New Backlink & PageRank Lookup Tools

Aug 23rd

Free PageRank Tool...a Brief History
Proogle was a super cool tool when it was announced back in May. Proogle was later renamed Prog and was recently bought out by SEO Chat.

New PageRank Tool
PR Search.net is a tool similar to Prog which also includes the number of backlinks in the search results page, which is one semi useful measure of competition.

One thing I would recommend doing to make the PR Search tool more useful is to allow Yahoo! Search and extract PageRank and display them within the Yahoo! Search search results.

Update on Proogle / Prog
The Prog tool which was purchased by SEO Chat is having useful features added to it. The search results can be ordered by PageRank and they also look like they are in the beginning of adding backlink anchor text analysis features.

Google has been a bit sketchy with showing backlinks recently, but sorting backlinks by PageRank is one of the easier ways to find out where some of the most important links into a site come from.

A Reminder About PageRank
As a ranking element PageRank has lost a large amount of its value. Shady backlink data and more complex algorithms are starting to make link analysis software less useful.

Competitive Marketing Forces
Since PageRank is meaning less and less and Google is giving less and less useful data (showing only some random low PageRank backlinks & not updating PageRank for months on end) this would be a good opportunity for Yahoo! to release WebRank and give tons of meaningful data.

Google is primarily mathematically driven. Yahoo! has human editors and thus can afford to show more meaningful linkage / connectivity data. If Yahoo! did then marketers like me would be more inclined to reference WebRank than PageRank and Yahoo! would get a ton of free marketing. Will they do it though?

Google, Yahoo!, Viral Marketing, & Feedback

Aug 17th

Search Google & Yahoo!
(or Yahoo! & Ask Jeeves or Ask Jeeves & Google)

Free tool extracts the overlapping search results of whatever search engines you chose. It lists them at the top and then lists the other results below somewhat like a meta search engine. Give Jux2 a try.

found on Battelle's Searchblog.

Don't Commit Bid Fraud Against UK Government
The UK Government jumps into PPC. Also be careful about click fraud because the UK government proposes to make any and all offenses arrestable.

All About Haifa
Google recently did a presentation there. (PDF)

some stats...

  • Over 10% of URLs change from month to month.

  • There are over 100 million unique search queries each day.

interesting things about Haifa not covered in the presentation...

  • A Russian guy named Boris has a cool submarine oriented bar there.

  • Many cab drivers in Haifa get kickbacks form the diamand industry and brothels.
  • The water in the Haifa harbor is green and will eat the grassy sea skirt off a submarine in a couple days at most.
  • Haifa lets people pump sanitaries right into the harbor (or at least did a few years ago).
  • I was on a Haifa beach when there was a bomb threat and left Haifa less than a week before the violence started again in 2000. I was also at the mall where I am told a bomb exploded just days after I left.

Viral Marketing
ChangeThis is a new cause driven viral marketing driven website.

Its not viral till you link to it though, so get your links up quick ;)

Three Way Linking: Good or Bad???

Aug 15th

What is 3 Way Linking?
Some webmasters own multiple sites and try to build up one of their specific sites by offering link exchanges from their other sites. In doing this they add a link to you on their other site and get you to link to the main site they are trying to build up.

What Benefits Exist in 3 Way Linking?
Citation analysis works well in academic environments but kinda falls a part in a commercially driven direct marketing environment (which is what the web is).

Many search algorithms may be able to detect link trading as an artificial means of boosting the popularity of both sites and discount the value of these links.

By doing a three way link from sites hosted on different servers a webmaster can build link popularity without the search engine being able to detect the link trading as easily.

The Problem with 3 Way Link Exchanges

Most people engaging in 3 way link exchanges are doing it with the express intent to manipulate search results. This typically means they are trying to make automated bots think their ideas are better than they are, and are willing to do deceptive things to do it.

There are legitimate reasons to do three way links, but most of the three way link partnerships I have been offered are not worth touching with a 10 ft pole.

The real problem is that if their two sites are not connected and they are primarily working to benefit the link popularity of their main site then it does not really hurt them if the site linking to you gets banned. If those sites get banned then they parse no link popularity to you.

