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Scottie Claiborne

Scottie Claiborne is the facilitator of the Successful Sites Newsletter. She is a speaker at the Search Engine Strategies conferences and the High Rankings Seminars as well as the administrator of the High Rankings Forum.

Audience Targeting Equals Online Success

The goal of any marketing campaign is to reach potential customers and minimize exposure to people who are not interested, not qualified, or out of your area. The Web is the ideal marketing medium because you can really target the people who will be interested in what you have to offer....

Advertising IS Content

Does advertising ruin credibility? It certainly can. But what many people don't realize is that advertising can be a draw and a benefit to a site, if done correctly. Selling text ads for link popularity may earn some cash, but it certainly won't impress your site visitors....

Paint By Numbers SEO- An Imitation of the Original Is Never as Good as the Original

There MUST be a secret formula for SEO, right? After all, an algorithm is just a mathematical formula! There's got to be a "best" way to do it that will guarantee a top ranking. People who think they've found the answer are dismayed to plug in everything in perfect order... and still rank on page 12 for their favorite keyword....

Instant Staff for Your Website

I approach my work with a frugal mindset: Why pay other people to do what I can do myself? With that thinking, I've struggled for years with minor programming and modifying scripts not because I really enjoy it, but because it just doesn't make sense to pay others for what I can do myself. Right? Wrong!...

Cause and Effect - Not Always Easy to Determine

Just as early humans didn't actually cause the sun to come up every day, minor changes to your site generally don't trigger massive changes in search engine results....

Tale of the Broken Light Fixture: A Target Audience Analogy

Looking at the webstats, you see that users are finding your site and even hanging around a little while, but they don't engage or interact. Most likely, you have a usability issue....

Caring for Site Visitors- When Mistakes Happen

We expect our websites to respond consistently to every visitor, but the truth is that sometimes things are out of our control or we can't fix an issue as quickly as we'd like....

Switching to a New Domain Without Losing Your Google Rankings

Unfortunately, when launching a new version of your site Google doesn't always seem to recognize that you've simply changed the URL of an existing site, and ends up subjecting the new domain to the aging delay as if it were a brand new out-of-the-box site....

Can You Lose Weight on Spam?

The key to great search rankings is just as simple. Create a great, usable website with useful content, and obtain more relevant incoming links....

Search Engine Submission Services Are a Scam

Search engine submission services are completely worthless. And yet they are pushed and pushed hard by huge domain registrars, web hosts, web designers and many other credible web professionals....

Better Than the Rest- Hiring Specialists

When it comes to your website, it pays to find professionals who know what they do what they do best and what they need to outsouce....

How Image Links Can Help Build a Better User and Search Experience

Ask for advice on building a search-friendly website, and one of the tips you will often recieve is to use text links throughout your site. Text links are read by search engine spiders and render the same regardless of the type of browser being used....

Staying Ahead of Competitors

No doubt, it is critical to know who your competitors are, and what they are doing. But don't follow their every move, or duplicate everything they try....

Getting From Point A to Point X : Effective Site Navigation

Good site architecture is the foundation of your site-- take some time to think it through and test it with real users to make sure your foundation is stable and strong....

Threads of the Web - Linking for Success

Links are like roads to your site. With every new link, more people can find your site. Just as more drive-by traffic helps a physical business, the more links there are to your site, the more traffic you are likely to get....

Pursuing Copyright Infringers

As a website owner, if you find your copy on multiple sites without the proper credit, it makes YOU look like a possible copyright violator as well....

Simple Server Side Includes Tutorial

An easy way to manage pages in your site is by replacing chunks of repeating code, such as your navigation links, with server side include (SSI) files....

The Secret Sauce in Web Site Marketing

The truth is that many websites just need more descriptive copy. The professional that most people think they can do without - the copywriter- is the one who can have the biggest impact on the success of your site....

What's the Score? Basic Web Analytic Terminology

The very thought of deciphering site statistic programs sends many site owners running to do all kinds of tasks that are less painful and tedious, like going to the dentist or cleaning the tile grout with a toothbrush....

What is Content? Part II

Both search engines and customers love fresh, updated information. Some people groan at the thought of having to work so hard at adding new content, but it's not as complicated as you think!...

What is Content? Part I

Good content is useful information or tools that your visitors will find helpful. It means different things to different businesses and the bottom line is that what constitutes "good content" depends on the goal of your site....

Accessibility Issues Make a Difference

The reality is that many companies don't realize the impact their design decisions have on the usability and basic functionality of their site. Solving accessibility problems can improve the overall experience for all users, so it is worth making the effort....

