Category Archives: Web Marketing

Page views value little in the monetization of a website

The title might be a bit provocative, but the topic is important for companies which want to insure their website is a profit center rather than a cost center. The number of page views tracked by a web analytics system is often a weak indicator of website monetization potential. With the advent of monetization programs such as Google’s AdSense, the specific content of a web page has become much more telling in this regard. Let’s see why.

In this article we will restrict ourselves to advertising as the monetization tool.

The success factors for the monetization of a website depend on the advertising model used. The traditional approach is to sell banner space, historically at a cost per 1000 impressions (CPM). In this model, the greater the number of page views, the better. Life is all rather straight forward. Yet over time many advertisers have become more sophisticated, offering to pay just for the traffic actually received, e.g. the click-through model where the site carrying the ad receives a fee only if a user clicks on the banner, arriving at the advertiser’s site.

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SMX West 2009: Do you know the way to San José?

One sign that a profession has matured is in its ability to support a dedicated conference where professionals can hear and learn from presenters as well as interact with other practitioners (and potential clients & vendors).

Search Marketing has had its very own conference since Danny Sullivan started the Search Engine Strategies (SES) series 10 years ago. After growing the SES conference series for many years for the benefit of other owners, Danny started his own conference series, SMX: Search Marketing Expo, in 2007.

I’m happy to say that on February 10-12 I’ll be attending the three day SMX West 2009, in Santa Clara, California. I’m particularly looking forward to day 2′s Keynote Conversation with Google’s Vint Cerf. One of the advantages of the California edition of SMX is that it is easier to get key search engine employees to participate – they’re already right down the street. The sessions on Ecommerce Search Marketing Tactics and Search & Reputation Management also look particularly promising.

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15 questions, 5 weeks, 5 free books: the SEO quiz is here

Note to the reader: this article was originally posted on our Italian blog on October 28th. The quiz targeted an Italian audience; we’ve published this translation in order to allow a wider audience to follow search marketing developments in Italy.

It seems that the summer fun is now over, but not so fast: it’s time to check, just for fun, your SEO knowledge! We’ve prepared 15 multiple choice questions on topics which appear frequently in SEO projects.

Only for a limited time

The quiz will be available for just 5 weeks, from 28 October to 1 December 2008. Once the quiz is over, the correct answers and the overall results will be published here. Participants will receive an e-mail with their results and a certificate of participation.

Five lucky participants will receive a free copy of Internet PR

Where there’s a quiz, there’s training. Marco Massarotto has lent us a hand, kindly offering 5 copies of his excellent book Internet PR.

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Search engine marketing acronyms: what are they talking about?

That Americans like acronyms is not really a surprise to those who have worked for an American company. Acronyms are extremely useful as a conversational shorthand especially when working with unwieldy terms like search engine optimization. SEO is just so much easier to roll off the tongue. The problem with acronyms is that it is very easy to lose the original meaning – a significant communication problem. In the world of search marketing, SEM is a good case in point.

The following search-marketing glossary highlights common acronyms often used by the search marketing community.

SEO
Search Engine Optimization. Indicates the activities undertaken to generate traffic, usually qualified, to a website through the “natural” results in a search engine. In Google, ~80% of user clicks are on the natural (also called organic) results.
PPC
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Did you mean: porn or why not all keywords are suitable for SEO.

In the not too distant past when we spoke of search engine marketing, we focused mainly on search engine rankings (SERPS) or, in other words, of being top in Google. A nice phrase, concise and effective. Visibility in search engines is very important, no doubt.

But in the top spots in Google for what? Here lies the big trap. It is not uncommon that the keywords identified for SEO or PPC campaigns are part of the jargon used by business professionals inside a company to describe their products and services. Yet a typical person generally uses much simpler language to describe what they are searching for in Google or another search engine. Consequently a business can find itself in the top Google search results, but for keywords which are only used by competitors when they fall into the same trap. Ouch.

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List of over 550 search engines and sources of traffic attributable to web search

The following is a list of search engines and significant sites incorporating a search engine, such as ISP portals, which provide site traffic attributable to web search. The list can be used to verify if your Web Analytics system recognizes all the sources of organic search traffic and keywords important in your market – or for other SEO activities.

The last two table columns indicate if a search engine is recognized by Google Analytics and Microsoft adCenter Analytics. See these related articles for more information about search engine and keyword detection in these two Web Analytics systems:

This information is provided “as-is” without any representation made as to its accuracy. Use at your own risk.

Last updated: 7 October 2008

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Are Italian publishers still diffident when it comes to Internet Book Search?

This was the question posed to Santiago de la Mora, Google’s European Partnerships Lead, Books, at Editech 2008: Editoria e innovazione tecnologica, Milan, 27 June 2008.

In the article that follows, I’ve attempted to paraphrase Santiago’s presentation of Google’s Book Search based on notes I took during the session. Santiago started by noting his agenda would cover 5 points. As the slide set is not currently available and I couldn’t see it very well from my side seat, I’ve added a few screen shots in an attempt to better illustrate Santiago’s presentation. I’ve also inserted a few personal comments, indicated with italics.

1. Challenges and opportunities on the Internet

With about 1 billion users today in Internet, every publisher needs an Internet strategy. 2007 e-commerce sales are estimated at $420 billion globally (I’m not sure of the source, but US only e-commerce sales were at $136.4 billion1). As mentioned previously, books are the number one product sold on the net2, totaling $180 billion3.

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Flash is still a problem for SEO (and the web) despite Google announcement

I just discovered that someone on a Web Analytics discussion group misconstrued the recent Google announcement of better Flash search engine crawling support to mean it is now good to use Flash when developing web sites.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While Google’s move is welcome support for all the legacy Flash websites still in circulation, companies shouldn’t generally be deploying new sites made wholly using Flash.

What Google has announced is significant improvements to their ability to extract information, specifically text and links, from Flash objects. Despite what many are trying to read into this, Google already crawled and extracted this information from Flash only sites – this is not exactly new.

What is new is that hit or miss crawling and discovery is probably just mediocre instead of bad. But mediocre is not good nor is it great. Before site architects and designers rush off to develop Flash only websites, they should still consider SEO and non SEO issues with Flash:

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People, Internet and Enterprise Business, all without mentioning Google.

Last Wednesday I had the fortune to attend a world class conference on social behavior and technology applied to medium and large sized businesses. Not in San Francisco. Not in Boston, where I worked for 4 years. Not in Milan, even. In Varese. Right, Varese, once known more for shoe production. The conference, the International Forum on Enterprise 2.0, was held at L’Università dell’Insubria as part of their 10th anniversary celebration.

As a search marketing consultant, I was very interested in how the social web is being applied to business environments. The very intertwined nature of the web means that no web marketing project should be seen in isolation. <rant>Thanks to the kind folks at Trenitalia, who canceled my train from Tuscany at the last minute, I almost didn’t make it. Not that you’d find any news about this on their website.</rant>

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Psst: Your Competition is ignoring Internet Search Marketing, are you?

The inside scoop on how you can get a competitive advantage by including organic search engine visibility in your marketing mix.

One of the primary goals of traditional advertising is to create demand for a product or service. An advertisement awakens latent demand by bringing attention to the product or service, or strives to create demand by informing us of a need or problem we weren’t yet aware of having.

By advertising in a mix of traditional media (television, radio, cinema, billboards, magazines and newspapers), companies aim to increase their sales. The process is rather hit or miss: a return on investment (ROI) only occurs when a person, sufficiently motivated, passes through a shop’s checkout or orders a service. This ROI is notoriously hard to measure. John Wanamaker summed it up best when he wryly noted,

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half1.

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