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SearchMe Adview – Visual Paid Search

Wouldn’t it be great if your paid search becomes both relevant & visual? Well I guess we don’t have to wait any longer for that to happen. Techcrunch has just reported that the visual search engine startup – Searchme has launched their own version of Paid Advertising Program called AdView.

search-me-adview

The only difference between Google’s Adwords & this Adview program is that instead of just displaying paid text links it will be presenting a previews of entire landing page of the ad including videos and other interactive & dynamic elements.

Advertisers – Sign Up for SearchMe Adview

If you are interested to try out this new advertising platform, you can sign up for a free trial. This offer is only available to the first 500 companies or individuals (must be from US) that sign up here. If you are lucky, you get to run a free ad campaign on SearchMe for 30 days. So Hurry!


Yahoo to Introduce New Ad Products

yahoo-logoYahoo! Inc. has reported that they are going to launch three brand new targeting products for brand and performance marketers that are specially designed to help them reach the audiences that matter most when advertising online.

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land explains that this will give advertisers the ability to show graphic ads to users based on their previous search history. Advertisers will also be able to target those graphic ads based based on what other web sites that user visited and their actions on those web sites.

As the economy continues to put pressure on advertising budgets, marketers are looking for increased accountability for every dollar they spend. Yahoo!’s new targeting products significantly improve the ability for search and display advertisers to reach their target audience, providing increased efficiency and accountability,” said Michael Walrath, senior vice president, Advertising Marketplaces Group, Yahoo!. “Yahoo! remains incredibly well positioned to meet the growing advertiser demand for performance marketing offerings, and no other company can provide marketers with such scale and expertise across search and display advertising.

The new Ad products include:

Search Retargeting – This will give advertisers the ability to target display advertising based on user search activities and past search history.

Enhanced Retargeting – This feature will allows advertisers to deliver dynamically generated display ads across the Yahoo! network based on user activity on an advertiser’s site.

Enhanced Targeting – This feature will give Advertisers more capability to manage their search advertising campaign, including ad scheduling and demographic targeting within search etc.

You can get more coverage on the Yahoo’s New ad products at Techmeme.


Google Adwords – Change in Display URL Policy

google-adwords-url-policy-updateThe official Google adwords blog has notified that starting from 24th February 2009, Google will implement a change to their current AdWords policy in regards to having multiple display URL domains in a single ad group.

Emel Mutlu, Inside AdWords crew writes:

In an effort to provide more relevant results and a high quality experience for our users, we’ve made the decision to disallow multiple display URL domains within a single ad group. Going forward, all display URLs within an ad group must have the same top-level domain

Which Advertisers will be affected by this change?

Advertisers who are using multiple/different display URL Domains on the same Ad Group on a campaign will be affected. So for instance, if you have an Ad group (i.e. Ad Group 1), with many different kinds of Display URL of one single domain that you are likely to be safe.

So the following Display URLs would be fine for a particular Ad Group:

www.example.com
www.example.com/product
product.example.com

However, if your Adgroup has display URLs showing multiple domains then you will be affected by this new change in policy.

For example the following Display URLs won’t be accepted, if used under one single Adgroup:

www.example.com
example.product.com (The Domain here is different – Product.com. You can only use ONE domain per Adgroup)
www.product.com

What should Advertisers Do?

If for some reason you need to have multiple domains in the Display URLs, you can simply create a separate Ad group for that purpose. Just make sure that you don’t have different display URL domains on a single ad group.


Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel

google-webmaster-central-Youtube-channelGreat news for the Google Webmaster Central Fans! Google Webmaster Central has officially launched a dedicated youtube channel at – www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp.

Michael Wyszomierski of Google’s Search Quality Team writes:

We plan on releasing more videos like these in the future, so we’ve opened up our own channel on YouTube to host webmaster-related videos.

So how do you keep yourself up-to-date? Just subscribe to the Google Webmaster Help Youtube channel using your youtube account and you will be instantly notified when they release something new. You can also grab this RSS feed if you’d like to keep track in your feed reader.


