Tamar Weinberg has an excellent list of some 250 internet marketing posts she collected from various online marketing niches that she feels were the best blog posts of the year. Obviously you can’t be exhaustive with this type of list but it would be a great way for somebody unfamiliar with internet marketing to jump in and “get it” pretty fast.
Rand Fishkin’s SEOMOZ has been doing some of the best work collecting data from prominent SEO folks and groups of experts and then analyzing that data. Back in April I missed this report about SEO ranking factors but it’s a great read, especially for those who have little idea about how to optimize a website and web pages for better placement in search engines. Note that experts do not agree. Also, my fairly extensive experiences have convinced me that Google changes the ranking rules regularly simply to make it impossible to reverse engineer them. But it’s still important to follow these basic recommendations which include what I’d argue are now the “prime directives” for optimizing websites:
Create pages that are of high and unique content quality.
Use URLs and Titles that are highly relevant to the queries you wish to rank for.
In bound links are still very important – seek external links and create internal incoming links using your desired keywords as anchor text.
Tend to exaggerate the keywords you are targeting. ie the best writing will NOT result in the best optimization due to defects in the way machines process word information.
I could not resist this. I’m taking a day of TechMeme stories and links and then commenting on all of them. Partly because I *always* have something to say and partly because I just want to see how this is processed as TM commentary. If this seems to annoying to some of you great folks that read the blog …. just skip this post, OK?
The Register: California court tilts towards mandating web accessibility
Could be interesting. If accessibility is mandated it may push some smaller sites and even small companies off the web. Or, it may launch a revolution in overpriced accessibility software. Either way, consumers will probably lose.
Washington Post: Shadowy Russian Firm Seen as Conduit for Cybercrime
Spooky. Sometimes you just want them to bring back the good old USSR. There was the mean KGB, but they NEVER went after your credit card!
Read/WriteWeb: New York Times Puts Reader Comments on Main Page – Good Idea? Of course it’s a good idea. Only old school journalists think regular folks have nothing important to say. It’s the other way around in fact – regular folks in Darfur, Inner City, and all over the world are, literally, dying to have their say while journalists keep harping on sensational garbage, Britney Spears, and …. Britney Spears. Quality Journalism is as close to an oxymoron as you can get.
New York Times: The New Advertising Outlet: Your Life
It’s all about marketing. People say they hate ads and sales, but that’s what makes the President and feeds your kids if you run or work for a business. Or even a public sector because they are run with taxes and taxes come from business which runs off advertising. Don’t like it? Tough.
TechCrunch: Facebook Has LinkedIn In Their Crosshairs
..and everybody else too. Yes they are overhyped but yes they could win it all. However I think there is room for both unless Facebook can really do a better job with biz social networking rather than “fun” social networking.
Silicon Alley Insider: Radiohead: 1.3 Mil Downloads! (But Big Music Not Dead)
Fred Wilson likes them so they must be good.
New York Times: A Site Warhol Would Relish
I think Andy Warhol was hugely overrated. Elite Art people are for the most part silly and hypocritical, as demonstrated by tests that show art “experts” often can’t even tell expert art. You are lucky you are grant funded by rich people, dudes.
Voidstar: blog: Anouncing Twype.exe — I’ve been playing around with posting … Not going to try this one out. I’m suffering from Social Network fatigue.
Rough Type: The case for Google — As investors push Google’s stock ever higher … Like Nick, I did not buy Google when I should. I stupidly bought put options because I knew they were overhyped. Nick’s thinking they may not be overhyped anymore. They are, and contrary to his quote of ?, you can short a mania.
internetnews.com: Skype Co-Founder Admits Expectations Were Too High
… in the running for 10th place “understatement of the year” in tech biz, 2007
law & Life: Patent Troll Fire First Volley at Open Source
Ha -I would NOT mess with Open Source people. They are some of the toughest, meanest, nothing-to-losiest people in tech. They’ll kill you for just *complimenting* the Vista color scheme, so this could mean war.
