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Back In The Saddle

By Christine Churchill

Grab your comfy slippers, tip back your ergonomically correct chair, and get ready for a stimulating read. Today's blockbuster edition of e-marketing-news features three stories for your reading pleasure.

The feature discourse is a guided tour by our own Mike Grehan through the recent history of network science. Essay number two, by copywriting guru and friend Karon Thackston of MarketingWords teaches us how to better "center" our web sites. (And no, it doesn't involve soaking in a hot tub or chanting in some esoteric language.) The final story is from Cre8pc's inimitable Kim Krause, who deftly builds bridges between heuristic evaluation and SEO techniques. She'll show us how (and why) to marry the two for a happy union.

But first, let's catch up a little. Since we last wrote, my buddy Mike Grehan actually went on vacation. To the southern coast of Spain, no less. Now, when most of us think of a Spanish vacation we envision lounging on a sun soaked beach, sipping ice cold Sangria, and eating fresh Paella. Sounds pretty ideal, yes? Well, our Mike did in fact return from his Iberian holiday rejuvenated. No internet. No TV. Wait a minute . . . not even Sangria! Just prime time, action-packed technical research with an intriguing array of scientist sleuths with names like Sergei Dorogovstev, Albert-Lazlo Barabasi, Stanley Milgram, Mark Buchanan, Paul Erdos, and Duncan Watts.

Now, if reading about Poisson distributions doesn't electrify you, wait a minute before you skip to the next feature. Mike makes up for low-level topic sexiness with sheer enthusiasm. Personally, I think this is one of Mike's best works and confirms his position as a leading search visionary.

In this article, my partner Mikey introduces us to a variety of technical subjects in such a painlessly entertaining manner we won't even realize we're getting a lesson on social network theory and ranking algorithms.

Unfortunately though, as Mike will brief us, not all is rosy in the linking world - this is the real visionary part and the section that will keep you up at night. The grim reality of linkage algorithms is that doing well is a steep uphill climb, which will only become more difficult over time, especially if your page is new to the Web. Fortunately, he pins down a few choice handholds to help us conquer our own Everests.

Before I finish with Mike, I'd like to share a bit of cool news about him. Our very own Mike Grehan, along with search legend Danny Sullivan, were chosen to be honored at a very prestigious event - An Internet Decade. The event is a huge honor in the UK and serves to recognise the contribution of 100 individuals for their input and influence on the development and growth of e-commerce and the internet in the UK over the last ten years. Way to go Mike and Danny!

Mike will kill me for mentioning that, but there are certain advantages to working 5000 miles away. ;-)

Our second article features useful copywriting advice from the Mistress of the Written Word herself, Karon Thackston. Karon reminds us of the importance of balance, not just in our life, but also on our web sites. We can't be overly zealous in our optimization efforts at the expense of our human visitors. Sound simple? It may be but Karon's common sense and practical advice on staying within the limits will make applying this rule easier when we actually start writing our text.

Lastly, usability guru and beautiful friend Kim Krause encourages us to consider usability as a belay -to belabor the climbing metaphor just a little longer ;-)  -to ensure that our web sites don't fall into a deep Internet crevasse. Kim's inspiring style grabs our attention, while she supplies us with quantifiable reasons to revisit site usability.

Just a quick aside before I hand over the proverbial talking stick, Mike's not the only one whose vacation plans defy social convention. While his oddities lean towards the analytic, my penchant is toward more primitive lifestyles. Next week I'm packing up my horses, literally, and heading for the mountains for a week of hard riding, campfire cooking, and no Internet. Well .I may not make it a week without Internet. I've been waiting for a good excuse to test out a new satellite phone. . . .

And now, without further delay, let me present this week's stories:

Mike Grehan Linking Story
Karon Thackston SEO Writing Story
Kim Krause Usability Story

And stay tuned. E-marketing News may be seeing more exciting changes and expansions soon.

See you next issue or in Sweden, whichever comes first!

Christine Churchill
Associate Editor, e-marketing-news

Quick Bits:

Boozy Bear Alert.
If you thought the taste for beer was a species-specific trait, think again. Check out this entertaining account of a connoisseur beer-drinking bear.

Vampire Rules.
Ever stay up late at night pondering the laws that control vampires? Me either. But just so you'll be prepared, in case you start tangling with these bizarre inhabitants of the netherworld, here's a list of the regulations that govern these sharp toothed fiends.

New Relative Merits Study Released.
And finally, a mother cat and her new litter of kittens recently took up residence into my garage. Apparently I need to remove the homing device attached to my house because it's been beckoning all lost beasts. However, being an incorrigible animal lover, I figured, "what are four more creatures when you already have a menagerie?" Out came the food, water, bedding . . . heck, the little creatures deserve a chance in life.

Then I stumbled on this highly edifying study that compares the relative merits of four optional accessories for the computer enthusiast: a kitten, a puppy, a baby, and a new video card. Guess which wins the top prize???? Geek Kitten Study

© Mike Grehan & Net Writer Publishing 2004

Editor: Mike Grehan. Search engine marketing consultant, speaker and author. http://www.search-engine-book.co.uk

Associate Editor: Christine Churchill. KeyRelevance.com

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Editor: Mike Grehan.
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Associate Editor: Christine Churchill
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