Andrew Orlowski is probably the most ill informed and biased Google commentator walking on 4 or less limbs. Am I the only one who notices the irony of the new layout of The Register?
Andrew's articles make Google sound exceptionally evil. Yet if you look to the right of his Google API article you will see the largest ad set offered by Google. The Register is an AdSense ad provider which is using 160 of their 790 pixel wide page to serve Google ads right at the top of the page.
I could ignore those ads, because they are not the ads that disturb me. Recently there has been some controversy about whether it was ok to place multiple AdSense ads on a single page. The Register decided that it was ok.
They are using ad additional ad block of 4 AdSense ads in the center of their articles. These ads are eating up an additional 336 pixels of screen space. I will be the first to tell you I LOVE ADSENSE!!!! There is a balance though, and any newspaper knows that they make money through distribution. If I provided a bunch of ads at the top and center of every page of my site I would not expect you to read my articles, let alone read my articles about how bad the company is that set up the ad network which is all over my website.
When you search Google for an expensive word such as casino you see 8 ads. In this Orlowski article I saw 9. I could describe how awful the reading would be, but you can view for yourself.
You can not gauge competitiveness of a term based upon the total number of search results for that term. The best way to tell is to evaluate search results. Pages which have had professional optimization done (page copy & linking campaign) are easy to spot after you know your industry well enough.
Three quick ways to tell how fierce the competition is for any word are by checking the associated ads (price, quantity, and search quantity), using advanced operators, and by viewing the linkage data for the top ranking websites.
Using Advanced Search Operators
A simple mention on a page is not enough data for a page to be competing.
Inbound Link Check
Recently I noticed a simple tool at IBL Check.com, which oddly enough checks the number of inbound links to the top few websites. Once you click the link to check who is linking to each site it pops open a little window showing the URL of each of the links.
McDar Keyword + Link Tool
Another link tool which can tell competition by keyword exists at http://www.mcdar.net/KeywordTool/keywordtool.asp. The McDar keyword + link tool checks the the top 10 Google search results for the number of pages in each site, the number of site backlinks, and the position of that site on the allinanchor Google search for the same keyword.
Link Tools to Build a Linking Campaign
A quicker way to build a link campaign is to evaluate link data on a more mathematical or higher level. A couple inexpensive link tools I think are neato are Linktree (free) & Optilink ($149.)
After months of testing (and me thinking I was part of another test) Google has unveiled its new look search. The new Google is a less cluttered, more crisp looking search result page. In addition the Google home page has lost its tabs and now just has small words above the search box. The Google Directory no longer is listed on the home page and the Google Directory category listings are no longer appearing in the search results. Google appears to be distancing itself from the Open Directory Project.
Froogle has been added to the home page as well as the SERP pages. To list your products in Froogle for free be sure to fill out your Froogle Feed. Froogle also has a "recent items found" list underneath it's search box.
One major change which will go highly unnoticed by most people is that there is no longer an interest bar to show relative click through rates between different ads participating in the Google AdWords program.
The single biggest difference with the new Google search is that the ads tend to blend seamlessly into the content. Google is perhaps doing this to fight the potential text ad burnout that we may face in the near future if all text ads look extremely similar.
Quietly at 8:08 pm Friday (Pacific time) MSN announced the launch date for its upcomming search product.
MSN Search Sooner than Expected!
SEATTLE, March 19 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. said on Friday that a new engine for its MSN Search service will start up in July, another step in its plan to challenge Google Inc.'s pole position as the Web's top search destination.
Advertising on the Upcoming MSN Search
Instead of including paid listings within search results, which critics say results in misleading search results, MSN said it will display paid listings separately at the top and to the right of search results generated by its search engine.
Redetzki said MSN will list three paid listings at the top of every search result, of which at least two will be advertisements sold directly by MSN.
What is Yahoo! Webrank?
