. . . when you want your website seen!


  1. Where will the work reside--on your server or on mine?

  2. What types of results reporting will you provide, and how frequently?

  3. How long should it take from the day you launch the campaign for me to see solid results?

  4. What are the most important search engines and directories you target?

  5. Do you do international submissions?

  6. What, if any visitor conversion services do you offer so I can maximize my traffic?

  7. When it comes to your results, which tactics really make the difference? 

  8. What exactly is a Keyword Specific Content Page?

  9. Where will the Keyword Specific Content Pages be on my site?

  10. Is it part of a search engine's results? How and where will visitors see it?

  11. What are the best results you've gotten for a client to date? Where can I go online to verify this?

  12. Can I use Overture and get just as much coverage on the other Engines?

  13. What Paid options are out there for me?  Which one’s would you recommend?

  14. How do I get on the first page in Yahoo?

  15. Why have my rankings decreased this month?

  16. What are log files?  How do we get them, and why do you want to see these files?

  17. Why would it help you to have access to our site?

  18. Should I use Inktomi?

  19. Why are certain keywords not ranking as well as others?

  20. Why do Frames cause problems with my Search Engine Placement?

  21. I use dynamic pages (i.e .asp, .cfm, .jsp, .php, etc….) and they have ? in the URL address, how does this affect my search engine positioning?

  22. Are all the engines shifting towards Paid Placement?  Why would I still need optimization efforts?

  23. Why am I getting Visitors to my site, but they’re not buying our products / or not filling out our Forms/Questionnaires?

  24. We make changes to our site everyday, what can we do so the work you do doesn’t get overwritten?

  25. I purchased other domain names, can I use these multiple domains to help with what you are doing?

  26. Can I put a redirect on your Keyword Specific Content Pages so the public don’t have to see them?

  27. Do you design websites?

  28. Why shouldn't I do the work, myself?

  29. Why can't I see a list of your clients here on your website?

  30. What we don't do.

  31. Bottom line... what's it going to cost me?

  32. What else?

  33. What kind of website does not succeed in search engines?

  34. The ideal search engine client.

  35. Why doesn't your site rank highly in Google?

  36. Closing with humor:  If Architects Had to Work Like Programmers

1. Where will the work reside -- on your server or mine?

Always on your server, unless circumstances dictate that we have to host them on another server. In either case, any work done by us remains your property (as long as it's paid for!). We don't believe the way to keep customers is by holding them hostage. For more information, ask us about the Dangers of Paying per Click.

2. What types of results reporting will you provide, and how frequently?

We provide a monthly report showing all your current rankings on major search engines. We also provide traffic analysis reports, if we have access to your logs. In addition, we can run ranking trend reports, custom visitor analysis and competitive analysis reports on request.

3. How long should it take from the day you launch the campaign for me to see solid results?

Generally, you can start expecting some results about 6 weeks after you first sign up, with more rankings appearing over the next 2 months as engines crawl and index your site. After the first 3 months, we begin reoptimizing and resubmitting as necessary.

4. Which are the most important search engines and directories you target?

We rank the importance of the engines and directories by the amount of traffic they can produce. We determine this by monitoring our own clients and using industry stats from Jupiter Media Metrix, StatsMarket, SuperStats and NetRating. Here are some the search domains we determine to be most important:

· Yahoo

· Google
· Inktomi
· Overture
· AllTheWeb
· AltaVista
· Excite
· HotBot
· LookSmart
· Open Directory (DMOZ)

5. Do you have international submissions?

We handle submissions and optimization for all English-based search sites throughout the world. In addition, we have coordinated French, Spanish Italian and German submissions. We hope to introduce more services as demand for these services increase.

6. What, if any, visitor conversion services do you offer so I can maximize my traffic?

In addition to being search engine optimization experts, we also have extensive experience in site design, both traditional and online marketing and advertising copywriting. We have all the components required to convert browsers into buyers. Often, we have dramatically increased the number of visitors to a site, only to find the visitors weren't "sticking". We then worked with the site owner to rebuild the site so they maximized each and every visitor.

7. What are the important tactics in your approach?

We believe strongly in combining manual submissions and a well through out paid inclusion strategy. We put your online marketing money in the places where it will do the most good.

