Tuesday, August 30, 2005

TV Networks Resort to Online Marketing, Search · MarketingVOX

It's about darn time!

I'm a HUGE fan of integrated marketing. You see, for search to work effectively, people need to be aware of your product. The one thing search doesn't do well is create awareness. Television creates awareness very well, but lacks in the "closing the deal" aspect. With the exception of infomercials, television doesn't have a way to get the consumer to "buy now" and the calls to action on TV are laughable. The holy grail, obviously, is mixing media through interactive television. But since it looks like we're quite a ways off from that, creating search campaigns to complement television campaigns seems to be the next best thing. I'm glad the networks are finally waking up to this. I hope the Prison Break is the next big TV show just because of this. I also love the fact that the TV Execs are looking to the blogosphere to see where the buzz is. I've always said that the "e-fluencers" online are the people to watch when it comes to making an initiative successful

Now if the TV Execs can just create a good sitcom. I'm so tired of reality TV I could throw up. And re-runs of Friends and Seinfeld aren't cutting it for me anymore, either.

TV Networks Resort to Online Marketing, Search · MarketingVOX

Monday, August 29, 2005

MSN Search Results Added to Dogpile

Late last week InfoSpace announced that they will now provide search results from MSN in their Dogpile metasearch engine.

Not ground breaking news but still significant seeing that WordTracker pulls search data from Dogpile (and Metacrawler). With this being said...the sample data should grow now that MSN results are going to sprinkled in along with Google, Yahoo! Search, Ask Jeeves, LookSmart, and About.com.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Stupid Suit - AdWords Daily Budgets

Earlier this month, Tony commented briefly on a news tidbit that there is a class action suit against Google for overcharging the daily budgets. (Original article here.)

Now, I know this is a shock – but I’m gonna come to Google’s defense on this one.

Yes, at first, for a few minutes, I found it a little confusing. But it took about five minutes to understand that the daily budget is an average. That during the course of a month, there will be some days a little over and some a little under. That if there is significant overspending, Google will refund the charges – which means the client has gotten free clicks, since it’s not like they can take back the traffic.

The suit alleges that there are instances when campaigns have spent as much as 160% of the daily budget and not gotten a refund. I’d venture to guess that these same people had days that ran underbudget – and they are expecting a refund for each day they go over, when that’s just not how it works.

Google does a much better job of keeping the daily spend close to the daily budget than Yahoo. You can set an average daily budget on Yahoo and still get days when it spends 3x that amount, and as a result shuts the campaign off completely on other days. Though really, that just seems like poor management to me. It would be in the search engine’s interest to keep those ads running a bit every day, at the very least because this would make the clients happier and more secure.

I’d guess that there may be technical limitations to how accurately the engines can keep a campaign under a specific budget… how fast is the data processed, the costs updated, and then the campaign shut off? In the time it takes for that to happen, how many more clicks will be incurred?

It’s not like Google make a secret of how the budget works. If I advertise with a newspaper and don’t understand their written policies – can I sue them? Seriously – do people get to win a lawsuit just because they’re dumb? Oh, wait… (remembers McDonald’s hot coffee warning) sometimes they do.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Google goes pastel

Just stumbled across this a minute ago...

All I want to know is, how long until you're able to choose your own background color?

Your thoughts??

Friday, August 19, 2005

Google Testing Commercial Results Mixed With Organic Results

Interesting article in ClickZ News - -> http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3528611

It appears that Google is doing some heavy testing on mixing commercial results in with organic results in the SERPs. From what Google is saying...,"the results are not paid listings, saying the demarcated results are a search relevancy experiment."

OK...to see what we are talking about...

Perform a search on "on demand" (without the quotes) in Google and you will see that positions #6 - #8 are segmented out and show pages from Comcast.com (Google deems these as "commercial results"). However, Comcast.com also appears in the organic listings in the #30 postion...oops...the #31 position...oops...the #29 position. Ah...the ever-flux...Jeff and I are comparing our results from two different machines and it seems to vary (I am sure that we are querying different data centers)

This is totally boggling our minds! How does Google determine that Comcast.net should be served up in the "commercial" results and not network websites like Starz!, Cinemax, TMC, etc.? Jeff and I believe that it must be based on Comcast.net's impressions to click-through rates for that keyword phrase. That is IF Google is trying to serve those results based on relevancy.

