Saturday, March 14, 2009

Moving to Insider-SEM.com

Okay, we're wrapping up this site. Moving to the new book's site at Insider-SEM.com. There is also The-CCG-Group.com. Go to these for blog updates.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Q: Should I hire a blogger for $500 to promote my event?


A: There are (no exaggerating) 130 million blogs. Only a few thousand get substantial traffic. If you hire a blogger, then you'll have to see his traffic numbers. Use Google Analytics (or Omniture or Coremetrics). I don't trust the other traffic tools; they are easy to fake.


If he has substantial traffic (+50,000 unique readers per month) and they are your target audience, then yes.


But what would my cat do (WWMCD)? Put the $500 into advertising on LinkedIn, where you can target by job title. Your ad will appear ONLY to people with the job titles that you want.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

DOJ's Antitrust Suit against Google

From today's John Paczkowski's WSJ blog:


... consider the DOJ’s comments Wednesday on Google's proposed advertising partnership with Yahoo"


"Yahoo and Google abandoned their advertising agreement after the Department of Justice informed the companies that it would file an antitrust lawsuit to block the implementation of the agreement. The Department said that, if implemented, the agreement between these two companies accounting for 90 percent or more of each relevant market would likely harm competition in the markets for Internet search advertising and Internet search syndication."


Google abandoned the deal not because pressing ahead with it "risked" a protracted legal battle, but because it guaranteed one. The DOJ was going to sue to block the pact.


"The Department's investigation revealed that Internet search advertising and Internet search syndication are each relevant antitrust markets and that Google is by far the largest provider of such services, with shares of more than 70 percent in both markets."


Internet search advertising and Internet search syndication are "relevant antitrust markets." In other words, they’re natural monopoly businesses.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Google/Yahoo No More

The Google/Yahoo merger/collaboration/joint venture or whatever it was, anyway, it's over. Google
just announced the breakup. Well... there's always Microsoft! :-)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Chrome: The End for Apple?

Google Chrome: It's a new browser, yes, but it's more than that. We don't need yet another browser: there is IE, Firefox, and Opera. Chrome is faster and has a few clever things. But it's not just a browser: it's the beginning of the next generation of software. Open Chrome and create a few tabs. Grab a tab and drag it away from Chrome. It pulls off and opens like a new window. For web browsing, this is cute but not really useful. But... if that tab had a program in it, such as a text editor or a graphics program, you've effectively turned a web page into software. Click the "page" icon (next to the wrench icon). One of the items is "Create Application Shortcut". If your new web page is a tool, this item lets you turn that page into a clickable icon on your desktop. For example, open Google Adwords or Google Analytics and use the "Create Application Shortcut". Bingo. You now have Adwords as a clickable icon on your desktop. Adwords is now a program.


Chrome is Google's platform to run software within browsers. No more standalone software in a box or on a CD. This will have huge implications for the way software is released and distributed. And of course, it's a major threat to Microsoft (and, yes, Apple); a computer doesn't need a large operating system. It can have a simple desktop, only big enough to run a browser. That's exactly what the Google phone will be: a portable device that can run Chrome and all of Google's applications within Chrome. If a gPhone can do it, then desktop computers can do it. Goodbye Windows and Apple.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SES SJ 2008: Overview

SES SJ 2008 is the main trade show for the SEO/PPC industry. It was held last week in San Jose. Here are summaries of all sessions: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four. The insider's view? Most of these presentations talk about trivial issues or they are based on ideas from one-to-two years ago. Only the presentation on Quality Score is up to date, but the speaker said too little to be useful.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Evidence-based Marketing (EBM)

Okay, you know about analytics. Here's another item. Evidence-based marketing uses "best available scientific evidence" for decision-making. It's marketing based on facts, not gut feelings. It's now very easy to get data about your customers with analytics. For our new book Search Engine Marketing (McGraw-Hill, 2008), I worked with Roslyn Layton, MBA to develop the KPIs (key performance indicators) that measure the value of multichannel marketing. Roslyn continues to work in the field to refine the measures even further. Check out RoslynLayton.com.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Flash Can Now Be Indexed

