Webconsuls Blog

Monday, December 15, 2003

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter December 2003

Happy Holidays!


In this issue read about

  • No change in our rates 
  • Google Changes 
  • What you can do to help 

No Change in our rates


We have decided not to raise our rates at this time. We thank all of you for your confidence in us and are pleased that we can hold the line on our fees.

One step we took to reduce our workload was to reduce the number of search engines on which we report. This does not affect your positioning on the other engines. We just reduced the reports to the most important engines, which saves us time.

We are also redistributing some of our workload so some of you who were working with Dennis on your positioning may now work with Dick, and vice versa. You can be sure that the change will not impact the effort put into positioning your site.

Google Changes


As you may be aware, Google is constantly revising its methodology for ranking sites. Google made a major change in mid-November to reduce the rankings on certain search terms on sites that it determined to be “over optimized” for search engines. Some of our clients were affected. Google seems now to be modifying just what it did. We are regularly reviewing the literature, talking with other SEO professionals, and using our own experience to determine the proper next steps. If you must quickly obtain high rankings then a paid program on Overture and Google Adwords may be your best alternative. Please call Dennis or Dick for more information.

What you can do to help


The chances that your web site will be indexed by the search engines for a particular term are greatly enhanced if that term appears in the actual text on your web site. Frequently you get position reports from us that list the terms we are trying to position for you. You should look at this list and determine if there are other relevant terms that should be added, and any that can be dropped. For all terms that you want us to work on, please check your site and make sure that the term actually appears on the site. If is does not, try to find the best place for us to add the term or have your designer add the term to the site.

Wishing you a prosperous 2004

Dennis Helfand and Dick Fay

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter November 2003

Lycos:


As announced last month with the change in our Position report inclusions, we are continuing to allocate the bulk of our resources with only the most important search engines. Accordingly, we have discontinued the Lycos campaign and many of our clients will see this reflected change in a lower monthly statement.

Links:


Webconsuls cannot overstate the importance of developing a link popularity Program. If you are not focusing on this aspect of your business, we can almost guarantee you that much of your competition is and has been participating in links programs for some time. Search engines place great emphasis on analyzing how many links you have and the quality of those links. If you want to be found well positioned for various keywords, a link campaign is crucial. Webconsuls has many tools that can help you this area. If your site is hosted at Millennium Systems, a web company that supports .asp technology, we can even provide you with a “simple to use” template for adding links yourself. No knowledge of html or web design is needed. Just fill in a few lines and the link appears live on your web site. Contact Webconsuls for details.

Web Site Text Modifications and Updates:


Need to make simple changes to your web site? There is now an excellent software Program available (under $100.00) that will enable you to make text modifications, including, rates, dates, services available and other needed and regular changes to your site, in-house. It does not require any knowledge of web design! Clients who have tested this software for us “love it.” If several of you think it is something that will be useful, we can arrange a bulk purchase, saving you money. Let us know, as this can be a real cost-saver.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter October 2003

Position Reporting Changes


We are forced to reduce the number of search engines in our position report. The report programs consume search engine resources. The search engines have therefore made it more difficult for the report programs. We are responding by reducing our reports to the most important search engines.

Accordingly, we will report positions for the following four (4) engines:
  1. Google – The most important engine. Some of our clients are only concerned about Google. 
  2. Yahoo – (These results are also returned by Google; however, given the dominance of Yahoo and the fact that it recently bought Inktomi and Overture, we have determined to include it in our report). 
  3. MSN – (More of a stand alone-engine (tied to Inktomi), but dominant enough for inclusion). 
  4. AOL – Powered by Google. 

With regard to clients who participate in Pay-Per-Click programs like Overture, Looksmart, Google Adwords, etc., these engines have report menus that are far more detailed than the generic Position reports.

The other engines have much smaller market shares and we think that reporting on their positions is not worth the demand on our resources and on the engines.

Contacting Us


The best way to contact us is via Email. You can reach Dennis at dhelfand@webconsuls.com and Dick at dickfay@webconsuls.com. We check our email several times each day.

Sometimes it is necessary to talk directly with one of us. Remember we are on the West Coast. We are ready to take your calls at 8 am. Pacific Time.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter August 2003

In this issue we discuss

  • The slowdown of Internet traffic caused by the latest virus attacks
  • Why Webconsuls is dropping FindWhat 
  • Changes at Overture 

EMAIL/INTERNET SLOWDOWN


If you are experiencing a marked decrease in web site traffic and e-mails, it is more than likely due to the Blaster Virus -- also known as MSBlast or LoveSAN. You do not have to have the virus to be impacted. It has caused so much congestion on the Internet and networks that companies have to shut down computers to clean out the Worm. Earthlink and Adelphia report enormous strain on their systems, with many connectivity issues and e-mail problems. Be sure that you regularly update your virus Programs, ( i.e. Norton, Macafee, Firewalls like Zone Alarm, etc.) and run virus scans routinely.

FINDWHAT (Important Change – Please read)


Some of our clients have been subscribing to Findwhat.com for the past year or so. Webconsuls has been tracking results relative to other Pay-Per-Click engines, such as Overture and Google Adwords. While there was a great deal of hype associated with the introduction of Findwhat, we have not seen enough of an impact on web traffic and conversions to justify the costs and time involved.

