Entries Tagged 'Google' ↓

Google Launches Knol

As defined on the front page of Knol:

A knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic.

Of course, if you look at the top left of the page, where the logo is, it defines it as:

A unit of knowledge

Maybe the 2nd one is their slogan and the 1st is the actual definition. Just to make sure I understood it completely, I do what I always do and went to my trusty online dictionary and did a quick search to define knol. There is only 1 result, but it links to some acronym finder site and this is what it tells me:

Knoll (postal suffix)

:-| . . . I’m confused now.

I have always thought ‘Google’ was a very creative and clever name. The story of how they came to the spelling of their name is a fun read, but armed with this knowledge it makes me wonder where ‘Knol’ came from. Maybe someone has some insight to this and can enlighten us.

Anyhow, Knol is going to be the new wikipedia. You submit articles about a topic and I’m sure that after a few years, it will be the predominant top listings in their search results. The only problem I have with Wikipedia and possibly Knol is the fact it can be slanted towards whoever controls it. For example, in Wikipedia there are people who govern different categories and ultimately have control over what is allowed and what is not. I see so many times where a business about “Widgets” is listed as a resource, but if another business about “Widgets” tries to provide a link to their site, it’s rejected. If the person rejecting has ties to the first business, is it really fair to the second business trying to add their link? There are good editors, but all it takes is one bad apple to ruin the whole thing.

What does this all mean? Go to Knol right now and start adding good info about your site while the service is still new.

Is Your Information Safe With Google

Google does own all of your information in some way or fashion, but just how safe is your information with the monster? Tonight I happened on a couple screens that suggest our information isn’t all that safe. Maybe it’s a glitch, but the fact remains, I got these screens thrown at me. All hackers need is a split second to get in and grab what they need.

Market For Google – Search Somewhere Else

If you want your online business to be worth a flip these days, you have to market for Google results. They’re pushing 75% of all online searches these days and just to put this into perspective, I’ll plug in a few numbers to illustrate how important Google is to an online business.

An average conversion rate for internet sales probably falls around 2-3% of traffic you receive, we’ll use 3% for this example. Your site receives 10k visitors per month and the average sale price of what you offer is $100. Let’s see what Google means to your business:

  Google Others
Traffic 7500 2500
Conversions 225 75
Sales $22,500 $7,500

Need I say more?

But why do I say “Search Somewhere Else”?

It seems like Google is getting into everything we do now. They keep track of every step you take if you’re using any of their products. If you’re marketing for Google, then you’re more than likely using some of their products. Any of their products will place cookies on your computer and they log everything you’re doing. Since they came out and said they track our IP and cookie search logs, if you do anything remotely questionable (which everything will be questionable at some point with them), then why give them any sort of insight?

Using your customer data to improve things is a common thing these days. The problem I have is how Google uses this information to possibly hurt businesses and people’s livelihoods. So many stories pop up where a website disappears from Google and they have no idea why. Sometimes it’s warranted, sometimes it’s not. Unless you know where to go or who to speak to, being dropped from Google can literally shut a business down. This all sounds very similar to what people had to say about Microsoft back in the day and it doesn’t make sense that someone should have that much power over so many people.

With this in mind, if you do any marketing on Google, it would probably be a wise move to limit your use of Google services and/or products, but when you do, make sure you do what you can to limit their visibility. When you want to search, use one of the other search engines like Yahoo, Live or Ask.

Who Says Link Building Does Not Work Anymore

We can all agree that the past year of link building, well SEO in general, has been quite the hot topic. Damn near ‘everyone’ participated in link building in some form or fashion. If you read someone that says they have never participated in link building, you can bet most of your money that they’re not telling you the whole truth. It was just part of the landscape and you had to do it to compete. A good analogy is like trying to compete in a marathon but not working out, you can still participate but you probably won’t finish.

Text Linking Is Still AliveAll this rambling leads me to my point. Since the ‘so called’ hammer was thrown down, a lot of people have either turned their heads towards link building or have continued on as under the table as possible. Those that have turned their heads have found it impossible to compete, once again. Why? It’s because linking is still alive and well. The truth of the matter is it will always be alive and well unless the engines change the way they rank websites, a point that I’ve said over and over. Sure, they can try and slap people’s wrists, but if you knock 10 down, there’s 10 more waiting to take their place.

A great example of how well the text linking business still works, I bring to you exhibit A. If you look at the page source, you’ll find that it is nothing more than a frameset page with absolutely zero content. Only a title and meta description. It is currently ranked #1 for the term “Text Link Ads“, which is pretty competitive. I first thought our pals over at TLA were back on track but then realized it was just an affiliate page. Either way, I was thrilled to see what I was looking at. That gives even more proof that you can rank a page with nothing but a pure linking campaign. All you have to do is look at the back links listed and you’ll find their text links. It’s a beautiful thing.

If you have become a non-believer, what more proof do you need that we can help!

Has Google Gurgled?