In doing this webmasters can agressively market their high margin websites while keeping them somewhat shielded from the dangerous effects of their aggressive promotion.

In fact many marketers might set up 20 or 30 or more secondary sites to echange links with.

An Example 3 Way Link Technique
Some people will set up a bunk directory and ask for you to link back to one of their partner sites. In doing this they get links that would cost them thousands of dollars a month for making an investment which is sometimes less than $100.

They do not mind linking out to somewhat crapy sites because they are getting tons of free marketing for 5 - 10 minutes worth of work each day. I have recently seen more and more directories partnering up to promote more and more sleezy high margin pharmacy and debt type websites.

3 Way Linking: Moral of the Story
If you are trading links with a debt reduction site on your personal hobby site to list in a directory of some sort it is not a fair trade.

Many other sites will be suspicious of you and not want to trade links with you if you have shady off topic links on your site.

If people you do not know want you to trade three way links you should do a bit of investigating before just saying yes.

  • Over 100 training modules, covering topics like: keyword research, link building, site architecture, website monetization, pay per click ads, tracking results, and more.
  • An exclusive interactive community forum
  • Members only videos and tools
  • Additional bonuses - like data spreadsheets, and money saving tips
We love our customers, but more importantly

Our customers love us!

GOOG

Aug 13th

This is kinda an experiment post for the phrase "GOOG," which is Google's new ticker symbol.

Google started accepting bids in their dutch auction IPO today. Some of the financial sites have added them and are awaiting the IPO. When searching Google for "GOOG" there is not much competition yet.

Incidentally somebody owns the www.goog.com website and there is nothing but a "welcome to GOOG" statement there.

I bet a top ranking for the term GOOG would bring in a ton of traffic in the next month. My absolutely random GOOG opening price guess: $94.37. ;)

[udpate: when I first checked this page it was #53 for GOOG, it was up to #8 for GOOG after the first day of promotion. :) I have not spent any money promoting this GOOG page, but have pointed a few forum sig file links at it. If you want to help please link to this page using GOOG in your link text.

I have a few more free promotional ideas in mind ;) ]

Several updates below...

Yahoo!'s Overture & Google Settle Patent Dispute

In the wake of a Google IPO this is a fairly quiet press release.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Google will take a license to U.S. Patent No. 6,269,361 and several related patents, held by Yahoo!'s wholly-owned subsidiary, Overture, and Yahoo! dismissed its patent lawsuit against Google. The two parties have also resolved a dispute regarding shares issuable to Yahoo! pursuant to a warrant to purchase Google shares in connection with a 2000 services agreement.

In connection with the settlement of the warrant dispute, the patent lawsuit, and in payment for the license, Google issued shares of its Class A common stock to Yahoo!. Press Release

More Info on GOOG IPO News...

The offering price is now expected to be between $85 and $95 per share. Google expects to sell 14,142,135 shares of Class A common stock in the offering as originally filed. The selling shareholders are reducing the shares they expect to sell to approximately 5.5 million shares in view of this new price range. This is a reduction of approximately 6.1 million shares. In addition, the selling shareholders have granted the underwriters the right to purchase approximately 2.9 million additional shares of Class A common stock at the initial public offering price to cover over-allotments.

Google and the underwriters requested that the Securities and Exchange
Commission declare the registration statement effective on Wednesday,
August 18, 2004 at 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time).

I am sticking with my absolutely random GOOG opening price guess: $94.37. ;)

Google IPO Share Price Set at $85

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Google (GOOG) on Wednesday set the price for its just-reduced 19.6 million share IPO at $85 a share, for proceeds of $1.66 billion in one of the Internet sector's biggest IPOs ever. The company had earlier cut its price range to $85 to $95 a share from $108 to $135 and the total offering from 25.7 million shares. source: CBS MarketWatch

GOOG Opening Price

100 via eTrade (for some reason Yahoo! was showing 140 though)

...check it out here (quotes have a 20 minute delay)

MSN Search (Beta / Tech Preview or Whatever...)

Aug 13th
posted in
msn

MSN Search Sponsors SES Chicago
Which likely means that they intend to have their technology ready before the end of the SES conference (which starts December 13).

