Search Engine Marketing News - 2005-10-12

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Here are the winners of the five conferences passes to the online eComXpo last week. Six are listed because one person was a runner up and is getting a free plug: :-)

Janell Vasquez - Memories are Forever
Eric Edelstein - Mobile-QandA
Kevin Wallenbeck - Interact RV
Debbie Baus - Blue Spider Creations
Rick Faircloth - White Stone Media
Howard L. Bloom - PC-MAN, Inc.

Jennifer and Matt are busy planning another seminar for next month. For now, all I know is it will be held in Cleveland and I'll provide more details as they become available.

Have a great week!

Robert Clough

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    Search Engine Marketing Articles

    Godin Announces Squidoo
    by Jennifer Laycock - Almost anyone that has been around the web for awhile has heard of and Wikipedia. One relies on hired experts to generate content about a variety of topics while the other one relies on volunteers to do the same. Online marketing guru Seth Godin announced plans for a new site dubbed “Squidoo” at Web 2.0 last week.

    Web Statistics for Dummies (part 1: Sales)
    by Shawn Campbell - There are many different statistics for web site traffic: page views, hits, daily uniques, monthly uniques, etc… Which one should you be using? From my own experience, I recommend using daily uniques.

    Researching Blogs to Enhance Your Future Search Engine Audience
    by Andy Beal - If you spend enough time looking at what bloggers (covering your industry) have to say, you’ll be able to spot future trends that can help you adapt your search marketing campaign now, before the data starts showing up in your competitor’s Wordtracker report.

    ClickTracks Wows Site Owners with Version 6.0
    by Jennifer Laycock - ClickTracks has worked to put high end analytics and campaign analysis into an easy to use package thats actually has a reasonable price tag. Small business owners rarely have access to this level of information in a format that they can actually understand...and afford!

    Readers Concerned about SEO Ethics
    by Jim Hedger - Organic search engine optimization is understood to be a best-attempt service and that “best-attempt” attitude has obviously been exploited by the unscrupulous.

    Search Marketing – Then and Now
    by Paul Bruemmer - Search Marketing was once a cottage industry without certification, licensing or even a professional organization. We’ve come a long way since, as Search Engine Marketing has expanded its services to include paid inclusion and paid placement.

    Better Search Marketing Insight with OptiSpider
    by Bill Hartzer - OptiSpider, a program by link expert Leslie Rohde, allows you to spider your own website just as if you were Google. It then produces reports that allow you to see where your optimization weaknesses are so you can correct them.

    Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part Three
    by Stoney deGeyter - Quality web hosting is difficult to come by, but is absolutely essential for any business that takes their online marketing efforts seriously.

    64% of Search Advertisers Failing to Follow SEO Recommendations
    by Jim Hedger - From search marketing opportunities to cost cutting technologies such as VOIP to social and business networking tools, the Internet environment provides a virtually unlimited multi-leveled communications capacity at relatively reduced rates.

    AOL Search Adds New Features
    by Jennifer Laycock - Although AOL's search technology is currently powered by Google, AOL has always worked to put their own spin on search. They've introduced several new features after conducting extensive consumer testing that are available as of this morning.

    Chasing the Search Engines’ Algorithms. . . Should you or shouldn’t you?
    by Robin Nobles - Then you expend so much of your energy chasing algorithms, you often focus on only a few elements that influence ranking – those elements that are working right now and that you hope will give your pages the best chance for success.

    How To Write Persuasive Subject Lines
    by Karon Thackston - Three seconds and 40 characters. That's all you usually have to work with when trying to get and hold the attention of someone reading email. Needless to say, it's vital to make the most of your introduction via the email subject line.


    Search Engine Guide Blog Posts

    Will Squidoo Change How YOU Use the Web?
    Call me a cynic, but sometimes it seems like ideas get a lot of hype because of who came up with them, not because they are all that original. That said, Seth Godin's latest project, known as Squidoo, seems to be generating an awful lot of buzz for what I'm envisioning as nothing more than a bunch of doorway pages... (skip to "Godin Announces Squidoo" by Jennifer Laycock)

    Tying Sales to Your Web Site with Stats
    While many web site owners understand the importance of tracking sales and of tracking their site traffic, there are still quite a few that don't take the time to try and tie these two bits of information together. With 92% of online searches resulting in off-line, rather than on-line sales, it's essential that you develop a way to track those offline sales. (skip to "Web Statistics for Dummies (part 1: Sales)" by Shawn Campbell)

    Blogs...a Magic 8 Ball?
    While you may be a fan of the Magic 8 ball, there's a good chance that blogs are actually a much better way to get some insight into where your industry is headed and what types of search terms you might want to plan on targeting down the road. Understanding how to use blogs as part of your SEM planning is important and today, Andy Beal is back as a guest writer with some insight on how to do it. (skip to "Researching Blogs to Enhance Your Future Search Engine Audience" by Andy Beal.)

