Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Is the Holiday Season Truly Over?

Depending on your religion your holiday may not be over yet. Hanukkah, known as the Festival of Lights or Festival of Dedication, is an eight day Jewish holiday that starts in December or, sometimes, late November. As some of you may know Hanukkah is currently on Day 3 where they will be lighting the 4th candle (thanks to Jason Bass for the clarification). So why is this important to note for Search Marketing? Well because people are still shopping online. Christmas may be over, but the percentage of the people on earth who are observing Hanukkah may still be shopping online, trying to scramble some last minute or belated gifts together for their loved ones. I've noticed some purchases of holiday items recently for ornaments and gift related items. So someone is trying to get their gifts together still or they've already started shopping for 2006. Whoeve they may be, review your current keyword strategies for paid campaigns and refine them to align for the continued influx of holiday shoppers. Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Blingo.com - Win Prizes With Search

Come on it doesn't get any better than this, winning prizes just for using their search technology? Seems too easy huh? Well being that I'm in lovely San Diego and these guys are based out of Cali, I've got to support them out of geographic loyalty.
Here are some details from their site:
How does it work?

It's simple:

1. We pick a bunch of random winning times.

2. Search at the right time and you win, instantly. No registration required.

3. Then tell us where to send the prize.

Clicking search results or sponsored links does not increase your chances of winning, and you're limited to 10 qualifying searches per day. The best way to win on Blingo is just to use it whenever you want to search the web.

Check out Blingo here

Friday, December 02, 2005

Targeting Soccer Moms and Their Kids - Coupons

Soccer moms are about to have their world turned upside down and I'm not talking about their pineapple cake, we're talking mobile marketing! Not only will they continue to monitor their kid's cellphone usage, minutes, etc; now they have to deal with an onslaught of paperless coupons. Read about this below.


Bringing the cell phone into a multi-channel marketing strategy, communications technology company Twelve Horses and Mobile Technology Group have launched a service that lets retailers deliver mobile text coupons that can be redeemed in stores or online.

David LaPlante, CEO of Twelve Horses, said the coupon service is starting to be deployed in Europe and is under consideration in the U.S. by two apparel retailers and one music merchant. “The technology has definitely hit a nerve,” he tells InternetRetailer.com.

LaPlante adds that the cell phone-delivered coupons – which appear as alpha-numeric text messages that can be entered onto a retail web site, spoken into a voice-recognition system, or simply shown to a store retailer – are expected to be particularly popular with young people accustomed to text-messaging. “These teens and tweens don’t necessarily have a desktop computer to receive e-mailed coupons, but they use cell phones and they can show mom and dad how to use text message coupons,” he says.

Retailers as well as other marketers are expected to deploy the cell phone coupon service as part of broader marketing strategies that include e-mail marketing and other forms of advertising, LaPlante says.

He adds that the cell phone coupons are intended for consumers who opt-in to receiving them after shopping at merchant. “The mobile communications market won’t make the mistake of e-mail and telemarketing with non-permission marketing tactics,” he says.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Going Postal At DMOZ

Okay so I've come across this thread at HighRankings.com and a business owner was wondering why his site's TITLE tag was reading incorrectly in the Google SERPs'. Quickly it was noted that his TITLE was being generated via DMOZ, where he proceeded to head to contact them about revising his outdated description and TITLE. He then stated "I have had trouble with them before; their answers are not always polite."

Why is that? We all deal with DMOZ editors on a weekly basis trying to update old listings and add new ones. Maybe it's time that DMOZ gave its volunteers a day at the spa to relieve some of their cranky moods. Another thing, you're a volunteer, if you don't like dealing with annoying people wondering when their site listing is going to appear, don't volunteer. It's as simple as that. DMOZ is a service industry essentially, you'd like to be received with a smile when taking the time to add your site to their directory, not reminded how in RULE#401 it states the proper way to format a question to them. I think some of the people over at DMOZ are on the verge of going postal at times ...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Podcasting with Yahoo

I was doing a search for "podcasting" in Google and found this:
http://podcasts.yahoo.com/

Monday, October 31, 2005

Are You Scary Smart? Happy Halloween!

Top of your class? An innovator in your field? Wicked good at what you do?

If so, maybe we should talk. Right now Google is looking for the brightest minds in sales management. One of our corporate goals is to create an almost spookily entrepreneurial environment, and if you'd like to be a part of that, we'd love to hear from you...Read more here

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Free Basing With Google?

Google Base To Rival Craigslist and Ebay? It may seem like that looking at these images pulled from base.google.com before they were taken down. Could Google be allowing free web hosting for consumers looking to upload content via their site? What sort of implications will this have on search?


Well, Google gains more of the search market share...yet again! I"m seeing sites already with 60-65% of their traffic referred from Google. The industry data is reporting 45%. Just when you thought the only new update would be MSN's ad center launch, Google surprises us yet again. Maybe not though, maybe it was inevitable.


Keyword Pricing Increases in 2005

Keyword prices have escalated on the past years as reported by Fathom Online's Gregg Stewart, senior VP-channel management and marketing. The most inherent increases came in the hospitality, retail and travel verticals.
So this may seem very obvious to you of course, yes more marketerd are using search as branding tactic so the demand is going to increase, hence so is the cost. They mention "conversion optimization" though in the article in regards to creating specific landing pages where someone clicks through and finds exactly what they are looking for...make sense? Of course it does, you don't want to search for tours to Italy and end up in Budapest do you? You definitely do not want to be searching for good restaurants to eat at in downtown San Diego and then end up at some hole in the wall, health hazard.
If you are going to dabble in the world of keyword purchasing make sure you are showing your potential customers what they want to see. Make sure you are measuring everything as well. If the demand keeps going up so will the cost and you need your budget to be flexible.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Google And Myspace: Telling Us What We Need

If you're 18-35 and you want to travel the world, you book with Contiki Tours and if you are looking to meet new people online, well, you go to Myspace.



The evergrowing sector of online networking and dating has shifted from sites like Match.com, Yahoo Personals and Meetup to Myspace. It's free, you can post pictures, bios, comments and even hook up with new people. Yes it's a stage 2 to Hot or Not with the ability to "browse." That's right, no more going to bars and staring across the room because now you can do it from the privacy of your own home. And now the authority on search, Google is being used as a tool for entertainment. Just see for yourself below. This is taken right from the source.

Myspace and Google, aw, what a couple!

Subject: what I need according to google
Here is what you do: Go to google.com and type "(your name) needs" Then pick the 5 funniest ones there.

If your name is James, you would put this in to the search engine with quotation marks as: "James needs"

you got the idea

Then copy and paste this into a new bulletin with your answers filled in

****************************************************
1. Melanie needs to become more tolerant, especially of emotions
2. Melanie needs to become somewhat flexible and leave some of the pig headedness.
3. Melanie needs to be restrained.
4. Melanie needs a hospital.
5. Melanie needs a mother care
(these were the 1st 5 I found. they aren’t very nice)

****************************************************

Of course I couldn't resist!!! So here are my own:

1. BJ needs to get real stoned Petition.
2. BJ needs to step up and fight top talent to even remotely be considered the #1.
3. BJ needs to feed Scooter.
4. BJ needs money to put a downpayment on property in Stinson Beach, CA.
5. BJ needs to start begging mom to let him drive to the show.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

RegisterLocal - Centralizing Local Core Business Data

Justin Sanger over at LocalLaunch has done it again, or at least is doing it again with RegisterLocal



Managing your client's local search programs has become very cumbersome. Registering through Google Local, forwarding the PIN number on, managing geo-targeted ppc campaigns in Adwords, Local Match, SuperPages and then on top of that; identifying negative reviews and correcting business meta information is a whole other beast. Well RegisterLocal is allowing SME's the opportunity to blanket each of these local properties in one easy to use process.

Excerpt from the RegisterLocal web site:
"RegisterLocal makes it easy for franchise corporations, national companies with local presence, and other businesses with multiple locations to easily and effectively submit core business information to the leading local search providers. Whether your business has 10 locations or 10,000, RegisterLocal is your source for accurate business information distribution on the Internet."