Google/Yahoo/Microsoft (GYM) can now index Flash files. Adobe created a tool for the search engines that allows them to index the text content in Flash.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Google Ad Planner

Google Ad Planner is a media research tool. You enter demographics and sites that match your target audience and the tool will show more sites that your audience is likely to visit. You can also see the demographics and related searches for a particular site, or you can get aggregate statistics for the sites to make your media plan. Ad Planner also lets you create and export media plans to a .csv file. Free to use at www.google.com/adplanner/ (This is currently (June 2008) in beta testing. They will open it up to the public soon.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Build free websites with Google Sites

Google Sites is a new tool to let people build Websites without any coding. Up to now, a new website required help from the information-technology department. Workers don't want to wait months for IT to find the time and money for their project. Google says you can set up a site "without having to burden IT for support." Isn't that sweet of them? It’s like showing teenagers how to sneak out of the house and say you're doing this to "avoid burdening the parents with details".

Labels:

Free Internal Search: Microsoft's Search Server 2008

Microsoft's Search Server 2008 allows companies to search files and documents inside their corporate network. The download includes online administration, reporting, and provisioning. Microsoft Search Server 2008 (free) competes with Google's Search Appliance (which starts at $3,000 and goes up to $30,000).

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Free Google Analytics Debugger

SiteScanGA.com will check your site to see if the Google Analytics tracking code is set up correctly.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Low-Cost Website Templates

Time to refresh your website's look? Does your website's design look like 1997? Are your webpages fraying around the edges? Web design is much easier now. You can buy templates for $25-50 at sites such as HyperTemplates.com and TheBestDesigns.com. Get ideas at a huge collection of website designs CoolHomepages.com. Your webmaster should be able to implement these.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Microsoft Analytics

Not to be left out, Microsoft is releasing their own analytics tool. It's free. I signed up for it and I'm trying it out. It's in beta and still a bit buggy. It looks very cool. More in a few days.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Google's ABM Tool

Google finally released an ABM tool. This has been one of the most requested tools for several years. This tool is as significant as the release of Google Analytics. ABM (Automated Bid Management) tools automatically adjust your bids for optimal results. Instead of manually adjusting bids (time-consuming and mostly on a rough guess), ABM tools can adjust bids literally every few minutes in increments of one cent. And it can adjust bids based on location, so there can be different bids for ads in NYC and Palo Alto. You get the best possible bid at that minute, for that day, for that city.

Best of all, Google's ABM tool is free. Other ABM tools can cost several thousand dollars per month.

To qualify for this tool, you must have campaigns with 200 or more conversions within the last 30 days. If so, go to the campaign's settings and look under budget options.

Labels:

Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 Touch Up

Does your website look like something that was designed in 1997? It's a new year and it's time to freshen up your websites. Here are several tips on how to get a new look for the new year:

1) Buy web templates at HyperTemplates.com or TheBestDesigns.com and hire someone to implement it. It shouldn't cost more than a few hundred dollars.

2) Your logo should be done by a professional graphics person. Try LogoWorks.com.

3) Make it easy for people to contact you. You can add forms with Web-Form-Buddy.com.

4) Allow people to pay you online. PayPal is easy to implement.

5) To promote your services or products, use PPC to advertise on Google. Add Google Analytics so you can track your advertising. More at www.Insider-SEO.com.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Google Analytics Tracking Code

Google Analytics released a new version of their tracking code. There is also some documentation, but it says very little. I tested the new code; it will not delete or erase the old data. The old code will continue to work until the end of 2008 (but no more updates or improvements). We suggest that you switch over to the new code. Note: you can't mix both old and new code on the same page. So... go ahead and switch to the new code.

