Tuesday, July 1, 2003


========Volume 5 Issue 9 July 11, 2003
Subject: Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 9, July 11, 2003

Date: Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 3:55 AM

Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 9, July 11, 2003
ISSN 1545-3499
In this Issue:
Editor's Notes (Lynne Scott) Google v. SearchKing collateral damage
Ask Paynt (Debra Paynter) Establishing Directory Structure: initial research 

I hope that all of our American readers passed a wonderful 4th of July holiday, and that our Canadian readers had a great Canada Day. You'll notice that this issue is coming out a few days late. That's because I was waiting for some information that needed to be included. Two items that were to be included in this issue have been bumped to next issue in order to include this information.
If you've been to the PPP website recently, you will have noticed a note regarding the PPP's upcoming interview with Chris Ridings of SearchGuild ( ). That interview will be appearing early in August, but during the course of our discussion, Chris asked for some information on the Google v. SearchKing issue. Specifically, he would like information on any ongoing collateral damage being experienced by those either hosted by SearchKing or linking to it. Chris has generously offered to analyze this information in an effort to determine whether this damage is related to Google v. SK, and what course of action might be possible in the event that it is related.
If you feel that your site is experiencing ongoing collateral damage, please collect as much information as you can, and forward it to with "collateral damage" in the subject line. Chris needs the following information:
• The url
• The PR before the difficulties
• Terms ranked for and where before the difficulties (or referrals per term)
• Google referrals before the difficulties
• The PR immediately after
• Terms ranked for and where immediately after (or referrals per term)
• Google referrals immediately after
• The PR now
• Terms ranked for and where now (or referrals per term)
• Google referrals now
• Whether the site sold inventory to pradnetwork or not
Some of you might not have all of this information, but collecting as much of it as you can will be a great help. I'll be forwarding the collected data to Chris for analysis. 
Yahoo Acquires Overture This is an interesting development in the whole SEO / SEM arena. Discussion is taking place in the Portal Network Forums, so why not pop in and share your thoughts on the issue. 
ISSN Granted to the Portal Partner Press
If you take a look at the top and bottom of this issue, you'll notice a small change. The Portal Partner Press is now an internationally registered publication, with its own ISSN. This is a big step on the road to journalistic acceptance and recognition.
This week Debra Paynter starts off her regular contributions with some great advice on doing initial research for a hub building project. I'm sure this will get all of you thinking, and generating questions about hub / portal building. Send them in to Ask Paynt.
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal, Eye on Winnipeg, and as well as serving as editor for the PPP.
Ask Paynt
Debra Paynter
The door is open on what to talk about this week so what I'd like to do is take you to beginning of establishing what the structure of your directory will be. Start easy with a niche portal on a topic that is close to your heart. In approaching the initial research time I start with a spreadsheet, a word processing document and a text pad. Next I open a browser to Google, one to, and my other is for the direct who is and such information. These are my basic research tools.
Knowing that I am approaching the research with a focus, a passion for the subject, or at least a general theme in mind, I can make a list of the general topics I want to use as a starting point to my research. Google directory is my first stop. I go to the top of my tree and check out how the ODP/Google directory approaches my theme/niche/industry. I take note of the 'related' categories and anything that appeals to me, including naming conventions and use of keywords. I visit sites included in the categories.
What I am doing with this first run through is getting a feel for how the 'organizers of the web' are dealing with my subject matter. There's no reason to recreate the wheel, so I look for clues to stimulate me to create something that totally encompasses what I can comfortably structure and provide content and listings for. If my goal is to make money from the hub, it is even more important that I take on only what I can comfortably handle and grow with.
While in the Google directory I look at what the industry has to offer by way of other directories. What's the competition like, what needs are they meeting, what topics are they covering along with all the same observations as when I'm looking at the upper level Google directory. Not only am I looking at what they offer but what is missing. It's very important to find the holes, especially if the goal is to bring in income. Every industry has them. My job is to find them so I can fill them with my content.
As this information starts coming in, I keep lists going. Usually there is one for category ideas, one for keywords, which I may break down into further themes, and one for sites I like. I list the competition and as I find the holes I list those. Often times I'll get ideas for articles, glossary terms or tip ideas, specific thoughts for developing content. If I find sites with communities, chats, message boards and so on I check those out for content. What are people posting about, what information are they looking for?
What I am trying to do is balance what the industry has to offer with what is missing. I am balancing what content people are looking for with what I can offer. These are the first steps, the initial feelers I send out. It's important at this point to gather in information. The only sorting is really the list making. Don't throw anything out yet, even if it seems impossible at this point. Research includes a bit of dreaming as well. Look outside the box and I know people are tired of that expression but it's the truth.
In the research-dreaming phase think about your audience. What might interest them, in addition to the main focus? Consider their peripheral interests and needs. Your original idea might be punk music but as you get into the research you find sites offering videos, clothing and poetry that you like as well. Maybe your original idea for a hub of punk music is too limited. Maybe what you have in you is a hub that's attractive to a larger audience. Maybe the theme will become more focused or completely open to a new direction, such as skateboarders who love punk music.
Until you start looking at these lists with an open mind, not limited by what every other site in your theme is doing or what they consider acceptable to offer from a similar hub, you don't have the edge. Hub building isn't reverse engineering a better page to rise in the ranks.
Next month I'll answer any questions that might come in and then carry through with this discussion tying in this initial research with the eventual structure. If anyone has an idea of a specific theme, niche or industry you'd like to explore as an example then let me know. Happy hubbing!
Debra Paynter of is now blogging daily. Contact Debra for an affordable Foundation Plan to structure your online promotional strategies. She is accepting new projects from small websites to
Subject: Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 10, July 25, 2003
Date: Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2003 9:54 PM

