Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

, July 23, 2008 Subscribe | Back Issues | Reply to Editor | MediaPost Home

Bidding On Competitor's Branded Terms Is A Waste
AdWords allows companies to bid on their competitor's branded keywords, and a number of companies (most notably the American Blinds & Wallpaper Co. and American Airlines) have either sued Google or their competitors for doing so.

But OneUpWeb's Vern argues that marketers shouldn't just shy away from bidding on others' trademarked terms for fear of legal liability. "It's a waste of money!" Vern says. "When someone searches 'American Airlines' in Google are they likely to click on an ad for Southwest Airlines? I argue - NO! Southwest Airlines is not what the searcher is looking for, so why on earth would they click on a Southwest ad?"

Vern says that OneUpWeb tested the tactic, and found that CTRs tended to be low and conversions nonexistent--so clients were essentially paying for worthless traffic. - Read the whole story...

Search Tools And Firefox Extensions
Search Engine People
On the heels of Ann Smarty's list of free SEO and link building tools comes Paul's post, which covers Google's newly enhanced keyword research tool, an HTML shortcut creator, as well as a number of extensions for Firefox.

HTML Playground is likely a must for search pros with limited coding experience that have to tackle on-page optimization and Webmastering themselves. "It has a list of all the most popular tags," Paul says. "Simply click on the tag, customize the parameters and colours you desire and the HTML code is ready to go!" The tool also has a preview pane to show what the text or image will look like before you make a permanent change.

Meanwhile, plugins like SEOpen and SeoQuake display the search marketing guts of various Web sites, including a site's PageRank, number of backlinks and number of pages indexed by the engines. - Read the whole story...

Do We Need Alternative Search Results?
Alt Search Engines
Dmitri Soubbotin, CEO of Semantic Engines poses a question with his post--namely, are the standard "10 blue links" search results we've all become accustomed to, really effective for every query?

"Looking at the search market share, it may seem that most people are content with Google or Yahoo or Microsoft," Soubbotin says. "However, various satisfaction surveys indicate that users spend too much time searching and not always finding. That's why dozens of 'alternative' search engines create a more efficient way of searching. Among these, there are a number of 'semantic' search engines."

SenseBot, a service backed by Semantic Engines, aims to deliver more efficient search results by delving into the context of queries, and returning related, summarized info. So a search for "Marseilles Hotel Miami," for example, would yield an overall summary of all the results available, including facts at a glance like the hotel's star rating (3 stars), location (in Miami's South Beach entertainment district and right on the beach), and so on.

"Glancing through the summary, you can also see which of the sources consistently give you more useful information, and drill into those through the links within the summary," Soubbotin says. - Read the whole story...

Google Maps And YP: The Same But Different
Solas Web Design
With Google Maps, the search giant is clearly trying to muscle in on the Yellow Pages market for local business owner dollars. But as Miriam Ellis notes, many bloggers and business owners themselves have publicly called Google out for its lax (some say nonexistent) customer service when it comes to getting Google Maps business listings corrected, uploaded and kept free of spam.

Still, Ellis notes that perhaps the industry is a bit unfair in comparing the personalized service often provided by YP companies in the past with Google's automated offering.

"Google Maps and traditional YPs are different fruits, but not as different as apples and oranges," she says. "Both business models rely on using the data of local businesses for profit. Both are trusted information resources. Both send traffic. True, Google's Local service is free and YP can cost you an arm and a leg. (But) with the seriousness of the problems with Google Local Data, those high prices on full page YP ads may seem more worth it when you consider the huge difference in personal customer service." - Read the whole story...

Geotargeted Search At Work: A Case Study
DM News
Ellen Keohane digs into the story of Reliant Energy, a Houston-based energy provider, and how the company tapped the power of geotargeted search marketing to woo (and keep) customers after deregulation sharply increased competition in the energy space.

"For companies like Reliant, which are limited to servicing specific areas, geo-targeting clearly makes sense," Keohane says. "Movers, for example, are one of the biggest target audiences for Reliant." So the company runs PPC ads against keywords like "moving to Houston," as well as ads for "real estate agent" that are targeted to a specific ZIP code. These geotargeted ads also direct clickers to a moving-specific landing page.

Reliant has also coordinated its search efforts with offline campaigns, and as a result, has seen dramatic improvements in search results over the past six months. "We've seen our new enrollments on the Web site increase by 72%, and our conversion rate has gone up 60%," said Sicily Dickenson, Reliant's director of online marketing. - Read the whole story...

Twentysix Builds Out Search Division

Search Insider - Around the Net for Wednesday, July 23, 2008


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