Search Engine Marketing News - 2006-03-29

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Hi Everyone,

Jennifer has updated the Small Business Guide to Search Engine Marketing. If you've already purchased a copy you know you get updates for free and I'll email the address of the new download page to you tomorrow. If you haven't already purchased a copy, now is the time to do so. I promise you will love the ebook and if you don't, we'll refund your money. Simple as that. :-)

Have a super week!

Robert Clough

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Search Engine Marketing Articles

Local Search Still Not Cutting the Mustard
by Jennifer Laycock - What's disappointing is that despite the investments poured into local search by top engines like Yahoo! and Google, the Internet search engine satisfaction rate of 39% is the same that it was last year, meaning that despite the new offerings, users aren't finding it any easier to get what they want.

Search Marketing for C-Level Managers - Part 2
by Paul Bruemmer - Last week, we talked about how important it is for C-level managers to know every aspect of their business, especially search engine marketing. Today, we’ll weigh the benefits of paid search against the often-overlooked power of SEO.

Establishing Web Credibility - Part 3
by Stoney deGeyter - Providing extra information including features and benefits of your product will help users make the decision to buy. Adding information such as pricing comparisons, warranties, and quality customer service helps users realize why they should purchase from you.

Five Ways to Know If You Need A Pro
by Jim Hedger - Some sites are built using “cutting edge advanced design techniques” that draw from several sources. Some have poorly structured databases. Some look as if they were slapped together seven years ago and have since existed as an afterthought. The one thing they all have in common is that they offer search engine spiders far too little information to grab onto.

Video and the Online Paradigm
by Gord Hotchkiss - Online interactions are generally ruled by the left brain, the logical side of our intellect. Generally, we interact with most websites the same way we did in 1996. We read text, we click on links, we glance at the occasional graphic. For the most part, our right brain is idling.

Search Engine Optimization for Blogs
by Bill Hartzer - Optimizing a blog is just like optimizing any other website. The content and pages (posts) must be unique, they must be search engine friendly, and it needs links from other websites. If it's a new blog, then you first need to make sure the blog software you're using is set up so that it takes advantage of all of the possible optimization features.

The Best Place to Put SEO Copy on Your Web Page
by Karon Thackston - It seems like a funny question to me, but it gets asked a lot. "Where should the SEO copy go on my Web page?" That question gets asked so much because there are several pieces of out-of-date information, rumors and myths with regard to text placement, when writing SEO copy.

Google Base Being Integrated into Google Results
by Jennifer Laycock - Just four months after announcing the Google Base project, Google is already working to integrate the content into it's traditional search results. Just recently, reports have started to show up in blogs about searches that lead to a results page with a Google Base search prompt for refining the original search.

Mysterious Changing PR
by Jill Whalen - Today when I went to my client's website, Google told me the site's PageRank (PR) is 1. A couple of hours later, while I was on the phone I needed to call up that site again and voila, the PR had increased from 1 to 3!

The Changing Facets of the SEO Business
by Jim Hedger - Two key topics that tend to dominate the R&D portion of our formal staff meetings and many informal discussions amongst staff members are usability and consultation. Not surprisingly, they also tend to be discussed frequently on various SEO or SEM related forums.

SEO Your Website First, Design Later
by Stoney deGeyter - Before developing your website, picking your design and development should be secondary to bringing your optimization and marketing team onboard. The marketing team can help you interview and select the right designers saving both time and money in the long run.

Search Marketing for C-Level Managers - Part 1
by Paul Bruemmer - As we all know, search engine marketing (SEM) is a critical and effective marketing strategy that provides an excellent return on investment (ROI). Savvy marketers understand SEM’s value by virtue of the improved KPIs (key performance indicators) in their web analytics reports. But what about your C-level execs? Do they know? Do they care? A word of advice: They better.

 

Search Engine Guide Blog Posts

Big Companies That Don't Get SEM
Love Rand's rant about big companies sending our RFP's for search marketing services. I've had a few of these come across my desk as well and my response is usually to ignore them. I'm not going to put five, ten or more hours into trying to "win" a contract based on those types of questions and I'm certainly not going to tell you exactly what I plan to do to your site and how...not unless you're paying a consulting fee. That's what discussion forums are for.

