FeedBurner Goes 301 All The Way

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Google AdSense for Feeds (aka FeedBurner) blog announced that all of their links will be 301 redirected, as opposed to some that are 301 redirected. In summary, when you use FeedBurner to create and host your RSS feed, FeedBurner creates special links that are used to send the reader to your web site. Some users selected to use a 302 redirected link, as opposed to a 301 redirected link, to obtain better tracking.

Google has made the decision to remove the 302 redirect option and make them all 301s. Why? The main reason is Google wants these URLs to become “more compatible with search engines that crawl feeds.” A 301 redirect is the best solution for a search engine to determine where a URL lives. 302 redirects historically have confused search engines, as well as webmasters. So to be “consistent with the way that content is distributed today,” Google has made this change.

If you run FeedBurrner for your web site feeds, you don’t have to make any changes. Google has already made the 301 change for you.

Google Wave Headed to 100K Beta Users

Google is set to offer 100,000 more testers access to Wave platform

We already know a lot about the collaboration service coming from Google called Wave. The new Wave platform has so far been seen only by developers and press at events designed to showcase the platform's capability.

Since Wave was first introduced, Google has been signing people up as beta testers for Wave in exchange for the users reporting bugs in the platform. Google is now set to roll Wave out to 100,000 of those beta testers as the next step in taking the Wave platform to the big time.

Starting on September 30, the 100,000 beta users will be able to start using Wave. The Wave service is a collaborative environment that allows users to share all sorts of content like video and documents as well as voice and video chat services.

Wave first broke cover back in late May and in July, it was offered to thousands of devs for testing. However, the new test pool is much larger than the original tester pool. The release to a much larger beta tester pool is a lead up to the official public offering of Wave.

Forrester research analyst Ted Schadler said, "Because Google Wave requires people to think about working differently, it's not clear yet what the sweet spot will be. However, you can bet that vendors and CTOs will be watching this with interest to see what develops."

Wave also has functionality similar to a Wiki in that users can write documents to share with others on their wave and that content can be edited by any other user on the wave. Third-party companies are also looking at wave as a platform to launch other types of software offerings. British Telecom plans to launch VoIP gadgets for the Wave platform as an example.

Schadler continued saying, "It's a time of experimentation. We see many companies and plenty of vendors, including all the big collaboration and productivity vendors, looking at new forms of document-based collaboration."

Google Toolbar Adds Sidewiki

Friday, September 25, 2009

As you browse the web, it's easy to forget how many people visit the same pages and look for the same information. Whether you're researching advice on heart disease prevention or looking for museums to visit in New York City, many others have done the same and could have added their knowledge along the way.

What if everyone, from a local expert to a renowned doctor, had an easy way of sharing their insights with you about any page on the web? What if you could add your own insights for others who are passing through?

Now you can. Today, we're launching Google Sidewiki, which allows you to contribute helpful information next to any webpage. Google Sidewiki appears as a browser sidebar, where you can read and write entries along the side of the page.

The Link Between Search and Social

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Social media isn't just using Digg and StumbleUpon, as many SEOs would have you believe. Then what is the link between SEO and social media?

There's a huge link, but it isn't a "link" in the form of connecting one site to another -- it's something more basic than even the common hyperlink. It's as simple as this: being found.
Even on social sites, you want to be found. People may not know your name, but if they're searching for a great bistro and you aren't listed in Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Yahoo Travel, you might never be found.

Controlling your name by having a Web site is smart. However, how many people are really searching for your company's name? Unless you're a household name like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, McDonalds' or Hershey's, people most likely won't find your products or service by your name in a search engine these days.

But It Isn't My Site

Companies fear social media sites because they have very little control over what other people say about them on these types of sites.
Get over it.
People say bad things about you offline just as much as online. At least online you have the opportunity to find out why they're saying these bad things about you.
There are more than a few advantages to participating and having a presence in social media sites.

People are increasingly turning to social sites for searches: When a search engine fails to return a relevant result for their search, users look to social sites like Yelp and Twitter (to name just two of many), to find more up-to-date and relevant results for their inquiries.

People believe their friends before they believe a search engine result: If a friend in a social media community has publicly recommended a lawyer, a massage therapist, a restaurant, or any other service provider or product the social community allows reviews of, that friend's review becomes golden. It's more believable because the friend shared their experience and you've come to trust that friend. You don't have a relationship with a search engine.

Social media isn't just a Web page: Increasingly, social media sites are offering different ways to access their communities and information beyond the typical Web page. The iPhone and iPhone Applications (Apps) are fast becoming a point of entry to many social communities. TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, MySpace, and TweetDeck all have applications that don't require a browser.