The new Yahoo! Companion Toolbar is providing a ranking system by the name of Yahoo! Webrank. As I read through the details as to how their new ranking system worked they had two words over and over again: anonymous & sophisticated. There was no real description as to whether it worked like Direct Hit or Alexa or how exactly it will influence the search results.
The Web Rank values are calculated using a sophisticated scoring algorithm provides a measure of the popularity of the Web page or Web site that you are visiting.
Yahoo! Companion helps Yahoo! find new content
This new tool has a feedback loop which can be used to alert Yahoo! of the existance of new content which is not yet in the Yahoo! Search index. Want to know more about Yahoo! Webrank? Yahoo! gives very little data on how Yahoo! Webrank will work, but you can visit the Yahoo! Companion Webrank FAQ page.
Install the Yahoo! Companion
With many webmasters already having the Google toolbar it remains to be seen what type of distribution Yahoo! will be able to obtain with it's new toolbar. Download the new Yahoo! Companion with Webrank features.
Part of the time consuming process of the link building process is that we can spend 10 minutes just looking for a site that links to our competitor that could link to us. There are techniques to speed up this link hunt. These link building tips can allow you to get the most powerful links with the least amount of effort.
after you search Google place &num=100 at the end of the address bar. This will show 100 results per page. Since Google clusters search results by site this will make scanning the link list rather easy.
Boolean search operators are link builders friends. Searching for links using link:blasite.com might work, but you also can find the links which have certain text in them. For example, a search for a common authority in your field of study AND "optimized link text." This will show you where most of the topical hubs for your field are. You can also search for different optimized phrases in the same field. This will show you where lots of the quick and easy links are.
You can take link building one step further by also clasifying the TLD domain type or page title. For example the following search would give you educational institutions which link to Search Engine Watch with the phrase "search engine watch or searchenginewatch" in the text and resources links or partners or engines in the page title.
inurl:+".edu" AND (intitle:links OR intitle:partners OR intitle: resources Or intitle:engines) AND ("searchenginewatch" OR "search engine watch")
You can also search for links by keywords and specify differnt filepaths or page elements. For example, you can find out which .htm or .html filepath extension pages have the words "search engine marketing" in a the page copy which also have "link partners" in the page title by using the following search: "search engine marketing" intitle:"link partners" (*.htm OR *.html)
A site keeps screwing up my link building. If there is a specific site which is still overcrowding the search results even after you do all the above you can filter is out. Place -site:your-link-blocker.com at the end of your search query.
Using the above ideas in a creative way can allow a person with no automated software, no money, and a good idea worth spreading to quickly dominate search results. You are now an advanced Google link building stud :)
- Person(s) who grab a domain name which could be of certain potential value based on other aspects of the internet. In the past some cybersquatters would take a domain the day it expired on some people. Many cybersquatter sites also place porn where an original high traffic domain existed. The other common cybersquatter technique is to use misspellings to ruin the brand image or monitize a small amount of traffic.
If the domain SEO book was available about 5 months ago then why in the hell would I make an offer to this cybersquatter who spammed me wanting to sell SEObookS.com?
I take it as a compliment that he recognizes I am building a website that is starting to get a fair amount of traffic. I will not pay him 1 cent for his domain though.
Perhaps I am not concerned with my brand image, or my brand image may be a lack of concern... INBOUND SPAM:Dear Mr. Wall,
Hereby I would like to invite you to make an offer on the domain name
As you know, SEO is the abbreviation for search engine optimization, which is
currently a booming market. Since almost every webmaster wants more traffic,
they will want to buy books that cover the subject of SEO.
Please send your offer by April 1st, 2004. Should you have any questions, please
don't hesitate to contact us.
Basically, subscribe or I beat you up...your IP address has been logged :)
I try to give away some free stuff in every newsletter. I usually give away at least 1 copy of the SEO Book and then try to give away random other stuff like books I read or coupons I get or SEO software.
What does a Server Side Include do?
