Search Engine Marketing News - 2006-06-29

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Hi Everyone,

Over the last couple of months I've been asking Jennifer what she was planning for this year that would top her "Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days" project from last year. With the impact that article series had, it's a tough act to follow. That's why I wasn't sure that she would be able to come up something that could possibly be better. Well, she has a doozy planned.

With the "Zero Dollars" project we heard back from a lot of small business folks asking if what she did could really apply to their own "common" business. It's not like everyone is selling witty, breastfeeding-themed t-shirts. The bottom line is yes, Zero Dollars provides real ideas for real businesses just like yours. The business owners that we hear from that have been inspired by the article series and are successful are those that took the ideas and adapted them to their own unique businesses in their own unique ways.

The personal feedback our readers have shared is fantastic. This is where Jennifer's new series comes in:

"Real Small Businesses, Real Big Ideas (This Time, It's Personal)"

Jennifer's idea is to share the excitement we experience with you by digging into the real life of small business owners and learning from the real (as in, affordable) ideas that they use to grow. Don't think of this as a makeover because that falls short of the target. It's about getting personal with small business folks and plugging into their real fears, challenges, and successes as they invite you in to see what works and what doesn't.

I know I'm rambling on now, but I love real-life profiles and I'm really excited about this project because I know I will learn a ton and be personally inspired. Anyhow... check out Jennifer's first article for all the details.

Have a great week!

Robert Clough

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Search Engine Marketing Articles

Search Marketing Smackdown
by Matt Williams - But what on earth can search marketing, an industry with sooooooo many smart and talented people, ever learn from another industry? Much less from WRESTLING?!?!? Here are my thoughts on how search can benefit from a few wrestling pointers.

Snap Interview: a Search Engine's Community Marketing Tactics Explained
by Garrett French - I'm very excited to give you Tad Benson's community marketing strategy for Snap.com. I've leveraged an interview with Benson, the brilliance behind that blog contest I raved about a while back. Tad is, perhaps in the truest sense of the word, a search engine marketer.

Spotlight on Search - Interview with Daron Babin of WebmasterRadio.FM
by Lee Odden - There are many success stories on the web and one of the most interesting is WebmasterRadio.FM. The brainchild of Old, Old School SEO Daron Babin and his partner Brandy Shapiro, WebmasterRadio.FM has become the “go to” resource for live streaming radio and podcasts on all things related to search and interactive marketing.

Technology Judging Technology – Website Design Not Ready for Primetime
by Jim Hedger - Online competition has increased dramatically year after year. Today there are more websites doing business in every commercial sector than there were yesterday. Though the search engines are better able to sort information and rank relevant sites against keyword queries, achieving search engine placements for smaller sites has gotten more difficult as the environment evolves.

How to Avoid a Bad Client and How Not to Be One...
by Jennifer Laycock - Clients that want everything done as "cheaply" as possible will push and push to get you to cut corners. A good search marketer will always turn up more in ultimate profits than it cost to hire them, so for forward thinking businesses, the issue shouldn't be about keeping prices down, it should be about your track record of ROI and what your plan of action is to maximize it.

How to Lead with your Online Marketing Campaign
by Stoney deGeyter - From a competitive standpoint, it's always good to know what your competitors are doing, who they are targeting, and what areas they are venturing into. A failure to know this is poor business strategy and planning.

Is Yahoo Under the Influence of TrustRank?
by Kim Roach - The further out a web site is within the linking structure, the lower the TrustRank they would receive. Basically, according to Yahoo's proposed mechanism, the link structure of reputable web sites can be used to discover other pages that are likely to be reputable sites.

Spotlight on Search - Interview with David McInnis of PRWeb.
by Lee Odden - Undoubtedly one of the companies that has had a major impact on the convergence of public relations and search engine optimization is PRWeb. David McInnis and his talented team have created more innovations surrounding press release distribution than any other wire service.

Search Drives Ecommerce Online and Offline
by Bruce Clay - According to industry research, most ecommerce sites are not optimized to rank well in the organic search results. Over 80 percent of the Internet Retailer Magazine's top 100 websites were found to lack the basic search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that would give them high rankings.

Will Search Learn To Share With Its Little Brother, Social Networks?
by BJ Cook - As Google continues to grab more of a market share in search with its three percentage point rise to 50 percent in April, its little brother social networks gains ground in overall online advertising impressions. Is this a significant milestone?