8. What exactly is a Keyword Specific Content Page?

Keyword Specific Content pages are pages specifically created with the same look as your site and optimized for a particular keyword phrase. These pages then provide several links to your site, as well as links to these pages coming from strategic areas in your site. The page is created with optimum keyword weighting for the chosen keywords with simplified coding to accommodate the search engine's software that has to crawl the pages after a submission is done.

9. Where will the Keyword Specific Content Pages be on my site?

These pages are uploaded to your site and reside in your root directory. For example, http://www.yourdomainname.com/KSContentpage1.html. These pages will be named after the keyword that particular page is optimized for.

10. Is it going to be a part of a search engine's result? How and where will viewers see it?

Yes, all these pages are submitted to the major search engines. These pages may show up on the search engines when a search is done for one of your keywords. Once on these pages the consumer can read the content and click on a hyperlink to get to your actual site. 

11. What are the best results you've gotten for a client to date?

We have many exceptional rankings, including #1 on Google. Ask us for a partial list. One record we are especially proud of is getting all of our clients into Google's top 10 for their primary keyword... yes, for ALL of our clients!

12. Can I use Overture and get just as much coverage on the other Engines?

While a Top 3 bid for your chosen keywords would place your listing in the Featured Sites section of Alta Vista, Hotbot, Looksmart, Lycos and AOL, all these engines also have corresponding Directories or database of sites that are spidered by their crawlers. This means it’s important to submit to other areas of these engines to ensure maximum exposure. Search Engine Optimization is required to complement their various Page Ranking algorithms.

13. What Paid options are out there for me? Which one’s would you recommend?

The most important Directory to pay for placement in is Yahoo. If your company does business on the internet, Yahoo is a must. Looksmart offers Paid Inclusion into their directory and at Overture you can bid on your Keywords to ensure Top listings. Along with these three options, we would recommend submitting important pages from your site to Inktomi’s Paid Inclusion.  About.com has its Sprinks Paid Directory, Excite uses FindWhat’s Pay-per-click model and Google offers Banner ads as part of it’s AdWords Campaign.  The relationships between paid and non-paid listings are changing almost monthly at this point.  Through our looking at the big picture and leveraging our expertise among many clients, we enable our clients to benefit from the latest expertise and information, giving our clients competitive advantage.

14. How do I get on the first page in Yahoo or Google?

There are no guarantees that your site will be placed on the first page of results when you do a keyword query, however, with the proper research into Yahoo’s Guidelines, and an Express Submission to the most appropriate Category, your chances of gaining acceptance is greatly increased. Yahoo also factors Click Popularity into determining whether or not a page is deemed “Most Popular”.  Yahoo's relationship with Google is changing in 2004.  Please discuss the latest developments with us.

15. Why have my rankings decreased this month?

If your website listings have slipped in ranking it could be due to a number of factors. If your site was offline at all during the month, Search Engine Spiders may have been trying to visit your page at that time. The Engines may be tweaking their ranking algorithms to help improve the relevancy of their listings, which may impact results for two weeks to two months. When this is done it could cause listings to drop in ranking and other listings to rise. The addition  of new sites to an Engine could mean that they get placed above your current listings since some engines give temporary preference to newly submitted sites. When Search Engines place more weight on aspects such as Link Popularity this also causes a shift in the Top Listings.

16. What are log files? How do we get them, and why do you want to see these files?

Log files are the raw documents recorded by your Hosting company that track the incoming and outgoing hits from your site. If your Hosting company offers this information, you could determine the keywords and search engines that are bringing you the most traffic. This information is important for us to help with your overall Search Engine Positioning strategies.

17. Why would it help you to have access to our site?

Having access to the site would be very important, but we understand that for security reasons this may not be possible. As we make routine changes to our Keyword Specific Content Pages and the site optimization it’s important to have revisions uploaded as soon as possible because if we miss a particular update from an Engine, we may have to wait a few weeks before they update the pages that were submitted.

Not having direct access to your website and its log files is akin to not allowing a doctor to have direct access to his patient.  Yes, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment can be done, but it is far more difficult and time-consuming than if the doctor is permitted full co-operation.

18. Should I use Inktomi?

Inktomi is an important search portal to incorporate into your Positioning strategies.

19. Why are certain keywords not ranking as well as others?

There are a few reasons why one keyword may be ranking higher then another. First, not all keyword are equally competitive. Some words are more generic or broad in focus and that means there are likely a lot more websites out their Positioning for that phrase. The more specific, targeted keyword phrases will get rankings before the highly competitive keywords. 

