Google Click-To-Play Video Ads for AdWords

By Lauren Baker
Search Engine Journal

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): Another big announcement regarding the emergence of online video advertising from a major Internet ad serving company. Between the use of free video content containing embedded, short (and “unskippable”) advertisng “clips”, and the emergence of online video ads, online video use in advertising is exploding!

“Google has just announced that they have found a way to effectively monetize Google Video beyond the Google Video Store model they are currently using. Google Click-To-Play Video Ads will be a part of the Google Adwords content network; in a sense – AdSense Video.”

Read the entire article on SearchEngineJournal.com.

Yahoo Details Search Platform Revamp

By Zachary Rodgers
Clickz News

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): Yahoo fires back! Just as Microsoft gets it’s adCenter launched and publicized in the US, Yahoo has decided to release details of upgrades to its Yahoo Search Marketing service. Zachary Rodgers has provided a nice concise overview for Clickz News.

“Yahoo is today expected to share details of its impending search platform revamp, which will begin a phased implementation in Q3.

The new platform will add a range of features not currently available to marketers running their campaigns with Yahoo Search Marketing and its distribution network. These include keyword grouping enhancements, IP-based mapping features to support geo-targeting, better scheduling capabilities, the expression of business goals such as cost-per-acquisition, and indirect conversion tracking.”

Read the entire article on Clickz.com.

MSN adCenter Launches – Called Microsoft adCenter

Source: SearchEngineWatch Blog

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): adCenter is Microsoft’s attempt to strike at the heart (and the overwhelming source of revenue/profit) of arch-rival Google. And with BOTH Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer on hand to hype the official launch of this latest, and very different, Microsoft venture, it’s a call for “all hands on deck” in Redmond! And as Web marketers, it’s the third major search-related online ad platform that you must know and utilize to its fullest potential.

“While MSN adCenter has been in pilot mode since mid-October, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is announcing the official launch of adCenter at Thursday’s MSN Strategic Account Summit… as well as the new name change to Microsoft adCenter.

Along with the launch comes news that adCenter will launch in the UK market on a limited basis in June, begin testing their contextual advertising this summer, provide ads on multiple Live products and drop Yahoo! Search Marketing ads from all US-based searches on MSN Search.”

Read the entire article on SearchEngineWatch.com.

“Buying Text Links”

by Jill Whalen
HighRankings.com

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): I subscribe to Jill’s High Rankings Advisor Newsletter, and it’s always a treat to receive the next edition. This week Jill provided a very nice overview of what buying text links will and won’t do for a Web site’s search engine ranking, now and in the future. Good Stuff – enjoy!

“Buying text links. It’s all the rage.

Is it evil? Is it good? Will it help your search engine rankings? Will it get you banned? Will it increase your PageRank? Will it increase your link popularity? Will it bring targeted traffic to your site? Should you do it? Should you hire a broker to do it?

These are the questions on webmasters’ and search marketers’ minds. What follows is my take on buying text links.

There’s nothing wrong with purchasing an ad on a website that links back to your website. Advertising your site is good. Advertising it on popular sites where your target market hangs out is even better. After all, the name of the game is to bring in targeted traffic. Your advertisements on other people’s sites are none of the search engines’ business and will not get your site banned or penalized. They will not hurt your site in any way. How you market your site is completely up to you, and you don’t need to worry about the search engines if you decide to purchase text link ads.

So what’s the big deal?

Here’s where it gets tricky. A good portion of ads that are bought on websites are not purchased for the targeted traffic they will bring, but as an attempt to artificially inflate the link popularity of the site being advertised. No big news to you, I’m sure, and no big news to the search engines. Since having a popular site can often help with natural search engine rankings, people have been looking for cheap and efficient ways to boost their site’s popularity for years.

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do — but so do search engines.

To the search engines, a link is supposed to mean that someone found a site useful and wanted to tell others about it. This may very well have been true at one point in time many, many years ago. But today a link could mean something completely different. A link might be a simple trade between webmasters, or an ad, or even a vote *against* another site. With no way for a search engine to really know the intent of a link, things have really gotten complicated for them.

