Archive for ‘Advertising’

November 2, 2013

Keywords in a time of Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird has brought significant changes to the web, for Google search engine users as well as webmasters. The impact seems more likely to affect smaller e-commerce merchants than large companies with brand name recognition and large budgets to pay for multiple advertising channels.

Hummingbird is NOT an update comparable to Penguin or Panda. Hummingbird is a major change to Google search.

For users

The first change that caught my attention was encryption. All Google search queries are now encrypted, i.e. it is no longer optional to connect to Google search by https instead of http.  SSL makes Google search safer, in a general sort of way.

Google AdWords keyword matching tool

Keyword tool using broad match

 

For webmasters

Keyword data is not as accessible as it was prior to Hummingbird. Google Keyword Tool has been replaced by Keyword Planner. Now, certain archival keyword data can only be accessed by Google AdWords customers. Google Analytics is free; Google AdWords is not.

Functionality such as broad match is no longer available.

read more »

September 17, 2011

Google Plus impact on page rank

Controversy over the impact of Google Plus buttons on search engine page rank is the latest news story associated with Google’s recently introduced social network. Will it benefit large websites to the detriment of small or specialty sites, particularly blogs? Since Google page rank is part of the mysterious world of search engine optimization, speculation is plentiful.

I found this attractive rendering of a Google Plus button on the Flickr page of a Second Life resident.

Circle Me! on G+

The image was used as the illustration for a mysteriously de-listed Forbes article* about the effect of Google+ buttons on website page rank. The article URL was supposedly removed from Google search results. Based on the error returned when I checked just now, I think it is more likely that it was deleted by Forbes. Whether accidental or by intent wasn’t obvious to me.

Yet it is not easy for anyone, not even Google, to erase digital footprints. Alternative search engine Blekko has the article in cache. Publication date was 18 August 2011 (Forbes Online). I will amend this post with a cleaner URL for the web cached result from Blekko. The article didn’t seem objectionable to me, upon first glance. But I am not an SEO expert.

* Thanks and attribution given to a Google+ user discussion of 31 August 2011.

UPDATE

Here is the Blekko web cached URL: http://blekko-webcache.com/cache/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fkashmirhill%2F2011%2F08%2F18%2Fstick-google-plus-buttons-on-your-pages-or-your-search-traffic-dies%2F

The author is Forbes staff writer Ms. Kashmir Hill. The article is time stamped 11:21 AM on August 18, 2011, Technology section. The title is Stick Google Plus Buttons On Your Pages, Or Your Search Traffic Dies. The content of the article is not as dire as the title. These are the salient points, and possibly cause for concern by any website involved in e-commerce, publisher or otherwise:

Though recommendations from contacts in your Google circles will be weighted more heavily, the number of “+1″s overall will now be a factor in search whether you’re part of Plus or not…. The Google guys explained how the new recommendation system will be a factor in search. “Universally, or just among Google Plus friends?” I asked. ‘Universal’ was the answer.

This was not surprising, but still unsavory:

Some traffic scammers are already onto this. Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic reports that SEO shops are already offering bushels of +1 votes for $9.99 a pop.

Ms. Hill then suggested that the Google+ buttons will benefit users of online services and those active in social media:

There are going to be lots of benefits to this… I just gave a hotel I liked in TownN a +1. Should I miss a Facebook status update from a friend going to TownN in the future asking for recommendations, this is a built-in back-up, so that this hotel will rise up in the search results should they Google “TownN hotels.” That’s pretty cool… And I can do that even though TownN doesn’t have a +1 on its page, since these buttons are also available from the main Google search page.

Additional web analytics information will be available to sites that include the Google+ button. But similarly, sites that choose not to place the +1 button on their pages will likely fare worse in search results than competitors who have included the button.

Is this a problem?

Facebook “Like” buttons have a similar impact, though not through Google search engine results directly.

What is the downside?