    Targeting Teens? Stick with Search...
    A new study by the team at Yahoo! Search Marketing surveyed 486 college students to find out where they go for information and what they place their trust in when they are researching topics. The survey mostly looked at online search, traditional media and friends and family. The findings may surprise some traditional marketers as teens now view search engine results as more trustworthy than traditional media outlets like television ads.

    RSS Rules with Techies, but Still isn't Mainstream
    Chris Sherman has an article today over at Search Engine Watch that discusses the adoption rate of RSS feeds by Internet users. He points out that while 27% of Internet users are actively using RSS feeds as part of their online browsing, only 4% were aware that they were doing so. Sherman credits the popularity of services like MyYahoo and MyMSN that allow users to aggregate feeds without even realizing that's what they are doing.

    ClickTracks Offers Up Major Changes
    I've been a fan of ClickTracks from the moment they first bribed webmasters with free Starbucks gift cards at the Search Engine Strategies in Boston in 2003. To their credit, they've proven to be more than just savvy marketers, they've also proven to be one of the most responsive web analytics firms out there. ClickTracks has offered up feature after feature that seems to have been lifted straight from the slumbering dreams of search engine marketers and usability experts alike and their latest offering is no exception. (skip to "ClickTracks Wows Site Owners with Version 6.0" by Jennifer Laycock)

    The Ethics Debate Continues, From the Buyer Side
    Articles about search engine marketing ethics or white hat verses black hat techniques are nothing new, they pop up on a pretty regular basis. But usually, these articles are written from the industry or search engine side. This week, Jim Hedger takes a new look at the issue from the side of companies that have been burned by unethical search engine marketing firms. (skip to "Readers Concerned about SEO Ethics" by Jim Hedger)

    Q&A with the MSN Web Search Team
    Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz has compiled a great set of questions and answers with the MSN Web Search Team that gives insight into everything from their spam penalties to whether or not they read meta tags to where the future of MSN search lies. While there are plenty of standard "no comment" style responses to some of the really juicy questions, it's still well worth the read and offers up some interesting tidbits of information.

    AdSense Service on Ebay Should Likely be Avoided
    Barry Schwartz spotted a discussion going on over at the DigitalPoint forums about an eBay seller that claims to be able to increase your AdSense revenues for a monthly fee. The advertiser has quite a few listings up promoting services that will boost Alexa rankings and increase AdSense revenue. There are a variety of options listed, but most are along the lines of "pay me X and I'll make sure you earn Y." While it might be tempting to consider if you're struggling along with AdSense, it's probably a good idea to shy away from this type of offer.

    Matt Cutts Dishes with Aaron Wall
    Aaron Wall published a great interview with Google's Matt Cutts last week. Cutts is one of the more accessible staffers from a major search engine. If you haven't already seen it, it's certainly a worthwhile read. Cutts offers up some interesting bits of information including his views on spam, search engine optimization guarantees, hiring a professional search marketer and even tomato bribery.

    Yahoo! Adds Blogs, Flickr to News Mix
    Embracing the idea of citizen journalism and searcher's desire to hear non-mainstream takes on the news, Yahoo! added blogs, Flickr photos and MyWeb links to their news mix last night. The move marks a shift toward mixing mainstream media with user-generated content. In the wake of events like Hurricane Katrina where citizen bloggers were one of the few sources of real local news, the change makes good sense.

    Google Maps Hack - Population Data
    Ran across a great hack for Google Maps earlier this morning while doing a little house hunting. While I've looked for some interesting Google Maps hacks in the past, my recent foray back into the world of real estate and home options has sent me on a search for helpful hacks. This latest one combines the 2000 census data with a specific address and gives you demographics on the surrounding areas.

    Like a Side of Flash with Your Google Maps?
    Regular readers know that I'm a big fan of Google Maps hacks and mashups. There's just something about the creative way that people think to use what should be a mundane feature that makes it fascinating. Apparently, it's time for mashups to go to the next level. A company called Ebebeam R&D has introduced a new library knows as VGMap that allowed developers to overlay vector-based drawings through the GMap API.

