Hi Jill -

I always look forward to your newsletter and now I have a couple of questions about SEO.

I submitted to AltaVista almost 3 months ago. I know you always say to wait at least three months, but here's the thing: I also signed up about 5 URLs using their express inclusion and I get hardly any traffic at all from them. However, the same URLs provide me 20X the traffic on Google & MSN. Is that just the way it is now? Do people just not use AltaVista anymore? Should I care that AltaVista has not indexed my entire site?

My second question is this:

I optimized my pages myself and have gotten page one listings on Google for *some* of my most important keywords. However for some of my other important keywords the same optimization did not even get me in the top 20 pages on Google. I'm wondering why this could be since I did the same optimization for those words. Could it be that those words are just more competitive? I read somewhere that pages that are also listed in ODP get a boost in rankings on Google. One page that is doing well happens to be the same page (which is an inner page & not my main URL) that got listed in ODP.

I have been unsuccessful at getting my root URL listed in ODP. So, I guess my question is how do I get my other important keywords high rankings on Google?

Let me know what you think.

Jackie Jahosky


~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Jackie,

It seems you sorta answered your own questions already, and you're definitely on the right track. But let me just expand on your conclusions a bit and hopefully give you some ideas of what you can do to further your optimization efforts.

As far as AltaVista goes, you are correct: they don't seem to bring much traffic these days, even when you have many top-ten rankings. Of course, they just reinvented themselves (again) a couple of weeks ago (see last week's article. Therefore, it's impossible to say what the future holds for them. If they start to provide some high-quality, relevant search results and spend some time/money to market themselves to the searching public, perhaps we will see more referrals from them in our logs. As part of their new release, they are attempting to do more crawling and refreshing of sites. You may find that your additional pages will be added soon. If not, I wouldn't worry about it at this point. If you start to see your paid-inclusion URLs bringing more traffic, you can decide at that point if you'd like to pay for some additional pages. Personally, I don't understand why AV thinks their database is worth more to be included in than the other engines', and therefore I have not used their paid-inclusion service. If they lower their price to be more in line with what they're worth, I might give it a whirl in the future.

As to your Google problem, you are correct that the DMOZ link to the inner page of your site might be what's giving it the added boost it needs to rank highly for its keyword phrases. Google does seem to like DMOZ links, plus the DMOZ database is used by tons of small directories all over the Net. Very often you'll see these other directory links showing up in a backward-links check. It's a shame that it's such a pain to get listed in DMOZ these days, because it really can be helpful.

At any rate, since you do have one page listed in DMOZ, it's not surprising that they won't also list your main page. Although some sites can get additional listings, it's generally not the norm. But everyone is basically in the same boat. What I suggest for your main page is to make sure you're listed in all of the other major directories such as JoeAnt, GoGuides, Gimpsy and any others you can find that might be specific to your industry. If there aren't any directories like that, read today's guest article to see if perhaps it would make sense for you to create your own industry-specific directory!

It's also important to note that, contrary to popular belief, Google is not simply about links. Links can definitely help, but you've got to make sure you have a good 250 words of well-written copy that's utilizing your keyword phrases a number of times. Make sure to optimize for just a couple of phrases per page, even on the main page. As I stressed to the folks who attended my seminar this week, you can't try to do everything with your main page. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make. Shoot for just two or three phrases and laser-focus your copy on them. It could very well be that the phrases you're having trouble with are more competitive than the ones you're ranking highly with (as you suggested). If this is the case, either forget about those words and shoot for some additional less-competitive phrases, or just keep plugging away at it. Get your copy down pat and be sure you're using the same keyword phrases in your Title tag.

Good luck! Jill
November 21, 2002

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ, Inc.com, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

Search Engine Guide > Jill Whalen > Rankings in AltaVista and Google