Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Our newest newsletter is PACKED full of SEO tips and we want you to come check out our new updated design!


We have started our online course called Yahoo Store Editor 101. The main focus of this course is to help you move around within the Yahoo Store Editor. Adding products, adding sections, moving things around, etc. The class is short and sweet and we are offering this course FREE of charge to our customers.

What is REALLY exciting is that store owners can use the course for teaching new employees! Instead of spending days trying to teach them how to use the store while also trying to take orders, get out orders, and everything else you have to do....You can give them the URL and have them complete the course by themselves. We hope to save you hours of time it would take to train them.

Check out this months newsletter for more information!!

by: Shawna Seigel

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We thought a good laugh was needed for the day!

Do you ever feel this way when calling Yahoo Tech Support as well?

by: Shawna Seigel

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006
So did you hear that BMW was actually removed from Google?

"The move was first reported by Google employee Matt Cutts in a posting to his blog on Saturday. He said had been removed last week because certain pages on the site would show up one way when the search engine visited the page but when a Web user opened the page, a redirect mechanism would display a completely different page."

You can read the entire article here

We have been saying this for years....Google will catch you! Do not try to deceive the search engines!! It may work for a short time but then you will be removed permanently. It is not worth it. PERIOD

SEO is NOT an overnight story.

SEO takes time.

SEO takes patience.

SEO can not be guaranteed.

There is a company on the net that will call you and say...."Your site is not being indexed because your whatever is all wrong." They even email you this garbage as well. They were banned for their
practices as well as all sites they did work on were banned as well.

This brings up an IMPORTANT point. Do not let just any SEO company work on your site. If they get banned, so are you.

If you are looking for more SEO information, check this out (directly from Google)

  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

    Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a
    "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to
    Google. There is no priority submit for Google.

  • Be careful if a company is secretive or won't clearly explain what they
    intend to do.

    Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates
    deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or
    "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index.
    Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so
    it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you.

There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. It's far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO:

  • owns shadow domains

  • puts links to their other clients on doorway pages

  • offers to sell keywords in the address bar

  • doesn't distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear in
    search results

  • guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would
    get anyway

  • operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info

  • gets traffic from "fake" search engines, spyware, or scumware

  • has had domains removed from Google's index or is not itself listed in

Read the full information page at Google.

We have been receiving many phone calls lately from customers that are receiving this emails and phone calls from companies "Guaranteeing" results. Next time you talk to them, show them the Google Page and then ask them how do they do this?

You want to be number 1? Let me tell you what is going to get you there.


When you get done with content, write more.

Open your word editor and write complete sentences. Write using correct grammar. Spell check everything.

Who, When, Where, Why, How, What

Give information and in return you will get better results!

Check out Matt Cutt's Blog (a Google Employee with excellent tips!) I found this article that he wrote just a few days ago was amazing and very informative. Check it out

by: Shawna Seigel

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Monday, February 06, 2006
In our next article for Jagger Information we will be discussing the importance of content. Remember, you can not fake content! This is the most important part of your website. If you need help
with adding content to your website, check out our blog content packages!

SEO Tips In A Sea Of Change by Jim Hedger

Waves of change have cascaded over the search marketing sector in the past year prompting changes in the methods, business and practice of search engine optimization.

Though many things have been altered, expanded or otherwise modified, the
general search engine market share has not. Google remains the most popular
search engine and continues to drive more traffic than the other search engines
combined. Another thing that has not changed is the greater volume of site
traffic generated by organic search placement over any other form on online

There are six or seven advanced public search engines out there but the vast
majority of SEO attention is naturally given to Google. Many of the tips offered
in this piece, while useful at the other search engines, are written with Google
in mind. We are also thinking about alternative file formats and other ways
visitors might find websites aside from pure-search.

The most visible changes can be seen in the variety of search formats and in
search results returned by the major search engines but the greatest changes are
taking place in the philosophies and practices of search engine optimizers. As
the search environment has changed, so too have the techniques and tools used by
search marketers. More time is focused on improving website content and
navigation in order to appeal both live-visitors and search spiders. There are
also new metrics measuring the success of a search marketing campaign, all of
which are far more complicated than simple search engine rankings.

Since the introduction of the Jagger Update at Google, we have been doing a
number of things slightly differently and have updated expectations of our
clients and ourselves.

Organic search engine placement now requires a lot more work on our part and on
the part of our clients or their webmasters. Content needs to be updated
regularly, navigation simplified and shared analysis of on-site traffic is
increasingly important. Top10 websites, especially around their main entry
points, have become production pieces requiring a greater degree of strategic
planning than the general, annually updated brochure sites do. Creation of that
content needs to be considered a standing business expense though that expense
should be more than made up for in long-term advertising savings.

