Search Engine Marketing News - 2005-11-03

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Hi Everyone,

Lots of feedback from last week regarding the subject line. The bottom line is readers want it shorter but don't want the first part (Search Engine Marketing News) removed because of familiarity. So, I'll cut the date to save some space and stick with the rest. Of course, if I find that too many still consider the subject line too long, we'll revisit this topic.

Among all the feedback was a note about a cool tool that allows you to test your email and newsletter "Subject" lines to see how they appear in a variety of email clients. The tool can be found here: http://www.emaillabs.com/from_subject_line_tool.html

Thanks to Brent who writes the eINFO - Email Marketing Blog for the tip.

Have a great week and don't forget to register for the Search Engine Marketing Made Simple seminar!

Robert Clough

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Search Engine Marketing Made Simple - Presented by The Karcher Group.
November 15, 2005 - 9:00am - 5:00pm
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WebmasterWorld PubCon!
November 15 - 17, 2005
Las Vegas Convention Center in fabulous Las Vegas Nevada

 

Search Engine Marketing Articles

Battelle’s The Search: Google, Search and a Brave New World
by Gord Hotchkiss - Despite the name, The Search is not just another search book. It's a probing look at the crux of what makes the Internet such a powerful force for change.

Creating a Marketing Focused Website that Sells - Part 2
by Stoney deGeyter - Don’t try and give too much information on your home page. We know that every additional click a user has to perform causes visitor loss, however putting too much information on a single page can also confuse them.

Are You Missing New Opportunities?
Finding out how your visitors work their way around your site can help tell you what usability changes might be needed, what specific information your visitors are looking for, and even how they make their buying decisions.

Cracking the SEO Mystique
by Paul Bruemmer - It's hard to understand the under-utilization of SEO compared to PPC when organic listings attract more users, and the links are more highly valued as non-commercial. While many marketers are puzzled over SEO complexity, Paul Bruemmer simplifies the SEO Mystique.

SEO FrightSites: Top Thirteen Worst Website / Search Issues seen in 2K5 (Part 2)
by Jim Hedger - Every town has a storefront that never changes and that store never seems to be very prosperous. Websites need to be updated and maintained, they are sort of like a storefront that way.

PPC: If You Aren't Number One...You Still Get Customers...
by Jennifer Laycock - Many want to be able to run advertising campaigns, but feel that they can't justify the cost because their conversion rates don't result in a profit. This often happens because so many advertisers are still living with the false idea that they simply have to bid their site to the number one listing.

Designing Effective PPC Campaign Strategies and Tactics
by Ben Wills - Given the nature of pay-per-click search marketing (i.e.: ideally you would put a dollar in, and get two dollars out) and how easily your ad spend can escalate out of control, clear strategies and tactics will become the impetus of your search marketing campaign.

Meta Keywords Advice
by Richard Ball - Most people agree that the Meta tag is useless. I'll take it a step further and argue that it's hazardous. There is more risk than reward in using the meta keywords tag because your competitors can view the meta keywords tag and can steal your keywords.

Yahoo!'s Trip Planner Boosts Personalized Search to a New Level
by Jennifer Laycock - Yahoo!'s new trip planning tool does a great job of mixing personalized search with community and has a lot of potential. But it also has some serious usability issues that they need to address before they see massive adoption rates.

SEO FrightSites: Top Thirteen Worst Website / Search Issues seen in 2K5 (Part 1)
by Jim Hedger - While it is difficult to say exactly what one should do in any given circumstance, it is fairly simple to say what one shouldn’t do. In the spirit of the Friday before Halloween, here is a list of the Top10 worst things we’ve seen designers doing this year.

Keyword Research and Analysis
by Bill Hartzer - The keyword phrase—the term that a searcher types into the search engine when they're searching — can make or break online business. Target the wrong keyword phrases and an online business is destined to fail.

Time of the essence for online advertising
by Jim Hedger - There’s often a seriousness to hype that shouldn’t be dismissed just because the messenger sounds like a huckster. When mass-marketing ideas are exchanged by a lot of mass-marketers, (even far-fetched philosophical ones), the stuff we do in marketing is subtly changed.

Realistic SEO Expectations
by Jill Whalen - No SEO company in the world will be able to help you unless you are ready to forget about what you think you want, and learn more about what you really need.

