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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

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					SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
          What is Search Engine Optimisation and what you can do to
                    ensure your website ranks well in search engines?
                               TUTORIAL 19              SEARCH ENGINES 101




INTRODUCTION                                                DISCLAIMER
The Tourism e-kit is an initiative of the National Online   All content on this website and publication [both audio
Strategy Committee and is funded by the Australian          and visual] is protected worldwide by copyright and
State & Territory Tourism Offices. This tutorial has been   all other relevant laws. As each business situation is
produced by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse           different no responsibility or representation is accepted
as part of the complete online education program –          or given for the use of content in this document and
Tourism e-kit.                                              each user should take their own professional advice
                                                            accordingly.




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SEARCH ENGINES 101

       Reading Time: 10 Minutes                                                            Prerequisite: N/A


This tutorial will explain how search engines work and why a website needs to follow a search-engine–friendly
format.

1) WHAT IS SEO AND WHY DO I ABSOLUTELY NEED IT?
Search engines such as Google, Yahoo! MSN and Bing are the Internet stakeholders. Search engine optimisation
(SEO) is the process of designing and improving a website so it ranks high in search engine results when someone
who doesn’t know your business searches for the services or products you offer.


             SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION IS NOT AN ELECTIVE BUT A BUSINESS PREREQUISITE.


If your website is not optimised for search engines there is little chance that it will appear high in the search
engine results list. Since more than 95% of people start their search on search engines your website needs to
meet key search engine requirements.

A) HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES OpERATE?
One of the objectives of search engines is to rank the most trusted, usable, functional and informative sites first.
They want to provide the user with the most relevant information.

It comes as no surprise that SEO has become an integral part of web development and needs to be first
considered at the planning stages of your online strategy or website project.

Lets first review how search engines operate.

They send their robots to crawl your site to:

1. Understand what your website and business is about

2. Index all your pages in their database

3. List your website’s pages on the first pages of results when a potential visitor
   enters keywords that describe your offer

4. Increase targeted visitation to your website and eventually grow your bottom line
                                                                                              
photo credit http://flickr.com/photos/brucewang/


         If your business is a luxury bed and breakfast along the Great Ocean Road, you will need to
        optimise your website so it appears in search engine results for words such as “luxury bed and
          breakfast”, “romantic getaway” and/or “great ocean road” instead of just appearing for its
                                                business name.




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B) WHAT CAN I ExpECT If I HAVE AN OpTIMISED ONLINE STRATEGY?
Having an optimised website means that you are growing its online visibility. Accompanied with quality
content, the online visitor will be enticed to contact you and book your product.

With an optimised website, relevant inbound links and a sustainable strategy you can expect to:

  • Rank on the first pages of search engines for the keywords your target market uses to search for you.


     If you are a transport company providing airport transfers to a coastal destination such as Byron
        Bay, you want to also list on search engines when people search: “how do I get to Byron Bay
       from Brisbane” and not only when people search for “transfer to Byron Bay”. It often pays to
                          optimise for the “symptoms” instead of the “solution”.


  • Be visible on other sites that are often used by your target market to research and share holiday experiences.


     Do you have a YouTube account (video sharing site) where you have personalised videos about
     your product and area? If set up properly, people will stumble upon your video whilst searching
                                    travel related videos on YouTube.

                  Are you a member of your local or regional tourism organisation? You will be
                                    able to get a listing on their website.


2) BEFORE I START – WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
  • Search engine optimisation takes time. Allow up to 3 months for search engines to pick up your new
    content.

  • Search engine optimisation and web design are two different professions but they need to work hand in
    hand for your project to be visible on the Internet.

      The following questions will allow you to assess the level of expertise of the SEO company you hire:

      - Assess if they are small-business specialists

      - Ask them for case studies of projects (if the clients do not want to be named, ask for tactics, results, site
        type)

      - Ask for detailed outlines of how projects are priced

      - Ask for a clear list of services (keyword research, how many keywords optimised on how many pages, how
        many hours will they spend on sourcing quality inbound links)

      - Ask them how you will be able to measure the effectiveness of the optmisation they will perform on your
        site(s).




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  • Work hand in hand with your search engine consultant; provide them with as much input as required, just
    like you would with an architect that would design your new house.

  • Be cautious if the company tells you they will “submit” your site to numerous search engines. Sites do not
    get submitted nowadays but search engines crawl and index the site if the content is accessible and relevant.
    Keep in mind that Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Bing are still the main key players.

  • Ensure your website’s content management system (CMS) is search engine friendly.

A) IS MY SITE IN ITS CuRRENT STATE TRAffIC-WORTHY?
Before you start optimising your site, you need to ensure that optimising it in its current state is not going to be
a waste of money. Your content might be dated, the format of your website might not be search engine friendly
and you may be using a content management system that may limit your future search engine efforts.

When shall I really consider a site-reconstruction?

This question can be difficult to answer. However, if you do not have access to your files, if your site is dated, if
integrating a content management to your existing website is not worth it or if search engines cannot see the
content of your website, you should definitely seek assistance from web professionals.


       START BY ASKING FOR THE OPINION OF YOUR LOCAL TOURISM E-MARKETING EXPERT (YOUR
         REGIONAL TOURISM ORGANISATION SHOULD HAVE A SPECIALIST STAFF ON BOARD) OR
                            ATTEND ONLINE MARKETING WORKSHOPS.


Then write a brief and ask for proposals from at least 3 web specialists.

Keep in mind that a site reconstruction could take approximately 3 months. If you are promised a turnaround of
2 weeks or less, there is little chance that the content of your site will be improved. Since content is key for search
engine optimisation warning bells should start ringing.

It is a good project to do during the low season, as you will need to be fully involved and (re)write (or work with
a web copywriter) your new content! A website is not something you have on the side but it is one the most
important component of your marketing strategy.

