Tag Archives: AdSense

What Google Knows about Google… and a few other things

There is a wonderful saying that one hears in big companies, particularly when discussing Knowledge Management – KM initiatives, “if only we knew what we know“. It is unlikely that Google is exempt from this problem, but their data-driven culture has launched several information dashboards which aim to overcome this problem by facilitating internal and external communication of data, from Google service statuses to internet statistics.

Search engines are great in helping us find something when we suspect that there is an answer out there somewhere, to borrow a phrase from X-File’s Fox Mulder. Yet search engines aren’t very helpful when you don’t even know or imagine a resource exists. This article aims to help insure these mostly lessor known Google tools and resources get the visibility they deserve.

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The real news behind the Google and Bing Twitter deals

Yesterday we saw a lot of press and blogosphere attention devoted to deals being made between the two leading search engines, Google and Bing, and leading social media services Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter search deals, while interesting, doesn’t yet merit much beyond a big yawn – we’ve already had decent, if imperfect, search via Summize, which became twitter search. Sure, both Google and Bing can improve this, but still, things like Google Squared are much more innovative.

What is really interesting about the search engine deals are the implications of the business details:

Is twitter being compensated for the indexing and retrieval attention Bing (and Google?) is giving them?

If so, that would seem to set a big precedent (the AP content hosting deal aside). Why shouldn’t other content rich sites not also receive payment from search engines? Newspapers worldwide have been making this point, to no avail, for several years now (The Italian Federation of News Publishers is pressing its case by arguing that Google has a monopoly position).

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Italian press to Google: you’re unfair (and we’re confused)

This past week the Italian antitrust authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) conducted a search of Google’s Italian office and announced it was beginning an investigation into Google’s possible abuse of its dominant position in the Italian search engine market. The case was triggered by a complaint from the Italian Federation of News Publishers, FIEG (Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali). FIEG represents publishers of newspapers and magazines, together with press agencies.

So what’s the problem?

The news industry has struggled since the mid 1990s to figure out a profitable internet strategy. “Free” content needs to be supported by advertising revenue, yet poorly targeted banners and the like don’t pay much. Google’s indisputable success as an advertising powerhouse1 has captured the press’ attention.

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10 shadows hanging over Google: does Google have a dark side?

In a recent article on Microsoft’s bing, I felt it necessary to temper my enthusiasm for Microsoft’s commitment to web search by noting Microsoft’s decidedly checkered record as a good net citizen. What about Google?

It is almost too easy to write a glowing review of whatever new service Google unleashes. For example,

  • Google Maps Street View enables us to preview a new client’s street and building prior to a first visit – a boon in city environments
  • Google Translate has improved so significantly of late that it really is useful in providing rough draft translations of search marketing articles
  • Google Squared provides an innovative take on structuring search results for items with multiple attributes.

However while enthusing over Google’s services one might ask,

Does Google have an underlying dark side? If so, need anyone care?

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My website has disappeared from Google. What do I do now?

One day you note a fall off in the traffic Google sends your website. As Google is the main source of your traffic, as is the case for many websites, alarm bells naturally start ringing. Investigating, you realize that the site does not appear at all in Google or has poor visibility at best in search results. What is a poor site owner to do? Did someone say panic?

Understand why the site disappeared from Google

There are several reasons why a site no longer appears in typical Google search results.

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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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Enhance your blog or website with Google’s Site Search. Measure the results in Google Analytics.

You’ve done it. You’ve created a successful web site with compelling content. A loyal community of readers keeps coming back for more. SEO efforts have paid off too, with lots of traffic from Google, Yahoo!, MSN and minor search engines. Time to sit back with a fine Real Ale or a glass of Monteregio di Massa Marittima… but didn’t you forget something? Internal Site Search perhaps?

By Internal Site Search we mean a search feature on your website to allow site visitors to find what they’re looking for, using their own words.

Don’t fret, there are good reasons to deploy site search functionality and it’s relatively easy to do.

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Who’s using Google for their organic and paid search results?

An important consideration for Google AdWords advertisers is to understand just where their contextual ads might appear. Google notes that AdWords ads can appear on the:

  1. Google search engine
  2. Partner search engines (e.g. Aol, Ask.com, Libero / Arianna, Virgilio / Alice)
  3. Google owned web content sites (e.g. Gmail, Google Groups)
  4. Third party web content sites (practically any site wishing to display Google ads)

The following slide, extracted from my PPC with AdWords Course, provides a visual overview of where AdWords can appear1.

Visual Overview of Where Google AdWords Ads may appear
Figure 1: Where Google AdWords Ads may Appear – Italian market focus (click to enlarge)

While Google has recently improved information about participants in the Google content network2, it isn’t so easy to find an updated listing of which major generalist portals and pure search engines rely on Google for their organic and paid search results. The following table aims to rectify this, at least for the Italian market.

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Funny business searching for Milan-Rome flights in Google – AdSense Arbitrage at work.

The traditional August break in Italy is a wonderful time to work on projects which linger on the back burner during the rest of the year. Last August led to the release of a free keyword selection guide (in Italian); this year’s focus is a Course on using the AdWords PPC paid search marketing program.

While capturing some updated screen shots for the PPC Course, I came across an interesting example of a search marketing phenomena known as PPC or AdSense arbitrage.

Search for Milan – Rome Flights

Consider this search for Milan – Rome Flights: Search in Google for Flights between Milan and Rome
Figure 1: Search in Google for Flights between Milan and Rome

Travel is one of the most highly competitive business sectors on the web. It shouldn’t then be a great surprise that we have 3 sponsored results (with the beige background) above the organic results in addition to the standard sponsored results on the right. The results at the top appear when there is a high chance of the ad being very profitable for Google – the maximum bid is high, as is the historic click-through rate.

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Google Analytics’ Web Statistics Benchmarking Service

Last summer I looked at the different web statistics available for benchmarking the competition. From a marketing point of view, the result wasn’t very good. Poor methodology and a lack of transparency mean that most publicly available web statistics are worse than useless: by providing a false sense of confidence, they can lead to bad business decisions.

It is thus with much interest that I note the announcement of a new web marketing benchmarking comparison service from Google.

Integrated into Google Analytics, this functionality will be limited in scope:

  • Sites must use Google Analytics and enable their participation in the program.
    • Competitors such as Fireclick’s web analytics benchmark index make some data publicly available without having to use the tracking tool. I can already think of the work-arounds some companies will find to this issue.
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