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SearchCap: The Day In Search, December 1, 2008
Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.
From Search Engine Land:
- SearchBiz: Google’s Balancing Act, Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington (?), Yahoo’s Next CEO, Autonomy Jumps The Highway, Black Friday Mixed & The Gift Of Smut-Free Free Internet Access
There’s lots of news today and from over the US holiday weekend. Much of it concerns Yahoo and Google, as it often does in this column. The big buzz generated over the weekend was from the UK’s Times Online report that there was a tentative deal reached between Yahoo and Microsoft to buy the former’s search business for $20 billion.
- Live Search Launches Instant Cashback For eBay Purchases
Microsoft just announced Live Search instant cashback rewards. This instant reward currently only applies to items purchased at eBay. If you make a purchase at eBay, using Live Search Cashback, you should see the rewards instantly in your PayPal account. Yes, you won’t have to wait 60 days to see the money. Clearly, having instant cashback rewards with all their partners is something we would love to see. But for now, having eBay give you instant cash back is really nice to have.
- Microsoft’s Live Search Cashback Goes Dark On Black Friday
Microsoft’s Live Search Cashback program was reportedly down much of the day on Black Friday. This caused major concerns for customers who were excited to get large discounts on the day. In addition, TechFlash reports many customers purchased items from HP, expecting to receive 40% cash back rewards from Microsoft, only to see 3% show up after purchasing. Between Microsoft’s Cashback having major uptime issue and not giving the rewards expected, Black Friday turned out to be a big bust for the program.
- Paid Search – Tips On Closing The Loop
Although paid search is far more trackable than many media – even online display advertising – many paid search campaign managers have difficulty tying detailed paid search data to actual sales. This is particularly true with long-sales-cycle campaigns, high touch lead generation campaigns, and campaigns that are designed to drive phone sales. Often, such campaigns track the cost of a lead or another metric that doesn’t necessarily tie them back to actual sales figures to get a sense of true conversions. This poses a problem in that uneven lead quality can lead to poor decisions in bidding, keyword selection, and so on. In this article, I will discuss several ways companies can effectively attribute sales (or close the loop) in lead generation and phone sales campaigns.
- SEO & The CMO: Why Analytics & Communication Is Crucial To Success
How many times have you heard the question from a key decision-maker: “So, after we do this optimization, what will our rankings be?” The answer is complex, and requires much more than simply “better than it was before” for your reply to be meaningful to the CMO tasked with moving the needle on a billion dollars in sales. Rankings are certainly one tangible way to measure SEO’s success, but at Agency.com we are working to move clients away from focusing on rankings and towards focusing on positive results that can be more accurately measured. In today’s search environment, placement is completely dynamic and state-dependent. Everyone is looking at different data centers for starters. Add in search history, geotargeted results based on IP and universal search, and then compound that with Google’s SearchWiki, and pretty much everyone is going to get measurably different results when looking for the same terms.
- Google Image Search Now Trying Text Ads Instead Of Image Ads
When Google started officially placing ads on Google Image search, they used banner or image ads. I am now seeing reports that Google is going towards a text ad format. Michael Gray noticed, as did the folks at AccuraCast.com that Google is now placing three text ads in Google Image Search. In the past, Google placed one image or banner ad in the image search results, either at the top or at the bottom.
- SEMPO Wants Your Input
SEMPO is launching its 5th annual State-of-the-SEM Market Survey, and if you’re a practicing search marketing professional, they’d like to hear from you, whether you are a member of SEMPO or not. Last year, close to 900 respondents answered the SEMPO survey, and the results always paint a fascinating portrait of our industry. This year, obviously, the focus will be on the economy and how it has (or hasn’t) had an impact on the industry. Not sure you want to take the time? As an incentive, SEMPO is offering an iPod Touch and a free pass to SMX West, or one …
- Good News: SMX West Agenda Up December 6. Bad News: Pre-agenda Price Expires December 5.
It’s time to reserve your seat for Search Marketing Expo — SMX West, February 10-12, 2009 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Act now and get an All Access pass for only $995. You can be confident that SMX West will deliver all the content, keynotes and community you need to drive more traffic to your web site and make more online sales. We guarantee it!
- Baidu’s Search Ad Revenue Drops 10-15% After Paid Ad Scandal
Chinese internet giant sacks staff over paid for search listings from the Guardian reports Baidu has dropped the ads of four clients after finding out their medical licenses were false. According to the Guardian, this has resulted in Baidu’s ad revenue dropping ten to fifteen percent, plus the release of several ad representatives who have allegedly helped these false medical practices gain top ranking in Baidu.
- The Biggest Web Site Usability Mistakes You Can Make
When you built your first web site, didn’t you just want to promote it everywhere with big bold letters saying, “HEY EVERYONE! COME HERE AND LOOK AT MY WEBSITE! ISN’T IT GREAT?” Or, when you submit your web site to forums for web site reviews, what do you typically ask for? You may write, “Tell me what you think of my web site” or “Which color do you like better, blue or red?” or “Did I optimize for search engines properly?” The worst mistake you will make as a web site owner is to ask someone to “look” at your web site. It’s like the dreaded, “Do I look fat?” question. There’s never a safe answer. For starters, someone may look slim standing up, but resemble the Buddha when sitting on a couch. You need to assign tasks to get honest answers to these tough questions. To understand if your web site is meeting its usability requirements, ask people to take it for a spin and try it out—and more specifically, to see if they can answer the following questions:
- Happy Thanksgiving & Programming Note
Happy Thanksgiving Search Engine Land readers! Today, in observance of the holiday, we hope to not write here today. So make sure to tune in tomorrow for today’s search news and tomorrows. To give you something fun to look at, I’ll post what I did at the Search Engine Roundtable, a collection of special Thanksgiving logos from across the search industry. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
- Measuring the Effectiveness of B2B SEO
Many B2B marketers have difficulty justifying the value of search engine optimization (SEO) to senior level executives. Since SEO is a highly-efficient marketing channel with longer-lasting results than most mediums, establishing ROI is challenging yet critical. Here are a few suggestions on how to best integrate web analytics data with other tools to prove the value of SEO. Web analytics data is the foundation The cornerstone of any successful SEO program is accurate web analytics data. Don’t have an analytics package? Google Analytics is a great free option that provides most of the data points you need for SEO measurement. The information derived from your analytics tool is instrumental in determining the success of your optimization program – and this data can also reveal critical areas for future improvement.
