Webconsuls Blog

Sunday, November 11, 2001

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter November 2001

As this eventful year 2001 winds down, Webconsuls wishes to thank you for your continued confidence in us. We expect that you have already seen beneficial results and anticipate that in the months to come your emphasis upon improving your firm’s web presence will continue.

In this edition of our newsletter we are going to discuss Link Popularity, Pay for Position engines, Virus Protection, and maintaining your domain name.

Link Popularity


We have written in the past about Link Popularity. We think this subject is so important to Search Engine Positioning, and may be somewhat misunderstood, that it bears frequent review.

Search engines are trying to list what they consider to be “important” sites. A key measure of “importance” is the number of other sites, especially sites with a similar theme, that link to the site in question.

You can find out how many sites the search engines “think” link to your site by using a tool available at "marketleap.com." Go to this web page, type in your domain name, type in competitive web sites, select a category (optional) and start checking.

Here are some things you might try to improve your link popularity:
  • Concentrate on finding sites that are of a similar nature to yours and approach them about linking to you. Links from sites of the same theme as yours help to reinforce your theme and further help in boosting your search engine rankings. 
  • Download the "Google Page Rank Tool Bar" to determine which sites have a higher "reputation." 
  • Create a link page listing all of the sites that you wish to link to you. By linking to the sites you are going to be contacting first, they will be more likely to link back to you when you contact them. 
  • One often overlooked trick is to find similar sites that use guest books and forums. If you can find these you will often be able to post a message and include your URL. 
  • Testimonials of products can also be a good way to get your URL out. Consider writing a testimonial of a product you've used. Include your name and URL at the bottom. Email the testimonial to the site owner. Site owner's are ALWAYS looking for testimonials as it increases buyer confidence and most likely they will be happy to post your testimonial. 
  • Writing articles on your topic can also be a great way to get your URL out. Write an article and include your URL in the bio at the end of the article. 

Pay for Position Engines


Our reading and experience indicates that these types of engines are becoming increasingly important in overall search engine positioning. If you are not already using at least one in your web marketing portfolio, you are probably behind your competition. The good news is that you can catch up in a few days simply by getting registered.

Our preferences: Overture (formerly GoTo.com) followed by Findlink.com and then Sprinks.com. Each of these has partner agreements with major engines like AOL.com, Excite.com, About.com, Lycos.com and many more. You may have read that Yahoo is making changes, and one of them is to partner with Overture.

Contact Webconsuls to learn how easy these programs are to add to your Internet arsenal.

Virus Protection


Unfortunately several of our clients have been victimized by computer viruses. If your computer gets hit with a virus, you may face hours or days of work to get rid of the virus and restore your computer.

We recommend that your purchase, install and keep up to date one of the commercial virus protection programs. We do not recommend a particular program but suggest you check those sold by Norton http://www.norton.com, McAfee http://www.mcafee.com and Trend Micro Systems http://www.antivirus.com.

It is most important that you keep your virus protection program current as new viruses are detected frequently.

Your Domain Name


When your domain name was established someone, perhaps you, paid a fee to register that name for a period of time. They also registered a billing contact. When your domain name is about to expire, the billing contact is notified.

Perhaps the billing contact is an employee who has left your business or even yourself with a new address and E-Mail address. Then you might never get notified and your valuable domain name could expire.

You can check the information about your domain name by going to the Network Solutions web site http://www.netsol.com and clicking on the link to Who Is in the top black bar. At the Who Is page type in your domain name in the search box (our domain name is webconsuls.com). You should then see the information about domain name, including the contact information and when the record expires.

If you have any questions about the information, or how to change it, then please contact Network Solutions directly or search their web site for help. Changing this information can be time consuming and Webconsuls must charge its standard consulting fees if asked to help.

Hospitality Property Sales


Looking to sell or buy a country inn, a hotel, a B&B, a motel, cottages or a guesthouse? Know anyone in the market for these types of properties? Then by all means, check out our web site at http://www.helfand-enterprises.com.

Dick Fay Dennis Helfand Managing Partners, Webconsuls LLC

Monday, June 11, 2001

Search Engine Marketing News June 2001

We have decided to send you our newsletter more frequently. You can expect one about every month.

In this newsletter we are going to discuss:
• Something you can do to generate traffic to your web site.
• An opportunity for our clients in the travel, hospitality, recreation industry
• How you can help yourself and us
• Silver, Gold and Platinum Accounts
• Changing Web Site Hosts

Something You Can Do to Generate Traffic

Frequently our clients ask us how or what they can do to generate more traffic to their web site. We think the one thing, and maybe the best, is to get links to your site, especially links that are relevant to the theme of your site.

