Search Engine Marketing News - 2005-09-28

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Hi Everybody!

We wrapped up our Search Engine Marketing Made Simple seminar yesterday and it was a hit. In fact, we are already beginning to plan the next one with our buddies at the Karcher Group and we'd like to get your feedback on the following questions:

1. Where would you like the next seminar to be held? How far would you be willing to drive?

2. What topics would you love to see covered? Here is what was covered in yesterday's seminar:

5 Things You Need to Know About Search
Common SEO Myths
Keyword Research
Basics of Good Link Building
Basics of Good Design
Overview of Pay-Per-Click
How to Read and Interpret Stats
How to Find and Hire an SEM Firm
Live Site Clinic

Please email your answers to Jennifer. Her email address is

Have a great week!

Robert Clough

Have questions or comments? Drop by our forum.

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    Search Engine Marketing Articles

    Cause and Effect - Not Always Easy to Determine
    by Scottie Claiborne - Just as early humans didn't actually cause the sun to come up every day, minor changes to your site generally don't trigger massive changes in search engine results.

    The Extreme Makeover of Integrated Search Planning
    by Gord Hotchkiss - The rest of your marketing has one purpose: generate engaged interest. If successful, where does your prospect turn? Odds are very good that it will be a search engine.

    New Study Explores Click Rates for Search Results
    by Jennifer Laycock - A new study released this year by a team of researches at Cornell University aims to examine the actions of searchers when it comes to both viewing search results and deciding which result to select. The studies findings were not unexpected, though they do back up anecdotal experience for most marketers.

    New Comparison Shopping Search Engine Snap Shopping
    by Bill Hartzer -'s shopping channel leverages the refine-as-you-type (RAFT) functionality that has pioneered in their web and news search channels.

    Don't Buy
    by Jim Hedger - DontBuyJunk takes the narrowing of search results much further than general attributes, allowing me the option of telling it exactly what I need in a product.

    What's The Deal With Search Engines And Text Link Ads?
    by Daria Goetsch - When did hypertext links become the enemy? Google's PageRank began a burgeoning search engine optimization link building industry that now seems to be out of control. What's the deal with text link ads? Isn't a link just a link? Not really, at least according to recent blog and forum posts.

    MSN adCenter Launches in France, Coming Soon to U.S.
    by Jennifer Laycock - While the new adCenter has some outstanding features that advertisers are sure to find handy, other options being touted as "powerful campaign management tools" are likely going to be less than useful for small business owners.

    Expert Search Engine Optimization: Is Ongoing Management Needed?
    by Scott Buresh - Companies often fear that they are paying ongoing fees for one-time work, and, unfortunately, these fears are often justified.

    Length of Meta Description Tag
    by Jill Whalen - One of the biggest mistakes people make when thinking about SEO is that they believe there are certain hard and fast rules and if you don't follow them you will either get penalized or never see high rankings.

    Tale of the Broken Light Fixture: A Target Audience Analogy
    by Scottie Claiborne - Looking at the webstats, you see that users are finding your site and even hanging around a little while, but they don't engage or interact. Most likely, you have a usability issue.

    Online Local Advertising Poised for Solid Growth
    by Jennifer Laycock - If you've been putting off search marketing as a line item on your budget because your competitors aren't doing it, you need to get past that line of thinking and start coming up with a plan of action.

    Boost Your Website Traffic - Forget Que Sera Sera
    by Barry Welford - A well constructed website handled in the right way can be the most powerful generator of sales with the highest return on investment. Que sera sera is a slogan for inaction. Yet action can be so richly rewarded.

    Is Google Building Alternative Internet?
    by Jim Hedger - There are a number of reasons backing speculation that Google is building its own global digital communications network. Google has formally entered the telecom business with the release of a VOIP client known as Google Talk.

    SEO Copywriting Makeover: Finding the Right Trigger
    by Karon Thackston - There is at least one trigger for every product or service on the market today. Finding it is the hard part. Once you determine what will set your customers in motion, you've won half the battle.

    Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part 1
    by Stoney deGeyter - When researching various hosting companies, look for quality over cost. You don't necessarily have to pay an outrageous monthly fee, but you do need to find a host that provides you all the features you need with minimal inconveniences and ongoing problems.


