Search Engine Marketing News - 2005-10-19

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Vegas Baby!

I finally have an excuse to say that. :-) The end of the year is hot for awesome conferences and the reason I bring up Vegas is WebmasterWorld's PubCon is being held November 15, 16 & 17 in Las Vegas.

What makes PubCon so cool is the variety of topics that are covered. For example, there are presentations on Microsites and Niche Marketing, Conversion and ROI Tweaking, Affiliate Marketing, RSS Feeds and Pod Casting, Community and Forum Building, Contextual Advertising, and more search marketing sessions than you could shake a stick at.

With the topics and speakers available, PubCon is like graduate school for Internet marketers. Did I mention class is held in Vegas?!

Have a great week!

Robert Clough

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Search Engine Marketing Articles

"Still Together" - Search Engines and Internet Yellow Pages
by Paul Jahn - Search for an accountant, pizza restaurant or auto shop in your nearest metropolitan area. In addition to more relevant natural search results, there is a good chance that up to three local listings will appear above the treasured #1 natural position. Part of this is thanks to yellow pages data.

Keyword Research: Getting Started
by Myla Kay Marks - Start by addressing the actual product or products you sell. How narrow/broad is the focus of your site? You'll need to address that fact before you start picking keywords.

Balancing SEM for Success
by Paul Bruemmer - As a savvy marketer, it’s wise to focus on both organic and paid listings for repeated exposure and credibility. Balance is the key to your successful SEM campaign.

Should SEOs Recommend or Implement Optimization Changes?
by Stoney deGeyter - Before selecting an search engine marketing company, you need to do a little internal and external research. Not only will it save you time and money, it will also ensure that your SEO campaign can and will be more effective.

Rethinking Who You Market To
by Jennifer Laycock - While the 18-49 crowd has long served as the key demographic for agencies, attitudes are starting to change. There are now 77 million boomers out there and they have more than $1 trillion in spending power.

Click Here!
by Matt Bailey - The text link should not only describe the information that will be found when clicking on the link, but it should also offer a promise or a benefit to the user.

Print-Friendly Web Pages For Your Visitors
by Barry Welford - The question of whether a web page is print-friendly depends on the browser. Whether a web page is print-friendly can be checked by choosing the Print Preview option from the File choices on the browser navigation menu.

I Speak Search
by Gord Hotchkiss - We are becoming adept at paring down complex concepts into a few well chosen words. There is no unnecessary filler. Even if we do throw in a few “the”s and “what”s, the search engine conveniently strips them from our query.

Free SEO Tools
by Bill Hartzer - Each of these tools has to do with the organic or “natural” search engine rankings of websites. Savvy online marketers use a combination of these tools to analyze and generally “figure out” why one particular web page is ranking better than another web page.

New Mashup Maps Your Group
by Jennifer Laycock - The name Frapper is a combination of the words “friend mapper” and aims to let users “see the zip code where your friends live or work, letting you find out who works in the office building next door and who lives in the apartment complex across the street.“

New and Improved 10 Tips to the Top
by Jill Whalen - Having a website that gets found in Google, Yahoo, and MSN, etc. isn't hard to do, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are my latest and greatest tips to get you started

SEO Business – The Joys of Reselling
by Jim Hedger - Another obvious area for SEOs to find long-term referral relationships is with mainstream advertising and public relations firms. These businesses serve clients with a pressing need for organic search engine placements.


Search Engine Guide Blog Posts

Creating a Quality Checklist
A few weeks back I linked to Rand Fishkin's excellent guide to factors that influence search engine rankings as a suggested read for anyone trying to learn a bit more about how to get their site ranking better in the search engines. Today, another great post has been made by Todd Malicoat that outlines some of the items that web site owners should consider when building their site into a "quality" destination.

MSN’s New adCenter Interface
Jason Dowdell has posted a pretty comprehensive preview of the new MSN adCenter interface that should be coming online for beta testers in the next few weeks. Dowdell says that adCenter is fairly intuitive and many of the features are setup in a similar way to Google’s AdWords interface.

Wanna Buy a Search Engine?
Not long after being dubbed the "best meta search engine" by Search Engine Watch, the owners have decided to put it up for sale on eBay. The owners put the site up with a starting bid of a penny and no reserve and bidding has been active. The sale includes everything from the graphic files and software code to the legal rights to full use of the brand name and URL. No physical assets are included.

YPN Introduces Run of Network Ads
Jennifer Slegg had news yesterday of the Yahoo! Publisher's Network decision to drop public service ads in favor of a new system that allows for "Run of Network" (RON) ads. Basically, the new RON ads will run when YPN hasn't been able to find other ads to run alongside your content. You can get all the details on the JenSense blog.

Blogs Are Great, but Use them Right...
While blogs have become the next great thing for many in the search engine and online marketing worlds, like anything else on the web, they are quite often misused. Common mistakes that could easily be corrected keep many blogs from being the viral marketing and customer relations tools that they could be. To that end, usability guru Jakob Nielsen outlines the ten most common blog design mistakes.