CenterNetworks: What About a Random Twitter and/or Twitter Gallery?
Probably a good thing to do first and ask questions about later. Personally, I don’t really care. Twitter is for those of us who have too much online time on our hands and don’t want to work on complicated projects.
Ars Technica: UK to look for ever-elusive link between WiFi and health problems. It’s elusive because it’s not there. What is *wrong* with smart people that makes them consistently exaggerate trivial health risks? Science based skeptic Shermer discusses this in his excellent book “Why People Believe Weird Things”. The short answer: We are stupid. Singularity, hurry the heck up!
the::unwired: INNOVATION: Microsoft receives Patent for a new User Interface for Mobile Devices I could read what this is, but unless I’m way off this is NOT going to be a significant new interface. Seems to me that the killer ap for mobile would be much better voice control of all data applications.
Computerworld: Why Skype and Vonage must die
Die early adopters! Long live VOIP! These are brilliant companies that are way ahead of their time. Contrary to the stupid notion that you must be first in a space to succeed, I think in 90% of all spaces you *cannot* be first in the space and succeed. Steamboats, for example. Or Fax Machines. Or VOIP. Coca Cola? Hey, maybe an exception there?
Inside AdSense: Getting more quality inventory for publishers
C’mon, all those “Buy links here” advertisements are totally relevant for blogs discussing Google’s tendency to penalize commercial links while promoting their sale like crazy via adwords PPC. Even I’m confused now.
The Jason Calacanis Weblog: Why TechMeme is great and the haters hate (the *official* … Right on Jason. TechMeme is great! Also it’s so refreshing to read a post by you that does not try to hype your Mahalo! project. Aloha.
Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim: Costco.com Hits the Billion Dollar Sales Mark
Great Costco data except for the “half online” error. Based on this data I calculated they make about $4-5 profit per incoming click assuming those clicks are as good as regular traffic. Not a good assumption probably, because $4-5 seems way too high.
paidContent.org: Interview: Henry Copeland, CEO, Founder of BlogAds: To Make Money … reduce exposure of your online audience to your comments. But that, of course, totally sucks because comments are already relegated to relative obscurity. This is why TechMeme is so great – if people blog instead of comment, and then get listed along with the story, “we” the users can read new voices and get more diversity of opinion. Journalists are allowed, but not really favored. That’s good. Unless you are a journalist. Maybe. I actually think journalists are great, but journalism is crappy. We have commercialized journalism into irrelevance. FOX News is a great example. Some of those folks are actually excellent *journalists*, but commercial considerations and political ones at FOX mean they’ll talk nonsense about nothing to keep the job and keep the profits rolling.
My brother-in-law Ricardo is an artist in Minneapolis, MN. He’s got a neat new project he’s been working on for some time called “The Coffee Calendar“. For Coffee or Calendar enthusiasts this will make a neat christmas gift, and you can order it directly from his Coffee Calendar Website over at TheCoffeeCalendar.com
Oh, yes, this post is in part an attempt to get the coffee calendar *correctly listed* over at Google as the top result for the query “Coffee Calendar” where it now shows as third. I suppose Google could argue that the coffee shop calendars they have should be at the top, but I’d say Ricardo’s Coffee Calendar is more relevant.
Of course, relevance is, in part, defined by the linking structure of the web which in this case I’m slightly manipulating by this blog post. But it’s for a good cause and I think even the inimitable Matt Cutts over at Google would agree this is white hat SEO which helps internet users find the Coffee Calendar they’ve been looking for for so long.
Note: This is NOT a pay to post post about coffee calendars. Would it be less relevant if it was a pay to post post? Yes, but clearly it would have some relevance about coffee and calendars nonetheless. How much relevance? Google makes all those decisions and they are mysterious algorithmic magic, so don’t ask me.
This Internet Advertising Bureau report notes that online advertising is still showing explosive growth. Interesting is the fact that the types of online advertising – with search ads at the top – seems to have stabilized somewhat with “pay for performance” one of the few categories that has clearly increased from last year.
