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Search Engine Marketing Q&A - 2
By Jill Whalen - April 01, 2004

Question 1: Google Highlighting of Keywords

Hi Jill,

I just noticed that Google search results now highlight the searched criteria in the file/document name. Does this mean they are giving more weight to this than in the past? I always use relevant file names as a part of my optimization process, but understood it only carried weight at a few places.


Jill's Response

Hi Jim,

Nobody really knows what it means except for Google. However, it's my opinion that it doesn't mean anything other than the fact that their new highlighter sees all the search words on the page, even words that are not parsed by a hyphen, etc.

It's doubtful that this has anything to do with Google's algorithm. They recently changed their look, and this is just a manifestation of that.

I am doubtful that Google would put any additional weight on file names or domain names in their ranking algorithm. If anything, I would imagine they'd be moving further and further away from giving those fields any weight.

I also think that this new little twist is just another way to drive SEOs and Webmasters crazy, and give people like Danny Sullivan and me more questions to answer!

Thanks Google...we love you too! ;-)


Question 2: Switching to a New Domain Name

Hi Jill,

I have always enjoyed your newsletter and personal email responses because they are so direct and easy to understand. I am hoping you can continue that precedent with this question.

I have a customer that has been known by Google for quite awhile. We have had moderate success with SEO.

However, the customer now wants to drop the domain name in favor of a new one.

Do you have any advice on how to "swap" domain names for a website in Google without adversely affecting rankings? My fear is that if we suddenly drop the old domain name, Google will take a while to catch up and continue ranking the site effectively. Thank you so much in advance for any insight.

Doug B.

P.S. This feels like that episode on Seinfeld where Jerry is attempting the roommate swap and George keeps yelling "No! No! It's impossible, don't even think it!"

Jill's Response

Hi Doug,

LOL at the Seinfeld reference!

All you've gotta do is set up a 301-permanent redirect (at the server level) from the old domain name to the new and it should work itself out with Google in about 2 or 3 months. The other engines aren't so great at following the redirects and will probably use the old domain name, but there's not much you can do about that. At least people will get to the new domain once they click on the link from the engine.

Good luck!


Question 3: Submission Services

Hello Jill,

I have been a longtime fan of your newsletter and appreciate your help with many issues. I have a question which I am sure is not new to you. I have been using Inktomi for all my URL submissions and have been quite happy with their programs. Now the new Overture Site Match is in place and we have no choice but to use this service when adding new URLs. I DO NOT want to use this new service; I think it is unproven and way too expensive for my taste and for my customers.

Are there any other services for submitting your URLs at a basic cost per page (relatively cheap like $25 per page) out there? And what search engines do they subscribe to?

Best regards,

Deirdre D.

Jill's Response


Whatever you decide, do NOT subscribe to any automated submission service or buy any automated submission software. You will be throwing your money completely down the drain if you do.

However, the good news is (as I mentioned last week) that you absolutely do NOT need to submit your URLs to Yahoo at all. They will find and index all your pages for free if you just give them a crawler-friendly site and the time to do so.

Remember, most of you don't need Overture Site Match for your sites. Chances are your pages are already securely listed for free.


Question 4: Importance of a Site Map

Hi Jill,

I've read that a site map is a very important aid to search engine spiders to help them navigate your site. Is it necessary to have the site map on all pages of your site, or is just the home page sufficient? (We have a fairly small site -- less than 20 pages.) Thanks for your input!

Stacy R.

Jill's Response

Hi Stacy,

For a small site it really doesn't matter. I would assume your site is easily navigable by the search engine spiders and people. If it is, then you really don't need a site map at all. If you already have one, that's fine too. A link from every page to the site map certainly won't hurt.

Site maps are a great way to make your pages accessible through fewer clicks, plus they're a wonderful opportunity for you to create nice, descriptive keyword-rich hyperlinks pointing to every page of your site.



Jill Whalen of High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization consultant and editor of the free weekly High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter. She specializes in search engine optimization, SEO consultations and seminars.

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