MarketPosition™ Monthly
 "...Because Submitting is Not Enough."

This Issue Prepared for:
Alexis Gutzman


June 2002

MarketPosition is sent only to those who subscribed to it. If you no longer wish to receive MarketPosition,forward this e-mail to This publication may be freely redistributed if copied in its entirety.  Portions of this newsletter may be reprinted with permission

MarketPosition Makeover

You'll notice MarketPosition sports a new look this month making it much easier to read and to navigate. The newsletter is now delivered in an HTML format by default. If your e-mail program cannot read this message in an attractive, two column format, then you may click the following link to receive it in the original text only format:

Our search engine marketing resource site, has also undergone a makeover, providing you with free daily search engine news, discussion forums, link popularity checking, nearly five years of newsletter archives, and more.

As always, we'll continue to send you the same great search engine news and optimization content each month as you have become accustomed to. We hope you enjoy the new look and are anxious to hear what you think.

Where Does Each Engine Obtain Its Results?

Back in the early days of the Web the source of search engine results was relatively easy to decipher. If you did a search on AltaVista, it returned results from AltaVista's database. Easy enough right?

Today, AltaVista draws results from its own database plus pay-per-click results from Overture and directory results from LookSmart. AOL pulls results from Google AdWords, Inktomi, and Open Directory. However, it was just a couple of months ago that AOL derived its pay-per-click results from Overture rather than from Google AdWords.

Since it's sometimes difficult to keep track of it all, we decided to produce a simple chart that we hope will help you understand search engine relationships better. We'll do our best to keep the chart up to date as the engines change:

Be sure to bookmark the page and refer back to it as needed.

Increase your Click-Throughs With Killer Title Tags
By Robin Nobles

As you probably know, the majority of engines place considerable relevance on the HTML title tag, making it generally the most important tag on your page.

You also probably know that title tags appear in the search results for most of the major engines, making the tags even more important. But, have you ever taken the time to learn how to create killer title tags, tags that will boost click-throughs, or traffic, to your site?

To make a point about how important titles are, let's look at some sample search results. In a search for "low cost life insurance" in one of the major engines, here are some of the titles from the top ten results.

  • #1 worldwide travel insureance quotes!
  • Untitled
  • Oklahoma Insurance Quotes Auto Home Health Life Business

Do any of those titles appeal to you? Notice that the first example has a misspelled word, which doesn't elicit much confidence in the site. The second example isn't even using a title tag, which is why it's listed as "untitled." The third example is simply a listing of capitalized keywords, which isn't as easy to read.

Now, let's say that the next three titles on the page are:

  • Does your low cost life insurance policy give you the coverage you need?
  • Low cost life insurance at a price that's right for you!
  • Stop paying too much for "low" cost life insurance!

Would you skip over the first three listed titles to visit one of the titles above?

My point is, if your title is more effective than sites that are actually above you in the ranking, you may get the traffic anyway, simply due to the effectiveness of your title tag.

Furthermore, offering something for free almost always improves response rates. For example:

  • 21 Ways to reduce your life insurance costs for free

Notice how the above title emphasizes a benefit (i.e., saving money) while mentioning it is FREE. The "21 Ways" quickly defines what they'll be getting to achieve the benefit.

Top Tips for Creating Killer Titles

Let's look at some tips for creating killer title tags, and then some mistakes that will cause your site to be passed over in the search results.

  1. Use compelling or "charged" words in your titles that will draw the user in to your site. Examples are: breakthrough, incredible, how-to, announcing, and revealing. Avoid over-used words and adjectives.

  2. Use the power of questions when creating title tags. When you ask a question, you force the reader to stop and mentally answer that question, which boosts your chances at a visit to your site.

  3. Use your important keyword phrase toward the beginning of your title tag, but use the phrase in a way that will pull in traffic.

  4. Begin the title with a capital letter, and then follow with all lower-case letters. Why? It's easier to read than titles with every word capitalized.

  5. Treat title tags as if they're advertisements for your online business. Make them short, snappy, and easy to read.

  6. Write your title in a way that makes the user believe that the site will solve a problem or help the user in some way.