Taking Advantage of Brand Blogs for Online Reputation Management
by Jennifer Laycock - Savvy companies that are putting time and effort toward online reputation management shouldn't simply smile at fan sites and then move on to deal with the "problem" sites or posters, they should be figuring out how to work these sites into their marketing campaigns.

 

Search Engine Guide Blog Posts

PubCon Heads to Vegas for Round Ten
What started as a small group of webmasters getting together to throw back a few cold ones in a bar has grown into one of the Internet marketing conferences around. Webmaster World's PubCon will hold its tenth event this month on November 15th, 16th and 17th at the Las Vegas Renaissance hotel.

Microsoft to Offer Ad Supported Online Software
In a move sure to be seen as a direct response to Google's new partnership with Sun's OpenOffice, Microsoft announced this morning that they would be offering up online versions of some Windows software and of their popular MS Office applications. The new services will be supported by advertising that will be sold through Microsoft's new MSN adCenter interface.

Yahoo! Announces Update
Yahoo!'s Tim Mayer announced via the Yahoo! blog last night that they would be rolling out a new update to their index later that evening. Mayer rated the update as being "mild and quick" but still invited feedback from Yahoo! users.

Creating a Home Page That Sells
Don’t try and give too much information on your home page. We know that every additional click a user has to perform causes visitor loss, however putting too much information on a single page can also confuse them. (skip to "Creating a Marketing Focused Website that Sells - Part 2" by Stoney deGeyter)

Gord Hotchkiss Reviews Battelle's Book
Despite the name, The Search is not just another search book. It's a probing look at the crux of what makes the Internet such a powerful force for change. (skip to: "Battelle’s The Search: Google, Search and a Brave New World" by Gord Hotchkiss)

Holiday Buying Stats
The Direct Marketing Association has put together some useful data that explores how people shop for and buy their holiday gifts. While none of it reveals stunning information, it may help you solidify your marketing strategy for things like e-mail and PPC.

Google Puts the Scare in Media Buyers
CNET has speculation on Google's continued quest for world domination of all things ad related. The talk comes on the heels of almost carbon copy articles that appeared over the weekend in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal pushed forth the idea of Google's move into the world of brokering all types of advertising, not just Internet related ads.

Web Site Issues That Can Kill Your Business
Every town has a storefront that never changes and that store never seems to be very prosperous. Websites need to be updated and maintained, they are sort of like a storefront that way. (skip to SEO FrightSites: Top Thirteen Worst Website / Search Issues seen in 2K5" by Jim Hedger)

Cracking the SEO Mystique
It's hard to understand the under-utilization of SEO compared to PPC when organic listings attract more users, and the links are more highly valued as non-commercial. While many marketers are puzzled over SEO complexity, Paul Bruemmer simplifies the SEO Mystique. (skip to "Cracking the SEO Mystique" by Paul Bruemmer)

Innovate, Don't Stagnate...
Finding out how your visitors work their way around your site can help tell you what usability changes might be needed, what specific information your visitors are looking for, and even how they make their buying decisions. (skip to "Are You Missing New Opportunities?" by Jennifer Laycock)

Yahoo! Adds "Save to My Web" Option
Apparently, when Danny speaks, Yahoo! listens. First he managed to "hint" them into throwing us a heck of a bash at this past August's Search Engine Strategies event, and now they've setup an easy snippet of code that will let you add an "add to My Yahoo!" button to any page of your web site. The idea is to make it even easier for folks to syndicate their content.

Understanding Smart Pricing from AdSense
While Google has never been very open about how pricing and payment works for AdSense partners, some new information has leaked out about how Google's "Smart Pricing" system works. The basic idea is that Google will work to increase the cost per click on content sites that are likely to convert and will lower it on sites that are unlikely to convert. Not bad technology if they can get it to work consistently.

PPC Isn't About Being Number One
Many want to be able to run advertising campaigns, but feel that they can't justify the cost because their conversion rates don't result in a profit. This often happens because so many advertisers are still living with the false idea that they simply have to bid their site to the number one listing. (skip to PPC: If You Aren't Number One...You Still Get Customers... by Jennifer Laycock)

PPC Campaigns Require Strategy
Given the nature of pay-per-click search marketing (i.e.: ideally you would put a dollar in, and get two dollars out) and how easily your ad spend can escalate out of control, clear strategies and tactics will become the impetus of your search marketing campaign. (skip to "Designing Effective PPC Campaign Strategies and Tactics" by Ben Wills)

Is the Meta Tag More Than Just Useless?
While it's not a new idea to say that Meta tags aren't going to do much to help your site rank well, I can say that I've not often heard someone make the argument that the meta tag can actually hurt your search marketing campaign. But that's one one of our guest authors does today in a new article. (skip to "Meta Keywords Advice" by Richard Ball)

It Can't Be Said Enough: Learn What Converts
There's a fantastic article in Internet Retailer this month that talks about some of the issues plaguing sites that are trying to drive traffic via search engines. The one that caught my eye was the lack of sites making proper use of landing pages, since that's a topic that I harp on fairly often.