For those of you that follow the search engines and their cockiness that flies first class wherever they go, you should be very familiar with Google and their ‘unbeatable search algorithm’. The Google algo has probably been one of the most talked about, targeted, studied, tested, learned and contested of any other search algo in the history of search engines. Here are a few points that would put them in this position:

  1. They own between 60%-70% of the search market/queries, so why not target the big dawg?
  2. They proclaim to have the most detailed and steel proof equations of any out there.
  3. They claim to know of all webspam and can stop most of it with their algorithms.
  4. They have attracted some of the smartest people in the world to work for them.

With this knowledge at hand, how would you feel to know the ‘smartest algorithm’ in the world has had to resort to human editing to better their search engine results?

Well it is happening and the once untainted results will now be at the mercy of a Wikipedia type editor, which is paid by the hour and will undoubtedly be in bed with the market they govern, somehow. If not when they sign up, definitely once they have the power. Google is offering to pay $25/hr and that is great money, but who wouldn’t take side payments for doing whatever? “Hey Joe Blow, I’ll give you $50k to make site A vital and site’s B, C, D, E, F and so on non-relevant.” Would you take the bribe? I think most people that will be doing this would.

Here is the posting on Craigslist found recently:

Search engine results rating:

We need individuals who can work from home to perform search engine results ratings. The work is straight-forward; you log into a Website and then look at predetermined web pages or other similar material and rank them based on how relevant they appear for a given search query. The workload could be anywhere from a few hours a month to a few hours a week. You will need to have a PayPal account as that is how you will be paid.

When you perform this testing you must have the ability to sit down at a computer uninterrupted for 1 hour periods. Also, we will check the data. If the data is inconsistent or done with little regard for quality, you will lose your opportunity to do this in the future.

If you’re interested, here are a few more details:
-You must be willing to be interviewed for approximately 15 minutes on the phone.
-You must be totally and completely fluent in English.
-Please have a college degree, or an AA degree at a minimum.
-Please send your resume along with a brief paragraph about yourself, and also tell us how long you have been using the Internet, how many hours a day/week you use the Internet, and what you typically do on the Internet.

The pay is approximately $25 per hour.

It may take us up to a week to get back to you so please be patient.

Thanks!

And here are the guidelines handed out.

Maybe the business of the future will be to load up a building full of employees, who all apply for the ‘human search project’, and then they become the online service who can apply spam, Non Relevant or Off-Topic tags on the competition listings and then tag the customer sites with the vital mark. Google will basically pay for your entire workforce salaries, maybe you make money off of the newer employees, then give the veterans the full $25/hr plus a little compensation from sales you earn for the service provided to individual companies, seo agencies and other search related marketing firms. The great part is getting off the ground would require very minimal costs, since salaries are usually the biggest cost.

The underlying point here is after all that we’ve heard from Google about having the smartest search algorithms out there, no matter what they do, people will always be smarter than machines. However, once you start inserting humans into the mix, the chances of corruption goes through the roof, as my example company above illustrates.

Google, don’t become Mahalo! They suck for a reason.

PS. (If someone takes my business model idea, at least give me a thank you!)

Should SEO Agencies Advertise With AdWords

When you come across a SEO agency, their main motto is, “We’ll get you listed naturally in the search engine results.” The goal is to eliminate the need for PPC because you’ll be listed in the natural results. That is even the motto in our niche market. The idea is you get search engines to read your site, then your site will be listed well for your target keywords. Plain and simple, right?

If that is the case, wouldn’t it make sense that the SEO company you find ranks well for their own keywords and do not have to attract people by using AdWords? Should it make more of an impact to the customer if that company doesn’t spend a dime on AdWords and only gets their customers by way of natural search traffic or through non-search related advertising?

I think it is quite humorous when I see SEO or SEM companies that don’t rank well for a single keyword in their own industry, but they tell potential customers that they can do it for them. You could definitely point the finger towards the fact customers aren’t hip enough to do the research on SEO companies before they spend a dime with them, however, I know of situations first hand where people in our industry put certain companies in a high regard even though they are nowhere to be found when it comes to natural search.

I’m definitely not here to point anyone out, this post is more about asking the question regarding this subject. I’ve always wondered how a customer feels when searching for this type of service. I know I’ve read new SEO sites that talk a big game, yet they’re nowhere to be found on simple keywords related to them, which always makes me think they’re a bit full of it and I’ve always wondered how the actual customer feels about it. With that being said, some of the smartest cats out there could not rank for the easiest of words, but it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t get amazing results for their customers.

If you have a second, give me your thoughts. I’d like to hear what everyone else thinks.

Google vs Human Brain – Who is Faster?

Happened across this video and thought it would be fun to show since it involves a set of questions, a smart human and Google. The goal is, one person uses Google to answer the questions and the smart Human uses only his brain. I think this goes to show us the human brain is more powerful than we realize:

Where Do Searchers Click On Google Results?

Do you ever wonder where most users click on the Google search results pages? MarketingSherpa did a study back in 2006 I just happened across, using a heat map (get a free heat map for your site). The study tracks the mouse arrow on the page and where they click. I think the study results are a bit expected, yet a bit surprising at the same time.

