Search Engine Marketing News - 2005-10-05

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Hey Everyone!

Jennifer here this week instead of Robert.

I wanted to give you a last minute invite to submit your story for a chance to win one of five free full conferences passes to the online eComXpo show that starts tomorrow. (...and that I'll be speaking at on Friday morning.) Note that the passes being given away most everywhere else are for the keynote and expo hall only. Our pass gets you access to those, along with more than 100 speaker presentations, a $100 value. All you need to do is send in your story of how and why you started your small business. Robert, Linda and I will pick the five most interesting stories to feature on Small Business Brief and will give those five winners a full conference eComXpo pass.

You can get more information about the show on our site.

Also, along with our free full conference passes, we've got plenty of free passes for the keynote and expo hall. If you'd like one of those, simply apply for a free eComXpo pass compliments of Search Engine Guide.

If you'd like to enter, do it soon though! We'll be picking winners this evening and notifying them first thing in the morning so that they can sign up and not miss any of the great sessions!

Have a great week!

Jennifer Laycock

Reach small business owners with our affordable advertising plans.

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Search Engine Marketing Articles

Are Your Competitors Making Better Use of the Web Than You?
by Jennifer Laycock - Small businesses are understanding what the big firms are missing...that while it takes more time to implement, organic search engine optimization will outperform pay-per-click when it comes to drawing long-term leads at reasonable costs.

Accelerate Online Sales
by Rosemary Brisco - Getting a prospect to click on your listing in a search engine is only the first step in an effective online lead generation program. What happens after they arrive on your website is just as important as how they get there.

Online Course for Understanding SEO
by Jill Whalen - Could you recommend some online courses that would be a good starting ground for understanding search engines' likes and dislikes along with some marketing information? I feel I have a good understanding of the basics of SEO work but would like to fine-tune the skills I already have.

The Best Keyword Research Secrets Are REVEALED by Wordtracker! - Part 2
by John Alexander - Donít serve up the content until you truly understand what the online searcher is really looking for. There is a powerful difference. The difference is what allows you to attract totally new audiences.

A Look at Local Search
by Jim Hedger - Until recently, search advertising was a less attractive option for a wide range of street-front businesses then other traditional types of advertising such as print, radio, local TV and the ubiquitous Yellow Pages.

New Conference Aims to Bring the Show to You
by Jennifer Laycock - In a field as fast-paced as search engine marketing, there aren't very many options for learning other than reading articles and visiting discussion forums. eComXpo is one of the first virtual conferences that brings the show to your personal computer.

Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part Two
by Stoney deGeyter - You want to choose your hosting plan carefully to ensure that it will be able to handle whatever server load your site might generate, especially during peak times or big marketing pushes.

Dealing with Dynamic Pages
by Jill Whalen - Many years ago, when search engine spiders saw a URL that seemed like it went to a dynamically generated site (because it had a bunch of parameters in it like question marks, equal signs, etc.), they wouldn't attempt to crawl it.

Search Engine Advertising Choices
by Jim Hedger - Organic search engine placement continues to be perceived as a nebulous service that can take time to show results. On the other hand, paid-ad placements tend to show up minutes after they are established and bidding oneís way to top spot is relatively easy.


Search Engine Guide Blog Posts

New Study Shows How Small Businesses Use the Web
Small business owners are embracing the web as a great way to drive leads and sales for their businesses, but many companies are still missing the boat when it comes to promoting their businesses online. Over 54% of companies use search engine optimization to promote their businesses, but that means that nearly half of small businesses are missing out on one of the most cost effective ways to promote their web sites. (Skip to "Are Your Competitors Making Better Use of the Web Than You?" by Jennifer Laycock)

Take Your SEM Campaign Beyond the Click
Getting your site to rank well and getting visitors to click on your listing is a great start for good search engine marketing, but if you're not thinking beyond the click, chances are you're missing out on a lot of sales. (Skip to "Accelerate Online Sales" by Rosemary Brisco)

Learning SEO Online
While there's been a lot of talk recently about some of the great conferences and seminars covering search engine marketing, and even some talk of online conferences like the one being offered by eComXpo (don't forget to email me for a free full conference pass), a lot of folks still have questions about actual online search marketing classes that they can take in their free time. (Skip to "Online Course for Understanding SEO" by Jill Whalen)

Hiring Professional SEO Help, a New Take
I've covered this issue time and time again here at Search Engine Guide. Do your research, know the basics of SEM, etc...etc... Todd Malicoat has a new take on the issue over at his StuntDubl blog. While plenty of article writers (myself included) have pounded in the idea of researching a firm and checking references, Todd goes a step further and offers up some concrete suggestions of HOW to research the firm. For instance, running some searches for competitive terms in an industry other than your own and contacting the ranking sites to ask what firms they work with. Check out the full list of suggestions at Todd's blog.