Motivating Your Web Site Visitors To Take Action: Personality Targeting

It is easy to focus on one personality type with your design, layout and copy, but with a little creativity you can actually build a site that appeals to all types....

How Image Links Can Help Build a Better User and Search Experience

There are webmasters out there who believe that good design, usability, and SEO can't co-exist in the same site; that effective SEO will ruin usability or design elements....

Successful Website Marketing Needs More Than Great Search Listings

In order for search marketing to be an effective marketing strategy, people have to look for what you sell. This seems to be an obvious statement, but it's surprising how many business owners overlook this detail....

Hiring a Search Engine Marketer

Do-it-yourself SEO is a great way to go- if you've got the time to put in, anyone can effectively optimize a website. However, it makes sense to hire a professional when your time is better spent doing what you do best; running your business....

SEO Without Usability -- An Exercise in Futility

SEO had worked well for this company -- here I was -- a qualified buyer with credit card in hand who had found their site through a search engine. And yet I abandoned that site (and the nine others like it) in disgust....

Handling Discount SEO Requests

More often than not, clients who start out haggling over price and trying to "grind you down" over fees will ALWAYS want a discount. When you give in and offer them a discounted price, you are doing just as much work for less money....

What You Can Learn About SEO Copywriting From Infomercials

What problems do your customers face? Why do they need your product? Often you either have to create demand or enhance demand for what you sell. By pointing out that you understand their problems, you create trust....

Has My Site Been Penalized by the Search Engines?

Scottie Clairborne interviews Matt Bailey of The Karcher Group to find out how to know if your site has been penalized by the search engines and what you can do about it....

Google's Aging Delay for New Sites

If you have a brand new site, stop driving yourself nuts wondering what you are doing wrong! Stop tweaking and changing things, trying to influence your rankings; until the site has been in the index a while, it doesn't seem to matter what you do to it....

The Hungry Little Spider

Once upon a time, in a land called WWWebdom, there lived a little spider. It was a hungry little spider and it liked to munch up web pages and then keep track of which ones it liked best, so it could tell other people just how good they were....

Handling Discount SEO Requests - Turn a Sticky Situation To an Advantage

It's a sticky situation that most of us have experienced. The potential customer on the other end of the line has just made a plea for a discount. Your workload is fairly light and you want the business. Do you offer a discount or not?...

The Keyword Tools Trap

When it comes to keyword selection, clients always want to optimize for the highest searched terms (according to keyword research tools) and those alone. It takes some convincing to get them to go after lower search volume, but more relevant phrases. It's become a regular part of the cycle with my clients, especially those who are learning about SEO and the process of optimizing a site....

Monetizing Your Site

It takes real work, just like any other business, and the rewards can be somewhat shaky if you are depending on free traffic from the search engines to build your business. But done correctly, there are some tried and true ways to make your website turn a profit....

Why the Heck Do You Have a Website Anyway?

The important thing is that when you build a great site that keeps your users in mind, it will be easier to get good links, good rankings and all around good results. Your company and your customers will benefit -- and best of all -- you won't be as dependent on search engine rankings to meet your goals....

Digging Deeper into Search-friendly Design - Part II

A top search engine position is not the be-all-that-ends-all in search marketing. You have to get people to your site and convince them to take an action (subscribe, buy, enroll, register, etc.). Usability is a huge part of that equation....

Digging Deeper into Search-Friendly Design - Interview with Shari Thurow - Part I

One of the funniest things about my 5 Basic Rules of Web Design is that people think that they are so obvious, that it's quite silly of me to point them out. However, if these 5 rules are so obvious, then why aren't designers and search engine marketers following them?...

Understanding the SEO Industry: An Analogy to Offline Marketing

One of the challenges facing any new industry is creating a demand for and an awareness of the industry in the mind of the consumer. Since many Website owners have only a general idea of what search engine optimization (SEO) is and how it works, I've come up with an analogy from another industry that makes it easier to understand....

Links Are All About Reputation - An Interview with Mike Grehan

Linking is a hot topic these days -- anyone with a Website and an interest in search engine traffic knows that you have to get some good incoming links in order to be found in the search engines. However, most people are a little lost when it comes to landing them....

Links Are Good for Business

Read the advice on SEO boards and tutorials these days and you will find a lot of information about linking. There are debates and facts on whom you should link to and whether reciprocal links are good or bad. The reality is that the Web is made up of links and you should link to sites that your users will find helpful....

Making Sales on the Internet

If you build a better company than the other guys you can come out ahead. With lots of unique and useful content and a design that appeals to your audience, you can rank well with a commercial site and build a good business while you're at it....