Server side includes allow you to (dare I use the word) include a remote file in the current page. The server constructs the page on the fly. When a browser or search engine spider comes through they see the whole page as one unit.
Why Should I use Server Side Includes?
They make it extremely quick to update navigation and other common page elements by only changing one file.
Are Server Side Includes Evil?
Server side includes were a bad thing in the past. Slower server speeds would sometimes cause errors when a spider spidered the page. With faster server speeds the server side include is no longer a problem. On sites with a large amount of traffic SSI will slow down your server speed ever so slightly.
What do Server Side Include Requests look like?
<!--#include file="navigation.htm" -->
if the SSI file is in the same directry as the file calling it, or
if the SSI file which is to be included is in the root directory. Using virtual causes the server to look for the file location based on the root URL.
How do I use a Server Side Include?
To use server side includes you must change your file path to .shtml .shtm or something with the .s at the begining to tell the server it needs to construct the page. Place the include file in the code where you want it to show on the page.
Note: you can controll the layout using an external CSS sheet if you like.
Why Changing Filepaths is Bad
The problem with changing filepaths is that you can lose much of the inbound link popularity you have built up with your site. Any links to the root domain will still be there, but interior links fall away. Blindly changing filepaths is extremely bad:
You lose link equiyy.
People who were linking to you end up owning a bunch of broken links.
How do I Use SSI without Changing FilePaths?
Our good friend .htaccess is here again to save the day.
Here is the .htaccess file you should use to allow a server to parse .shtml and parse other file extensions as .shtml
AddType text/html .shtml
AddHandler server-parsed .htm (.htm is whatever extension you are using)
301 redirect is a catch phrase often used in SEO where nobody really explains how to do it. Many people feel too dumb to ask "how do I do a 301 redirect?" because they feel they should just know what one is.
301 redirects are used to permanently move a site to a new location. Search engines do not apply penalties to 301 redirects the way they apply them to many other types of redirects.
When you create a .htaccess file make sure you transfer it in ASCII and not binary. You will probably want to CHMOD the file to 644 for security reasons as well. .htaccess is an Apache technology and not a windows server technology. Learn more about .htaccess
I know its a bit early to give this one out, but there is a guy who has taken autoclick software to a new level. His new software, which goes by the name of Google Clique, is based on the Holland Engine - the mass email spam software.
Holland Engine was the originaly written to allow spammers to conceal thier orginating IP from mailservers and to keep it from apearing in email headers.
Holland Engine is the core of LincolnSX, the most powerfull mass-emailing software, running at rates of 5 Million emails per day per machine.
Holland Engine will actually tunnel through the internet and connect to the desired IP address from, not your IP but rather from another, the one at the end of the tunnel. It is this tunneling that makes LincolnSX so valuable, and now we bring it to you with Google Clique.
And for you technicaly challenged, NO, THIS IS NOT PROXY/SOCKS, and maybe you should be looking elsewhere if you are looking for such an amatuer solution.
Notice he is selling software for $1,000 down and is too damn lazy or cheap to hire a proof reader. Granted I am a horrible speller, but I am not trying to get you to spend a grand as down payment for software that steals. This is from his "interview" with Google.
I take this two mean one of two things, either they were feeling me out to see if this was for real or they are just oblivious as to how serious this software really is.
He also plans to launce a product by the first of April which goes by the name of Reaper. Reaper will aggressively autoclick on a competitors site to get them removed from Google AdSense program.
I finally made my new page on Yahoo! Search at Search-marketing.info. This blog format is so much better than that huge evil site. I could literally work on that site for 10 hours a day and it would take me months to make it as kick ass as I would like. This site is more of a post and forget it...less maintenance.
New Yahoo! Search operators
site: this allows one to find all documents within a particular domain and all it's subdomains.
hostname: this allows one to find all documents from a particular host only.
Would show you sites that link to my other site with parnters in their url. In addition you filter page title instead of url by using intitle: or you can change the word partners to
or just about anything else that would show you the links are out of a textual context. This is a quick way to evaluate how and where to get some of the easiest backlinks that your competitors are enjoying. A good example for the intitle: might be a word like reciprical...
Another trick on the same concept. Using Yahoo! Search advanced features you can filter the domain to be .edu. If you have an exceptionally well thought out resource you can use the .edu filter and see who is linking to some of your competitors and search for certain words on that page. These .edu links are heavily weighted in Google search results...
An example of this trick might be that I could find out education sites that link to a search engine that no longer exist and update them. If I still get too many results I can search to see those that also have the words "Search Engine Watch" on the page, or further qualify the page by looking for more words in the URL. I could possibly help convince the professor that I know enough about search to ask him to link to me. There is no substitute for tact, but most people will not know how you came to their site. I never automate link requests, but I believe in making them easy to find.
If you look off to the right side of the home page I now have a rather simple and easy way to contact me. Instead of throwing a NOSPAM string in my email or using the [at] technique I can now safely hide my email address from spam bots thanks to this free email address hiding script.
Those who spend most of their time reading marketing books get exceptionally annoyed when they see piss poor marketing. Thus I truely appreciate this cool hiveware product. Hide your email address today!
(Yet another cool thing found at Search Engine Blog. I emailed Peter and dared him to use the word "sesquipedalian" in his blog - we will watch attentively and report our findings.)
I recently started posting again over at The Search Engine Journal. If you have not visited recently, The Search Engine Journal is working with the Kelsey Group to promote a new Paid Search Survey which your feedback will help improve. If you buy pay per click advertising, feel free to participate.
The Kelsey group is one of the main data aggregators of information about the growing local search industry, and this quick survey is looking more at general paid search practices.
Bonus: Getting Cheap Feedback
Survey Monkey is free for up to 100 responses a month. Their more full featured survey costs as low as $20 per month.
If you do not appreciate how valuable feedback is, or how hard it is to get feedback then juist look at how few comments are posted on this blog. Yesterday I had over 1,000 page views and 0 comments.
What does it mean to be ethical? Does that mean you produce the best results for clients? Does that you mean you follow all search engine guidelines? Is it possible to deliver the best returns to your customers at the best price while following all search engine guidelines?
Certainly ethical search engine optimization can not be a "yes" to all the above questions. That my friend would be a panacea.
When refering to search engine optimization ethical is an empty tag. Ethical search engine optimization is like the empty statement "Support the troops." It is the leaders and their policy that makes the war.
How can search engine optimization companies working for companies with giant sweat shops claim they are ethical?
I have never got a single page banned, but I am not a fan of the ethical tag. Neither is Chris Ridings:
I am not ethical within the search engine related industries because within those "ethical" is a tag. It's a tag that says "I'm better than them", but never goes on to say why. It's a tag that practically never comes with a definition of exactly what ethical means within the industry. Nowhere does it say in black and white everything that is and isn't allowed. Nowhere does it define the decision process for solving the gray areas.
One could say that the tag was meaningless, but that would be wrong. For within the search engine marketing world "ethical" itself stands amongst the kings of marketing speak.
What Are They?
I would like to help sculpt social policy to increase the functionality of the world around me and the enjoyability (is that a word?) of life on Earth. For example, I would like to make available HONEST FEEDBACK about the effects of antidepressants.
Where Did You Come From?
Ask again later.
Are You Smart?
All indications say no.
What is With These Answers?
Ask Jeeves gave out a new magic Ask Jeeves Ball. I like to play. Its fun...
Is There Anything You Are Sure Of?
I have not used deoderant today (I am sure I say this most days.) I guess in a sense that means I am sure that I am not sure.
Recently Yahoo! announced its Content Acquisition Program. Search Engine Watch did a review of the changes.
Yahoo! is to increase the size of its search database through the use of more aggressive crawling, Site Match, and human editors looking to find ways to include portions of the hidden web.
Yahoo! recently rewrote much of the Inktomi core which will allow them to
better process 3 and 4 word querries
easily change the algorithm in the future
easily turn stemming on or off
AltaVista and AllTheWeb are now using the same indexes as Yahoo!, though they are still powered by their own algorithms.
When Yahoo! reviews a site for Site Match they store data that the page has been quality reviewed. These sites may receive a ranking boost for being reviewed. This move alone would make paid inclusion seem exceptionally biased. Yahoo! is offsetting this by randomly reviewing other sites in its index.
Many people are concerned as to how this website review boost will effect the purity of the index, but any bonus that may be given will not be too large or Yahoo! would earn a bad reputation and a bunch of negative press in a time period where they are trying to aggressively expand their distribution.
Yahoo! believes they can offset some of their additional charges by opperating more transparently with webmasters when issues related to search come up.
I enjoyed talking with Kevin Lee (of Did It) at lunch the first day. He is a real marketers marketer. It was great to listen to his love of paid inclusion and how it can squash untargeted affiliate marketing. He also seemed to like one of my blog ideas. His company also gave out rather large cookies...yum.
I went up and thanked Danny Sullivan (of SearchEngineWatch) for linking into my site toward the end of last year. He is a rather funny and one of the most approachable guys at the conference. I also got the free SEW t shirt :)
I sat next to Mike Grehan (who wrote one of the larger books on search engine technology) for a few sessions. He was rather mellow and interesting to talk to. I think there are few sources in the world with more info and less bs.
I met a reporter and one of the Overture reps at the Yahoo! party. I also ran into Andy Beal (of Search Engine Lowdown) there.
I also ate lunch is Greg Jarboe (of SEO-PR) and talked shop some with him. I am always interested in learning business models and techniques off of extremely successful business people. He (as a former editor) also came up with a good name for a doubious award I aim to create.
Greg also told me of the good old days when he paid for his Yahoo! Directory inclusion by sending them a pizza.
I ran into Anrew Goodman who said "in the flesh and blood" when I said who I was. Cool to see how many people know me by name.
I also met Debra Mastaler, Jill Whalen, Bryan Eisenberg, Eric Ward, Christine Churchill and a bunch of others...
Some good info about SEM, websites, and the future of search.
Nick Scevak of Jupiter Media recently showed a yummie pie graph which showed
16% of businesses surveyed outsourced search engine marketing
15% do not do search engine marketing
69% do search engine marketing in house
This shows some amazing room for growth potential within the industry.
Nick also stated that his biggest fear with paid search is that we may have unrealistic expectations based on amazing performace and returns for early adoptors.
Cheryle Pingle of Range Online Media stated that a large portion of the current growth in search is due to the growth of the economy.
Michael Sack of Inceptor stated that of the term space the bulk of commerce comes from a few hundred thousand terms. He believes this year that large companies will begin to buy out markets to place them out of the reach of smaller businesses.
Geoff Ramsey of emarketer.com also had many yummie pie graphs. His graphs he showed at the SEMPO meeting showed that
from 2000 - 2003 the search marketing industry has increased about 10 fold
from 2002-2003 search engine marketing had a 145% year over year growth rate
22% of US households have broadband
Yellow Pages currently make $14.3 billion annually, whereas paid search is currently only a 2.2 billion dollar industry.
Also at SEMPO Google announced that it is now supporting search engine marketing and sponsoring SEMPO as the rising complexity and competition in the industry is preventing many business owners from being able to functionally use the marketing systems.
Fredrick Marckini of iProspect quoted a stat from StatMarket which stated the average retail web site conversion rate is 1.8 - 2.0%
Greg Boser of WebGuerrilla also provided a few good link tips on the day. When buying links, 501 C organizations are a good place to look. He also stated that he has seen unlinked URLs in TXT files count as backlinks. Some other good link ideas offered by others include trade organizations, tools, and specialty directories.
Many people have asked what percentage of searches use ads vs non paid ads.
Total Search vs Commercial Search
Most search querries are not commercial in nature. To get an accurate indication of organic vs ad usage these non commercial searches are not counted. A recent Piper Jaffray report stated that 35% of search is commercial in nature.
Commercial Search Purchase Breakdown
Yesterday Niki Scevak of Jupiter Research stated yesterday that 5 out of 6 commercial search purchases originate from natural unpaid organic search results.
Overture Paid Inclusion
Yesterday at the SES New York conference Dan Boberg (of Overture) stated that Yahoo will be meshing its paid inclusion programs and branding them under the Overture name. He said we would be hearing more about it in the comming days and weeks.
If your site already has great rankings for your primary keywords then there is absolutely no reason to join this program with your main pages.
Sloppy affiliate marketing has added tons of junk to search engine indexes. Overture (and Yahoo) firmly believe that using an incremental fee based inclusion program helps aid the relevance of their index. Affiliate marketing via search has essentially no cost. By introducing incremental cost to clicks, a search engine can improve the user experience. A site which is not properly targeted and smooth will not be hard to afford these fees.
Most affiliate marketers will not be able to afford these fees, and thus the index.
Starting in October, we're introducing "Budget smoothing", another new feature in which the Overture system makes adjustments to the frequency in which your listings are displayed based on the depletion of your specified budget amount. For example, if you have budgeted €100,00 a day, our system will display your listings just enough so that you receive clicks that will total approximately €100,00 for the day. The smoothing feature also regulates the display of your listings so that you receive clicks throughout the day, rather than burning through your budgeted amount in just a few hours.
From Overture Germany (not yet sure when the global rollout will occur. Will likely know soon...)
Overture Console Update
They now allow a daily spend budget, but I am told your account needs to be on autoreplenish to turn the feature on.
The new console shows what the ads will look like in their short and full versions and also makes some of the bid management stuff a bit quicker. You can update the max bid by category instead of doing it word by word. Overture's console is becoming a bunch more like Google's to where you can intuitively make many changes extremely quick. The additional combination of broad and phrase match makes the system quicker to use.
While still building their highly successful PPC model Overture also considers creating a flat rate pricing model.
Overture's new system will simply allow a choice between exact and broad matching. ...Overture advertisers were to be informed today about the change. ... An exact date for it hasn't been announced, but Overture says it will happen in the next few weeks.
Search Engine Watch has a good article explaining the new Overture broad match move. Basically the change makes gaining greater search volume easier, but more expensive.
time to go update my ebook, and about 20 pages of my websites...
Overture Search Optimizer
What is Overture Search Optimizer?
Search Optimizer users will be able to automate search campaigns based on those response metrics. It also lets marketers develop "watch lists" of keywords or campaigns and run campaigns only during certain times of the day. It will suggest potential keywords that could meet a marketer's business objectives. Marketers also can sort campaigns based on business objectives to see which are underperforming. source: DM News
Advantages of Overture Search Optimizer
Some of the advantages of the new tool are that it will allow you to:
Optimize campaigns based on business objectives such as cost-per-acquisition (CPA), cost per click (CPC), return on ad spend (ROAS) and others;
Automate keyword bidding based on performance-driven bid recommendations tied to their unique business objectives;
Sort campaigns by performance to quickly and intuitively determine which campaigns/keywords need additional optimization;
Manage thousands of keywords through features that allow them to develop "watch lists" of their most important campaigns or keywords, perform advanced searches of their performance data and quickly download large amounts of information to an outside application;
iProspects Bid Management Tools
Jumping on the bid management press release bandwagon iProspect filed for a patent on their proprietary bid management tool.
SEO Softare = Eventual Commodity
Some of the advancements for bid management tools will command some value becuase they save money, but most of this software will eventually become a commodity though and I find the current prices to be absurdly high.
Google and third party bid management software vendors will continue to inovate and and lower costs. In about a year the competitive marketplace wil expect similar software to be included as part of the advertising system for free.