3) RELATED MATERIAL
A) RELATED TuTORIALS
  • Target market 101

  • What is a content management system

  • Search engines 101

  • Critical components of optimising a website

  • Google tools

B) RELATED WEBSITES
  • Google basics: www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=70897

  • Search engine optimisation: www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291




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        TUTORIAL 20                         CRITICAL COMpONENTS Of OpTIMISING A
                                                   WEbSITE




INTRODUCTION                                                DISCLAIMER
The Tourism e-kit is an initiative of the National Online   All content on this website and publication [both audio
Strategy Committee and is funded by the Australian          and visual] is protected worldwide by copyright and
State & Territory Tourism Offices. This tutorial has been   all other relevant laws. As each business situation is
produced by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse           different no responsibility or representation is accepted
as part of the complete online education program –          or given for the use of content in this document and
Tourism e-kit.                                              each user should take their own professional advice
                                                            accordingly.




TOURISM E-KIT | Tourism Western Australia                                                            V.0908 Tutorial 20.1
tourism.wa.gov.au
CRITICAL COMpONENTS Of OpTIMISING A WEbSITE

       Reading Time: 25 Minutes                                        Prerequisite: Search engines 101


The previous tutorial reviewed the role of search engines. This document will take you through the steps to
successfully optimise your website for search engines.


4) THE TWO SIDES OF OPTIMISATION                             6) GOOD LINK STRUCTURE

There are 2 sides to search engine optimisation. both        The Internet is made of millions of pages that are
are equally as important:                                    linked to one another. These links are the essence of
                                                             the web. They are referred to as hyperlinks.
  •	 On-site optimisation: activities that need to be
     performed on your site’s content and structure          Imagine many fishing nets joined together. The knots
                                                             within each net are internal hyperlinks. The knots
  •	 Off-site optimisation: refers to search engine          joining two nets together
     techniques that are not performed on your own           are external hyperlinks.
     website.
                                                             Search engines navigate
This section will focus on on-site optimisation.             knots in each net. If they
                                                             can’t find the knots linking
5) CONTENT THAT SEARCH ENGINES CAN                           your webpages together,
   ACCESS                                                    they won’t be able to move
                                                             to the next page, and the
You can have the nicest looking website but if search        next one, and so on. They
engines can’t see it, the return on investment is going      won’t be able to index each  
to be insignificant.                                         page.

This highlights the importance of programming your           photo credit: http://flickr.com/photos/solaara/194320189/
website in a search engine friendly manner, respecting
the “grammar” of the web.

  •	 Sites that use a lot of flash technology will not
     be as successful as well-coded HTML sites. Even
     though Google is making significant progress
     in reading flash content, it is still far from being
     optimal.

  •	 Sites that use HTML “frame” technology are not
     search engine friendly.

Run your site through www.seo-browser.com and see
if all your text content is visible to search engines. Can
you see all your text in a structured manner and the Alt
tags of your images? If not, contact a web professional
who is proficient at search engine optimisation.




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A) ANATOMY Of A STANDARD HTML HYpERLINK




                                                                                                          
The above image shows how a hyperlink is formed using HTML. On a webpage it will look like this:

Tours for the 18 to 35 year olds

If you have programmed your website yourself you will be familiar with the above HTML. If you edit your website
with a content management system, you won’t need to learn HTML.

b) CORRECT STRuCTuRE Of HYpERLINKS ON MY WEbSITE
  •	 The navigation bar of a website is its main suite of hyperlinks. Users and search engines should be able
     to access every single page of your website using your navigation and sub navigation menus. Is this
     the case on your site? If not, search engines will not be able to crawl all your pages and index them.

  •	 What is also important, especially on the homepage, is to have hyperlinks within the content of your
     site. This will inform your readers and search engines that such and such pages are more relevant than
     others.

  •	 The text of the hyperlink should indicate what the page you are linking to is about. In the blue Contiki
     example above, you can see the text is “Tours for the 18 to 35 year olds”. This summarises the subject matter
     of the page. Having the page’s keywords within the hyperlink text is crucial. Avoid the “click here” as they
     would only inform search engines that the topic of the page is “click here”!


7) TITLES, HEADINGS, DESCRIPTION, KEYWORDS, HYPERLINKS, ALT
A) TITLE TAG
The page title is a one-line description of each page of your website. It is displayed at the very top of the Internet
browser window:

  •	 for Windows users, it is displayed on the top left of the browser window.

  •	 for Mac users, it is displayed at the very top of the browser window but justified in the middle.

In the Lonely planet example below, one can see that the title of the Lonely planet homepage (www.lonelyplanet.
com) is Lonely Planet | Travel guides, advice, tips and information.




Screen capture copyright: Lonely planet.net
                                                                                                          


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In web jargon, this title is known as title tag. Search engines give immense
importance to the title tag of each page as it identifies the content of a web
document.

Title tags are not only important to search engines but also to humans as they
attract their attention in search engine results. Note the title tag of the Lonely
planet homepage appearing in the Google search for “lonely planet”.

Screen capture copyright: Google                                                      

How to edit title tags

Title tags are located in the header section (top section) of each webpage. As a website owner, you will be able
to edit the title tags using your content management system or in your HTML page itself if you do not have a
content management system installed.

Example of the location of the title tag in a
content management system




                                                      

Example of the location of the title tag in the HTML
code




                                                          




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If your website was built by a web professional who has poor knowledge of search engine optimisation, there is
a large chance that they did not pay any attention to your title tags. Example of non-optimised vs. optimised title
tags:


                      Imagine you own a backpacking business called Coconut Shack in Broome:



               Page address                        Non-optimised Title Tag                    Optimised Title Tag

                                                                                      Coconut Shack | backpackers
 www.coconutshack.com.au                      Coconut Shack Home
                                                                                      accommodation in broome
                                                                                      Affordable overnight
 www.coconutshack.com.au/
                                              Coconut Shack About us                  accommodation | Hostel in
 about-us
                                                                                      broome WA

 www.coconutshack.com.au/prices               Coconut Shack prices                    budget accommodation| broome


In the non-optimised version, there is no mention of what the Coconut Shack actually is (backpackers) and no
mention of other keywords to describe the business offer.