Detlev Johnson In Your Mailbox Again
One of the downfalls of the rise in discussion forums and blogs was the demise of a great email discussion digest. I-Search, which brought the industry group commentary moderated by Marshall Simmonds and then Detlev Johnson has returned as the SearchReturn Digest. The free subscription-based emails are sent twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and are sure to be chalk-full of search marketing goodness. There have only been three issues sent so far, but you can check out the format by viewing the archives.

Looking to Test AdSense Against the Yahoo! Publisher Network?

When the Yahoo! Publisher Network came out of beta, many content publishers saw an opportunity to increase their contextual ad revenue. The problem was, many publishers that were already having great success with Google AdSense were reluctant to start from scratch with a new program having no idea what type of revenue they might be looking at. That's where testing comes in handy.

Since each of the engines require that you run their ads exclusively on a page, the only way to do true testing is to setup a randomizer that only shows ads from one of the two engines at a time. Barry Schwartz has a helpful post over at SE Roundtable that explains step-by-step how to use PHPAdsNew to switch AdSense and YPN ads out on your site.

Google Partners With Sun
There was plenty of speculation earlier today about what a joint announcement from Google and Sun Microsystems could mean to the world of computing. The most popular guess, turned out to be mostly right. It looks like Google will be partnering up with Sun to help promote Sun's OpenOffice and Java software systems. The move will contribute to the ongoing battle between Google and Microsoft as OpenOffice has the potential to issue a serious challenge to MS Office given the proper backing and marketing.

Great Google Maps Hack for Local Search
Last week, I noticed a link on Matt Cutt's blog to a great Google Map hack designed to let you see the outline of particular zip codes. I've since found it to be an incredibly handy tool while house hunting and I've got to think that there are plenty of other great uses for it.

Yahoo! and Partners Create Open Content Alliance (OCA)
Yahoo! has announced that they will be working with companies like Adobe, the Internet Archive, O'Reilly Media and the Universities of California and Toronto to create the Open Content Alliance (OCA).

Good News for AdSense Partners
Google AdSense partners will be glad to know that electronic funds transfer is now officially out of beta. They've wrapped up some work on verification of bank information and will now be offering the service to all users.

Blog Search on the Way at Yahoo!
Never more than one step behind (or ahead) of Google, word is out via BusinessWeek that we can expect an announcement fairly soon on the launch of a Yahoo! based blog search engine.

Unlocking the Power of Wordtracker
Ask any professional search marketer to list their favorite tools and chances are high that Wordtracker will show up on the list. One of the best keyword research tools out there, Wordtracker is great not only for giving search estimates, but also for suggesting phrases that you might not already have been considering. (Skip to "The Best Keyword Research Secrets Are REVEALED by Wordtracker! - Part 2" by John Alexander.)

Local Search Still Has a Ways to Go...
While local search has the potential to be highly useful for consumers and a great marketing tool for businesses, the challenge of creating an engine that does a good job of serving up accurate local results may be a stumbling block to higher adoption rates. (Skip to "A Look at Local Search" by Jim Hedger)

August 2005 Search
The latest search stats are in from comScore Networks and the results are pretty much the same as always for the major players. There was some slight fluctuation that saw Google and MSN gaining a percentage point and Yahoo! and Time Warner Networks losing a bit. On the plus side, overall search numbers were up nearly 5%.

What Factors Influence Rankings?
While there are hundreds of factors that search engines take into consideration in their algorithms, it's tough to stay on top of all of them. In fact, there are really only hundreds of factors that we know about, there could be dozens, hundreds or thousands more. Plus, algorithms change all the time, so what makes an impact today, might not make an impact next week. That said, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz has put together an excellent article that outlines and describes more than 90 different factors that engines look at along when determining rank. He also gives a bit of insight into how important those factors are. While I've not had a chance to read through the entire list yet, what I have seen looks good.

