Webconsuls Blog

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter January 2002

In this issue

  • Changes at Yahoo 
  • Changes at Overture 
  • Annual Renewals at Inktomi 
  • 404 Pages 
  • Keyword based linking 
  • Unsolicited E-mail 
  • Our Approach 

Changes at Yahoo 

There is no such thing as free lunch, and on the Internet, expensive lunches are getting more expensive. Yahoo which at one time provided free listings for commercial sites, then charged a $199 one time fee, then raised that to $299 is now charging $299 annually for new listings. If you are already on Yahoo, GREAT, as you appear to be "grand fathered."

Changes at Overture


Overture, the most successful pay per click system on the Internet, has announced same major changes to its listing practices. Overture is also the most difficult system for us to administer and these changes are going to make things even more difficult. The changes will be effective February 1st. Webconsuls will be advising its Overture clients as to any cost for us to make the changes now required by Overture. Some of you administer your own site on Overture and have probably received an E-mail about the changes.

The first change is that there the listing must link directly to the relevant page in your site. For example if your site sells six products and you have a home page and six product pages then a listing in Overture for one of the products must link directly to the product not to home page. This change will probably mean that we will have to revise many of the Overture listings.

The second change is on description quality. You will not be able to use words like "greatest" or "best" in the description. While some of our clients descriptions may need to be changed, this should not be a major problem.

The third change is that location specific sites may only bid on location specific terms. So a motel in Redondo Beach, California could bid on "Redondo Beach motel" but not "motel." How this is going to work is a little unclear. If in fact you can deliver your product to wide geographic region than we would suggest you get wording to that effect on your site.

These changes go into effect February 1st. No one knows exactly how Overture will implement them. As we gain experience with the changes, we will pass along any advice that we can.

Annual Renewals at Inktomi


Many of our clients have signed up for the Inktomi submission service that has an annual fee and is now about one year old. Renewals are $25 per page. We recommend this service. If you have a large site you may want to have us register the more important pages to reduce the cost.

404 Pages


We have all tried to visit a specific page on a site and gotten the message - 404 Error, page not found. There are several causes - one is typing the page name incorrectly, another is that the page name was changed, or perhaps the page is no longer up at the site. One way to handle this problem is with custom 404 pages that redirect to the home page of the site. Unfortunately the set up of these custom 404 pages requires the cooperation of the hosting company. Fortunately Webconsuls is pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Millennium and Millennium will add custom 404 pages for our clients without charge. Webconsuls is developing custom pages for each client hosted at Millennium, also without charge.

We can not add these pages at sites not hosted at Millennium. If you would like to have your site moved to Millennium then give us a call.

Keyword Based Linking


Search engines are giving more importance to so-called "off-site factors" and incorporating new ways to measure those factors. One of the these is "link popularity." Webconsuls has regularly recommended that its clients develop as many links to their site as possible. Now you can improve your link popularity by making sure that the link uses an important keyword phrase in its text. For example in the following - Web Site Development by Webconsuls - it is far better that the link be from the term "Web Site Development" rather than from the word Webconsuls.

Unsolicited e-mail's


Many of our clients have forwarded unsolicited E-mail pitches to us. Usually they say something like "List your site on 3000 search engines." We suggest that you ignore them. First of all there are not 3000 search engines worth submitting to. More importantly most of these operations are really trying to get a valid and working E-mail address which they will now sell 3000 or maybe 30,000 times.

Last year one of our clients received an unsolicited offer for a "free lunch" and lecture by an outfit called Galaxy Mall. We went along to observe. Their claims seemed impossible and their service expensive. Last week Dateline NBC ran a story exposing Galaxy Mall.

Many of our Overture clients have gotten E-Mails from firms that monitor Overture listings to find pricing gaps. We have looked into those services and found them to be expensive.

Our Approach


We believe that successful web sites are well designed and appeal to both viewers and search engines. The sites use HTML meta tags appropriately. The key pages of the site are submitted to major search engines on a periodic basis. Positioning is monitored. The most valuable paid search engine programs are utilized. Search engine literature is regularly reviewed. Adjustments are made as necessary.

Our clients help themselves by developing relevant keyword based links to their site, by publicizing their web site address whenever possible, and by registering with specific directories.

Richard Fay
Dennis Helfand