Google AdWords Display Ad Builder Videos

google-adwords-display-ad-builderThe official Google Adwords blog has just released a series of How-to videos for their Display Ad Builder.

Some of the topics covered on the videos are:

  • How to access the feature in AdWords
  • How to search for the display ad templates that are right for you
  • How to create an ad
  • How to create an ad with no images required
  • How to copy ads across ad groups
  • Full product tutorial

You can check out all the videos here.


YouTube Offers Video Download

The official YouTube blog just reported that selected Youtube partners can now offer their videos for free or paid downloads.

buy-youtube-video

Thai Tran, Product Manager of Youtube writes:

We’re also testing an option that gives video owners the ability to permit downloading of their videos from YouTube. Partners could choose to offer their video downloads for free or for a small fee paid through Google Checkout. Partners can set prices and decide which license they want to attach to the downloaded video files (for more info on the types of licenses, take a look here).

A lot of universities who shares their lectures and research like Stanford, Duke, UC Berkeley and some others are already helping Youtube to test this Free download feature.

And a small number of YouTube partners, including khanacademy, householdhacker and pogobat are also participating in the paid download feature of Youtube, where the publishers can set a price for their content which the viewers can pay to download it straight to their PC.

How to Purchase a Video from YouTube?

Purchasing a video from YouTube is very simple indeed. When you are watching a video from any of the participating partner’s page, you should see a download/buy link just below the left-hand corner of the video (Check the screen shot above). If you wish to keep keep track of the videos you have previously purchased, you can go to the “My Purchases” tab under “My Videos.”.

If you wish to participate in this testing, you can find out more about the test and enter your information in this form.


News Alert Service from Live Search

Microsoft’s Live Search Blog recently announced that they have started a news alert service which will enable users to get the latest news delivered directly to their email. Currently the delivery options can set only as daily, twice daily or weekly.

This service is indeed very similar to Google Alerts, which allows you to get instant update whenever any news stories that are related to your your search term hits the net. But the likely downside of this new feature of Live Search is they only let you choose top headlines or subject-specific news headlines.

live-news-alerts

To activate Live Search news alert, simply visit news.live.com and sign in with your Live ID, click on the News alerts link, and then click on “Create Alert.”

The thing I hate most about Microsoft is, most of their products are very “US” centric. This News Alert service is also for US users only.


SEO Toolbar from SEO Book

seo-toolbar-logo

If you haven’t heard already, Aaron wall of SEObook.com has recently launched a great SEO Toolbar. Aaron has previously launched a lot of popular tools & plugins that every search marketer loved and now this time he has created yet another awesome tool that brings everything together in a simple toolbar that you can easily install in your Firefox browser.

He writes:

What would happen if you smooshed together many of the best parts of Rank Checker, SEO for Firefox, the best keyword research tools across the web, a feed reader (pre-populated with many SEO feeds), a ton of competitive research tools, the ability to compare up to 5 competing sites against each other, easy data export, and boatloads of other features into 1 handy Firefox extension? Well, you would have the SEO Toolbar.

The toolbar shows a lot of useful data:

seo-toolbar-data-overview

And that’s not all! The toolbar comes together with a lot of awesome features that I’m yet to explore. Aaron’s tools are always very useful and Interesting – So download the SEO Toolbar today and get your hands dirty!


Carol Bartz To Be Named Yahoo CEO

carol-bartz-yahoo-ceo

Finally the impossible has happened! Yahoo has managed to find a New CEO to replace Jerry Yang. According to Wall Street Journal, Carol Bartz, former chief executive of software company Autodesk Inc., has accepted an offer to become Yahoo’s next CEO.

Wall Street Journal writes:

Ms. Bartz, 60 years old, will face a number of challenges as she tries to turn around Yahoo’s flagging performance and stock price. Some investors have been lobbying for a break-up of the Internet giant, for instance. Yahoo faces tough competition from Internet rivals such as Google Inc.