DaveN Gives a Run-down of Bid Jamming
If you run a pay-per-click campaign in a competitive industry, but aren't familiar with the phrase "bid jamming," chances are good that you've seen it, you just didn't know what to call it. Bid jamming is a tactic of pushing up your competitors bid prices by temporarily changing your own bid. It's not an uncommon practice, but it should be. Bid jamming is only possible when someone makes a really bad bid decision in order to hold on to the top position. Dave Naylor had a good example of how bid-jamming works in his blog last week. Check out Yahoo! Overture Bid Jamming.

302, 301, Countdown?
Web site owners that aren't familiar with the technical side of things may have heard the phrases 301 redirect and 302 redirect in passing while reading about search engine marketing, but have never really had the chance to digest what it means. A conversation going on over at the Search Engine Watch forums this week about some redirect issues with MSN reminded me of that and I thought it might be a good idea to point to a primer to catch folks up.

If We Build it, They Will Come...and They Will Want Control
A long time ago in a university not far away, some very intelligent Americans were inspired by a military project known as ARPANET and created the first TCP/IP wide area network. What does all that mean? It means that they laid the groundwork that would become the Internet. That's right...the Americans (not just Al Gore) created the Internet. So why is it that the world now wants us to turn over control to them?

eComXpo Brings the Show to You
Anyone that has ever had to skip a conference due to lack of time or travel funds will appreciate the latest show to come down the pike. To put it simply, the show will feature virtual access to three days of presentations designed to share tips and advice on everything related to online marketing. That makes it a great educational option for small businesses or work at home types that simply can't find the time or money to head off to a big event. (Skip to "New Conference Aims to Bring the Show to You" by Jennifer Laycock)

More On Selecting a Host...
Last week, we had an article on selecting a web site hosting company from guest author Stoney deGeyter. This week, Stoney brings us part two of the article, focusing on server load monitoring. Now, you may be saying, I have no idea what server load monitoring is. All the better reason to find out! After all, you can't know what you need until you understand what can be offered, right? (Skip to "Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part Two" by Stoney deGeyter)

Google Aims to Make Advertising Even Easier...
While many small businesses are already taking advantage of Google AdWords to advertising on specific web sites, there are still legions of site owners out there that simply have no idea how to buy advertising through the AdSense program. To that end, Google has put a new option into beta that is designed to help recruit new advertisers by highlighting specific web sites.

Dynamic Issues Strike Again...
One of the modern day myths of search engine optimization is that you cannot optimize dynamic web pages. While that may have been true several years ago, the search engines have come a long way and most dynamic sites now have no problems getting included in search engine indexes. (Skip to "Dealing with Dynamic Pages" by Jill Whalen)

Viewing it all backwards...
Michael Murray has an amusing tongue-in-cheek article over at WebProNews today that talks about the seven ways to know if search engine marketing is for you. While Murray's points are amusing, and not at all uncommon, I do wonder if the article misses the greater point, which is that there really are reasons for some companies to avoid search engine marketing.

What Type of Search Marketing is Best for You?
While many companies choose to build a comprehensive search marketing plan that includes both organic optimization and paid search advertising, many companies focus all their time and energy on one or the other. Why is this? (Skip to "Search Engine Advertising Choices" by Jim Hedger)

93 Factors That Can Effect Search Engine Rankings
Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz has compiled a list of 93 factors that could have an effect on your search engine rankings. Some of these are common knowledge such as the fact that title tags are one of the most important elements. Others may come across as speculative such as the use of header tags (H1), bold and other visual tags. And then there are some that seem to change all the time such as the value of links.

ROLLYO - Pretty Cool, But Will it Last
Every now and then a site or tool comes around that seems pretty cool, but runs its course pretty quickly and then gets forgotten about. Orkut is a great example of this. Back when it launched as an invitation only site, people rushed to it in droves. But once everyone got there, it was sort of like the party where everyone stands around saying "what now?" I haven't logged on to my own Orkut account in months. Today, I found mention of another cool looking spot in John Battelle's blog. Will ROLLYO turn into something people can't live without, or will the initial rush come fast and furious only to burn out down the road?