I went through the entire process of setting up a business profile which until I got to the area where you added the categories, it was very smooth. The category section was a little daunting and almost too specific. If I were John Deli Owner, I am not going to find anything "deli" related in my search through categories. BUT, if I put "meat" into the search, I will find "Luncheon meat, poultry, manufacturing" or "delicatessans primarily retailing a range of grocery items and products" BINGO! We have a winner. The question is, "Is it too intelligent a process for your average SME?" They did a great job of identifying these categories and I would be interested in seeing how these categories were developed and what data they used in this process. Overall the service has great intentions and has taken Local Search and placed it into one integrated tool that will ultimately benefit the SME, while reducing the pains of days spent optimizing our online business data.

Also, when I got to the end, the cost was $1,000.00 not the $129.95/year...???

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mobile Blogging Meets The Eye

Mobile Sitemaps From Google

[excerpt]Search engines such as Google discover information about your site by employing software known as "spiders" to crawl the web. Once the spiders find a site, they follow links within the site to gather information about all the pages. The spiders periodically revisit sites to find new or changed content. Google Mobile Web Search crawls and indexes sites that have been specifically designed for mobile phones and devices. Google adds new sites to our mobile web index every time we crawl the mobile web. Users can search the mobile web on their mobile devices using Google Mobile Web Search.

Since Laundry Media has a mobile-enabled blog, I am going to create a mobile sitemap.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Red Cross: Hurricane Katrina

So this is a post to tell everyone to go to the Red Cross site and donate either your time or money to aid in this relief effort. I've got friends down there and I'm still trying to get in touch with them. I've also got a friend who just opened a restaurant 2 weeks ago and it's gone I hear. They are safe in Atlanta now, but this is a complete travesty.

Since this is not an official relief site, I am going to acknowledge some interesting search term research:

From Wordtracker: red cross, american red cross, red cross supplies are getting a ton of clicks. And "hurricance katrina" is receiving over 3,000 queries a day. It's good to see so many people using the internet as a tool to not only stay up-to-date on loved ones they may have, but for people I'm sure who are using search to get to sites to donate time or money. That's the American way and it really says a lot about this generation, wired and on-the-go.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

20-Something Marketing Forum

Jared Degnan runs this new podcast that I've been listening too. I wanted to share with everyone out there because I feel he has a good foundation for exploring the lives of people in their 20's working in marketing and trying to reach for those ideas that seem to be squandered by baby boomers. Check it out here.

I recently wrote to Jared and this is what he said:
"My ultimate goal with the podcast (and the blog to a lesser extent) is to create an entertaining medium to share experiences about being in marketing and in your 20's so its great to hear from people like you."

My response was:
I think one of the things to address in terms of your podcast is ambition because Fortune 100 & 500 companies are starting to see VP, Director positions filled by people in their late 20's because of their thought provoking innovation and ability to connect with the upcoming generation. I think they are finding that it is becoming difficult for the baby boomers to find targeted ways to communicate marketing initiatives to our generation because we are so wired and on the go all the time, whether it be on the train texting friends about the previous night, setting up our own industry specific podcasts, grocery shopping and going online through our mobile phone, the possibilities seem endless, but I believe the 20 somethings find ways to attribute marketing dollars to tactics that baby boomers wouldn't associate with initially.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005

What is it that we do? Google, Yahoo, MSN...?

Aside from everything that is going on in the industry right now from Geico beating Google out in the PR realm with their pseudo press release about winning the trademark infringement case to tons of reviews on Search Engine Strategies in San Jose to Yahoo Publisher's Network to the drama of Jason Calacanis's revenue from affiliate marketing, we are inundated with information from all outlets, whether it be media, co-workers, friends and family. But in the end, what is it that we do? You know when you meet someone new at a gathering or out at a bar and you get asked, "So what do you do for work? or So what do you do for a living?" The anticipation of just presenting your complicated role to them comes out as, "Hmm..." or "Well..." or my favorite is "Yeah, u know Google?" It starts off with I work at an interactive marketing firm, then gets broken down into department down to position with a brief "human meta description" of what I do on a daily basis, whether they have any idea or not what I am actually talking about. It's in the response though that reveals the layman's perception of who we are as an industry. "So you get sites ranked higher for keywords" or "Yeah you talk to Google with keywords" or "You work at Google?!"
I'm interested in hearing what sort of responses people get when replying to that questions, so either email me or comment here and I'll make sure they all get up.
thanks and enjoy your weekends!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Don't Spam a Search Marketer. They May Know More Than You.

Note to all design firms, IT consultants, offshore firms and work-from-home-moms - Please Stop Spamming Me! I receive an unprecedented amount of spam about "submitting my site to search engines." PEOPLE, this is not 1994, GoTo.com doesn't exist and Infoseek's daily refresh has died.



The following is an email sent to me from someone at a large mobile service provider in the UK, Germany and Ireland. I would add the link, but I'm sure their PR firm would send me a letter, waste time thinking of creative ways to counter this bad mention and possibly try to reduce my organic positioning for their company. It just goes to show the lack of information out there or should I say the expansion of ignorance to educate oneself on the foundations of SEO or search marketing. Enjoy the thread.

"Submitting your website in search engines may increase your online sales dramatically. If you invested time and money into your website, you simply MUST submit your website online otherwise it will be invisible virtually, which means efforts spent in vain. If you want people to know about your website and boost your revenues, the only way to do that is to make your site visible in places where people search for information, i.e. submit your website in multiple search engines.
Submit your website online and watch visitors stream to your e-business."

My Response To Them After Laughing Outloud:
Lesson #1 - Don't Spam People about Submitting their sites to search engines, you just discredited yourself.

Lesson #2
- Educate yourself about SEO.

Lesson #3 - Research who you are emailing. This is my side business and I am an SEO professional.

Lesson #4 - Optimize your own site!

thanks!

In conclusion, there are way more important studies and research I could be posting, but every now and then we receive something that shows us how important it is to educate those around us about search engine marketing.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Search: Show the Little Guys Some Love!

Murthy vs. the Goliaths: The Power of Search at Work


The following research comes straight from Search Insider written by good ole Gordo from Enquiro. He elaborates on the use of strategic search marketing campaigns and how little business owners can withstand the heat of the large corporations. Even beating them out in the online arena is a reality, but for how long? Read more below.

As part of a client project, I was using Hitwise to determine who the category leader was in law firms. Who was grabbing the biggest slice of the potential 100 million visitor-per-month pie? After sorting through record search sites like Intelius, people finders like US Search and directory sites like Lawyers.com, I started looking for those huge firms that you would expect to find on top. Here are the usual suspects:

Baker & McKenzie: 3,246 attorneys, 69 offices around the world
Jones Day: 1,822 Attorneys, 29 offices around the world
Skadden: 1,822 Attorneys, 22 offices around the world
Latham & Watkins: 1,627 Attorneys, 22 offices around the world

(The information on the firms comes from the Internet Legal Research Group and the firm's own sites.)

And the winner was....

The Law Office of Sheela Murthy.

Who?

Murthy.com is the official online home for a small immigration law firm based in Owings Mill, Md. There are just nine attorneys in an office that's probably smaller than the executive washroom at Baker and McKenzie. Yet, Ms. Murthy is kicking the big guys around the online block. And we're not talking a slight edge in traffic. According to Hitwise's market share report, Murthy.com captures 10 times the market share of these four huge firms combined.

I must admit, I was a little skeptical at first. So, I tried some quick checks on Alexa. Sure enough, the small firm from Owings Mill was decimating the big guys when it came to generating Internet traffic.

Frankly, I'm at a bit of a loss to explain this. The only explanation must be that the big guys don't really care. This is surprising, considering that well over a million people searched for some kind of lawyer on the Yahoo! network in May. And that's just on Yahoo! Google's numbers would easily double this. That's a minimum of 5 million potential clients up for grab every month, and the four largest firms in the United States haven't even optimized their title tags. You guessed it. Just the name of the firm shows in every case!

As search marketers, we often assume that the whole world knows about the power of search. Sometimes, it takes a blatant example like this to make us realize that a large part of the world is still waking up to the new reality of online marketing. And, as long as the giants are sleeping, there's still the opportunity for the Sheela Murthy's of the world to eat their lunch.

Come on, admit it: Aren't you going to be just a little bit sorry when those days are gone?



Gord Hotchkiss is the president of Enquiro, a search engine marketing firm. He loves to explore the strategic side of search and is a frequent speaker at Search Engine Strategies and Ad:Tech.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

PA Search Marketing Firm Credits PageRank to Web Sales...?