Local Search Still Not Cutting the Mustard
What's disappointing is that despite the investments poured into local search by top engines like Yahoo! and Google, the Internet search engine satisfaction rate of 39% is the same that it was last year, meaning that despite the new offerings, users aren't finding it any easier to get what they want. (skip to "Local Search Still Not Cutting the Mustard" by Jennifer Laycock)

The Language of Search
For anyone that has ever been confused by the fact that results generated by a computer are referred to as "organic" or the difference between terms like "invalid clicks" and "click fraud," Andy Beal points to an article by Jordan Glogau that talks about the mixed up language of search.

Search Marketing for C-Level Managers - Part 2
Last week, we talked about how important it is for C-level managers to know every aspect of their business, especially search engine marketing. Today, we’ll weigh the benefits of paid search against the often-overlooked power of SEO. (skip to "Search Marketing for C-Level Managers - Part 2" by Paul Bruemmer)

Establishing Web Credibility - Part 3
Providing extra information including features and benefits of your product will help users make the decision to buy. Adding information such as pricing comparisons, warranties, and quality customer service helps users realize why they should purchase from you. (skip to "Establishing Web Credibility - Part 3" by Stoney deGeyter)

Yahoo Offers Up Free Training to New Orleans Businesses
Next month, the team at Yahoo! is going to be heading to the big easy to share free tips and advice with small business owners that are interested in search marketing. The Back in Business event will be held at the InterContinental Hotel on Friday, April 9th from 9am to 5pm. The event is free to attend and open to small business owners, web developers and marketers. Yahoo will be sending a team to the event to help teach attendees about web development, e-commerce and search advertising. Interested small business owners can register online.

Google Testing New Search Results Design
Screen shots and feedback on the new search results design being tested by Google has been flying all over the blogosphere the past day or two. Phillip Lenssen gets credit for sharing the javascript that users can cut and paste into the address bar while on the Google page in order to view the test version of the search results. All you need to do is reload the Google home page after using the above link and then conduct your search. The results page that you get should have the the new link section along the left side of the search results with the "mystery green bars" appearing next to each type of search result. It doesn't tell you much about what Google has up their sleeve, but it is interesting to play around with.

Ask.com Promoting Hard Via Commercials
Now that they've said farewell to good old Jeeves, Ask.com is working on spreading the word about their updated service by buying up ad spots on popular prime time tv shows. The new series of commercials features animalistic internet searchers that suddenly become civilized when they run across the modern tools and technology offered by Ask. While my reading thus far leaves me thinking I'm the only one that feels this way, I've got to tell you, I hate these ads.

Five Ways to Know If You Need A Pro
Some sites are built using “cutting edge advanced design techniques” that draw from several sources. Some have poorly structured databases. Some look as if they were slapped together seven years ago and have since existed as an afterthought. The one thing they all have in common is that they offer search engine spiders far too little information to grab onto. (skip to "Five Ways to Know If You Need A Pro" by Jim Hedger)

Video and the Online Paradigm
Online interactions are generally ruled by the left brain, the logical side of our intellect. Generally, we interact with most websites the same way we did in 1996. We read text, we click on links, we glance at the occasional graphic. For the most part, our right brain is idling. (skip to "Video and the Online Paradigm" by Gord Hotchkiss)

Google Print Ad Auction Falls Flat
Andy Beal links to an article in Business Week that talks about how Google's attempt at auctioning excess print ad inventory didn't quite spur as much of a deal as they thought it might. It wasn't but a month or so ago that Google bought up some excess inventory in magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Entrepreneur and Road & Track and offered it up in an auction system to Google advertisers.

