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How To Reach All the Engines
By Jill Whalen 2003-10-08 (From the High Rankings' Advisor Newsletter)


Hi Jill,

I am using [WebPositionGold's] PageCritic. It is quickly apparent that what works for one search engine is frequently quite different on another. What is the answer?

I could use a robot.txt file and create a different version of each index page but is this a smart approach? Does this look to be like spamming? How do you handle these differences?

Thanks in advance.

Jerry

~~~Jill's Reply~~~

Hi Jerry,

Nice to hear from you!

The answer to your problem is to simply not use PageCritic. It's totally wrong, from my perspective. Pages can and do rank highly on all the search engines. There's never a need to design a page for any particular engine at the exclusion of others.

Make your pages the best they can be for your users and search engines in general, and your site will do great!

Jill

[Apparently my reply didn't quite answer Jerry's concerns, so he wrote me back with additional questions.]

~~~Jerry's Response~~~

Hi Jill,

The thing that drives me crazy is how well all of my sites do on Google and how poorly they do on MSN (why, btw, do all of MSN's results come from LookSmart?). So, knowing what needs to be done to the page to move up in MSN is important. Do I simply rely on Searchenginewatch or others for that insight?

I'm surprised to hear your response. I know better than to use the [WebPositionGold] submitter or the page generator but I thought their knowledge base and page critic were good tools for getting general insights on a page vs. search engine.

Do you mind telling me how you determine what to do on a page when faced with a similar dilemma?

What is about WPG that you believe makes it an invaluable SEO tool?

Again, thanks for your help and feedback.

Jerry

~~~Jill's Reply~~~

Hi Jerry,

The thing that drives me crazy is how well all of my sites do on Google and how poorly they do on MSN (why, btw, do all of MSN's results come from LookSmart?).

MSN is all about the money. If you care about doing well with them, you probably should pony up to LookSmart and pay for every click to your site. Unfortunately, the Inktomi listings only show up *after* the LookSmart listings. Of course, even Inktomi wants some of your cash these days. If you absolutely need to be doing well in MSN, you can use paid Inktomi inclusion and tweak your pages to your heart's content. You'll be spidered every 48 hours and can see what works and doesn't. You'll need to shoot for the phrases that have no LookSmart listings, though, as there's no way to beat them with Inktomi "natural" results.

So, knowing what needs to be done to the page to move up in MSN is important. Do I simply rely on Searchenginewatch or others for that insight?

All of the search engines want the same thing -- to show the pages that are the most relevant to the search query. Keep working on your pages so that they are the most relevant in all respects, and you'll eventually get lots of highly targeted traffic and sales.

I'm surprised to hear your response. I know better than to use the submitter or the page generator but I thought their knowledge base and page critic were good tools for getting general insights on a page vs. search engine.

If you like numbers, I suppose PageCritic can be interesting. But years ago when I ran some high-ranking sites through the PageCritic and it told me that they needed to be changed, I decided never to look at it again. It only works for the algorithm du jour. If you want to chase whatever algorithm is up to bat on any given day, more power to you.

I prefer a long-term approach, which blankets all the engines with lots of keyword phrases that are relevant to my sites. This way when some phrases are ranking highly in some engines, and others are ranking highly in other engines, I still have good representation across the board. Rankings do change. They can change on any given day. Up and down, down and up. That's life in the SEO game. The trick is not to look at the minutiae, and see the big picture instead. Forget about rankings even. Are you being found in the engines for relevant phrases, and are you converting that traffic into sales? That's what matters.

What is about WPG that you believe makes it an invaluable SEO tool?

It's really not an invaluable tool to me anymore. Five years ago, when we had many competing search engines and it was important to be ranked highly in all of them, WPG was an easy way to check positions. Today, there are only 2 or 3 search databases that anyone cares about, making it easy enough to do some spot checking by hand. Or even better -- to simply check server logs. That's the best indication of how you're doing.

Hope this helps!

Jill

Jill Whalen is the owner of HighRankings.com and moderator of the free weekly email newsletter, the High Rankings' Advisor. She is also known for her moderation of the critically acclaimed, Rank Write Roundtable. Jill specializes in search engine optimization, directory submissions, SEO consultations and workshops. She has obtained hundreds of number 1 and 2 spots for her vast array of clients throughout the years. Clients include multi-million dollar companies, major universities, real estate agencies, attorneys, surgeons, dentists, and small-medium sized businesses.

 

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