TechCrunch speculates that Bartz is most definitely an ally of founder and outgoing CEO Jerry Yang as they both sit on Cisco’s board. Bartz also sits on Intel’s board with Yahoo president Susan Decker. So this shows that she really has some strong connection with existing Yahoo’s management team.

Yahoo is yet to release any official statement on this regard. So I’ll try to keep an eye on the Yahoo’s Corporate Blog for latest updates.

Don’t worry, like always I’ll keep you informed! So what do you think of Yahoo’s New CEO? What would be her possible strategy & Goal – Save yahoo or Sell yahoo?

Robert Scoble suggests that Yahoo should integrate all their services and produce a live-feed like service, similar to what friendfeed & facebook is doing.

He writes:

Yahoo is in a good position — if it builds a decent news feed like what friendfeed and facebook have and does it quickly. That is the key to integrating all of its services together (and giving its sexy services like Flickr and Upcoming.org a shot).

John Battelle highlights that Bartz does have a lot of media experience even though she may have a lot of experience in other parts of the technology world.

He writes:

Yahoo needs a stronger suite of media-savvy executives now that Weiner and Rosensweig are gone.

Catch more discussion on this topic @ Techmeme.

Update: CNBC has confirmed that Bartz is taking the job! CNBC writes:

Shares initially climbed about 1 percent on the news but quickly settled back as investors began to digest whether Bartz would indeed be the best executive at the right time for the struggling internet pioneer. Speculation about Bartz transition into Yahoo’s C-suite began circulating last week, and while her name initially sparked raised eyebrows


Protect Your Site from Spammers – Matt Cutts

matt-cutts-talks-on-spam

Head of Google’s Web Spam Team, Matt Cutts recently spoke on a panel about “Preventing Virtual Blight” at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. So for those of you who couldn’t attend that conference, Matt cutts has recorded a special summarized version (“director’s cut”) of his presentation and made it available for Free (~ So nice of you Matt).

Its a 20 minutes videos, where Matt explains how you can use some common ways to prevent spam and also protect your site & domain from usual spammers & hackers. If you own or maintain any Web 2.0/3.0 service or even just a blog, this video is a must watch.

And here is the actual presentation slide:

Matt cutts writes in the Google Web Analytics blog:

One of the things I’m thinking about in 2009 is how Google can be even more transparent and communicate more. That led me to a personal goal for 2009: if I give a substantial conference presentation (not just a question and answer session), I’d like to digitize the talk so that people who couldn’t attend the conference can still watch the presentation.

Well this is certainly an excellent move by him or by Google (who ever made the actual decision). I hope that this move by Matt Cutts will open eyes of other key individuals, who holds important position in big organizations and possesses a lot of experience & knowledge but are reluctant to share anything with the public.


Google Dumped by Firefox for Yandex

Firefox & Google

Firefox is planning to choose Yandex (Google’s Rival) as the default search provider for all Russian firefox users.

Google is currently the default search engine for in the Russian Firefox, but according to the blog post by Mozilla’s General Counsel Harvey Anderson – Yandex is a far better choice.

He writes:

Over the past few months, we have listened to feedback, talked with our localizers, studied the trends of our Firefox Yandex builds, and reviewed the Yandex user experience. All this activity led us to the conclusion that our Russian users really wanted direct access to the Yandex search services in official Firefox RU builds…….As a result, we’re planning on setting Yandex as the default search provider for the Firefox 3.1 Russian locale builds…..

CNet reports that, Mozilla gets over 90% of its revenue from Google under a revenue sharing partnership with Google’s search advertisements. In 2007, this revenue from Google was reported $66 million of Mozilla’s total revenue of $75 million.

Now I wonder whether this whole move of making Yandex the default engine in Russia will make their ‘already completed relation‘, more complicated. Mozilla has a “reasonable” relationship with long-time partner Google , but the launch of Google’s browser Chrome has made it more complicated admitted Mozilla’s chief executive.