I don’t think this stability reflects the “optimal” mix of ads, rather it is more an indication of how the big players take some time to get comfortable with innovations in advertising, and still stick to more traditional CPM style approaches rather than the clearly superior PPC and pay per performance models. Clearly even many of the big advertisers and agencies still have fairly weak SEM and SEO departments so they’ll choose to use big CPM campaigns that are easy to analyze rather than the more productive – but more complicated to manage – PPC and performance approaches.
Online ads are now a mainstay of any good campaign, but it’ll take some years before advertisers realize the foolishness of many online advertising approaches which generally include bloated CPM impression campaigns. Much more effective are targeted organic and PPC ad campaigns, but these require more analysis and a newer perspective.
The most conspicuously stupid type of campaign – still extremely popular in travel – is to use expensive print advertising in an attempt to boost online visitation. I studied this *extensively* across many print ad types during my work marketing southern Oregon several years ago and despite the clear results that showed print ads lead to only a tiny number of online visits, many travel marketers still think print is an effective way to promote online. It’s not, but it will continue until the incentives and simplicity of squandering money on ineffective print advertising go away. The lack of research in this area is odd to me given the huge total travel advertising spend, but most travel research is self-serving and often sponsored or conducted by the very agencies or entities that benefit from certain results, so stupid biases remain intact for a long time.
Some of the most lively debate and controversy at search conferences surrounds the issue of Google ranking rights. At Search Engine Strategies in San Jose the most interesting (and confrontational) session involved Michael Gray taking Matt Cutts to task on Google’s aggressive stand on commercially driven linking.
The stakes of the “right to rank” question may become even higher in the context of a recent Microsoft v Google case, where MS is suggesting in their court brief against the Google Doubleclick merger that the merger will create something like monopoly conditions in the online advertising space because (according to Microsoft’s sources) Google+Doubleclick serve more than half the world’s online advertising.
Although I don’t think MS is attacking Google ranking methods directly here it’ll be interesting to see if Google claims that since their algorithm does not rank the free “organic” listings on a commercial basis the suit has less merit than it would if they *did* favor sites in the organic listings.
This would, of course, beg the key point that Google’s ranking power is now so high that it can make or break companies – offline as well as online – depending on how they rank in the organic “free” listings. This confers on Google an obligation that IMHO they still do not take seriously enough – the obligation to minimize the collateral damage and maximize the correct rankings using, if necessary, more human intervention. In short I’m saying that until the results are *so good* that only highly subjective opinions are coming into play Google needs to do *more* than is currently done, based on the principle that “with great wealth comes great responsibility”. Ironically I think Google’s success has to a large extent insulated them from the growing criticism in the webmaster community. Some of that criticism is self serving, e.g. spammers who are unhappy their tactics now fail, but much of the criticism is coming from users and newly minted webmasters or mom and pops who are frustrated because they can’t seem to get ranked properly for even the most obvious queries. Google blames the spammers for this, but it’s a dynamic process and more transparency from Google – perhaps with stronger forms of site and webmaster ID for “official” or clearly white hat sites – could go a long way to solving the transparency problems.
Over at Matt Cutts’ blog he makes this point about a recent ASK court case decision in favor of a search engine’s right to rank as they see fit. This point lies at the heart of the right to rank debate:
Again, it makes sense that search engines get to decide how to rank/remove content in their own index…
I replied over there:
Matt …hmmm….wouldn’t you agree that this has some clear limits? What would you call crossing the line on this freedom to rank however you see fit?
If Google pulled what Yahoo did some time ago and essentially forced sites to pay for inclusion or be excluded would that fall within the sensical realm?
MSN is claiming (somewhat ironically and hypocritically, but correctly) that Google’s ad power is becoming close enough to a monopoly that remedies are in order. Historically there has been trouble when a single company or country controlled more than half a resource – why no problem here?
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