You should go to the web site of any local, trade, or professional organizations of which you are a member. Does that web site list, with links, the web sites of their members? If so, are you on the list with a link to your site?

As you spend time on the Internet you should be looking for any directories or specialized search engines that target the theme of your site. You should be looking for opportunities to get your site listed on these directories. Many of them are free, or only require that you link to them. Some are paid, and for those you need to do your evaluation of the economics.

Links to your site help in three ways


  1. Someone may click on the link and visit your site. Obviously if the themes of your site and site linking to you are similar, the more likely that it generate traffic. 
  2. Search engines track the number of sites linking to you. The theory is that the more links to you, the more important the site hence a higher ranking. 
  3. Search engine spiders crawl the Internet going from site to site and indexing web sites. Links to your site help drive the spiders to your site. 
An Opportunity For Our Travel, Hospitality, Recreation Business Clients

Centraltravelguide.com is a one-stop resource that provides consumers with an online national travel and vacation guide of information. We are delighted to announce a Partner Arrangement with Webconsuls, featuring a tailored program to provide special benefits to Webconsuls' clients.

Although there are numerous "travel related" websites currently available on-line, Centraltravelguide.com sets itself apart by specializing in "a quick and easy searchable database" of information.

This content is free of the usual "banner" type of advertisements, pop-up windows, airfare offers, hotel discounts coupons and other travel related information that often interferes with a consumer's informational needs.

The site is simply 'sponsored' by travel and vacation related websites. These sponsors are conveniently located in their corresponding area of the site. For example, our client, Magic Falls Rafting (www.magicfalls.com) is a sponsor of Centraltravelguide.com's MAINE accommodations area, as well as its RAFTING section. With this system of sponsorship Magic Falls specifically targets those consumers applicable to their services.

Best of all there's no cost to Magic Falls Rafting. All Magic Falls does is host a link to Central Travel Guide on their main index page. This linkage provides visitors of Magic Falls with a national database of information just clicks away. This type of co-sponsorship markets both Magic Falls Rafting and Central Travel Guide.

Centraltravelguide.com is in the process of building its network of sponsors. Besides sponsors in the vacation and travel industry, CTG is also visited by consumers from other websites outside the travel industry. Their database information is partnered with sites like Collegenews.com, a site that has received over 3 million hits annually for the past three years.

Central Travel Guide is like an online 'inserted travel guide.' Their database of information is currently available on 12 partner sites. The site, and it's easily accessible database, was launched this past May and expects to fill up with partnerships quickly. For information on becoming a Sponsor, contact Webconsuls as soon as possible to ensure obtaining your State Sponsorship position.

How You Can Help Yourself and Us


Your web site was developed on a computer, probably by a designer, maybe one of our designers, maybe by yourself or a friend. In any case the site was transferred to what it called a Server where it is hosted on the Internet. So your designer has a copy and there is a copy on the server. When you hire Webconsuls for Web Site Marketing we download your site from the server, make critical changes for search engine placement, and put the site back on the Server. We also monitor the success of our work and may later make other changes to improve positioning.

Now let’s say you want to make a change to your site, maybe a modest change like changing a few images. If the designer works with the version on the designer’s computer and then uploads it to the Server, our important changes will be lost. It is therefore critical that you inform whoever is changing your site that they should work with the version on the Server so that they then start with the version that has our changes. You should also tell us that the site is being changed so that we make sure that our work has not been lost.

Redoing our work because someone else has destroyed it is not part of our arrangement with you. In the future we will charge for this work. Before starting we will tell you what has happened and provide an estimate at $75/hour.

Silver, Gold and Platinum Accounts


Our Silver Package is designed for small sites, those about 5 pages or less, that are not in extremely competitive categories. For these sites we make our changes to up to 5 pages and submit to the major search engines and directories. Quarterly we resubmit the key pages and send a position report to the client. We have recently raised the sign up fee for Silver Accounts to $475. The quarterly fee is $75.

The Gold Package is designed for larger sites in more competitive categories. For these sites we work on up to 9 key pages. We resubmit monthly and send the position report on a monthly basis as well. The sign up fee for Gold Accounts has been raised to $500. The quarterly fee remains at $100.