In last December Mozilla’s Cheif Executive, John Lilly said in a statement:

We have a fine and reasonable relationship. But I’d be lying if I said that things weren’t more complicated than they used to be.


Do you like Google’s New Favicon?

Have you noticed that Google has a New Favicon? Favicon is the small icon that sits right next to the address bar in your browser. For instance, my favicon is the cartoon head that you can see right next to the address bar and also on your browser tab.

So what about Google’s Favicon? Here it is –

google-favicon

Personally, I don’t really like it because its just too colorful. I still prefer the original Google Favicon. Barry is running a poll @ Search Engine Roundtable and so far the results are pretty competitive. Out of 190 votes, 35% likes the new favicon and 36% likes the original favicon. Make sure you cast your own vote too.

Google has developed many favicons that they have never used. Here’s a sampling that they shared last June in the official Google blog:

favicon_iterations

So do you like this new favicon? Share in comments!


Saad’s Hot Picks – Jan 9, 2009

Search Industry News

Building Links on Your Offline Time – Julie Joyce wrote an excellent article for Search Engine Journal that talks about some ideas of link building on your offline time.

Ask.com Expands Semantic Search Technology – Peter Young, a guest author of Marketing Pilgrim reports that Ask.com has started to use Semantic Search technology on some of their queries. Before this announcement we also figured that Google is doing the same.

Dell is Buying Paid Links – Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscoped reports that Dell.com is apparently buying links from many High Pagerank sites. I followed up on that with a more extended write up and some specific advice for Dell.

20 PPC Tips For 2009 – Joseph Vivolo shares 20 hot Tips for Pay per Click Advertising.

How To Turn Your Fans & Evangelists Into Friends – Kimberly Bock did a wonderful writeup on how anyone can turn their fans & evangelists in their friends. Her simple 3 step process is to – 1. Be a friend,  2. Be trustworthy and 3. Give credit where credit is due.

Webspam in 2009? – Head of Google Web Spam Team, Matt Cutts wants you to give your suggestion about the areas of web spamming that Google should look into in 2009. His blog post already has over 190+ comments and more on the way.

Are Two Queries Better Than One in Targeting Search Advertisements? – Bill Slawski of SEO By the Sea makes an interesting discussion in regards to one of Google’s recently published a patent application.

Tech Industry News

Yahoo reportedly near decision on new CEO – Yahoo is said to be wrapping up its search for a new chief executive, and a decision could come as early as next week.

Fake CNN site from phishing e-mail hides a Trojan – A new e-mail that is circulating looks like it comes from CNN and links to a fake CNN Web page offering “graphic” video related to the Israel-Hamas conflict but instead hosts a Trojan that steals sensitive data.

I’d Trade 10 Facebook Friends for a Whopper – Burger King has introduced a new Facebook application that is getting lots of attention – “Whopper Sacrifice.” The concept is essentially this: delete 10 of your Facebook friends and get a free Whopper. Each time you remove someone, that action is broadcast to your news feed – apparently, not a big deal to users so far, as more than 50,000 friends have already been sacrificed. Read more at – Mashable.

Five Things Google Could Do For Newspapers – Google CEO Eric Schmidt was asked by Fortune magazine what Google should do to save the ailing newspaper industry.

Twtvite Makes Organizing Tweetups Easy – Twtvite is an easy way to use Twitter or Facebook to create a micro-invite for your friends and followers. You create an invite on the twtvite site, and then micro-message with a tiny URL on Twitter or Facebook. The link takes people back to the site where they can RSVP. More info – Techcrunch


Dell.com is Buying Paid Links

dell-buying-linksPhilipp Lenssen points out that Dell may be buying text links from many high Page Rank Websites. Buying text links to artificially manipulate search ranking and also to increase Pagerank is openly known as a ‘sin’ in the SEO industry and it is also against Google’s Official Webmaster guideline.

