Dynamic Internet Marketing Newsletter

"Making Web Promotion Easier..."

 issue June 2003

This month in Dynamic Internet Marketing

  1. Editor's Note: Google Algorithm Changes
  2. Internet Marketing News Flash
  3. Portal Websites - SEO SPAM or Legitimate Search Engine Placement Tactic?
  4. The Wasted Half of Your Advertising Dollars
  5. The Future of Search Engine Marketing
  6. How Visible Is Your Website on the WWW?
  7. About Dynamic Internet Marketing Newsletter
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Editor's note:

Hello Again!

This has been a hectic month for the Internet marketing community. Since the second week of May, many, many people started seeing problems with the Page Rank indicator on the Google toolbar - many sites' link pages (sitemap pages) began showing very low PageRank values or even a gray bar (no value) - some reported their pages completely disappearing from Google. The only explanation, and one posted by "Googleguy" (an employee of Google) in the Webmasterworld.com Google Forum recently, is that Google is implementing some significant changes to the index that reportedly include some new spam filters.

Apparently, what many people have been seeing throughout May at Google is an incomplete index. If your pages are missing from Google they may just not be in this version of the index yet. Links that have developed over the last few months may also not be in the index at this time. Our best advice is to not make any rash changes to your websites until this index settles down and remains more consistent. On 17 June the 'Google dance' has started again. So relax and read the articles that we have prepared for this issue of our Dynamic Internet Marketing Newsletter. We hope you enjoy them!

Internet Marketing News Flash:

1. Espotting have signed a pan-European deal with US-based meta-search engine Mamma.com - This is the first time Mamma have differentiated their European traffic, and Espotting are geo-targeting their users to provide them with country specific search results.

2. Update on Adbuyer placements -the Adbuyer units are displayed on the right hand side of Lycos & Hotbot Search results pages. On Lycos specifically, #1 and #2 bid positions have been upgraded to being listed under the Overture "Sponsored Listings". For example, Overture is listed as 1, 2, 3, 4 under Sponsored Listings and positions #5 and 6 are now the top two Adbuyer bids. Then on the right hand side of the page, Adbuyer bid positions 3, 4, 5 and 6 are displayed.

3.Judge dismisses suit against Google - U.S. District Court Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange denied a motion for a preliminary injunction brought by SearchKing, an Oklahoma City-based Web hosting and advertising network that claimed Google unfairly removed links to its site and those of its partners from the index, causing financial losses. The judge dismissed the case on the grounds that Google's formula for calculating the popularity of a Web page, or "PageRank," constitutes opinions protected by the First Amendment.

4. Rise of the blogs - Web logs or "blogs", the popular form of personal journal publishing, are growing up and are about to get a search engine of their own. A blogs-only search tool was announced by Google's CEO Eric Schmidt at a telecommunications conference earlier this month but the details are yet to be unveiled.

Portal Websites - SEO SPAM or Legitimate Search Engine Placement Tactic?

The use of mini websites (also known as portals) as a search engine placement tool is a hotly debated topic and one which is sure to bring up warnings of "spamming" and raise a few eyebrows at the legitimacy. Portals have, for too long, been used as an easy link-building tool offering nothing more than regurgitated information, sometimes vaguely reworded, for the sole purpose of building links to some central website.

The search engines themselves have long been aware of this tactic and have made every effort to hinder its usefulness. Looking for duplicate content, interlinking strategies, and an assortment of other similar indicators, search engines have generally managed to reduce the usefulness of portal websites as a link-building tactic to nothing.

Then have portal websites been rendered useless? The answer, a resounding "no".

A benefit to the actual visitor!

As with all website design, the best possible use of any tactic, including portals, is to help your visitors. If you make your information easy to find and relevant to what they are looking for, your visitors will stay longer, view more pages, and perhaps even return. Portals are an excellent tool for consolidating information into smaller, more manageable sources of information.

Let us take for example a athletics information website. Being an excellent source of information for sports around the world, this site has it all. Basketball, Soccer, Hockey, Rugby, and on and on. The advantage for the website is that it has tons of great information on all the major sports, the disadvantage ... it has TONS of information on ALL the major sports. So what can one do to help the visitor find the information that they are looking for?

The answer here ... build portal websites. In the case of this athletic site it could be done by either region or by sport. Let's say that you choose to build portal sites by sport. What this would give the visitor is a much more specific site to navigate, dedicated to their area of interest. Most certainly you should carefully link this site to the other sports sites to ensure that a visitor with multiple athletic interests can find all the information that they need but for the visitor only searching out information on one sport they will land on pages with tons of information on that sport dedicated to exactly what they are looking for.

Too often people optimizing websites focus on the spiders and forget about the visitors. The sites you are developing have to appeal to the visitors and provide them with the information that they're looking for or all you'll get at the end of the day is hosting bills and low conversion rates. Portal websites are a great tool for this in that they enable you to create a series of information resources giving full information on an area while structuring a network of information covering a much larger topic.