    Hitwise Launches New Blog
    Bill Tancer of competitive research firm Hitwise has introduced a new blog that aims at tracking some of the ups and downs of searches and how they reflect current trends in shopping, current events and seasonal issues.

    MSN adCenter Accepting Applications for Beta Launch
    Current pay-per-click advertisers that want to get in early to try out the new MSN adCenter when it launches in beta later this month have a shot at getting an application in for the program. Both Jennifer Slegg (JenSense) and Todd Friesen (Oilman) have posted "Friends & Family" links inviting readers to apply for a spot on the beta-testing team.

    Yahoo! CEO Takes Shots at Google
    In a talk at Web 2.0 Conference 2005, Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel chatted about the future of Yahoo!, online content, and even speculated about whether Google's supposed success is legitimate as the search giant morphs into an online portal.

    A Decade of SEO
    From the early days when it was still called "search engine submission" to the modern mix of techniques that has come to be known as search engine marketing, the world of web site promotion has changed a lot over the past decade. (skip straight to "Search Marketing – Then and Now" by Paul Bruemmer)

    Google Adds RSS Reader to Toolbox
    Google has added yet another tool to it's stable of information organizers with today's launch of Google Reader, announced at Web 2.0 in San Francisco. Google Reader is a web-based RSS reader designed to fully integrate with other programs enjoyed by Google account holders.

    The Right Tool Can Help With SEM
    While no tool or program can take the place of a human when it comes to optimizing your web site, there are some tools out there that can offer up valuable information to make the job a little easier and the results a little better. (skip to "Better Search Marketing Insight with OptiSpider" by Bill Hartzer)

    BizRate Research Says Ecommerce Stores Will Advertise Offline
    The 2005 Research Online Holiday Mood Study released by BizRate Research last Thursday states that 92% of online-only retailers will be counting on at least some form of off-line advertising for this holiday season. That's just a smidgen below the 93% of multi-play retailers that plan to advertise off-line.

    Marketing to Teens Online?
    Kareem Mayan of FOX Interactive Media has a useful post in his blog this week that outlines a Web 2.0 conversation between Piper Jaffray's Safa Rashtchy and five Bay-Area teenagers. The session was set up as a sort of roundtable conversation to find out more about the teen's online habits. What sites do they use, where do they spend time, how do they shop online, etc...

    AdSense Team Offers Tips for Forums
    There are plenty of sites and ebooks offering up suggestions on the best ways to format and place your AdSense for maximum revenue potential. What many AdSense partners have found confusing however, is finding the best way to place Google ad blocks on forums. The AdSense team rides to the rescue today with a post at the AdSense blog that offers up some tips (and even a wireframe) on the best placement of ads on discussion forums.

    Keyword Prices Falling...
    In a burst of good news for search engine advertisers, Fathom Online claims that keyword prices have dropped to an average of $1.44, 26% less than their 12 month high of $1.95 last April. However, that number is still 5% higher than at this time last year. MarketingVox has the full scoop including details on rising and falling prices in various industries.

    Free Hosting, In-House Hosting...Be Wary...
    Guest author Stoney deGeyter has covered several issues related to finding and selecting a hosting company for your business web site over the past few weeks. This week, he talks about some of the potential pitfalls of things like free hosting and even taking on your hosting in-house. (Skip to "Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part Three" by Stoney deGeyter)

    Value Your Own Money
    There's no sense spending your company's hard earned money on a search engine marketing consultant if you are going to ignore the advice that they give you. While you'd think that goes without saying, the reality is that over half of all companies fail to make changes based upon the recommendations of the search marketing consultants. That means they might as well light that money on fire. At least they could roast marshmallows on it then. (Skip to "64% of Search Advertisers Failing to Follow SEO Recommendations" by Jim Hedger)

    Yahoo! Lacks Organic Results for High Value Keywords
    Philipp Lenssen has an interesting post today over at Google Blogoscoped titled: Organic Results for Spam Neighborhood Keywords. Lenssen wanted to know much real estate was devoted to organic listings on the top three engines for some of the most competitive phrases out there. While the results were good for Google and not bad for MSN, Yahoo! didn't come out looking like a very big supporter of natural search results.

    Mashups and Hacks
    One of the best things to come out of all these great new search engine features is the mash ups and hacks that programmers create with the APIs to give added functionality to users. For instance, the innovative Google Maps hacks like the zip code one I talked about earlier this week. A new one spotted this morning allows you to download Yahoo! Maps directions straight to your iPod.

