Archive for SEO

Dayparting Google AdWords – Coming Soon

Posted at the Search Engine Watch blog…

New Google AdWords Dayparting & Ad Scheduling Coming
The new features will allow advertisers to schedule the ads to show on weekends or weekdays only, or on other set days the advertiser specifies. Dayparting is also included allowing advertisers to schedule their ads during specific hours, such as to run late at night or at lunchtime only.

Internet Retailer recently reported the value of dayparting over here at Golfballs.com and the addition to the Google UI will be very welcome. As Jennifer says, it's a move to catch up to Microsoft adCenter's dayparting and demographic targeting options.

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Slow Gmail with Firefox

I find that Gmail is incredibly slow in rendering with my FireFox browser. Not sure if it is FF in general or if it's extenstion related, but I found a workaround that speeds up Gmail considerably.

I use a "User Agent Switcher Extension" for other areas of my job including SEO and debugging internal applications. This extension allows you to change the information that you send to the host website and specify whether you're using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or anything else that you want.

I found that if I use the extension to change my user agent to something like "Googlebot 2.1", Gmail reads my request as an "unsupported browser" and switches to an alternative mode which renders many, many times quicker.

Another benefit to claiming that you're Googlebot 2.1 is that you can sometimes get into password protected areas on news websites. 🙂

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MSN adCenter targeting and conversion tracking

I've been beta testing MSN adCenter (PPC Search) for quite a while and have not been impressed with the application so far. They've made tremendous improvements to the UI now that it is out of beta, but it seems that every feature that should be a positive tick for MSN works out to be a negative for the advertiser. It seems they're putting revenue potential ahead of their customer's requirements and expectations.

MSN has a great set of ad targeting options, at least they could be. One example is the demographics targeting or, "Incremental Pricing for targeting" as they call it. This sounds great. I'm in the golf industry so I would like to target the "Males" "35+" demographic.

At issue here is that AdCenter only allows a "positive bid increase" in multiples of 10%. Doesn't sound that bad at first until you think about the 10-100 or so keywords I'm bidding on within the same "order" (an order is the same as an adgroup on Google), all at varying levels of CPC. If I already know the maximum CPC I'm willing to pay for the keyword phrase "Titleist Pro V1", how do I determine what percentage to increase my bids for males only? For the 35-50 demographic? For the 50-65 demographic?

If I assume I can increase my bids 30% for the term "Titleist Pro V1" for those given demographics, how does that affect the keyword phrase "Titleist golf ball" that is also within the same adgroup and subject to the same increase? So if I increase bids by a percentage for a given demographic, then my individual keyword bids should be lowered to maintain my target CPC. What happens when MSN can't determine the demographics of the searcher? I assume I'll get outbid because my base CPC bid is too low.

It would be easy for MSN to offer "negative bid percentages" rather than forcing me to place positive bid percentages for the demographic options. This way, I could maintain my set Max CPC on the keyword level and decrease my bids by 70% for women and 18-25 year olds. No offense to women or young people… you get my drift.

Naturally that would seem to decrease my adspend on adCenter, but it would actually play in the inverse as the more optimal my campaign is running, the more money I'll throw at it. That's why Google commands over 50% of my Search budget and second tier engines get 0%.

One way to get to the true ROAS is to use adCenter's conversion tracking tool in addition to the Omniture Analytics package I currently use. This way, I could manipulate the incremental pricing and keyword CPC until I hit my target ROAS. Again, great in theory, but adCenter does not track conversion on the keyword level, but on the Campaign level. If you're not familiar with adCenter's heirarchy, it's: Campaign>Order>Keyword. So adCenter tracks at the most macro level it possibly can which is of little to no use to the advertiser, but good for MSN's short-term revenue.

MSN conversion tracking also advertises their adCenter services on all checkout confirmation pages, regardless of how the customer was referred.

So I won't be using MSN's new targeting options or their conversion tracking. Google will continue to dominate my adspend and I'll hope that MSN gets it together and builds their applications for their advertisers and consumers and not primarily their pocketbook, because when advertisers and consumers win, their pocketbook will follow.

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v7ndotcom elursrebmem

The Wall Street Journal published a good article on the v7ndotcom elursrebmem SEO contest. No, I have no ambitions of winning. This is a rough crowd. 🙂

I didn’t even think about the possibility of the following as depicted in this quote from the current front-runner of the contest. (He has the #1 ranking on Google for the phrase  “v7ndotcom elursrebmem”)

But he says that being a front-runner makes you a target for the black hatters. They might, for instance, “promote” your site via the sort of spam that Google is known to frown upon. The end result of that, says Mr. Westergren, is that your site could be demoted.
Full WSJ Article

As I said, they’re a rough group. If you rank #1, the competitors can spam your domain and get you dropped in the rankings. There’s so many angles to these types of contests that they are very interesting to watch.