Does that green bar on your Google Toolbar affect your online sales? Yooter InterActive Marketing ( http://www.yooter.com ) has discovered several threads and blogs that have noted that people check the Pagerank of the company before purchasing a product from the website.

It appears that a growing number of individuals are taking a quick peek at the Pagerank of the website before purchasing from an ecommerce site. If the site has little or no Pagerank the potential customer moves on to another website that offers similar products.

*Okay now, maybe within the SEO industry people who understand the principles of PageRank may make a good assumption that PageRank could lead you to believe a site is worthy enough to purchase from, but from working at a marketing firm and having people around me wonder what those green pixels are and how do I get it, leads me to believe this isn't that newsworthy. If you are an SEO and you are using PageRank to make an assumption like this, then re-evaluate your industry knowledge because any spam site can leverage links and garner a high PageRank. Believe It Or Not?

Blogathon for Charity: SEO Specialist, Blogger and China Consultant Lonnie B. Hodge will Blog for 24 Straight Hours

Blogger News Network's Lonnie B. Hodge will update posts on his China blog www.onemanbandwidth.com every thirty minutes and field questions relating to SEO, China, Literature and more. Site to offer free ads to corporate donors.
*What a great idea!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Mobile N SYNC & Yahoo Team Up!

Mobile Search and PPC ADvertising seemed to be the perfect combination for the 2006 marketing platter.

This dish will entice those R&D budgets and those who continue to look to other avenues in order to expand their already well integrated strategies. Marketing to people on-the-go? Are you kidding me? Sounds almost too perfect, "Hey I'm in San Diego, CA today and I happen to be 3 blocks from where Urban Outfitters is doing their Summer Sale. they already have my cell phone number from registering through their new cool mobile site, they should just text me with a special promo code or note in my account that I opened their message and give me 15% my order if I go into the store in the next hour." (If you're from Urban Outfitters and you are reading this and haven't thought about this, maybe you shoudl hire a new marketing strategist.)
It's old news, but Yahoo has acquired software start-up VerdiSoft and founder-entrepreneur Marco Boerries, the brains behind Sun Microsystems' StarOffice. How old is the news? Yahoo completed the deal in February, but purposely kept it under wraps until today, when Boerries' name surfaced in connection to a new Motorola alliance. Read more about this here

Mobile is set to be the fastest growing media platform over the next five years, according to a new report by Informa Telecoms & Media, reports NetImperative. The global market for mobile entertainment is expected to reach $42.8 billion by 2010, nearly tripling from the current $15.8 billion.

Global revenues from mobile games are predicted to rise from $2.6 billion this year to $11 billion by the end of the decade, overtaking the music and adult-content categories. The number of mobile phones is set to climb from 1.8 billion to 3 billion.

Are you beefing up your 2006 Search Marketing Campaigns to include mobile search? I bet you are now!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Local Search to Release Headache Reliever

The following post from ClickZ goes into detail about people in the US who are moving and describes what they are searching for in this newly developing buying cycle. I guess searching for maps is a good idea especially for those cross country moves or how about a "Guide to Bee Stings" or "How to Deal With Out-Of-State Drivers?"
Moving Stressful? ... Nah... Get educated below.

New movers are increasingly turning to local search to get information about their new towns, according to a study conducted by Harris Interactive for Yahoo!

One in every four U.S. adults have moved within the last three years, and 60 percent of new movers said the experience was stressful.

However, 91 percent of new movers – a group coveted by marketers because moving always triggers a slew of new purchases – found that using the Internet for local searches was helpful in reducing their stress.

The top four stress-reducing features of using the Internet for local search cited by new movers was comprehensiveness (58 percent), speed and convenience (51 percent), accuracy (41 percent) and dependability (28 percent), according to the study.

Seventy nine percent of new movers searched for local maps and directions within a month of moving, making it the primary search activity by new movers. Sixty four percent looked for movie theaters, bars and nightclubs, making entertainment the secondary local search activity for new movers; and 56 percent looked for restaurants, making that activity third.

Other popular search categories for new movers in descending order from most popular are doctors and dentists, supermarkets, home and garden stores, churches, drugstores, hardware stores, gyms and dry cleaners.

The results are based on a survey of 2,604 U.S. adults who have relocated within the past year, according to Harris Interactive.

*So what is the deal with the extra 4 people, why are survey numbers never round, like 2600 people? So go back and re-evaluate your PPC campaigns and see if you are targeting the right markets for your product.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Potential End to Laundry Media Blog?

So I haven't blogged in forever now after getting nominated under the Marketing Sherpa Best of Blogs 2005. Without disclosing anything, my blog may be getting moved under my current company where I've been promoted recently. I am very aware that there are many readers of this blog and I will still be maintaining one with all of the same data and whimsical posts, but it will be under my current employer's domain. Check back for updates as this may happen sooner than later.



For anyone interested here is a recent note from the Google Adwords Team:
Google AdWords™ Announcement
Keyword Evaluation Changes
Hello from the Google AdWords Team:

You asked, and we listened. In the coming weeks, we'll simplify our keyword status system and introduce quality-based minimum bids, giving you more control to run on keywords that you find important. We believe these changes will result in higher quality ads.

What's changing

Simplified account management: Your keywords will be active or inactive — instead of normal, in trial, on hold, and disabled. In addition, accounts will no longer be slowed. Currently, accounts are slowed when they don't meet our performance requirements and your ads appear rarely for your keywords.


Quality-based minimum bids: Soon, each keyword will be assigned a minimum bid based on its Quality Score. Keywords with a higher Quality Score will be given lower minimum bids to stay active and trigger ads. Keywords with a lower Quality Score (including those that are currently on hold) will have the opportunity to run if your keyword or Ad Group's maximum cost-per-click (CPC) meets the minimum bid.


The Quality Score is determined by your keyword's clickthrough rate (CTR), relevance of your ad text, historical keyword performance, and other relevancy factors.


Ad Rank, or the position of your ad, will continue to be based on the maximum CPC and quality (now called the Quality Score).
What you should do

Here are some suggestions for what you should do before and after we implement the changes described above:

Before implementation: If you're happy with your current keyword list, there's no need to make any changes. However, if you have any on hold keywords that you don't want to trigger ads, we suggest you delete them from your account. This is because any keywords with a high enough Quality Score and maximum CPC could be activated and accrue ad clicks. You can use our Find and Edit Keywords tool, available in your account's Tools page, to quickly search for and delete any keywords in your account.

After implementation: We'll email you after we implement these changes. You should then log in to your account and monitor your keyword performance under these new guidelines. Any disabled keywords at the time of implementation will remain labeled as disabled in your account. Several weeks later, we'll delete them. This period of time is meant to give you an opportunity to review your disabled keywords and activate them.

Finally, to ensure your ads are optimized for performance, we suggest you continue to improve your keywords and ad text for relevancy. Here are some resources that will help:

How to create a targeted keyword list.
Optimization Tips page.
For more information, please visit our Performance Changes page.

Sincerely,
The Google AdWords Team

Monday, June 20, 2005

Competing Metrics: PR Impressions vs. Online Clicks

So I started a recent post about competing metrics in the form of PR impressions reported by generic demographics of a TV show spot/mention and it's relationship to targeted online clicks. Though online clicks may not be in the billions, there is one significant difference...Online Clicks are targeted when it comes to search engine marketing campaigns. To say that PR impressions are bloated would be too PC at the present with search growing to a $6B industry in 2006. This thread offers some feedback into the very nature of what is important when comparing apples to oranges...

From Robert Charlton:
"Click-throughs and conversions, of course, are the name of the game... though there's also that intangible called branding. It's been argued that the kind of result, paid, organic, or a combination of the two, influences the branding effect. These things are very hard to measure, and just looking at raw impression numbers, with no weight being given to them, can be extremely misleading. But you could make a strong argument that search impressions are more likely to be effective than the PR impressions you're competing with."

Continue the post here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

MarketingSherpa Blog Awards Are Posted!


Though I wasn't a winner in the Search Marketing category it was awesome to be on the same playing field as all of these upper crust blogs that I pull from and reference on a daily basis. Maybe with a little advertising, I could even do this full-time...?


Congrats to all the winners, everyone deserves it and SERoundtable rocks! Thanks to everyone who nominated me.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Advertising Haiku for You from Google


The ad pods include either four or five such entries and comprise either a small rectangle of about 120 by 90 pixels or simply one long line of text.