Grand Slam SEO - Can My Site Rank Well on all Four Major Engines?
by Jim Hedger - The differences between how each engine works appears to be causing a bit of confusion among webmasters and search marketers, especially regarding how to optimize well for all four at the same time.

 

Search Engine Guide Blog Posts

Google Checkout Launches, Ties in with AdWords
I'd avoided writing much about the speculated launch of Google Checkout because, quite honestly, it didn't seem to have to much to do with small business related search marketing. For the most part, I think that's still true...but the reality is that there's an interesting tie-in with Google AdWords ads that may make this something worth considering. Google will begin displaying a small shopping cart icon next to AdWords advertisers that accept Google Checkout. They'll also be offering up a $10 credit toward processing fees for every $1 a business spends on AdWords advertising. That means that many AdWords advertisers will be able to offer up Google Checkout without incurring any additional costs. It could also serve as an extra selling point in a Google AdWords listing if the idea of Google Checkout takes off with consumers.

Yahoo! Settles Click Fraud Case
It's good to be Yahoo!...at least if you work in the fraud department. While some blogs are still buzzing over the paltry $90 million settlement that Google ended up agreeing to, news has come out today that Yahoo! has settled in U.S. District Court for $5 million in legal fees and a promise to extend it's click fraud review period. That's it. No promises to refund money, no requirements to offer advertising credit, just the promise to give more time toward actually looking at fraud complaints. Anyone that has ever tried to apply for a click fraud refund from Yahoo! will know that this settlement isn't going to do anything for the average advertiser.

Search Marketing Smackdown
But what on earth can search marketing, an industry with sooooooo many smart and talented people, ever learn from another industry? Much less from WRESTLING?!?!? Here are my thoughts on how search can benefit from a few wrestling pointers. (skip to "Search Marketing Smackdown" by Matt Williams)

Snap Interview: a Search Engine's Community Marketing Tactics Explained
I'm very excited to give you Tad Benson's community marketing strategy for Snap.com. I've leveraged an interview with Benson, the brilliance behind that blog contest I raved about a while back. Tad is, perhaps in the truest sense of the word, a search engine marketer. (skip to "Snap Interview: a Search Engine's Community Marketing Tactics Explained" by Garrett French)

Great Deal on ClickTracks Software This Week
Somehow this slipped past me, but since there are still a few days left in June, I figured it'd be a good idea to pass it on. Apparently, those folks over at ClickTracks drank a few too many margaritas at a summer picnic because they've dropped the price on their Analyzer and Optimizer software for the month of June. Until Friday, the price on Analyzer is just $299 (usually $495) and Optimizer is just $799 (instead of $1195.)

AdSense Testing Images Within Ad Units
Jennifer Slegg reports that the AdSense team is beta testing a new feature called "Vertical Images." Basically, the generic image takes the place of an ad space within an AdSense ad unit. The images are links and lead to a page with more ads related to the topic of the ad unit. An example? Jennifer includes a screen shot of a set of ads for florists and wedding flowers that is headed by a photo of a rose. The image ads are currently running at the top of skyscraper ads and the beta test is available to international publishers as well as to U.S. publishers.

Google Analytics Integrates with AdWords
Andy Beal over at Marketing Pilgrim is reporting that Google Analytics is now offering up two new reports that closely integrate with Google AdWords to provide more details for advertisers. The new reports include an "AdWords Analysis" report that displays the return on investment for AdGroups and keywords and the "AdWords Keyword Positions" report which is designed to help advertisers decide which ad position gives them the highest return on investment.

Spotlight on Search - Interview with Daron Babin of WebmasterRadio.FM
There are many success stories on the web and one of the most interesting is WebmasterRadio.FM. The brainchild of Old, Old School SEO Daron Babin and his partner Brandy Shapiro, WebmasterRadio.FM has become the “go to” resource for live streaming radio and podcasts on all things related to search and interactive marketing. (skip to "Spotlight on Search - Interview with Daron Babin of WebmasterRadio.FM" by Lee Odden)

Technology Judging Technology – Website Design Not Ready for Primetime
Online competition has increased dramatically year after year. Today there are more websites doing business in every commercial sector than there were yesterday. Though the search engines are better able to sort information and rank relevant sites against keyword queries, achieving search engine placements for smaller sites has gotten more difficult as the environment evolves. (skip to "Technology Judging Technology – Website Design Not Ready for Primetime" by Jim Hedger)