And more keywords too!

While the visitor is of very significant importance when building a website or, as we are discussing here, a network of sites - getting visitors to your site is of primary significance too. As we all know, there's no point in creating a beautiful website if no one's going to see it. Portal websites are a fantastic tool for increasing your online visibility and search engine exposure for a wide variety of reasons.

Perhaps the most significant of these reasons is the increase in keywords that you can target in a portal promotion. Rather than having one website with which to target a broad range of keywords you now have many websites with which you can target these same keywords (more effectively) and also add others. Rather than trying to target "super bowl" and "hockey history" on the same site you now have the opportunity to target them specifically on sites dedicated to the keywords for the sport in question.

To illustrate: on one page it is much easier to target the two keyword phrases "hockey playoffs" and "hockey scores" than "hockey playoffs" and "football rules". In the first example you are using one keyword for two searches and thus, make the job much easier that when you have two totally different keyword phrases. Targeting incompatible keyword phrases (i.e. ones that aren't based on the same main keyword) makes it harder to get the words in that you need to and still keep the content readable to the visitor.

Another related advantage to portal sites is based on the weight that many search engines give to home pages. For obvious reasons, some search engines put increased weight on home pages. With a portal promotion you have as many home pages as you do websites and thus, you have the advantage of increased weight being placed on pages directly relating to the searches your visitors are finding you with and by which you want them to find you. And when they get there they will find the exact information that they are looking for.

The added ability to list multiple websites on directories, and to build far more links to your network will also serve you well. With sites dedicated to specific areas (sports in this example) you can then go to a directory and list you hockey portal in it's category (Directory > Recreation > Sports > Hockey - in Yahoo!) and then move on to list your soccer portal at Directory > Recreation > Sports > Soccer. This gives you the ability to build far more links to your websites overall and to focus your search engine placement tactics. What I mean by focus is that you can determine (either through research or experience) which sports are of the greatest interest to your visitors and focus on placement for that sport. Rather than building links for one domain and relying on it to rank for often-unrelated keyword phrases, you can decide that soccer and tennis (for example) are the two sports whose visitors buy the most products from your site. You can then go on a large link-building mission for your soccer and tennis portals looking for links, not just sports-related, but soccer and tennis-related. This makes your incoming links far more relevant and also enables you to ask for links from sites that may not otherwise link to you. A site that reports scores on soccer in Europe is more likely to link to your soccer portal than to a site about sports in general. Or you can ask them for a link to both sites (your soccer portal and your main site) and kill two birds with one stone.


While the glory days of blatant link-farming are over, portal websites have never been more relevant. The ability to target a much broader range of keywords, to attain incoming links from a much larger base of websites, and to carefully link between these portals can take your site from 50 visitors/day to 5000 if done properly.

A word of caution: you are going to see these websites that you've created and you're going to want to maximize your link popularity - so what are you going to do. Well for one thing, you're not going to link all of your sites to all of the others with some link-farm footer at the bottom of every page. You're probably not going to want to even link all of them to the others on a "Links Page". What you will want to do is interlink them in an intelligent way. When there is a time when you may want your visitors to go to another of your sites (going from one sport to another), or where you may want them to have that choice, that's when to link - not just because you want to add more links.

As with most issues in web design, keep it friendly and attractive for your visitors. If you plan to implement a strategy just so it results in an increase in your search engine placement, but does not enhance the experience for your human visitors, then it's probably a strategy that either won't work or which will be penalized down the road.

Ross Dunn is the CEO of StepForth Placement Inc., a search engine marketing company founded in 1997 and based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. StepForth provides cutting-edge search engine optimization services that provide highly successful, targeted results for its clientele. Ross Dunn is a Certified Internet Marketing and Business Strategist (CIMBS) with a background in web design and online marketing. His broad Internet experience in combination with a talented staff has made StepForth a name synonymous with top results.

The Wasted Half of Your Advertising Dollars

There is an old saying in advertising that "I know half my advertising dollars are wasted - I just don't know which half!" Well, on the Web, you do know, since you can track how many site visitors come from which ads and also monitor which of them actually purchase or subscribes to your site.

Dynamic Sitestats (http://www.dynamicsitestats.com) is a complete web traffic report tool that provides answers to important business questions such as:

*Who are my visitors and where are they coming from?

*What is the return on investment (ROI) of my advertising campaigns?

*What content, products or services do visitors prefer?

*How many recepients are opening and clicking on my emails and newsletters?

*Where are my visitors getting frustrated and not finding the information they are looking for on my site?

*Which search engines and portals are referring the most visitors to my site?

*Which keyword phrases are more effective to sell my products or services?