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Ice cream company’s blog lures more customers

How creative. Who want’s to read a blog about ice cream? Apparently no one, that’s why John Nardini, Vice President of Marketing for Denali Flavors (Moose Tracks Ice Cream), writes a financial blog about personal finance tips that is sponsored by none other than Moose Tracks Ice Cream. I’ll refrain from comment on the all flash site for now where the only text on the page is the title tag… “Home Page.”

Traffic to the Ice Cream site has increased 30% since he started FreeMoneyFinance.com.

Now it could be argued that Moose Tracks’ traffic increased 30% because they started with a low base of absolutely no search engine traffic because search engines have nothing to index on the page, (who searches for ice cream anyway) but again, that’s another post. But regardless of where they started, John was very ingenious to go the route of a financial blog to direct traffic to the ice cream site.

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Top 10 List for Building and Marketing your Website

I was asked to put together a simple “top 10” list for someone who is doing a presentation to small business about their website and small business marketing. I put together this list with the help of various resources that I read including Bryan Eisenberg from FutureNow, Inc.

1. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. Buttons should look like buttons and links should look like links. Perform the “Mother-In-Law test”. Imagine your Mother-In-Law on the site. Would she know what to do? Would she understand what each link on your page does and have a good idea of where it is going to take her when she clicks on it? Would she understand why this website exists?

2. Offer a solution – Every visitor to your site has a need and has come to you looking for help. Don’t make the visitor dig to find out what you do. Present their problem on the home page and explain in short, concise words how you will solve it.

3. Track everything – You won’t know if you’re successful if you don’t track it. Many website developers offer basic website statistics. If they don’t, Google offers a new analytics package that is fairly advanced and easy to install. Determine what metrics are important to you and create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and monitor them closely. If you offer content or articles, perhaps one of your KPIs is the average time your visitors spend on your website. If you sell widgets your KPI would be conversion rate; the number of purchases per website visit. Once you know which KPIs to focus on, monitor them religiously and test various methods to improve them. E.g. If you are paying for online marketing, you can determine the Return on Investment by tracking your newsletter signups or net revenue of the items sold.

4. Offer a Scent Trail – Your visitors have come to you for a solution so give them a “scent trail” to follow. You now have a good understanding of the visitor’s problem so guide them through your website by emphasizing specific content or links to where you would like them to go. Too many equally weighted options (links) offered to your visitors will cause confusion. The detail page of a product for sale should display the “Add to Cart” button as the most important link on the page and it should stand out proudly. When viewing the shopping cart, the “checkout” button should be larger and bolder than the “empty cart” button as that is the “scent trail” you would like them to follow.

5. Be consistent with industry leaders – Websites such as Amazon.com, Yahoo, Google and many more follow similar, widely adopted styles and structures. If the websites that you enjoy and visit regularly put the categories along the left-side margin, then you should too. Website visitors understand large fonts and hyperlinks that are underlined in blue. Designers and developers don’t. Who would you rather please?

6. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should – Flaming, spinning logos. Need I say more?

7. Present your UVP and a clear call to action – Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) should answer the question “Why should I do business with you and not someone else?” Describe how your company will bring value to your visitor. Once that’s understood, offer a clear call to action such as an “add to cart” button, a contact us form, a phone number, or a newsletter signup form.

8. Write copy in the “active voice” and not the “passive voice” – active copy emphasizes the doer of the action and comes across as more persuasive. Active copy would say “The Sonic Drill has everything you need to make perfect holes up to two inches deep and one inch in diameter, quickly and easily.” The same copy written in the passive voice would state: “The Sonic Drill can be used to make holes up to two inches deep and one inch in diameter using the accessory kit that is packaged in the set.” Which copy is more compelling to you?

9. Use text instead of images whenever possible – When a search engine “spiders,” or indexes your site it reads the text on your site to understand what your site is about. If your site is comprised of mostly great-looking images, there is no content for the search engine to read and therefore you will have absolutely no chance of showing up in the search engine results. Whenever possible use text on your site and be sure to interject “keyword rich” words or phrases that users may use when looking for your product or services on a search engine.

10. Make your forms simple – Website users are hesitant to provide personal information on the Internet. If you must ask for their information, ask for the least amount of personal data as possible. Once you establish that you are trustworthy, you will then be able to request additional information. If you have forms on your site, don’t make your visitors follow strict guidelines when inputting the data. Some website forms require a phone number or a credit card to be typed in with dashes or the visitor will encounter an error. Allow your visitors to input their data any way they wish and have your developer write simple code that cleans it up on the backend.

Bonus Tip!!

1. K.I.S.S. – Okay, it’s not really a bonus, just a repeat of the most important guideline to follow. Be sure to Keep It Simple Stupid.

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