Along with that greater effort, we strongly advise our clients to integrate
their PPC campaigns with their SEO campaigns though, not necessarily in the
hands of the same person. SEO and PPC are two unique arms of search engine
marketing. Many SEOs spread their time crafting both paid and organic campaigns
for clients though each requires unique and highly developed skill sets. PPC
offers guaranteed placements for a fee but require greater attention and
monitoring, along with different levels of analysis. We have set caps on the
number of PPC campaigns we can run in conjunction with organic placement
campaigns and have taken measures to outsource via recommendation any overload.
The key here is to have the PPC and the organic SEO teams working together on
several aspects of the client's web documents.

That said, we need to stop thinking of search engines as the main show in
website marketing. This might sound like a self-defeating statement coming from
a search engine optimization specialist however search, as a tool, is no longer
confined to the search engines as we know them. Think about paid-ad generating
site visits from a third-party website. The transactions that brought the
visitors were not conducted on a search engine, but one or more search engines,
in conjunction with that third-party website facilitated them.

Now, think about social commentary and viral marketing. Internet users, as is
true with most of us offline, tend to rely on first-person recommendations. I
tell a friend about a service that worked particularly well for me. They try
that service and tell their friends as well. It works that way with almost any
industry from restaurants to airlines, moving companies and magazines. Now, try
to imagine your personal network of friends and contacts. How many of them know
each other or might connect through a third or fourth party?

Imagine the impact of giving users the ability to tag their search experience
with comments. During the Christmas sales rush, Yahoo Shopping experimented with
user-compiled shopping lists, sort of a global gift-guide that used social
networking and comment tagging to cross-reference for search results. (If you
are interested in Stereo Speakers, you might also be interested in StacyB's
Audiophile Shopping List.) Yahoo's Flickr photo sharing service has seen amazing
growth through global networks of friends exchanging images they have tagged
with their comments.

Similarly, the appearance of Blogs has substantially expanded the online
marketing environment. It is estimated that by the year 2010, there might be as
many as one billion Blogs published online. While most are personal diaries,
blogs appear to have lasted long enough to be more than a fad and are evolving
rapidly as users learn to modify and improve on them.

Businesses are increasingly turning to Blogs to communicate with customers or to
respond to inquiries. Newsgathering organizations are using Blogs to fill the
gap between TV broadcast and the Internet by posting everything from breaking
news, information podcasts, video clips, and reporters notebooks to recipe
ideas, shopping tips and paid-search advertising.

There are two major advantages Blogs offer search marketers. The ability to link
Blog entries together to form an information-thread network provides search
marketers with a number of tools beyond the improvement of the knowledge base.
We are able to help clients establish communications centers from which they can
link to information supplied by suppliers, distributors and clients on their
websites or blogs. An important goal for search marketers is to help our clients
provide users with a clear path to information they need. Clear paths tend to
get followed by many people, a trait today's search spiders look and account
for. Blogs, if maintained properly can be an important component in a winning
website structure. The second important feature of Blogs is RSS, real simple
syndication. Anyone who expresses interest can subscribe to your blog, getting
instant notification of updates or messages.

Search is going to be a facet of all information applications and many
electronic appliances moving forward into the next decade. The major search
engines are each working to make deals with the major appliance and electronics
manufacturers in order to provide search results to users in planes, trains and
all automobiles, along with your kitchen, living room, mobile phone and quite
possibly to display screens appearing in shopping carts.

In other words, search will be a greater part of our daily lives, which brings
us back to search engine optimization for websites. That's still important, even
if the traditional search engine rankings pages are less important.

Building a good website structure is critical. Search engines have changed
radically over the past ten years to the point that we are now in a period of
what appears to be constant change and evolution. The most important elements of
SEO today, more important than writing the perfect keyword enriched title tag,
are ease of navigation, clarity of purpose, and relevant links (think of links
as information-threads). Keywords are important, make no mistake about that but
search engines have moved far beyond simple keyword/context measurements.

Search engines have significantly improved their ranking algorithms over the
past two years and in particularly, the past few months. From the earliest years
until about five years ago, search engines looked for keywords in several areas
or elements of a website, including incoming and outgoing links. Rankings were
determined by the arrangement of keywords and the number of incidents of those
keywords found on or around the site.

