Online Marketing Blog Roundup
Online Marketing Blog Roundup featuring a weekly collection of the best online marketing news and information.
This weird owl turned up when I searched Flickr for "Friday." Let's just go with it.Google and Other Forms of Corporate EvilEric Schmidt Is Right: Google’s Glory Days Are Numbered – At TechCrunch, Dan Kaplan quotes from Eric Schmidt’s letter to the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights (“History shows that popular technology is often supplanted by entirely new models”) and explains why Google is headed for a downfall.
Google Freshness Update: The Real Winners & Losers – Google recently announced a new update that delivers “fresher” results for about 35% of queries. Patrick Altolft thinks will be bad for brands, whose own properties will get pushed below random news and reviews.Google May Penalize Your Site for Having Too Man... > Read more
Two weeks ago, I blogged about Google’s announcement that it would stop providing keyword referral information for a portion of organic searches. At the time, people were kicking around numbers between 1 and 7% – Google claimed this wouldn’t have a big effect on marketers, and some people thought it was no big deal.
(For example, both Frank Reed and Alan Bleiweiss called SEOs “myopic” for overreacting to the news.)However, in just two weeks’ time, the situation has gotten worse, just as many of us feared. Rachael Gerson at SEER Interactive has “proof that Google’s secure search now affects more users”:Comparing yesterday (10/31) to the previous Monday, 27 of the sites had over 100% increase in ”(not provided)” traffic. We looked at the data in a second way, ... > Read more
It saddens me greatly to write this post. To most people in the world, RSS may be either dead or nonexistent. But for me, and for many people I know (some only virtually), RSS – specifically Google Reader – is a huge part of daily life. I have two tabs permanently open on Chrome: Gmail and Google Reader.
According to my “Trends” tab:From your 420 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 4,022 items, clicked 231 items, starred 1 items, shared 54 items, and emailed 2 items.Since December 6, 2007 you have read a total of 227,485 items.I love RSS because it allows me to keep up with hundreds of blogs without having to visit them individually to see if they’ve been updated. I can also organize my subscriptions into categories, so if I ... > Read more
Google made a pretty big announcement this week that is pissing a lot of people off – a lot of SEOs, that is. Namely, Google announced it will no longer reveal organic keyword referrals (search queries) for searches conducted while users are logged in. According to the Google Webmaster Blog:What is the impact of this change for webmasters? Today, a web site accessed through organic search results on http://www.
google.com (non-SSL) can see both that the user came from google.com and their search query. (Technically speaking, the user’s browser passes this information via the HTTP referrer field.) However, for organic search results on SSL search, a web site will only know that the user came from google.com.“For sites which have been added and verified in Webmaster Tools,” the post s... > Read more
In an all-too-keen instance of corporate irony, a Google employee this week sent what was meant to be an internal “memo” to his coworkers – right on up to Larry and Sergey – through Google+, and made the post 100% public by mistake. Whoops! At least when you accidentally “reply all,” your message is confined to the people in the original email list, right?The engineer, Steve Yegge, has since deleted the post, but Danny Sullivan reproduces most if not all of the memo in a post on Search Engine Land.
(The whole thing is interesting and I encourage you to read it.) The message, framed as a “family intervention,” is intended as a wake-up call for the powers that be at Google, alerting them that they’re missing something big: namely, they don’t get platforms:That one l... > Read more
Apple’s iOS5 Is On Its Way!People are getting geared up for Apple’s iOS5, expected to launch later today! In anticipation of iOS5, Apple released iTunes 10.5 and its new iCloud service earlier this week in case you couldn’t possibly wait another second to download some Apple updates.Facebook Gets Friend.
lyFacebook recently acquired the social Q&A company Friend.ly, not to be confused with Friendly’s, my New England childhood eatery that is sadly going out of business.Cone head sundaes and waffle fries aside, Friend.ly describes their app as a way to meet new people and foster friendships by answering questions. The app offers you a list of questions which you can choose to answer, or simply compliment other people’s answers by letting them know that you find their answer oh-s... > Read more
The official Google blog published a post earlier this week with the title “Ads Are Just Answers” – and I couldn’t help mentally inserting the addendum, “…that make us billions, suckers!” Let’s not forget that Google makes upwards of 97% of its revenue from advertising – that’s over $32 billion in advertising revenues annually.