In the optimised version, the search engine sees the keywords (and keyword combinations) “backpackers”,
“accommodation” “broome” “affordable” “hostel” “budget”.

Guidelines to search engine friendly title tags:

  Unique:                 Each page must have a unique title tag.

                          It is important the title tag of each page holds the main keywords for that page (as seen in
  Keyword:                the Coconut Shack example above). Experts also recommend placing important keywords
                          at the beginning of the title.

                          Aim for meaningful page titles and avoid making title tags that are simply a long list of
                          keywords.
  Readability:
                          Favour Coconut Shack | Backpackers accommodation in Broome over Backpackers,
                          cheap, accommodation, Broome, hostel, budget

                          Search engines will only display the first 65 characters of the title tag. If you require more
  Length:                 characters because of your keywords you may go over 65 characters. However, be aware
                          that only the initial 65 will display in search engine results.


An excellent source of information on title tags is the SEOMoz blog:
www.seomoz.org/blog/best-practices-for-title-tags.




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    b) HEADINGS
    Just like chapters in a book, headings are used to structure content in a reader-friendly and hierarchical
    manner. They describe the section of information that they introduce. It comes as no surprise that search engines
    rely on headings to understand the weight and relevancy of each section of your page.

    In HTML, headings are organised from 1 (H1 - the most important) to 6 (H6). unless you are writing a webpage
    that is extremely rich in content - such as a book - there is no need to use H4 to H6.

    It is recommended to use headings H1 to H3 in this order, and not to skip levels. Experts also advise to limit
    the number of H1 to two maximum.

    below is an example of the heading structure for the homepage of the Coconut Shack using one H1, two H2 and
    one H3.


                                                    Quality backpacker accommodation for travellers



                                                    Welcoming visitors of all ages. Located in the centre of broome



                                                    booking and cancellation policy
                                                 

    Just like title tags, headings can be changed using your content management system. In the HTML document
    itself, they are represented by <H1></H1> to <H6></H6>.

    C) META DESCRIpTION

                                                                  The description is the snippet of text displayed below a listing
                                                                  in the search engine results page. Search engines do not use
                                                                  it to rank your page but it is a chance for you to stand out
                                                                  from your competitors on the search engine results page.

                                                                  Screen capture copyright: Google



 
    Use it as a teaser for your webpage content. It will encourage the visitor to click on your listing. Ensure
    it also holds your page’s keywords as the keywords used by the user in the search field (travel advice lonely planet)
    will be bolded in the description, thus drawing the user’s eye.

    The description tag, just like the title tag, is also part of the page header. It is referred to as the Meta description
    tag. It is generally located in the same area as the title tag within your website’s content management system. In
    the HTML files, look for <meta name=”description” content=”This is where you have to add your description” />




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Guidelines to search engine friendly description tags:

  Unique:                 Each page must have a unique description tag

                          It is important the description holds the main keywords for each page (they get bolded
  Keyword:
                          when they match the query of the user)

  Readability:            Make the description enticing (so they click!)


                          Length: Descriptions can be any length but search engines generally will only display the
  Length:
                          first 160 characters.



D) META KEYWORDS
The Meta keyword tag was a location where your web developer used to place your webpage’s keywords to tell
search engines what a page was about. This tag was crucial when search engines could not read the content (or
body) of a webpage. Now that their robots can feed on almost every piece of content, the Meta keyword
tag has become obsolete and useless. It is no longer used by Google to rank pages.

However, there are still many uninformed developers who use the old Meta keyword method. pay attention to
this when you hire a web developer.

E) IMAGE ALT TAG
Alt tags are for images. Since search engines cannot see images as such they rely on the Alt tag to understand
what the image is about.

f) STRuCTuRE Of THE pAGE ADDRESS (THE uRL)
Each web document or page has a unique address that can be typed in a browser to access it directly. This
address is called a uRL (uniform Resource Locator).

Example of a uRL: www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/australia

uRLs appear in many locations:

  •	 In the web browser’s address bar

  •	 below the description in the search engine results

  •	 In the content of other webpages as a hyperlink (as illustrated on
     the right)


Screen capture copyright: Tourism Australia                                  




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Since search engines do not reveal their secret method to rank websites, one will never know the extent of the
relationship between the uRL structure and the search engine rankings. However, following the below guidelines
will help you improve your visibility:

Guidelines to friendly description tags:

                          Which of the below uRL is nicer for your customer to see, and could in turn affect the
                          number of clicks the website gets?

                          www.tours.com.au/Id=227#4302&countryId=445#984 or
  Readability:
                          www.tours.com.au/china/great-wall

                          Keywords get bolded in search engine results: if someone searched for “tours great wall of
                          china” the above uRL would become: www.tours.com.au/china/great-wall and attract
                          the eye of the web searcher.

                          uRLs are often used as links by other users. Keeping the structure simple and keyword-rich
  Used as links:
                          will encourage clicks on the uRL.

  Length:                 Shorter is best.

                          use a hyphen to separate words (not underscore or space)
  Separate
  words:                  www.tours.com.au/china/great-wall instead of www.tours.com.au/great_wall and instead
                          of www.tours.com.au/great wall (with a space between great and wall).



8) SUBMITTING TO SEARCH ENGINES
Once your website is search engine optimised, and only then, your site is ready to be crawled by search engines.
To request search engines to crawl your website you need to “submit your site”. Doing it if your website is not
optimised will not make any difference to your search engine rankings.