    Search Engine Guide Blog Posts

    Yahoo! Desktop Search Leaves Beta
    Yahoo! announced yesterday that their desktop search tool was leaving beta for an official launch. The software indexes over 300 files types including email messages, audio and video files and Word documents. A Yahoo! spokesperson wouldn't disclose how many users have downloaded the software, but the company faces stiff competition from popular desktop search tools from Copernic and Google.

    Yahoo! Tests New Tools That Appeal To Brand & Traditional Marketers
    Kevin Newcomb reports at ClickZ that Yahoo has begun an effort to provide more advanced tools for choosing keywords in an effort to make search marketing more appealing to brand marketers and other traditional marketers. Two separate tools, Buzz Index and Search Share of Voice, have been in beta testing for the past two months with 10 to 15 of Yahoo!'s top advertisers and agency partners.

    Comparison Shopping Search is Hot - Part
    Today we've got a double feature on comparison shopping search engines...Guest author Bill Hartzer is profiling the new comparison shopping feature offered up by Perfect Market Technologies, Inc., that company that owns and operates Find out what Snap Shopping is all about in today's featured article: " New Comparison Shopping Search Engine Snap Shopping ."

    Search Engine Guide's First Seminar Wraps Up
    Today, Search Engine Guide, in cooperation with The Karcher Group, put our first ever search engine marketing seminar in Columbus, Ohio. Attendees came from as far away as Calgary to join Matt Bailey and I for an all-day marathon of SEO myth-busting, keyword researching, link building, PPC campaign tuning and more. In fact, the event was such a success that we're already looking into when and where we'll be having our next event.

    Comparison Shopping Search is HOT
    Comparison shopping search engines seem to be popping out of the woodwork like crazy lately, and this month is no exception. Today, guest author Jim Hedger highlights one of the newest ones through an interview with budding Internet entrepreneurs Andrew Holt and Rishi Khaitan. The pair is seeking to improve on what's already a good thing by introducing a new comparison search engine designed to help make the buying process easier. Check it out in today's featured article: "Don't Buy"

    Google Drops Size Count, Issues Parting Shot
    Remember when you were a kid and you just HAD to have the last word in an argument? It might go something like this...

    You: Did not!
    Sibling: Did too!
    You: Did NOT!
    Sibling: Did TOO!
    You: DID NOT!
    Sibling: DID TOO! (runs away)

    Well...Google sort of did just that earlier today.

    Text links, Ad Links, Image Links...HUH?
    While some may think that a link is a link, the search engines don't always feel that way. Lately, there's been a lot of chatter in blogs and on search marketing discussion forums about how links count, whether links should be bought and when it's worthwhile to block the engines from counting them. Sorting out what it all means can be difficult, but Search Engine Guide guest writer decided to take a shot at it anyway. Check it out in: " What's The Deal With Search Engines And Text Link Ads? by Daria Goetsch.

    Companies Miss the Boat When Outsourcing Search Marketing
    A new study released today by iProspect shows that while companies are moving toward outsourcing their search engine marketing efforts, many are failing to follow through on the very advice that they are paying for. 64% of companies that responded to iProspect said that they run into problems implementing the changes that are suggested by their search engine marketing firms. The most frequent reason given? Lack of human resources and lack of budget to actually make the changes.

    Will MSN adCenter Work for You?
    Search engine marketers and small business owners have long had only two options for getting paid search advertising in front of large audiences. Google AdWords or Yahoo! Search Marketing. Today's launch of adCenter to the French market is a precursor to the new options heading to U.S. shores later this fall. (Skip to "MSN adCenter Launches in France, Coming Soon to U.S." by Jennifer Laycock)

    The Big Guys Aren't Far Behind...
    The beauty of search engine marketing as an advertising venue is that so many small businesses were quick to the draw and have spent considerable time pulling customers away from the corporate giants that they could not otherwise compete with. Times are changing however, and Google and Yahoo! are helping lead the those giants into the battlefield.