Search Engine Optimization for Blogs
Optimizing a blog is just like optimizing any other website. The content and pages (posts) must be unique, they must be search engine friendly, and it needs links from other websites. If it's a new blog, then you first need to make sure the blog software you're using is set up so that it takes advantage of all of the possible optimization features. (skip to "Search Engine Optimization for Blogs" by Bill Hartzer)

The Best Place to Put SEO Copy on Your Web Page
It seems like a funny question to me, but it gets asked a lot. "Where should the SEO copy go on my Web page?" That question gets asked so much because there are several pieces of out-of-date information, rumors and myths with regard to text placement, when writing SEO copy. (skip to "The Best Place to Put SEO Copy on Your Web Page" by Karon Thackston)

Search Plays Important Role in Brand Marketing
Ran across an interesting article today over at Multichannel Merchant. The article talks about the power of search marketing when it come to overall brand advertising strategy. The article gives several examples of big brand advertisers that are successfully integrating search into their brand advertising campaigns.

Another Chance to Get in on AdCenter
If you missed the last round of open sign ups for MSN's AdCenter pay per click program, breathe a sign of relief. The word is out that AdCenter is opening up AdCenter registration again until 6pm (pacific time) this evening. If you're interested in signing up, you can simply head to the AdCenter Home Page to click the "sign up today" option on the right side of the screen. Users will be charged the $5 registration fee, but won't need to have an invitation code.

AdCenter Boosts Distribution Levels Again
Less than a month after their first major push to expand the number of queries serving up more MSN paid search advertisements, the AdCenter team is at it again. The AdCenter team sent out a second email this week letting advertisers know that MSN's own ads currently made up about 40% of the volume on the MSN site. The latest announcement had it that MSN would be increasing that number to cover 70% of their search volume starting yesterday (Thursday, March 23). AdCenter advertisers should be on the lookout for traffic increases and may want to adjust their budgets accordingly.

Google Launches AdSense Help Group
Looking to get some feedback from other AdSense publishers about what works for them? Interested in sharing your own tips and advice with other publishers? Google's counting on finding folks that are. In a post made to the AdSense blog yesterday, Suzie Dewey from AdSense Publisher Support announced the formation of a new AdSense Help Group. The new community already has more than two hundred members and features posts and discussion on topics ranging from AdSense basics to Features and Products to Troubleshooting and more.

Finding the Linkerati
Rand Fishkin has a great post today that talks about who the top folks are to target when you're building link bait. Obviously it's not always enough to simply create that great content, you also need to take the time to plant some seeds with the right linkers. It's finding those linkers that can be tough. That's why Rand's post is so useful, it helps point out folks like bloggers, resource editors, social taggers and more that are a good idea for you to send those first few emails to.

Search Engine Journal Announces Shirt Contest Winners
Want to hit the next search conference sporting a shirt that read "My Other PageRank's a 10" or "Algohilic?" Your chance is coming up. Loren Baker has announced the winners of his search engine marketing t-shirt idea contest. The shirts are going to be designed and printed and should be available via Search Engine Journal somewhere down the line.

Google Base Being Integrated into Google Results
Just four months after announcing the Google Base project, Google is already working to integrate the content into it's traditional search results. Just recently, reports have started to show up in blogs about searches that lead to a results page with a Google Base search prompt for refining the original search. (skip to "Google Base Being Integrated into Google Results" by Jennifer Laycock)

Mysterious Changing PR
Today when I went to my client's website, Google told me the site's PageRank (PR) is 1. A couple of hours later, while I was on the phone I needed to call up that site again and voila, the PR had increased from 1 to 3! (skip to "Mysterious Changing PR" by Jill Whalen)

The Changing Facets of the SEO Business
Two key topics that tend to dominate the R&D portion of our formal staff meetings and many informal discussions amongst staff members are usability and consultation. Not surprisingly, they also tend to be discussed frequently on various SEO or SEM related forums. (skip to "The Changing Facets of the SEO Business" by Jim Hedger)

Some Insight on the Yahoo Publishers Network
If you've been thinking about checking out the Yahoo Publisher's Network (YPN), Yahoo!'s alternative to AdSense, but still have some questions about exactly how things work, you aren't alone. That's where Rae Hoffman comes in. Rae (known in the forums as Sugarrae) has put together an excellent set of Q&A with Josh Siegel, Sr. Mgr Business Operations, Yahoo! Publisher Network Online. The piece covers issues like ad targeting, the publisher's interface and even ways to better optimize the performance of ads. It's a good read for anyone looking to learn more about YPN.