  •	 Google:       www.google.com/addurl

  •	 Yahoo!:       https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit

  •	 MSN:          http://search.msn.com.sg/docs/submit.aspx


9) RELATED MATERIAL
A) RELATED TuTORIALS
  •	 Website 101: usability and technology - Tutorial 14
  •	 Images 101 – Tutorial 16
  •	 Keywords – Tutorial 21
  •	 Search engines 101 – Tutorial 19

b) RELATED WEbSITES
  •	 www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=70897

  •	 www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291


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                                            TUTORIAL 21         KEYWORDS




INTRODUCTION                                                DISCLAIMER
The Tourism e-kit is an initiative of the National Online   All content on this website and publication [both audio
Strategy Committee and is funded by the Australian          and visual] is protected worldwide by copyright and
State & Territory Tourism Offices. This tutorial has been   all other relevant laws. As each business situation is
produced by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse           different no responsibility or representation is accepted
as part of the complete online education program –          or given for the use of content in this document and
Tourism e-kit.                                              each user should take their own professional advice
                                                            accordingly.




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KEYWORDS

       Reading Time: 20 Minutes                                                         Prerequisite: N/A


Keywords are the key to a successful web strategy. This tutorial will cover everything you need to know about
keywords from research to implementation on your website.

1) WHAT ARE KEYWORDS?                                      2) WHY UNIQUE KEYWORDS ARE
                                                              CRUCIAL
Keywords, by definition, are words used as reference
points for finding other relevant information.             Google reported in 2007 that 25% of searches
                                                           conducted every day are unique searches that they
In the online space, they become the link
                                                           had never seen before.
between users and search engines. Combinations
of keywords are often referred to as keyphrases.

For your business, they are the password to online
marketing success.

      Imagine you are the owner of the “Sand
       Castles Motel” in Manly, Sydney. Your
       pages should contain a mixture of the
       following keywords: accommodation,
              beach, overnight, Manly,
                budget, family etc.


Search engines determine how relevant
webpages are to user queries by looking
at how keywords are organised on each                       
                                                           Copyright: UntangleMyWeb.com
webpage. It is vital to ensure that you
use keywords in appropriate places                         “The Long Tail” theory, when applied to search,
throughout your webpage, as this is                        highlights that the majority of the world’s demand
fundamental to how search engines                          for information through search engines originate
rank your site.                                            on rare, unique keyword combinations.

Getting into the mindsets of your                          The Internet has revolutionised the way in which
customers by researching what words,                       consumers shop. There are more and more choices
terms, or jargon your everyday customers                   that have resulted in consumers becoming more
use is first and foremost. Remember,                       selective and demanding in their choices in products
your potential clients do not know                         and services. The fact that unique queries are
industry jargon so speak to them in their                  becoming more common highlights why they should
language.                                                  not be ignored. Successful online businesses use these
                                                           Long Tail keyword combinations to their advantage
                                                           by researching their target market and using the
                                                           information to create content-rich websites that cater
                                                           to specific consumers needs.




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Below is a brief example of Popular vs. Long tail keywords for an accommodation property in Darwin

  Popular keywords                                             Long tail keywords

  •   Hotel Gold Darwin                                        •   Romantic getaway in Darwin

  •   Accommodation Darwin                                     •   Weekend escape in Darwin



3) KEYWORD RESEARCH STRATEGY
The Long Tail paragraph above demonstrated the importance of keyword research. This section will go through
the steps you should follow to find your keywords

A) BRAINSTORM AND COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
My business

First start by identifying the core offerings of your business, these are the offerings that you do best and what sets
you apart from your competitors. You should try to really pinpoint these offerings and have no more than three or
four keyword combinations.



        Example: if you were a small hotel in Queenstown New Zealand, one of your core offerings
                               would be “ski accommodation Queenstown”


If you have an existing site, go through its pages and identify at least 3 offerings (3 x combinations of 3 to 4
keywords). Do not just focus on your main activity (e.g. accommodation for the Queenstown example above) but
also what other services you offer (ski hire? ski tours?)

Fill out the table below with each of your offerings and list related keywords using the bullet points provided:

  Core offering 1:                          Core offering 2:                      Core offering 3:



  •                                         •                                     •

  •                                         •                                     •

  •                                         •                                     •

  •                                         •                                     •

  •                                         •                                     •

  •                                         •                                     •




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My competitors

Repeat the task above. However, this time use a competitor’s or another website that provides a similar service.
Do as above but with your competitors or other websites that provide a similar service. If you are unsure of your
competitors, Google your three core offerings and look for someone similar to you in the search results. Try and
identify 3 more keyword combinations (that differ from your own).

  Core offering 1:                          Core offering 2:                    Core offering 3:



  •                                         •                                   •

  •                                         •                                   •

  •                                         •                                   •

  •                                         •                                   •

  •                                         •                                   •

  •                                         •                                   •

You can also use the Google AdWords keyword tool to extract the keywords held in your competitor’s website.
Go to https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal and select “Website content” when asked “How
would you like to generate keyword ideas?”




                                                                                                                       
Doing so will not only provide you with a selection of keywords that your competitor has been using in their site
but will also suggest you many other related keywords. You don’t have to use all these keywords within your site’s
content but they are a great indication of what your target market is interested in. You may therefore want to
consider using them when developing new content using a blog for instance.


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When provided with the results of the Google AdWords keyword search focus on the “Local Search Volume”
column and change the Match Type from Broad to Exact.




                                                                                                                   

B) BROAD SEARCH
You should have 6 keyword combinations as well as their respective list of keywords. It is now time to broaden
your search and run your core offerings through two free online tools to complete your list:

Quintura

Quintura.com is a visual search engine that allows you to
see what words are related to your search query:
www.quintura.com


          We ran our core offering “ski
      accommodation Queenstown” through
        Quintura (see image on the right).


Quintura returned related words to our core offering. Many
of which we hadn’t thought of!

Screen capture copyright: Quintura

How can I complement my initial research?
                                                           
Your head should now be buzzing with a growing list of keyphrases that you previously hadn’t thought of.
Use the keywords you discovered using Quintura and AdWords to complete the diagram below. Only keep the
keywords and keyphrases relevant to your business.