    SEM Boot Camp...
    There have been quite a range of search engine marketing seminars as of late, from Jill Whalen's High Rankings seminar coming up in Philly next month to Search Engine Guide's recent seminar with the Karcher Group. Now another one has been added to the mix. Forrester Research will be putting on a Search Engine Marketing Boot Camp later this month in New York City.

    MIVA and Blinkx Team Up
    Up and coming pay-per-click search engine MIVA announced this morning that they were going to be teaming up with video search engine blinx in a deal that would see MIVA providing contextual based advertising on blinkx's Smart Ads platform. The deal would see MIVA delivering geo-targeted, content-related PPC listings to blinkx users, which number in the millions.

    The new feature is supposed to work by matching contextual ads with the action of a user's current desktop activity.

    Costume Searches Skyrocket
    It's no surprise, given the time of year, but searches for costumes have shot through the roof this month as searchers gear up for Halloween.'s consumer demand index shows searches for costumes up 140% and the phrase "halloween costume" is currently the 22nd most searched for term on the Internet according to Wordtracker. Halloween also holds second place on the Lycos Top 50 this week.

    New Features at AOL Search
    While AOL Search is still powered by Google, they've long worked on ways to create a unique experience for searchers. From highly specific vertical searches like media search and local search to user-friendly search features like Snapshot Answers and Smartbox Suggestions, AOL has managed to create one of the best search experiences for a site lacking an original algorithm. (skip to "AOL Search Adds New Features" by Jennifer Laycock)

    Cracking the Code
    While there are a lot of search engine marketers play the game of trying to catch the algorithm, it's a race that's unlikely to be won. At the same time, it tends to lead to a lack of focus on building a good, quality site, which is the only sure way to gain (and keep) long-term rankings. (Skip to "Chasing the Search Engines' Algorithms" by Robin Nobles)

    Get Their Attention and Hold It With Great Copy
    Email subject lines can be a challenge to even the best writer. Not only do you have to find your way around spam filters, you also need to get and keep a reader's attention. Some of those lessons can also come in handy for writing things like Title tags for your web site. (Skip to "How To Write Persuasive Subject Lines" by Karon Thackston)

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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.)

    Google's New Webmaster Guidlines
    High Rankings Forum - "Unless I'm crazy/asleep/etc, Google has very recently re-done it's webmaster guidelines ... Actually, they look way more helpful than they used to. An interesting read."

    Yahoo News Adds Blogs to Results Set
    Webmaster World - "This is still in beta, and it looks like Yahoo still needs to work on it. Nevertheless, people who like discovering new sources of information might find interest in playing around with it. On the Yahoo News page, there's a drop down for News & Blogs, and just News, without blogs."

    Future of SEO?
    Virtual Promote Forums - "How does Google determine that a site is a hub site or an authority site? What a person thinks a hub site or an authority site is may not be what Google thinks it is. Does anybody really have any idea on this?"

    AdWords Now Allows Targeting Ads To Sections Of A Site
    Search Engine Watch Forums - "Now AdWords advertisers can make their ads appear on particular sections of web sites that carry AdSense."

    MSN adCenter Pilot Program
    Search Engine Watch Forums - "...MSN adCenter is sending out email invites to find participants for the pilot program."

    SEO For Multilingual, International & Dynamic Web Site
    Search Engine Watch Forums - "SEO for a multilingual, multicountry web site can be tough enough -- but what about one that's dynamic as well? Tips and suggestions in this thread."

    Google Enters the Blog Search Field
    Cre8asite Forums - "...I'm very impressed by Google's Blog Search. If I want to know what may be happening on a topic, I check the topic first in the Blog Search and then in News. The blogosphere often has something that the news media haven't picked up on as yet."

    Same Company, But Different Domain Names, So Yahoo Allows Duplicate Ads
    Search Engine Watch Forums - "The same company isn't supposed to be able to run multiple ads for the same term at Yahoo, but that's apparently OK if a company has multiple 'distinctive' web sites. Fair? Come discuss."

    SEO "Expert" Hired By Client - Do I Give Ftp Access
    High Rankings Forum - "...for various reasons, most of which I believe relates to the ... Google sandbox, I have a situation where client is being hounded by a specialist SEO firm to enhance SEO strategies. What do you recommend in relation to giving ftp access to this third party."

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

    Best Way To Obtain Customers' Testimonies?
    "I'm just wondering about how you guys obtain testimonies from you customers to put on our website. Is it through email, phone, or mail? And when would it be the best time to ask? I have a group of loyal customers but I'm not sure how to ask them for testimonies..."

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