Accordingly, Webconsuls will no longer participate and manage Findwhat programs. This means that when the current banks are depleted, we will cease adding funds and discontinuing our related third party bidding management software support. If you want to continue participation in Findwhat on your own, passwords are (and have been) available to you. However, our feeling at this point is that your money would be better spent in other Internet opportunity areas.

OVERTURE


During August, Overture Services introduced broader matching options for advertisers, to bring keyword ads to search queries without a specific match.

The two new matching options, Phrase Match and Broad Match, will serve up advertisers' keyword listings, even when their search term is not entered exactly. In this way, Overture hopes to extend its paid listings to ever more searches. Overture will use Phrase and Broad Match listings to fill in when its database does not have regular Standard Match listings for terms. In addition, advertisers can rule out certain queries through listing excluded words. Advertisers can change their bids for each matching level.

The changes are rather involved and not always easy to follow. Over the past week, Webconsuls has updated it third-party bidding software to accommodate these changes. To become more familiar with the changes, there is a tutorial available at the following URL: http://www.content.overture.com/d/USm/adcenter/index.jhtml, then click on “Match Type Tutorial”

Friday, May 9, 2003

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter May 9, 2003

It has been a while since we have written our clients.

We are going to discuss promoting your site “off of the Internet,” basic search engine positioning and what you can do to help your site, some features you may want to add to your site, and review the pay per click situation. We also discuss changes to your site, a “spam fighter” program and another web site business that we run.

Off the Internet Promotion


We know that many of our clients do a great job of this, but have seen others that do not. You should review your business cards, brochures, point of sale advertising and other media that you use to promote your business. Do you include your URL (for example, www.webconsuls.com) in your promotion? Your potential customers may not even be aware of your web site.

Your Email is another source of potential advertising. Most email programs have a signature option that will be included in new Emails. You should have a signature file and it should include your URL.

Search Engine Positioning


Currently search engines rank web pages by they two R’s – Relevance and Reputation. Relevance is measured by the content on the page and the content on the pages linking to the page. Reputation is measured by the number of links to the page and quality of the links.

Notice how important it is to get links to your site. Most important is to get links from sites related to your site.

You should pursue all opportunities to get people to link your site. If you see sites that link to your competitors, then you should try to get them to link to you. If you are in an organization that lists its members on a web site, then your listing should link to your site.

We work on improving your relevance and reputation. We can only do so much and you can certainly help.

INKTOMI


Before a search engine can rank your site, it must know that it exists. Inktomi is an Internet database that indexes for many of the major search engines, i.e. MSN, Looksmart, HotBot, Looksmart and about 50 other Partners; it continues to be listed among the Internet’s most important Internet marketing resources. If you are not registered with Inktomi, you are probably already several steps behind your immediate competition. Annual registration is only $30.00 for a page and in many cases, it is only necessary to register your Home Page! Contact Dennis or Dick for information and get registered.

Features

We have developed some dynamic features that some of our clients have found very useful. We think you might want to consider them for your site.

Contact Form and Email List

We will either add a contact form to your site or enhance the one on the site to capture the contact information in a database. We will then give you the capability to send an email to everyone in the database. This will allow you to keep a record of those who filled out the contact form and can notify them of new products, pricing, or other changes in your business.

Dynamic Links Page

Many people will want you to reciprocate a link to you with a link to them. We don’t have the time to add links like this for our clients without charging a fee each time. We can add a Links Page to your site and give you the capability of adding the link.

Events Calendar of News Page

We will give you the ability to add and delete information about an event or news item related to your site. The cost to add these features depends somewhat on how your site is constructed. The minimum is $100 per feature. We can only add these features to sites hosted at Millennium. You should expect a $10 per month increase in your hosting fees from Millennium. For many clients these are small costs for what could be a great benefit. If you would like to see a demo on how these enhancements will add to your marketing reach, please contact Dennis or Dick and they can take you through a Demo.

Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click programs have several positive elements. They allow you to get listed quickly - and you only pay when someone clicks to your site. Overture is the best known and most successful Per Per Click Program (PPC), and also the most expensive. We think that our clients have received value from FindWhat, a less well known and less expensive program. Other popular opportunities, with PPC variations, exist with Google Adwords and Looksmart.com.

OVERTURE

Overture recently instituted a price increase, raising the required minimum bid from $0.05 to $0.10.

All existing listings with bids between $0.05 and $0.09 will be "grand fathered" at their current max bid for the foreseeable future. Going forward, if you or we make any bid changes to these grand fathered listings, the new bid must be at least $0.10. However, anyone can continue to update titles, descriptions and URL's for grand fathered listings without affecting the bids. All new listings must meet the $0.10 minimum bid.

Overture announced plans to acquire Alta Vista, a major Search Engine. The integration into Overture is expected to take several months and we will keep you posted on how this change will impact those of you that participate in either or both of Webconsuls’ Overture/Alta vista’s Internet marketing programs.

FINDWHAT


FindWhat.com will raise its minimum bid to $.05/click effective July 1, 2003.

Web Site Changes


We often get requests to make changes to our clients’ web site. Obviously we can not maintain sites without compensation. We charge $75 per hour. The minimum charge is $25.

Spam


We all get way too many junk emails. There are several spam fighting programs. We like one that can be found at http://www.cloudmark.com/products/spamnet/ There is a free 30 trial period. We have been on trial for months and have not been asked to pay anything. This product can only used with Microsoft Outlook.

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