- Q&A with Paul O’Brien, Vice President of Marketing at Zvents.com
Paul O’Brien is an old-hand at the online marketing game, having honed his skills with brands such as Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard. I recently had an opportunity to chat with Paul, and it’s always impressive to meet well-rounded, knowledgeable thought leaders like him. If you think you have heard Paul’s name before, it could be because you recently read Online Marketing Heroes, in which he’s one of the 25 interviewed.
Search News From Around The Web:
Applications & Portal Features
- Microsoft puts more muscle behind its potential "Kumo" search brand, ZDNet
- Yahoo Countersues American Airlines for Declaratory Judgment, Eric Goldman
- Yahoo and Virgin agree British mobile search deal, Reuters
- Google Book Search Settlement Comments (A Little Late), Eric Goldman
- Google’s Gatekeepers, New York Times
Local, Maps & Mobile
- Google Updates Google Maps API to calm the storm in Great Britain?, Mike Blumenthal
- Google makes Wales Little Britain, BBC NEWS
- Yelp’s European Counterpart Qype Continues Global Expansion, TechCrunch
- Does AdMob or iPhone Ads Make You Money? Not In My Test, Search Engine Roundtable
- Google Won’t Be Building A New Version of Maps for Palm OS, Search Engine Roundtable
- Another 500K Photos for Google Earth, Google Earth Blog
- Google launches Street View in New Zealand, Computerworld
- Don’t Think Like a Student for .edu Links, SEO Speedwagon
- How To Actually Get Links From Your Linkbait, SEOmoz
- 9 Reasons To Link Out, Performancing.com
Paid Search & Contextual
- Google AdWords Provides Option To Advertise Based on Desktop vs. iPhone, Search Engine Roundtable
- Google Ads for Terrorism Spotted on Mumbai Stories, mashable.com
- Google AdWords Treats Accented Characters As Different Words, Search Engine Roundtable
- Search & Display Research White Paper, adcentercommunity.com
- Five Critical PPC Budgeting Problems, Search Engine Journal
- Tax and Shipping Information in Google Product Search, Google Operating System
- More Ways to Hide Google SearchWiki, Google Operating System
- The one where Hope reviews Google Health, www.altsearchengines.com
- Breaking: Google News doesn’t break tech news, VentureBeat
- Why Writing Your Own Search Engine is Hard: So you have a grand idea; are you ready for the execution?, ACM Queue
- Your guide to disabling SearchWiki, Googling Google
- Hiren Ponkia: Search Blogger of the Day, The SEO Scoop
- Interview: Yahoo’s Larry Cornett on Universal Search, Search Engine Guide
- The Warmth of the SEM Industry During Hard Times, Search Engine Roundtable
- Why Companies Are Investing in SEO During the Economic Downturn, SEOmoz
SEO & SEM
- Date with Googlebot, Part II: HTTP status codes and If-Modified-Since, Official Google Webmaster Central Blog
- Affiliate Link Bashing and The Self-defeating Marketing community, John Andrews
- Concertina pagination – getting large scale websites indexed, Locally Type
- 30 Tips on How to Get, Convince, Keep and Deal With Clients, Be it in Web Design, Writing or SEO, SEOptimise
- Get Alerts When Your Website Hits the First Page of Google, Digital Inspiration
- Google’s Blogger Warning Notification Blocks Search Engine Spiders, Search Engine Roundtable
- How Does Changing Your Navigational Links To Rich Keywords Impact Rankings?, Search Engine Roundtable
- Is Offering One-Time Search Engine Optimization Advice a Viable Business Model?, Search Engine Roundtable
- SEO Bookmarklets Collection: On-Page SEO and Domain Stats, Search Engine Journal
- The 4 fundamentals of SEO remain as relevant as ever, Search Engine War
- Ranking for Company Names – OrangeSoda’s Idea of SEO?, The Organic SEO
- Oh, Canada, Twitter Blog
- First Hand Accounts Of Terrorist Attacks In India On Twitter, Flickr, TechCrunch
- Yes, Twitter is a source of journalism, Mathew Ingram
- Leveraging Social Networks to gain Twitter Followers, Shimon Sandler
- Facebook Loses Members’ Notification Settings. What Will They Lose Next?, TechCrunch
- Why I Love Twitter, O’Reilly Radar
- Facebook Aims to Extend Its Reach Across the Web, New York Times
- Power.com: For Social Networking Power Users, TechCrunch
- Goodbye Pownce, Hello Six Apart, The Pownce Blog
Video, Music & Image Search
- BBC launches live streaming TV, E-Consultancy
- YouTube Is A Global Media Property, AVC
- Google’s Video Crawler Not Respecting Robots.txt Directives?, Search Engine Roundtable
- Eric Enge interviews Brett Crosby, Stone Temple
- 7 Biggest Mistakes of Web Analytics, adCenter Analytics Blog
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- 7 Ways to Improve Ecommerce Sites and Sell Like its Black Friday Everyday (Without Reducing Your Prices)!
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- Google's Top 10 for SEO by SearchWiki
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- Kate Morris Joins New Edge Media!!!!!!