Looksmart Relaunces as Vertical Search Engine
After a few years of languishing in near obscurity, Looksmart announced today that they would be relaunching themselves as "the largest vertical search site launch in the history of the Web." The new Looksmart features 11 new vertical categories and over 161 new sites.

Yahoo!'s New Trip Planner has Promise, but Needs Work...
Yahoo!'s new trip planning tool does a great job of mixing personalized search with community and has a lot of potential. But it also has some serious usability issues that they need to address before they see massive adoption rates. (skip to "Yahoo!'s Trip Planner Boosts Personalized Search to a New Level by Jennifer Laycock)

Do Not Try This on Your Home...Page
While it is difficult to say exactly what one should do in any given circumstance, it is fairly simple to say what one shouldn't do. In the spirit of the Friday before Halloween, here is a list of the Top10 worst things we've seen designers doing this year. (skip to "SEO FrightSites: Top Thirteen Worst Website / Search Issues seen in 2K5 (Part 1) by Jim Hedger)

The Importance of Keyword Research
The keyword phrase—the term that a searcher types into the search engine when they're searching — can make or break online business. Target the wrong keyword phrases and an online business is destined to fail. (skip to "Keyword Research and Analysis" by Bill Hartzer)

Would You Like Fries with That?
Another great Google Maps mash-up today, and this one is guaranteed to be a handy addition to your office bookmark file. If you've ever debated over which Wendy's was the closest one to where you are now, or wondered just how many McDonald's there actually are in your city, here's a great way to find out. The Google Maps + Fast Food site works to show listings of every McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Jack in the Box in most major cities across the United States.

Is There a Limit to Google's Reach?
While Google has proven time and time again that it can succeed outside of its standard realm of operations (Gmail, Google Earth, etc...) many within the marketing world are wondering if the engine's latest plan to tackle the world of television advertising puts them a bit out of their league.

Still Don't Understand Click Fraud?
With pay-per-click advertising growing at a staggering pace, more and more concerns are being raised about the issue of click fraud and how it will impact the future of paid search advertising. With click fraud estimates at anywhere from 15-40% of the market, the numbers are nothing to scoff at. Even a 15% click fraud rate on a $1000 a month campaign adds up to $150 in lost dollars.

Corporate Fan Clubs?
While it's not unusual for a movie star or tv show to have a fan club, the idea of corporate fan clubs has sort of come to a head recently thanks to web sites and blogs. Self-appointed brand evangelists around the world are online talking up their favorite products and convincing other people to try them out as well. (skip to "Taking Advantage of Brand Blogs for Online Reputation Management" by Jennifer Laycock)

Online Advertising Moves Pretty Quickly...
...if you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you might miss it. Ferris Bueller had a good point, though I'm sure he never dreamed up anything like search engine marketing. The point is that the search industry is not one that moves slowly. Things change at an alarming rate and companies that sit around waiting for them to calm down are likely to miss the boat entirely. (skip to "Time of the essence for online advertising" by Jim Hedger)

Understanding SEM Goals
While it's great for the industry that more and more business owners are starting to understand the need to mix search engine marketing in with their overall marketing budget, many site owners still don't really understand the purpose of a search marketing campaign. (skip to "Realistic SEO Expectations" by Jill Whalen)

PPC Prices Continue to Rise
The average per-click cost of a paid search listing is up an average of almost 20% since last year according to the latest keyword index released by the team at Fathom Online. Price jumps were even sharper in certain verticals.

The Force Rules for Halloween
Star Wars costumes are the number one hit this year with AOL searchers according to a report released by the portal site this morning. The phrase "halloween costumes" is currently the fourth most popular search term on AOL.

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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.)

