Thursday, August 10, 2006
One of the very first things we do when we start
working with a client on a search engine optimization project is
perform a head to toe site analysis. In fact, more often than not, we
won’t actually even quote a price for SEO unless we’ve already done an
The reasons for that are three-fold. First, every single
website is different. Second, we have no idea what we're dealing with
just by glancing at a site. Lastly, and most importantly, we spend a
large amount of time performing the analysis because it's such an
important part of putting together a plan for a site's SEO project.
this might appear at first to be not a particularly earth-shattering
revelation, it surprises me how many so-called SEOs don't actually do
an initial site analysis. Another thing that gets me shaking my head
is the standard single page of statistics that many SEO firms consider
to be an analysis. In this article, I'm going to share with you a
couple of secrets to finding out what may really be going on with your
website that we always look at during the course of an SEO analysis.
But first, I want to show you a few so-called SEO analyses that quite
frankly have me hopping mad.
I am a firm believer in looking at
the entire SEO picture. There is no magic formula to optimizing a
website for search engines; no secret formula to that winning
combination. There are, however, a few foundational aspects of good,
basic SEO. One of those is the analysis.
Now I don't want to
sound like a suspicious, cynical individual who can find nothing better
to do than to "spy" on my competition. I do, however, try to find out
what other SEO firms are doing for my own benefit. So when a company
offers a free analysis, I ask for one. I have several other websites
that honestly have nothing to do with SEO. I have my own personal
website with a blog, pictures of my kids, and my writing portfolio. I
frankly don't have time to optimize it well. But I'm not really looking
to gain a bunch of visitors to my site from the search engines; it's
just my own outlet for personal stuff. So usually I ask for an analysis
on this site. I also dabble in some web design, and occasionally, I'll
want an analysis on that site, too. I usually reserve asking for the
analysis on the last one for when I run across a particularly obtuse
company who may not notice the many blurbs or links I have to my SEO
In my own research and desire to streamline my own
analysis efforts, I have compared my information over the span of a few
months. These are just a few of my findings.
Posted at 07:33 am by kher_mukta
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Google Launches Project Hosting
It’s common knowledge that Google likes open source
software. With the search engine’s latest move to create an open source
repository, it’s getting behind the open source community in a big way.
For various reasons, however, it’s getting mixed reviews.
unveiled the new service at the O'Reilly Open Source Developers
Conference. It's called Project Hosting, and like all Google betas,
it's free to use, though you do need to have a Google account. The
service is supposed to give open source software developers a web-based
ability to track bugs and other issues with their software,
collaborate, and otherwise handle the many details involved in working
on and coordinating an open source project.
Posted at 03:04 am by kher_mukta
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
As SEOs and webmasters, we're always looking for ways
to get the search engine spiders to crawl our sites, and the deeper,
the better. This article shows you how to target Yahoo's crawler and
convince it to stop by regularly.
The search engine wars are fought
with strategies, alliances, and robots. As Yahoo! primes itself to be
the number one contender for market share after Google, websites that
want to optimize for Yahoo must study how Yahoo ranks pages and how it
indexes pages. The Yahoo web crawler SLURP should be studied; your site
server logs should have recorded visits from various robots, including
SLURP. If you do not have records of SLURP visiting your site, then
this article will give tips on how to get SLURP to crawl (hopefully
deep crawl) your site.
SLURP evolved from Inktomi SLURP. The Yahoo SLURP robot is an upgrade
from Inktomi’s SLURP. Yahoo used Inktomi’s search engine to replace
Google, which used to take care of its search results. This officially
triggered the second search engine wars (the first was won by Google
without it declaring hostilities).
Yahoo has at least 130
million registered users on its network. Granted, Google is
the definitive search engine, but Yahoo is large enough that it should
not be ignored.
Posted at 08:55 am by kher_mukta
Friday, August 04, 2006
Behavioral Advertising: Future?
