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Bogdan Fiedur, Publisher
Vol. 1, #38, October 24, 1998
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Topics in this issue:
1. Sponsor Message
2. Word from publisher
3. Free Classified Sites
4. Free for All links help
5. Webmaster Opportunity
6. Classifieds Wizard
7. 1200 Free business reports
8. HOW TO GET HIGHER IN THE SEARCH ENGINES
Guest Article by by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
================Sponsor Message (1) ============
Sponsor: Make a visit and patronize Icemall.
Cost effective advertising solutions for all businesses.
Visit Icemall's Advertising Center Today!
============Word from publisher (2)=============
Again few good resources for you.
I think that article about top engine
placements should be good stimulant for
I would like to here what are your experiences with
top engine placements and what techniques you
used to get there.
Last time some of you received blank email
Sorry for that.
We are trying to fight back our security holes
which allow for unauthorized posting to the list.
I hope we are fine now.
"Working.man" if you are still on the list try now if you
can by-pass our security and spam the list.
For the rest of the list "Working.man" is the guy who's
sent you an email but we managed to make it blank before
it reached you.
I hope we blocked him now.
I'm happy to see messages like this.
Subject:Subject: Re: Adland's Digest #37
This is such a great resource! Thank you!!
=================New Post (3) =============
Subject: Free Classified Sites
I have compiled a list of free classified sites
that accept the business opportunity category.
Each site linked takes you directly to the ad
submission page to cut down on searching and load times.
The No Fail Recruting System - I'll Pay Your Way In!
=================New Post (4) =============
Subject: Free for All links help
From: "Susan Myers" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I've found a method that has helped my promotional efforts greatly. It is
having a Free-For-All Link page that will graciously auto-respond to all who
post with a "Thank-You", best wishes, and my own promotional material about
my opportunities. I shopped around quite a bit to find a place that would
host and maintain a page like this, along with customizing it with my own
I believe I have found the best deal around, and have been quite happy with
the service to date. In fact, I wouldn't be without it now!
If you'd like to visit and leave a link, my Free-For-All Links page is at
If you'd like one, too, you can get one like mine at
and of course you can also shop around, as there are other places that offer
services like this.
Best of Luck,
=================New Post (5) =============
Subject: Webmaster Opportunity
From: Franklin Banker <email@example.com>
Greetings from BBL Internet Media. We enjoy our partnership with Adland
World Classifieds at http://bblmedia.com/free_classifieds.html
A few months ago I became a rep for the Internet Marketing Center,
offering Cory Rudl's site and his Internet Marketing course through
links to my site. First, I am testifying that this has been a very
profitable relationship for BBL Internet Media. Secondly, I am very
pleased to now be able to offer such a relationship to you. Please
consider joining the Internet Marketing Center Associate Program. The
url for this program is ......
This is a free business for you to link to, with a full array of artwork
available for banners to use. The website you will be linking to has
loads of free internet marketing tips and information, and in addition
offers Cory's course for sale. You will earn a generous $65.00
commission for each sale your link generates, which is about the best
individual sales commission I have ever seen. I recommend this program
for anyone with a website in the marketing arena. Check it out, it's
effective and it's free ...
I also maintain a frequently updated list of good effective programs on
my site at
Good fortune to you all. Thanks for taking a look!
W E B M A S T E R
I included this post because last time I asked for
helpful resources and this post seemed to relate
to it. Let me know if posting of this nature should
be included here.
=================New Post (6) =============
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (KGLONGware)
Hello Mr. Fiedur:
I was hoping that you might consider mentioning our program, the Online
Classifieds Wizard, in your Adland Ezine.
Download your copy from our site at:
We also have a reseller program for the software. Visit
for more information...
Keith G. Long, MS
I downloaded the program but I had troubles to figure out
how to use it properly. First I had problems with saving
information because program didn't recognize long
file names. To fix it I had to reinstall it and than create
directories with names which were not longer than eight
Once I saved it the rest was not obvious to me.
