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Archive for March, 2009

Google advice- don’t worry about keyword position in URLs

March 30, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

The position of keywords in your website’s URL’s has always been a bit of a grey area, but Google’s Matt Cutts recently clarified the situation.

He was asked whether the position of keywords in a URL has any effect on one’s Google ranking. Here is an example of what the question is asking:

Is any better than when it comes to ranking in Google?

Effectively, Matt says that webmaster shouldn’t obsess about the order of the words but he said having keywords in the URL does help a little bit.

He warned that webmasters shouldn’t go stuffing keywords in the URL as this just looks spammy to users. He also suggests keeping the number of keywords in a URL to a minimum of 4 or 5.

Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land took this query a bit further and asked Matt directly to clarify his answer in a few specific situations – with both existing and new websites.

Firstly, Barry asked Matt if webmaster should go back to their existing sites and change URLs without keywords to include keywords in them.

“If you’ve got an existing solution that works for you, it’s not really worth going back to change your urls. It may worth considering when you’re doing a new site.”

Next, Matt was asked if all news sites should make sure to have keywords in the URL.

It makes sense if a) it’s easy for you to do in your content management system, and b) the keywords are useful and descriptive–definitely don’t overdo it.

So if you’re worried about the keywords in your URL, take the advice straight from the Google master and “don’t obsess” over it. Hope this advice helps! If you have any feedback, feel free to let the Search Clinic know.

Pay Per Click mistakes- bidding on the word Keyword

March 25, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Search Clinic knows that running your own pay per click campaign is hard enough, especially if there is a lot of competition in your industry.

With all the stress of setting up and managing your own campaign, there are some basic errors that many website owners make.

One of the most common (and funniest), mistakes a search marketer can make is bidding on the term ‘Keyword’. This is all too common across both Google and Yahoo! advertising platforms, so let’s look at an example of what I mean:

Pay per click mistakes
Google Sponsored Links for the term ‘Keyword

As you can see, 3 out of the 8 sponsored links on the right hand side of the page have absolutely nothing to do with the term ‘Keyword’. Granted there are many legitimate Ads from keyword research companies etc, but what do hotels and alarm clocks have to do with the term ‘Keyword’?

Let me explain how this mistake occurs. When setting up their campaigns, many companies use a spreadsheet program to draft a list of keywords they would like to bid on. The spreadsheet has a heading for each column and the heading for the column of keywords is… you guessed it: ‘Keyword’.

When uploading these keyword lists into Google, it’s easy to just copy the whole column, forgetting to remove the ‘Keyword’ heading from the list.

This simple mistake could end up costing you hundreds of Pounds every month, so make sure to check your keyword lists thoroughly before uploading! Or you can ask the Search Clinic do the checking and hard work for you.

Google- don’t use more than 100 links on a page

March 23, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Google blogger Matt Cutts recently confirmed Google’s stance on internal linking, stating that pages should generally have less than 100 links.

Matt points to Google’s design and content guidelines, which states the following:

* If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.
* Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).

The original reason that Google provided this recommendation was that Google used to only index around 100kb of a page. If the page exceeded 100 links, it usually exceeded 100kb and the remaining links would be ignored or truncated.

These days, there are a couple of other reasons Google still maintains this policy.

Firstly, if you’re showing users over 100 links on any page, there is a good chance they might become overwhelmed, not find what they’re looking for and leave. Google calls this a ‘bad user experience’.

Of course, there are some instances (such as providing a large resource library) where you might have a completely valid reason for having over 100 links. Because of this, Google won’t automatically consider these pages spam, but they might choose to nofollow or not index some of these links.

The second reason you may want to consider limiting your links is based on SEO. The more links you have on a page, the less PageRank each link will pass because you’ll be dividing the PageRank of that page between hundreds of links.

New Google advertising is it a breach of privacy?

March 19, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Google have announced a new form of online advertising with the aim of serving more relevant and useful ads to searchers, but is it a breach of privacy?

This new interest based advertising will go beyond Google’s current targeted advertising models by tracking your Internet usage habits in order to serve an ad that the search giant hopes is better suited for you. The advantage to advertisers is that it will allow them to reach users based on their specific interests.

