Thread: SEO FAQs

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    SEO FAQs




    Hello SEOchaters!


    We have compiled a comprehensive frequently asked question forum for common questions
    relating to search engine optimization. This forum will provide a very good resource
    for you to read up on the facts about SEO before asking on the forums. New to
    SEO? Start here by learning the basics and more advanced topics before moving
    on to post your questions. The FAQ was done in part my the new mod Jasontnyc and
    myself, with additional questions submitted by the following members: deregular,
    Wit, Sem4u, 2k, curvity.


    Enjoyed the FAQ? Been a help to your promotion? Would like to submit questions
    to be added? Please do so here in continued discussion, or either PM Visio or ClickyB.


    Cheers!


    Link Popularity


    1.) Why don't all my links show up when I use the link: command?


    2.) How come I get a different amount of links when I use www.example.com and example.com?


    3.) What's a Link Farm?


    4.) What is "Anchor Text"?


    5.) What is an "IBL"?


    6.) What is cross linking?





    Search Engine Optimization


    1.) How do I use a Robots file or do you have an example of one?


    2.) Should I use a Site Map? and does anyone have an example of one?


    3.) How do I tell how many people are searching for my keywords?


    4.) What are serps?


    5.) I am number 5 in Yahoo, but not in the top 1,000 in Google. Why?


    6.) Is there a way I can find out where I rank?


    7.) What is an "ALGO" ?


    8.) What is Hidden Text?


    9.) What is cloaking?


    10.) What is a doorway page?


    11.) What is Geo Targeting?


    12.) Do XHTML pages rank better than HTML-pages?


    13.) Does using CSS affect my rankings?


    14.) Should I use submission software to make sure all the search engines have me included?


    15.) I submitted to DMOZ but didn't hear anything. Should I resubmit?


    16.) What is URL canonicalization?





    General Google


    1.) What is the "Sandbox Theory"?


    2.) When does Google update their SERPs (When is the "dance")?


    3.) I now use the link: command all the time, is there a list of the other commands I can use in Google?


    4.) Am I banned in Google?


    5.) What is the first thing you would check for if you saw your site slip down the listings at Google? ( ie. I'm not on top anymore, what happened?)


    6.) When I look up my site in Google, I am #23, but when my friend in California looks it up I am #31. Which one is right?


    7.) Why does Google hate me/pick on me?


    8.) Should I submit my website to Google every month?


    9.) My site is not cached in Google, I've submitted it to google numerous times but I'm not seeing the Googlebot crawl my entire site. I'm also seeing an incomplete listing.





    Page Rank

    1.) I am changing my domain but want to keep my PR, how do I do it?


    2.) I have a new site but it has no PR (PageRank). I have add backlinks, etc. When does it update?


    3.) I noticed my PR in the Google directory is different from myPR on the toolbar, Why?


    4.) When does Google update backlinks and PR?


    Specific SEOchat Site Resources


    SEO Glossary

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Search-Engine-Optimization/A-Glossary-For-Search-Engine-Optimization

    DazzinDonna's - 1000th post http://forums.seochat.com/t8704/s.html

    Fundamental Differences Between Search Engines And Web Directories

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Search-Engine-Directories/Fundamental-Differences-Between-Search-Engines-And-Web-Directories/

    Google PageRank Primer

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Google/Google-PageRank-Primer/

    eMarketing - What Is Link Popularity?

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Link-Development/What-Is-Link-Popularity/

    Search Engine Myths Debunked

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Search-Engine-Optimization/Search-Engine-Myths-Debunked/

    The DMOZ Directory: Get Your Site Listed

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Search-Engine-Submission/The-DMOZ-Directory-Get-Your-Site-Listed/

    Keyword Selection Strategy

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Choosing-Keywords-Help/Keyword-Selection-Strategy/

    How to Optimize Images to Increase Rankings

    http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Search-Engine-Optimization-Help/How-To-Optimize-Images-To-Increase-Rankings/