                            Keyphrase 1:            Keyphrase 2:                    Keyphrase 3:
  Core offering


  Type of service           Related keywords:       Related keywords:               Related keywords:
  you offer
  accommodation,            •                       •                               •
  tour, etc)
                            •                       •                               •
  E.g. ski
  accommodation             •                       •                               •
  Queenstown, ski
  lodge accom               •                       •                               •

                            •                       •                               •

                            •                       •                               •



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                            Keyphrase 1:        Keyphrase 2:        Keyphrase 3:
  Accompanying
  activities

                            Related keywords:   Related keywords:   Related keywords:

  What                      •                   •                   •
  supplements or
                            •                   •                   •
  facilitates your
  core offering?
                            •                   •                   •
  E.g. ski hire, ski
                            •                   •                   •
  tours, pick up
  on arrival                •                   •                   •

                            •                   •                   •


                            Keyphrase 1:        Keyphrase 2:        Keyphrase 3:
  Local tourism
  icons

  Are there                 Related keywords:   Related keywords:   Related keywords:
  any well-
  known icons/              •                   •                   •
  monuments/
  attractions               •                   •                   •
  nearby that your
  target market             •                   •                   •
  might search?
                            •                   •                   •
  E.g. lake
  Wakatipu,                 •                   •                   •
  Cadrona, the
  Remarkables               •                   •                   •



                            Keyphrase 1:        Keyphrase 2:        Keyphrase 3:
  Reason behind
  trip

                            Related keywords:   Related keywords:   Related keywords:

                            •                   •                   •
  What is the
                            •                   •                   •
  theme behind
  the holiday?
                            •                   •                   •
  E.g. snow trip?
                            •                   •                   •
  Honeymoon?
                            •                   •                   •

                            •                   •                   •



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4) WHERE TO USE KEYWORDS
You now have an optimal list of keywords and keyphrases to use in the content throughout your website. Decide
on the focus of each individual page of your site and then attribute the relevant keywords or keyphrases to its
content.

This section will show you exactly where to put the keyphrases in the structure of your page’s content.

A) TITLE TAG
Use your keyphrase in the title tag and complement it with related keywords.


          E.g. Luxury ski accommodation in Queenstown



B) HEADINGS
Use your keyphrase or its related keywords in the H1 (header 1) and use related keywords in H2 and H3 when
possible. Remember that you do not want your content to be overloaded with keywords and sound unnatural.


         E.g. Chalet accommodation for your ski or snowboarding trip


C) IMAGE ALT TAG
Aim to use an image that is related to the page’s theme and use your keyphrase or its related keywords in the text
of the image alt attribute.

D) URL
Use the keyphrase or the main keyword in the page address (the URL). If your content management system
doesn’t allow you to do this, ask your web developer to see if some necessary changes could be made in order to
reach the style of the address shown below (using keywords and hyphens).


        E.g.www.mylodge.co.nz/ski-accommodation-queenstown.html


E) PAGE COPY (CONTENT)
Use your keyphrase and its related keywords at least 2-3 times in the page’s content itself. Try and bold the
keyphrase or appropriate keywords once at least.




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F) META DESCRIPTION
Even though it has been established that the Meta description (the information below the site’s listing in a search
engine) doesn’t primarily affect search engine rankings, you should still include your keywords in it, as this will
gain your customers’ attention because it usually reinstates what they have searched for originally.

G) HYPERLINKS
Keywords should also be used in hyperlinks. However, the keywords used in links to a page should be the
keywords indentifying the linked page and not the theme of the page the link originates from.


           E.g. Imagine I am on a different page than www.mylodge.co.nz/ski-accommodation-
         queenstown.html. For instance, I could be on the page about prices. If I want to add a link
         within the prices page that takes customers to the accommodation page, I would use the
                 accommodation keywords in the link. It could look like something like this:

                        Visit our page about our skiing accommodation offer in Queenstown



5) KEYWORD RANKING IN SEARCH ENGINES
Once you have optimised your site for your most profitable keywords it is important to continuously assess how
they are ranking on search engines. You could “Google” these keywords once a month however this wouldn’t
be the best use of your time. There are free tools such as the SEOBook RankChecker that allow you to set up a
search which you can save and run once a month (or whenever you wish).

The SEOBook RankChecker tool is available as a plugin for your Firefox browser. You can download it from
SEOBook.com by following this link: http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/rank-checker/. If you wish you may also
download the SEOBook toolbar which will provide you with RankChecker and a series of other search engine
optimisation tools. Ensure you watch the introduction video which is on the same page.

6) RELATED MATERIAL
A) RELATED TUTORIALS
  • Search engines 101

  • Critical components of optimising a website

  • Understanding inbound links to my site

B) RELATED WEBSITES
  • Better understanding keywords: www.searchengineguide.com/keywords/

  • SEO book: www.seobook.com




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     TUTORIAL 22                            uNDERSTANDING INbOuND LINKS TO MY SITE




INTRODUCTION                                                DISCLAIMER
The Tourism e-kit is an initiative of the National Online   All content on this website and publication [both audio
Strategy Committee and is funded by the Australian          and visual] is protected worldwide by copyright and
State & Territory Tourism Offices. This tutorial has been   all other relevant laws. As each business situation is
produced by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse           different no responsibility or representation is accepted
as part of the complete online education program –          or given for the use of content in this document and
Tourism e-kit.                                              each user should take their own professional advice
                                                            accordingly.




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uNDERSTANDING INbOuND LINKS TO MY SITE

       Reading Time: 20 Minutes                                                            Prerequisite: N/A


This tutorial will review the different types of inbound links and what influences the value they bring to your
website.


15)      WHY LINK BUILDING
The previous tutorial discussed why links are important and reviewed their primary role of connecting webpages
together. Search engines also use inbound links to a website to gauge its popularity and importance.
Seomoz.com, a renowned search engine optimisation community says that links
correspond to votes of web users.