How to Avoid a Bad Client and How Not to Be One...
Clients that want everything done as "cheaply" as possible will push and push to get you to cut corners. A good search marketer will always turn up more in ultimate profits than it cost to hire them, so for forward thinking businesses, the issue shouldn't be about keeping prices down, it should be about your track record of ROI and what your plan of action is to maximize it. (skip to "How to Avoid a Bad Client and How Not to Be One..." by Jennifer Laycock)

New Yahoo! Search Marketing Center on the Way
Not to be outdone by Google's addition of dayparting or Microsoft's launching of an impressive suite of keyword research tools, Yahoo! has announced that some massive changes to its own advertising center are just around the corner. An email announcing the updates made note that Yahoo! had "met with advertisers of all sizes to hear first-hand the things they liked and didn't like about Sponsored Search." Based on their feedback, Yahoo! has said it plans to launch "the new Sponsored Search" later this year.

How to Lead with your Online Marketing Campaign
There is nothing wrong with a desire to be everywhere your competitors are, but don't let this form the only basis for your optimization campaign. From a competitive standpoint, it's always good to know what your competitors are doing, who they are targeting, and what areas they are venturing into. A failure to know this is poor business strategy and planning. (skip to "How to Lead with your Online Marketing Campaign " by Stoney deGeyter)

Is Yahoo Under the Influence of TrustRank?
The further out a web site is within the linking structure, the lower the TrustRank they would receive. Basically, according to Yahoo's proposed mechanism, the link structure of reputable web sites can be used to discover other pages that are likely to be reputable sites. (skip to "Is Yahoo Under the Influence of TrustRank?" by Kim Roach)

More on Microsoft's AdLabs
Last week I blogged about the introduction of some new features to Microsoft's AdLabs site. Over the weekend, I received an email that went into far more detail about what the new offerings are and how they might benefit keyword advertisers. Some of the new options, including the "Search Funnels" present access to some pretty darn useful information. Others, like the "Keyword Mutation Detection" are simply fancy new names for old hat techniques like searching out common misspellings.

Keyword Prices Are DOWN
Now here's news that you don't hear on too regular of a basis...MediaPost Publications reports that keyword prices were actually down in the first quarter of this year. DouleClick's "cost-per-keyword" rate is figured by factoring the average cost-per-click with the overall volume of clicks to determine the average cost of purchasing a keyword over the course of a month. Not surprisingly, the cost-per-keyword rate reached a high of $59 during the peak of the holiday season in December, but has since dropped back down to $30 per click.

Spotlight on Search - Interview with David McInnis of PRWeb.
Undoubtedly one of the companies that has had a major impact on the convergence of public relations and search engine optimization is PRWeb. David McInnis and his talented team have created more innovations surrounding press release distribution than any other wire service. (skip to "Spotlight on Search - Interview with David McInnis of PRWeb." by Lee Odden)

Search Drives Ecommerce Online and Offline
According to industry research, most ecommerce sites are not optimized to rank well in the organic search results. Over 80 percent of the Internet Retailer Magazine's top 100 websites were found to lack the basic search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that would give them high rankings. (skip to "Search Drives Ecommerce Online and Offline" by Bruce Clay)

Eye Tracking Studies Are Good for More Than Just Search
One of the most useful studies to come out in the last few years is the eye tracking study released by the team over at Enquiro. Gord Hotchkiss has done an outstanding job of helping educate search marketers about how searchers interact with search results and what we need to do in order to get better performance from our campaigns. Today, Gord makes an outstanding blog post about eye tracking studies and web site design. While it may not seem like this post has anything to do with search...I'd ask that you think a little outside the box.

Ask.com Actively Censoring Some Search Phrases
Phillip Lenssen reports that Ask is now censoring the search results for some phrases. Search queries for words and phrases like "pedophile," "bestiality," "sex with children" and "child sex" turn up an empty results page with a notation that says "This query does not comply with the Ask.com Terms of Service." What's strange is that even some legitimate variations of these phrases turn up that result. I tried searching for "child sex laws" and "counseling for pedophile" and I still get the same TOS notice.

It's Not Just About Getting Them to the Page...
...it's about converting them once they're there. One of the most overlooked aspects of search engine advertising is the proper use of landing pages. That's why todays Search Insider article from Jon Ostler is a must-read for any small business owner that is either running, or thinking about running pay per click ads. Ostler does a great job of explaining not only the need for good landing pages, but also of going into some detail about what makes for a great landing page.