Sponsored placement in the search results may be a billion-dollar idea, but it wasn’t actually Google’s idea. The credit goes to Bill Gross of Idealab, who got the idea from the Yellow Pages. Supposedly, Google tried and failed to buy the idea, so they copied it, launching AdWords in 2000 (Gross took legal action).People turn to search engines because they want answers. And according to Google, AdWords ads are just another way for people to ge... > Read more
Google Testing New Circular-Style AdsGoogle is testing new ad units called “Circulars” in hopes of mimicking the full-page inserts found in Sunday newspapers. These new ads will reportedly act as custom landing pages with attractive ad copy and large pictures. The circulars will appear when users click on search or display ads.
Google is introducing these new ads in response to retailers’ desire to drive online visitors into physical stores.The new ad format is scheduled to be unveiled later this week.Napster Acquired By RhapsodyRhapsody will soon be acquiring the once infamous online music subscription service Napster.Napster experienced tremendous popularity during its bad-boy days of P2P music sharing. Although Napster has never regained its former glory since shutting down after ... > Read more
There are two kinds of news: the kind of news that everyone gets excited about and the kind of news that everyone complains about. (Well, I guess there’s a third kind, the kind that nobody care about, but leaving that aside...) The webby world got some news of the former type this week, and that was the news that Netflix is splitting into two separate brands: one for the snail-mail DVD rentals that put the company on the map, and one for streaming services, the direction that movie rentals are going in.
The streaming-only service will continue to operate under the “Netflix” name, while the old-school DVD business will be branded as “Qwikster.”This news came straight from the horse’s mouth (that horse being Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO), framed as an apology for not... > Read more
Do you love the scroll wheel on your mouse and the down arrow key on your keyboard and like to exercise them as much as possible? I know I do! What I hate doing is finding the tiny arrow or “2” link at the bottom of a web page with my cursor – if there’s a “View all” link in the vicinity, I almost always click that instead.
Apparently, I’m not the only one – in response to user experience studies, Google is trying to get us all on the same page: Page 1, that is! Here are a couple of the ways this is playing out.Google Say, Pagination Bad!Yesterday, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog featured a post proclaiming that “User testing has taught us that searchers much prefer the view-all, single-page version of content over a component page containing only a portion of the same i... > Read more
A couple of posts that caught my eye this week focused on a sticky little problem at the heart of all marketing and advertising: honesty, or lack thereof. These posts raise the question, is it possible to market a product without crossing any ethical lines?Is It Ever OK to Lie? (Like, Say, for Mad Links?)Jill Whalen wrote a post this week called “Deceptive Marketing: A Necessary Evil for Search Marketers?” From the title, I expected this to be about truth in advertising – in other words, does marketing copy always stretch the truth? Instead, Jill was writing about link building and the little white lies we sometimes tell in order to score a link.
She tells a story about a link building technique she read about several years ago. The marketer, Melanie Nathan, recommended finding broken... > Read more
Gizmodo is largely a gadget blog. For the most part, they leave the gossip-based page-view baiting to sister site Gawker. However, this week, Gizmodo published a story that has nothing to do with gadgets and little if anything to do with technology, unless you consider online dating a cutting-edge technology.