    SEO Chat Tools - 14's Tools including the Original Google Dance Tool

    http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/

    Comments on this post

    • Xaver agrees
    • sufyaaan agrees : Excellent!!!
    • ronald agrees : http://forums.seochat.com/seo-chat-faqs-64/seo-faqs-17418.html
    • switchseo agrees : thanks, this is very helpful
    • MaxM agrees : Most excellent!
    • seojockey agrees : Excellent Resource. Thx buddy
    • Prof.stan agrees
    • Mushu agrees : Wow! Great FAQ, Thanks!
    • nithin agrees : a great helpful post
    • Test-ok agrees : Nice set of Posts...and most still holds true today, which ya can't say about Black Hat.
    Last edited by JagNet; Nov 26th, 2007 at 06:49 AM. Reason: updated 26th Nov
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    Link Popularity, Development, and Analysis


    Link Popularity



    1.)Why don't all my links show up when I use the link: command?

    A. At this moment Google is only showing a sampling of the total links to you. As far as numbers, it is only important to remember
    it is a sampling and to just continue your link building strategy.
    To see a much more accurate figure please login to your google webmasters account and use the link tool there. back to top



    2.)How come I get a different amount of links when I use www.example.com
    and example.com?


    A. In the search engines eyes, these are two different domains and therefore have
    different amounts of sites linking to them. So you should 301 redirect one version to the other.
    If your site is hosted on a linux server you may do the following:

    Open your .htaccess file(in the root directory of your site), if you don't see one create a .htaccess file and add the following:

    Code:
    Options +FollowSymlinks
    RewriteEngine on
    rewritecond %{http_host} ^domain.com [nc]
    rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [r=301,nc]
    Of course you will need to change domain.com in both instances to your domain name.
    Make sure if you are creating the .htaccess file you save it as .htaccess or it will not work.
    back to top



    3.) What's a Link Farm?

    A. A set of web pages that have been built for the sole purpose of increasing
    the number of incoming links to a web site. This is done in order to increase
    link popularity and search engine rankings. Link farms usually require a reciprocal
    link from sites seeking listings. Link farms are a known spam tactic and sites
    that participate in them are likely to be penalized or banned from the major search
    engines.

    Please keep in mind that links from these sites do not harm you, what harms your site
    is you linking OUT to these sites NOT them linking in. However these types of links
    will not benefit you either so don't waste your time with them.
    back to top



    4.) What is "Anchor Text"?

    A:Anchor text is the text that you use within a html link.

    For example ( This is Anchor Text

    The anchor text that you use, should reflect the keywords of which you are trying
    to get a higher listing for. It should also accurately describe what information
    will be found on the next page if you click on the link.

    Your anchor text should be varied, you should not use the same
    anchor text for all your links(that you control), if you use a variety of
    anchor text your overall link strength will be stronger and you
    will rank for many more phrases than if you focused on only one keyword.
    back to top



    5.) What is an "IBL"?

    A: An "IBL" is an 'In Bound Link'. When a site links to yours, that
    link is called an IBL. The same thing as a BL (Backlink).

    Backlinks play a major role in ranking a site in the search engines
    specifically Google and MSN. Google also puts a great deal of value
    on the quality of the links, where it is placed, is the site related to yours?
    A link on a content related page is going to be worth a whole lot
    more than a link on a links page.
    back to top

    6.) What is Reciprocal linking or link exchange?

    Link exchanging or reciprocal linking is where two sites
    exchange links. Usually this occurs when a webmaster
    sends an email to another webmaster requesting a link
    on their site.

    Because of how easy it is to get a link this way Google
    has greatly dis-valued these types of links. They are still
    worth something but not as much as they have been in
    the past.

    Some tips if you do exchange links...
    -Only exchange links with related sites, don't reciprocate
    with sites who are irrelevant even if they have a high PageRank.

    -Don't reciprocate with sites who link to anything, only exchange
    links with sites who are particular about who they link to.

    -Don't reciprocate with sites which have categories for every
    industry or hobby ever invented. Again keep it relevant.

    -Don't reciprocate with sites whos link pages contain hundreds of links.