With the conversion rate tracking tool you can know the performance of every single dollar you spend on advertisement. Dynamic Sitestats E-Business is coupled with a Campaign Management add-on which allows you to track any kind of advertising campaigns including Pay Per Click search engines, Affiliate Programs, E-mail campaigns, Banner campaigns etc. and it is fairly easy to implement.

Visit http://www.dynamicsitestats.com for more information and a 15 day free trial.

The Future of Search Engine Marketing

What does 2003 and beyond hold in the constantly changing world of search engine marketing? A panel of industry experts looked into their crystal balls to provide some guidance at the Engine Strategies conference in Boston, MA.

Frederick Marckini, CEO of iProspect emphasized that the focus of search engine marketing should not only be on keywords, but on conversions. "When you increase your web site's conversion rate, you improve the results obtained from all marketing sources including search, banner ads, and direct e-mail," he said. Another major trend Marckini sees is the verticalization of search, which was led by the consolidation of search space.

Cheryle Pingel, Founder and President of Range Online Media, stated that more and more clients are through with playing games and want to deal up front with the search engines in their marketing plans. "More and more people are spending less time in front of a television and more time online," she said. Kevin Lee, CEO of DidIt.com, stated that contextual search is the future of search, and contextual search will have an impact on search engine marketers. "The search for increased inventory among the search vendors and distribution partners like Google and Overture means we are going to see an increases in types of inventory being offered," he said.

Paid Inclusion and Pay-Per-Click Programs

"The paid inclusion industry really started with Inktomi," said Dennis Buchheim, Director of Inktomi Search Marketing Solutions. "It has proven to be an excellent business for us and has provided a lot of great opportunities to marketers and has been a price-leader." Buchheim believes that the core value of search engine marketing really has a lot to do with content in both Inktomi's flat fee URL Submit and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) trusted feed programs. Buchheim predicts that we will see tools every day: more search engine automation, both on the bid management and paid inclusion, more tools for submission, tracking, conversion/ROI tracking. "There is a lifetime relationship being formed with the customer, and everybody needs to remember that with the ROI process," he said. "The tools are getting better and better, and becoming more significant."

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Chris Bolte, Strategic Alliances and Sales at Overture, said that the big trends he sees revolve around how many customers he sees coming online. "Overture has doubled from 40,000 customers a year ago to 80,000 today," he said, "and that's just a segment of the total market. We expect that trend to continue big-time going into 2003 and beyond." Big-name brands are jumping online in a big way. As these clients get online and start testing search to see the true marketing value, especially compared to their other (traditional) online marketing vehicles, expect to see much more of the share go to search engine marketing, he said.

David Fischer, U.S. Manager for AdWords Sales & Operations at Google, said that Google has come a long way from 1996. "We are projecting 5-8 years from now that this market will really expand - increased number of tools, increased levels of sophistication, and so forth. There is a much bigger world out there that we can educate and open up to all this space and have them be a large part of this growth." Fischer believes that Google has only scratched the surface so far. "We have had $5-6 billion in total online advertising spending this year," he said. "Direct marketing still spends 8 times that amount. We must continually communicate the effectiveness and advantages our [search] industry to direct marketers and ad agencies."

Shari Thurow is the Marketing Director at Grantastic Designs, Inc. and the author of the book Search Engine Visibility. She has been designing and promoting web sites since 1995 for businesses in a wide range of fields.

Download the free trial of Dynamic Keyword Bid Maximizer. The KeywordBid Maximizer is an ultimate bid management and optimization software that will help you to manage your keyword bids in all the major pay per click search engines.

How Visible Is Your Website on the WWW?

Ok, you built (or paid someone good money to build) a site on the World Wide Web, but is it accomplishing your goals?

Getting listed on search engines isn't too hard to do, most have a submission page and software like Dynamic Submission automatically submits your website to all major search engines and helps you with the manual and paid inclusions. But getting a good ranking in response to a relevant query, that is an art.

Ranking in the major search engines is crucial to running a successful website and knowing how you're currently positioned is a key step before taking action to improve your rankings. You could determine this information yourself, by submitting dozens of queries to dozens of engines, but it is laborious and time-consuming work. It is far better to employ the available technology to automate the process.

Dynamic WebRanking assists you in monitoring your site's ranking with major search engines. It does emulate a manual search through each search engine working as like if you were manually checking your keywords ranking position. With Dynamic WebRanking, you or your clients can easily:

* Monitor all webpages in the world's major search engines,
* Keep track of the top competitors' search engine rankings,
* Run advanced trend reports,
* Schedule customize and have reports delivered to your email address,
* generate relevant keywords with the build-in keyword builder
* Optimize your website to achieve higher ranking with the built-in web site optimizer
Export keywords and ranking results to Text or Excel database

and much more...

Visit http://www.apexpacific.com/webranking for more information or try our free demo to find out in real time where you and your competitors rank on the world's top engines.

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