OpenSourceTemplates.org, which has a Page Rank of 6 has a list of “Sponsorship Friends” at the bottom of their page. The links doesn’t contain any sort of ‘no-follow’ tags and it points to different sites with different anchor text. Dell has a link there with the anchor text “Business servers” and it points to the dedicated landing page of dell’s business servers – http://www.dell.com/business/servers. Some other links that are found on the page are: “Raymond Rail watches” – http://www.jurawatches.co.uk , “Web Hosting” – http://www.webhostingmadness.com etc. So as you can see these are all irrelevant links for the OpenSourceTemplates.org, so they are likely to be “paid/sponsored” links.

dell-buying-text-links

And this is not the only site which links to dell’s landing page for server. After going through their link profile in Yahoo Site Explorer I have found tons of home page links from High PR sites, all linking to dell’s server page for keywords like “servers”, “business servers” etc. Below is a small list of sites that I checked:

Page URL

Page Rank

Link Anchor Text

Link Destination

http://www.askapache.com

5

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.pictogame.com

5

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.pdxtc.com

4

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://ajaxblog.com

5

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.joomlaratings.com

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://drawlogic.com/

5

“business servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.opengl.org

7

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://oggix.com/

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.internet101.org

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://movablestyle.com/

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://ilovetypography.com

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.bibtex.org/

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.feedmarker.com/

5

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://opensource2.usrbinruby.net/

7

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.webfilebrowser.com/

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.phpalbum.net/

6

“dell servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.devkitpro.org/

6

“dell servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.impresscms.org

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.mywebcards.net/

5

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

http://www.alphaplug.com/

6

“servers”

http://www.dell.com/business/servers

The list doesn’t end here. I just got board looking at the links, as they are so many! So you can check it urself using BacklinkWatch or Yahoo Site Explorer.

Why Do I think these are Paid Links?

  • All these links come directly from high PR home page with a anchor text that dell would love to rank for! Unfortunately they still don’t rank for the term “servers” in the top 10 but most of their competitors do!
  • Since they are yet to rank for that term in the SERP they have are spending money on Paid Search.
  • dell-buying-paidlinks

    But I’m sure they would love to take that cost off if they can get ranking for that term. (Even if that costs them a bit to acquire those nice juice High PR paidlinks).

  • Links that are surrounding those Dell.com links are ‘not related’ to the site’s theme. Often they are – “cheap video games”, “cheap cellphone”, “web hosting”, “Alcohol Rehab Programs”, “search engine optimization” etc. By looking at it one can easily say that all those are paid links
  • The placement of those links makes it obvious that they are ‘paidlinks’. Most of the links that I found are either on the sidebar or on the footer (with small text). And most of the sites called their link section – “sponsored links” which itself refers to links that has been paid for.
  • None of the links that I have seen actually points to Dell.com Home page. All of them Points to their dedicated landing page for dell’s business servers. If this was done by a link spammer, who is probably trying to hide his ‘other’ paid links by listing some of the ‘good quality’ sites – He would have never linked to a ‘sub page’ of the domain with a perfect anchor text.
  • I don’t believe that Dell’s competitors will try to harm their link profile by getting all these paidlinks on their behalf. Because Google is still not perfect at detecting paidlinks, so I’m sure dell’s competitors won’t spend any money to give dell a chance of an unfair advantage.
  • None of these sites are low quality or spammy in any nature. All of them have tons of incoming links and high Pagerank. But I guess, they just decided to sell links (Eh, who doesn’t love cash?).

My Advice to Dell

  • Don’t Buy links. There are many other ways of getting ‘legit’ links that can help you with your ranking
  • Do more keyword research! “Servers” is very generic and a single term keyword. Even if it may have a lot of searches it may not have the highest conversion for Dell. I don’t think that customers who are interested to buy servers, would simply search for ‘servers’ in Google. When acquiring links (natural/paid) try to vary your Anchor text. Keyword like – “network server”, “Small Business server”, “home server”, “database server” etc are more targeted keywords and are likely to bring you customers that are truely interested in buying your server. Google’s Keyword tool is an excellent tool that can help you to find good relevant Long-tail keywords.
  • Don’t send everyone to one single landing page. Dell should create separate landing pages for each of the different types of server with relevant information about the servers, benchmark results etc. All those landing pages should also be optimized for its respective keywords. (e.g. Keywords in Title Tags, Body, Headers etc). For instance, you have acquired a lot of links with anchor text “business servers” to this page – http://www.dell.com/business/servers. But the phrase itself doesn’t appear on your site’s title or body. (*Well it appears only once in the lower bottom body).
  • If you are really into buying links, do it more discreetly so that it doesn’t become obvious that dell is buying links. (*check out some of the resources listed below)