How Search Urban Legends are Born
The world of search marketing is filled with myths. Most came about because frustrated webmasters saw bad (or good) things happen shortly after making change X to their site. The problem is that what they think caused the rise or fall in rankings might have been coincidental, rather than causal. (Skip to: "Cause and Effect - Not Always Easy to Determine" by Scottie Claiborne)

MSN Looking to Enter Contextual Ad Space
It's no big surprise, since their paid search program is going to launch in beta later this fall, but news this morning seems to point to the upcoming launch of an MSN powered contextual advertising program to compete with AdWords and the Yahoo! Publishers network. JenSense has a great post today that looks into the story about a MSN contextual ad network.

Integrated Search Planning...What is it?
Internet usage is becoming such an integrated part of people's everday lives that it's essential for companies to start considering how all of their marketing and public relations efforts might be working to drive people toward their site. To that end, companies need to consider whether or not their search marketing efforts are matching up with their other marketing initiatives. (Skip to " The Extreme Makeover of Integrated Search Planning " by Gord Hotchkiss)

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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.)

"Bad" Keywords; Do They Damage My Campaigns?
Webmaster World - "...we do offer is a keyword tool which gives advertisers lists of keywords... I would strongly recommend against simply pasting the entire list into your Ad Group. In a very real way this is giving away some of your control over your ad's performance, which is something that you want to control as closely as you possible."

Google and Sun in Collaborative Effort
Webmaster World - "Google's CEO and Sun to Announce Partnership. Google to strike a direct blow into the heart of Microsoft's profit and power base."

Wedding Bells For Rustybrick, As He Proposes Via Ask Jeeves!
Search Engine Watch Forums - "Our very own and much loved and respected by all of us here at SEW Forums - Rustybrick (Barry Schwartz) - has asked the major big-time question of a lifetime - at - so where else but ASK? He's blogged about it with details, screenshots and links. 'First Ever Wedding Proposal via Search Engine.' Isn't that cutest, sweetest ever?"

Yahoo & Partners Plan Open Source Digital Library
Webmaster World - "Instead of showing websites, the engines can present truly authoritative information. This can potentially bump up against the traditional webmaster who is creating websites with the aim of selling something along with the information. Search engines can conceivably cut out the middleman (website operators) and show ads on the free information they display."

Yahoo Site Explorer Now Live!
Search Engine Watch Forums - "At last, Yahoo's new tool to let you check on all your pages and all your links has gone live. What do you think?"

Dedicated Server: Separate IPs, One Box
High Rankings Forum - " experience is that separate IPs can be beneficial for SEO purposes, as well as other server purposes. In particular, different C-block IPs on different servers. My question is whether separate IPs on the same server would have the same effect. Anyone have any experience with this?"

Challenging Client
High Rankings Forum - "Document the changes in a non-threatening, non-confrontational way in your correspondence with them. Fulfill the terms of the contract and don't take personal umbrage. Either they follow your suggestions (and that is all you are doing) or they don't. That is their prerogative."

Can A Single Pop Up Cause Ban?
Virtual Promote Forums - "My site has been banned. My homepage has a popup. Can this be the problem?"

Inverse Searches and User Annotations
Cre8asite Forums - "Imagine being about to enter a URL, and find out information about the site, collected over time, such as which other sites point to it, what other people feel about it, and more. A couple of new patent applications from Yahoo! cover these types of topics."

Will Martha Stewart's Future Apprentice Be An SEO Consultant?
Search Engine Watch Forums - "Is Martha Stewart about to learn about sandboxes, the importance of backlinks, be encouraged to create quality content or become obsessed with rank checking? One of the contestants on her reality show The Apprentice is an SEO!"

What Exactly Is A Copywriter?
High Rankings Forum - "I am looking for a writer and I am a little baffeled by all the titles. Copy Writer? Technical Writer? Creative Writer?"

Claiming Click Fraud Refunds in Google
Virtual Promote Forums - "I'm collecting information as to what's the best way to go about claiming refunds from Google for the potential fraudulent activity caught by a 3rd party auditing services. I would appreciate any tips, stories, or experiences you could share."

Selling Organic Positions
Search Engine Watch Forums - "This model has been around for a decade. Many today are simply better at it, while their target markets are more receptive to taking advantage, thus helping to monetize the model."

High Rankings Forum - "...the API technology seems to be the way all of the big data houses are moving. Amazon already has one. eBay does too. And all of the major search engines. All of them are (basically) Open Source too."

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

Are You Using Online Banking and Does It Meet Your Needs?
"Do you use online banking? If so, is your bank's online offering meeting your needs? How or how not?"

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