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Climbing the Beanstalk
December 1, 2004

Welcome to the December 1, 2004 edition of "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly newsletter on search engines and search engine positioning from Beanstalk. In this edition we will explore some of the more useful tools out there to help you with your SEO, some recent article from the Beanstalk staff on how to optimize your website as well as discuss the ongoing battle between Google and MSN for search dominance and the innovations this is leading to.

If you have any questions regarding any of the areas covered in this newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us.

Tools Of The Trade

Just as there are tools to help a carpenter build tables there are tools to help SEOs build rankings. In fact, there are literally hundreds of them of varying degrees of usefulness. Through an understanding of what to look for and through experimentation one can determine what characteristics are common among all the best tools to help you attain higher search engine positioning.

What To Look For In An SEO Tool

There are five main characteristics of a good SEO tool. they are:

  1. The tool should make suggestions and not changes. Any tool that automatically applies changes to your site and/or pages should not be used. If you don't know what's going on with your site you stand a very real chance of hindering your rankings more than helping. The worst part is, you may never even know that you did so.
  2. The tool should not be used to create doorway pages. Doorway pages are pages built solely to attain rankings for specific keywords and not to provide value to the visitor. This is a very common and yet banned technique that is unlikely to work and more likely to get your website banned (if not by automatic detection then when one of your competitor notices and reports you).
  3. Never use an automated search engine submission service. You do not need to submit your site once a month and no, this will not help you with your rankings. In fact, with some quality links to your site you don't need to submit your site at all, it will be found on it's own. We have submitted website and do so as part of our service however when we were putting our own site up we decided to test and see how long it would take to be indexed by the major search engines without being submitted. Rather than submitting our site we took that time to build some quality inbound links. It took 3 days from the day the site went live to first appearing on Google and only a few days longer to be found on Yahoo! and MSN.
    Some might say "But what about the other thousands on engines that the automated systems will submit my site to?" To those I would pose the question: Which search engine do you use? I would guess that it's not one of the other "thousands of engines" but rather one of the top 5. You can visit our search engines page and find the add url links to the major search engines. This will get your site listed on the engines that account for over 95% of all search traffic (with the exception of the PPC engines which you won't get top placements on no matter which submission service you use unless you bid-per-click).
  4. A good tool will address issues that are of key importance to the search engines today. Doorway page generators, meta tag builders, etc. do not fit this category. Tools to help you find quality link partners, keyword density analyzers, and reporting tools that just make your life easier fit this bill. Please note: tools to find quality link partners should not be confused with tools that automate links pages. You should look at every single site you are exchanging links with and only link to those that are relevant to your content. If your visitors wouldn't be interested in visiting the site then don't link to it.
  5. A good SEO tool will have positive feedback from credible sources. Look for testimonials on the site and on the search engines. Remember, on site testimonials may or may not be legitimate. Look for information on the tool on other sites and see what others have to say. If in doubt, search engine forums such as those at WebProWorld and SEOChat give you the opportunity to ask questions and get others' opinions of the product.

Some Of The Tools We Recommend

There are some tools that we have found very useful indeed. On our site we give a bit of information on what they do and why they are useful. Some of the key SEO tools that we have found useful in our travels are:

There are certainly other tools out there however these are the ones we use and so they're the ones we recommend.

Recent Search Engine Positioning Articles

Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization has recently had two of it's articles picked up by WebProNews, ISEDB, and an assortment of other SEO resource sites. These are recommended reading for anyone interested in attaining high rankings.

Human Testing
The most important part of your website is to reach the visitor. You have taken all the steps to create a great design and added SEO elements to your site, you have created the perfect online presence. Now to see if all that hard work has attained the main goal, to reach the visitor and steer them in the direction most desirable ... <more>

Internal Links
When you're about to launch into your link work why not stop and consider the ones that are easiest to attain and maximize first. That would be, the ones right there on your own site and those which you have total and complete control of. Properly used internal links can be a useful weapon in your SEO arsenal ... <more>

Let The Games Begin!

The search engines have been going for years at yet it seems as though they were just getting warmed up in preparation for the largest battle in search engine history. With the threat of an upcoming MSN search launch and a few pennies in their coffers from their IPO, Google has been working hard to "one up" MSN.

Google - It is most certainly not a coincidence that Google decided that the date of the MSN beta search launch was a good day to announce the doubling of their indexed web pages (taking their number from a bit over 4 billion indexed pages to over 8 billion) thus overshadowing the MSN announcement.

Google has since made a number of announcements with many more sure to come. With search engines now designed for specific sectors including the recently launched Google Scholar for scientists and the predicted but not yet announced Google Browser, Google is positioning themselves for a major battle to hold their search engine dominance. (The belief that Google will be launching their own browser is reinforced by their registration of the domain gbrowser.com though it is currently not being used)

MSN on the other hand had put out little in the way of information regarding the launch of their new engine. They currently draw results from Yahoo!/Overture and have not released when this will change. Some predict that it will be sometime this month. Based on how their beta engine has been received this would be a logical decision, as it has received wide-spread kudos for dealing with many of the issues Google results present including the pervasiveness of spam.

MSN holds a very strong position in this battle as they have admitted that they would integrate the search engine right into their next operating system. This will give them immediate access to 85% of computer users, something Google can only dream about.

Predictions

Who will win this war is a hotly contested subject among SEOs and Internet enthusiasts. That Google will lose marketshare is not the only issue but rather, how much and will they even be a serious contender in a few years' time.

Were I to hazard a guess I would put my money on the MSN search based on the results I have seen and their ability to virtually dominate whatever market they enter. But then ... Google may very well have a few surprises left. If MSN delays their launch past January 2005 they may very well find themselves in a significantly weakened position after giving Google, with the billions they have in their war-chest, months to develop results, products and services that allow them to further entrench themselves as the only "viable solution" in search.

Thank You

Thank you very much for subscribing to "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly search engine positioning newsletter. If you have any questions about the areas covered or if there are any areas of search engine positioning that you would like to see covered in future articles/newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us. We want to write what you want to know.

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