    -Before reciprocating view the source of the page(CTRL + U for FF | View > Source for IE)
    and check that NONE of the links on the page contain a nofollow tag.
    A quick way to check is to use the find tool and search for "nofollow"

    -Also goto http://www.domainnameofsite.com/robots.txt
    That way you can see if they have excluded the links pages.
    Also do a search in google for cache:domain.com/linkspage
    to see if the page your link will be placed on is indexed.

    Those are tips you definitely should follow if you do decide
    to exchange links.

    7.) What is Linkbait?
    Linkbait is when you create a tool, write a articles or many articles
    or otherwise do something that works as a link magnet.
    Website owners start linking to your pages without even being
    asked, many times the sites linking to you are authorities in
    your industry so a good linkbait can have a an extremely
    large positive effect on your rankings.

    How do I create a linkbait?
    -Talk about a hot subject - preferably before anyone else has
    written extensively on it.

    -Take a recent event in your niche and write a extensive article
    detailing what it is about, what is good and bad about it etc.

    -Be controversial - Perhaps one of the best ways to create
    a link bait.

    -Be contrary... take a point that most, almost all of the experts
    in your niche agree on and disagree with it. Preferably provide
    evidence that you are right. If you do it should create quite a buzz.
    Some good tips can be found here:
    http://www.seobook.com/archives/001936.shtml

    8.) What is cross linking?

    A: When multiple sites link to each other for the purpose of increasing link popularity. back to top

    9.) How long after I am listed in DMOZ should I start to gain the search engine benefit?
    A: The days of DMOZ Search Engine Ranking are over. Submit and forget but don't expect any search engine value from the listing if you do get it? If you can get in thats great but if not don't sweat it.. back to top

    10.) Would I be penalized if a "Link Farm" or a "Bad Neighborhood" linked to my site?
    A: No, you have no control over who links to you and this would be an easy way for a competitor to sink your site. What you SHOULD be careful of is if you are linking to them. This CAN hurt your site and should be avoided.

    Don't be afraid to link out to sites that are related to yours
    but never link to a site because they guarantee search engine value if you do.
    back to top

    Comments on this post

    • thevikrant agrees : Nice - theVikrant
    Last edited by Visio; Jul 24th, 2007 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Updated July 24th 2007
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    Search Engine Optimization






    Search Engine Optimization



    1.) How do I use a Robots file or do you have an example of one?

    A. You mean robots.txt. It's a file in the main directory of a website which tells
    the search engine spiders where they are allowed to go.



    A basic, spider can go anywhere file is:





    User-agent: *

    Disallow:

    You can disallow folders or files by putting this into the file:


    User-agent: *

    Disallow: /foldername/

    back to top




    2.) Should I use a Site Map? and does anyone have an example of one?

    A: Every site should have a sitemap of some sort. It provides a way for visitors
    to navigate your site, as well as a shortcut for bots to crawl all your pages.
    Google for "sitemap" and you'll find nice examples, although it would
    be advisable to follow Google's official guidelines and keep the number of links
    per page under 100. back to top




    3.) How do I tell how many people are searching for my keywords?

    A: The Search Term Suggestion Tool here
    will show you number of searches per month on Overture's network. You can also
    use Digital Points Keyword
    Suggestion Tool
    back to top



    4.) What are SERPs?

    A: Search Engine Result Pagesback to top



    5.). I am number 5 in Yahoo, but not in the top 1,000 in Google. Why?


    A. Yahoo and Google use two different algos to come up with their SERPs - Yahoo
    favors on- page optimization such as H1 tags, keyword density, etc while Google
    favors off page like in bound links. If you have done more on page then Yahoo
    will rank higher and vice versa. As part of this if you are now addressing your
    off page then you need more backlinks with anchor text and time for these links
    to age (Google lag). back to top



    6.) Is there a way I can find out where I rank?

    A: There are two sites you can use if you are just checking a few keywords -
    www.googlerankings.com for Google and www.yahoosearchrankings.com/ for Yahoo.
    If you are looking to track multiple keywords over time then the best (and free)
    tool is Digital Points Keyword Monitor at http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/keywords
    (Google Only) back to top



    7.) What is an "ALGO" ?