Search engine results: A byproduct of being involved in social media is that a lot of times your profiles on those social media sites will rank in the search engines for your business, brand, product or service name that you have worked the profile with. You certainly shouldn't being doing social media just to stack the search engine results. However, it can help thwart attempts by competitors to capitalize on your name.

Robots, Ranking, Relevance & Results

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

1. Robots

As the lotto commercial says: "You can't win if you don't play". You'll never win the SEO game unless your site gets discovered by bots and indexed. How do you get discovered? You can move to L.A. and wait tables, or you can build relevant inbound links, create a crawlable, spider-friendly architecture, and work to get mentions and citations (through social media, for example).

2. Ranking

Of course, ranking is the Holy Grail of SEO – we all want to be #1 on Google. I've been tough on rankings over the past year, but it's not because they aren't important. Clearly, you have to rank if you want to generate search exposure and traffic. My concern, and the message of this post, is that rankings are just one element of the big picture.

3. Relevance

Of course, ranking is only effective if it drives relevant traffic, and I mean "relevant" in the very practical, business-minded sense of attracting visitors who are looking for your products and services. Too many clients want to rank for what they think are the most popular keywords, but that often creates two problems: (1) What they think is popular isn't always popular, and (2) What's popular may not be relevant or ultimately drive click-throughs.


Ok, I know "results" is a bit vague, but hey, I needed another R-word. Seriously, I'm talking bottom-line results here - leads, purchases, and anything else that drives your success as a business ("conversions", in the industry vernacular). Traffic is only valuable if it drives measurable results - otherwise, it’s just costing you money.

Link Building Notes

The very first tip in the notes is Link Building Opportunities

Where to look for links:
  • Social news sites
  • Online media sites such as The New York Times, Boston.com, and About.com
  • University sites
  • Government sites
  • The blogosphere
  • Professional contacts (satisfied customers, suppliers, business groups, regulatory bodies, similar sites operating in different geographic areas)
  • Personal contacts
  • Directories
How to get links:
  • Link bait content
  • High quality exclusive content
  • Missing content on other authority websites
  • Article submissions/article exchanges
  • Your own blogs
  • Widgets
  • Through PR firms and offline marketing
  • Contests
  • Ask for a link (directly/indirectly)
  • Micro sites/buying sites for links
  • Restructuring your website to make it more link-sexy

5 Internet Marketing Tips To Promote Your Online Brand

5 Tips For Building Your Brand Online

1. Create a Listening Post

Consider using Google reader or Google alerts to monitor key websites and blogs to keep in touch with where you are being mentioned online.

2. Don’t Just Rely Solely On Your Website

Relying solely on your text only website is becoming less effective when it comes to spreading your companies message. Building your website should only be the start of your online marketing efforts and building your brand is definitely not going to happen if you just stick to your traditional website.

When trying to build your brand you should give your company every opportunity to get noticed. Using text is naturally one way, but how you deliver that text has become much more important. Having a website is only the starting point. You should be delivering your brand through:

Online PR releases
Link building strategies

3. Use RSS

RSS or Really Simple Syndication is an extremely effective method for people to get notified of changes to your website and blog. If one of your customers has a large number of websites that they want to keep up to date on, instead of checking the actual websites every few days, simply let them subscribe to your website using your RSS feed. This way, they get all your important new content delivered straight to them. This is possible using a piece of software called an ‘Aggregator’ or ‘Feed Reader’ Popular aggregator’s are:

Google Reader

4. Consider Social Media Marketing Strategies.

The social media websites below should play a key part in your online brand building strategy. As these websites are used by the larger search engines for content, you will get more visibility when you start to build a presence in these web 2.0 sites.

5. Keep Viral Marketing in Mind.

Viral marketing is an excellent strategy for spreading your message and building your brand through ‘word of mouse’. Perfecting a viral message is not an easy thing to do. A recent example of viral marketing was the Susan Boyle video of her performance on the “Britain’s Got Talent TV show”

The power of Viral Marketing lies with your audience. When they start spreading your message for you, without you having to advertise or push the message, bingo! The more effective the viral message, the more online visibility you get.

In Summary………

Building your brand online should be an ongoing exercise that continually looks for new ways to get your message out there. Increasingly online users are getting information sent to them rather than going searching for it.

Your ability to create a buzz has become increasingly more important, it only takes months now to reach 50 millions potential customers – the trick is knowing how to find them!

The DoubleClick Ad Exchange: growing the display advertising pie for everyone

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hundreds of thousands of advertisers use search advertising — short, highly relevant text ads alongside search results on Google and other search engines — to grow their businesses. Thanks to a decade of innovation, search advertising is an open platform that allows businesses to easily connect with customers.

