I was in and out around the end of the year and just finally got back home in a somewhat stable state today. It looks as though Google has finally updated toolbar PageRank again, and I have been reading bits about the horrible tsunami.
To try my best to help out, for the month of January I am going to send all my SEO Book sales income to help out with relief from the storm. I think Paypal eats about $2 out of each order, but other than that the remainder will go to help out Sarvodaya.
Search a Bunch of Sites:
GigaBlast allows you to create a custom topic search engine which searches up to two hundred of your favorite domains.
Taking Bets: Sebastian reviews 2004, and bets that SEO firms will drop like flies in 2005. I have grown to know a good number of SEOs over the past year or so (and chat with many daily). Many come from bright business backgrounds, but it also seems to me that many of us also had exceptionally low points in our lives and looked to the web for something to do when other things did not make sense (I am definentally part of that second group).
I would not bet against the resiliency of internet marketers, especially with how fast and cheaply the web provides feedback. No matter how much search advances people will still make money off SEO services. Some SEOs will always be able to manipulate most any search results, while others will move on to other business roles.
I think niche SEO services (knowing everything about an industry or link building or directory registration or keyword research), more sophisticated SEO services (those who can instantly rank anything or know how to get around any technical problem), and more personalized SEO services (working exceptionally closely with just a few clients) will spread.
General broad SEO services for some random set fee to tons of clients will be a business model that provides less and less value as time passes and search advances.
More clients means more data, but understanding social networks and finding the key things that various web based businesses need to do to succeed longterm is not something that can scale out to work well with thousands and thousands of clients. Most base level salary workers can not do the deep analytical stuff and there is only so much that you can automate or mass produce before it loses value.
Some of the best SEOs work for a limited number of clients and share profit with companies that they help make successful. In the long run it is much more valuable to forge a few strong relationships than to spread too thin. From my experiences usually those who demand the cheapest rates also are the most likely to be bad customers in many many many other areas.
If customer SEO fees and service structure are not customly designed around what their sites need then they are:
paying for a package they may or may not need; &
probably are not getting the individual attention their business needs to succeed longterm.
Even selling things like directory registration or consulting I have fees listed on my website, but in my mind the numbers are arbitrary guidelines to qualify prospects...really nothing more. In my opinion no legit service price can be given for full quality SEO services without first extensively chatting and feeling each other out.
SEO in and of itself will not go away anytime soon, though many of the people doing it may create interesting new business models and ideas or have job positions that go by some other official name.
Then again I could be wrong ;-)
Do you think SEO is going away anytime soon? How will it evolve? Will customers learn to pay in jars of peanut butter?
Of those consumers who converted on a trademark keyword, 91 percent did so after starting with a different term type. A full 80 percent started with a generic search term. Trademark searches, meanwhile, accounted for 20 percent of all online searches.
As for conversions, an estimated 92 percent of all computing and consumer electronics purchases occur offline. Meanwhile, 7 percent of conversions occur in the form of latent conversions. Only 1 percent of conversions occur in the same session online.
May the Smartest Search Win: Google Sued Over Scholar... Have you sued Google for something or another yet? If not, why? ;)
For the Egotist in the Room:
PubSub link rank...kinda like Alexa + PageRank for blogs...it measures blog citation and the lower your number the better. My PubSub is brutally high, please link to me to help make the world a better place <-- desperate plea for help :)
NickW: has a baby (actually it was his wife who had the baby) congrats Nick :)
Directory Owners Friend:
I will be doing lots of site submissions to lots of directories pretty soon. If you have a decent directory which:
gets indexed by major search engines
and has enough link popularity to get well indexed;
The new link tool goes by the vapid name of WeBuildPages Tool #9. Hopefully Jim can get a bit more creative when he names any future tools he makes ;) ... I think #9 is a cool tool which will help at least a few webmasters save a good bit of time.
Problems with the Google Search Suggest Tool:
If this tool ever made default it would help users search with longer queries (and thus more targeted searches), but it would artifically condense traffic patterns...thus making top keywords more expensive and static on both the free and advertising side of Google. The drop in ad supply would cause prices to shot up and encourage lots of click fraud. The other obvious problem with the Google search suggestion tool is that it suggests Eric Rice is a child molester, which is obviously uncool for Eric...
Mobile Search: How it will change everything...or will it? I think there is a ton more to the world than just registering a name. Sure people will easily be able to link up regular publications and products to web locations, but the reason Amazon is successful is not just its product offering or customer service, but the rich feedback past consumers have left in their system. I think our social interactions and the trails we leave on the web are worth a ton more than this article seems to believe.
I think the links and attention you get from RSS subscribers will have more longterm value than their cost. If hosting costs are killing you go with Blogger or find a host who wants some cheap marketing (a hosted by link on your site).
Its not uncommon for businesses to have loss liters. If many of your readers / RSS subscribers also provide you tons of links then maybe you should look at the bandwidth as an advertising expense.
It took me about 15 minutes to write a Google API app with PHP to fish these out of the SERPs, using a very small list of seed terms (<20 words). I stopped it after a while, but it's like shooting fish in a barrel to find these "unfootprintable" pages. It will get even easier as these sites get indexed, because it increases the odds of a "hit" when searching for them.
Designed for professionals who currently manage or want to manage multiple AdWords client accounts, the Google Advertising Professionals program can help you become a more successful ad manager – for free.
You have to comply with their rules, spend at least $1,000 in a 90 day period, and pass a test. The test costs $50 to take. Wonder how it helps you make more money for free when the test costs $50? ;) Google AdWords Learning Center
Google has a bunch of free tutorials and quizes which can help prepare you for their test.
Google AdWords Test
I just took the test and it was 104 multiple choice questions. I was given 1.5hrs to take the test and was required to get a minimum score of 75%. A few of the questions are a bit confusing but most of them are rather easy. If you know much about AdWords you should be able to take the test in under an hour.
Google is using predictive modeling to try to help serve up more of your ads.
New AdWords Status Ratings
In the past Google stated ads were strong, moderate, or at risk. The new ratings are normal, in trial, or on hold.
How the New AdWords System Works
If Google has enough keyword data from prior ads on your keywords and it indicates that your ad should perform well Google will start your ads off in normal distribution. If they have inadequate data on your keyword then they will give the predicted CTR a small boost to help start you off in normal.
If past ads for the same keywords show that the ad is not likely to perform well then the ad will start off "on trial." Your account can only have a limited number of on trial keywords in it at any given time. They'll continue showing the "on trial" ads until they are statistically confident their CTR is below or above 0.5%.
If you have more than the max alotment of words which are expected not to perform well then the additional ads will go into the "on hold" category. The on hold ads will be tested based in the order of expected clickthrough rate.