Say Goodnight Zeal...
After long being known as the "free" way into the once-popular Looksmart directory, Zeal will be closing its doors next Tuesday, the 28th. Zeal was one of the more prominent directories that was edited by volunteers known as Zealots. Word is that developers are shifting their focus to Furl, a social bookmarking site. There's been a bit of buzzing in some discussion forums over whether or not the closing announcement is for real or is a hoax, but since Zeal and Looksmart have been dying a slow death anyway, I'm not sure that it would be a surprise if it quietly slipped away into the void.

Trellian Serves Up More Features for Keyword Discovery Tool
One of the most talked about search marketing tools of the past year is the Keyword Discovery Tool from the folks over at Trellian. It's fast becoming one of the most popular keyword research tools for search marketing professionals and their latest round of updates helps to show why.

SEO Your Website First, Design Later
Before developing your website, picking your design and development should be secondary to bringing your optimization and marketing team onboard. The marketing team can help you interview and select the right designers saving both time and money in the long run. (skip to "SEO Your Website First, Design Later" by Stoney deGeyter)

Search Marketing for C-Level Managers - Part 1
As we all know, search engine marketing (SEM) is a critical and effective marketing strategy that provides an excellent return on investment (ROI). Savvy marketers understand SEM’s value by virtue of the improved KPIs (key performance indicators) in their web analytics reports. But what about your C-level execs? Do they know? Do they care? A word of advice: They better. (skip to "Search Marketing for C-Level Managers - Part 1" by Paul Bruemmer)

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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.)

Is Adwords Good For "Non-Product" Websites?
Cre8asite Forums - "I used adwords to bring visitors into new pages that I feel are highly linkable and which do not yet rank well for terms that I am targeting. My hope is to get a couple of links from this traffic."

Ask and PPC advertising
Search Engine Watch Forums - "Are you using the new Ask.com PPC advertising platform? Join the discussion and share some basic data about impressions, CTR and conversions."

Who Cares If Google's A Portal
Search Engine Watch Forums - "Danny Sullivan sparks an interesting conversation with a SearchCast listener regarding Google's past and future as a portal."

I don't know where to go from here...
Small Business Ideas Forum - "I've never done anything deliberately to fool the search engines, but (obviously) I've done something REALLY REALLY bad to Google...but I don't know what it was!!!"

Top Rank Disappointment
v7n Forum - "First place will not give you much if you have site that people do not trust."

Gold Membership For Overture Members
High Rankings Forum - "If you call yahoo up and you tell them that you spend 500 dollars or more on advertising they will give you an account that lets you upload, edit, and categorize all of your listings. How many people knew about this?"

Is Yahoo Ousting Small & Medium-Sized Businesses?
Search Engine Watch Forums - "We have received many reports that Yahoo have commenced upon a campaign to remove small - medium sized commercial websites from there search engine without clearly defining the reason for removal."

Does Yahoo Want You to Block non-US Users?
Search Engine Watch Forums - "YahooSarah addresses confusion about serving Y! publisher network (YPN) ads to traffic based outside of the US."

Your Keywords May Be Suspended
Webmaster World - "If some of your keywords in your account suddenly disappear from Google search, you'd better contact Google for a reason. Don't just sit there and wait. Instead of your keywords being pulled down for review, it may be that they have been suspended (maybe permanently) for low traffic."

Do Ugly Sites Earn More With AdSense?
Search Engine Roundtable Forums - "Yea, ugly web sites earn lots of money, if their goal is for you to click on an ad to earn PPC. Do ugly Web sites earn more with AdSense?"

Yahoo Messenger Phone Capabilities to be Activated in U.S.
Webmaster World - "Yahoo plans on Wednesday to activate Internet phone capabilities for Yahoo Messenger users in the U.S., a little more than three months after announcing this feature."

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

Post Card - Bad Copy and Design?
""...sell the benefit or solution, not the service. 'Auto detailing' is just too generic. Too replicatable (is that word?). Too forgettable. But 'superior shine' could almost be a tag line. It could be a benefit that your company excels in providing and provides in a fashion far 'superior' to anyone else's service."."

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