We know that these listings aren't paid...unless Google is breaking the US FTC's guidelines on disclosure of paid content in SERPs - http://www.ftc.gov/os/closings/staff/commercialalertletter.htm

We agree with Levin and Lee...this could have a major impact on the way we optimize websites.

Eager to see how this unfolds!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Adwords 3rd top placement ad

Since around August 10th Google SERPs have been showing a 3rd top placement ad on select searches. I posed a question in the Adwords forum at SEW that I moderate seeing if I could get AdwordsRep to spill the beans. I figured there could be several variables that determine when that new ad inventory spot appeared such as:

  • Number of searches

  • Number of competitors

  • Pricing

  • CTRs

  • etc.

While AdwordsRep hasn’t posted yet some forum members have had some interesting comments such as this from Shor:

Our account rep was rather vague and reticient on this (as he didn't have a solid brief on the issue) but he did say that 3 ads appear only when the 3rd ad reaches a certain threshold of CTR comparable to the no.1 ranked keyword. He said CTR but he may have meant quality score as that would be a more useful ranking criteria ? He also confirmed that G were currently targeting high volume queries (loans/auto/jobs/dating etc.)

As further support for the CTR factor but a detractor to the idea of high volume queries Phoenix had this to say:

Well I have reason to believe its extending a bit farther than that. Noticed it tonight on a phrase (book title) I was checking for a client "play piano in a flash". It’s a rather low traffic phrase in none of the high traffic industries mentioned, and it’s a book written exclusively by the client only in its first printing. I would consider it a pretty much non-competitive phrase with only a few affiliates offering it. I guess for this phrase it may be more along "he did say that 3 ads appear only when the 3rd ad reaches a certain threshold of CTR comparable to the no.1 ranked keyword".

My co-moderator AussieWebmaster offered his own little tidbit:
So in effect the top organic results just got handed decreased CTR.

I wonder how long before Google goes completely PPC!!! <---- joking!

That may not be that far from the truth, especially considering research showing the difficulty searchers have in distinguishing paid from organic listings and the fact that this 3rd ad spot means fewer organic results above the fold.

This could be a 1-2 punch for Google, a new top inventory spot for advertisers to fight for and maybe more advertisers to fight for them with the reduction in organic results above the fold.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Google loses AdWords trade mark case in the US | The Register

What does this mean? Not sure yet. Surely Google isn't going to have to manually police this more - that could be a nightmare for advertisers. As they say, film at 11.

Google loses AdWords trade mark case in the US | The Register

Friday, August 12, 2005

Matt Cutt's Blog

Google Software Engineer, Matt Cutts, has launched his own blog. He is sharing valuable information, suggestions, and insight on Google indexing and SEO in general.

Pretty good stuff!

July 05 Search Engine Market Share Figures

Search engine market shares in July 2005: Google - 59.2%, Yahoo! - 28.8%, MSN - 5.5% by ZDNet's ZDNet Research -- HitWise says Google, Yahoo! Search and MSN Search accounted for 93.5% of US searches in July 2005. Google garnered 59.2% of searches. Yahoo! Search and MSN Search captured 28.8% and 5.5% shares, respectively.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Search Marketing Day: A holiday for the rest of us!

That's right...Danny is wielding his power to promote Search Marketing Day. I don't care who you are, please go and vote for this holiday. Myself and zunchers like me work countless hours, 364 days a year to promote other people's websites (we do get Columbus day off). We slave over keyword research, competitve analysis and website analytics day in and day out for mere pennies on the dollar, while the lion's share of the profit goes to support John's Starbucks addiction. Please...from the bottom of my heart I'm pleading for you to help make this dream become reality. We need a day for ourselves!

Just a little fun on this slow Thursday. Back to the foosball table...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

SES Coverage for those of us stuck at home

Well, I'm jonesing for SES. It's the first SES show I've missed in a long time. I had to miss it because of the birth of my son, Nathan Thomas Wright, on July 19. I just felt I couldn't leave the little guy yet. But, I'm getting my fix at Search Engine Roundtable and from Giovanni and the Zunch Gang at Gio's Agency Blog. Just wish I could be there. Promises to be a great show.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The next thing in local search

Ran across this on Threadwatch - and I must say, this is an interesting development...A PPC solution for newspaper classifieds. I like it. I think this could be a big thing in the future of local search. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it in the near future.