Meet Google...
No, not that one, a real one...he's Swedish and he's a little bit of a thing. Almost a year after a hoax involving a couple that has supposedly named their child Yahoo!, a Swedish couple has named their child Oliver Google Kai. Walid Elias Kai, a Ph.D student studying search engine marketing explains that he's such a big fan of the popular search engine that he felt it was appropriate to pay tribute by naming his son Google.

Casting a Wide Net...
While there was a time when Google was about the only search engine worth worrying about, the last few years have seen plenty of diversification in search share and search marketing options. Companies that don't take the time to cast their net wide risk overlooking potential customers and giving up valuable online real estate to competitors that actually get it. (skip to "Balancing SEM for Success" by Paul Bruemmer)

The Problem With Search Marketing
One of the most frustrating issues facing search engine marketing firms today is the difficulty that they have getting their recommendations put in place on a client’s web site. While there are some legitimate reasons for this to happen, most of them could be eliminated if small businesses contracted with a specific type of search marketing firm. (skip to "Should SEOs Recommend or Implement Optimization Changes?" by Stoney deGeyter)

Shifting Your Site to a New Host
While moving your web site from one host to another isn't near as big a deal as moving from one domain name to another, some small business owners are still a little wary about making the switch. This is mostly because down time on your domain name when a search engine spider comes along can do a lot to mess up your rankings. Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google that often serves as the company's liaison to the search marketing world, has a great post on his blog this week that gives nice and simple step-by-step instructions on moving to a new host.

Top Sites for September 2005
The ZDnet research team has the latest Nielsen//NetRatings list of the top Internet sites for the month of September. There were few surprises as Yahoo! took the top spot with just under 100 million viewers. Yahoo! was followed up by Microsoft, MSN, Google and AOL respectively. Ebay, MapQuest,, Amazon and the Weather Channel round out the top ten.

Less than 20% of Major Online Retailers Well Optimized
A new study released by the team at Oneupweb shows that less than twenty percent of Internet Retailer Magazine's top 100 sites are doing a good job of using search engine marketing to promote their products and services. The report studied a company's use of things like site architecture, content, keywords and other tactics that could impact a site’s ability to rank well on search engines. While over half of the sites had some type of optimization in place, only 17% were dubbed to be "well optimized." On the bright side for the industry, that number was up 5% from last year's findings.

Free PPC Webinar
The good folks over at will be offering up a free online seminar tomorrow to help business owners learn more about pay per click advertising in the business-to-business sector by sharing ideas used by successful BtoB marketers. The even will feature speakers from and the popular PPC review site The event will be held Tuesday, October 18th at 3pm EST. Space is limited, but the seminar is free. Register online at the Searchfeed site.

Are You Missing Out on Customers?
Once you've run an online or search engine marketing campaign for awhile, it's easy to get comfortable sticking with "what works." After all, you've fine tuned your message for maximum conversions and you're already ranking for all the phrases that you know works. That means that everything is fine, right? Maybe...but maybe not.
(skip to "Rethinking Who You Market To" by Jennifer Laycock)

A Simple Change that Your Readers Will Love
If you own any type of resource site that relies on things like articles or online information to attract your audience, you need to be aware of some of the common pitfalls that users face when they decide that they want to print and save a hard copy of your content. Not having printer-friendly pages can be a big turn-off for someone that's trying to find a great informational site. (skip to "Print-Friendly Web Pages For Your Visitors" by Barry Welford)

Making Good Use of Anchor Text
One point that pops up over and over again whenever I'm doing a review of someone's web site for search marketing purposes is the proper use of anchor text. Few site owners ever stop to think about the text that they actually use in their internal links, especially the ones that show up outside of traditional navigation areas. This is a big mistake, not only when it comes to search engine optimization, but also when it comes to usability. (skip to the "Click Here!" by Matt Bailey)

Google AdWords Now Allows for Flash Ads
Site owners looking for a little more control over their AdWords image ads will be happy to know that Google will now also be allowing Flash-based ads to run via Google AdWords campaigns. No word yet on whether or not AdSense partner sites will be able to disallow Flash-based ads from their own sites.

Suddenly Something Special
Anyone that grew up in the 80's remembers teen flick after teen flick that went something like this. Misunderstood girl (or boy) is a loner, not at all popular. Then one day, the most popular boy (or girl) in school ends up spending a bit of time with them and discovers the something special within. Viola! All of a sudden, everyone sees this something special, some hilarity ensues as multiple suitors jockey for position and we then have a fairy tale ending. For some reason, that's the scenario that keeps running through my mind as I read about all the suitors suddenly attracted to AOL.