20. Why do Frames cause problems with my Search Engine Placement?

Search Engine Spiders can’t follow the hyperlinks pointing to the content in Framesets. There are Search Engine Positioning techniques that we can use that will allow your site content to be found by the search engines, but generally a non-frames website with hyperlinks pointing to all the various sub-pages of the site is much more Search Engine Friendly. 

21. I use dynamic pages (i.e .asp, .cfm, .jsp, .php, etc….) and they have ? in the URL address, how does this affect my search engine positioning?

While the algorithms of the various Search Engines are more accepting to the submissions of these dynamic pages, there are only a few engines that can properly spider those pages at this time. This means if you use a lot of dynamic pages pulled from a database on your site, you should supplement them with static HTML content pages that can be submitted to the Search Engines.

22. Are all the engines shifting towards Paid Placement? Why would I still need optimization efforts?

Paid Placement is a part of Search Engine Positioning and optimization strategies. It is something that has to be incorporated along with Site Optimization and Marketing. Paid Placement will help with particular engines, but the Engines that provide the most relevant results, such as Google, require optimization efforts to ensure good rankings.  A benefit of optimization efforts is that if you fail to pay for top ranking, your site still "floats" near the top.  It may even be possible to enable you to stop paying per click altogether.

23. Why am I getting Visitors to my site, but they’re not buying our products / or not filling out our Forms/Questionnaires?

If the statistics show that people are visiting your site, but not filling out the Forms on your site it could be due to the way the form is presented. If you want someone to fill out a questionnaire and supply you with their email address, then it has to be compelling. Visitors to your site will be more likely to fill out your forms if you offer them an incentive.

24. We make changes to our site everyday, what can we do so the work you do doesn’t get overwritten?

If we have access to your site, we’ll notify you when we upload changes to your server. This way you can then download the versions of your pages with our revisions and save them to your computer. When you want to make changes to these pages you have the necessary optimization in place and all you are doing is changing text content or graphics.

25. I purchased other domain names, can I use these multiple domains to help with what you are doing?

Having multiple domains names is a good idea if you plan to develop them into their own separate webpages. This is ideal for targeting a specific keyword or product that you offer. This would require you to get separate hosting packages for each keyword. However, we recommend not having the multiple websites be exact mirrors of each other since many search engines will penalize ranking for this.  Please discuss with us how we can enable your multiple domains can be put to their best use.

26. Can I put a redirect on your Keyword Specific Content Pages so the public doesn't have to see them?

Most search engine directories will reject your submission if the site uses re-directs (also known as meta-refreshes), where after a few seconds, a page is automatically forwarded to another page. A lot of the search engine spiders will either ignore the redirect (thus not finding the site with the actual content) or not allow the submission of other websites that originate from a domain name that utilizes redirects. However, many engines state this fact but don’t abide by it, so you will come across sites with re-directs on some of the search engines, but we’d recommend against it.

27. Do you design websites?

Yes.  However, we prefer to focus on our core skills of website optimization for search engines.  We can build your site or work with your existing site designer.  We do not do Flash or Shockwave sites but can work in conjunction with Flash/Shockwave developers.

If you elect to use us, you can expedite the implementation schedule and reduce development costs considerably by preparing the following in advance and filling out our contact - client qualification form

  • keyword and key phrase lists

  • logos

  • all text content

  • photos to be scanned

  • the URLs of at least three websites whose design you like to emulate

28. Why shouldn't I do all the work, myself?

Be our guest.  Some people like to learn from books. There are plenty of good ones. The "Dummies" series is a good place to start. Many others see a site whose layout is liked, save the source code, print the page and its source code, and then compare the two to see how it's done.  HTML is pretty simple. The tricky stuff are tables, layout, forms, autoresponders, integrating databases, search engine optimization, JavaScript, Java & CGI, configuring email accounts, learning to FTP, interpreting web hit logs, setting up shopping carts, etc..  If all this is Greek to you, web design for you may be like plumbing or car repair for us... we are intelligent enough to learn it, but it is a distraction from our core business.  Moreover, we don't have all the specialist's tools and the facility that a professional has when he uses his tools daily.  It's probably cheaper in the short and long terms to hire a pro who has the right tools and experience.  Some points:

  • There are fancier and glitzier developers. There are more expensive and less expensive developers.  Our expertise is in creating fast-loading pages that place highly in search engines. We'll trade glitz for hits any day.  We can refer you to talented artists who can create the images, if that's a necessity.

