SEO Roadshow

Sep 10th

Just a reminder to everyone about the upcoming SEO Roadshow conference in London. It is free, but by invite only.

If you can make it to London next week, need an invite, and are super cool just send me an email and I will see if I can invite a few more people.

The 80 / 20 rule
Well sort of... ComScore search results for July show that 20% of searchers do 68% of the searching.

Branded Search ROI
Google exec David Scacco spoke at the ChannelAdvisor summit. Among Andy Beal's notes of his speech were the following #s

28% of Google searches are for a "product name", 9% are for a "brand name" and 5% are searches for a "company name". "Brand" keywords also have a 8x higher ROI than generic keywords

Google Adwords and the Lost Art of Copywriting

Tens of thousands of businesses, large and small, use Google Adwords and Overture Match (from Yahoo!) to advertise their products and services on the Internet. ... There are many variables, but SEM professionals have focused heavily on the importance of "keywords" – to the extent that entire sub-industries have sprung up to show clients how to create lists of keywords! What has been overlooked, in our estimation, is the good old art of copywriting itself – how you write the ad. ... After all, an ad is an ad whether it appears in a newspaper, a magazine, or on Google or Overture. You've got space for a short headline and a brief description – briefer on Google than Overture, but at least Google doesn't truncate your listing, as Overture does. Given how little space you get to work with, and the fact that you have no visual opportunity, it is crucial to create compelling, snappy ads. Unfortunately, the vast majority are nothing of the sort. Most of them look like badly written classified ads – and that's the main reason most of them will deliver poor click through rates and disappointing results. source: BusinessKnowledgeSource.com

Frequently direct ads that are focused on the customers needs and wants use easy to understand language and are the best performing ads. Many classified ads are tested over and over again...against the rain, the day of the week, the season, etc. and they continue to reappear because they provide exactly what the consumer wants. Most flashy magazine or TV type ads are not tested anywhere near as deeply...if they were, more of them would become the boring ads that speak directly to the consumer.

Danny Sullivan Resigns from SEMPO Advisory Board

Sep 9th

SEMPO is Driven
If people had to say one positive thing about SEMPO it would be that they are driven toward a goal...they will not let petty feedback get in the way of that goal.

The problem is: nobody knows what that particular goal is?

The New SEMPO Weblog Press Release Collection
SEMPO recently created a press release weblog.

After thinking "what the hell is this?" I tried to post a comment into their blog. Unfortunately their comments are pre moderated. You will likely never read the comment I left. My comment did have a link to http://www.cluetrain.com/ though.

So much for that open feedback loop that makes the web great.

Danny Sullivan on SEMPO
Danny Sullivan just released a lengthy article titled Reflections on SEMPO, where he reviews many of the problems SEMPO has faced and announced he and Chris Sherman are resigning from the SEMPO advisory board.

Support for SEMPO seems to dwindle a bit more with each passing day.

SEMPO-Tahoe Press Release
Organizational leadership through press releases...oh how the web connects us.
Compare: SEMPO Press Release vs SEMPO-Tahoe Press Release

Similar, yet different. SEMPO-Tahoe is already up to #3 in Google when you search for SEMPO (only one more site to pass).

ThreadWatch
NickW recently created a new blog to track SEO forums. ThreadWatch posts about many of the often higher level & more interesting or elequent threads...including topics such as Guerilla Marketing, Kung Fu, and Vintage Mike Grehan QuotesTM.

Triangular Linking Info
At Cre8aSite Black Knight talks about the future of linking and triangular linking schemes.

Automated AdWords Relevancy Checker

Sep 9th

When setting up a Google AdWords campaign today I noticed that Google ran it through some sort of relevancy checker. At SEW Forums AdWords Advisor stated this new automatic review feature is aimed at streamlining the review process and helping ads get listed quicker.

  • 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!

Free Directory Software: Why Not Put in a few Programming Eggs?

Sep 6th

Because it is pretty damn bogus.

[update: Javier has removed the database access egg from his script.]

Tons of new directories are springing up using the Free PHP Directory Script created by Javier García Esteban (of Directory-Search or Biz-Directory). While his download page states "the script runs without known bugs with PHP4 and MySQL3," the script also ran with known eggs put in the programming.

Anyone who puts eggs in their software so they can have backdoor access to anyone using it does not have the best intentions for their users.

The two eggs I have been told about are:

The first egg is harmless. It only identifies new installations. The second egg gave Javier access to your database.

The eggs are not hard to remove from the directory script. If you have an old version of the script you may want to remove the eggs.

  • You can replace the image in the first egg with your own image or just delete that line of code. That first egg really is no big deal.

  • The second egg is complete crap. [added: The second egg gives Javier backdoor access to the script. After I posted this Javier stated that he removed that egg. It is a shame that it was ever there in the first place.]

    To remove the second egg you need to remove that above part on line 60 (scroll way to the right) of include.php and replace it with:
    if ($pass) {
    $rand = md5(time());
    $access = fopen ("p=$rand","r");
    $access = fread($access,4);
    if ($access == "true") {
    session_start();
    $HTTP_SESSION_VARS['admin'] = true;
    header("Location: {$dir}admin_edit.php");
    };
    };
    (at least this is what I did)
    I also changed my PHPmyAdmin panel login password after I changed the script. Javier stated that the password was never sent even when the egg was there...he just was using it for backdoor access...as he states in his comment below. He also stated the place which was sent the database access is now a 404 error.

Thanks to MarketingLady at V7N forums. More info about the Free PHP Directory Script Backdoor.

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.

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.

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