Does Search Change the Way We Think?
Think about the last query that you typed into a search engine. How did it differ from how you might have asked a question to another human? Gord Hotchkiss wonders this week about how search engines have changed the way we think about questions, or even about communicating. (skip to "I Speak Search" by Gord Hotchkiss)

Taking Advantage of Tools for SEM
There are quite a few quality tools out there to help with search engine marketing and the good news is that many of them are free. That said, figuring out which ones will work the best for you can be tough. To make things a bit easier on you, guest author Bill Hartzer offers up a few suggestions on his favorite free SEM tools. (skip to "Free SEO Tools" by Bill Hartzer)

Google Mapping Your Friends
When I was growing up, I always wanted to have one of those maps on the wall with pins sticking out to mark all the places I'd been, or all the people that I knew. The beautiful thing about the web is that now, there are plenty of great programs out there that will do it for me. (skip to "New Mashup Maps Your Group" by Jennifer Laycock)

Searching for E.T.
Oh what people will do with their spare time... Someone has created a Google Maps mashup that allows people to enter UFO sightings. You can search the listings by month and click on little alien spacecrafts to read the full report housed at the National UFO Reporting Center.

SEM Basics Get an Update
While the basics of search engine marketing stay pretty consistent over time, some of the techniques that come into play along with those basics do tend to change over time. Search engines are always looking for ways to do a better job of emulating what a human being would be searching for, and sometimes their updates mean that marketers need to change the way they look at things. (skip to "New and Improved 10 Tips to the Top" by Jill Whalen)

On the Web, No One Knows You're a Dog
Years ago, when there was first talk of how any business could make a go of it against the big guys online, there was a saying that went something like this: "on the web, no one knows you're a dog." The point was that even a small niche shop in the middle of nowhere could compete with a mega-store like Sears or Wal-mart. That's still true and in some ways, the search engine marketing world is a great example. (skip to "SEO Business – The Joys of Reselling" by Jim Hedger)

Yahoo! Testing Longer PPC Ads
Greg Ives over at Search Engine Lowdown spots a change in the paid search ads on Yahoo! Mindset. The new versions give advertisers another 65 or so characters in the description, which can be significant when you're trying to pare your text down to next to nothing while still prequalifying your traffic.

Do No Evil...But Rule the World
Although the media and many within the industry seem to be on their way to ending their love affair with Google, the search engine still remains the most popular engine on the Web. That said, you've got to wonder if their forray into everything from email to mapping to blogging might be starting to push the limit of what users will find acceptable and what they'll find to be just...well...creepy.

Google Going After PayPal?
Google Blogoscoped has some speculation this week on the possibility of a Google payment system that would rival PayPal. There's been some buzz about the possibility of a new offering dubbed "Google Wallet" or "Google Purchases" and the URL now has a redirect to the Google Accounts login page.

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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.)

Bloggers and Affiliate Links - The Debate Continues
Search Engine Watch Forums - "As more and more bloggers look to support work through contextual ads, are they missing out on what affiliate deals and rev-share partnerships offer?"

Yahoo!'s Key Personnel In Exclusive Session at Las Vegas Conference
Webmaster World - "WebmasterWorld's Search Engine & Internet Marketing Conference, PubCon, being held in Las Vegas, November 15-17, 2005, will feature Yahoo!'s key personnel in an exclusive session for web site publishers wanting to learn more about the new Yahoo! Publisher Network."

Why Should a Business Outsource a PPC Campaign
Search Engine Watch Forums - "Does outsourcing paid search work make sense? Members talk about why going to a third party may make sense."

A Positive Step Forward in Link Strategies
Search Engine Watch Forums - "...when you write articles, you are publicizing your website. That's great free publicity. Even if PageRank disappeared tomorrow, you would still have good information out there, people may naturally link to your good information and you would be publicizing your website. Link popularity is merely a portion of the whole picture."

Should Search Engines Censor Suicide Searches?
Search Engine Watch Forums - "Should search engines be adding warnings for searches on suicide? Adding links to suicide prevention sites? Censoring sites that promote suicide? Or should it be hands-off of search results?"

Seeking Strategies for Localization
High Rankings Forum - "...what if a business covers 30-40 towns spread across two or three counties, where they cover perhaps half or less of each county? Searchers might search for them under the searcher's home town name, under the county name, or perhaps under the state ... that's a lot of keywords to cover."

Google Partnering With Comcast to Get AOL
Webmaster World - "If ever MS wanted a prod in the ear with a big stick, this is it. Will be very interesting to see if the sleeping giant wakes up and (finally) pounces. ...The Internet has once again become an exciting and evolving place."

Microsoft and Yahoo to Link IM Services?
Webmaster World - "It's the advertising potential on users desktops that is the real global opportunity for the IM networks."

Reputable SEO Companies
Search Engine Watch Forums - "How do you know which SEO/SEM to trust? Members offer advice and tips in this thread."

Debunking the "too many links at once" Myth
WebProWorld - "It a common thing around forums.... someone speculates or guesses in one forum about something and there might be some discussion about it - someone picks up on it and posts it as a fact in another forum and the myth is born."

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

Sending Holiday Cards to Customers
"Do any of you send holiday cards to your customers? I'm thinking of keeping in touch with my customers as well as prospective customers by sending holiday cards (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas)."

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