Free Market Research Data

The first person who responded to my free Google AdWords coupon post stated that they are currently ranking well but if their rankings ever drop then they can use the $100 AdWords coupon.

Why would anyone want to wait to collect free market research data? If you don't participate then you don't know if you are missing out on profits.

The longer you wait the more competitive the marketplace gets. The sooner you test the quicker you may be able to create another profit stream.

[added: they replied that they were near full capacity. when that problem occurs it is sometimes a sign to start charging more :) ]

More market research data from SES:

  • Keyword Discovery - has a free trial and paid subscription service.

  • New SERP EyeTracking Study. I believe Gord Hotchkiss also stated that in most engines 70% of traffic goes to organic listings and 30% goes to paid listings. In Google he said the split is closer to 85 / 15.
  • Shop.org research showed an average online retail conversion rate of 1.8%
  • Eric Ward offers link strategy consultations
  • Performics 2004 PPC Click Through Rate data:
    • #1 ~ 3.5%

    • #2 to #4 ~ 1.5%
    • #5 on down ~ 0.75%
  • HitWise "bath tub" searches
    • Google 48%

    • Yahoo! 34%
    • MSN 11%
  • HitWise userbase skew
    • Google - male, higher income

    • Yahoo! - younger, lower income
    • MSN - female, older
  • HitWise share of US search market
    • Google 55.5% (grew 24% in 2004)

    • Yahoo! 31%
    • MSN 7% (grew 10% in last year. grew 13% in last 4 months)
    • Ask Jeeves 4%
  • Nielson Netratings January 05 share of search market stats (excluding searches which lead to internal pages)
    • Google 47%

    • Yahoo! 21%
    • MSN 13%
    • AOL 5%
    • other 14%
    • Google has 29.7 million searchers which only use Google
    • Yahoo! has 13.7 million searchers which only use Yahoo!
    • MSN has 12.2 million searchers which only use MSN
    • G + Y overlap 18.3 million
    • G + M overlap 13.2 million
    • Y + M overlap 5.1 million
    • 9.7 million use all three
    • 3% of searches are local, though Google says more people use local search than Froogle
  • JupiterResearch
    • domestic average CPC to go from 36 cents in 2004 to 40 cents in 2005 up to 47 cents by 2009

    • domestic paid search expected to grow about 600 million a year from now to the end of the decade (from 3.2 billion this year to 5.5 billion in 2009)
    • local search is expected to grow slower than other forms of search marketing

Ethical? Spam

Search Before the Purchase Report, Link Development, Webmaster Communities, Integration

DoubleClick "Search Before The Purchase" Report:
sounds like a report with an intended outcome, eh? report finds half of all purchases are preceded by a relevant search. (found on SEW blog)

  • Many buyers complete their relevant search activity well in advance of purchase
  • The majority of pre-purchase search activity (both searches and clicks) involves generic terms
  • Branded terms dominate search activity closer to the purchase

Link Development:
a thread on the topic...
Google and the Golden Ratio

Communities:
what the hell happened to them?

Intigration:
horizontal is better than vertical - why it is better for most to be the keyword expert or the link broker or the AdWords guru than it is to be all things related to search. (found from A VC)

Global Consciousness Project:
sounds really cool.

Yahoo! Firefox Toolbar, Google Investor Day, & Cold Calling

Yahoo! FireFox Toolbar:
released, reviewed by Danny Sullivan.

Wonder when Google will do the same, they are likely missing out on some amazingly valuable data by not having an official one.

Newsburst:
Cnet creates an online aggregator that will compete with Bloglines & Rojo

Brand Pyramid:
Good post about building products and services at various price points. Also, Rob Frankle on how CEOs screw up branding.

Google Investor Day:
was yesterday. slides and audio if your into that sort of stuff. some of the sides:

  • 60: their revenue was split nearly 50 / 50 between Google.com and their partner network.

  • 72: the top 20 markets have a 17.6% web penetration.
  • 73: shows 66% of revenue was domestic.

This guy thinks they will be worth a trillion dollars in 20 years.

In 20 years nobody will remember his prediction, but Battelle gave him a link yesterday and I gave him one today. Random arbitrary predictions are a good way to gain free links ;)

Atomz:
site search provider gets snarfed up by WebSideStory. More people should use the word snarf.

Google's Search Results are Crap?
Danny says people should not be so quick to discout the opinions of SEOs.

Hiring:
Ammon Johns is hiring.

Cold Calling:
is evil. Nick W has some tips on how to cold call. My personal goal when people cold call me is to ensure I drastically increase the likelihood they will have a bad day, and to hopefully lead to eventual attrition at their work place.

Google Offers Free Cross Platform Tracking System, Anil Dash Rants about SEOs

Google Tracking Cross Platforms:
Google offers up a free cross platform tracking system. You can track banner impressions, email campaigns, and other pay per click search accounts all from inside the Google AdWords system. Why do that?

  • by being first to market with a free tool they lock in mind share and build a user base

  • they get the valuable market data of knowing how their system competes with other ad systems...thus allowing them to further learn from other systems and make systems such as smart pricing as smart as they can be.
  • it further positions their product line as the default starting point for online marketing.
  • saves their advertisers money so they have more money to spend.
  • also build good karma points with many new marketers

Google understands that they more information they have the more they are worth, and that it does not hurt them to be branded as the one stop shop for targeted advertisements. You got to hand it to Google for making freely available something which others charge for. I have not yet tried it, but soon may :) link with more information requires login

Anil Dash: Voice of the Bloggers:
He rants about the Link Condom site going into the typical SEOs are scumbags speech, but Danny Sullivan drops in for a guest visit and sets him straight.