If you’ve been keeping up with the trends in online
marketing, you’ve probably been hearing about something called
“behavioral advertising,” “behavioral targeting,” or “behavioral
marketing.” What is it, and how is it different from the kind of online
marketing you’re already doing? Keep reading to find out.
marketing has actually been around for a few years. In its crudest
form, pre-Internet, it may have consisted of special mailings to repeat
customers. Today, behavioral marketing involves serving up ads to a
particular individual based on his or her previous online behavior. It
is not to be confused with contextual advertising, which serves up ads
that are related to the content of the web page on which they're
This means that two people seeing the same web page
could see completely different ads. For example, let's take two
surfers, one an outdoorsman who likes to visit hiking-related websites,
another a big theater buff. They're both planning a visit to South
Florida. Maybe they both end up on the same site with general
information about the area, but the outdoorsman sees ads for the local
parks or hiking groups, while the theater enthusiast sees ads for
tickets to upcoming theater performances.
You can probably see
why many online advertisers are very excited about behavioral
marketing's potential. It promises the ability to reach an even tighter
audience with more relevant ads than contextual marketing can achieve.
In theory, this means advertisers can show (and pay for) fewer
impressions of their ads, while enjoying a higher click-through rate -
and more importantly, a higher conversion rate.
With this kind
of potential, you would expect to see a lot of advertisers eager to try
out this new form of online marketing. The truth is a little more
mixed. According to figures quoted by Search Engine Watch,
only eight percent of all online advertising is behaviorally targeted.
That number seems a little low, but there are reasons for this, as I'll
go into shortly. Some of them will become obvious when I explain more
about how behavioral targeting actually works.
Posted at 05:43 am by kher_mukta
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Is this topic necessary? After all, it is the
Internet; just put up a site, offer content, optimize for search
engines, and voila! You have hits. Well, maybe you have hits, and maybe
And if you do have hits, how long will your traffic grow?
How far can you expand? How big can you become? What is the difference
between a small, profitable operation like www.internetmarketingsecrets.com, or www.freewebmasterhelp.com, and a large household name like www.devshed.com.
I mean, they all offer great content, they all optimize their sites for
the SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Pages) but only one of them is
a household name, relatively speaking, on the Internet.
The Bad News
the real (as opposed to virtual) world of traditional marketing, it is
the biggest brands that have the largest market share. In fact, market
share is not determined by quality of service or excellence of product.
It is a question of branding. Does Daimler Chrysler make the best cars?
Or does Nokia really make the best phones? If they do, will they still
make such great products tomorrow? I answer, who cares? I have my mind
made up. Don't confuse me with the facts!
On the Internet, Google has branded itself as the
search engine. The terms "google" and "googling" even made it into the
Merriam-Webster dictionary recently to signify using the Google search
engine to search online. Despite the distinction of using a lower case
letter and the fact that it specifically refers to just the Google
search engine, Google risks its name becoming like Levis, which I found
in the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary defined as "jeans." Amazon
has branded itself for books, and eBay for auctions; devshed has
branded itself through its network of sites for content --
specifically, for information about open source software.
will beat a better product or service ALL the time, not once, not nine
out of ten times, but all the time. In traditional marketing, if the
customer wants to choose any other product apart from the brand, he
will easily find an alternative (a second brand that competes in that
space, like Coke and Pepsi). In the online world, however, there
usually is no second. Second in a category can spell death (read as
"dependence on SERPs").
Posted at 09:43 am by kher_mukta
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Google has said before that it wants to organize all
of the world’s information. With rumors circulating that it is
developing a way for users to store all of their information online, it
could be getting closer to that goal. Keep reading for a look at the
rumors, and hopefully a perspective check.
As a historian by
training, I try to look at things in chronological order. So I’ll start
with what happened first chronologically, even though it wasn’t the
first point to come to light. In July 2004, a young software engineer
named David Braginsky wrote in his blog that he “became a techlead of
project Platypus at Google,” among many other things happening in his
life. Sadly, his next update wasn't for another year, and only
mentioned that he “really wants to focus on work.” There are no entries
newer than August 2005 and no hints as to what project Platypus
In September 2005, Garett Rogers posted some
speculation in his blog about a new project of Google’s called GDrive.