If anybody figures this out let me know how to use it.
=================New Post (7) =============
Subject: 1200 Free business reports
If any of your readers are interested they can access our Free search engine
of over 1200 Free business reports,forms and letters.If they are interested
they can also get a banner on one of my other Free reports pages if they're
willing to place my banner on one of their pages.
Publisher T.N.P.Marketing Letter
==================Guest Article (8) ===================
HOW TO GET HIGHER IN THE SEARCH ENGINES
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, E-Commerce Consultant
Every week I get a number of e-mails that say, "My site has been
up for six months, but you can hardly find me in the search
engines. What can I do?" Sound familiar?
ONLY SEVEN COUNT
At present only Yahoo (technically a directory) and six search
engines (that send robot "spiders" roaming the Web looking for
unsuspecting sites to index) bring significant traffic. The six
o Lycos (http://www.lycos.com)
o AltaVista (http://www.altavista.com/)
o Excite (http://www.excite.com)
o HotBot (http://www.hotbot.com/)
o WebCrawler (http://www.webcrawler.com/)
o Infoseek (http://www.infoseek.com/)
While your site's ranking on Yahoo is harder to control (and
that's outside the scope of this article), you can dramatically
affect your ranking on the Big Six. Submitting your Web pages to
these is easy with a free tool such as All 4 One Submission
Machine (http://www.all4one.com/all4submit/). But submitting is
much different than positioning, since ranking is what we're
concerned about. And what I have to tell you is pretty confusing.
THE CASE OF NANNIES PLUS
Last February we launched a client's site, Nannies Plus, a nanny
referral agency with a national reputation
(http://www.nanniesplus.com). Last week, the company's owner
called me in despair. "Nobody is finding us in the search engines.
Nearly all our referrals come through A NaniNet (an
organization that places banner ads on Yahoo and other portal
While we don't provide search engine placement for the general
public, we take an interest in the success of our website design
clients. I was intrigued. Using the search word "Nannies," our
client ranked in the top four in four out of the Big Six search
engines. We had done pretty well there. But using the search word
"Nanny," Nannies Plus fell dramatically -- and "nanny" is the word
parents usually enter on to find a nanny! Here were the rankings
of http://www.nanniesplus.com on September 29, 1998:
Search Engine Search Word
AltaVista 162 200+
Excite 1 29
HotBot 4 9
Infoseek 1 105
Lycos 65 242
WebCrawler 2 25
This kind of data tells us something. It appears (notice the
careful language I'm using) that Excite, HotBot, Infoseek, and
WebCrawler are computing rankings in a similar manner. It also
raises all sorts of questions. For starters, What in the world
happened to AltaVista and Lycos?
LOOKING AT TITLES AND META TAGS
Maybe the answer is found in the META tags, I thought. (If you
need a basic course on META tags, you can find several references
on Yahoo under "META tags." Here are the key elements of Nannies
Plus home page:
<TITLE>Nannies Plus Nanny Referral and Placement Service</TITLE>
<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Nanny referral agency
specializing in live-in, college-educated American nannies (not
foreign au pairs) who provide childcare for families throughout
<META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="Nanny, Caregivers, Nannies,
governess, Childcare, agency, child care, agencies, daycare,
placement service, In-home, referral, parents, parenting, working
mothers, Nannies Plus, working women, elite, university, live-in,
career, American, job opportunities, child development, college
graduates, positions, elementary education, early childhood
education, development, teachers, students, travel, nurses,
preschool, families, family, toddlers, children, babysitting,
baby-sitting, newborns, infants, education, babies, employment
Notice that the word "Nanny" appears in the title. That's
important to being ranked higher under "Nanny". But notice that
the word "Nanny" only appears capitalized in the keywords and
description. Does that make a difference? And what about AltaVista
and Lycos? Hard questions to answer without lots of research.