Google released a new, smaller form of AdSense text ads (via SearchEngineLowdown) in a variety of vertical and horizontal sizes. The ads display just one short title for each ad, often consisting of only one word each, which may put further strains on the copywriting skill requirements that have already reached haiku-level difficulty.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Internet advertising totaled over $2.8 billion for the first quarter of 2005


“While the online audience gets bigger and broader, the TV audience continues to fragment, even as the cost of advertising spots rises,” notes Tom Hyland, Partner and New Media Group Chair, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Add the growth of broadband in the home, which enables advertisers a platform to deliver rich media, and brand advertisers have a new mass audience to target. The economics are too compelling for marketers to ignore.” Excerpt from the IAB.

As rising costs of advertising...exactly; place your dollars in search, the revenue-generating all-star in your marketing mix. When it comes to speaking of reaching various audiences at all points of the day, no matter what phase of the buying cycle they are in, search is the most cost-effective. Hands down.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

As Blogging Goes Corporate, So Does Your College Roommate


Blogging is becoming quite the tactic in every marketer's toolset. Reaching out to the masses with a personalized message is becoming the most travelled route to getting their attention.


The Wall Street Journal reports that blogging, once seen as a subversive voice of the unwashed masses, has gone corporate. Danone’s Stonyfield Farm Yogurt, Microsoft and many other companies are now paying people to write blogs for marketing, recruiting and other purposes. According to the Journal, about 4 percent of major American corporations have blogs that are available to the public. The story also reports that online job sites such as Dice.com and Monster are posting more ads for corporate bloggers.

So if you're in school still, it might be a good idea not to skip those writing courses at 7am. Blogging has become a corporate position and it may be useful to those wondering what they are doing at the end of May. There are multiple sites that allow you to setup free blogs:

AOL Journal
Blogger
Blog Easy
Blog City
Journal Space
Mod Blog
MSN Spaces
tBlog


6% of the entire U.S. adult population (internet users and non-users alike) have created blogs. That’s one out of every 20 people.
New data on blogs and blogging from PEW

Thursday, May 26, 2005

2005 MarketingSherpa Readers' Choice Awards


All Blogs were nominated by our readers and qualified by the rules (must have been written regularly since Jan 2, 2005; must be on the topic of marketing, PR, or ads). Voting ends Wednesday, June 8th, 2005.



I just wanted to thank everyone who has been reading my rants and posts. It has been totally worth the experience updating this frequently and keeping abreast of all the search engine marketing news and developments in 2005. So below is the link to vote if you haven't yet. Keep on reading and coming back because there is a ton happening in the search engine world, as as most of you know "Bourbon" is the annual hurricane.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=333931095143


Thanks BJ!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My Yahoo Leads Personalized Web Pages Race


Roughly 26 million people visited My Yahoo in April, representing 22 percent of the 115 million visitors to Yahoo websites. Just under 10 million people visited My MSN during the same month, representing 10 percent of MSN's overall visitors.

Source: Comscore Networks

Where do Consumers Begin Shopping Searches?


Shopping Searches Begin with Search Engines

Image shown from Yahoo Search Marketing

Mobile Marketing Association Releases Best Practices


MARKETERS SHOULD CLEARLY COMMUNICATE TO consumers how to opt-in or out of receiving mobile messages--and the costs of receiving alerts, ads, or subscription services, according to a set of best practices guidelines released Tuesday by the Mobile Marketing Association. For premium services, which require the user to pay an extra fee in addition to their standard SMS rates, the guidelines require the marketer to state the price, and ask users if they are sure they want the services. The guidelines also touch on unsolicited messages, saying that approval from the subscriber must be explicitly obtained, and approval must be given for each specific program--information promoting other programs cannot be sent because a customer opted-in for a different program. --Shankar Gupta

Links

www.bluetooth.org  Bluetooth SIG (Relevant given that Bluetooth is increasingly used within mobile gaming/entertainment)
www.w3c.org  World Wide Web Consortium - has direct control of the XHTML standard upon which WAP is based. W3C also controls the SMIL standard which is a key component for MMS

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Online Ad Budgets Stolen from Traditional


According to a new five-year forecast from Forrester Research, online marketing and advertising will represent 8 percent of total advertising spending in 2010, rivaling ad spending on cable/satellite TV and radio. In addition, almost half of marketers plan to decrease spending in traditional advertising channels like magazines, direct mail, and newspapers to fund an increase in online ad spending in 2005.



Forrester Research Principal Analyst, Charlene Li, says "When at-work Internet use is taken into consideration, online consumers spend more than one-third of their time online, roughly the same amount of time they spend watching TV. Yet marketers spend only 4 percent of ad budgets online versus 25 percent on TV."

Key data points from the report, including data from an online survey of 99 leading marketers and four forecasts, show that:


Total US online advertising and marketing spending will reach $14.7 billion in 2005, a 23 percent increase over 2004.

Search engine marketing will grow by 33 percent in 2005, reaching $11.6 billion by 2010.

Display advertising, including traditional banners and sponsorships, will grow at the average rate of 11% a year to $8 billion by 2010.

64% of respondents are interested in advertising on blogs, 57% through RSS, and 52% on mobile devices, including phones and PDAs.

78% of survey respondents said that they think search engine marketing will be more effective over the next three years.

53% of respondents said TV advertising would become less effective over the next three years.

Only 8% of respondents believe that product placement will become less effective over the next three years.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Urchin Web Analytics Software Price Just Got Affordable


GOOGLE TUESDAY CUT THE PRICE of Urchin, its recently acquired analytics tool, to $199 per month--a drop of about 60 percent from the original $495 per month fee.

Urchin, which the search giant acquired in March, produces analytics software that allows companies to track Web users online and determine what keywords or links brought users to their sites. The analytics tool, dubbed "Urchin On Demand," also offers information such as geo-targeting reports, analyses of users' progression through a site, and e-commerce reports.

Monday, May 02, 2005

A Guide to Natural Linking Structure


Okay so I haven't posted in awhile, but travelling a lot now for all of the AVP events throughout the country is taking a toll on my blogging. Here is a brief article featuring some tips and tactics from Marketing Sherpa and Eric Ward, the linking building guru.


OVERALL KEYPOINT :: Search engines are looking for a natural linking structure!



Search engines factor links into ranking sites, so they look not only at the number of links, but also the quality of links, to help decide if they are a fair assessment of a site's quality.


Mistake #1. Links on pages search engines don't see


For example, search spiders often can't see pages such as:
*Password protected or registration-required pages.
*Dynamically generated pages (often featuring long URLs including characters such as ?).
*Pages buried so deep within a site that the URL again is very long (more than 60 characters) and/or contains a lot of forward slashes indicating levels of depth.

Mistake #2. Planting links on link farms
Avoid at all costs, will not benefit you

Mistake #3. Loading up with reciprocal links
There's nothing wrong with reciprocating links, if the site linking to you is appropriate for your content. But the search engines may not take much notice.

Mistake #4. Buying links
Search engines will generally disregard paid links. But it is a good tactic for placing links on sites that will refer qualified visitors like business directories, vertical directories, blogs, resource portals, etc.

Mistake #5. Emailing form letters
These letters expressing, "I've visited your site and would like to exchange links… " Personalize all link requests, explain the benefit of linking back to you.

Three tactics that work for gaining link popularity


Tactic #1. Make the most of your current links. You want to make sure they all include text in the link, not just a graphic. The anchor text (clickable link text) should include potential keywords that people might search for in finding your site and support your SEO efforts.
First take an inventory of every link you have coming in from:
*Customers
*Resellers
*Trade association and online magazine directories
*Divisions and related sites your organization owns
*Vendors boasting that you're a client
*Staffers' blogs
*White papers posted on 3rd party site

Tactic #2. Get listed on Hub sites
Links from hub or authority sites -- sites that exist in order to help browsers find information on a particular topic -- are given credence by the search engines. You can also find these sources by typing in a search term + links, addURL, links.html, etc. Also, check out Teoma.com. When you type in your keywords, you'll see a section on the right titled "Resources: link collections from experts and enthusiasts". Sites requiring reciprocal links are not hubs.