Google Results Heat Map

Here are my bullet points regarding this image:

  • Notice the sidebar sponsored results. Little to no activity. If this is the case, where do all of the PPC clicks come from for search results? Unless you’re the highest bidder and being shown on the top sponsored, there isn’t much action.
  • The top sponsored results seem to get the best activity as far as sponsored goes. It would appear the most opportunity would be the last, or bottom of the top sponsored results. In other words, closest to the natural results. Problem is, you have to break your bank if you’re in a competitive market to get those top spots.
  • The natural list is what was expected. People prefer natural results over sponsored results. The top 1-2 spots get the majority of the clicks and while the rest of the top 10 get some activity, the top spots are going to pull in a good 60-70 percent of the traffic.

Putting the pieces together, be careful of your sponsored ads. Keep good logs to ensure the clicks are good true clicks. A good click will stay on your site longer than a second or two. A good click will visit your site for a minimum of 15-20 seconds, but generally a few minutes.

If you really want the bang for your buck, go for the the top of the natural results. The clicks are real and no chance of fraudulent activity. Not to mention it usually costs a lot less when it all boils down. Want to learn more? Give us a call! 866.LNK.WRTH.

**EDITED**
Per Enrique’s question below, I did an image search and found a link to this site, so credit to them and the actual sources of these images, but here is some other great information about searcher behavior:

Click Percentages

Results

Sample Results

Social Networks Not Ad Worthy

I recently posted our success, or lack thereof, advertising over on Facebook. In the post I pointed out that it could very well be the lack of knowledge on my part, but I posted our numbers and usually numbers don’t lie.

Today I was forwarded a great article from one of my good friends, Simon, with the title of “Google’s Loss is Murdock’s Gain“. In this article, it speaks of Google’s lack luster earnings and recent stock drop, along with what Google says is one of the main causes.

“We have found that social networking inventory is not monetizing as well as we would like,” said George Reyes, Google’s chief financial officer, implying that the sites on which the minimum payments are due were social networks. By far, the largest social network on which Google sells ads is MySpace, which is owned by Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation. In 2006, Google agreed to a three-year deal to sell ads on MySpace, committing to pay a minimum of $900 million.

This falls back to my gut feeling about social networks, the user demographics and their spending abilities. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you put a shopping strip across the street from a University. In this shopping center, you have Mercedes Benz, FAO Shwartz and Saks. While there will definitely be some sales from students, most will walk right past on their way to Fraternity or Sorority houses, local bars or music hot spots.

I know some people have said they do well with social advertising, but when a company like Google openly states they are losing money through advertising in social networks, then you can bet your ass that your chances aren’t all that great. Straight from the horses mouth:

“We have a huge amount of social networking inventory, including the MySpace relationship,” Mr. Brin said. “I don’t think we have the killer best way to monetize social networks yet. We are running a lot of experiments and we have had some significant improvements. But some of the things we were counting on in Q4 didn’t pan out. There were some disappointments there.”

Reading this makes me think even more that Izea’s SocialSpark has a huge chance to be the flop of the year.

Ever Looked at a Price Tag and Take a Step Back

It’s called “Sticker Shock“. When you look at something and instantly realize that what you’re looking at buying does not meet the price you’re looking at on the price tag. According to Wikipedia, the term sticker shock came from the high price of automobiles in the 70′s and 80′s.

Imagine telling someone you’ll pay $45 BILLION for something. This is what Microsoft told Yahoo in an unsolicited letter.

Under our proposal, Microsoft would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Yahoo common stock for per share consideration of $31 based on Microsoft’s closing share price on January 31, 2008, payable in the form of $31 in cash or 0.9509 of a share of Microsoft common stock. Microsoft would provide each Yahoo shareholder with the ability to choose whether to receive the consideration in cash or Microsoft common stock, subject to pro-ration so that in the aggregate one-half of the Yahoo common shares will be exchanged for shares of Microsoft common stock and one-half of the Yahoo common shares will be converted into the right to receive cash. Our proposal is not subject to any financing condition. Our proposal represents a 62% premium above the closing price of Yahoo common stock of $19.18 on January 31, 2008. The implied premium for the operating assets of the company clearly is considerably greater when adjusted for the minority, non-controlled assets and cash. By whatever financial measure you use – EBITDA, free cash flow, operating cash flow, net income, or analyst target prices – this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders…

Microsoft’s consistent belief has been that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo clearly represents the best way to deliver maximum value to our respective shareholders, as well as create a more efficient and competitive company that would provide greater value and service to our customers…

We would value the opportunity to further discuss with you how to optimize the integration of our respective businesses to create a leading global technology company with exceptional display and search advertising capabilities. You should also be aware that we intend to offer significant retention packages to your engineers, key leaders and employees across all disciplines…

Due to the importance of these discussions and the value represented by our proposal, we expect the Yahoo Board to engage in a full review of our proposal.

The reactions are mixed with some saying Microsoft is buying a big bag and others saying it is a smart move by the software giant, saying the online advertising sales is where Microsoft lacks.

I think the interesting fact here is, Bill Gates can write a check for $45 billion and still have $14 billion left over. “Yahoooooooo!”