Free Seminar on Paid Search
I've always been a big fan of Andrew Goodman. He's one of the foremost experts on pay per click marketing in the world and he's got that great, yet wierd, Canadian sense of humor. He's apparently also decided that it's time to give some of that knowledge away, as evidenced by the fac that he's doing a free teleseminar next week with FreshBooks. The free seminar is next Thursday, June 29th at 1pm EST. You can register online.

Microsoft's AdLabs Will Provide More Search Related Data
MediaPost Publications reports that Microsoft is launching a new site that's aimed at helping search marketers and paid search advertisers find more information to help them fine tune their campaigns. While the initial launch of Microsoft's AdLab site will only feature data for about 10,000 phrases, the article reports that Microsoft plans to expand that to more than 10 million keywords within the next few months.

Heading to San Jose? Go in August!
While it's still a couple of months away, rising airline tickets and limited hotel space means that anyone planning on heading to the big Search Engine Strategies show in San Jose this August likely needs to get moving on travel arrangements. Of all the major American shows, San Jose tends to be one of the most entertaining, and it's certainly my top choice for those that can only attend one show a year. There's something to be said for enjoying a party at the Googleplex, or heading to a theme park entirely rented out by Yahoo! just for the search marketing crowd to get you in the mood to talk shop.

Set Your Google AdWords Time Zone Soon...
...otherwise...well, you won't be able to set it at all. I have no idea why, but for some reason, now that Google has decided to let advertisers set their time zone, they've also decided that you have to do it by July 30th and that you can never, ever change it again. All advertiser accounts are currently set to Pacific time by default. That's not normally a problem, but now that advertisers have the option of setting their ads to run during certain hours of the day, it will be a good idea to make sure that your account is synched up with your local so that you can feel confident you are setting it to run during the right hours. Google's Help Center offers up information on changing your time zone.

Will Search Learn To Share With Its Little Brother, Social Networks?
As Google continues to grab more of a market share in search with its three percentage point rise to 50 percent in April, its little brother social networks gains ground in overall online advertising impressions. Is this a significant milestone? (skip to "Will Search Learn To Share With Its Little Brother, Social Networks?" by BJ Cook)

Grand Slam SEO - Can My Site Rank Well on all Four Major Engines?
The differences between how each engine works appears to be causing a bit of confusion among webmasters and search marketers, especially regarding how to optimize well for all four at the same time. (skip to "Grand Slam SEO - Can My Site Rank Well on all Four Major Engines?" by Jim Hedger)

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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.)

Persuasion Architecture and the Art of Agreement for Website Success
Cre8asite Forums - "I'm not a marketer, but I do find online buyer behavior fascinating. The same thing with search behavior. What really gets me going is what happens after all the effort is put into getting someone to a website, and the action or inaction that occurs next."

Negative Info/Peronal Harm
Search Engine Watch Forums - "What to do when your personal or professional image is harmed by unfriendly search results? Share your reputation management tips here."

I Quit My Job to Work with AdSense
Search Engine Watch Forums - "As for quitting your job, making sure you have a backup plan is always good. What if you get suspended from AdSense? If your sites get banned in the search engines? Having a backup plan (plus reserve money to get you through the lean times) is always a smart thing to do."

Link Building for Local Businesses
Small Business Ideas Forum - "...this 'store' has suppliers which they promote products for. These suppliers have websites which often reference (or should) those that carry their products. Most companies don't get links from the most obvious places first, their peers and associates within their industry."

Local Search Question
Small Business Ideas Forum - "Our experience has been that people seem to treat local search like a phone book ... they look to see who is in the area, however they don't necessarily call from there. Often, we hear that they have done a local search to figure who's around, then do a 'regular' search and see who comes up. If we come up both in local and 'regular', it helps the conversion."

How to Make Sense of Keyword Research
Small Business Ideas Forum - "...too much false data these days frankly .... best to verify search popularity by setting up a test PPC campaign and monitoring..."

Google Testing Pay for Performance Ads
Small Business Ideas Forum - "What would happen if the largest online advertising network in the world decided to skip past issues like click fraud by integrating an affiliate style advertising program straight into their already popular network?"

SEO Training- Is It Worthwhile?
Cre8asite Forums - "Learn from the books and the tutorials and the forums. But test, and try things out, and look in other areas like usability and accessibility and web metrics/analytics and web standards. Get a good sense of how html works, and what problems things like java script or flash might cause."

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

Simple Revelations
"Tell us what was simplest and at the same time biggest revelation for you having to do with your computer and or the Internet."

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