Google breach of privacy
The advertising will be available through the AdSense program within the next few months.

Aitan Weinberg, Adsense Product Manager explains more:

Over the next few months we’ll start offering interest-based advertising to a limited number of advertisers as part of a beta, and expand the offering later in 2009. Whether the advertiser’s goal is to drive brand awareness or increase responses to their ads, these capabilities can help expand the success of their campaigns and should increase your earnings as advertiser participation increases.

The issue to arise from this new advertising strategy is privacy and many have been quick to point out their concerns.

Privacy International head Simon Davies told the BBC

Google might well hype their targeting system as a boon to pet owners, but the reality is that the service will track just about everything you do and everything you’re interested in, no matter how personal or sensitive .

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center takes his concerns one step further.

It’s a disaster; it’s about whether the most dominant Internet media firm should be able to exploit its access to Internet user data for advertising purposes. Google long maintained it would not do this type of advertising. Indeed, they claimed they didn’t need to and they went after others who did.

Google have preempted these fears by letting users opt out of the new advertising model and have even designed a browser plug-in that maintains the opt-out choice (just in case you’re a compulsive cookie clearer!).

But will these measures be enough? Dr Search thinks this is an issue that is going to raise a lot of debate.

Google testing expandable ads for AdWords – effective or annoying?

March 16, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Google has announced beta testing of a new ad type via its AdWords and AdSense blogs known as Google Expandable Ads.

The ads expand to double the size of the original ad unit, offering AdWords advertisers unprecedented exposure on Google’s content network. The new ads will not only increase visibility for advertisers but also provide a more immersive experience for viewers.

The new expandable ads allow advertisers to embed “streaming video or other content designed to engage users through an interactive experience.”

Google's Expandable AdsAccording to the release post:

Expandable ads on the Google content network are designed to automatically expand in the direction where the most space is available on the screen. They must be clicked by the user to expand and contract.

These features help create a positive experience for users and provide you with more accurate ad engagement metrics by avoiding expansions triggered by accidental mouse-overs. Expandable ads can also help AdSense publishers by engaging users on their sites with more ad variety and opportunities to interact with the ad content.

The expansion by click only will go a significant way towards reducing the annoyance factor, but the covering content is always a risky exercise.

Advertisers will also need to focus on a two stage engagement plan for their ads, as users will need to be enticed to engage in the ad first, before viewing and clicking through to destination pages.

For now, the ads are only being beta tested in the US with advertisers and agencies participating in Google’s 3rd Pary Ad Serving program.

Search Clinic asks- so what do you think of Expandable Ads?

* As a publisher, would you want such intrusive ads covering the content on your site?
* Advertisers – do you think expandable ads will enhance the performance of your campaigns?

Please let Dr Search- the Principal Online Marketing Consultant at the Search Clinic know what you think of this new initiative.

Google confirms Search Clinic theory– The Big Brand Ranking Mystery

March 11, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Only last week on our posting on Thursday, March 5, 2009 Unfair Google boosts SEO for big brand rankings Search Clinic discussed what appeared to be a Google algorithm change which seemed to be favouring big brand ranking on prime category keywords.

Well, this week it’s official. Google has confirmed the “change” to the their algorithm which is giving big brands a helping hand in their SEO efforts. The confirmation and explanation coming via a video from Matt Cutts.

In a nutshell, Google aren’t promoting the algorithm tweak as an update but rather just a change to enhance the value of ‘trust’ factors. As he says in the video:

Inside of Google, at least inside the search ranking team, we don’t really think about brands. We think about words like ‘trust’ ‘authority’ ‘reputation’ ‘PageRank’ ‘high quality

And apparently it’s adjustments to these elements in the ranking process that are the basis of the big brand ranking changes we’ve noted over the past few weeks. However Matt’s quick to assert that the changes are only visible on a relatively small number of queries.

Here’s the You Tube video for you to digest in its entirety.

As David points out in his post, it suggests an increase in the value of tradition trust factors in the algorithm such as domain age, linkage etc – on certain queries.

As Matt states, there’s nothing in the algorythm change to radically impact your current SEO plans and strategies – just more the same fundamentals.

If you’ve seen any improvements thanks to the Vince update, share your ranking stories with us below.