    A: An 'Algo' is an abbreviation of 'Algorithm'. (In short, the mathematical
    formula or calculation that Google use in order to rank websites.) back to top



    8.) What is Hidden Text?


    A: Text that is visible to the search engine spiders but not to site visitors.
    Hidden text is primarily used to add extra keywords in the page without actually
    adding content to a site which may mostly consist of images. Most search engines
    will penalize Web sites which use hidden text. back to top



    9.) What is cloaking?

    A: Determining which search engine spider is visiting a web page and then giving
    each spider a page optimized for it's particular algorithm. This method of search
    engine optimization can result in a website being removed from the major search
    engines. back to top



    10.) What is a doorway page?

    A: A method of search engine optimization considered to be SPAM. These are pages
    created for nothing but the purpose of ranking first for a particular keyword
    phrase. These pages usually lack any significant content and do not reflect
    the tone of the rest of the website. If a search engine determines a website
    has used this tactic then the website will be removed from the search engine
    permanently. back to top



    11.) What is Geo Targeting?

    A: The distribution of ads to a particular geographical area. For example, you
    can use a place name in your keyword, such as "Texas Web Design".
    Some search engines allow you to target specific countries and languages
    without using keyword relevance. back to top



    12.) Do XHTML pages rank better than HTML-pages?

    A: No. They have the same value. Google however puts more weight to well structured
    content, and thus XHMTL is in most cases more suitable option. back to top



    13.) Does using CSS affect my rankings?

    A: Not directly. Googlebot does not (at the moment) read CSS-files. Using CSS
    makes pages lighter, and page structure more organized. Thus using CSS could
    lead to better rankings. When adding CSS styles to page, it is recommend to
    put them to external file (using link-tag). back to top



    14.)Should I use submission software to make sure all the search engines have
    me included?


    A: Most submission programs that promise to "Submit Your Site to 1000's
    of Search Engines" are used to harvest your email address for spammers.
    The truth is there are only a handful of Search Engines used by enough people
    to justify a submission and these can all be submitted by hand. Even better
    yet is to get other sites to link to you. Search Engine spiders follow these
    links and you will be indexed naturally. Submission programs are unnecessary
    and may actually hurt you. back to top



    15.) I submitted to DMOZ but didn't hear anything. Should I resubmit?

    A: You should only submit once as resubmitting only deletes your original request
    and lengthens your wait. Resubmitting too many times can have you classified
    as SPAM and blocked. You can also submit to a "normal" category and
    a "regional" one if it fits. You must be physically located somewhere
    to be able to also submit to regional and read their guidelines as certain sites
    like real estate are the exception. They have set up a forum as a way of letting
    you know your status and this is a much under posted and under used area of
    DMOZ - The address is http://www.resource-zone.com/forum/ . Just remember to
    take the time to follow the posted directions. back to top



    16.) What is URL canonicalization?

    For most websites, the www and non-www versions both resolve to the same content but can be browsed independantly, especially if using internal links without the full domain name.

    Similarly it's often possible to view both yoursite.com/ and yoursite.com/index.html

    The following urls could contain different content, but in most cases it is the same:

    • www.yoursite.com/
    • yoursite.com/
    • www.yoursite.com/index.html
    • yoursite.com/index.html
    • yoursite.com/index.php


    This gives rise to url canonicalization, whereby Google has to decide which url is the best represented from the possible options. Usually this would see the page with the most back links (internal and external) displayed in the search results, and so for most webmasters the problems remain hidden.

    The most significant disadvantage of canonical url problems is that any link juice is split between several possible options and therfore not maximising the full ranking potential of the page.

    To prevent the problem on an Apache server with rewrite enabled, place the following code in your .htaccess file:

    To redirect from the non-www version to the www version
    Code:
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com
    RewriteRule (.*) http://www.domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
    To redirect from the www version to the non-www version
    Code:
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^example\.com
    RewriteRule (.*) http://example.com/$1 [R=301,L]
    To redirect from yoursite.com/index.html to yoursite.com/
    Code:
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*index\.html\ HTTP/
    RewriteRule ^(.*)index\.html$ /$1 [R=301,L]
    To do the same for index.php simply replace .html with .php in the code.