MSN Search Research
Block level link analysis (PDF) - talks about breaking page down into each of their visual sections to extract semantical information. Builds upon Hits and PageRank by taking it to the block level.

If this technology takes off it would require those who rent links to use a bit more page space for each link rental by requiring it to be embedded in content. I have already seen some link brokers renting links in this manner.

Give MSN Tech Preview a Try
MSN Tech Preview

and a bit of humor: MSN Sponsoring more than Chicago SES Conference?
Why is this third site resolving to the MSN IP address? They could not have thought that it would be good PR...

a porn site is resolving to MSN's domain.

found in SEW forums

update: evidently people are doing this to many other large companies too. just point your DNS details at their name servers. I still think its funny though.

Google Backlink Update

Aug 10th

Google is updating their backlinks again. No changes in PR as of yet, just changing in # of backlinks.

You can check your Google backlinks across the various data centers using this Google Backlink / Google Dance tool.

Google AdWord Generator: New Google AdWords SEO Tool

What is Google AdWord Generator?
Jeff Alderson of Xybercode recently created a new Google AdWords tool.

His tool helps you create Google AdWords ads from a prepopulated set of successful marketing phrases. Google AdWord Generator takes a list of over 5,000 sales terms in 65 categories and creates various AdWords ads on the fly.
Not all of the ads are going to be a perfect fit for what you are trying to do, but by glancing at a few dozen variations (they show 8 variations at a time and take less than a second to generate another 8 ads) you may be able to find a few great ad ideas.

Importance of Ad Copy
Many people do not realize that a large part of the sales cycle occurs before people even click on your ads.

People see what they want to see and taste what they want to taste. If you give people a stronger presell they are more likely to convert. By changing my ad copy on one of my AdWords ads I saw my conversion rate go from 1.5 to 3.5%. John Caples once saw an ad pull 19.5 times better than another.

Is Google AdWord Generator worth $97?
If you are serious about Google AdWords and internet marketing then $97 means next to nothing.

Google AdWord Generator alone will not make you rich, but if it helps you create just a few quality ads then this software will pay for itself in no time at all.

Who is Google AdWord Generator Best For?
You still need to find the right products and do keyword targeting, but Google AdWord Generator is a good fit for:

  • People who struggle to write ad creatives.

  • Affiliate marketers who market tons of different products and need to make ads quick.
  • People who are writing ads for large ecommerce sites and need to write tons of ads.
  • This software could likely even help experienced ad copywriters think of more good ad creatives quicker.

Google AdWord Generator Bonuses
I think the sales copy is a bit overdone and some of the bonuses are more about getting you to buy more stuff versus giving you good quality bonuses. I recommend not buying the stuff for sale within the bonus products.

On a whole the Google AdWord Generator is a useful product which will surely pay for itself over time.

Other Copywriting Tips
Right now I am reading Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples and would recommend reading it to anyone in marketing.

If You Buy Google AdWord Generator...
Realize that there is a learning cycle to the Google AdWords game and not everyone will make money right away.

If you are new to Google AdWords you will want to read a report filled with tips on how to use AdWords. A few months back I created a free one ready for your download (I update it regularly). Additionally I would recommend the reports wrote by Andrew Goodman and Perry Marshall.

The Google AdWord Generator comes with a 120 day money back guarantee.

Yahoo! Link Renting: a Critical Look at Yahoo!

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.

The Yahoo! ad unit used keyword rich links. They pointed links at
http://autos.yahoo.com/ with "cars" as the anchor text
http://used-cars.autos.yahoo.com/used_cars.html with "used cars" as the anchor text
http://autos.yahoo.com/new_cars.html with "new cars" as the anchor text &
http://used-cars.autos.yahoo.com/kbb/ with "Kelley Blue Book" as the anchor text

What Did Yahoo!'s Ad Look Like
Their Gas Buddy ad unit looked like this:

Yahoo!'s Other Ads
Yahoo! Shopping is still renting other high PageRank links through the Internet.com network to boost their rankings for high margin consumer electronic items.


anchor text "cameras" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:Digital%20Cameras:20148412


anchor text "laptops" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:Laptops:20148417


anchor text "PDAs" pointing at
http://shopping.yahoo.com/b:PDAs:20148420

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

as set by the Yahoo! Search quality guidelines.