The story, “My Brief OkCupid Affair With a World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player,” has racked up hundreds of thousands of page views and thousands of comments – probably hundreds of links to boot. So: successful linkbait, or craphat journalism? You be the judge! Here’s the gist of the story, which seems to have been edited by the author since its original posting: Alyssa Bereznak claims to have created an OKCupid profile after coming home drunk one night (... > Read more
So, I just moved into a new apartment in Denver. This weekend my other half and I went to the new IKEA out here and bought a bunch of bookshelves. He started building them on Monday and by Tuesday we were erecting them and loading them up with books. I noticed some extra parts he hadn’t used, and he said they were brackets to attach the shelves to the wall at the top.
“I don’t think we need to do that,” he said. “The shelves aren’t going to topple over.” “Yeah,” I conceded, “they’re probably for people who live in earthquake zones.” I.e., not us. About ten minutes later I saw this tweet in my stream from Trada's Elaine Ellis: Yikes! Apparently on Monday night a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit about nine miles from Trinid... > Read more
In honor of Elisa’s trip crossing the great Midwest this week, I’ve decided to do an Elisa-style roundup today, offering you a smorgasbord board of delectable links from this week. The Big News – In Case You Missed it Google’s announcement of their plans to buy Motorolla Mobility had everyone talking this week.
Search Engine Land wrote a great piece covering the ins and outs of such an acquisition, while Read Write Web collected various opinions on the matter. Links to Learn The end of August marks the end of summer for most students, and school is already back in session with Google as they introduced a new online resource, Learn With Google. This nifty new creation offers a wide variety of learning tools for small businesses looking to learn more about ... > Read more
Well, folks, today is my last day in the Boston office, though not my last day at WordStream – tomorrow I'm moving to Denver, CO, but if all goes well, I'll be back up and running in my home office on Monday, Aug. 22. Since things tend to get a little crazy in the last few days before you pack up everything you own and drive 2000 miles across the country, I thought I'd do something a little different here today and list some of the things I'm going to miss about working and living here in Boston (and some things I won't miss, natch).
I'll miss: Seeing my coworkers every day! Not to be sappy, but there really is a benefit to "face time." I'm going to get a little lonely out there, so please pay attention to me on Twitter. I won't miss: Having to get dressed in the morning. D... > Read more
Did you hear about the big study on browser use and IQ? As reported by CNN, BBC News, the Telegraph, Forbes and other major news outlets, a Canadian web consulting firm named Aptiquant released the results of a survey of 100,000 internet users, revealing that, perhaps unsurprisingly, users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser had lower IQs than users of Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and other browser alternatives.
The real surprise was just how unintelligent IE users are. The Guardian reported that “The results suggested that Internet Explorer surfers had an average IQ in the low eighties.” Whereas a score between 90 and 110 represents “normal or average intelligence,” a score of 80-90 signifies “dullness,” and 70-80 “borderline deficiency.” Ouch.Checking to see ... > Read more
Our most popular post in July was no big surprise – in fact, Larry's analysis of our latest infographic (Where's Google Making Its Money?), in which we delved into our keyword data to find the top 20 keyword categories in AdWords with the highest volume and costs per click, was not only our top post for the month, it's our most popular post of the year so far.
We're glad you all found this data as fascinating as we did!Here are the rest of the posts that grabbed your eyeballs this month (we hope they didn't cause any bruising):What to Do When Your AdWords CPCs Are Too High – Tom outlines five ways to lower your AdWords cost per click and get your campaigns back to profitability.The Social Media Showdown: Google+ Beating LinkedIn, Closing In On Twitter, Facebook – Our infographic caus... > Read more
Is it finally time to talk about something other than Google+? Yes, I think so, and this week we’re getting back to basics with an old-fashioned throwdown between two factions of web geek: search engine optimizers and developers.The battle began when Outspoken Media published a guest post by Andrew Norcross titled “News Flash to SEOs: Your Developer Hates You.