    To do this on a Windows server, assuming you have access to the administrative tools:

    For the main page files, redirect as follows
    Code:
    -In Administrative Tools open Internet services manager
    -Select the file to redirect, right click and open properties
    -In the menu click the Home directory tab
    -Select redirect to a url
    -Select directory on this PC, but type in your Domain url
    -Check exact url as entered above
    -Check permanent redirection
    
    All done..Click apply
    For the domain url
    Code:
    -Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Internet Information Services. 
    -Double-click "Web Sites" and then find the web site where the domain is. 
    -Right-click on the site and choose "Properties". Choose the "Directory" tab. 
    -Click the "A redirection to a URL" option. 
    Enter http://yourdomain.com/ to the right of "Redirect to: add $S$Q to the end to redirect paths, files and querystrings (eg http://yourdomain.com/$S$Q). 
    Select "The exact URL entered above" and "A permanent redirection for this resource". 
    Use "OK" to save the changes.

    To do this in pure php:

    To redirect from the non-www to the www version
    Code:
    if (substr($_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'],0,3) != 'www') 
    { 
      header('HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently'); 
      header('Location: http://www.' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] . $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']); 
    }
    To redirect from domain.com/index.php to domain.com/
    Code:
    if ($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'] == '/index.php')
    {
      header( 'HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently' );
      header( 'Location: http://www.domain.com/' );
    }

    And in ASP:

    To redirect from the non-www to the www version
    Code:
    If InStr(Request.ServerVariables("SERVER_NAME"),"www") = 0 Then
    	Response.Status="301 Moved Permanently"
    	Response.AddHeader "Location","http://www."
    		& Request.ServerVariables("HTTP_HOST")
    		& Request.ServerVariables("REQUEST_URI")
    	Response.End
    End if
    NB, there is no SEO advantage to using either the www or the non-www version of the site, so it's down to personal preference which one you use.

    back to top
    Last edited by JagNet; Nov 26th, 2007 at 09:34 AM.
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    Google General






    Google General


    1.) What is the "Sandbox Theory"?

    The sandbox theory proposes that Google has a unique ranking element in their algorithm that has been affecting sites whose major SEO efforts began after March of 2004 (this would include all sites registerd after this date). The criteria, elements and solution of the 'sandbox' have not yet been identified or publicized by the SEO community, but ongoing discussion and testing have determined that the two of the most likely issues creating the sandbox could be:

    • Age of backlinks - older backlinks now carry greater weight at Google

    • SEO specific filters - Google is actively attempting to filter sites out of their index that are actively optimizing (link-building, etc) or appear to have un-natural attributes (optimized pages, links, anchor text, etc.)


    If your site is ranking well for specific keyword phrases at engines like Yahoo!, Teoma, MSN & for the allin sets of searches at Google (allinanchor:, allintitle:, allintext:, etc.) but not listed in the top 50-100 results at Google, the sandbox effect may be at work. However, it is important to keep in mind that this phenomenon is an 'unknown' algorithm piece at Google and standard optimization tactics, even by some of the best and most experienced SEOs have yet to consistently beat this effect. back to top




    2.) When does Google update their SERPs (When is the "dance")?

    A. There is no longer a Google "dance" per se as SERPs tend to be
    updated constantly. back to top



    3.) I now use the link: command all the time, is there a list of the
    other commands I can use in Google?


    link:www.domain.com (returns a list of backlinks that google has indexed. Only
    a small selection is listed however.)

    related:www.domain.com (returns a list of sites that google sees as related
    to the topic on your page. At present, not very accurate.)

    allinurl:keyword (returns a list of pages and sites that contain the 'keyword'
    in their url.)

    site:www.domain.com (returns all pages of the domain that google has crawled
    and indexed.)

    allinanchor:keyword (returns a list of pages and sites that contain the keyword
    as anchor text in their backlinks.)

    cache:www.domain.com (will show the current cache that google has for the page)

    info:www.domain.com (will return information that google has for the page)

    allintitle:keyword (returns webpages that have the specified keywords in the
    title)

    intitle:keyword (returns listings of webpages that have only the specific keyword
    as the title.)