UNDERSTANDING HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK
To find some answers I went to the most visible search engine
tracker, Danny Sullivan of Mecklermedia's Search Engine Watch
(http://www.searchenginewatch.com). On his site you'll find a
wealth of information, notably a detailed Search Engine Features
Here you learn important tidbits such as:
o Excite, HotBot, Infoseek, and Lycos don't support HTML frames
(unless, of course, you're very careful to provide links to
your site between the <NOFRAMES> tags).
o META tags raise the ranking of a site only in HotBot and
o ALT tags under images are indexed by AltaVista, Infoseek, and
o Comments are indexed by HotBot
o Some engines are case sensitive while others are not
o Nearly all (except Infoseek) skip common words like "web"
o Infoseek and Lycos can index the root or stem of words. "Swim"
might also find "swims" or "swimming."
And search engines are getting smarter about attempts to trick
them with repetitious lists of keywords called "search engine
o Invisible text (e.g. white words against a white background)
is penalized as spam by all except Excite.
o Tiny text could be considered as spam by Lycos, AltaVista,
HotBot, and WebCrawler.
o META refresh tags that automatically redirect a visitor from a
bridge page to the main website are treated as spam by
AltaVista and Infoseek.
Search engines may also be looking for an "ideal" ratio of search
words to the total number of words as a check against spamming.
LOOKING IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR
The real problem, however, is that search engines are constantly
changing the algorithms by which they rank sites. What is true
today, may not be true next week. (Danny Sullivan's observations
above were nearly two months old when I read them.) Until
recently, one search engine provided instant registering of Web
pages so you could tweak your pages and then check the ranking,
until you got the ranking as high as you could. But that ended a
few weeks ago. Paul Bruemmer, a search engine optimization
professional the past two years Web-Ignite's ClientDirect
(http://www.clientdirect.com/), puts it this way: "Optimizing Web
pages for search engines is like driving a car with a blacked-out
windshield; you can only look in the rear view mirror to see where
you've been. "
STUDY THE SEARCH ENGINES
The only way to figure it out is to study the search engines in
detail. So I began by analyzing the Web pages that appeared
highest in several of the search engines. I counted the times
"nannies" appeared visibly in each Web page and compared that to
the total number of words. You'll see a bit of the raw data in an
The table isn't complete, though. I gave up after several hours of
number crunching. But the process convinced me that this is
extremely complex. Since so many factors are involved, you can't
focus on just one thing. I observed that
o Nearly all the sites that scored high in Excite and HotBot had
META tags that contained the search word, while only one of
the top five "nannies" listings in AltaVista even used META
tags. Does AltaVista penalize for META tags?
o Nannies Plus had a high ratio of the word "nannies" compared
to total words (11%), which may explain why it was so high on
four of the top six for "nannies." Nannies Plus had a much
lower visible ratio for "nanny" (only 2.6%).
o AltaVista's listing makes no sense to me. Perhaps Nannies Plus
was penalized for a high word ratio. Maybe Nannies Plus is
perceived as an evil word spammer. But when I examined word
characteristics of AltaVista's top five listings, I concluded
that AltaVista doesn't seem to help much in ranking relevant
My research convinces me that you can't just get in the top
listings with good META tags (though that helps). You need to
design special versions of your Web pages to suit the
idiosyncrasies of each major search engine. And to do that
intelligently, you need help.
REGISTERING VS. POSITIONING
There's a big difference between registering a site with the
search engines initially, and positioning it high on the list. And
there's a big cost difference, too. ClientDirect
(http://www.clientdirect.com/) charges $500 to $4,000 per month
for search word positioning, plus a per visitor fee, placing them
at the higher end of this kind of service.
HIGH END TECHNIQUES
I asked Paul Bruemmer what kinds of techniques ClientDirect uses.