Tactic #3. Approach niche sites individually
Rather than sending a form email letter requesting a link, review each site carefully to figure out who might be in charge of links and how you can appeal to them. How do you find them? Again, search popular search engines to find out what sites come up for your desired keywords. Detailed, multi-word keywords are the best. Plus check out who links to your competitors by again using search engines in conjunction with directory sites such as Alexa.com and Feedster.com.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Viral Marketing Case Study


The guys over at Fluxx are up to it again. Look at this data on how posting a little topic in a forum can increase traffic to your site and even relevant traffic if you choose a topic specific to your business.



Fluxx chose the AVP Fan Forum to post a new topic describing its new web site and new clothing line as well as its new volleyball blog.

Here is the immediate data the provided to us:

Date Unique Visits Hits File Size
18 Apr 2005 57 194 744 5.36 MB
19 Apr 2005 63 241 1497 11.41 MB

In one day they were able to double their traffic and from a relevant, pre-qualified source. It doesn't take much to set this kind of tactic up, but viral marketing can prove to be very useful for branding and potential sales if you are setup for online commerce.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Goodbye Overture, Hello Yahoo! Search Marketing


ClickZ, April 18, 2005
The move was announced March 1 at Search Engine Strategies in New York. During his keynote speech, Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang said the move was designed to present users with a more unified view of Yahoo! Search. The rebranding includes several product name changes, and a new advertiser center at searchmarketing.yahoo.com where all Yahoo!'s sponsored search offerings and listings submit products have been brought together.

Read more about the Yahoo! Search Marketing News

The only thing I noticed was that is seemed a little more sleek and they were advertising their Product Submit to me under my account info. I liked logging into Overture better, now they added a dropdown to select "their" product. Add more clicks, isn't a usability faux-pas?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Podscasting Case Study Larger than Life


eMarketer cites and questions a new report, "Podcasting Catches On," by Pew, estimating that more than six million American adults - 29 percent of the 22 million U.S. adults who own MP3 players - have listened to a podcast.



Pew admits the numbers are probably overblown, due to a "broad" survey question. But the potential audience is upscale, which should help attract advertisers.


Some 18 percent of households with annual income of more than $75,000 have MP3 or iPod devices.


If you are unsure exactly what a podcast is, InformationWeek defines it as "an audio file that has been published or syndicated online as an RSS feed. It may be music, a radio-style talk show, or other audio content." The term "podcasting" emerged last year, and it is a portmanteau combing the words "iPod" and "broadcasting." Anyone who subscribes to a podcast feed can download the file and transfer it to an iPod or another digital audio device for playback.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Laundry Media is up for Sale


I got an email from someone at a larger search engine company asking if I was interested in selling my search engine marketing firm...hmm, why not?


Details to be published later today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Great Line from Nick Robalik from Digital Soapbox

"You should know better - what a horrible way to look at
yourself! "What's my ROI?" People are NOT an investment - ESPECIALLY
Designers - in the sense that you're speaking of.

Let me put it this way: people aren't investments. We're
assets, and we can go where we'll be appreciated, as opposed to used."


Now with niche markets taking over, people need to realize where they stand in relation to their skillset and their confidence.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Urchin Web Analytics Acquired By Google



I'd like to address the following alert I just received

Just An Online Minute for Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Urchin Web Analytics increasingly irrelevant..? Are you kidding me? Just because a couple firms put out whitepapers highlighting cookie usage and deletion based on their own customers or a sample portion of the entire web community. "On a typical day at the end of 2004, some 70 million American adults logged onto the Internet to use email, get news, access government information, check out health and medical information, participate in auctions, book travel reservations, research their genealogy, gamble, seek out romantic partners, and engage in countless other activities." (Pew Internet) Web analytics tools are the radar detector on our online customers. Beep, Beep...shift marketing dollars into these keyword clusters, higher converions...Beep, Beep...need usability study of our online reservation process, customers dropping off at step 3. The irrelevancy should be highlighted when there is no one at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York city next year to present one of their great case studies on how they improved ROI and conversions for their Fortune 500 clients. Yet, I am hoping that something good comes of this acquisition in terms of reporting on Google's side. I'll always be a fan of Urchin web analytics tool.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Happy Easter or Happy Sunday Dinner!



Here is an interesting way to get inbound links, noted by an associate of mine.

Herbal Teas


They could really benefit from a usability study of their website and checkout process. Too many clicks and unless you know to click down the left secondary navigation, you might think they are out of all their stock.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mobile Marketing Potentials and the Data to Support It


In its inaugural Benchmark Report, M:Metrics reveals that the market for mobile content and applications, while still young, includes the mainstream of mobile subscribers and spans gender and age groups. 58 percent of mobile subscribers use their handsets for something other than making phone calls.



Results from this primary research include additional demographic information:

31 percent of female subscribers and 34 percent of male subscribers report having played a mobile game in the previous month.

Men are 60 percent more likely to download a game than women. Seamus McAteer, M:Metrics co-founder and chief product architect, said "…Too many of the titles available for sale are action/adventure and sports games-- genres that our data demonstrate are more likely to appeal to men."
The majority of ringtones were downloaded by subscribers age 13-24, and more than 62 percent of those consumers downloaded more than one ringtone in the previous month.
52 percent of subscribers age 25-34 sent or received text messages in the previous month, while 37 percent of those age 35-44 communicated via text.

68 percent of those age 18-24 sent and received text messages.
More than 60 percent of subscribers who took a picture with their camera phone also sent a photo message to another phone or email address in the previous month. The overall penetration of photo messaging is 7 percent.
13 percent of mobile subscribers reported accessing news and information via a mobile browser in the previous month. Marked gender difference characterized mobile browsing with 17 percent of men subscribers and 9 percent of women subscribers using their mobile phones.
57 percent of all browsers sought weather information; 41 percent accessed maps and directions, 44 percent sports scores, sports news and national news, and 40 percent movie and entertainment listings.

Everyday we are seeing the emergence of new technologies whether Blackberry's, PDA applications, Rich Media that reaches out and touches you and even large corporations offering mobile phone screensavers, background images, etc. How is mobile search going to affect search marketing in 2005? Is this the year, Johnny's Pizza Shop goes mobile and advertises based on the person's location, noted by a satellite? Who knows, but the possibilities are exciting and you need to be on top of what is hot and what is going to affect your business in the long run. Plan for these types of advancements by seeking out a consultant or just reading articles on the web. Stay tuned for some news on email marketing pains in 2005

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

So I guess I've been slacking a little bit, but this article will redeem me with my readers.

Top 14 Search Engine Marketing Mistakes Etailers Should Avoid


If you're not an etailer, these still can provide some insight into how your search engine marketing firm is servicing you or not.



Search Engine Marketing Article

Excerpt:
13. Giving SEO Precedence Over the User Experience - All too often, companies become so obsessed with garnering top natural search engine rankings that they end up converting their web site into something garish-looking, poorly navigatable or functional, and with no clear marketing message. The end result is that they may have great rankings but lousy sales - don't make this mistake!!


All too often this is the case and I've been getting requests for website reviews from businesses that have focused so much on their SEO that their site isn't usable. Just because someone can find the WaWa (East Coast reference), doesn't mean putting the price tags behind the merchandise is going to help. At least stop giving pickles for change.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Laundry Media: Mobile Search Web Site is Live


I setup our first mobile search accessible web site at

Laundry Media Mobile URL

Yahoo Introduces RSS to Mobile Internet


Yahoo will let consumers receive their personalized My Yahoo headlines, including RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Atom feeds, through its Yahoo Mobile Internet service, the company said. Yahoo becomes one of the first online services to introduce RSS on mobile devices as well as capitalize on the power of syndicated content. Yahoo users will be able to track the latest news from any Web site that offers a syndicated feed, ranging from traditional news sources to the plethora of blogs. The functionality is available on major wireless carriers, including Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint/Nextel and Cingular/AT&T. Carrier fees apply.

Search Engine Marketers take note...opportunities to arise.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

How Do I Put an RSS Feed on My Website


Search Engine Marketers: How Do I Put an RSS Feed on My Website



“RSS is the TiVo for the net”(I heard Nan Dawkins of Redboots Consulting reference this at SES in NYC, originated from...?)

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a lightweight XML format designed for sharing headlines and other Web content. RSS is a special internet tool that gets your content delivered directly to your recipients, without any spam filters to get in the way.

RSS Syntax

RSS defines an XML grammar (a set of HTML-like tags) for sharing news. Each RSS text file contains both static information about your site, plus dynamic information about your new stories, all surrounded by matching start and end tags.

