Watching a Business Model Get Marginalized

Jul 5th

So I work pretty hard trying to keep up with everything that is going on in the SEO / SEM space, but search engines have been releasing a ton of products recently.

Combine that with the fact that SEO is increasingly complex and it gets tough to write a book that is useful and comprehensive and allows novice to intermediate level SEOs to learn enough to do well, especially while still keeping the book short enough that people would want to read through it.

Currently my ebook is about 200 pages, with about 50 of those pages being reference links, the cover page, the table of contents, and that sort of stuff.

After Yahoo! released their most version of MyWeb 2.0 Danny Sullivan wrote a subscription required approximately 25 page article on Yahoo!'s search personalization. There was no fluff in his article either. 25 pages of useful information about Yahoo! personalized search. I think reading a ton every day and summarizing on a blog sorta forces me to become better at filtering information. To appreciate how hard it is to learn and balance it all while working for a few clients as well, I recently wrote the following about pay per click marketing:

A friend of mine is writing a book about PPC right now I think. It can be done well, but to me you need to have a large ad spend to really appreciate how the programs change at various spend levels, and I don't want to be managing all that ad spend. I like the idea of going to Coachella or Burning Man or a small remote island for a while. It is hard to do that stuff with huge ad spend unless you have staff and some office (and offices are evil).

To me writing a PPC book is probably far better for the writer than the consumers. eventually PPC becomes a zero sum game, and it costs much more than effective SEO does.

with SEO you can have far more effect cheaper. and PPC is getting absurdely complex as well:

  • with Google they factor keyword CTR into the CPC equasion, but now they also factor in the ad copy as well.

  • add to that the CTR they use to figure out relevancy is not the same one that shows in your account.
  • add that to the three syndication groups (4 if you count the cpm site targeting only)
  • then there is exact match, phrase match, and broad match (as well as negative keywords)
  • there is in trial, on hold, disabled, normal statuses
  • and then the issue of budgeting, and geotargeting, etc etc etc
  • and then there are oolies like dynamic keyword insertion and some search engines following and indexing some tracking URLs

and that's just Google AdWords, of course Overture is a different system as well. MSN promises to have a system more complex than either Overture or Google.

To me it seems both PPC and SEO will get too complex for the average newbie to be able to do well unless they have a great site or the market is not competitive. Hopefully that is still a bit off from now though because I need to change the biz model before we go too far down that slope.

Published: July 5, 2005

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