    Is Search Marketing a One-Time Expense?
    There's been debate over the years as to whether or not search marketing should be a one-time purchase like a marketing campaign, or an ongoing expense like a public relations retainer. While there are good points being made on both sides, there's been a shift in the industry over the past few years toward viewing ongoing search marketing as a necessary part of a company's marketing campaign. (Skip to "Expert Search Engine Optimization: Is Ongoing Management Needed?" by Scott Buresh)

    Profile: Google's Marissa Mayer
    Those within the industry have known of Marissa Mayer's impact on Google's success for awhile now. She's often a featured speaker at industry events and shows up frequently in articles about the engine's latest projects. However, an article in the October edition of Business Week takes things a step further and shares some insight into how Mayer got to where she is and what she's doing to help Google stay ahead of competitors.

    More Questions About META Tags
    Questions about the META Description tag? Is it still relevant? How long (or short) does it need to be? What's it used for anyway? If you've ever wondered about those things, Jill Whalen's featured article for today is likely going to be a good choice for you. Check out: "Length of Meta Description Tag" by Jill Whalen.

    100 Different Search Engines...
    If you've ever been wanted to know more about search engines beyond the big three of Google, Yahoo! and MSN, Wendy Boswell over at my old About Web Search haunt is taking on the task of profiling 100 search engines in 100 days. She's been going at it for about two weeks now and has covered engines likes A9, Clusty, Dogpile and Blinkx. Today's listing is for Yahoo! Special Properties. If you're a bit new to the world or search, or just never bothered to check out any of the lesser-known engines, Boswell's ongoing guide is well worth your time.

    Does Your Site Work For Your Market?
    If you promote it, they will come. But will they buy? That's a question that's asked time and time again by usability experts that stress the importance of having a site that's properly prepared for all the traffic a good search engine marketing campaign can drive. Search Engine Guide guest author Scottie Claiborne explores this concept in today's article: "Tale of the Broken Light Fixture: A Target Audience Analogy."

    Hiring Abounds at Search Engines
    Earlier this week, in the post "$7 Billion and a Bucket of Brains" I talked about some of the hiring going on at Google. Not long after I received a Yahoo! release about their hiring of Carat Interactive's Ron Belenger, I had an email show up from blogger Karl Dubost, who is putting together a listing of some of the more interesting hires in the world of search.

    Blogger Launches Enhanced Interface for AdSense
    From JenSense, Blogger has just launched a new AdSense interface for bloggers on the Google Blogger/BlogSpot network. These new features make it not only easier for anyone using Blogger to sign up for an AdSense account but to control how ads appear. A new tab in the control panel allows bloggers to sign up for AdSense as well as manage their AdSense placement and options for the ads that will appear on their blogs.

    Paid Local Search Expected to Grow. Is Your Small Biz Ready?
    There's good news for small businesses that are being proactive in learning about and testing online paid advertising for the local search market. Two new studies show that local online advertising is poised for double digit growth for the next several years. (Skip to "Online Local Advertising Poised for Solid Growth" by Jennifer Laycock)

    Search Engines Use Blogs for Public Relations
    A few weeks back, I talked about online reputation management and using search engines to help stay on top of things. While I mentioned quite a few companies (like Quixtar and Wendy's) that were taking advantage of the Web for PR purposes, I overlooked one of the most obvious and applicable examples - search engines.

    An in-depth article on traffic building...
    Barry Welford has a great (and lengthy) article today that explores things like researching your competitors, keeping your site visible to the engines and dealing with all the little things that can cause problems for your site. It's a long read, but it provides a nice overview of things. (Skip to "Boost Your Website Traffic - Forget Que Sera Sera" by Barry Welford)

    Wanted: Google TV Employees
    A new job posting (which now appears to have been removed) for a position with "Google TV" has generated some buzz today. Google (and Yahoo!'s) past talks with the folks at TiVo, and Google's foray into video search don't really make this that much of a stretch.

    $7 Billion and a Bucket of Brains...
    And the speculation continues... The tech world knows that Google has $7 billion in the bank, they know that Google has hired some of the best and brightest minds in the world. Thus, Google MUST have something life shattering on the horizon, right? (Skip to "Is Google Building Alternative Internet?" by Jim Hedger)

    SMA-NA Says Yes To Fight Against Traffic Power While SEMPO Stands on the Sidelines
    In an ongoing thread that discusses the lawsuit that Traffic Power filed against Aaron Wall of SEO Book, members began to inquire as to whether the two North American search engine marketing associations SMA-NA and SEMPO, were going to comment or get involved in any way. The reasoning is that this lawsuit is not just against one individual but as AussieWebmaster, a moderator at Search Engine Watch Forums, puts it, "The case is directly related to this industry and could have huge impact on what can be done in forums, blogs and even ad copy." So where do the two associations that are supposed to represent search marketers in North America stand?