For the past five years, Google has set the standards SEOs work to achieve but
over the last six months, those standards have subtly changed and will continue
to change long into the foreseeable future. What made Google different five
years ago was their method of using a standard keyword based spider that also
factored in the number of incoming links to each site. That led to a number of
techniques based around making artificial link-densities by creating
link-networks, portal sites and other tricks aimed at gaming Google. After a
series of algorithm updates aimed primarily at preventing "black-hat"
manipulation of its rankings, Google has moved well past the basic premise of
PageRank and its simple, democratic explanation.

We believe the Jagger Update is only one of many algorithm shifts that are
leading Google away from pure link-context to include shared incidents of
semantic intention found between linked documents.

Where we used to look at a website as a collection of similar documents, often
of a common file type, found within a distinct URL, we are now examining far
more complex layers of differing web-documents strung between several URLs.
Again, think of links between documents as information threads being followed by
the spiders. As much as possible, these threads should be more than useful links
between relevant sites, they should help complete whatever story the live-user
is experiencing. Your site visitors are looking for something, at least, that's
what Google, Yahoo and the rest want to think. Google is especially interested
in how visitors use your site, how often they return and how often they use
links leaving your site.

Google has just reopened Google Analytics on a limited, invitation basis.
Overwhelmed by massive user-interest when it released its modified Urchin
site-statistics program, Google Analytics provides a detailed look at how
visitors use your site. We are strongly urging clients to sign up for Google
Analytics as it becomes available and will be offering assistance interpreting
data extracted. One of the features of the free software package is the
integration of AdWords/AdSense support showing how your ad campaigns are
performing and how ads displayed on your site are doing.

While Google is making it easier for search marketers and advertisers, its goal
is obviously to make itself more money by increasing click-through rates while
collecting user data from the millions of websites signing up with the service.
It has also provided SEOs with a dashboard view of critical factors involved
with how it ranks sites.

The practice of search engine optimization has in some ways become more
difficult but in others, has actually gotten easier. SEO has come a log way
since its early days in the mid 1990's. A decade ago, SEOs were considered
secretive and manipulative cowboys, roughneck mercenaries who would (because
they could) do just about anything to get a site ranked in the Top10 on the
major engines of the time. There were more search engines along with a variety
of directories, spidered databases such as Inktomi that sold results to other

This switch, combined with the rapid growth of the Web necessitated better
search algorithms and a crackdown on manipulative search marketers. At the same
time, the SEO and SEM sectors have seen tremendous growth due mostly to a shift
towards paid-search marketing by major advertisers and the attendant growth of
interest in Google, Yahoo and MSN. The search marketing sector has doubled or
perhaps tripled in size in just twenty-four months as new practitioners were
hired by established SEO firms or forming their own businesses. Many of those
new practitioners have spent that time absorbing and adding to the huge volume
of information that makes up the SEO sector's knowledge base.

Those SEOs are coming of age, professionally speaking, and are very good at what
they do. Their skills are going to be an important asset to the sector in the
coming year as the business of search expands way beyond the desktop and into
everyday life. Change is good.

About the Author:

Jim Hedger is the SEO Manager of StepForth
Search Engine Placement Inc.
Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, StepForth is the
result of the consolidation of BraveArt Website Management, Promotion Experts,
and Phoenix Creative Works, and has provided professional search engine
placement and management services since 1997.

by: Shawna Seigel

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lately we have been talking on the phones quite
a bit about the Jagger Update. We have found some great interesting information
regarding the update that we will be posting over the next several days to
assist our readers in fully understanding the impact the Jagger Update has had
on Reciprocal Linking.

At the bottom of this particular article it
states things to do for your SEO. If you have had your site redesigned by us,
you are using the proper Site Map for Google. If you have not used our services
as of yet and would like to update your Site Map, you can purchase our service
for 69.95.

The BIGGEST thing you can do for your website
is to add more content! It is very difficult to fake good content and we will
see the search engines basing your placement more and more on the content of
your site.

Google’s Jagger Update Completing Cycles
By Jim Hedger

Ever since Google introduced its latest
algorithm update in September, a fair amount of column space has been dedicated
to telling webmasters and small business owners to wait until the update is
complete. In so much as it can be said that the Jagger Update will ever be
complete, the final cycle of the immediate update appears to be playing out.

Jagger was a different sort of algorithm update
for Google. Its infamous predecessors, Florida and Hilltop were generally
limited shifts in the values Google assigned domains based on content and links.
After the immediate punch of previous updates, the search engine results pages (SERPs)
would generally return to a stable and predictable state. SERPS generated by
Jagger are expected to constantly update themselves with a greater degree of
flux and change.

So, what exactly happened during the Jagger
Update and what might it mean to your website? Quite a bit as it turns out.