Each story is defined by an tag, which contains a headline TITLE, URL, and DESCRIPTION. Here's an example:

...




RSS Resources
http://www.webreference.com/authoring/languages/xml/rss/
Defined in XML, the Rich Site Summary (RSS) format has
quietly become a dominant format for distributing headlines on the Web.
Our list of links gives you the tools, tips and tutorials you need to get
started using RSS. 0323





...
Resouce: How Do I Put an RSS Feed on My Website

Syndication Options

How does RSS syndication work? Say you publish a new web page about a particular topic. You want others interested in that topic to know about it. By listing the page as an "item" in your RSS file, you can have the page appear in front of those who read information using RSS readers or "news aggregators."

Publishing your RSS feed is just the beginning. RSS, a mini database containing headlines and descriptions of what's new on your site, is a natural for layering on additional services. In addition to displaying your news on other sites and headline readers, RSS data can flow into other products and services like PDA's, cell phones, email ticklers. and even voice updates. Email newsletters can easily be automated with RSS.


Tips For Implementing Your RSS Feeds

Tell user what RSS is, give them a link to download an RSS reader and place a link/button to your RSS feed. Turn PDFs’, emails into RSS, Podcast your RSS feeds too. RSS feeds can deliver blogs, articles, forums, schedules, discounts, specials and products.

Companies Already Using RSS Feeds, Increasing Business Success

• MarketingVOX is using RSS to deliver internet marketing news to their readers as it becomes available. Instead of having to wait to receive all the news in a single e-mail newsletter, RSS users get them as soon as they are ready.
• Amazon.com is using RSS to announce their bestsellers and to help their users keep track of releases they are most interested in.
• FindSavings.com uses RSS to deliver savings coupons and related information.
• Microsoft is about to launch a new version of the Internet Explorer in a few months, and it is believed the new version will include RSS support. Once that happens, the number of RSS users could more than triple in just a few days. And a few weeks after that almost "every" marketer and publisher will have his own RSS feed.
• eDiets.com is using RSS to deliver news for each of their sections featuring health, fitness, recipes, food, healthy kids, motivation and nutrition.

If this isn't part of your Search Engine Marketing tools then it should be. Even MSN is jumping on the RSS feed wagon
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1776122,00.asp

Microsoft to Sell Search Engine Advertising


Featured article on Bloomberg.com states: Microsoft Corp., which runs the No. 3 U.S. Internet search engine, plans to start a service where clients will pay to be listed alongside its MSN search results, people familiar with the plans said.



The service will be similar to competing programs from Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. Microsoft will announce a pilot program March 16


MSN has a contract to use Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo's paid search service through June 2006.



MSN no longer using Yahoo Search Marketing Solutions or Overture...breach of contract?

I guess that means I have another engine to manage advertising on for 40-50 clients. I wonder ho wlong it will take the ppc bid management software solutions to pick up the new MSN Paid Search Ads as their bundled partners?

Plenty of Room

Yahoo has known that Microsoft was working on a competing product. Chief Executive Officer Terry Semel said at an investor conference in Palm Beach, Florida, March 1 that Microsoft may start its own paid-search advertising business.

``My guess is that at some moment in time there will likely be three networks instead of two,'' Semel said. ``There's plenty of room for three players in search.''

MSN already sells some slots in its search results to companies that advertise elsewhere on its Web sites. The company pays Overture to auction off the right to be listed when a certain keyword is searched. MSN's new service will be similar.

MSN also will provide tools to advertisers to help them determine what search keywords to purchase and what type of ads are best for targeting their customers, one person said. The company wants to be able to sell a variety of different ads and services to customers, the person said.
At the bottom of all this MSN content, there is an ad for:
"Advertisement: Where will the US Dollar go? Special Report From Refcofx.com"

What does the US Dollar have to do with MSN search engine advertising? I think the connection is a bit far-fetched, give me something relevant, content-target me!

MSN Search Launches Viral Campaign Find MSN here

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

General Adspend up 10 Percent in 2004


9 Mar 2005

BtoB Online reports that TNS Media Intelligence released figures showing that marketers spent $141.1 billion in the U.S. in 2004, up 9.8 percent over the previous year. The internet grew the fastest, as is customary, it's growth rate reaching 21.4 percent. Outdoor advertising came a very close second, growing 20.1 percent, followed by syndication (up 15.8 percent) and cable (up 13.8 percent). Procter & Gamble and General Motors again topped the list of spending marketers, approaching $3 billion each. Time Warner came in a distant third, although its media properties typically book a great deal of barter between themselves, making that company's true expenditures harder to calculate.


If adspend is up, I would be interested in seeing what the channel breakdown was in terms of source; ppc, banner, etc.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

San Diego Search Marketer in Dallas, TX


Thankfully, I am in Dallad right now, waiting out for my flight back to San Diego. It's nice to be headed home after enduring the weather of New York City without a winter coat. If you saw someone wearing just a button down in the blistering winds of Manhattan, that was me. I should be updating my blog with some notes and articles about the conference. I will not be straight posting any information because of the coverage by SERoundtable. Here is a little excerpt from a document I am putting together:

All of the sessions seemed to have this theme of track everything and measure. Define your goals from the beginning, plan for the long term and test. If it's as simple as these three things then creating an online marketing strategy for your business should be just that, simple.
Yet there are a lot of nuances in each vertical within each business. Are you B2B, B2C or do you really know what your unique selling point is? One of the important things to remember when deciding on how to handle your overall searchmarketing budget is not to see each component as that, separate. Not only can you find data in your PPC campaigns to help refocus your organic seo efforts, but shifting dollars to support the method that is converting for you is the key. And doing it at the right time, whether seasonal or promotional. It's not a matter of spend a % of this on that and a % of that on this, but a cohesive set of tools to strengthen your search marketing strategy.
Lee Odden, from Top Rank, had these thoughts following the conference: Online Marketing Blog: SES NYC post mortem

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

So I've been missing out on posting on the daily nuances of the SES in NYC. I swear the wireless connection at the Hilton is horrible. I am paying $9.95 a day for a connection that haven't had until now...I will be super-posting my notes from the sessions I attended chock full of little comments of my own. There has really been this buzz of unintentional viral marketing going on in each session. Think about it, you develop a tool that is used by a marketer in the Search industry,if it's useful and they are using it; you can guarantee they are mentioning it in their Powerpoints or during the Q&A part of the sessions. There are so many levels of marketing and advertising going on, it's overwhelming. If you are a business owner contemplating jumping on the Search wagon, you should be here. The networking opportunities are endless as well as the insurmountable stack of business cards you will have acquired by the end of the day on thursday. I've been exchanging cards with so many business owners, analytics firms, other SEMs', independent link developers; needless to say my stack is growing. That stack could potentially include a strategic partner, client or just a lot of great contacts. There still is some power in print advertising or if you're really cool plastic advertising collateral. Tonight is the MSN party and if it is anything like the Yahoo party or better yet, Avenue A/Razorfish was very well done. I'm off to network and get a bite to eat and later tonight I will post session notes/feedback.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Search Engine Strategies in New York 2005


I landed in NYC today from San Diego, CA and I have to say, it is freezing here...35 degrees? Had some good times at the Hilton lounge talking about industry drama, global SEO and oh yeah, finally had a good slice from Ray's Pizza. Left at the Hilton, next left, on your left. Hmm? 3 lefts I guess.
I will be posting everynight with some interesting info from the sessions I attend.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Small Business Approach to Integrated Search Engine Marketing



So it seems someone likes my writing and level of intuition. This is my first article written for Search Engine Guide and I will be featuring articles every quarter on this site. Everything from integration of PR and Natural Search to PPC: Why are we spending so much on unqualified leads to SEM: What is it?



Oh yeah thanks to all of my writing professors and English teachers back at good old Haddon Township High School in Westmont, NJ. I guess those grammar test and vocabulary quizzes finally paid off.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

SMA-UK Has Been Born


So when are you coming to the USA


The Search Marketing Association ­ UK is to be officially formed!

We gave ourselves 6 months to achieve the necessary level of interest required to properly form a registered Trade Association and, thanks to the applicants, have reached our target within 4 months!

At a meeting of the Steering Committee held on 15th February it was decided that we should formally proceed with the formation of SMA-UK as an official body.

