Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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TeachStreet: Searching For A Teacher In The Pacific Northwest

Site Clinic: AlaskaStock.com
Search Engine Guide
Jackie Baker critiques AlaskaStock.com, a stock photography site, for its overall usability and search-friendliness. "AlaskaStock.com has a great product to sell, and a decent process for doing it," she says. "However, the site design and usability could use a little work prior to taking the next step in online marketing."

One design factor that's affecting AlaskaStock.com's usability is the Webmaster's use of dull blue and gray text on top of a gray background. The lack of visual contrast will make the text harder to see on certain monitors.

Meanwhile, there are too many navigational choices--including a search bar in the header, a left sidebar with a browse by popular searches option, as well as a global horizontal navigation bar. "While it's great that AlaskaStock.com has multiple ways for visitors to navigate to information, it is spread out and hard to find on the page."

Baker suggests taking cues from other sites in the same niche to gain some cues on engaging design and simple navigation. She also recommends that the AlaskaStock.com team do some keyword research to find (and try to rank for) more terms that users are searching for, such as "Alaska fishing," and "Alaska tourism." - Read the whole story...

Google Sued Again, This Time For AdSense
It seems that Big G faces a continual spate of lawsuits, whether in mega-cases like its war with Viacom over pirated content on YouTube, or smaller fights like trademark infringement suits with individual businesses. The latest suit stems from the way Google tracks and reports the ads served via AdSense. According to Daniel Wexler and Web Tracking Solutions, the method the giant uses to account for ads served violates a patent Wexler was granted in 1999.

"Google has long been a foe of frivolous patents and last year backed calls for patent reform," says Thomas Claburn. And recently, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) narrowed its definition of what qualifies as patentable software. The change could be both positive and negative for Google--as it would make some suits, like Wexler's, more difficult ti prove. However, legal scholars have argued that the giant may have a harder time enforcing its own software patents as well.

- Read the whole story...

Tap TrafficMarks For Link Building
Small Business SEM
TrafficMarks is a free, Web-based application that helps Webmasters locate high authority sites that would likely be a good place to try to acquire links from. Enter a keyword and TrafficMark goes to the Top 10 sites that rank for it in Google, and then crawls their first 100 or so backlinks to find the sites that link to them most often.

The tool offers link details down to the page level, for example, highlighting the fact that a personal electronics site always links to mp3 player refurbishers from www.electronicsforyou.com/page17 as opposed to www.electronicsforyou.com/page3.

"After taking Traffic Marks on a handful of test runs, I'm impressed enough to add it into my linkbuilding tool bookmarks," says Matt McGee. "It presents relevant, helpful information in an easy-to-digest format." - Read the whole story...

The Nuances Of Off- And Online Local Search
Search Engine Land
The phrase "local search" can be used to describe both on- and offline searches, and according to recent reports, the categories local users search within online tend to mirror the categories of offline yellow pages. For example, the top two headings in terms of volume for on- and offline local searches were "restaurants" and "physicians & surgeons." And the similarities continue through the top 10.

But there are some difference between on- and offline local searches. "Offline searches are more often conducted for service-oriented businesses, such as Plumbers and Veterinarians, while online searches are typically a superior vehicle for product searches--for Sporting Goods, Office Supplies, Shoes," says Larry Small. "This is because service-oriented searches typically require a live phone conversation for the consumer to describe their unique and specific issue, determine if the service provider can help with that issue and what the next step might be--a service call/appointment, a free estimate or another service provider." - Read the whole story...

How Can You Track The Clicks You've Missed?
Craig Danuloff argues that despite the wealth of analytics tools out there, paid search practitioners are still at a disadvantage when it comes to obtaining real insights on campaign performance. For example, much of the emphasis stems from analyzing clicks--but how much info does your PPC management software, or even the engines themselves provide about the clicks you didn't get?

There are two kinds of missed clicks, Danuloff says: clicks you didn't get because your ad didn't run (i.e. missed impressions) and those you didn't get when your ad ran (users just didn't click).

While Google provides insight into missed impressions with various reports, Danuloff says that there are no hard metrics supplied for non-clicks when an ad actually runs. So while search marketers can do things like test copy, shift around ad groups and examine landing pages, Danuloff argues that the engines should provide more qualitative info for why users didn't click.

Some of the questions that such reports should answer are as follows: How much better could our CTR have been, how many clicks were missed because we under-performed our position, and was there a specific competitor who took more share from us than another, over time? - Read the whole story...

Fluctuating Rankings? It's A Yahoo Search Index Update
Search Engine Journal

Search Insider - Around the Net for Tuesday, August 5, 2008


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