After revealing that Google owns the gbrowser.com domain, he suggests
that it could stand for “file browser.” Then he figures that “if google
was smart, they would provide some sort of online storage medium that
can be accessed from anywhere… a similar 3rd party application had been
developed called ‘GDrive’ which utilized GMail as it's storage. This
application has suspiciously been discontinued.” After doing a little
digging, Rogers discovered that the gdrive.com domain is owned by the
same parties who own the gbrowser.com domain, which leads back to
Google. He saw that as convincing evidence that Google is working on a
In December 2005, Google bought Writely.com, an online
word processor that lets you store your documents securely online. It
was by no means the first service that Google made available to its
users that allowed them to store content online, nor would it be the
last; Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Spreadsheet, Blogger, Google Base,
and Picasa, just to name a few, allow users to store and share
different kinds of content in a variety of ways. But there’s nothing to
tie it all together into one drive, or at least not yet.
Posted at 12:59 am by kher_mukta
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
In the last hundred years, the world has seen so many
revolutionary and technological advancements that have changed our
lives so completely that they are hardly recognizable. And as the
decades go by, advances in technology go forward at G-force speeds, and
it’s almost impossible to keep up with them. As search engine
technology gets better, faster, and amazingly more in line with the
results users want, there are a few things still that may seem more
like science fiction than possible near reality.
Search engines are
continuously attempting to refine and streamline their results to fit
the user’s search parameters. Semantic search has made some advances,
taking the context of a web page and delivering ads to target that
particular audience, but it's a long way from being perfect. We are
seeing trends in speech recognition software, and it keeps improving.
next logical product of Internet search is voice activated search.
What’s amazing is that it is already being done on a far broader scale
than you might imagine. The next logical step for search engine results
is to not have to speak at all, but rather to “know” just what the user
wants. The only way to do this is either to develop a psychic machine,
or to plug directly into the human brain and read our thoughts. You
might be surprised to find out that experiments have already begun.
options for those with hearing impairments, disabilities, and poor
vision have existed for a little while now, and these have already
evolved well into the world of semantics from speech recognition, of
which one group of these accessibility options is referred to as
alternative input devices.
These can include systems that
operate by inhaling and exhaling (called sip and puff systems), touch
screens, and electronic input devices that can be worn on the head and
operated by eye movement, ultrasound, infrared and other light systems,
or even sheer brain waves. Brain waves are the very weak electrical
signals given off by the firing of millions of nerve cells in the
brain, which can even be measured outside of the human head.
Posted at 01:18 am by kher_mukta
Monday, July 31, 2006
Google Cracks Down on Arbitragers
Internet marketing :
Any time Google tweaks its algorithms, it sends SEOs
scurrying to figure out what’s going on. The latest tweaks are no
exception, even though they don’t affect Google’s organic search
results. If you have a pay-per-click campaign going, though, you’ll
want to keep reading.
If you've been web surfing for a while and
click on search engine ads regularly, you've probably encountered "Made
for AdSense" websites. These sites entice with ads or sponsored links
that turn up near the top of the search results for keywords with high
click through rates. When you click on the ad to visit the site,
however, you are greeted by a landing page that is full of other ads
and very little content. What happened? The owner of the site may pay a
little money to the search engine every time his ad is clicked in
Google, but he more than makes it back from the web surfers who land on
his big page of advertising when they click on THOSE ads.
group, these folks are known as arbitragers. Google's guidelines for
webmasters specifically discourage made for AdSense (MFA) websites, but
the monetary rewards are still seductive. While arbitragers make money
from their MFA sites - and, let's face it, so does Google - they
degrade the user experience. If a searcher clicks on an ad expecting to
reach a site that's highly relevant to her search and lands on a page
with more ads instead, what does that tell her?