  • Our goal for websites is that they generate as much traffic as possible.  If people are looking for your product or service, we will help them find you.  It is up to you to close the sale.

  • We speak and write English.  Our president was a head teaching assistant at Columbia University for over 150 students per semester, teaching young and old, technophobe and technophile, explaining web and Internet commerce concepts clearly. 

  • We highly recommend enlisting the skills of a competent marketing writer who specializes in websites before embarking on a search engine marketing campaign.  Sadly, many businesses may operate well but lack in the communication skills to effectively present a compelling argument for an online purchase.  We can work with your writers or we can recommend one.

A little humor entitled "How to Build a Web Page":
  1. Download a piece of Web authoring software. (20 minutes)
  2. Think about what to write on your Web page. (6 weeks)
  3. Download the same piece of Web authoring software, because they have released three new versions since the first time you downloaded it. (20 minutes)
  4. Decide to steal some images and awards to put on your site. (1 minute)
  5. Visit sites to find images and awards; find five that you like. (4 days)
  6. Run setup of your Web authoring software. After it fails, download it again. (25 minutes)
  7. Run setup again, boot the software, click all toolbar buttons to see what they do. (15 minutes)
  8. View the source of others' pages. (4 hours)
  9. Preview your Web page using the Web Authoring software. (1 minute)
  10. Try to line up two related images horizontally. (6 hours)
  11. Remove one of the images. (10 seconds)
  12. Set the text's font color to the same color as your background; wonder why all your text is gone. (4 hours)
  13. Download a counter from your ISP. (4 minutes)
  14. Try to figure out why your counter reads "You are visitor number 16.3 E10." (3 hours)
  15. Put 4 blank lines between two lines of text. (8 hours)
  16. Fine-tune the text, then prepare to load your Web page on your ISP. (40 minutes)
  17. Accidentally delete your complete Web page. (1 second)
  18. Recreate your Web page. (2 days)
  19. Try to figure out how to load your Web page onto your ISP's server. (3 weeks)
  20. Call a friend to find out about FTP. (30 minutes)
  21. Download FTP software. (10 minutes)
  22. Call your friend again. (15 minutes)
  23. Upload your Web page to your ISP's server. (10 minutes)
  24. Connect to your site on the Web. (1 minute)
  25. Figure out how to do well on the search engines (2 weeks)
  26. Find out why the search engines banned your site (6 weeks)
  27. Repeat any and all of the previous steps. (eternity)
  • Multiply difficulty of above by 10-fold if you have e-commerce.
  • Multiply difficulty of above by another 10-fold if you have a database..

29. Why can't I see a list of your clients here on the website?

We have competition that would love to be able to woo our clients away.  Moreso, some search engines penalize websites that are egregiously manipulated to skew the results.  We don't want to penalize our clients.

The idea is to be aggressive but both kosher and below the radar.  This takes time and experience.  Most fly-by-night search engine optimization companies emphasize the sell and just try to blast out our site to a bunch of insignificant search engines.  Our clients stick with us because we make our money when they get qualified traffic

After we speak with you to determine that you are legitimately a potential customer, we will give you references and plenty of search terms and domains where you can see our actual impressive results for yourself.

30. What we don't do.

Like Coke, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other companies, our recipes are our competitive edge and are the result of decades of computing, database and searching experience and web experience since before Yahoo was born.  We will not discuss our methods.  Don't ask.  What we can tell you is that we never, ever, ever use spam or anything illegal or that would deserve penalties from search engines.  All your visitors that we obtain will be self-qualified searchers who are already looking for services and products like yours using search engines.

31. Bottom line... what's it going to cost me?

These are guidelines and vary widely by client.

  1. Domain name registration and hosting:  ~$100/yr

  2. Search engine placement: ~$1000 plus variable monthly commissions ($100 and up) depending on generated traffic.  If you don't generate qualified traffic, we don't make money.

    • Yahoo ($300/yr), Looksmart ($300/yr) and Paid Inclusion seed funds ($400).  If your site was listed on Yahoo prior to their becoming an annual pay-for-listing site, subtract that.  Looksmart may be replaced with Inktomi and/or a combination of other pay-for-inclusion sites in 2004.

    • Monthly commissions - tiered commissions based on generated traffic exceeding your initial traffic before we commence.

  3. Site development:  $2000 and up.  E-commerce sites and database integration will typically add $5000 each to development costs. Prices rise for developing sites that may require frequent updates.