The Best Copywriting Books (Sort of)
Small Business Ideas Forum - "Over the years, I've gathered quite a little collection of books that help me with writing copy. What I've noticed is the ones I used most aren't actually about copywriting."

Meta Keywords Advice
Small Business Ideas Forum - "Most people agree that the Meta tag is useless. I'll take it a step further and argue that it's hazardous. There is more risk than reward in using the meta keywords tag because your competitors can view the meta keywords tag and can steal your keywords."

SEM Hiring 101
Search Engine Watch Forums - "Discussion on a great article by Internet Retailer on Searching for Searchers and the difficulties with hiring in-house for search expertise."

Search Engine & Browser Friendly Navigation Menus
High Rankings Forum - "...I've seen a few discussions where the issue of 'search engine friendly' drop-down and/or expandable menus has come up... Here's a nice simple solution that uses unordered lists with CSS to create menus that work great in most browsers, and remain usable even in older browsers..."

Microsoft And Yahoo Further Deepen Ties
High Rankings Forum - "Yahoo is already kicking Google's tush all over the place. The only place they're not is in organic search. But advertising and everything else... Let's just say that Google isn't even in the same ballpark and that Yahoo's revenue streams are across a much broader spectrum. And is less risky if for none other than that reason."

Microsoft Announces "Windows Live"
Webmaster World - "This strategy embraces IM, your email, news, and other forms of communication. It's a good move in that there's no advertising there, which follows on Google's mantra of, 'Is it good for the user?'"

Offline Influence On Online Purchases
Cre8asite Forums - "Traditional advertising is not dead yet. Here at my house, even flyers that come in the mail for stores factor into decisions. We often look for URLS in them, or check to see if the online store has a better deal... Catalogs that come in the mail also send me online, even if that wasn't their intent. I get ideas from their print version and I like the convenience of shopping online. I still look at print advertising more than Internet ads."

How to Deal With AdSense Income Dropping
Webmaster World - "Like a faucet being turned off, my AS income dried up. Interestingly, traffic did not dry up. Just a big drop in CTR and EPC."

Why Do People Think Complicated Is Better Than Simple?
High Rankings Forum - "I've had people tell me they didn't think they 'got their money's worth' from a report I created because the conclusions and recommendations seemed 'too simple.' All I can say to them is if they were so simple, why didn't you implement them before you bought a site review, in which you told me you just didn't know what else you could do?"

Chitika Search Tab IS Allowed Even On Pages With Google Search
Webmaster World - "Translating and paraphrasing the answer I received, Chitika search tab available in eMiniMalls is not an additional web search tool, but a tool to search on specific products. This means that eMiniMall's search tab DOES NOT violate AdSense TOS and can be used without any problem."

Is "Jagger" A Major Google Marketing Error?
WebProWorld - "Heartless? Google is not a character Dickens novel, and pity Bob Cratchit if he bet Tiny Tim's future solely on the free organic returns that can be had in Google. Google is a business, with clear responsibilities to only one group, it's shareholders."

Does the Sandbox Effect Hurt Relevancy?
Search Engine Watch Forums - "If the search engines are all saying that their main goal is to return relevant results for search queries, how can Google’s alleged age delaying sandbox be considered helpful when the application of the filter may be keeping searchers from important information when that information is contained within a new site?"

Google Bowling
Small Business Ideas Forum - "A small loophole on Google has turned into a devastating black hole, sucking in and wiping out countless quality websites in the process. And it just may be their competitors sending them into the abyss."

No Clicks On 100 Keywords
Virtual Promote Forums - "To give you another example, if I'm searching for an engagement ring and see an ad for bracelets or necklaces I probably won't click on it. If I see an ad for jewelry I MIGHT click on it. If I see an ad for Engagement Rings - bingo - that is the one I choose."

Fragment Large Website Into Subdomains?
Virtual Promote Forums - "To me it sounds crazy what your company is doing, far better to create solid branding with just the domain, or to build real pages if they have something special they need to say."

Google places "Dummy Bidders" in Regional Search artificially raise required bids
Search Engine Watch Forums - "As an advertiser, why should I be excluded from advertising to users from a country, simply because my website doesn't happen to be from that country?"

Google Base, Classified Ads?
Webmaster World - "Is Google trying to be everywhere on the Internet? Rumors surface on the big G and their plans to take on ebay with their own site for buyers and sellers."

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

Business Leadership Books
"...hoping you guys can possibly give me some recommendations on some leadership books..."

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