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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Children's Online Toy Store Announces Expansion of Educational Toy Offerings

Additional unusual and unique toys added in response to the beginning of the school year.

RICHMOND, VA, September 8, 2005 –- is proud to announce the expansion of their online store toy store specializing in unique and unusual toys. The number of toys and games on the Website has quadrupled since the site launched in October 2004–growing to over 570 products. Most recently over 75 new items were added in response to the start of the school year.

"Our newest products reflect the changes in toy buying that occur in August and September," remarks Dave Luebke, owner of "When kids return to school, parents tend to purchase educational toys to stimulate learning. We also see a shift toward sports-related games since kids are playing on their schools’ teams and practicing at home and on the weekends. As it gets cooler outside, versatile toys that allow kids to be physically active inside and outside become popular so we made sure to include indoor and outdoor toys in our new items."

As fall approaches, parents look toward buying toys with an educational component to help their children adapt to being back in school. One of the educational toys that follows this trend and has increased in sales over the last month is Owl Puke. As unappealing as that sounds, Owl Puke is used as a teaching tool because owls swallow their small prey whole and then regurgitate the indigestible parts. Each owl "pellet" contains the fur and bones of the owl’s prey–typically a mouse, shrew or small bird–allowing children to examine and reconstruct the skeleton. As many parents know, kids get interested when they are able to explore and get hands-on experience. Owl Puke helps children learn about owls, the food chain and animal anatomy.

Another way to interest children in the natural sciences is through toys that let them learn more about insects. Educational toys, such as Ladybug Land, Butterfly Garden and Triassic Triops, give kids insight into the lifecycle and habits of bugs and other creatures. Each Ladybug Land kit comes with a coupon for ladybug larvae, a habitat for them to live in and a guidebook about lady bugs. Butterfly Garden gives kids the chance to watch the transition as a caterpillar matures, changes into a chrysalis and then emerges as a butterfly. Parents are fond of this kit because the butterflies can be released into the outdoors once they appear. Another kit that provides kids with the opportunity to “grow” their own pets is the Triassic Triops kit. These prehistoric creatures are in suspended animation until you add water and then they spring to life and start growing. How quickly they grow depends on how much light and food they receive.

As the seasons change, parents and grandparents look to buying athletic toys and games that can be played both indoors and outdoors. A new item for the fall that appeals to this is the new toy, Kick It Stick It. This air puck hovers on a cushion of air above smooth surfaces allowing kids to hit it around in the driveway or on the hardwood floors in the den. The puck has an outer rim that protects furniture and walls making Kick It Stick It safe for indoor play. "We’ve had a lot of parents tell us that when it is raining their kids will take the Kick It Stick It down to the basement and hit it around. It’s given the kids something active to do instead of watching TV," Luebke comments.

Since the online toy store’s inception, the staff has continuously been on the hunt for new items to bring to their customers. "We have picked up new manufacturers in order to find and stock more unusual toys for But we are also selective. We play test each item we sell to make sure they are fun and that they work in the way they are supposed to," explains Luebke. The team is currently gearing up for the holiday season. They are observing the trends and play testing demo models so that they can add the hottest toys and games to the site in the coming months.

About is dedicated to providing unusual and unique toys and games not found in mainstream stores. They strive to stock only the finest toys that pique children’s interests and excite their imaginations. Founder, Dave Luebke, is also the owner of Dave's Comics Inc., a brick-and-mortar comic and toy store located in Richmond, Virginia, which has been going strong for over 23 years.

David Luebke
Phone: 804-282-1919

Press Release Contact:
Alyssa Duvall

Monday, September 05, 2005

What is Black Hat SEO (Search Engine Optimization gone bad)

Black hat practitioners tend to see search engine optimization as a war, and search engines as the enemy to be beaten by all means fair or foul. White hatters tend to view search engines as allies, who can help drive business to their clients’ sites.

When website or web pages are set up to display different content for a search engine spider versus a human user. Cloaking delivers one version of a page to an Internet user and a different version to a search engine. The cloaked page is packed with keywords and phrases that the website wants to be highly rank for so.

It is done by cloaking programs that compare the IP address of the requesting party to a database of known IP addresses from specific search engine spiders. If the IP address matches one on the list, it serves a page that was specifically written for the search engines.