Labels:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Compare Prices with Google SMS

When you're in a store, use Google on your cell phone to compare prices. SMS the product name (e.g., "price mp3 player"), ISBN, or UPC number ("price 1591841410") to GOOGLE (466453). Google will give you comparison prices. You can also enter a type of restaurant and a city (e.g., "pizza, dallas") and get a listing. Try it at SMS.Google.com.

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Facebook vs. MySpace

Facebook caught up to MySpace and is passing them. The chart shows their percentage of daily web share. Each of them gets about 6% of the daily traffic on the web. In late 2006, Facebook opened up their site to everyone. That resulted in steep growth. The graph comes from Alexa.com (click for a larger image.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Internal Site Search in Google Analytics

Google Analytics finally turned on Site Search. This lets you track what your visitors are searching in your website's internal search (you do have an internal search box, no?). Various studies show that visitors who use internal search will convert 3X more than other visitors. So... add internal search and turn on Site Search (Here's how...)

Labels: ,

Friday, November 02, 2007

Web Analytics Association Certification

The Web Analytics Association, a professional association for analytics professionals is working on establishing various industry standards. One of these standards will include a certification exam.

I have been invited to this committee and will work on formulating several of the questions that will be included in this exam.

The goal of the Web Analytics Certification Exam is to ensure a certain proficiency and quality for web analytics professionals as well as their employers. This is a major move in our industry to establish a set of standardized practices to better guide both the companies that rely on analytics data to power their online business strategy as well as the professionals serving those companies.

Adblock Plus blocks tools in Google Adwords

If Adblock Plus 0.7.5.3 is installed as an add-on in Firefox 2.0.0.8, the Keyword Tool in Google Adwords becomes unfunctional. You enter a keyword and the "Get Keyword Ideas" button won't work.

The Site-Related Keywords tab in Google Adwords also stops working.

Why? One of the Adblock Plus filters is blocking the Google Adwords website. You can turn off that filter.

How to do this:
Open Tools | Adblock Plus.
In the Options tab, turn on "Show in Status Bar".
Open Google Adwords and go to the Keyword tool (or use https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal).
At the bottom of the browser, a small red icon appears with the lable ABP.
This is Adblock Plus. Red indicates that something is being blocked on the page.
Rightclick the ABP icon.
Select "Disable on this page only". This turns off Adblock for the page.
You can also select "Disable on adwords.google.com" to allow any Adwords page to work.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 22, 2007

Use Site Architecture to Get More Traffic

Silo, internal architecture, theme structures: it's the same idea. Restructure your website so the pages are clustered in relevant groups. If you're rebuilding Ford.com, all the pages about Ford Mustangs go in one group, pages about F-150 pickup trucks in another group, and so on. This lets Google's spider identify the theme of the clusters so it can index and rank the pages better. I did this for andreas.com (avg. 30,000 unique visitors per month) a few months ago: traffic has increased to 39,000 unique visitors (the last 30 days).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Websites on PDAs

Thinking of building websites for PDAs? Want to see something new on your Treo or iPhone? Use your PDA to visit my website design tips for PDAs.
I was looking at my analytics and noticed my PDA site on how to do PDA web design was very popular. Since it has been up since early 2000, it's highly ranked at Google. I updated the site this afternoon and tested it on my Treo. I added Google Adwords for mobile devices to see how that works. For our clients, we'll do advertising on PDAs.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Book Reviews: "Web Analytics an Hour a Day"

Web Analytics an Hour a Day, by Avinash Kaushik. Avinash Kaushik focuses on the key issue: the visitors. Learn what your visitors want and then give it to them. Use analytics, competitive intelligence, and user polls to find out. Many sites focus only on customers (the ones who actually buy) and pretty much ignore the remaining visitors (who make up 60-80% of the traffic). By looking at visitors, you can improve the overall experience, and very likely the conversion rate as well. Avinash's book is far away the best book on analytics. He has solid experience in using analytics tools at large companies. He also has a degree in engineering and an MBA, so he understands both the technical and the business aspects. The book is a solid presentation of how to use analytics to establish and reach business goals. As you've figured out by now, analytics is not about tracking URLs or auto-generated reports. It's business. See a longer book review of Web Analytics an Hour a Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Book Reviews: "Actionable Web Analytics"