    You can find all the Operators at Google
    Advanced Operators
    back to top



    4.) Am I banned in Google?

    A: You can tell if you are banned or not indexed in google, by using the 'site:'
    command in Google's search.

    (ie. site:www.domain.com) back to top



    5.) What is the first thing you would check for if you saw your site
    slip down the listings at Google? ( i.e. I'm not on top anymore, what happened?
    )


    A: A drop in backlinks. Obviously when not aggressively acquiring new backlinks
    to your site from day to day, existing backlinks may even deteriorate in value.
    The referring site may disappear, be changed, lose relevance or lose PR itself,
    reducing the PR that is passed onto you. back to top



    6.) When I look up my site in Google, I am #23, but when my friend in
    California looks it up I am #31. Which one is right?


    A: They both are! Actually, a more accurate explanation is that Google using
    multiple datacenters that deliver the results you see. The datacenter that is
    used depends on your geographical location. It is very common to see a small
    difference in results depending where you are. Sometimes, results can differ
    when you move just a few miles away! back to top



    7.) Why does Google hate me/pick on me?

    A: "Google" does not pick on individual sites but instead allows complex
    mathematical equations to decide the value of your site in any particular search.
    Although it may sometimes feel like they are picking on you, most times a ban
    or bad results can be traced to a small piece of bad or misguided SEO. back to top



    8.) Should I submit my website to Google every month?

    A: No, you only need to do it once. In most cases you will not even need to
    submit your website to Google. If you are active in building links to your website
    then Googlebot will frequent your site soon, and thus include it in the index.
    back to top



    9.) My site is not cached in Google, I've submitted it to google numerous
    times but I'm not seeing the googlebot crawl my entire site. I'm also seeing
    an incomplete listing.


    A: Sometimes the googlebot will visit, and leave, only to come back at a later
    time in order to crawl all of your pages. If a site has no cache, or an incomplete
    listing, it has not been crawled and indexed properly yet. The best thing you
    can do is get more in bound links to your site, so that the googlebot arrives
    to your site from more than 1 source. back to top
    Last edited by Phoenix; Jan 26th, 2005 at 01:16 PM.
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    Google Page Rank






    Page Rank



    1.) I am changing my domain but want to keep my PR, how do I do it?

    A 301 redirect is the most efficient and spider/visitor friendly strategy around
    for web sites that are hosted on servers running Apache (check with your hosting
    service if you aren't sure). It's not that hard to implement and it should preserve
    your search engine rankings for that particular page. If you *have* to change
    file names or move pages around, it's the safest option. If you are unfamiliar
    with editing your .htaccess file, you should ask your hosting company for help.
    back to top



    2.) I have a new site but it has no PR .I have backlinks, etc When does
    it update?


    A. It updates internally every day or so, (every time google's spider follows
    a link through to your site) you may see a difference in the SERPs very soon,
    however you will not see the backlink appear in a link:www.domain.com command
    search in google, until google do an official backlink update. back to top



    3.) I noticed my PR in the Google directory is different from my PR
    on the toolbar, Why?


    A:This is because the google directory gets its listings from DMOZ. As with
    google's PR and backlink updates, it only updates its directory every so often,
    so your site may be showing an old PR.

    There are also a host of "theories" such as "Googles Directory
    is on a scale of 0 to 8" and "The Directory PR is actually a comparison
    between you and other sites in the Directory". No matter what you may believe,
    it is most important to state that they rarely match and this is VERY common.
    back to top



    4.) When does Google update backlinks and PR?

    A: There isn't a set schedule as many times an update is skipped or late. Backlinks
    on average are updated around once a month while PR has seemed to move to quarterly.
    The best way to "guess" when the next update will be is to utilize
    the SEOChat Calendar. back to top

    Last edited by Phoenix; Oct 25th, 2004 at 03:42 PM.

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