Yahoo! Renting Links
Yahoo! was recently renting / leasing / buying / otherwise acquiring some high PageRank keyword rich links from gasbuddy.com. Normally when large companies buy these types of ads they use tracking codes, but these ads were straight links which are analyzed by search engines. Was Yahoo! Buying PageRank? Was Yahoo! Trying to Manipulate Search Results
Only Yahoo! knows what their true intentions were with the links, but within 4 days of people mentioning the links in the SEW forums the links were dropped. If they were not buying the links to manipulate the search results then one would wonder why they were not using a tracking code.
Yahoo!'s Problem with Link Renting
Yahoo! runs their own search engine which powers a ton of search worldwide. Not only are they renting links that manipulate Google's search results, but the links also manipulate the Yahoo! Search search results.
These links are essentially used to build keyword rich link popularity from powerful websites, which may fall under the following unacceptible practices:
Pages using methods to artificially inflate search engine ranking
Excessively cross-linking sites to inflate a site's apparent popularity
Recently someone at the SEW forums stated that Yahoo! told them the problem with their site is that they have too many links pointing at their site.
The Problem with Yahoo! Renting Links
Yahoo! manually edits their search results. If other people have too many links pointing at their sites it is a problem, but if Yahoo! does it then it is ok? why?
Yahoo! owns a valuable network. What they do with that network is up to them. When people search for information Yahoo! can throw whatever ads they want around the results, but the results themselves should not be internally tainted.
As an oracle of information an ethical question is raised when Yahoo! is paying people to edit their results and paying other people to manipulate those same results.
If Yahoo! decided what they want to place in their search results how can I trust them? What happens when they personalize my search? Will that mean that I get biased crap promoting more Yahoo! stuff? Will I not be able to find the information I need?
There is a level of trust associated with search. If Yahoo! wants to manipulate Google search results that is fine. If they are going to do that then they should prevent those same pages from being indexed in their own search results.
Yahoo!'s pages rank in the top 5 of Yahoo! Search for "cars," "new cars," & "used cars." Interesting how those search terms match up with the links they were renting.
Yahoo! just shot themselves in the foot if they were hoping to catch Google in search anytime soon.
Another Link Renting Problem
If you look at the Internet.com commerce partner network http://www.jupitermedia.com/partners/
you will notice that it is a random collection of websites. The only thing preventing these links from being considered a "link farm" is that:
they are expensive
they are attached to a huge powerful network
and Jupiter Media is making a ton of money from them.
Also, how can a company claim it
provides unbiased research, analysis and advice, backed by proprietary data, to help companies profit from the impact of the Internet and emerging technologies on their business. source
Recently (maybe about three weeks ago) I began working on a brand new site idea for a client. Within two days his site was built (my designer is really fast and awesome). Within a week it was ranking well in Google for a fairly competitive commercial phrase with a respectible search volume (thousands of searches per day).
What did I do?
I picked a keyword rich site name and registered the site with a ton of directories.
There were some other forces at hand that I am not at liberty to discuss, but the primary driving force behind his rankings is about a few dozen directory links.
John Scott and I have been talking a bunch recently about the power of LINKS FROM UNIQUE IP ADDRESSES and he posted a good example recently in the V7N forums.
Obviously I have a ton more tips inside my SEO Book, but the condensed version is:
buy a keyword rich domain name
list it in a ton of directories using those keywords
write articles and figure out other ways to get links into your site
There are a ton of other things to consider, but for most industries the web is so non competitive that just the above few steps can go a long way.
Are External Links More Important than Internal Links (for SEO)?
I know most people reading this already know the answer, but I just came across a quick example, so hopefully some people asking this question at a search engine will find this.
Recently I posted a post called "The Daniel Brandt Toolbar" and around a half dozen or so sites linked to me.
Almost every page in this site links to the "Buy Now" page so that when people search for SEO Book they see the home page first and then the "Buy Now" page listed second.
(As of writing this) when you search Google for "SEO Book" you now see my home page first and the "Daniel Brandt Toolbar" page second. It will change in a few days, but this does a good job to show how external links are often more powerful SEO tool than internal links are.
Give it about a few more days for the posts linking into the Daniel Brandt Toolbar to fall into the archives of other blogs and my "Buy Now" page will list again at #2.
The first blog is a lawyer blog and the second site listed is the New York Times, but if you scroll past them you can see some pretty cheap ads.
Gawker is one of the most famous blogs on the web (and it costs $400 / month or $150 / week). I am probably not going to be advertising on the Gawker website today, but currently someone is with a Texas Holdem website.
I am sure that link is probably cheap for someone in the gaming industry. Those affiliate checks online casinos send you can get fat. I had one page from when I first started learning about the web that got me a few grand without me actively promoting it...
If you used the right political message or were marketing an amazing idea the cheap entry price of advertising on Gawker could easily pay for itself tenfold.
Once you look at some of the slightly less popular blogs the price drops sharply. Advertising on one of the top NanoBot site is $60 / month.
On the web, when you get above self sustaining you can further elevate your position by creating conglomorate information products which you give away. Some of the companies listed in Seth's eBook will be so stoked that offer him free links, and in every copy of his book people will know who created it.
What happens? His name spreads even more, he wins even more. I have not yet read his Free Prize Inside yet, but still have a couple extras of his last book (Purple Cow). If you would like a free copy of Purple Cow then please email me your address with purple in the subject line.
GoToast is one of the more well known pay per click search engine management software providers (free 14 day trial). Recently they offered a real quick witepaper covering the topic of conversion.
In this study, we classified 1,000 reasonably well-trafficked search listings representing a broad cross section of industries and approximately 250 distinct Web sites. 4,880,209 clicks/visits were analyzed as the basis for this research.
How Does Landing Page URL Affect Conversion Rate?
Type of Site
Lead Generation Sites
Doesn’t Match Keyword
Home Page of Site
Matches Theme of Keyword
Specific Match to Keyword
Doesn’t Match Keyword
Home Page of Site
Matches Theme of Keyword
Specific Match to Keyword
Does It Make a Difference If the Visitor Has the Capability to Convert on the Landing Page?
Type of Site
Lead Generation Sites
No Order Button
With Order Button
That data is almost motivational enough to make me want to create lead generation websites.
Internet giants Google and Yahoo! will stop carrying adverts for online casinos, blaming a "lack of clarity" in US regulations.
US prosecutors last month warned companies that running ads for offshore online casinos was equivalent to "aiding and abetting". It is illegal to run an online gambling site from within the US.
Google and Yahoo made the announcement seperately on Friday. Yahoo said the ban would apply to US websites only while Google self-denial hits all its sites worldwide. The change is likely to come in at the end of this month, according to the New York Times. - The Register
Those who were spending $10 - $30 per click advertising for words such as "casino" or "online casino" will now be spending that money elsewhere.
Anyone want to bet as to wheter they see more casino sponsored text links drive up the cost of text ads on many sites?
- 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.
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.
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...
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.