” And Norcross isn’t mincing words:While it’s no secret that many people have a general disdain for SEO’s in general, the guy (or gal) writing the code for that new niche website you’re getting ready to launch probably hates your guts. OK, maybe hate is a bit strong. But they almost all think you’re probably a fraud and cringe when they receive any form of communication from you.Norcross thinks a lot of the problem is ... > Read more
Google+, Google’s latest answer to the Facebook question, launched last week, and the fact that people are still talking about it could be a good sign for the search giant/social giant wannabe. Could it be that Google+ isn’t destined for the Google graveyard?On the Plus Side, It’s Better Than BuzzDanny Sullivan took a look at Google+ one week after launch and finds that users are gaining followers and traffic.
He points out that it took 17 months for Search Engine Land to get almost 1,000 followers on Google Buzz. In the same time period, its Facebook fans increased by nearly 16 times as much, and Twitter followers increased by about 35,000. And in just one week, Search Engine Land has 1,000 followers on Google+, indicating that it’s a lot more successful than Buzz right out of the... > Read more
There were a couple of interesting posts in ye olde blogosphere this week about click-through rate (CTR) – specifically, organic CTR from the Google SERP. We all know CTR is an important metric to track in PPC, since it’s a huge component in your Quality Score and therefore affects your ad rankings and costs per click.
But on the SEO side of the equation, how important is CTR? Is it a ranking factor? And, similarly, can you extrapolate CTR and traffic predictions from Google rankings? What's the relationship between these two tricky metrics?CTR and Organic RankingsDavid Harry tackles some of these questions in a post on Search News Central called “Are Click-Through Rates a Viable Ranking Factor?” I have always wondered if they might be – as Dave notes, “it just seems logic... > Read more
On TechCrunch, Rocky Agrawal has been writing a series of posts about Groupon – which as you surely know recently filed for a $750 million IPO. But Agrawal is not writing about Groupon’s rapid ascent to success, but rather its, in his mind, inevitable downfall. In fact many in the tech industry believe that the company’s growth and business model are completely unsustainable.
In his latest post, “Why Groupon Is Poised for Collapse,” Agrawal argues that Groupon is “the equivalent of a loan sharking business”: Businesses are being sold incredibly expensive advertising campaigns that are disguised as “no risk” ways to acquire new customers. In reality, there’s a lot of risk. With a newspaper ad, the maximum you can lose is the amount... > Read more
For years the New Yorker has been running a caption contest on its back page, where readers submit captions to go with a punchline-less cartoon. Winners receive a signed print of the final cartoon. It’s a brilliant, sticky content gimmick, especially for a print magazine – it’s interactive and addictive and keeps people coming back for more.
(How many people subscribe to the magazine but only read the cartoons?) In May, the magazine put out a call for a universal caption that could fit any New Yorker cartoon, and this week they rounded up some of their favorite submissions. You may remember that last year, Charles Lavoie proposed “Christ, what an asshole” as the universal caption for all New Yorker cartoons, and frankly, most of the new submissions don’t... > Read more
With a ridiculous click-baiting title that made me laugh out loud ("Is Social Sexier Than Sex?"), Fast Company uses the auctioning of the domain Social.com as a jumping-off point for a really interesting question: Is the URL on its way out? Sex.com sold for $13 million in 2010. Now Social.com is up for sale and the bids open at $5 million, so it could easily surpass the cost of Sex, hence Fast Company's clever title.
Writer Kit Eaton, however, thinks hubbub over domains may soon be a thing of the past: A huge fuss erupted online last week because Google finally made good on its promise to adjust the Chrome browser so that the URL address bar could be removed. It's a style thing for now, freeing up more real-estate on the screen for the actual web content you're trying to access r... > Read more
I read a great post this week on Andy Sernovitz’s blog, Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That!: “It’s not about the competition. It’s about not sucking.” Andy is talking about the perceived threat from competitors – especially new kinds of competitors that emerge as technology and culture changes – and how businesses kick and scream about the new competition rather than making changes to ensure they’ll survive.
