For example, answer the following question:

How effective is your company at rapidly identifying and resolving sales opportunities?

Read the question again.

When a sales opportunity presents itself, such as a phone call or a customer asking a question via your web site, or someone walking through your front door, how fast can your company respond?

Do you know the answer? Is it in minutes, hours or days? Can it be improved upon? How about all the way through an entire sales cycle. From first inquiry to final sale to follow up. How long does that take?

Answering these types of crucial questions honestly, then subsequently analyzing ways to improve upon their results, will start you thinking like a Proactive marketer. By streamlining some of your sales processes you also gain better customer service and customer retention levels. Keeping all your customers loyal and happy is, in the long run, much better than spending wads of cash on a two day sales flyer with disappointing results.

Here are a couple of more Proactive marketing exercises for you.

Analyze the way you present your products and find ways to increase their value proposition.

It could be as simple as rewording a few phrases or as complex as redesigning the entire packaging, but your value proposition is your first, (some say only) best chance to make an impression on a new customer.

The presentation of the "Value" for the consumer must clearly be first and foremost in your messages and visible media. What's in it for them? Have you actually shown them the true value or are you assuming they will figure it out. Big mistake. People don't like to "figure things out." They like to be able to understand immediately.

This may be your first step.

You may need more information about your customers and sales transactions before beginning to analyze your efforts. Realign your data collection methods to give you the information you need to make effective decisions. If you suddenly found out almost 85 percent of your customers were women between the ages of 21 and 25 would that affect your future marketing decisions and where you spent your advertising dollars? You bet it would.

Let's assume you do have enough information. Now what? Try breaking down the sales process into various tasks. Who is responsible for initial contact? Who (or what) educates the potential customer about your products? Who closes the sale? Is this a seamless process. Is it easy to do? Who follows up to ensure the customer is satisfied? All important aspects of the process to identify. Try to reduce your administration effort for the above tasks. Once again, anything you can do to streamline the process, the more time you save and the more efficient and productive your company becomes. You'll also save money instead of wasting it.

If the analyzation process is beginning to sound confusing to you, seek some assistance to achieve these goals. There are many business clubs and resources in your neighborhood that are willing to help. Try your local Chamber of Commerce. Many firms specialize in the development of branding for products and/or developing marketing strategies. Find one that suits your needs and your budget and ask for a free consultation. No person is an Island. You can't do it all by yourself. Ask for help when you need it. Bringing in outside assistance can also produce a fresh perspective, which is something -every- company needs from time-to-time.

By becoming a Proactive marketer your investment is your time spent on analysis and implementation of your ideas. Much better than throwing good money away trying to keep up with those Jones's. Follow the Credo of the proactive marketer. "Act. Don't React!"


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AIDS WALK CANADA *Link No Longer Valid

Canadians! September 21, 2003 marks the national AIDS WALK 2003 Canada. To donate, participate or advertise please reach Todd Hooge, Team Captain for appropriate contacts. Why respond to this note? Because prevention remains our only cure!

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