Platinum accounts are large sites in very competitive categories. These sites are custom quoted. The schedule for submissions and the position report is done on a case by case basis and we generally add pages designed by us for search engine placement.

Changing Web Site Hosts


It is sometime necessary to change your web site host. This can be a simple process or it can get very involved. A new host needs to be found, Internet records must be updated, your site needs to be uploaded to the new server, any server functions that your site uses need to be tested and perhaps redone, and email accounts may need to be reconfigured.

We have recently moved the Webconsuls web site to Millennium, a hosting company located in Southern California. As part of the move we will have to redo the area that processed credit cards on-line, so that functionality is currently down at our site.

We will work with you if you want to change your web site host. However we will need to charge if there is extensive work involved. Contact us and we can discuss.

Dennis Helfand and Dick Fay, Managing Partners.

Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Search Engine Marketing News May 9 2001

We are writing to keep you informed about some major changes in search engine marketing and to bring you up to date on activities at Webconsuls. Please read this newsletter carefully as it contains information that can keep you ahead of your competition.

Paid Registrations


Paid Search Engine Reviews

There is a growing trend toward paid search engine registration. We have an article on our website which we encourage you to read. You will soon be receiving your latest Position Report from Webconsuls. There will also be an email with recommendations from Webconsuls on paid registrations for you.

Many of the most popular search engines - Yahoo, Looksmart, Excite etc. essentially require paid registrations for commercial sites. You pay a fee to have someone look at the site and determine if it should be included in the directory. The fee is paid whether or not the site is included.

Pay Per Click

Another growing area is the so-called pay-per-click search engine. For these, you bid on a search term and pay your bid if anyone searching on that term clicks to your site. The higher the bid, the higher your position. These engines also partner with other engines to increase your exposure. The best known of this type is GoTo, and several of our clients are registered with GoTo. However GoTo now has a minimum bid of 5 cent per term and a minimum monthly charge of $20 for each site.

We have been researching a new "pay per click engine" that is getting high marks of late. It is called FindWhat.com. There is neither a minimum bid nor any monthly minimum. Since it is so new, many categories are as yet untapped. A bid of $.01 will often place your web site in first.

There is an added benefit. For those web sites occupying a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place position, FindWhat.com guarantees that your site will also be listed on the first page of the Excite.com engine under a category called "sponsored sites." We tested this with two clients this week (five keywords each) and within a few hours, each web site was found on Excite's first page under that keyword! In many cases, our 1st place bid was only a penny. Normally, Excite charges $199 to review submissions. This seems like a good deal.

If you are interested in either of these, you should first visit the site at GoTo or FindWhat and search on the terms that interests you. The results will show the bid to obtain the top spots.

Inktomi Paid Submission


The last new service that we want to mention is a paid submission service to Inktomi. Inktomi is used primarily by other Search Engines for Indexing. When a site gets listed on Inktomi, it becomes immediately accessible to 125 Web search partners including AOL, iWon, MSN & HotBot. For an interim period only, Webconsuls will register one or more Web Pages for our clients for only $16.00/per page. If you are not now listed on the Inktomi partner engines, then you are encouraged to do this as we think it is very cost effective. The Inktomi registration fee is an annual charge.

Webconsuls Search Engine Friendly Website Developments

Site Designs/Redesigns


Webconsuls continues to turn out new/redesigned web sites at an increasing pace. Please consider us in helping you with page updates, completes site redesigns, database capabilities, or e-commerce/shopping cart additions. You'll find our pricing to be extremely competitive and our workmanship of the highest quality. Recent site completions include:
Newport Channel Inn, Newport Beach, CA

Kauai Vacation Home, Poipu, HI

HOSPITALITY PROPERTY "FOR SALE" MARKETING


Helfand-Enterprises, a division of Webconsuls, LLC is engaged in assisting property owners and/or realtor-brokers to bring attention to properties for sale. We use our Internet Marketing expertise to help property owners sell their hospitality property. This is entirely a risk-free program that is enjoying excellent reviews from participants. There are no fees of any kind unless and until we find a buyer for you and additionally, we create a "for sale" web page at no cost. Examples of pages we've created can be viewed here.

BUSINESS SALES ONLINE


At the request of several commercial brokers, Webconsuls is about to launch a new service to list businesses for sale on-line. The concept will be modeled after the successful hospitality property program. We are still ironing out a few details. If you have a business to sell and are interested, please contact us.

Dennis Helfand and Dick Fay, Managing Partners.