  7. Create a sense of urgency in your title tags, when possible.

  8. Make sure to use a title tag on every page of your site, and make sure that the title tag is the first tag on your page.

Top Mistakes Made when Creating Titles

  1. Don't use just a series of keywords in your title tag. It's unprofessional and difficult to read.

  2. Don't use complicated words in your title tag, unless those words are commonplace to whoever would be visiting your site.
  3. Don't use all caps in your title tag. In other words, don't yell at your potential visitors!

  4. Don't slap up a dull and boring title. Spend some time creating an effective online marketing plug for your site.

  5. Don't use your keyword phrase more than once in your title tag.

  6. Don't use your company name in your title tag unless you use your important keyword phrase as well.

  7. Don't use yellow page tactics when creating titles in an effort to get to the top of the rankings. In other words, don't add a "!!!" or "AAA" to the front of your title to try to get higher in the alphabetical order. It won't help you with the engines, and editors at the directories won't allow the tactic anyway.

  8. Don't use passive verbs like is, was, and has. Try to use active, exciting verbs like launch, catapult, and unleashes.

In Conclusion . . .

Create your title tags in such a way that they will serve as an online marketing campaign for your site. Remember that a well-written and effective title can make up for a lower search engine ranking.

Spend a lot of time on your title tags, and it ultimately will pay off for you in renewed traffic to your site.

Robin Nobles is Director of Training for the Academy of Web Specialists. Robin has taught well over a thousand students in her online and onsite search engine positioning courses during the past several years. Her latest book Web Site Analysis and Reporting, as well as her past book, Streetwise Maximize Web Site Traffic, can be ordered through Amazon. Visit the Academy's training site to learn more about their search engine ranking courses and products.

For more tips on writing effective title tags, see the WebPosition Gold Page Critic:

Learn Why Some Sites Were Dropped from Google Recently

There's been some buzz in the forums recently about sites being dropped from Google for no apparent reason. Having a site dropped, at least temporarily from an engine, is nothing new. However, a higher than normal number of Webmasters last month reported that their Web site had disappeared from Google.

Here's an excerpt from an interview of a Google representative in Planet Ocean's most recent report:

"Our crawl engineers have looked into this pretty closely and concluded that for the most part it's the normal percentage of sites that happen to be unreachable during our crawl. We did a faster-than-average crawl this time, so that also left less time to attempt re-fetches of pages that we couldn't retrieve the first time. Our new crawl is at a more typical rate, and we'll be boosting the retry attempts to make sure that we get as many pages as we can.

To the best of my knowledge, this is not a Google glitch or bug, and it's definitely not a penalty. It's partly people being more aware of Google, partly that we crawled a little faster, but mostly just the normal amount of sites not being up during a crawl. We've got a list of domains on our end and we'll be checking things, just to make sure that it's not a glitch on our end. Webmasters can and should check their virtual hosting to make sure everything resolves correctly, and do spot checks to make sure their ISP is rock-solid.

When in doubt, check our webmaster info at to see other reasons that you might not be indexed. Webmasters for country-level domains (e.g. instead of should make sure that they've submitted their root web page at"

Planet Ocean then went on to report that the customer inquiry that prompted the interview e-mailed them exclaiming that their site had recently re-appeared in Google. Therefore, the lesson learned this month is the importance of having a reliable and responsive hosting service!

So how do you tell how often your site may be down or whether it responds slowly at times? People that can't get to your site are often not going to be able to see your contact information and tell you that your site is down. In addition, the search engines will often drop a site that is down or responds too slowly when they crawl it, as was the case with so many sites in Google last month. The solution is to use a Web site monitoring service.

The monitoring service we have used successfully since last year for all our domains is 1stWarning. The same company that developed the HitsLink Traffic Analysis service produces this monitoring service. They have a free version of the monitoring tool that will automatically check your site's status every 3 hours, 24 hrs a day. It will then give you a graph showing when your site was responsive and unresponsive throughout the day or during the month.

They offer a paid option as well where it will monitor your site as often as every two minutes and even e-mail or page you when it is down for a designated period of time. How often you want them to check your site depends on what value you place on your site being up. Every two minutes may be overkill for most businesses, but checking it every 5 or 15 minutes often makes good sense.