Want to reduce the effect of Google’s updates on your ranking? With ongoing website linking, we help to ensure that your ranking is not only maintained, but boosted every month!

Google boosts the coverage of local listings

March 09, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Google have expanded their local business listings on Google Maps to boost the number of clickable search results from ten to hundreds of businesses.

Instead of just plotting the first ten search results on the map, Google now includes hundreds of other businesses across the map using small red circles.

For example, the search for “lighting in Gloucetsreshire” now returns the following map showing hundreds of businesses across the local area:

You can click on any of the circles to get more information about the business they represent, essentially giving many more local businesses first page exposure on Google maps. It should be noted that the top 10 listings will still appear as pins on the left hand side of the map.

This is great news for businesses with local listings as it now gives you even more exposure across Google maps and in local search results. It should make it easier for local customers to find your business and also see specific areas where related businesses are grouped together.

If you’re a local business without a Google maps listing, now is the time to get included! Please ask the Search Clinic of you need any help.

Unfair Google boosts SEO for big brand rankings

March 05, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Claims have emerged that Google has been giving big brands a helping hand in their SEO efforts. The Google ranking algorithm apparently now includes branding in its ranking calculations.

The discussion started when Aaron Wall, one the industries most respected SEO proponents, released a lengthy blog post titled “Google’’s New Search Engine Rankings Place Heavy Emphasis on Branding“.

After taking his reader’s through a brief history of Google’s algorithm updates, Aaron goes on to highlight via some RankPulse charts, that big brands seem to have received a major ranking boost since Jan 09.

An unprecedented number of them breaking into the top 10 miraculously. Aaron describes the situation:

in some cases brands have 80% or 90% of the first page search results for some of the most valuable keywords. There are thousands of other such examples across all industries if you take the time to do the research, but the trend is clear – Google is promoting brands for big money core category keywords.

In his post, he refers to a presentation Eric Schmidt gave which might have been a hint into the future tweaks Google was planning for the algorithm.

The internet is fast becoming a “cesspool” where false information thrives. Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. Brand affinity is clearly hard wired. It is so fundamental to human existence that it’’s not going away. It must have a genetic component.

It does beg the question: Does boosting brand rankings enhance the user experience or are Google just aligning themselves with the companies most likely to be valuable advertisers?

Do you need help to promote your own online brand in the face of grwoing competition? If so please contact Dr Search the Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic now.

Google Japan caught buying reviews

March 02, 2009 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

The Search Clinic updates you woth the latest search engine and online marketing news, releases, industry trends and great DIY tips and advice.

If you’re looking for help with promoting your website – check out our range of affordable search engine marketing services.

This has to be one of the more bizarre SEO stories of the year. Google have penalised one of their own sites, Google Japan, after they were caught paying bloggers to write positive reviews about their services.

Google have taken the drastic move of dropping the PageRank of from a 9 to a 5 after reports emerged, and Google expert Matt Cutts stated, “I expect that to remain for a while.”

So how did this come about? Let’s look at the story of Google Japan.

Firstly, it should be noted that Japan is one of the few countries where Google is not the dominant search engine. Yahoo! rules in Japan with 51.2% market share compared to around 39% for Google.

In order to compete with Yahoo!, Google have been releasing a number of Japan only services, including a recent widget for blogs that displays the top 10 hot keywords from Google Japan searches.

To let people know about this service, Google hired internet marketing company CyberBuzz to promote the keyword feature in a pay-per-post campaign. This effectively means Google was paying bloggers to write about and praise their new service – something that’s strictly forbidden in their webmaster guidelines.

After this story was uncovered across various blogs, Google’s Matt Cutts came in and confirmed that Google Japan would be penalized.

Google Japan have since offered an apology for the incident, which has been translated by Asiajin:

Google Japan is running several promotional activities to let people know more about our products.

It turns out that using blogs on the part of the promotional activities violates Google’s search guidelines, so we have ended the promotion. We would like to apologize to the people concerned and to our users, and are making an effort to make our communications more transparent in order to prevent the recurrence of such an incident.

If there’s been one positive for Google out of this, at least they will be seen as enforcing their rules fairly, even against themselves!