Now we are officially forming, all Steering Committee members are standing down and elections to the SMA-UK Committee have to take place from the membership. So, I’m delighted to say this is my last message to you as Acting President of the association!

If you haven’t joined yet but keep meaning to do it, please do so soon. Your vote (and participation) is important.

The timetable for elections is as follows:

Nominations for being on the committee must be in by March 31st, 2005. Members can nominate individuals they would like to see on the committee or, of course, nominate themselves.

By April 18th candidates and their biographies plus balloting details will be published online.

On May 2nd the ballot will be closed. The vote will be by single transferable vote administered by the Electoral Reform Society who will give the results by May 9th. At the same time as the 8 committee members are announced a further ballot paper for the positions of President and Vice-President will be published from those committee members willing to go forward for these positions. This vote will be completed by 20th May and will be on a “first past the post” voting system with the person with the most votes becoming President and the runner-up Vice President.

The results will be announced at the meeting we plan to have at Search Engine Strategies in London at the beginning of June.

Prior to that meeting we will be:

  • Ensuring the website has the latest developments published!
  • Officially registering our trade association with the relevant authorities.
  • Getting quotations for hiring a professional (part-time initially) Director General familiar with the administration of trade associations for the new Committee to consider.
  • Continue discussions (which have already commenced) with the British Standards Institute (BSI) on defining professional standards which will be internationally recognised, to be applied to our industry subject to membership approval. The BSI have already provisionally agreed to attend our first meeting to get feedback from members on how (and if) we should proceed with defining standards.
  • Start development of the SMA-UK website to include information for both members and non-members on search marketing related resources and statistics relevant to the UK search marketing community and those interested in using the medium of search marketing. We would like to form a sub-group to assist in content development and, if you would be interested, then please join SMA-UK and help the development.
  • Ammon is also working on developing training and we will be announcing further working groups in different areas on the SMA-UK website which you may find of some interest. Similarly, if you would like to see concentration in a specific areas (affiliate marketing and PPC are areas that spring to mind) then members are able to put these ideas forward.

At last, our Association is being formed. Over the past few months SMA organisations modelled on our UK format have started development in Europe, North America, Latin America, Japan and Australasia!

We hope that we can continue to lead the way in showing how a truly representative organisation can benefit its members and the buying public who are now considering search marketing as an ever more important media buy.

With that over, I can formally start bowing out as Acting President. I look forward to handing over to someone the members have chosen, democratically, and sitting comfortably at the back of the room ­ out of the 'hot seat'!

Kind regards
Barry Lloyd

Acting President
SMA-UK
www.sma-uk.org

To unsubscribe from for this mailing list go to http://www.sma-uk.org enter your email address and choose 'Remove'

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Top 10 Search Engines for 2004


According to Nielsen//NetRatings, here are the top 10 search destinations (US, home and work) 12 months later in December 2004:



Brand or Channel Unique Audience (000) Active Reach (%)
Google 67,123 44.85
Yahoo! Search 47,917 32.02
MSN Search 37,684 25.18
AOL Search 25,447 17.00
Ask Jeeves 11,674 7.80
Information.com 11,513 7.69
Overture 5,726 3.83
Netscape Search 4,587 3.06
InfoSpace Web Search 4,280 2.86
Microsoft Search 4,273 2.86

If Yahoo News and Google News were classified as search destinations, a list of the top 10 search engines in December 2004 would have looked like this:

Brand or Channel Unique Audience (000) Active Reach (%)
Google 67,123 44.85
Yahoo! Search 47,917 32.02
MSN Search 37,684 25.18
AOL Search 25,447 17.00
Yahoo News 21,337 14.26
Ask Jeeves 11,674 7.80
Information.com 11,513 7.69
Google News 6,431 4.30
Overture 5,726 3.83
Netscape Search 4,587 3.06

Monday, February 14, 2005

Popular Valentine's Day Searches


According to The Lycos 50, Valentine's Day searches increased 172 percent last week. Pay particular attention to No. 9. It looks like gifts for him made the list, but gifts for her did not.



Top Valentine's Day Searches

  • 1. Valentine's Day animated e-cards

  • 2. Valentine Lingerie

  • 3. V-Day Clip art

  • 4. Valentine's Day Flowers

  • 5. Valentine Star

  • 6. Valentine Chocolate

  • 7. Valentine Day Gift Basket

  • 8. Valentine's Day Wear

  • 9. Valentine gifts for him

  • 10. Valentine's Day Greetings

Friday, February 04, 2005

Online Advertising and Internet Marketing for under $100


Is setting up a profitable means of advertising possible for $100 or under? In the following post, we'll tell you hos to do it and succeed on your shoe-string marketing budget. And a great way to do it is to start right here, at our advertising-marketing targeted blog.



Useful Budget Online Marketing Methods and Strategies

  • PrWeb allows you to setup, optimize and distribute your very own custom press releases for a nominal $80. This allows you to be a "featured release" as well as have your release distributed to various media outlets like eMediaWire, Yahoo News, Google News and any site that may subscribe to PrWeb's RSS feeds.

  • Blog Marketing: You can either buy media placement on a topic specific blog that relates to your business or setup your own blog, creating a network for potential leads. Just don't buy ads on blogs about pink flowers if you are selling pipe-fitting supplies. Relevancy?

  • Monthly Newsletters

  • Viral Marketing

  • White Papers

  • Sweepstakes and Contests

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Fathom Online: Search Engine Marketing Data Analysis, Keyword Prices



For example, he notes that keyword costs in the mortgage financing category have been building steadily since Fathom launched the index in September, rising 56 percent from $3.17 in September 2004 to $4.93 in January. McMahon says it is more than coincidence that this corresponds to news speculating that mortgage financing rates will soon spike.

"We are watching the 30-year fixed rate very closely," he says. "The implicit assumption is that if people are going to refinance, they're going to do it now, and that's why marketers are bidding up and up and up on mortgage keywords. We do know that external factors affect search conversion rates, which then in turn affect the costs people will pay for keywords."

McMahon says that after five months it's still too soon to determine whether there are normal cyclical or seasonal patterns to keyword demand, but speculates that the industry will likely see some spikes in some categories around key holidays coming up, including Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.

Fathom Online Keyword Price Index (KPI)




09/04 10/04 11/04 12/04 01/05
Automotive $1.54 $1.39 $1.35 $1.39 $1.34
Retail $0.32 $0.48 $0.60 $0.48 $0.52
Consumer Services $0.54 $0.96 $1.27 $0.96 $1.29
Travel/Hospitality $0.64 $0.85 $0.90 $0.85 $0.88
Finance/Investing $1.76 $1.60 $1.70 $1.60 $1.73
Finance/Mortgage $3.17 $4.31 $4.74 $4.31 $4.93
Telecommunications/Broadband $1.89 $1.78 $1.59 $1.78 $1.67
Telecommunications/Wireless $1.09 $1.06 $1.09 $1.06 $0.79

Overall Average $1.37 $1.55 $1.66 $1.55 $1.64
Excerpt from: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,66485,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3

No wonder there has been tremendous growth in the SEO industry. Google the term and you'll get more than 7 million results. One, Submit Express, guarantees a "top 10 placement based on your keywords."



Another, Search Engine Optimization, claims you will experience an increase in traffic of up to 6,000 percent, while Patrick Gavin promises to "market your website as if it is our own" with a "combination of both on-page optimization and a very well-implemented link-popularity campaign."

Of course, where there is money to be made, there is also the potential for the search engine equivalent of vote rigging. One company you won't encounter on Google is Traffic-Power.com (also known as First Place), which was banned, along with its clients, for various shady practices, like allegedly creating "link farms," networks of sites that link to one another to increase popularity; concealing keywords in backgrounds; and leaving out search engine bait -- long lists of keywords and links that are added to a site for the express purpose of attracting search engine spiders. Some dissatisfied customers mulled a class-action suit, which has been dropped.

Oneupweb's Wehr says she has helped two former Traffic-Power clients, which she declined to name, who were banned from Google. "You have to be forensic detectives to clean up the mess Traffic-Power made," she said.

That required about 80 hours of work to track down all of the link farms, phony domain names, search engine spider "attraction pages" and other nefarious tactics she says the company used to cheat the system. At about $300 an hour, it was an expensive lesson for her clients, and in the end, it took six months before Google agreed to reinstate them.

"It's harder to do it our way," she said, "but the results last much longer."