The Google Plus button is free to use, just like other social media services. There will be some work for the web maintenance staff, decisions about optimal placement. Page load speed? Uncertain. Yet it would be very unwise for Google to penalize sites in search results due to incremental delay from using one its own products! Overall, Google+ does not seem to be a cause for concern– merely the addition of another social media button to the already ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter icons.

June 5, 2011

Google photos for businesses

sample Google Maps for business page

Sample Google Maps, Places for businesses

Business Photos from Google are now available to businesses with listings in Google Places.

Google Places listings are seen by any Google Maps user. This feature should help small businesses who want to reach more local customers. Google photographers will take interior shots of businesses, which is distinctly different from the exterior imagery ordinarily seen on Google Maps.

…sign up for a photo shoot by Google trusted photographers. The images will appear on your business’ Place page, and as 360-degree imagery using Street View technology.

Availability

The Business Photos feature is being rolled out gradually based on geographic area. The comprehensive FAQ page includes locations and timelines.

If interested in participation, a short application must be completed.

March 16, 2011

Optimal advertising placement

Advertising Heatmap

Optimal advertising placement by Google AdSense

Certain locations tend to be more successful than others. This “heat map” illustrates the ideal placing on a sample page layout.

The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance).

All other things being equal, ads located above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.

via Google AdSense Support

January 28, 2011

Google Boost

Google Places for business seems to have everyone guessing at the moment.  What is the new, still unannounced Google response to Group On?

Google Offers

Is it Google Offers? But aren’t Google Offers merely the yellow Tags advertised in November 2010 as a fee-based add-on to a regular Google Places listing?

There are coupon offers available on many Google Places listings for businesses.  Are these the same as the Google Places optional free feature to offer discounts alongside one’s business listing?

Both TechCrunch and TheNextWeb ran stories about the potentially new Google Offers product within the past 24 hours. Various experts weighed in via the comments, raising many of the issues I just mentioned.

From my own personal experiences with Google Places for business listings, I am inclined to believe that nothing new has happened. However, I’ve seen two items to the contrary. I’m not the only person who observed this.

Evidence regarding of the existence, or non-existence, of a new Google Offers product:

  1. I don’t recall any mention of a product named Google Offers. Google is very specific about such things. I confirmed the claims that listings for Google Offers were now visible as results on Google Search. Is this new?  One way to confirm is by running a web cache search for the same query and businesses for one of more dates in the two-three months between introduction of Google Places with Tags and now. This assumes that I can find some businesses who were running Google Tags and/ or coupon offers continuously between mid-November and now. I will try that after publishing this post.
  2. Google announced a new iGoogle widget in some places, for the express purpose of identifying Google Offers. Google explicitly states that this widget is new. When did Google first offer the widget? Is this significant on its own if I cannot get confirmation for item 1?

As I was hunting around for more clues, I found yet another product with which I was unfamiliar: Google Boost.

Google Boost

I have copy-and-pasted the text from the https secured service login page below. I haven’t clicked the links or checked the available service areas yet.

Google Boost

Google Boost Illustration

New! Get more local customers with Google Boost

Advertise your business on Google search and Google Maps

Done in minutes:  Simply pick business categories, choose ad text, and set a budget

Automatically managed:  Boost manages everything and figures out where to show your ad

Pay only for success: You only pay when potential customers click on your ad

Google Boost is set up from within your free Google Places account. Google Places helps your business get found on Google Search and Maps.  If you don’t already have a Places account, we’ll set you up with one first. Learn more.

Boost is currently available for select categories in select locationsTo get started, sign in with your Google Account or create a new one.

Is Google Boost the real Google product response to Group On?

Or is Google Boost actually an existing product about which I am unaware because it is not offered in my geographic area?  Stay tuned! Answers will be obtained in short order!


January 24, 2011

QR Codes for Google Favorite Places

What’s that bar code?

This unique bar code on the lower right of the sticker, known as a QR code, lets customers – and potential customers – instantly learn more about a business, by visiting a mobile version of the business’ Place Page on any supported phone.

via QR Codes for Google Favorite Places.