The Jagger Update was introduced for three main
reasons. The first was to deal with manipulative link-network schemes, sites
generated with scraped content and other forms of SE-Spam. The second was to
allow and account for the inclusion a greater number of spiderable documents and
file types. The third was to allow and account for new methods of site
acquisition beyond the use of the spider Googlebot.

The update made its first public appearance in
late September but had its greatest impact in early October. At that time,
hundreds of thousands of websites that enjoyed previously strong listings were
suddenly struck and sent to the relative oblivion found beyond the second page
of results.

Most of those sites lost position due to
participation in what Google obviously considers inappropriate linking schemes.
This was actually one of the first conclusions we came to in late September
based on the experience of a few clients who joined link-networks that had not
been recommended or vetted by our link-experts. This is now backed up by
discussion in various search engine forums. While most of those hurt by this
part of the update are good people running honest businesses, Google put out
notice that irrelevant link-networks, no matter how simple or complex, are
unhealthy additions to what might otherwise be a good website.

The problem Google faced was some webmasters
misunderstood what links are for and how Google uses them to rank documents. For
some unknown reason, many webmasters or site administrators participated in
wholesale link mongering, bulking up on as many inbound links as possible
without consideration of the most important factor (in Google’s estimation), the
relevance of inbound links.

Now, Google appears to be applying filters
based on

historic data
it has collected about all sites in its index over time. In
other words, Google likely knows a lot more about documents linking to a
particular website than the person who placed or requested the link in the first
place. SEOs and webmasters should brush up on the “Information
retrieval based on historical data
” patent application Google filed on March
31, 2005 for highly detailed information.

Google is judging sites on who they link to
along with who links to them. Before the update, a link from your site to an
irrelevant site was more a waste of time than a waste of opportunity. Today
irrelevant links seem to be both. Google’s desire to offer stable and highly
relevant SERPS while preventing outright manipulation of those SERPS was the
biggest cause of the shift.

The second and third reasons for updating the
algorithm at this time is the allowance for indexing documents or information
obtained through alternative sources such as Google Base, Froogle, and blogs and
other social networking tools. Google’s stated goal is to grow to include
reference to all the world’s information. That information is being expressed in
multiple places using several unique file formats, some of which are difficult
to weigh against others. By checking the file or document in question against
the long-term history of documents linking to it, Google is better able to
establish its theme and intent.

Mass adoption of blogs, while promoted by
Google gave the search engine a number of problems. Webmasters and search
marketers will take almost any opportunity to promote their sites, by any means
available. Blogs provided ample opportunities and soon issues ranging from
comment spam to scraped content Splogs started to gum up the SERPS. By comparing
document content with the history of other related documents in its index,
Google has become much better at spotting blog-enabled spam.

Google faced problems with forms of search
engine spam such as fake directories and on-page spamming techniques such as
hiding information in CSS files. The Jagger Update seems designed to deal with
these issues by applying Google’s vast knowledge about items in its index
against every document or file it ranks. A site that scrapes content, for
example, might be weighed against the documents that content was originally
published on and the intent of the republisher. One that hides information in
the CSS file will similarly trip Google’s memory of how the same domain looked
and operated before the spam-content was inserted.

The third reason for the algo update comes from
the expansion of Google itself. Google is now much larger than it was when the
Bourbon update was introduced in the early summer. Audio and video content is
spiderable and searchable. Google’s comparison shopping tool Froogle is starting
to integrate itself in with Google Local, just as Google Local and Google Maps
are beginning to merge. There is some speculation in the SEO community that
Google is preparing to integrate personalized data into the search results
served to specific individuals. A strong assumption is that Jagger is part of
Google’s movement towards personalization though there is little to firmly point
at to support this idea.

If your website is still suffering the lagging
effects of the Jagger Update, your SEO or SEM vendor should be able to offer
good advice. Chances are, the first thing he or she will do is a point by point
inspection of your inbound and outbound links associated with your website.
Next, they will likely suggest making it easier for Google to spider various
document file types in your site by providing an XML sitemap to instruct
Google’s spider cycle. Lastly, they will likely suggest a look at how website
visitors behave when visiting your site. Site visitor behaviors will play a part
in Google’s view of the importance and relevance of sites in its index. The
introduction of Google Analytics provides webmasters with a lot of free
information regarding site visitors, along with other information on how the
site fares on Google’s search engine. It also provides Google with a lot of
information about sites running it. More on the effect of Google Analytics on
the SERPS next week.


Jim Hedger, Search Engine News Writer -
Jim Hedger is a writer, speaker and search engine marketing expert working for
StepForth Search Engine
in Victoria BC. He has worked as an SEO for over 5 years and
welcomes the opportunity to share his experience through interviews, articles
and speaking engagements.

by: Shawna Seigel

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