Since links are an important factor to search engines, it comes as no surprise that
growing the quality and number of links to your website is critical to increase your
online popularity and thus improve your search engine rankings.

This discipline is referred to as “link building” or “off-site search engine
optimisation” and is one of the most important tasks required to succeed in the
online space.

Links are the online version of word-of-mouth.                                          

Many search engine optimisation firms offer link-building services. However, this is something you can do yourself
as the key ingredient is quality content people will want to link to.

photo credit: http://flickr.com/photos/alx/

16)      TYPES OF LINKS
There are two main categories of links: editorial links and acquired links.

A) EDITORIAL LINKS
Editorial links express the opinion of the editor. In this instance, it is the opinion person linking to you from their
website. When checking who links to you, you might realise that there are a few businesses already linking to your
site. These websites have decided to reference your content because they find it informative and trust that making
it accessible to their users will enhance their online experience.

Editorial links take time to get because they are earned as a reward for providing good, citation-worthy content.
They are the links that search engines will favour and therefore have the biggest link value.




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b) ACQuIRED LINKS
In this category fall all the other links (paid or unpaid). Getting these links necessitate either:

  •	 Making contact with another organisation to entice them to link to you.

      For instance, as the website owner you establish contact with other organisations to convince
                         them that your content is worthy enough to be linked to.



  •	 Self creation

      For example, you have created links back to your website by participating in online discussion
                               forums or by leaving comments on Blogs.



  •	 Reciprocal links, also known as link exchange

“Link to me and I will link to you”. Reciprocal links are links to another website placed on your site in
exchange for links back to your site from theirs. Search engines condemn this practice if both sites have nothing
relevant in common. However, if you have identified a relevant website and that you both share informative and
complementary content, reciprocal links are a good opportunity as both your readers and search engines will be
pleased.

Acquired links have less search engine value than editorial links because they bypass the feeling of trust
that editorial links have.

for instance, not all acquired links (especially those acquired by leaving comments on blogs) will be followed by
search engines; the website where the link originates from might have used special HTML commands to prevent
search engines from following the links and improving your website’s search engine placements. These HTML
commands are known as “nofollow” attributes.

Even though some links might not pass search engine value, they are still valuable to readers who might follow
them and contact you if they find your content informative and useful.

17)      STAY AWAY FROM MALICIOUS ONLINE DIRECTORIES
When starting to build inbound links to your site, the first idea that generally springs to
mind is directories. Most of the time you can submit your site to online directories there
and then. Read below why you should consider this practice with caution.

The purpose of directories is to group information in categories that a user can
browse when searching for something specific. However, people have soon
realised that having their website listed in a directory creates an inbound link to their
site, thus possibly providing a positive “vote” for their website and improving their                         TIP 
search engine rankings. This has given ideas to many web savvy entrepreneurs and
                                                                                                          
directories started to flourish. There are now millions of directories on the web but the
majority have a dubious intention. Their priority is not to help humans find relevant                    Delete all dubious
websites but to make money by selling links that may improve search engine                               emails asking you to
rankings.
                                                                                                         purchase a link
photo credit: http://flickr.com/photos/mildlydiverting/
                                                                                                  

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Google, Yahoo! and other search engines are well aware of these practices and have recently started removing
malicious directories from their search engine rankings. This implies that there is absolutely no point in spending
money to be listed in a directory whose purpose is to simply improve search engine rankings.

Stay away from directories that:

  •	 Offer to increase your site’s rankings

  •	 Offer you a premium membership with even more links

  •	 Offer you the possibility to put hyperlinks in your keywords

  •	 Talk to you using web jargon confirms their intention of helping search engines and not the end user

There are still thousands of genuine directories. below is a list of safe directories:

  •	 Yahoo Directory http://dir.yahoo.com

  •	 Librarians Internet Index www.lii.org

  •	 Open Directory project www.dmoz.org

  •	 Nature.com www.nature.com/nrg/info/info_links.HTML

  •	 About.com www.about.com

A) HOW CAN YOu TELL If A DIRECTORY IS DubIOuS?
  •	 The directory’s purpose is generic (indexes anything and everything) instead of niche

  •	 It tells you straight away that purchasing a link will help your search engine rankings

  •	 You can choose what text will be used as a hyperlink to your site

  •	 Try “Googling” the name of the directory. If it doesn’t appear in search engine results then it has already
     been banned by Google




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18)      VALUE GIVEN TO A LINK BY SEARCH ENGINES
paragraph 2 about the different types of links highlighted that editorial links the type of links that search engines
prefer. However, there are other factors that influence the value of inbound links that your website might
receive. No one but the search engines themselves know in full depth the weight of each factor but the following
assumptions can be made:

Characteristics of the site linking to you

                                   If a website is popular, in search engine terms, it means that it already has relevant
  Popularity:                      and high quality links pointing to it. This infers that links from popular website will
                                   provide your site with a better link value than least popular sites.

                                   Google bases the popularity of each individual webpage on a scale from non-existent
                                   to 10. This scale is called pageRank (pR). Even though this measure remains relevant
  PageRank:                        in certain cases, you should consider it with caution as it only gets updated a few
                                   times a year. You can check the pageRank of any of your webpage on your Google
                                   toolbar or on www.checkpagerank.net

                                   Sites that are related to your industry or sector provide greater link value than non-
                                   related sites.
  Relevancy:
                                   for instance, if you are a hot air ballooning business, a link from a well-known
                                   balloon manufacturer is going to be of greater value than a link from your friend’s
                                   national lawn-mowing business.

                                   Trust refers to trusted domain names and extensions such as .edu.au, gov.au.
                                   Obtaining a link from a trusted domain generally positively increases your page’s
                                   placement amongst search engine results.
  Trust:
                                   Think outside the square: is there any way you or your business could obtain a link
                                   from an education provider or a government site? Are you involved in an alumni
                                   committee? A local council?