Actionable Web Analytics, by Jason Burby and Shane Atchison. Jason Burby is the Chief Analytics Officer at ZAAZ and Shane Atchison is the CEO of ZAAZ. They use analytics to build better websites for corporate customers. This is a practical book on how to use analytics to get KPIs, measure what you need to know, and how to implement the information as business decisions. Well-written book by two guys who actually do this for a living. See a longer book review.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Book Review: "Web Analytics Demystified"

"Web Analytics Demystified", by Eric Peterson. Eric Peterson also wrote "The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators" (2004). "Web Analytics Demystified" discusses the advantages and disadvantages of log files vs. tagging and the implications for WA. Eric also defines key WA terms: views, visitors, frequency, and so on. These terms are defined differently by each analytics tool vendor, so you have to know what they mean by their terms in order to compare the numbers. He systematically goes through every aspect of analytics and lays out the issues: what it means, how to measure it, how to interpret it, and the benefits and disadvantages in each concept. However, the book was written in 2004 and is a bit dated now. We've moved on from learning WA. These days, the issue is how to use analytics as part of a business strategy. The book also doesn't cover Web 2.0 issues, such as Ajax, Flash, and Adobe Flex (these weren't widespread at the time of the book). Nevertheless, it is an essential handbook. See a longer book review.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Book Reviews: "Search Engine Marketing, Inc."

"Search Engine Marketing, Inc." by Mike Moran and Bill Hunt. Mike Moran is an IBM Distinguished Engineer with 20 years in search technology at IBM. Bill Hunt is CEO of Global Strategies International, an SEO company that develops and implements SEM strategies for Fortune 500 companies. This 560-page book shows how to develop and carry out search engine marketing (SEM) projects. It covers SEO and PPC, including how to present SEM strategies to upper management, how to work with the various teams in large organizations. The book is a professional presentation of the issues in developing and implementing an SEM campaign (incl. SEO and PPC) for large organizations. See a longer book review.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Book Reviews: "Winning Results with Google Adwords"

Book Reviews: "Winning Results with Google Adwords" by Andrew Goodman. Andrew Goodman has quite a bit of hands-on experience with Google Adwords. But he isn't a writer. There is no systematic presentation. The book is a jumbled collection of ideas, comments, notes, statistics, factoids, tips, and tricks. If you know Adwords extremely well (you have certification, you manage 10-12 accounts, and you've been doing it for several years), you'll get some good ideas out of the book. But if you're not an expert, the book will probably confuse you more. Here is a longer book review.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What's My Score? PageRank & Alexa Scores

It would be great if we had a score that indicates a website's value. For several years, there was Google's PageRank Value (PRV) and Alexa's score.

But these are worthless now. SEOers were becoming good at optimizing to get high PRV scores, so Google fudged the number. If you have a PRV-6, you don't know if that's really a PRV-2 or a PRV-8 or anything inbetween.

The same with Alexa scores. It's very easy to inflate a website's Alexa score. Hackers will do it for you. This means you can't trust Alexa scores.

After relying on PRV for several years (and writing about it in our book, p. 68-70), we don't use it anymore. We don't put it in our reports to clients; we advise clients to turn off the feature from their Google bar.

It's very regrettable that Google hid this number. There isn't a reliable indicator for the value of a website.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Insider SEO & PPC Book Released

After one year of research and work our second book is finally out. As of May 1st, 2006 you now have a book at your disposal which offers practical hand-ons case studies, tips & tricks to common SEO and PPC problems, and industry expert interviews.

My goal is to give you a clear path of action. In our new book, we show you how to use SEO and PPC in your business. Visit Insider-SEO.com for more.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Our Insider's Guide to SEO & PPC book will debut in May 2006. Our new book will be sold in Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com bookstores. To purchase a copy, visit JainPub.com.