QR Code and Google Maps logo

Google Maps Favorite Places logo with expanded QR code example

Learn more about Google Favorite Places.

Favorite Places are a feature of Google Maps, but not the same as a Google Places Page.

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January 7, 2011

AdSense Promotional Stickers Reappear

Google AdSense is once again offering their promotional stickers. They appeared for the first time as a post on the Inside AdSense blog back in March of 2008. I was looking at the AdSense Resources page this morning, and noticed a pleasant oval image

AdSense Sticker usage

Get your AdSense stickers!

The link is for the original story from AdSense blog, “Stick-em Up”. After scrolling to the end of 170+ comments, I finally saw the entry from November 21, 2010 by the Inside AdSense Team. Send your self-addressed stamped envelope to the address provided and receive a sticker by mail. Assuming any remain available. I’m uncertain of that, as I just sent my envelope this morning…

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November 22, 2010

AdSense Mailer

Google sends a personal identification number (PIN) by physical mail to all AdSense account holders upon becoming eligible to receive payments.  Eligibility is based on achieving a threshold earnings level, set at $10.00 for U.S. AdSense accounts. Thresholds and currencies for other countries are listed on the Google AdSense Payment Threshold information page.

AdSense accounts cannot take receipt of their earnings without this PIN.

This is a scaled image of the PIN mailer used by AdSense. The postcard-type mailer is sent via standard post to the account holder’s address of record with Google.

Postcard

Postal Mailer Used to Send AdSense PIN

The dimensions are given as 6.0 inches wide and 4.5 inches in height when mailed.  When opened, the total height doubles to 9.0 inches.  Additional details can be found on the Google AdSense PIN Process Help page.

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November 16, 2010

Google Tags Special Offer

The naming and categorization of Google product lines is getting confusing. Google has innovated and introduced new items so quickly that it can be difficult to keep up with their fast pace!

The items described in this post are products for businesses, although not exclusive to the enterprise-level, perhaps the opposite, in fact.

It would really help to use a flow chart or diagram to keep track of everything!

Google Places

  • a business listing associated with a unique location on Google Maps.
  • includes text, a rating, the hours of operation, photo, directions, and potentially other options
  • Places entries are returned as a response to queries submitted to Google Search.
  • Places may also appear as a sidebar in Google Maps.

Google Tags: Promote your business on Google search and Maps

Google Tags are a new optional feature for Google Places. Google describes Tags as an enhancement feature, presumably to appear on Google Places listings, on Google Maps AND/OR in Google search itself, with Places but without Maps.

IMPORTANT!!!

As of today November 10, 2010, Google was making the following special offer from the Welcome to Google Places page:

New! For a limited time, you can activate tags for free, and cancel anytime.

November 7, 2010

Yahoo! Advertising Solutions

Yahoo! Advertising Solutions = SCIENCE + ART + SCALE

Yahoo home page has better reach than all cable TV channels combined

Yahoo! continues to be a formidable competitor for Google in many ways. While Google may have a higher profile and garner more respect as a technology and search algorithm innovator, Yahoo Labs pursues research initiatives too.

Yahoo cross platform optimization

While not as high-profile as Google, Yahoo keeps up to speed by acquiring smaller companies with innovative applications. Yahoo recently purchased Dapper, a new developed technology platform for delivering dynamic online ads.

Dapper dynamic advertising platform

Yodel Anecdotal website

 

 

 

 

 

Yahoo! also re-designed its venerable Yahoo Mail service.

When considering profitability from online advertising, business-to-consumer and business-to-business services, Yahoo actually surpasses Google in certain markets and niches, and is more accessible for many small businesses looking for turnkey solutions.  This is due to Yahoo’s longer history, deeper industry experience and good customer service.

Good for Smaller Businesses

However, there is plenty of room for Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Bing and hopefully others.  Choices are good for everyone!

via Yahoo! Advertising Solutions.

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