                                   The value of the link will be diminished if the page linking to you has many other
                                   links. This demonstrates that the link value from a directory is demised as directories,
  Number of links on
                                   by definition, list many businesses on each page!
  the page:



                                   When possible, ensure that the site linking to you uses your keywords in the
                                   hyperlink to your page.

                                   for instance, ask the balloon manufacturer to link to you in a similar manner:
  Hyperlinks:
                                   If you are in North Queensland, our partners doing hot air ballooning in Cairns will
                                   provide you with an unforgettable experience.

                                   AVOID THIS: for hot air ballooning in cairns click here

Remember that the above rules also apply when you link to other sites. Help the websites you link to by
adding the link within you content, and create a link using the keywords of the person you are linking to.

finally, keep in mind that it is better to have a handful of quality relevant links than tens of thousands of low-value,
inappropriate links. Search engines focus on quality and relevancy.


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19)      RELATED MATERIAL
A)       RELATED TuTORIALS
  •	 Target market 101 – Tutorial 12

  •	 Search engines 101 – Tutorial 19

  •	 Critical components of optimising a website – Tutorial 20

  •	 Keywords – Tutorial 21

b) RELATED WEbSITES
  •	 www.ask-kalena.com/articles/editorial-link-building-with-article-marketing/

  •	 www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66356&query=link+exchange&topic=&type




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             TUTORIAL 23                    SOuRCING INbOuND LINKS TO MY SITE




INTRODUCTION                                                DISCLAIMER:
The Tourism e-kit is an initiative of the National Online   All content on this website and publication [both audio
Strategy Committee and is funded by the Australian          and visual] is protected worldwide by copyright and
State & Territory Tourism Offices. This tutorial has been   all other relevant laws. As each business situation is
produced by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse           different no responsibility or representation is accepted
as part of the complete online education program –          or given for the use of content in this document and
Tourism e-kit.                                              each user should take their own professional advice
                                                            accordingly.




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SOuRCING INbOuND LINKS

       Reading Time: 20 Minutes                 Prerequisite: Understanding inbound links my site


This tutorial explains how to check the inbound links to your site and help you source new links.


20)      HOW DO I CHECK WHO LINKS TO                        21)    CHECKING COMPETITORS’ LINKS
         MY SITE?                                           Go through the same process as above but use your
                                                            competitors’ website instead of yours. You can also
The very first thing to do is to check who is already
                                                            use the address of sites that rank well in search
linking to your website. Yahoo! has the best tool to
                                                            engines for your keywords. You will discover a lot of
do so. follow the five steps below to discover the
                                                            doors to knock on to acquire new links!
addresses of the websites that link to you.
                                                            22)    WHAT ABOUT MY BUSINESS NAME?
                                                            Yahoo! will show you which sites link to you. However,
                                                            there are many other people or businesses that might
                                                            have mentioned your business name online but who
                                                            haven’t linked to you using a hyperlink. Google your
                                                            business name to find these webpages. pick this low
Screen capture copyright: Yahoo!                            hanging fruit first. Contact them and ask if they could
                                                            kindly put a hyperlink on the article in order to allow
                                                            the reader to access your site for further reference.
1) Go to www.yahoo.com

2) In the search box, write: linkdomain:www.                      IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY ESPECIALLY
   nameofyoursite.com                                             THERE IS A LARGE CHANCE THAT YOUR
                                                                    BUSINESS HAS BEEN REVIEWED IN A
3) Click “Web Search”                                              MEDIA RELEASE (TRAVEL MAGAZINE,
                                                                     LOCAL OR NATIONAL NEWSPAPER,
4) In the “show Inlinks” drop-down menu, select
                                                                    OTHER). DIG FOR YOUR NAME AND
   “Except from this domain” to remove the internal
                                                                   BUSINESS NAME ON SEARCH ENGINES
   links to your site from the list.
                                                                       AND CONTACT THE EDITORS!
5) You can now see all the sites linking to your
   website and visit the referring page by clicking on
   the green web address.




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23)      DIFFERENT LINK BUILDING                                 Turn your computer off, and think about:
         TECHNIQUES                                               •	 Your past clients
The first focus when building links should be on                  •	 people who you know
writing informative website content. If the content is
not worth linking to, you can try as hard as you                  •	 Existing or past connections through a client,
want but no one will link to you. Content is key.                    through a friend

unfortunately many amateur search engine                          •	 Suppliers
optimisation companies will focus all their efforts on            •	 Associations you are a member of
acquiring links without first looking at the bulls-eye:
the content. If the content is compelling enough, many            •	 Charities you regularly donate to
sites will start to naturally link to you or will happily link
                                                                  •	 universities you collaborate(d) with
to you once you establish contact and show them the
value your website’s copy could bring to their users. If          •	 Regional councils you are part of
you intend to work with a SEO company, ensure that
they provide guidance on how to best improve your
content.
                                                                 A) CuSTOMERS, SuppLIERS, INDuSTRY
                                                                    CONTACTS
                                                                 Go through your entire existing supplier list and do
                                                                 the same for your customers. There is a significant
                                                                 chance that your past customers own a business
                                                                 that is related to your main offer or to another
                                                                 service you provide to your clients. As mentioned
                                                                 above, they could already have written about you but
                                                                 they might not have created a hyperlink.
             
                                                                 Are you part of an association, chamber of commerce,
before we start reviewing all the techniques, it is              tourism association? Establish contact and ensure you
important to clarify that it is the individual pages             are being linked to from their site. Often all you might
of a website that are linked to and not the website              need to do is upgrade to the next membership level
itself as a whole. Therefore, you should direct your             and you will be provided with a link. because these
newly acquired links to your website’s most relevant             organisations are generally themselves a member of
page and not to the homepage (unless the homepage                more relevant, popular, and larger organisations, the
is the most relevant one in that instance).                      value of their link will be maximised.

Once you have checked your existing inbound links as             b) REGIONAL pARTNERS OR CLuSTER
well as your competitors’, print them out and put them
aside. Then get a blank piece of paper and a pen.                Identify regional partners who could link to you
                                                                 providing they complement your offer.