Ads used to have tracking links so that webmasters could measure their return on investment; however, today’s text linkers often prefer to keep the tracking codes off because their web analytics software no longer needs them. And besides, if you’re going to buy an ad, you might as well get the possible link popularity credit that comes with it. That’s more likely to happen with a plain old, stripped-down href link.

Unfortunately, this is wreaking havoc with search engine algorithms. On the one hand, they know it’s not their place to tell people whether they should or should not advertise on other sites — especially since most of the engines are advertising companies in their own right. On the other hand, without any way to figure out which links are truly a vote for a site, and which are simply a paid ad, the relevancy of the search results for any given keyword phrase can be skewed towards those who are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

The good news for search engines (and I guess the bad news for link brokers) is that most text link ads and the sites that sell them tend to leave noticeable “footprints” behind in the code. It would be no trouble at all for a search engine to do a little digging into what the latest footprints are, seek out all pages that have them, and simply not allow them to pass any link popularity. This is not a penalty, mind you. It would just be a way for the search engines to count only votes and not ads. Your ads would still be worthwhile for the exposure and direct traffic they bring, but not for providing you with link popularity. So although your site wouldn’t technically be penalized, its rankings could drop if it was dependent upon the link popularity of paid links.

For those of you who don’t believe the search engines can or would do this, you obviously haven’t been paying attention over the years. What do you think every major update at Google has been about? They haven’t been specifically about purchased link ads, but they have been about finding a subset of pages that all have similar characteristics and no longer allowing them to count the way they used to count towards rankings. Which means every page using the technique in question suddenly finds their rankings have dropped like a rock.

It’s not a matter of *if* this will happen with paid text link ads, but *when*. It could be next week, next month, or next year. Regardless of when the engines decide to lower the boom, you can bet we’re going to hear a lot of crying in the forums about it! For now, if you’re buying text link ads, or have been thinking about it, I wouldn’t really worry about it. Just make a mental note to yourself that whatever boost to your rankings they may provide now could vanish at any time. It’s no big deal if you’re getting real traffic from your ads, or if you’re simply using them to jumpstart your SEO campaign. It’s going to be a problem only if your livelihood depends on buying or selling text link ads to boost link popularity.”

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Jill Whalen of High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization consultant and host of the free weekly High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter.

She specializes in search engine optimization, SEO consultations and seminars. Jill’s handbook, “The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines” teaches business owners how and where to place relevant keyword phrases on their Web sites so that they make sense to users and gain high rankings in the major search engines.

Recent Reinclusions

Source: Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Dave’s comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): Wow! That was fast! ALL German-based BMW Web site pages (on BMW.de, etc.) are back in the Google index less than 1 week after they were removed for using SEO spamming techniques! Usually takes at least 30 days for full re-instatement. Guess it pays to have a well-known brand!

“I appreciate BMW’s quick response on removing JavaScript-redirecting pages from BMW properties. The webspam team at Google has been in contact with BMW, and Google has reincluded bmw.de in our index. Likewise, ricoh.de has also removed similar doorway pages and has been reincluded in Google’s index.

As I’ve discussed before, Google will be expanding its efforts on webspam in non-English languages this year. Just as a reminder, Google’s quality guidelines have been available for several years in many languages:”

Read the entire blog entry (and the endless responses!) at MattCutts.com.

German BMW Banned From Google

By Philipp Lenssen
Google Blogoscoped

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): All BMW.de German Web site pages have been removed from Google results for using doorway pages, a classic search engine spamming technique. Goes to show that Google is SERIOUS about punishing those who try to manipulate Google search results using underhanded SEO techniques they have banned for YEARS!

“From what it looks like, the German websites of car maker BMW have been kicked out of the Google index. BMW.de at this time has a PageRank of 0. A search for BMW Germany, which only days ago yielded BMW.de as a top result, now doesn’t show any sign of BMW.de at all. Instead, BMW.com – BMW’s international site – is on top for this search.

The reason for the ban is likely to be that the BMW websites have been caught employing a technique used by black-hat search engine optimizers: doorway pages. German and international bloggers last week were quick to spread the news.