Resources Related to Paid Links / Buying Links

8 Ways to Buy Links Without “Buying Links” – Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz.org

Thinking about buying links? 30 tips to save you from failure – Brian Chappell

Buying links under the radar so Matt can’t find them – Jim Boykin

How to: Buy Links Without Being Called a Spammer – Aaron Wall, SEObook.com

Jim Boykin: Paid Links Aren’t Worth It To Me – We Build Pages

The Art of Buying Links Under the Radar – Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz.org

John Scott on Link Building – V7 Network Blog

Buying Links is Hard Work – Search Engine Watch

Here comes a Bonus (~lol):

How to report paid links – Matt Cutts

So whats your view on Paid Links? Share in comments!


Saad’s Hot Picks – Jan 8, 2009

Search Industry News

Yes, Google Is Doing Semantic Search – Clint Boulton of Google Watch asked Google for clarification on the recent post by  Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb where he speculated that Google is doing Semantic Search and displaying the data in the Search Results. And guess what, Google gave a Positive response! But I find it very hard to believe and here is why.

Interview of Muhammad Saleem, Social Media Expert – Aaron wall, owner of SEObook.com recently did an Interview with Muhammad Saleem, a social media expert and also a Digg power user. In this interview, Muhammad talks about his social media success and how he managed to get a huge coverage for his own social network – Tip’d without having to spend any money on PR. If you are new to social media marketing, you should definitely read this interview.

SEO Trends From 2008 & A Look Into 2009 – Jill Whalen, CEO and founder of High Rankings wrote an article for Search Engine Land in regards to the SEO trends of 2008-2009.

Google AdWords Downtime on January 10, 10am-2pm PST – Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable reported that Google AdWords login console and the API will be offline between 10am and 2pm pacific time on January 10, 2009.

3 easy ways to make a customized search engine – Pandia Search Central recommended  3 services that let you make a customized search engine for your website.

Report: Apple Dominates the Mobile Web – The latest data from AdMob, the world’s largest mobile advertising marketplace, shows that Apple now dominates the mobile web in the U.S. with a 48% market share. Read more about it on ReadWriteWeb.

Testing the Value of Anchor Text Optimized Internal Links – Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz recently shared some of his finding in regards to Optimization of Internal Links with Anchor text.

Tech Industry News

Police Use Google Street View to Solve Kidnapping Crime – Police in Massachusetts were trying to track down a missing 9-year-old girl who had allegedly been kidnapped by her grandmother. Thanks to GPS & Google Street View, they were able to recover the little girl safely. Read more at Techcrunch

Ballmer sets loose Windows 7 public beta – The rumors turned out to be true. Microsoft will release a public beta of  Windows 7 on Friday. Microsoft is hoping that it will address the problems that have made Windows Vista perhaps the least popular OS in its history.

Semantic Web Wish List 2009 – Do you love Semantic Web? ReadWriteWeb has just released their Semantic Web Wish List for 2009.

Sony to launch world’s lightest 8-inch notebook PC – Japan’s Sony Corp plans to launch the world’s lightest 8-inch notebook PC, taking aim squarely at a rapidly growing market for ultra-portalbe personal computers.

Cramming for Your Next Exam? Try Cramberry = Whether trying to study for a geography quiz or learning a foreign language, the method of using Q&A cards to train your brain to remember has remained a popular study method. But, the concept hasn’t really made the leap to the Web, until now. Introducing Cramberry, Read more at ReadWriteWeb.


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