As you browse the web today, you'll also see "display advertising," such as videos, images and interactive ads. Like search ads, these connect users with products, services and ideas that interest them. For advertisers, display ads are vital in boosting awareness and sales. For websites and online publishers, they help fund investments in online content and the web services that we all use.

But with a multitude of display ad formats, and thousands of websites, it often takes thousands of hours for advertisers to plan and manage their display ad campaigns. With this complexity, lots of advertisers today just don't bother, or don't invest as much as they would like.

On the other side of the equation, some publishers are left with up to 80% of their ad space unsold. It’s like airlines flying with their planes mostly empty. And for the ad space that they do sell, publishers also have to deal with the complexity of managing thousands of advertisers and campaigns.

We believe that a better system built on better technology can help grow the display advertising pie and benefit everyone.

Three principles underpin our approach to the display advertising field:

1. Simplify the system for buying and selling display ads: For example, our DoubleClick ad serving products help advertisers and publishers manage campaigns and ad formats across thousands of websites and from thousands of advertisers.

2. Deliver better performance that advertisers and agencies can measure: We're building a host of new features to help advertisers to run display ad campaigns across the Google Content Network (comprising hundreds of thousands of AdSense partner sites) and on YouTube. We're also developing better measurement and reporting technology so they can figure out what's working and what's not.

3. Open up the ecosystem: We want to democratize access to display advertising and make it accessible and open, like search advertising. We recently launched the Display Ad Builder to help businesses easily set up and run display ad campaigns. 80% of advertisers who use that product have never run a display ad campaign before.

We've been working hard to put these principles into practice, and today we're excited to announce the new DoubleClick Ad Exchange, a step towards creating a more open display advertising ecosystem for everyone. The Ad Exchange is a real-time marketplace that helps large online publishers on one side; and ad networks and agency networks on the other, buy and sell display advertising space.

The 6/90 Rule: 6 Reports Contain 90% Of Actionable AdWords Insights

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Google offers numerous AdWords reports that allow you to view more data than most people have time to analyze. One of the tricks to working with PPC is to determine what data you need to look at every day or week, and then determine what data is useful to analyze when improving your AdWords account.

There are six reports that, when used effectively, can give you the majority of insight you need to analyze your accounts on a day-to-day basis. In part 1 of this two-part series, I’ll take you through these reports to find insight into your accounts. In part two, I’ll take an in-depth look at the keyword report to create actionable items from the data.

While these reports are easy to run they are most effective when combined with the AdWords conversion tracking script. This is a different feature than what you find in Google Analytics. The conversion tracking script sends data from your website back to AdWords so that you can see conversion information in your AdWords reports. In walking through these reports, I’ll make the assumption that you are using this script. If you are not, then you can still use these reports; however, you should marry up the data with the analytics package you are using to track conversions to get a complete picture of what’s going on.

The keyword report

The AdWords keyword report should be your starting place for analyzing keyword data. This report shows metrics by individual keywords within your account. For instance, the main data points to examine when reviewing information by keyword are:

Cost per conversion
Conversion rate
Value per click

There are three main uses of this report:

Set bids based upon cost per conversion or other metrics with your established bid methodology
Find low quality score keywords with high spends so you can optimize for quality score (note: it can be useful to use a pivot table to find AdGroups with high spend and low quality scores. See Josh Dreller’s In The Trenches column about mastering pivot tables for more info).
Find keywords that are not on page one (where the first page bid is higher than your max CPC). Remember, though, that just because your keyword is not on page one does not mean you should raise your bid to be on page one. If you cannot be profitable on page one, then you need to decide if this is a word that can be on page two; if not, you need to optimize the landing page, ad text, or other factors for this keyword before you raise your bid to be on page one.
In part two of this article, I’ll take a deep dive into the keyword report to show various ways of working with the data it produces.

The search query report

The search query report will show you the query that was actually typed into a search engine that caused your ad to be displayed. For instance, if you bid on the broad match “coffee mugs,” your ad could show for “yellow coffee cups,” “blue coffee mug” or possibly even “tea cup.”

Use the search query report to find words that are not converting yet are consuming your ad-spend dollars. When you find such words add them as negative keywords.

Then use the report to find words that are converting and are not keywords in your account—consider these to be Google’s gift to you to help you improve the overall importance of your campaign. Add these words as keywords so that you can bid on these words based upon their actual returns. Remember, your broad match keywords will never convert higher than your exact match keywords.

When you conduct keyword research, you should always consult the search query report as part of your keyword expansion methodology.

Read More