Go Danny!!!

Adding Worthless Services for Free Marketing...

I have been getting links for a few friends recently and have noticed some pretty solid links pointing at some pretty shoddy / worthless SEO services (such as free automated Search Engine Submission services).

Many of these links are from well themed .edu pages that have not been updated for years. Some of these less than stellar services are being clustered with the like of authoritative search sites such as SearchEngineWatch and major search engines.

A few options:

  1. Write more compelling posts which hopefully naturally gain more links.

  2. Edit my content a bit better and stop using words like "fuck" so that more links come naturally.
  3. Make more friends. Friends don't let friends go unlinked.
  4. Contact some of the .edu sites and remind them that submission services are past their time and remind them that they can get current info for free by reading my ebook if they would like a copy.
  5. Sponsor or donate to other sites.
  6. Test a blog spamming script <-- joking as that would suck when people tested them back and that would be like 1,000,000 negative karma points ;)
  7. Create some free cool tools to help build natural linkage data...of course many of these tools would likely need to infringe on various search engines TOS, and thus could get my site banned from search results.
  8. Write lots of press releases until one sticks. :)
  9. Make a rant post on my blog about these links. This would be a complete waste unless it also brought on other ideas of value.
  10. Create and market my own useless white label meta search service or start a directory. Require linkage for inclusion.
  11. Ask other bloggers (where is NickW) to link to this post using "free search engine submission" as the link text. Google Bombs rock!!!
  12. Create a white label anonymously registered automated free search engine submission service which requires and checks for a link back to that site before "submitting" the other sites. Advertise that site on AdWords heavily until it picks up linkage data and then advertise this site on that one.

While this post will probably not be enlightening for most people reading this blog it is a reminder to those new to SEO that there are many many ways to skin a cat, or a dog, or a fish, etc.

Google Hilltop Algorithm

Why Page Theme is Usually More Important than PageRank:
In the Hilltop white paper they talk about how they can use expert documents to help compute relevancy. An expert document is a non affiliated page which links to many related resources. If page A is related to page B and page B is related to page C then a connection between A & C are assumed.

Additionally Hilltop states that it strongly considers page title and page headings in relevancy scores (in fact these elements can be considered more important than link text).

The benefit of Hilltop over raw PageRank (Google) is that it is topic sensitive - and is thus generally harder to manipulate than buying some random high power off topic link would be. The benefits of Hilltop over topic distillation (Teoma) are that Hilltop is quicker & cheaper to calculate, and that it tends to have more broad coverage.

When Hilltop does not have enough expert sites the feature can be turned off. It is believed that Google is using Hilltop to help sort the relevancy for some of their search results today.

Seth Godin on the Search Industry

Seth Wakes Up to search?
A while ago Seth made a comment which basically said SEO is luck and that AdWords was the only way to do search. A while ago I posted an article about why Seth is wrong about search.

Recently he posted a post titled "Is there a Search Industry," which has been getting less than rave reviews through the SEO community.

Later Seth talks about mob justice activity within the blog community (which perhaps relates to this feedback he has been getting), but what would he say if the whole search industry said well packaged virally spreading marketing books are chuck full of bullshit?

How can such a progressive thinker be so behind the times on search? Seth is getting a bunch of links from these out-of-left-field posts about search, so maybe he is just looking for some link popularity?

How Not to Pick / Name a Site / Domain Name

Not sure I any sort of worlds leading expert in this category, but I have seen some people name some domains that just did not make much sense to me. Link Proctor was great software...too bad I didn't know what the hell proctor meant when I first saw the name. I ranted to Brad Callen about that name and he changed the software name to SEO Elite...which is a better name IMHO...and pretty darn good software to boot.

A recent link network came out by the name of Link Smile. I looked at the design and the smiley guy on it and it made it hard for me to want to take it seriously...made it hard for me to want to spend money.

Today I just got a spam email message alerting me to a new link exchange network by the name of Link Fart...which I thought was such a bad name that it inspired this post.

Colors and words evoke emotions, and if the first subconcience response people have is one of alert, disgust, or confusion in most cased your name is probably not helping you sell more widgets.

Some tips on choosing a company or domain name:

As a disclaimer: I bought that Search-Marketing.info domain name when I had 0 knowledge about branding. It is a crappy domain name IMHO.

[update: a friend of mine also pointed me to Name Boy as a good domain name resource. Thanks Todd]

Fractal Spam, Overture Direct Traffic Center Rant, SEM Cares (or do they?), Google Subdomain Chatter

Eating Your Own Crap:
Fractal Spam - search engines may be known to like their own search results...at least for a while.

Overture Direct Traffic Center:
Some big advertisers are not too impressed with the reporting delays and clunky interface.

SEM Cares? SEMPO Cares? or is it Nobody Cares?
SEM Cares perhaps too little, too late for Barbara and others to put out the good word? The domain name sounds a bit Orewellian, which almost makse it sound like maybe nobody cares.

Free Culture Stuff:
A few good links from ThreadWatch's thread about big blue Open Sourcing 500 patents.

Patented European webshop
Software patents – Obstacles to software development by Richard Stallman

Chatter:
There is also chatter that Google may be dropping some spammed out subdomains from some competitive keywords in some of their data centers.

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