There are good reasons for cloaking as well, such as targeted advertising, but if you are trying to manipulate your rankings in the search engines then your site could be penalized or banned.

Spamming (Keyword Stuffing)
“Stuffing” long lists of keywords into the content and the code on a page that makes the page unreadable. Ever seen a web page with a very awkwardly written first paragraph where a certain word is repeated ad nauseam? Here's an example:

"We sell the best father's day gifts for father's day. If you like to celebrate father's day we can help with the best father's day gifts for father's day."

It’s obvious that the page is trying to rank well for “father’s day gifts.” This is keyword spamming or stuffing but it is just the tip of the SEO iceberg; there is probably keyword stuffing happening in the code: in the meta tags, invisible text, alt tags, title tags, comment tags, etc. If the word or phrase is repeated too often Google can place a filter to reduce the site's rankings or simply ban the site.

Hidden Text
If text or links are invisible to the website visitor but can be seen by search engine spiders then they are considered hidden.In the past people would simply make the text too small to read by using a 1 point font or make it the same color as the background. Now that search engines have built in algorithms to combat that, spammers are using cascading style sheets (CSS) to hide text or using DIV tags set to not display text on the page. It is boils down to this: it is considered hidden if the text or link is invisible to the website visitor but can be seen by search engine spiders.Search engines can easily spot this today so it is best to avoid it altogether.

Doorway Pages
Pages that solely exist to rank well in the search engines. Sometimes these pages are ugly, containing paragraph after paragraph of meaningless text. Most the time doorway pages are orphaned pages meaning they are not part of the site’s regular navigation.

A black hat SEO firm may use software to generated doorway pages. They plug a few keywords in and the software proceeds to generate pages where much of the content is duplicated from other pages on the site except they swap out the keywords.

Redirect Pages
Keyword-stuffed landing pages that quickly redirect to the real page. These pages don’t necessarily contain content that any human would be interested in. They are meant to show up high in search engine results pages (SERPS). When you click on one of these pages from the results, you are redirected to another page–usually a high-pressure sales page. In other words, the page you click to see is not the page you actually get to read.

Sneaky redirection pages are set up in groups. They target similar and related keywords or phrases. The only links on these pages are links to other pages in the same family creating a false sense of related linking. The redirect can be automatic, done with a meta refresh command or through other means such as mouse moving while on the redirect page.

Duplicate Content or Websites
Setting up multiple websites with the same content or having several pages on a site with essentially the same information but different keywords inserted here and there. You see the duplicate content method a lot with travel-oriented sites. A "template script" is written then regional terms, such as state or city names, are swapped out on each page.

Linking to Unrelated Sites or Bad Neighborhoods

Link campaigns are good thing when done correctly; we would say they are a necessity in today's SEO world. But linking to bad neighborhoods is a sure way to lose your ranking. If you aren't careful about who you are linking to you can easily disappear overnight. Basically, while you may be ethical and do everything right, linking to someone who isn't can be considered guilt by association. Always verify your links to other sites. Make sure they have page rank and are indexed by Google. Avoid linking to any sites that use spamming techniques to increase their search engine rankings. Regularly checking outbound links from your site and removing any offenders is a good idea.

What does Google say?
"Don't deceive your users, or present different content to search engines than you display to users," Google says, and they list some bullet points on avoiding being banned.

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.

  • Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.

  • Don't send automated queries to Google.

  • Don't load pages with irrelevant words.

  • Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

  • Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.


Any SEO company can use these techniques to boost a client’s rankings and more often than not it will work, but sooner or a later a search engine will catch it or a competitor will report it and then you have to start all over. It is best to do what is right for the client and their customers. Ultimately that is what will bring them back.

Take the time to choose the right SEO company for you.

Build SEO Links & Web Traffic with Content Distribution

Many website owners and SEOs (search engine optimizers) believe
that trading links is the most effective way to build the
hundreds of links necessary for good search-engine ranking. But
there's another way to build links that deserves your attention:
content distribution.

A time-honored way of getting one-way inbound links to your
website is to distribute content, usually articles, for other
websites to publish in exchange for a backlink. Most often, the
backlink is included in an "author's resource box," which is a
brief "about the author" paragraph promoting the author's site.

Content distribution has usually been thought of as a website
promotion strategy rather than an SEO or link-building
strategy. But there are good reasons for adding content
distribution to your SEO toolkit.

Read more about content distribution