Thursday, August 17, 2006
Modeling Your Website After the Greats
Modeling Your Website After the Greats
if not most site owners would love to become as big, profitable, and
well known as Google, Amazon, eBay, and other giants of e-business.
This article examines how these great companies became great, and
suggests how you can follow in their footsteps.
Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, said "All
I have seen is because I stood on the shoulders of Giants before me."
Modeling successful e-businesses and their practices is equivalent to
standing on the shoulders of giants. It is not a guarantee of success
in itself, but it beats re-inventing the wheel every time you want to
build and market online. With the successes of companies such as eBay,
Priceline, Monster, Amazon, and finally Google, it is clear that they
are the best e-businesses in the world.
Salesmen study the
tactics of great salesmen, read their books, listen their tapes, and
practice. Great generals study military history and philosophy, examine
the tactics of soldiers from ancient Greece through the present day,
and apply them to modern warfare. But in the world of website
marketing, it seems this modeling process is ignored. The Internet is a
whole new media, but the same practices that are used in the past are
supposed to be applied to this media.
Instead we have a rash of
self-styled instant gurus who promise you instant results. They tell
you that such and such Internet product or marketing strategy will be
the next big thing online, and that you should part with large sums
ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars to become
an "instant" Internet success. Or at worst, an "overnight" success. If
there is one thing every truly successful person, online or offline
will tell you (and most of the time, they are too busy being successful
to try and get a few hundred dollars out of you with a sales copy
written in red, and a few dozen testimonials), it is there are no
"instant" fixes, and "overnight" means at least a few months of daily
research, continuous learning, some form of mild obsession with the business and a bull headed determination to succeed.
Posted at 09:26 am by kher_mukta
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Click Fraud isn`t Going Away
The press was all abuzz recently with a report
released by California-based online research company Outsell. The
report was based on a survey conducted in May. Its findings have some
very painful implications for your search engine marketing budget.
of the first important articles I wrote for SEO Chat covered click
fraud. A year and a half later, two search engines (Google and Yahoo)
settled click fraud class action lawsuits, but the problem is still
with us, and shows no sign of going away. That’s just a small part of
what Outsell is telling us with the results of its survey.
mentioned, the company conducted the survey in May. More than 400
online advertisers responded, with yearly advertising budgets ranging
from several thousand dollars to more than $10 million. Together, these
advertisers control about $1 billion per year of online advertising
That might seem like a drop in the bucket for more
conventional advertising, but for Internet advertising, it’s a very
significant fraction of a growing field. According to research firm
eMarketer, this market was worth $10 billion in 2005 and will be worth
more than $15 billion in 2006. Google and Yahoo together will capture
nearly half of that market. So Outsell’s study examines the online
marketing experiences, monetarily speaking, of about ten percent of the
customers. Outsell describes those who responded to the survey as a
representative cross section.
So what did Outsell find in its
survey? According to some figures, it found a $1.3 billion problem with
click fraud. While there have been percentage estimates of the problem
before, few actually put a dollar amount on it. And how did Outsell
come up with that figure? Apparently, all it did was apply simple math
to the results of its survey.
Posted at 09:23 am by kher_mukta
Monday, August 14, 2006
This is all you need while doing SEO analysis :
- Statistical Data - The biggest
part of an SEO analysis is the research. Research results in
statistical data. This is not just information you have in your web
stats program, but other information you may not have access to, such
as how many people do a search every day on your particular keyword, or
what your competition is doing, and how they are doing it. There can
be endless reports and data that an SEO could provide, so be aware you
can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers provided. An SEO might
consider creating the analysis as an overview, with the statistical
data in addenda or reports to back up the information.
- Explanations of Terminology
- You may end up with a huge analysis with lots of data, findings, and
reports, but if you can't make heads or tails of it, then it may not do
you much good. Some SEO firms put the analysis on paper for you, and
then offer a free consultation with it to go over anything you may not
understand. This is a good idea if the SEO firm doesn't explain the
results in the analysis directly.
- Specific Keyword Research
- I hate broad keywords. I hate SEOs that recommend broad keywords even
more. Unless you are a site with thousands of backlinks because of
branding or other link popularity reasons, you are just not going to
rank highly for broad keywords. A good SEO analysis will gear its
keyword research to keywords and key phrases that are appropriate for
your site and its pages, and make recommendations for keywords or key
phrases to consider optimizing for.
- Screenshots or Other Evidence
- If you get an analysis with a bunch of recommendations or
percentages, keyword densities or whatever statistics you are provided
without any corroborating evidence, then the analysis provider could
just be pulling numbers out of a hat as far as you're concerned. A good
analysis will have additional information that will back up the
- Detailed Findings -
It is not enough just to show you what your meta tags say. You can find
that information out yourself, so why would you need someone else to do
that for you? You need specific research customized to your site that
digs pretty deep. You will want to look for a search engine simulation
(what a search engine would see if it were to crawl your site), a list
of broken links, site structure, navigation crawlability, which pages
and how many of them are being indexed, when the last search engine
crawl was, and so on.
- Current Search Engine Rankings
- I don't just mean the top ten or even top 40 results, because chances
are you can do all of this yourself. Look for a company or individual
who can access 500 to 1000 or more results in more than just one search
- Site Recommendations - If you
pay for an analysis, you should be able to take that analysis and
change some of your site elements yourself with that SEO's
recommendation. Now obviously an SEO wants your business, and wants to
do the work for you, so they aren't going to reveal all of the little
secrets they have about your site, but there should still be a good
portion of step by step instructions for you to work with. If there is
a consultation included, it's even better.
Posted at 01:39 am by kher_mukta
Friday, August 11, 2006
Yahoo!`s Stand on Free Speech in China
do you do when your principles and your options don't match? Yahoo! and
the other major search engines are in that situation when they try to
do business in China. Read about what brought Yahoo! to this state, and
what it is trying to do about it.
For any American businessman who
takes the values of his home country to heart, it must be a nightmare
come to life. When the business itself can be seen as reflecting the
highest of those values, accusations of betrayal—and worse—quickly
follow. Yet it is exactly these waters that the major search engines
must steer through every day, and in this case, that Yahoo! finds
itself mired in concerning China.
To be sure, Yahoo! isn’t alone.
Google took a lot of heat recently for finally caving in and agreeing
to comply with China’s laws by censoring the search results of its
China website. To be fair, it was the last major search engine to do
so. But Google hasn’t yet had to deal with the mass of anger in the
United States surrounding political arrests of Internet users in China
that stemmed from the company simply obeying the law. Yahoo! has, and
it hasn’t been pretty.
For those who haven’t heard, Yahoo! China
in Beijing was required to provide information about a user. This user
turned out to be Shi Tao, who was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in
prison. His crime was “divulging state secrets abroad.” According to
Reporters Without Borders, Shi Tao had sent “foreign-based websites the
text of an internal message which the authorities had sent to his
newspaper warning journalists of the dangers of social destabilization
and risks resulting from the return of certain dissidents on the 15th
anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.”
information the Chinese government considered top secret—or at least,
that’s what it claims. Shi Tao disputed that claim. You’d think that a
government sending someone top secret information would at least label
it as such so that there could be no disagreement over this point!
Instead of China taking all of the heat for this, though, Yahoo! is
taking a lot of it, as if its compliance with the law in China was some
kind of appeasement policy. Those who maintain that point of view don’t
have a good grasp of Yahoo!’s options, which are more limited than you
might think. To understand this, it helps to look back in time a few
Posted at 08:49 am by kher_mukta
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