As you may know, a doorway page is stuffed full of keywords that the site feels a need to be optimized for; however, as opposed to real pages, this doorway is only displayed to the Googlebot. Human visitors will be immediately redirected to another page upon visit. And that’s exactly what happened at BMW.de, as reported Wednesday.”

Read the entire post at Blog.Outer-Court.com.

First Base

by Bindu Reddy
Google Product Manager
GoogleBlog

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): Google Base is off and running as of today. Check out what Google itself has to say about the most talked about new Google feature over the last 30 days.

“Today we’re excited to announce Google Base, an extension of our existing content collection efforts like web crawl, Google Sitemaps, Google Print and Google Video. Google Base enables content owners to easily make their information searchable online. Anyone, from large companies to website owners and individuals, can use it to submit their content in the form of data items. We’ll host the items and make them searchable for free. There’s more info here.”

Read the entire blog entry on GoogleBlog.BlogSpot.com.

Splogs’ Roil Web, and Some Blame Google

By DAVID KESMODEL
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
October 19, 2005; Page B1

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): Guess I haven’t been at blogging long enough. Just saw this article about “splogging” in the Wall Street Journal (free section) and thought I’d share it with other blogging “newbies” like me.

“Spam, long the scourge of email users, rapidly has become the bane of bloggers too.

Spammers have created millions of Web logs to promote everything from gambling Web sites to pornography. The spam blogs — known as “splogs” — often contain gibberish, and are full of links to other Web sites spammers are trying to promote. Because search engines like those of Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. base their rankings of Web sites, in part, on how many other Web sites link to them, the splogs can help artificially inflate a site’s popularity. Some of the phony blogs also carry advertisements, which generate a few cents for the splog’s owner each time they are clicked on.”

Read the rest of this article on the Wall Street Journal Online.

“Winning Results with Google AdWords”

New book by Andrew Goodman

Book Reviewed by Chris Sherman
Associate Editor
SearchEngineWatch

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): This is the next book I order! How about you?

“Andrew Goodman is one of the foremost authorities on search advertising in the world, and his new book is a killer guide to succeeding with Google’s sponsored links.

Google is famous for touting the simplicity of its AdWords program. “All that’s needed is five minutes and a credit card,” Google claims on its corporate information web page. And while it’s certainly true that you can establish an AdWords account in five minutes, and possibly get your first ad up and running within an hour or so, whether it’s actually effective and leads to a successful outcome is another matter altogether.

Google, of course, benefits regardless of whether your sponsored links are effective—at least until you run out of money or your ineffective ads are disabled. That’s not to say Google doesn’t want your ads to be successful—the company also provides a lot of information and tools to help you create effective search advertising campaigns. But the reality is that mastering the AdWords system takes a certain degree of effort and commitment, and is really something of a science and art combined.

Andrew Goodman’s “Winning Results with Google AdWords” is an outstanding guide to the company’s advertising program. The book distills Andrew’s years of experience helping clients create and manage successful search advertising campaigns into a 352 page handbook that you’ll refer to often.”

Click on this link to read the complete review by Chris on SearchEngineWatch.com.

Microsoft to Start Own System for Selling Ads on Internet Searches

IHT Technology
Original Article By Saul Hansell
The New York Times

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): The long-awaited arrival of MSN’s inhouse self-serve pay-per-click ad program (“adCenter”) is upon us, according to a story in the New York Times via the International Herald Tribune. MSN’s twist is the inclusion of demographic ad serving selection criteria (gender, age, location) based on (presumably) sign-up info provided by MSN members. Privacy advocates will be on high alert (as will PPC advertisers!) as this new service rolls out in the US sometime in October.

“Microsoft will unveil on Monday its own system for selling Web advertising as it struggles to compete with Google and Yahoo in the expanding Web search business. The system, to be used by MSN, is meant to improve on those of Microsoft’s rivals by allowing marketers to aim ads on Web search pages to users based on their sex, age or location.

The move is part of Microsoft’s broad response to the threat from Google, which is using its powerful advertising sales network to support an expanding range of free software products and Internet services. Last week, Microsoft announced a broad reorganization that placed MSN in the same group as its Windows operating system, indicating that it saw software delivered over the Internet – and possibly paid for through advertising – as central to its future.”

Read the entire article on IHT.com: