What makes search powerful is targeting. Searchers prequalify themselves for your products or services. Pretend you are an interior design firm. You may try to capture the phrase "interior design," but it would not be as targeted as a phrase like "interior design firm" or better yet "hire an interior design firm." The first person may be looking to spend $4 or just browsing, but the last searcher showed some real intent to buy.
The more targeted your terms are the better your conversion rate will be. Short terms are where a great deal of the fat rests. People false clicking, buying tons of links, spam central...looking for the deep targeted terms can help you out a bunch.
Dan Thies, of SEO Research Labs, recently created an Excel Spreadsheet to help you calculate the value of different phrases. It requires that you assume a % of relevancy for different terms, and then multiplies those terms by their search distribution to help you see how much targeted traffic each term gets. The idea is discussed in more detail here.
Also, why does my town's localities pagehave (UPDATE: now is a had - Resource Zone has sent many editors to this page and my town has since been fixed) a medical transcription listing in it? I can't believe there is a huge college in this town and nobody is the DMOZ editor...
My Site Level Search
My other site uses Atomz to power it's site level search. On smaller websites people usually fail when they place something in a search box. To illistrate how randomly people search consider the some of the following random searches which all were performed multiple times last week on my other search engine website.
Last Week's Random Site Level Searches
[ blank query ]
how long a person can stay wihtout food
I could guess that some of those searches might have been performed by some automated bot, but some were probably performed by people. Certainly those random searches did not find what they wanted on my site, and likely others shared the same fate. It is better to guide a person to performing the task you want while they are engaged in the active window vice give them the oportunity to stray to randomness via a search box.
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.
MSN Blog Bot
MSN Blog Bot will not be the first blog based bot on the planet (though in the first article below they seem to think they will be.) Already there are many blog specific search engines and tracking systems such as Daypop and Technorati.
MSN Blog Bot will not scour all blogs on the web. They are looking to provide information from the top couple hundred thousand blogs on the web based on credability (which will most likely be determined by linkage data.)
Google does not spider every page of the web everyday. They can not keep a full accurate view of PageRank updated in real time. Google Guy has hinted at the fact that PageRank display updates are just that, DISPLAY UPDATES. PageRank is updated far more frequently when links appear from major websites which are frequently spidered by Googlebot. Recently a guy got arrested for an alleged Google extortion attempt. I was one of the few sites on the web that had wrote about the new AdSense autoclick software before the man was arrested. The lead editor of Internet News called me up and talked to me. He linked into my page about the subject in his article which appeared on Internet News, Earthweb, and even in foreign language translated websites.
If you search Google for SEO Book normally my home page lists at #1 and my buy now page lists at #2. Due to the articles linking to me recently appearing on the home pages of exceptionally powerful websites my autoclick software page now ranks at #2. This happened within a couple days of the articles.
As the autoclick articles fall into the archives of those major sites their link value will decrease, but for now those links are still adding a good bit of link equity into my site.
AllTheWeb has recently switched to the Yahoo! index. Many of the advanced search features that were on AllTheWeb are no longer available. Currently Lycos is still being powered by the old AllTheWeb index. Greg R. Notess of SearchEngineShowdown wrote an article about AllTheWeb changes. People at Webmaster World are also running a thread on the recent AllTheWeb changes.
Side Note: A little while back Hotbot dropped AllTheWeb from their search options. Now they only include Ask, Google, and Hotbot (Inktomi).
It would make sense that MSN is in no rush to bring out it's own search results. Most of the money search engines make comes from the paid ads. With the beating Yahoo! has been taking it is in question whether or not MSN will even offer a paid inclusion program.
The longer they wait before they put out MSN Search technology, the more they can refine it before it comes out. Having the luxury to be able to build a search engine behind the scenes means that few people will be specificially targeting their algorithm with spam. Once it's released they can't go back, and it is not in their best interest to let people know when the switch will happen.
When Google recently updated the AdSense TOS they included the following statement:
multiple ad units may be displayed on each Web site page, but no ad unit shall contain any advertisement in common with any other ad unit.
Currently there is no guarantee that repeat ads will not appear on a given page though. Part of the ambiguous nature of the language is that Google does not want to revise the terms of service more than once per quarter. Look for Google to add the new multiple ad feature soon.
Kanoodle, which runs contextual based ads on CBS MarketWatch, Motley Fool, and Quicken announced that today they are partnering with MSNBC. Kanoodle runs ads based on category where Google AdSense ads are run based on keywords.
Beginning next month, through its ContextTarget service, Kanoodle will be the sole provider of sponsored links across MSNBC.com, which features original content in addition to content from its partners The Washington Post Co.'s Newsweek and The Washington Post, and NBC properties including Dateline and The Today Show.
"We're open for business for all advertisers," declares Lance Podell, president of Kanoodle.- source Media Post
One of the main reasons MSNBC said they chose to use Kanoodle is that they can block ads by category, which is helpful during times of national crisis. The single biggest reason MSNBC would like to partner with Kanoodle though is that they are a technology which is NOT owned by Yahoo! or Google.
For search and the modern interface to jump to the next level they will need to better understand what we want through reading our emotions. One of the first steps in that direction will be to take inputs from things other than the mouse and keyboard.
Kanoodle to Factor in Click Through Rate Contextual Ad Placement
Kanoodle is to improve the value of their contextual advertising product by factoring click through rate into ad positioning. Kanoodle is the first search engine to offer exclusively contextual advertising. They are extending their lead in this market by adding many value added features that other search engines have not yet added.
The company's new proprietary system, ClickFactor, has an approach similar to Google's in that ads move higher or lower on the list based on how many users click on them. However, it's different in that advertisers can learn their rank, the factored index and the bid needed to get the desired placement, according to Lance Podell, Kanoodle's president.
Ass Backwards SEM?
Fredrick Marckini (of iProspect) wrote an article titled
"Ass Backwards SEM," which focuses on how it makes sense to make a smooth site which converts before spending money on pay per click.
Some Ass Was Way too Focused on Pay Per Click
ABout a week ago I gave out my Scumbag of the Year Award a bit early. Google did not think so. The man who created AdSense autoclick software was arrested by the secret service for extortion.
Ryan Naraine, the lead editor for Internet News, called me yesterday to chat about the guy. He quoted me in his article, but I did not get the amazing plug I was aiming for. Read about the ass backwards programmer accused of extortion.
Many people can create large lists of keywords manually, but its really slow. A few weeks ago I thought about creating a tool which would allow me to enter keyword groups in a sequence and then have all posibilities of them automatically generated in a list. (Microsoft Excel does this, but there was nothing on the web which really did this.)
In Google broad matches compete with exact match listings, so this tool will help a little there, but not a ton. This tool really helps with Overture though, because they place exact match listings in front of broad match listings (which they call advanced match).
Q: How do I get Overture Search Ad Impressions for my Country?
A: Modify the url of the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool for searches performed in your country. Q: Do You Have an Example of How to Modify the Overture Search Term URL?
A: Yes. Q: How do You Modify the Overture Search Term URL?
Thirsty? Want Some Java?
On a few of the forums people have stated that Google has been following some Java links with a new spider by the name of "Googlebot/Test." There is an ongoing post at WebmasterWorld and Shawn of Digital Point also posted a detailed post about it.
Affiliate marketers and others using Java to cloak links will soon need to use redirects and a robots.txt file in place of the Java to keep Google from spidering your cloaked links.
So Daniel Brandt HATES Google. IN A BIG WAY. Primarily because his NameBase website was not getting good rankings on the inner pages. He made the site http://www.google-watch.org/ to talk about many of his reasons why he views Google as being evil. Daniel was also the creator of Scroogle.
I think with the recent announcement of the upcomming launch of MSN Search it is fair to assume that the site http://www.msn-watch.org is necissary. Thus I have registered the domain and plan to have fun with it... I will make a one page site and have it hosted in the next few days.
Will this make me a CyberSquatter? Depends on my approach price for my domain...actually I think I will have fun developing it. Unless they block me, my site will eventually rank #1 for "MSN Watch" :)
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.
A person has been emailing many of the major search engine hubs stating that Google search results are affected by AdSense ads. I think if Google actually did they would quickly lose relevancy and we would quickly get contextual ad burnout the same way we got banner ad burnout.
His test search which "proves" his point is that when you search Google for the phrase advertise website sell buy there is a boat load of subdomains from a single website which dominate the search results.
His search is a rather obscure one which does not necissarily prove his point. It does; however, prove that subdomains are still kicking Google's rear. If you click through the pages of that search result you will see that the pages are all virtually the exact same with the exception of subdomain and title.
Chris Ridings (owner of SearchGuild SEO Forums) noted that these search results do prove something rather significant.
It shows that subdomains currently get around snippets.
It proves that LocalRank or similar algorithms aren't in use on all searches.
Google has been given some negative press for their lack of clarity in all parts of the Google AdSense program. Off the start they only allowed one account per person. They then shifted to allowing multiple accounts for the same person. They now allow channel level statistic control.
They have upgraded AdSense in many ways. They now offer
Channel level tracking. - "Detailed reporting is here! We've introduced the concept of channels as a way for you to gain insight into the performance of Google ads on your pages. By grouping pages into channels, you can compare performance of a banner versus a skyscraper, track clicks on your automobile pages versus your motorcycle pages, or get results for each individual website you manage. You'll see page impressions, clicks, and earnings data for individual channels or for any combination of channels.
Channels are defined by a unique tag in your ad layout code. You can add channel code to any of your pages, simply by copying and pasting the appropriate ad code into your web pages. This will allow you to track performance, and will give you valuable information that will allow you to optimize the performance of AdSense on your site." Learn moreabout channels at the AdSense FAQ page.
Downloadable CVS reports.
The option to display a solid color instead of public service announcements when ads can not be served.
Yahoo has begun beta testing Yahoo News 2.0, a new News Search Engine which unlike the current Yahoo News, draws in news stories from thousands of online news sources indexed by Yahoo. News Search now combines articles from Yahoo! News and over 7,500 crawled news sources around the Web.
While almost every search company has seen recent stock price gains rumors again are floating that AOL may be sold off. If AOL were only concerned about the quality of their product they would not be facing this problem.
Citing unnamed sources, the New York Post Online reports that Time Warner's banker, Goldman Sachs, is working on a series of proposals concerning the future of AOL.
Options include flogging the business, floating it or engaging in a "significant restructuring".
The proposals are due to be discussed by senior execs next month at a board meeting.
Recently Shawn at Digital Point has seen some Google AdSense ads which have Google logos in the background. Generally many people associate Google with good (or being credible.) These images would probably increase click through rates on sites where the ads are not well blended into the content. On sites where the ads are well blended into the content then the clickthrough rate would probably decrease substantially.
Many other search engines think they have the perfect solution for advertisers. Some forget how far ahead of the curve Google is. Today Google launced a new local search at local.google.com. "For now, Google will not display local advertisements on the service, but it plans to do so in the future." - News.com
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:www.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 :)
We are pleased to announce that in a deal with the former search engine Links2go, Inc we have acquired full ownership in their name links2go. GoGuides will issue a press release in the near future detailing our development plans for www.links2go.com. Links2goTM
Dallas Mavericks owner reports he owns 6% of the outstanding shares of the meta search engine Mamma.com and their stock price goes up by over 20%. Where is the mathematical logic in that?
Hear no Evil, See No Evil
The new Norton Personal Firewall blocks not only pop-ups, but also paid listings on major search engines. What are the odds pay per click search engine stud Kevin Lee is not happy?
Unlike pop-ups that are despised almost universally (resulting in the proliferation of pop-up-blocking software and toolbars), paid search listings are often more relevant than spam-filled algorithmic search results. Maybe the Norton team will wake up when a whole bunch of Norton Personal Firewall purchasers call tech support wondering where those relevant links went.
- 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.
There are a couple tools on the web which allow you to track your competitors click through rates.
Google AdWords Click Through Rate Tracking
The first one is a free offering from Google. Underneath the ads there is an Interest Bar which looks similar to how PageRank appears in the toolbar. This value is based upon clickthrough rates.
Some programs such as AdWords Analyzer will look at the number of advertisers for a keyword, but it does not show the click through rate. Looking at the green bars at the bottom of the AdWords ad will give you a good indication of how competitive a term is. If we search for something like "Google AdWords" you will see that most of the Google AdWords ads have a decent click through rate <--- exceptionally competitive marketplace.
Some other ads are not as well targeted and/or are poorly written. This causes a lower click through rate. You should notice different interest levels on some of the people advertising for words such as "drink wine."
Since Google AdWords factors click through rate into click price it is exceptionally important to maximize your click through rate.
Overture Competitor Detail Monitor
A company by the name of Epic Sky offers a product called "Competitor Watch." It can track the spend and bid strategy of your top competitors. It does not; however, tell you what words your competitors are running ads for if those words are not already in your inventory.
Google is rather random with the update cycle for the Google Directory. Many people have speculated that they want to dump the mirror of the Open Directory Project in favor of some other type of directory - perhaps maybe an internally created directory.
The Google Directory is a clone of the Open Directory Project, which is the largest free directory on the web. Anyone is free to create their own local copy of the Open Directory Project by using a feed from the RDF dump which is usually updated multiple times a month.
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.
I have stated time and time again that it is a good idea to work with larger and more developed technology companies when dealing with pay per click distribution. I have got many emails from people saying the second tier pay per click search engines have given them a raw deal one way or another.
What is the problem with pay per click?
When you go with a smaller network you generally have a lower quality of traffic and slower feedback loops. You will not be sure if the problem is your site or the pay per click network. The wrong pay per click partner can hurt you on both the distribution of ads for your site or on your site. GoClick feedback from an angry former affiliate by the name of Britton Keene:
I signed up with GoClick.com at the beginning of last year. It seemed too
good to be true. One of the highest payout rates in the industry. If it sounds too
good to be true; it usually is. This was no exception. They paid me the first two
months then, when I wasn't logging in to check stats anymore, they dropped my rates down from the $0.02 per search to $0.00 per search and the $2.50 cpm popups down to $0.25 cpm. I noticed this in March of 2003, over 5 months after they reduced my rates. I contacted them and Mr. John Babina, proprietor of GoClick, promptly responded that their terms of service state they can change the rate at any time and for any reason. So, without notice, they did so in August and have been getting free traffic from my network of sites ever since. When I filed a report with the Better Business Bureau against them I received this e-mail from Mr. Babina:
This is official notice that we are hereby terminating our affiliate relationship
with the account holder at this email address. (under our affiliate terms:
"goClick may adjust affiliate parameters and payouts or terminate
an affiliate at any time for any reason. All decisions on content, rates, payment
or termination will be made by goClick and all decisions are final.")
Don't get me wrong, I am all for small business. I just think it may not be in your best interests to look for cheap traffic before you know your conversion system and setup work on larger systems. Even then, smaller pay per click search engines may not be worth the time they take to manage unless you automate much of the process.
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.
Macon Area Online is known to create some rather dumb search engine marketing news posts. Recently they had a post that made it into the Moreover Search Engine News feed, which was one I actually liked for a change. Here is a nice little extract.
Bush's historical legacy will be his lies about WMD's in Iraq, and a key phrase search for 'Bush lies' on Google yields 2,550 results.
Bush regularly gives lip support for various social programs on one day, and then on the next, unplugs funding for the same. He characterizes extensive corporate logging as 'saving our forests', and abolishes standards for industrial carbon emissions as 'the clean air act'. He is big business' top gopher and ever eager to trip-up labor with legislation such as eliminating overtime pay. Bush exclaims, " Support our troops." Then, he cuts benefits to military families and veterans.
He allows our troops in Iraq to be provided with supplies that are inferior or run short, forcing our men and women to buy their own. Wounded soldiers are treated like dogs as they languish in miserable accommodations for days or weeks in bases before they receive adequate care for their wounds. Purple hearts are denied and dead soldiers come home in the dark of night to cover up their ballooning numbers.
I saw Neil Young yesterday. He spoke of how big media companies like to paint signs for us to see. He had some of these signs up in the background while he was talking through a portion of his recent concept album "Greendale."
The first sign said "Support Our War."
The second sign said "Support Our President."
Unforutunately I can not do either.
One thing I did not like about this Macon article is that their # (2,550 search results) is artificially low.
For example, Bush Lies returned 1.8 million search results. "Bush Lies" returned over 40,000 search results.
Today the register wrote an article about jailtime for those who were selling non existant Google Stock. I know you are hesitant to want to read any article on Google from the Register, but its ok. Andrew Orlowski did not write it.
While the algorithms behind Google and Yahoo! are way different from one another, we can see that the search results are frequently consistant with one anther.
This cool search result comparison tool will give a visual comparison of the first 100 search results between Google and Yahoo!. Please note that the search results comparison tool requires Macromedia Flash to work.
I think it would be interesting to compare different word length search results and different levels of difficulty. I will have some fun after I get back from tonights Neil Young concert. <--- this is cool!
I think if they added Ask Jeeves to the other two search engines this tool would be the ultimate topical authority finder.
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.
Yahoo! has been employing editors hard at work to remove affiliate sites. Aparently some SEO's have been getting personalized email responses which state (among other things)
[url] is blocked from our index; the heavy use of affiliate content is likely the cause. Yahoo! wants users to get unique, diverse content for their searches whenever possible.
This really shows the fundamental difference in the approach to search between Google and Yahoo!. Yahoo! is betting the farm that they can edit better than Google can formulate. I bet they can't...
Google = mathematics
Yahoo! = human editing
*bonus points Teoma = CLUSTERING
Removing these affiliate sites may improve the search experience at Yahoo!, and it will allow them to sell more Site Match listing clicks.
If you are one of the many people who gave a glowing review of my eBook you can sign up to join my affiliate program. The book sale price is $39.99, and the affiliate payout is 50%.
Alf, a database design specialist signed up yesterday and made awesome sales copy that I could not have even asked for. Always good to see my ebook getting better reviews than SiteBuildIt on a site built by SiteBuildIt.
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.
Even with my limited experience in the ad world I have been able to reduce AdWords cost per customer acquisition from over $70 to under $5.
I feel I could write a ton of tips on ad writing, but that would just read like an ad...
One ad problem that frequently is a complete bust is that people fail to offer a consistant message throughout the sales process.
The ad copy shoud match the consumer intent.
When the consumer clicks through to the page it should be obvious that they are in the right spot. The page copy needs to match what that ad promissed.
Customer benifits like Free shipping may improve your click through rate, but an order processing fee of $1.99 may allienate your users at the shopping cart. Consistancy builds trust. It allows you to lock in customers and increase profits down the road. The web is all about building a reputation and delivering on your promises.
An effective ad campaign is consistant from begining to end.
Good stuff from the Isearch list. If you move your site and want to know if search engines will be able to see your 301 redirects (or want what shifty competitors are doing) you can try Rex Swain's HTTP Viewer
MovableType (which powers this blog) offers instant feedback, trackbacks, and conversation continuation which is generally unparalleled by most other web design software.
This rapid feedback also places huge holes in this software, which is highly susceptible to spam. Automated bots scour the web to find sites like mine and leave a comment which says irrational garbage. The signature usually contains some type of optimized link which goes to a porn or drug website. These links are viewed by search engines as legitimate third party votes and parse PageRank to the SPAMMING site.
Recently Mike Grehan wrote about the sour effects of this type of software in a piece called "PageRank Lunacy."
"what if the posted url only became an active link and links in the comments only became active after they were confirmed by a blog admin?
the comments could still show the same and frequent contributors could also be given a pass of some sort to not require every post be confirmed
this would still allow the open and instant feedback, but would rot away all of the value of comment spamming."
I think they could redirect the links using java and then pull the java off when the comment is confirmed or the user is authenticated. Currently the value in comment spamming is only in how search engines interpret these links. If that value is removed then the comments will no loger appear.
I am not a programmer by nature, but I think that this is the best current solution, and that it would be easy to implement.
It prevents the parsing of PageRank to SPAM comments and allows the system to keep its fast feedback loops and functionality.
There has been a rather active conversation going around the web about the new Yahoo! Content Acquisition Program. Most people are not looking at the topic through the eyes of Yahoo! though.
Yahoo! knows that they are not going to be able to build a better mathematical based search engine than Google can. Yahoo! has no hope competing head to head fighting Google at its strengths.
Yahoo! believes through creating an editorial reviewed hybrid search they will be able to raise their relevancy. Yahoo!'s new Site Match program is just one more way to raise income to pay for the large editorial job at hand. My longer and more boring review of the Yahoo! Content Acquisition Program.
Both are easy... nuclear power is much more boring though as you can not see or feel the feedback loops other than on some stupid panel or display.
As a former nuclear reactor operator I find it fascinating to see this page as one of the most rapidly spreading ideas on the web.
What in the hell does that page have to do with SEO?
A bunch. It does not matter that her pages are structured improperly and have bunk titles. It does not matter that her site is hosted on a free host. Her site is still getting a ton of distribution.
How Did She do It?
She has an interesting idea worth spreading. Her broken english and the story of CHERNOBYL are exeptionally powerful at painting human emotions. One or two bloggers found it and the idea spread. Ideas that spread win.
I would also bet that her page ends up with a PageRank of at least 5 within a month or so. If she wanted to use that PageRank to support her motorcycle club she could.
How Can My Ideas Spread?
Most sites can add free extras or use an external site which is an authoritative topical hub to gain link popularity. The web is just a big happy (or not so happy) social network.
Think of your topic from one level up or from a different perspective. Why should competitors or fans of your topic link to you? Why should college professors link to you? If you can find out good answers to these questions you are likely on your way to success.
Google AdSense is a program which has left just about everyone in the dark. If I adverstise with Google AdWords and opt into contextual based adversiting, I will not know what sites my AdWords ads appear on as AdSense ads.
Google does separate out the AdSense ads into their own group for tracking purposes, but it does not show any more than group level details.
On the publisher side AdSense publishers were also left equally in the dark. They had no way to track what ads and formats were performing best...until AdSense Tracker came out. Dan Grossman recently created his product which will show what AdSense ads are being clicked on and performing. Each page that is to use this feature need a snippet of java code placed on it. The java interfaces with a single MySQL database used to track everything.
AdSense Tracker is a low quality bait and switch site that I no longer link at or recommend in any way.
It would be a lie for me to say I often view most of the mass media. What little I have viewed though has shown me that Ask Jeeves is becomming more serious about gaining market distribution.
Recently at SES New York I have got my Ask Jeeves magic 8 ball and free Ask Jeeves pen, but these are small issues. What media I have seen has had more ads here and there for their product. Also while I was walking through Times Square I saw a huge Ask Jeeves ad on the Nasdaq board...which was cool.
AOL is a rather large site to be using a third party search provider. Many rumors have been floating around that AOL may aquire Ask Jeeves. I hate AOL and hope they do not buy and ruin Ask Jeeves.
Ask Jeeves Buying Search Engine Distribution
"Ask Jeeves said on Thursday it would buy Interactive Search Holdings Inc. for about $328 million, rocketing the stock by as much as 43 percent as the company seeks to compete with the top Internet search engines Google and Yahoo.
The company said its plan to acquire the owner of search Web sites iWon, Excite and My Search would double Ask Jeeves' market share in the increasingly cut-throat industry to 7 percent, and would also boost its profits."
- source: Yahoo! News
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.
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.