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Yahoo Is Looking For A SEO Manager



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Received this today in my HotJobs alerts and thought somebody here might be interested:

Search Engine Marketing Manager



Yahoo! is looking for an experienced marketing professional to provide strategic leadership, tactical execution, and analytic support surrounding the development of a search engine marketing (SEM) program across Yahoo!'s Media, Entertainment, Information & Finance division. The person we seek will create, implement, track, analyze, and optimize keyword campaigns across multiple search engines while developing the company?s overall paid search strategy. As a key member of the marketing team, you will play a central role in driving customer acquisition, revenue growth, and profitability. The ideal candidate will have hands-on experience managing large scale search engine marketing campaigns.

Responsibilities:
-Lead efforts to drive profitable customer acquisition and increase the long-term effectiveness of search engine marketing
-Manage day-to-day relationship with multiple paid search engine partners
-Manage budgets, analyze keyword costs, and develop all business processes for maximizing return-on-investment (ROI)
-Test and optimize keyword bids, ad copy, and landing pages
-Conduct competitive research and make recommendations on keyword selection
-Maintain a database of keywords, categories, and campaigns
-Drive ongoing development of tools to support search marketing in cooperation with product management and engineering
-Employ advanced search marketing techniques such as contextual ads, geo-targeting, and day-parting
-Contribute to senior management communications concerning online marketing issues and initiatives
-Stay abreast of industry trends and best practices

Qualifications:
-6-9 years experience in online marketing, direct marketing, consulting, strategic planning, or similar field; search engine marketing experience preferred
-Strategic mind and creative problem-solving skills
-Aptitude at analyzing large datasets in order to gain insights and drive business decisions
-Solid understanding of web analytics tools and MS Access preferred; advanced Excel skills required
-A passion for Yahoo! products and services
-Ability to thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced work environment
-Adept at project management and multi-tasking
-Strong communication and presentation skills
Ah, a refreshing link for the new month.

For all of you Google Diehards, we have this for you:
Google from the Onion

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Search Engine Optimization Method for Yahoo Algorithm



The following method has been noted as working to better position your website in Yahoo...it's an SEO formula. Let's try it out on "Urchin web analytics"

Urchin web analytics


Urchin web analytics is cool.


Urchin web analytics software


Urchin web analytics can help you target potential leads.


Urchin web analytics is the most widely trusted commercial web analytics product in the world


Urchin web analytics


Urchin web analytics software


Urchin web analytics


Urchin web analytics is fun.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Search Engine Users Getting Smarter


Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that only one in six users of Internet search engines knows the difference between organic search results and paid search ads.


A report out today from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that only one in six users of Internet search engines knows the difference between organic search results and paid search ads. While sponsored links (those paid for by advertisers) and search results are usually labeled as such, the fact that many Internet users don't know the difference between the two is a bit troubling. In fact, the report finds that Web searchers are incredibly naïve.

The Pew report finds that only 38 percent of Web searchers can tell the difference between relevant search findings and ads, and of those, 47 percent say they can always tell which links are paid. The report finds that 45 percent of Web searchers would stop using search engines if they thought the providers weren't being clear about results that are sponsored, (paid for by advertisers that seek top billing). Still, 92 percent of people who use search engines reported confidence about their searching abilities; over half (52 percent) were "very confident."

Here are a few findings from the Pew report:


• Eighty-four percent of Internet users have used search engines; 87 percent of searchers report successful search experiences; 68 percent of users say search engines offer a fair and unbiased source of information. The Pew report finds that most consumers can easily tell the difference between regular TV programming and infomercials and magazine editorial versus advertorial, but that little more than a third of search engine users can decipher the difference between paid or sponsored search results and unpaid or "organic" results.
• Thirty-eight percent of searchers are aware of the distinction between paid and unpaid results; 62 percent are not.
• Seventy percent of searchers are satisfied with the concept of paid or sponsored results Savvier searchers are more skeptical.
• Sixty-five percent of those with six or more years of online experience say search engines are a fair and unbiased source of information; 73 percent of others who have been online five years or less say so.
• Sixty-four percent of those who use search engines at least daily, say they're a fair and unbiased source of information.
• Sixty-three percent of those who use more than three search engines say they're a fair and unbiased source of information.

Now, for some gender differences, with regard to search:


• Men search more frequently than women and have a higher opinion of themselves as searchers than women do, despite being no more successful in finding what they're looking for!
• Eighty-eight percent of men who are Internet users have used search engines versus 79 percent of women.
• Forty percent of online men search at least daily and 28 percent search several times a day versus 27 percent of women who search daily and 16 percent who search several times a day. (The Minute would be in that 16 percent camp).
• Fifty-four percent of online men say they're very confident in their search abilities, while 40 percent of women say they're very confident.
• Forty-three percent of men have heard of the distinction between paid and unpaid results, while only 32 percent of women have heard of the difference.

And finally, search is popular among those under 30; some 89 percent of Internet users under 30 have used search engines versus 85 percent among those 30 to 49. Pew says that 108 million Americans, or 84 percent of adult Internet users, have used search engines. On an average day, about 68 million people or about 53 percent of Web users, will go online and more than half of them (more than 38 million) will use a search engine.

The Pew study was conducted over the phone from May 14 to June 17 and involved 2,200 adults, including 1,399 Internet users.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Writing for Overture PPC Ads


With Overture, writing the perfect ad is slightly different than with AdWords. Overture only allows you to create one ad per keyword, so this takes away the option of trying out various ads and going with the winner, however, the basis for creating your initial ad remains virtually the same.

PPC writing in terms of Click Throughs and Branding:



Click Through Writing Mindset --
Do not include any words not directly related to the keyword in your title. The additional words you want to add to this type of keyword title are those that will entice people to click on your ad. This could be a call to action or related to the keywords which makes the pay per click listing seem more appealing.

Several search engines highlight the keywords searched for on the results page, so inputting the exact keywords in your description will lead to a higher CTR rate. For some keywords, Overture uses keyword matching. This means that the keyword "travel packages Mexico" and "Mexico travel packages" are the same keyword. Since either search will show your keyword, you cannot always input the keyword into your description exactly as they were searched for. In these cases, go with the most naturally read. In the above, it would be Mexico travel packages. This type of description is not about branding, that is achieved with the title. Every word you use should be about inducing people to click on your ad.

Brand Writing Mindset --
If your main concern is branding, then you want to include your company name in the title.

Descriptions get read by many people who never click on an ad or reach your site on their first exposure to your company name. However, if your company name is seen over and over again, people will start to remember and associate it with an ideal that it has a lot of internet visibility, and will be more likely to visit you in the future.

You can also end up focusing on both. It really comes down to what keywords in what ad group or category are you writing for? The psychology of search behavior is what makes SEM so successful, in that not only can you behaviorally target your customers, but you can measure the effectiveness of your writing as well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Natural Language in TITLE tags


Is it useful to use natural language in TITLE tags or the bullet point method for scanning purposes?



I started this post over at SearchEngineWatch, here is brief comment and the link if you would like to follow:
I guess this answer to this is purely based on the context of its use and the constraints of a client's site. In many cases I believe that centering one page around a keyword is strategic, but there are many cases where a client's page focuses on so many items, which is necessary to support the end goal, that the bullet point method for scanning can be useful as well.
I am very interested in search behavior and intent that guiding it to a conversion can be done via different methods.

I guess I'm trying to expand upon the simplicity of just saying, well use natural language in your TITLE and based the whole page on one keyphrase. Well okay, I agree with that depending on the goal it supports, but is this the only method? I've had a lot of success optimizing pages for 3-4 keywords that result in conversions.

Maybe its the behavior of the SEM, how aggressive will you go to achieve conversion? Is it this grey area...

Natural Language in TITLE tag

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Search for _#_


So today I was doing a search for "_*_" after the whole Asian unicode discussion and noticed the influx of music related organic listings. Why? I have no idea. Here is the code


_

What is the point of setting up a plain text navigation footer without using the anchor text? Is there some black hat SEO I am obviously missing out on? Hmm...

Monday, January 10, 2005

SMA-NA - Search Marketing Association North America to Launch


From SE Roundtable - New organization focusing on Search Engine Marketers in US, Canada and Mexico is in the works.

The battle has begun I guess. I wonder how SEMPO is taking the news. I'm glad I didn't join SEMPO just yet. It's a modern day Civil War for SEM.