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.

What Next?

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

    and yet sell keyword rich ad space:

    • to random sites

    • throughout its own parent company network
    • which manipulates search results?

Google Advertising Google AdWords Contextual Advertising Program

Learn About Google AdWords Contextual Ads

Free 9 minute video offering tips on how to use Google AdWords contextual advertising. The video describes briefly some of the technology behind how the Google AdWords contextual ad network works.

A couple of the more interesting ideas covered in this video:

  • the Contextual ads are not based on a single keyword, but the keyword list associated with a specific adgroup.

  • In addition the adgroup creatives play are also used to help understand what ads to display.
  • Max PPC and clickthrough rate also play into the order of the ads displayed.
  • You want to use well themed keyword adgroups to help ensure your ads are delivered properly. Including generic words like laptop can make it harder for Google to understand what your adgroup is trying to sell.
  • Using appropriate campaign negative keywords can also help further target your ads.
  • Smart pricing helps reduce the cost of the ad based on Google's predicted value of the click.

Good ideas that were not covered:

  • While many people find smart pricing to be effective you may also want to manually ensure proper price discounting by disabling content syndication on your search adgroups and then create lower priced adgroups with content syndication enabled.

Google AdWords contextual advertisingfrequently asked questions
Mo Money (via Google AdWords Contextual Ads)...
Between Aug. 4, 2004, and Sept. 30, 2004 Google is offering selected Google AdWords subscribers (I don't know how exclusive it is) a discount for participating in the Google AdWords contextual ads program.

You need to create new contextual ad groups or enable contextual ads on current ad groups not participating in contextual advertising. Based on the amount you spend on those contextual ads you will get a rebate coupon code.

Spend $6000 or more, get $1500 credit
Spend $4000-$5999, get $1000 credit
Spend $3000-$3999, get $750 credit
Spend $4000-$2999, get $500 credit
Spend $1000-$1999, get $250 credit
Spend $500-$999, get $125 credit
Spend $300-$499, get $75 credit
Spend $200-$299, get $50 credit
Spend $100-$199, get $25 credit
Spend $10-$99, get $10 credit

source: Google AdWords contextual advertising ad

Random Tidbits...

Aug 4th

Google IPO
May occur as soon at Tuesday.

New Search Engine in China
China's Sohu.com unleashes sogou.com which means "search dog"

Search.com Launches new Features
Thumbnail screenshots, custom colors, specialty searches, & customizable category searches - more info

Thumbs Down SEMPO
They are still failing to address Mike Grehan's questions despite many opportunities too. Perhaps there could be something better. Maybe there could be an organization with the same mission statement that SEMPO has which ACTUALLY AIMS TO DO WHAT THERE MISSION STATEMENT IS.

Many people have called SEMPO a marketing scam. SEMPO blatently ignores feedback and has no clue about how to pull their own name out of the mud. Not defending yourself when dozens of your peers question your intent with hundreds of forum post is an admission of guilt in my book.

I see absolutely no value in joining or supporting the SEMPO organization.

Yahoo! Renting Links?
Yahoo! has been renting links from the Internet.com network. Generally most people view the Internet.Commerce partner links as links from PageRank more than ads (since those links are rarely relevant to the page content and rarely get clicked on).

Some people think it is a big deal that they are perhaps buying links for PageRank, but I think the bigger problem at hand is that they also edit their own search results. It becomes a sticky situation if they edit their results and rent links which manipulate them.

When I glanced the links into this page were using "cellular phones" as the link text and yet Yahoo! is using "cell phones" in the page title. Somebody needs to teach them SEO...

[update] if you look at sites like gas buddy you will see that they totally are buying links to manipulate search results...almost pro style. keyword rich anchor text, keyword rich file names, keywords in the page copy, etd. [/update]

In Other News Down Under
Sensis has new competition? Yahoo! says no, but for some reason Yahoo! just created an Australian local search directory and put a new snazzy local search tab on the au.Yahoo.com home page.

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