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(Web Info Newsletter for The Rest of Us!)

CONZZ_ARCHIVES Volume 1, Number 4 -- Nov. 20, 2001

        PLEASE NOTE: Home Sweet Home!
        FEATURED ARTICLE: Search Strategies, Part I - Dependency
        OUTWARD BOUND: Links of Interest



This newsletter is an attempt to familiarize the non-techies amongst us with Web design, Web development, and Web-based information deployment. We hope you will find it useful and infused with nuggets of digestible technology — "Techno McNuggets."

Your feedback is always welcome and encouraged. Please, send any questions or ideas for future articles to:

We'll do our best to address your questions and concerns in future editions.

Previous editions of CONZZ_ARCHIVES can be found at:

If you know of someone, a friend, associate, or fellow employee that you would like to add to the newsletter mailing list, please forward this email to them and/or send their email address to:

If you would prefer not to receive this newsletter, please use the contact info at the end of this text.

Thank you and we hope you find this newsletter informative, or at least, entertaining.

Connie Seidel, Editor & Sr. Web Developer, Seidel & Associates

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PLEASE NOTE: Home Sweet Home!

Most of us are getting our feet back on the ground, bit by bit, since the September 11 attacks. But for some individuals, families and communities, the aftermath still looms heavily.

Most notably in my mind are the local charities close to home that are struggling more than ever before to stay viable and to continue to do their work. With so much attention on New York City's needs, donations that might have otherwise found their way to causes in theirlocal communities have gone to the Red Cross relief effort instead.

The Red Cross is working to find ways to best use the excess dollars they are now in control of. Yet, the heros in our own midst are struggling to find ways to continue their efforts to help those in need. As our hearts fill with emotion and we reach out to help, let's not forget our own local charities and causes.

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FEATURED ARTICLE: Search Strategies, Part I - Dependency

Search engine placement and how to get people to your Web site is not an easy topic to cover in one short newsletter. In fact, it's not a simple topic to cover, period. For those who are seriously concerned or interested in how their site fares when surfers hit the search engines, the Internet and bookstores have a wealth of information waiting to be discovered.

But, for the purpose of this humble newsletter, I want to break the subject into four parts:

  • Part I - Dependency (or Where Have All My Visitors Gone?)
  • Part II - Preparations (or Where Am I Now That I Need Me?)
  • Part III - Optimization (or Getting The Site Ready)
  • Part IV - Registration (or 5000 Search Engines? Really?)

Now, let's take a look at search engine "dependency" issues.

"Where Have All My Visitors Gone?"
Let me say to the uninitiated out there that getting your Web site to land on the first page (or three) of the results from a search engine query is a time consuming, costly, prolonged, and heroic effort.

Just as in working toward justifying the funds to build your Web site, you must take a cold, hard look at the business justification of chasing that elusive "top billing" on Yahoo! or Google. Often, an organization will spend good time and money getting their Web site built and "live." Then, upon performing a search on their favorite search engine using one of their organization's products or feature, they find their site listed on page 756... if at all.

And some days later their log files don't show a marked spike in visitors either! "What's up with that?" they ask. "Where are all those myriad Web surfers and why aren't they coming to my site? Somebody, bring me the head of my Web designer, now!"

"Please, Don't Shoot the Piano Player"
First, let's separate search engine placement and Web page design. While there is some relationship between the two, it's not where you'd expect. Otherwise, they are two distinctly separate entities. When clients are looking at their site's future design, they are invariably concerned with "look and feel" characteristics. So is the designer. Issues of how this new design will show up in search engines is almost never considered during this phase. If it were, many of the "cool" aspects of the design would be left behind, since a large majority of "coolness" just gets in the way of search engine optimization.

Second, it's the rare "designer" that will be up and informed on search engine optimization and placement. The solution to this is a moving target and requires diligence that most Web designers just don't keep up with. In larger, professional development teams, there is usually someone whose job is solely search engine optimization and placement. This requires its own degree of expertise.