                                                                        Do you offer massage therapy services
                                                                        to complement your bed and breakfast
                                                                      accommodation offer? Ask your therapist
                                                                     to link to you. Work out an arrangement if
                                                                     you cannot link to them directly from your
                                                                      website (you wouldn’t want your clients
                                                                       to calculate the mark-up you make from
                                                                      their site!). Think about including the link
                                                                             as part of your contract even.




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Think about setting up a meeting with your regional tourism partners to discuss how you could work together to
improve both your own and your region’s visibility. Setting up a joint blog for instance is a very simple way to add
fresh content that shows clients how they can maximise their experience in your tourism region. brainstorm ideas
offline and find a way to market them in a web environment.

Tourism operators can have very different levels of Internet-readiness but working in clusters is a sustainable way
of making positive changes to the online visibility of your region.

C) SAfE, RELEVANT DIRECTORIES
Consider submitting your site to safe, genuine directories. be prepared to write a compelling description of your
business and to wait for up to 6-12 months sometimes for your listing to be reviewed and accepted by the search
engines. Your application can however be fast-tracked if you pay a certain sum of money.

This article from search engine watch

http://searchenginewatch.com/showpage.HTML?page=2167881

offers good guidelines to follow when submitting to both the Yahoo! and the DMOZ directory.

Try to also identify some niche directories. To find directories, go to Google and search for: allintitle: “the name of
your sector” directory.

Avoid dubious travel directories, as the majority are only there to make money by selling links. Their purpose is
not to genuinely help the traveller. Think outside the square, what other activities apart from tourism does your
business offer? What other sectors do you tap into?

  •	 Arts? Look for specific arts niche directories     google: allintitle:arts directory

  •	 Music?                                             google: allintitle: music directory
  •	 bushwalking?                                       google: allintitle:bushwalking

  •	 Adventure?                                         google: allintitle: adventure directory

D) bLOGS AND fORuMS
using other people’s blogs

Identify blogs and forums about your main and secondary industry sectors. Leaving comments on other people’s
blogs and participating in forums will not provide link value as such. However, you are going to soon start
developing an online profile. participating in discussions about the development of your industry will also develop
your brand and you will soon see new opportunities and contacts develop.

  •	 Start with a search engine and search for blogs relevant to you.

       Search for a blog about luxury travel, a blog about bed and breakfasts in Australia, a blog about
       small tourism businesses, a blog about hot air ballooning, a blog about white water rafting etc.

  •	 When appropriate, leave comments on blog articles. Also make a note of the name and website of other
     people who left comments. Run their website through the Yahoo! links analyser tool and see if there is a link
     you haven’t thought about.

  •	 forums are another way to interact with your industry. Think of them as a lively online discussion group
     where people ask questions and others help by providing answers. TripAdvisor.com hosts a highly regarded
     travel forum where you can advise visitors on things to do in your region!


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The screen capture from TripAdvisor on the right shows a forum
page asking if Australia Zoo is worth a detour. A user replied and also
mentioned underwater World at Mooloolaba in their response.



Screen capture copyright: TripAdvisor




Starting your own blog                                                          

One of the main search engine optimisation benefits of blogs and forums is the generation of new content.
Advancing the world’s knowledge will allow you to maximise your online presence and attract many passers-by
who will opt to naturally link to you.

E) pRESS RELEASES
press releases are also a great way of generating interest in your business, especially since they can now be
distributed for free online. The link value of the online press release itself can be trivial. However, the press release
will be indexed by search engines and increase awareness of your business in the long run.

www.pr.com, www.newswiretoday.com and www.prlog.org are three sites that will distribute your press releases
for free.

24)      ESTABLISHING CONTACT
by now you should have a list of linking possibilities. Go and check the website of every company on your
list. Look for pages that would be relevant to the content of one of your webpages. Write down the contact
details (phone and email).


      The hot air ballooning company might have identified a hot air balloon supplier. The ballooning
        company owner visited the supplier’s website where he found a page describing the fabric
       used to make the balloon itself. He believes that this page would benefit from being linked to
            a specific page on his site where he has got photos of that fabric floating in the air!



Now think about how to best establish contact with the website owner. Google them and find out what you
have in common. Are they going to be more responsive on the phone? Or is email best? Do not mention that
your end objective is to receive a link but focus on how your businesses complement each other and
how fantastic their content is.

Aim to develop an offline relationship. The Internet is only a medium and should never be the basis of the
relationship itself. After having established contact and only when you believe the relationship has got a solid,
concrete base, suggest that, since your sites complement each other so well, it would be a good idea for them to
link to you. The company might ask for a link from you (link exchange).




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25)      WHERE DO I ASK THEM TO PUT THE LINK?
Special “links pages” are obsolete and should be avoided. You should ask the person linking to you to put the
link within their text, where it would benefit the reader most. This also applies to your website when you link to
someone else.


         For example: Before visiting our Alpaca farm, why not enjoy a morning breakfast amongst
                          lorikeets in the beautiful Norman Park bird sanctuary?


Remember to use the keywords in the hyperlink of the website you are linking to (for instance, lorikeets Norman
park bird sanctuary) as search engines feed on it to understand what the page you are linking to is about. Avoid
the “click here” link that doesn’t say anything about the destination.

26) RELATED MATERIAL
A) RELATED TuTORIALS
  •	 Target market 101 – Tutorial 12

  •	 Search engines 101 – Tutorial 19

  •	 Critical components of optimising a website – Tutorial 20

  •	 Keywords – Tutorial 21

  •	 understanding inbound links to my site – Tutorial 22

  •	 bringing people to my website with e-marketing – Tutorial 24

  •	 blogging – Tutorial 30

b) RELATED WEbSITES
  •	 www.searchengineguide.com/link-building/

  •	 www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwbW-lLkfju&feature=user




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