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.
Purple Cow had a remarkable distribution chanel by coming in purple milk cartons.
It is no surprise then that his most upcomming book, titled Free Prize Inside is to include special packaging (most likely with a free prize inside).
Free Prize Inside is set to ship in 10 weeks and I have already ordered mine.
I have seen Seth when he came to Rhode Island and have also went to his office to hang out for the day. If you look closely in the picture in this branding article, those are my hands holing the Yorkie bar while I am standing next to Seth.
In any medium there will be free rides as new adopters take advantage of knowledge not share by their competitors. While there is always a new technology which creates new markets, this quick read does a good job of explaining why off the page optimization is more effective than on the page optimization. Chris Ridings explains "The Glass Ceiling."
Update: above link to chriseo.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=62&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0 delinked, as the site is owned by a domainer and is a page full of ppc ads
Update 2: Linking to Archive.org version of the page here, along with a quote:
Consider each keyword phrase as being a little market economy, an interpretation we can intuitively justify by seeing the keywords can have monetary values attached to them in advertising systems. The optimizer who is working on on-the-page factors alone is looking for an economy with extremely low competition (less than 10 competitors). This economy must also provide a profitable return. The market must have practically no barriers to entry. In short, this optimizer would be looking for a newly emerging market or a niche (a forgotten keyword). What we begin to see is that our solely on-the-page optimizer is less of an optimizer and more of a researcher and opportunist. That is no negative statement, being such is a skill in and of itself. However, we can also see that should they prove successful then their very success is an indicator to the competiton that this opportunity exists. i.e. people will wonder why they do so well and begin to analyse it more in depth. Thus, given time competition will form and them will become an attractor to competiton. Sooner or later they will have more than 10 competitors and the opportunity no longer exists.
Given increasing usage and competition on the internet we can say two things: that the quantity of such opportunities is likely to decrease and that the period of time for which such opportunities persist will decrease.
So it is, wisely, arguable that on-the-page optimization is a short term, unsustainable option without off-the-page optimization. It also follows that such optimization will often, but not always, be the least profitable in terms of results.
Often times people come up to SEOs with rehashed boring old ideas they view as exciting and original. I will not usually work for a share of future profits and I will not build your online Canadian pharmacy website for you...
About a month after a management shakeout, GoGuides is on sale to the highest bidder.
On their home page it reads "Notice: GoGuides.Org is for sale! If you think you have what it takes to run one of the fastest growing and most popular human edited directories on the net then this opportunity is for you. Offers will be accepted till 12-3-03. If the minimum reserve price is not met the directory will not be sold. If the directory is sold the buyer must agree to continue running all advertisement, all listings, and agree to continue developing this directory as a spam free community. Minimum Bid Price: $10,000.00 US Dollars. All offers must accompany a 20% down payment of the bid amount via paypal to be considered legitimate. For more information contact us at email@example.com with your offered bid."
Also this is a continuation of my old school blog that was part of my other site. To it, this blog pays homage.