Third, and by no means last, is the fact that every site out there is vying for that precious "top billing" and the competition is fierce. You could come up #1 while searching Excite for "plungers" one day, only to find yourself knocked to #715 a day or two later.

"Uh-oh, This Can't Be Good News!"
Is this sounding expensive yet? Well, it should. It is! Not only is optimizing a Web site for really good search results complicated, it's similar to grabbing a bar of soap in the bathtub.

Unfortunately, because there are so many sites that will spend great amounts of time and/or money abusing search technologies, sites like Yahoo!, Google, AltaVista, Excite and other popular engines and indexes must continually develop policies and strategies to avoid the abusers. This can mean getting "kicked off" of some engines, or not getting listed at all if you don't follow their individual policies to the letter.

And as more sites come on board, using your same keywords or search phrases, keeping your site visible means a continued effort in the hands of someone that is paying attention not only to the site, but to the various search engines and their registration practices.

"But They Said They'd Do It For $49.95!"
While there's a lot of products out there touting their ability to list your site with every search engine in the known universe for little cost and no effort on your part, the truth is, just getting registered with thousands of different listings doesn't guarantee your ranking! We'll look at this in more detail in Part IV of this series.

"So How Do We Market?"
The question must be asked, "Are you sure you really need to depend on search engines to get people to your Web site?"

Some do. If you run an e-commerce site that depends on attracting customers looking for gourmet coffee plungers, you need to spend the time and money getting your site not only into the search engines, but on the top page, if not the #1 spot. And, you need to continue to spend the time and money, because there are lots of plunger people out there hoping to do the same.

But, if you're a nonprofit, a school, or communitiy organization, your efforts and dollars are much better spent on more traditional marketing techniques. You have to ask if you're doing enough to make your local user base aware of your organization and its resources, including the Web site.

Is your URL listed on every single piece of your printed collateral? Is it in your Yellow Pages ad? Do you refer people to it for more information when they call your office or when you speak at local coffee clutches? Do you review your site often to make sure you have the best and latest possible information about your organization presented there in an intuitive format?

Often, organizations will spend time and money getting a site "live" on the Internet, only to forget it... as if "now that that's finished, we don't have to worry about it any more."

"It's Only As Important As You Make It"
As a rule of thumb, people that might otherwise be your constituents or stakeholders will never take your Web site or its presence on the Web any more seriously than you do. As you make people aware of your site through your own marketing (and guerilla marketing!) tactics, you'll find more people coming to the site.

But don't stop at just "talking the site up." You have to keep the site fresh, keep the content up to date, make sure the visitor's time and interest is well rewarded, and insure that the site presents your organization's mission intelligibly and professionally. Visitors are demanding. They want what they want and they pretty much want it now. If your site doesn't give it to them, there's probably several others that will.

In the next issue of CONZZ_ARCHIVES, we'll take a look at how to prepare for registering your site.

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OUTWARD BOUND: Links of Interest

Related to Today's Article
Search Engine Watch
As it says, "tips about Internet search engines and search engine submission."
Search Engine Resources
An incredible listing of articles about anything to do with search engines, placement, optimization, paid placement, etc. A wealth of info in one spot.
General Interest
The AFU & Urgan Legends Archive
Help stamp out the proliferation of rumor, misinformation, and lies so common in forwarded emails. Bookmark this site and learn to use it. An incredible amount of research goes here into verifying or debunking the stories in our mail boxes.
Urban Legends and Folklore
Another very informative site worth a bookmark.
Urban Legends Reference Pages
Don't dismiss this site because of the clip art. It's actually very good and very accurate. With the addition of this bookmark, you're armed to go out and fight ignorance on the Internet!
New S&A sites
Tower of Faith Evangelistic Church gets a new look from S&A
This New Testament Congregation's new site, with pages still evolving, is a good example of a collaboration between client and contractor. S&A brings a little Flash on board with this project as well.
CommunityCare Foundation's newly revised site by S&A
A redevelopmed and revised designed site presents this community foundation's public information in a much friendlier environment. A good example of what S&A calls "a clean, well lighted place."

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Connie Seidel, Seidel & Assoc., and