This is their approach:
1. ASSESS whether IT IS POSSIBLE TO INCREASE SEARCH ENGINE RANK
for a particular word or phrase. For example, words related to
Internet service providers and Internet advertising are extremely
competitive. The struggle for some words is so cut-throat that to
increase a site's ranking becomes prohibitively expensive. But
many industries have little sophistication regarding search engine
optimization, making it possible to raise a site's ranking
2. PREPARE A SET OF GATEWAY PAGES FOR EACH SEARCH WORD or search
phrase the client requests. For example, a client might want to
appear high for the word "sports apparel," "golf shoes," and "golf
clothing." Each phrase gets its own separate set of specially
designed gateway pages (also called "doorway" or "bridging"
pages). The set for a particular search phrase will have a
separate page for each search engine. "It's a myth that one
strategy applies to everything," says Bruemmer. "Each engine is
its own book of physics. You really must write a Web page for each
engine if you're going to do it justice."
3. HOST GATEWAY PAGES ON HIGH SPEED SERVERS. While the client's
website is hosted elsewhere, all the gateway pages are on the
ClientDirect's servers for full logfile access and tracking of
4. WRITE SPECIALIZED SOFTWARE TO FEED SEARCH ENGINE SPIDERS AND
REDIRECT SURFERS. Some search engines, most notably Infoseek,
penalize Web pages that have automatic referrals to other sites
using META refresh tags. ClientDirect has carefully programmed its
high speed servers to instantly identify search engine "spiders"
by IP number and deliver to them only the information on the
gateway pages. Regular visitors are instantly routed to the
client's own website.
5. SECURE SEVERAL DOMAINS FOR EACH CLIENT. ClientDirect registers
domain that are variations of the client's main domain name. Each
domain is used for different purposes. For example, Excite allows
only 25 Web pages from any given domain name. Another domain is
used for Lycos and others, with another for research and
development, and still another on hold for future use.
6. CONSTANTLY MONITOR SEARCH ENGINE RANKING. Referral logs are
continually analyzed to determine any changes in a search engine's
behavior. Rankings on the various search engines constantly
monitored to catch any erosion in a site's position.
7. MAKE CHANGES IN THE GATEWAY PAGES AS NEEDED to maintain or
improve the site's ranking on a particular search engine.
When you understand the complexity and client-focus of this kind
of operation, the high price tag starts to make sense. "We put man
hours and a programming team on a particular client's objective,"
says ClientDirect's Bruemmer. "Some companies claim to offer this
technology and ability at incredibly low rates in the 25 cents per
visitor range. We've found that we can't do it for that price. But
we do offer actual performance for the client." ClientDirect's
rates are closer to $2 per visitor, a rate beyond many current
Internet business models.
ClientDirect's method of automatically rerouting visitors to the
client's website isn't without its critics. Fredrick Marckini of
Response Direct (http://www.responsedirect.com) considers it a way
to break the "rules" set up by search engines and trick them.
Marckini prefers to put gateway pages on his clients' own domain
But Bruemmer responds, "ClientDirect uses approved search engine
algorithms. We feed the engine good food, we do not trick the
engine. We do not deceive the searcher, since when we create a
gateway page for a particular business the searchers find that
business's Web pages. We provided the engine with exactly what the
engine wants, and according to its rules."
Bruemmer also sees keeping the gateway pages on ClientDirect's
server as a way of protecting his client's ranking. Since
rerouting by ClientDirect's servers is immediate, the client's
competitors never see the code that is bringing high rankings and
steal the code to place on their own site. Hiding the code in this
way maintains the client's competitive advantage.
A LOWER PRICED APPROACH
Since I was studying search engine positioning, a piece of e-mail
spam that would normally get a delete gets a mouse click instead,
and I learn about a company that focuses on top 10 placement with
"a special promotion until October 2 on three key words or
phrases." All results guaranteed, the phone recording says. Your
money is returned if we don't meet our promises. One year is
regularly $2000, but until October 2 only $999.