=============Volume 5 Issue 10 July 25, 2003==============
Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 10, July 25, 2003
ISSN 1545-3499
In this Issue:
Editor's Notes (Lynne Scott)
Don't Get Me Started! (Jane Ellen Carr) 

This week I've been thinking about linking strategies, and reading a few threads in various webmaster forums around the internet. I happened to come across one at Webmaster World that made my blood boil. The thread is titled "Pricing Text Ads for PR Purposes".
It seems that the owner of a very highly ranked website has been approached by a potential advertiser with a product relevant to the highly ranked site. The advertiser wants to purchase text advertising on multiple pages of the site. So far, so good. Now, if I received such an approach, I would set about determining the total value of those ads, based on my current rate card, and send a quotation off to the advertiser. The advertiser would agree with my quotation, disagree and end discussion, or try to negotiate a better price. Unfortunately, this is not what happened.
The site owner, unsure of how to price these text ads, asked an associate for some direction. The associate pointed out that the high PageRank of the owner's site meant that text advertisements would be worth substantially more than standard advertising rates, because PR would be passed to the advertiser, thus improving his search rankings and yielding far more traffic than the ads alone. NB: up to this point, neither the advertiser nor the site owner had mentioned PageRank as a factor in determining price. The advertiser might have been considering it, but we have no way of knowing that.
The associate made a post at WMW asking for some direction. In general, the advice he got was sound: price according to what the market will bear. What made me angry, though, was the suggestion that Google might penalize both sites for the buying and selling of PR, and that the links had better use some form of redirection so that Google could not follow them.
Think about it. Why should a search engine even enter into the discussion when neither the advertiser nor the site owner had ever expressed any concern over search rankings? Why should any webmaster have to worry about how a search engine might react to his having sold some of his ad inventory? Why should a webmaster have to think about hiding / cloaking / redirecting his advertisers' links? Am I the only one who thinks this is totally absurd? 
Talk Back:;act=ST;f=50;t=26;st=0;&#entry3
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal , Eye on Winnipeg , and as well as serving as editor for the PPP. 
Announcements Portal Plus owners will be happy to learn that SearchKing is now offering Pluses on top level domains. You can now have your portal plus at, instead of Present portal plus owners can upgrade to a top level domain free. You will need to register a domain name. Details at
Talk Back:;act=ST;f=1;t=99;st=0;&#entry3 
Don't Get Me Started!
Jane Ellen Carr
Ok, I've had it! How many *experts* does it take to make enough recommendations to make you cut your nose off to spite your face? Let's talk about linking strategies. Years ago when the 'Net was young we all learned the value of adding links to our sites. Site visitors love them - that's what made the 'Net so interesting, go to one site, find something interesting, follow the links around and surf to your heart's content.
Then along came the big search engines that started adding value to your sites if they had lots of links out to other sites, making your site more valuable (ranking higher) simply because it was in fact more interesting to the user. Remember the killer link list pages in the old days? Those sites that gained huge recognition and traffic simply because they were an invaluable reference tool to find other sites on any given topic.
Now here we are 10 years later, with the likes of Google dominating the search engine traffic, and we are being told by all the experts to throw out all that old mentality (links are good) and devise a new strategy - only non-reciprocated links that you don't actively seek out are good. Just a few passive links (preferably from bloggers, of course), and a few links from a selected list of about 5 or 6 well-known directories are what you want, and heaven help you if you accidentally link to someone else who accidentally linked to someone else who accidentally did something that Google didn't like - but you don't know for sure who did something wrong, hence, be careful and don't link to too many outside sources (furthermore, this can harm you as it might dilute your own PR) and just to be on the safe side go through your linked sites with an axe and chop out anybody who has a PR0 showing on the Google toolbar, as you can't take any chances that they might just be a low rankin!
g site, or a new site, or a slow to rank site, but heaven forbid, you might get entangled up in a *bad neighborhood*, which nobody knows for sure exactly what that is, but its somebody who did something wrong that Google didn't like.
This is poppycock! The height of absurdity! Links are what bring you traffic for goodness sakes. Furthermore, links from other related sites bring you targeted traffic. Who in their right mind would want to trade highly targeted, interested traffic for the holy grail of moving up a notch or two in the Google result stack for some highly competitive keyword - big deal, now you come in position 42 instead of position 267? Lets face it not everybody is going to get in the coveted top 10 positions - there are thousands of good sites out there who will not rank well for their keywords, ever.
Now, I'm not suggesting that we all become link farms - we all know what one of those looks like, feels like, and does at a glance (despite the fact that Google can't seem to differentiate between a link farm and a valuable list of related links). I am suggesting that we use some common sense about all of this, and go back to freely linking, giving our recommendations of other good, related sites to visit, and not being afraid to give out a reciprocating link, regardless of the supposed *pitfalls and penalties* being imposed by the mighty Google.
See this thread for just one example of what I'm talking about (I see this same advice being given out all over the SE forums, time and time again): And the site in question in that particular thread: which is a very nice site, btw, one who has taken a LOT of time and trouble to assemble two very long pages of links to other interesting sites.
Talk Back:;act=ST;f=34;t=15;st=0;&#entry8
Jane Ellen Carr is the administrator of the SearchKing Forums. She runs Our World of Dolls and Vortal Experts