If you've not already stumbled across the service, you can find it by simply going to the WebPosition Traffic Analyzer page and then click the ToolShack link near the top:

I've found 1stWarning particularly useful in comparing the reliability of multiple hosting services. For example, we currently monitor our eight most important domains, some of which are at different hosts. 1stWarning will tell me what the "Success Ratio" is for each domain (i.e., the percentage of time the site was up) and the average response time in milliseconds. I've chosen to have it check our sites every five minutes and notify me whenever something goes down.

The service also monitors other Web services like FTP, HTTPS, and our POP e-mail service, which are all very important to our business. HitsLink says that they maintain multiple servers in different parts of the country to help avoid false reporting. For example, you wouldn't want their connection to go down and then have it falsely report that it was YOUR Web site's connection that had a problem. So far I've not caught it falsely reporting any downtime.

Regardless of what monitoring service you choose to use, I do recommend that you implement some kind of mechanism to continually monitor your host's or your dedicated server's responsiveness and performance. Most hosting services don't like to inform you when they are having service interruptions and often-times they don't even seem to be aware until someone tells them. Every time your site is down or responds slowly, that costs you money. So be sure to find a reliable host and keep an eye on them!

Credits: Thanks go to Planet Ocean for graciously supplying us with a copy of their recent interview with Google. Planet Ocean puts out a monthly report regarding search engine marketing along with a comprehensive book on the topic.

Lawsuit Filed Against LookSmart Seeks Class-Action Status

According to a June 4th CNET article, a lawsuit has now been filed against LookSmart on charges of fraud and breach of contract. The lawsuit seeks to bring in other LookSmart customers who believe they were mislead and deceived by LookSmart's policies in order to achieve class-action status. The plaintiff's attorney, Jeffrey Fazio of Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft has said that they are already getting flooded with requests from interested parties.

To learn what all the recent uproar is about, see last month's article "LookSmart Infuriates Customers with New Pricing Model."

Advertise in MarketPosition and Reach Over 460,000 People

If you're interested in advertising in MarketPosition(tm), the most popular search engine marketing newsletter in the world e-mail for current competitive rates and information, or call 1-800-962-4855 x707 or see:

Webmasters, marketers, and business owners around the globe read this high quality newsletter and depend on its advice for promoting their businesses online. Whereas many low quality newsletters tend to get deleted as soon as they arrive in a person's inbox, MarketPosition subscribers look forward to reading the in-depth and invaluable content offered each month.

Last Month:

Last month we talked about several important topics including:

  • LookSmart Infuriates Customers with New Pricing Model
  • How Smart is it to Still Consider LookSmart?
  • How to Get a FREE Listing in LookSmart
  • Google AdWords Replaces Overture as PPC Provider on AOL
  • Importance of a PPC Bid Manager

If you missed these or other key discussions, you can find the back issues at:

Other Resources:

FirstPlace Software, Inc. produces several products, including WebPosition, the first software program to report your search positions on the major search engines and to help you improve those positions.


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(c) Copyright 2002 FirstPlace Software, Inc.

In this Issue

MarketPosition Makeover

Where Does Each Engine Obtain Its Results?
Increase your Click-Throughs With Killer Title Tags
Learn Why Some Sites Were Dropped from Google Recently
Lawsuit Filed Against LookSmart Seeks Class-Action Status
Last Month's Issue

Resell Your Own Traffic Service!
Earn Re-occuring Revenue!

HitsLink now offers a fully customizable private label service. Resell traffic analysis service to your clients or bundle it in as a complimentary service. Allow them to track their traffic, view charts, graphs, and more. WebPosition users receive an additional discount that will increase your profit margins when you resell the service. Customize the domain name, page headers, logos, and more. We will provide all the technical support so you don't have to. Use our default template and have the service up and running in minutes!

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"I've evaluated the accredited courses by the Academy of Web Specialists...their resource library is updated continually and worth the price of the course by itself. I was surprised to see many tips that I'd never seen published anywhere else."
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It's 2002 and the landscape has dramatically changed. Not only must you optimize correctly to get good ranking, you also need to avoid spamming the search engines or risk being dropped. Let Robin Nobles of the Academy of Web Specialists show you to the way.

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