It sends a
message that search engine ads can't be trusted to deliver relevant
content. In the future, this web surfer will be less likely to click on
ads or sponsored listings. Multiply the one web surfer by everyone who
has had this experience, add to that the percentage of Google's revenue
that comes from advertising, factor in the long term, and you have an
equation that is not good for the search engine's eventual bottom line
Posted at 01:00 am by kher_mukta
Friday, July 28, 2006
Yahoo Click Fraud Settlement Increases Transparency
Internet Marketing :
After a year of litigation, a California judge gave
preliminary approval to a settlement in a class action suit against
Yahoo concerning click fraud. Google also settled a class action
lawsuit revolving around click fraud earlier this year. There are some
important differences in the two settlements, which might reflect some
very different attitudes at the two competing search engines.
might remember that Google agreed to a $90 million settlement last
March to clear up litigation in a class action lawsuit led by
Arkansas-based Lane’s Gifts and Collectibles. Yahoo’s settlement, at
least initially, isn’t nearly as large; the venerable search engine
will pay $4.95 million in cash to plaintiff’s counsel. In Google’s
case, the plaintiff’s counsel received $30 million, while credits to
advertisers for the class action were capped at $60 million. Yahoo’s
settlement has no such cap on advertiser claims.
Yes, you read
that correctly. Yahoo has said that it will not put a cap on the
refunds if it finds evidence of click fraud. The company is even quite
optimistic that its claims payments will not be overly onerous, even
though it made billions of dollars in revenue from pay-per-click
advertising during the period covered by the class action.
Yahoo have a good reason for this optimism, or is it just bravado?
Well, it’s worth remembering that Yahoo Search Marketing came out of
Yahoo’s purchase of Overture, the company that created the
pay-per-click search advertising model back in 1998 –- so by
definition, Yahoo has more years of experience with this particular
business, and its pitfalls, than anyone. It notes on its web site that
“one of the very first challenges we identified was the potential for
people with bad intentions to click on listings with the sole purpose
of generating a charge to the advertiser. To address this challenge, we
quickly established a system of proprietary technologies and people
dedicated to protecting our advertisers from click fraud and other
traffic quality related issues.”
Indeed, during the litigation
process between Yahoo and Checkmate Strategic Group, Yahoo invited the
plaintiff’s counsel and their experts to take a look at the search
engine’s proprietary click through protection system in action. Yahoo
even gave the plaintiff’s counsel access to team members and filtering
data. After this review, Yahoo proudly states that “the Plaintiff’s
Counsel and their experts determined that Yahoo! has in the past and
continues to operate a click protection system that goes above and
beyond what is necessary to address recent industry estimates about
click fraud.” With some estimates of click fraud quoted as high as 20
percent, that is no mean feat.
Posted at 12:33 am by kher_mukta
Thursday, July 27, 2006
The eBay, PayPal, and Google Fight
The eBay, PayPal, and Google rivalry heated
up in recent weeks. Google Checkout launched on June 29 after nearly a year of
much anticipation, speculation and secrecy. Yet in the week since its launch,
Google Checkout has come up against a huge obstacle from one of its biggest
AdWords customers: eBay. EBay has banned Google Checkout as an accepted payment
service for its sellers.
EBay’s own payment service is PayPal, recently acquired in the last year at
the expense of eBay’s own payment service, Billpoint. eBay has likely feared
the new Google payment service would rival PayPal. In fact, before the
launch, speculators have said that the Google payment service would definitely
give PayPal a run for its money, no pun intended. In fact, there were even
many eBay sellers hoping this was indeed true. Sites such as
PayPalSucks.com and other PayPal-hating sites were gleeful over the idea that
another corporate giant wanted a piece of PayPal’s pie.
Nearly to the minute Google Checkout was launched, an eBay employee talked
“smack” on the search engine giant’s payment service, still referring to Google
Checkout as “GBuy,” as it was called before its launch. The post has since
been deleted; but hey folks, this is the Internet! Haven’t you heard
of cache? Obviously someone was able to dig up the cached post.
Here’s a snippet:
“I find it amusing how the general media is claiming
GBuy will be a significant competitor to PayPal based on GBuy having near zero
buyers actually using the service vs over 100MM using PayPal. Let's recall
something here folks. In its current form, GBuy is a glorified merchant
account… Merchants will always prefer to be the merchant of record by
maintaining their own merchant account (vs having Google be the seller of
record via GBuy). Without that community base, GBuy is simply Greenzap with a
'better' (more evil?) seller proposition...”
Posted at 12:09 am by kher_mukta