Here’s a hefty excerpt: [M]ovie theaters are in a constant panic about competition from DVDs and on-demand options. Which is the wrong thing to be paying attention to. It’s not an either-or choice. If a home movie is pleasant, you’ll do that. If the theater experience is worth 10 bucks, you’ll do that too... > Read more
You know I can’t resist commenting when the mainstream media talks about “S.E.O.” (as the New York Times would have it). This week, The Atlantic is throwing its hat in the ring with a piece called "'Google Doesn't Laugh': Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO," and subtitled “If online searches are literal, what happens to headlines that involve word play? Copy editors* fear they're going the way of the classified ad.
”Unsurprisingly – since this is a mainstream magazine we’re talking about – the topic is nothing new. Journalists have been wringing their hands over the supposed loss of the clever headline since SEO first started, well, making headlines (making waves? making hearts go pitty-pat?) five or six years ago.According to David Wheeler at the Atlantic, headline wr... > Read more
I was doing a little research on copywriting blogs recently, and noticed that many of the renowned veteran copywriters who got their start in direct (i.e., offline) marketing would often make reference to “sales letters.” I wasn’t born in the ‘90s or anything (I know who Osama bin Laden is), but my response to this was, What the H is a sales letter?A sales letter, of course, is the “letter” you receive in direct marketing mailings, which begins “Dear ________” and informs you of all the reasons you should give the sender your money.
Believe it or not, young ones, direct marketing still exists – and even works. According to a recent Marketing Sherpa survey of B2B marketers, 79% of respondents found direct mailing “somewhat” or “very” effective.This is top of m... > Read more
Sometimes, the best thing I read over the week has nothing to do with Internet marketing. But I really want to share it with you, so by God, I make it have something to do with Internet marketing. This week, that thing was this list of the worst analogies written by high school students, originally published in the Washington Post.
The source above ("The Lost Eyeball") calls them the "worst/best" because many are actually quite brilliant – if I was a high school teacher and one my students wrote these gems, I’d give them a king-size gold star. To further qualify the list, the source says the paper “held a contest in which high school teachers sent in the ‘worst’ analogies they’d encountered in grading their students’ papers over... > Read more
On Wednesday, Google rolled out a new Analytics upgrade. Here’s Mashable’s report on the upgrade: Google rolled out a new and improved version of Google Analytics to all current Analytics users on Wednesday. The upgraded product comes with a bevy of new features. In addition to faster performance and a streamlined UI, the new Analytics also packs quite a lot of improved and entirely new functionality.
Users can create multiple dashboards, up to 20 per user; and each dashboard can contain up to 12 widgets. Users can also set interaction goals (for example, you might use Google Analytics to track and optimize file downloads or video views), graph and compare certain metrics over time, and toggle between multiple profiles and sites while focusing on one report. Wiep Knol begs to d... > Read more
This week Google’s Panda update went global, shutting out spam sites worldwide. Sistrix posted a nice little chart listing the “losers” of the new updates. Sites like suite101.com and associatedcontent.com suffer just as much now as they did in the US, but there were some surprises; eHow, which most expected to suffer from the US Panda update, was actually deemed one of the “winners” originally, but with the global changes, eHow is now losing the numbers we expected it to.
There is some speculation that this might be a result of Google implementing data from users who manually blocked certain sites. Ever since Google released a block link directly in search results, it’s been expected that this data will end up affe... > Read more
One of my many brilliant Twitter followees pointed me this week to a hilarious page of Amazon reviews for a product called Crayola Colored Bubbles Wand Set. This piqued my interest because I remember reading an interview in The Believer a few years back with Tim Kehoe, a toy inventor who had been working for more than a decade to develop colored bubbles that wouldn't stain.
(You can read an excerpt from the interview online, but the full text is only available in print. FWIW, I seem to remember the whole issue being fantastic. I believe it also included interviews with Will Sheff of Okkervil River and Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances.)Kehoe's product was set to be called Zubbles and debut in 2008, but I never heard anything else about them, until now. At first I thought Ke... > Read more