  4. For a sales tool that works 24/7, 365 days a year, and never takes sick time, vacation time or needs workman's comp insurance, a web site that is optimized for search engines is an excellent value.  If you don't think your web idea will generate enough revenue to at least break even during the first year, it may be premature for you to have a website.  Keep us in mind for when you're ready.

  5. Have we chased you away, yet?  No?  A written proposal costs $500 paid in advance.  If you hire us, this will be applied against development costs.  If you don't hire us, you own the proposal and can take it to another vendor with our blessing.  It takes a week after receiving the proposal fee for me to email you your proposal.

32. What else?

  1. We do not do speculative or commission web work. Please don't ask. If you aren't confident enough in your "surefire web idea" to plop down cash and show us your detailed business plan that is already making the venture capitalists drool and throw wads of cash at you (enabling you to pay us up front), please don't offer us equity in your idea.

  2. We do not do "percentage of net sales" deals.  We don't do what we can't track without your help and our parents taught us to "lock up the women and children when someone says 'trust me'."Our art is in simple design and in getting your site description seen when people look for products and services like yours.  

  3. The following is a rule of web development and of life in general:
    • You can have it good
    • You can have it inexpensive
    • You can have it now
    • Now pick two of the above.
    • The corollaries of the above are:
      • If you want it good and inexpensive, you are probably going to need to invest your own sweat equity in learning how to do it well by yourself.  This won't be soon and you'll have to wait to make yourself an expert.

      • If you want it good and now, you'll need an expert and resources to get you there ASAP,  This won't be inexpensive.

      • If you want it inexpensive and now, it won't be very good or last long.

33. What kind of website isn't a good search engine marketing candidate?

You mean we'd turn away a potential client?  Yes.  When it makes no sense for the client or would be an exercise in futility for us. 

  • A few years ago, we took on a local marital counseling service.  We did exceedingly well on the search engines... #1 rankings on their primary keywords but no traffic.  Why?  People ask their friends, colleagues and clergy for word-of-mouth referrals for this kind of business.  People don't use the yellow pages to pick out a marriage counselor.  Nor the web.  We still have this counseling service as a client and they use their site as an extended business card but we mutually no longer see the need to invest in search engine optimization.  (And yes, we're still in the top 5 for nearly all of our terms.)

  • Another kind or client has eyes bigger than their heads, desiring to place in the top 10 for an exceedingly competitive and too-broad search term like "real estate" or "music CDs".  This would take a massive and expensive long-term effort since we'd have to catch up and surpass sites that have spent six or seven figures long before we got started.

34. The Ideal Search Engine Client.

Has a high commission or profit margin so that only a few sales will generate a positive ROI.  We are proud to say that all of our clients have earned more than they spent on us, many by multiples and a few by orders of magnitude.

35. Why doesn't your site rank highly on Google?

Touché!   Not really.  If you're here, it's probably by word of mouth.

Competition among search engine optimizing firms is fierce and can get ugly where many unethical search engine optimizers will attempt to sabotage their competitors (and their clients!).  You've probably seen or heard of bidding wars on Google or Overture.  The only winners there are the search engine company's profit margins.

We emphasize "natural placement" on search engines, so that if your pay-per-click budget is out, you maintain a competitive holding pattern.  We want you to get the maximum ROI for each dollar spent.

We don't need to draw attention to our clients, here.  Their search engine results do that for us and 99% of our business (maybe it's 99.5%) comes from word of mouth referrals. 

We also don't want to enable our competitors (or the search engines themselves) to analyze patterns based upon our successes in order to thwart or frustrate our efforts. 

We don't host sites and prefer to use a wide assortment of our client's existing legitimate web hosts.  This prevents "clustering penalties" where Google and other search engines perceive manipulation coming from a "neighborhood" of websites all maintained by a not-so-savvy search engine marketing provider on the same ISP.

Search engines are playing a constant cat-and-mouse game with the optimizers.  Patience and stealth and ethics really do pay off in the long run.

36. Closing with humor.

If Architects Had to Work Like Programmers

Dear Mr. Architect:

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion.

My house should have between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don't have nearly enough insulation in them).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all of thses options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices that you make.

Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house: get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has.

I advise you to run up and look at my neighbor's house he constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on as an interesting project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can't happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I've given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can't handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

PPS: Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.

If you do your homework and have reasonable expectations, much can be accomplished.