    Understand, and then Conquer...
    While learning about search engine marketing is handy, understanding how the search engines themselves work can go a long way toward helping you get a solid grasp on improving your rankings.

    A Copywriting Case Study
    One of the best ways to learn what to do with your copy is to read through a case study of what someone else did to make their better. It's called "practical application." :) (Skip to "SEO Copywriting Makeover: Finding the Right Trigger" by Karon Thackston)

    Google ... Now Loved by Archaeologists Too!
    The major search engines all have a lot of cool extras...from email to mapping to music search to picture storage. What they've never been able to claim (up until today) was that they were also handy for making a geological find.

    A Good Host is Priceless
    Search engine marketing is useless if you don't have a stable site for visitors to come to once they've found your listing. The problem is that it's sometimes hard to tell what you're getting with a hosting company. (Skip to "Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part 1" by Stoney deGeyter)

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    Discussion Threads of the Week
    (Links to search engine forum discussion threads that deal with search engine marketing topics. Each listing provides the topic, the source, and a brief snippet from the discussion.)

    Nielsen reports that 42% of users click the #1 SERP result
    Cre8asite Forums - "42% of users studied selected the topmost search listing from the results. This was far and away the most-clicked single link position in the study. However, it is still interesting to note that the majority (58 percent) of all users studied did not select the top search result."

    Google Drops The Home Page Count
    Search Engine Watch Forums - "Google says it's bigger, the most comprehensive but that it no longer needs to publish counts on its home page since counts alone don't prove anything."

    MSN ... A Great Tool For Google?
    High Rankings Forum - "If MSN is focusing so much on 'onSite optimization' and shows the results so quickly, it can be a great tool to use when optimizing for Google and even Yahoo?"

    Do Google KNOW how Adsense works?
    Webmaster World - "I would also agree that using the block list isn't going to work for everybody. What got me fired up was when the 'Inside Adsense' writer dismissed blocking to increase profits as a 'Myth.' It clearly works well for people here, so it can't be a myth."

    100 - And + Google Ranking Factors
    High Rankings Forum - "Often when rankings and traffic go down, the volume of business can increase when your site is actually only targeting phrases that make sense and making it easier for customers to purchase. Rankings does not equal volume of business. That is a very widely held misconception."

    How Is C-Index Used?
    Cre8asite Forums - "I would be interested in a discussion of how C-Index analysis is used in SERPS, especially as related to niche terms. How might an especially high or low C-Index effect a site's SERPS, time in the sandbox or AdSense targeting?"

    Local Search Polluting the PPC Listings?
    Virtual Promote Forums - "Unlike Search, you can't see what the other bids are. You can only see an Estimated Max Bid and can see what you're actually charged. No way of knowing how many bidders or what their bids might be. This is because the Local areas each advertiser chooses can overlap so the number of ads can differ for each town."

    Click Fraud Software, Any Suggestions
    High Rankings Forum - "...I basically grabbed 2 days worth of log files, identified the PPC referral strings, whacked them into a spreadsheet, sorted by IP address and hey presto, there was the evidence I needed."

    How To Know Whether A Site Is Accessible for Disabled People
    Cre8asite Forums - "I've come around to thinking that designing for people who might have one type of disability or another is designing for everyone these days. The easier you can make it for everyone to enjoy your site, the better for everyone."

    Ask Jeeves to Rebrand
    Webmaster World - "Mr. Diller's doing a great job to rehabilitating Ask Jeeves. He's addressing the issues that have been dragging AJ down. It's exciting."

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    From the Small Business Ideas Forum...
    (If you like our search engine news, you'll love our small business news.)

    DMOZ in 2005
    "...the upper tier directories that charge such as Yahoo, Skaffe, JoeAnt, Gimpsy, etc are all far superior directories (IMO) than DMOZ. I don't think paying for inclusion somehow means lesser quality, in fact, just the opposite."

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