Quigo Announces Private Label Version of Pay-Per-Click Platform Developed for Local Newspaper Publishers; Newspapers Find AdSonar the Best Way to Capture Local Advertising Dollars, Own the Advertiser Relationship

Howard Stern Sues Google over Interpretation of Daily AdWords Limits · MarketingVOX

So the king of all media is now looking to slay the giant? Well, good luck on this one. I agree, the "daily max" is misleading - perhaps a matter of semantics here. I don't know how many times I've had to explain this phenomenon to clients - but they usually get it. Never had anyone want to sue. But I guess if you are Howard Stern, you might have an itchy lawyer finger. Good luck and "Ba Ba Booey".

Howard Stern Sues Google over Interpretation of Daily AdWords Limits · MarketingVOX

Friday, August 05, 2005

Yahoo! Music Search Engine

New music search utility provided by Yahoo! Search - Yahoo! Audio Search

Not really SEO/SEM related but a pretty cool way to search your favorite music, interviews, podcasts, speeches, etc.

I guess if you are looking for a podcasts on SEO/SEM this could be a good place to start!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Factiva Launches new Reputation Managment Tool

In a former life (and former job) I helped many CEOs sleep at night knowing that the issues they cared about were being monitored closely on the Web. We used a variety of sources to gather our information, and we were able to effectively tell a CEO what the online world thought of his or her company. This type of intelligence gathering takes some insight, and quite a bit of experience with online communities in order to come back with coherent recommendations on how to deal with the cheeky bastard that is damaging your company’s reputation.

That being said, I would have LOVED to have this tool at my disposal when I was doing that. Factiva products are great, and having a reputation management program to track specific things would have been awesome. Factiva was actually one of the tools we used, but it was a bit clumsy when it came to the type of information we were looking for.

A word to the wise, however. CEOs, before you think this tool is the answer to your prayers, remember, the tool is only as good as the analysis that comes with it. You can actually do more harm than good by responding to a lone hooligan trying to do you in. Get some good advice from someone who knows how to handle online crisis and online communities. And yes, I might be available for the right price.

Press Room - Press Release 04 Auguest 2005

SES Indexing Summit 2: Redirects

There's a very interesting thread over at SEW that discusses how search engine's should handle redirects. As anyone in the industry knows, the search engines have been giving SEM professionals headaches for years now on this issue. The main problem is that Google behaves differently than Yahoo, and MSN differently then Ask...you get the picture. No standards.

Fact is, URLs change. Just this week one of my accounts (large e-commerce site) converted to a completely new backend system, totally changing every URL on the site. We're doing our best to use 301 redirects in order to match the old URLs with the corresponding new URLs, but there will be a fallout. To them, the benefits of the bew backend were worth the loss of traffic for a time.

Tony and I are already preparing for another battle (read: headache) later this year when a client (a nationwide bank) will change domains. We've delivered to them a risk assesment regarding the potential negative impact to their SEM program, as well as recommendations for making the transition as smooth as possible. Do we blame them for wanting to change domains? Absolutely not. By all accounts, in the long run they will be much better off for changing. We just wish it weren't so difficult for the search engines to recognize and adjust accordingly.

Hopefully Danny and his crew will spark major progress in this regard. I'd love to be able to throw away the bottle of Aspirin that sits on my desk labelled "redirection painkiller".

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Yahoo! Publisher Network

Looks like Yahoo is expanding it's network to be more like Google, where anyone with a Web site can run Yahoo ads on their site. Let's hope they learn from some of Google's mistakes and allow the advertisers to have control over where their ads are served.

Yahoo! Publisher Network

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


So, Jupiter has sold ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and the Search Engine Strategies show, for what appears to be pennies on the dollar. Either Jupiter knows something the rest of us don't, or they just made a very bad deal. I guess time will tell.

Selling a trade show for 1x it's revenue seems stupid, and Alan Meckler has always been a very smart cookie. I'm very confused. Hopefully we'll learn more later. This is a very interesting story.