I talk to the owner, Dave Warren, and ask about the actual
guarantee. Top position on the major search engines is defined, at
a minimum, as a position in the top 30 on at least three search
engines, for three key words or key phrases. "If we don't think we
can achieve top ranking for a search word or phrase," says Warren,
"we don't take the job."
This company hosts all the gateway pages on its own server. Each
gateway page has an HTML hyperlink to the client's website. "If
someone is interested in the subject, they'll usually click on the
link," Warren assures me. Rather than securing several domains for
every client, Warren's company uses its own generic domains for
the referral pages, sharing these domain names among a number of
clients' gateway pages.
COMPARING TO BANNER ADS
What does the small businessperson do in the face of such
sophisticated systems? After a little despair and some groaning
you begin to look at the alternatives.
We've been lulled into believing that we could set up Web
businesses with little or no advertising, by just listing our
sites with our friends the search engines. It just isn't so any
longer. Perhaps we should look at the cost of gateway page
doctoring as an advertising expense, pure and simple. Instead of
banner ads, you're "purchasing" links viewed by people who
presumably are searching for just your sort of product or service.
$500 per month may seem like a lot of money until you think about
what it brings: a constant flow of traffic if you're in the top
ranking. Banner ads, for the same monthly budget, will bring you
14,300 page views and perhaps 150 click-throughs (at an average
$35 CPM and a 1% click-through rate). Finely-tuned search engine
gateway pages can potentially bring you much more.
With the extensive time investment necessary in studying search
engines and their continual changes, Bruemmer doesn't think the
average small business person has time to tweak search pages
regularly and run a business: "Positioning clearly becomes an
issue that needs to be subcontracted." At the very least, he says,
"You're better off hiring an employee to do this."
And what resource materials would you give that employee? One
resource is Fredrick Marckini's book Achieving TOP 10 Rankings in
Internet Search Engines
(http://www.trafficbuilding.com/aboutsr.htm). But, as Bruemmer
observes, "If you've had time to write it down and publish it,
it's old." You might want to supplement this with fresh updates
provided by free e-mail subscriptions to Search Engine Watch
(http://www.searchenginewatch.com) and MarketPosition
What software is available? Bruemmer pauses before answering. "The
best position monitoring software is WebPosition
(http://www.webposition.com/)." A beta version of WebPosition Gold
is being tested and Bruemmer acknowledges that it is the best
positioning tool available, "but even that is a year behind the
times and it's beta," he says. I can see his mind comparing static
software to the state-of-the-art intelligence his team at
ClientDirect is uncovering weekly. "Until a webmaster puts 8 to 10
days into actually using the software, it's virtually worthless,"
he says, "like having a car without a driver." Nevertheless, if
used contentiously, WebPosition Gold (now in beta) will get you
quite a way down the road. It's help screens teach you the ins-
and-outs of search engine positioning and its future knowledge
base updates promise to keep the software up-to-date in preparing
search-engine-specific gateway pages.
AN INTERIM SOLUTION
>From one standpoint, the whole science of developing finely-tuned
gateway pages that lead to "real" websites seems pretty
artificial. It's an exercise in outsmarting search engines --
understanding their current "rules" and providing them with an
slimmed-down Web page of exactly what they're looking for. They're
an artifact of the times, and it wouldn't surprise me if gateway
pages prove to be only a temporary phenomenon.
But for now, they seem a necessary element in the marketing mix.
And the costs of keeping them up-to-date should be chalked up to
general marketing costs -- costs siteowners ignore at their own
SELECTED SEARCH ENGINE RESOURCES
Web Marketing Info Center section on search engines
Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch
Danny Sullivan, "Search Engine Features Chart"
Danny Sullivan, "How to Use META Tags"
META Medic http://www.northernwebs.com/set/setsimjr.html
Search Engine Positioning Services. Look at Yahoo under the
classification "Search Engine Placement Improvement"
All 4 One Submission Machine submits quickly to the main search
Let's hear from you......
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