Google Making Money On Image Search Ads


I know that it’s been in the blogosphere often during the past few months that Google was displaying sponsored results among SELECT google image searches while users were logged into their google accounts, but now it appears to be mainstream.

Google Sponsored Results Showing In Google Image SearchI was actually just doing a search for our new Universal Search Optimization Chart to see if it was showing in google images and noticed the sponsored ads appearing.

The kicker is that I wasn’t even signed into google, which means that these results may now show all the time.  What does this mean for the industries that internet marketing focus on? What about artists and others who want to sell their “prints” and things?  Will Google offer to sell them for you?  Does this ruin the algorithmic benefit to Google image search in any way?


Internet Marketing 2009: Universal Search Optimization Chart

We are excited to bring you our latest (number 2) in our series of internet marketing charts.  This time, we got some advice from top industry experts:

Click The Chart Below To View or Download A High Resolution PDF Below

Universal Search Optimization Chart

Why We Created The Chart

As has been said by many in the industry, universal search is changing the way that internet marketers go about their campaigns. Part of the struggle that we have internally is explaining this concept to executives. Usually, we are in about 5 - 7 meetings a week discussing strategies for companies. As the topic of universal search comes up, their eyes begin to glaze and a state of confusion ensues.

This used to happen with us when we talked about link building as well. Then we introduced our Link Building Chart and began using it. Since we put that out last March, we have heard it has helped many SEOs the same way it helped us.

So, to fix this communication hole regarding universal search, we compiled a group of the smartest people in the industry on the topic of universal search. We asked them to share their expertise and quotes, and then we put it all together in an easy to read, fun PDF - a universal search chart.

Thank You!

I want to thank all of those who contributed for their participation. It was great fun chatting with you guys via email and on the phone while we were putting it all together. Oh… and thanks for not being too picky about the “cartoon drawings.”

What are your thoughts?

Is there anything we missed? Are there any tips you’d like to add? Drop them in below.

Also, I want to make sure that my team get some props as well… Ashley Lichty wrote the content and Adam Perry designed the whole thing (including the cartoons). Thanks so much guys - you rock!

Download The High Res PDF

Feel free to download the high resolution PDF (we zipped it to save ya some bandwidth) and let us know what you think.


Link Baiting Ideas: “World’s Ugliest Whatever”


Jodi (my wife) asked me tonight if there were any new pictures from the breeder we’re purchasing our dog from. The dog was born on New Years Eve and we are picking him up in February, so we like to get photo updates.

So, to be funny, I googled “world’s ugliest dog“… and BAM!


The reaction was great.

There are just SO MANY ways to build links… I just may have to do a “World’s Ugliest [whatever]” contest…

What “worlds ugliest” ideas do you have that could generate links for your site?


Barack Obama’s A Miserable Failure Already

In almost every meeting that I have with clients, I use three examples to explain how links to your website are one of the most important ways to get your site ranking for a term.

I have the CEO’s google “click here” to show them how Adobe’s download page for Reader is ranked number 1.  I then have them search for the term “miserable failure” in Yahoo and talk about the Bush Google Bomb that was created by many webmasters linking to the George W. Bush biography page, making it rank number 1 for the term.

So, in preparation for a meeting later today, I was getting my computer set up and noticed that a 301 redirect on the page has sent the George W. Bush Biography page to Barack Obama’s Biography page.

Obama Miserable Failure Pic

This, will of course now enable multiple teaching opportunites for me in my meetings.  I will be able to share how link building and 301 redirects work… so thank you, Yahoo!, for the teaching aides.

Oh… It looks like this was pointed out 12 hours ago on twitter by @rattyboyAlso, Danny Sullivan predicted it here.  Need to make sure the cred’s out there.

Danny also wrote a post on it here.

Do you think that Yahoo will manually remove this from their index?


Blog Commenting Etiquette: To Approve or Not To Approve…?


Hands down, my favorite part of blogging is seeing people respond to my writing and actually leave comments. Whether good or bad, I’m not too picky. Comments just give me that warm fuzzy feeling when I realize people actually read what I write, and what’s better, have something to say about it!

Nowadays though, it’s vital to any blogger’s sanity to set up some kind of comment spam filter or approval process on their blog. Comment spam has risen to ridiculous levels (I’ve lost count of how many I’ve gotten on my personal blog) and without the multiple plugins for comment spam made for Wordpress, I don’t know what I’d do.

After reading a couple of good posts on blog comment etiquette (“The Blogger’s Guide To Comment Etiquette” and “Internetiquette – Anonymous Commenting”), I realized that it’s also important for a blog (especially a company blog) to decide and make known their own personal comment policy. The posts I read are older, but still pretty dang relevant today.

I Delete You Spam!For example, should you approve comments that are an obvious attempt at leaving a link, and add nothing at all to the conversation? (You know the, “Great post, you rock,” comments). What about anonymous commenting? Do you let people post comments, either positive or negative, if they’re not willing to stand behind what they say and actually leave a real name, email or website?

As a business, do you choose to be totally transparent and post the bad along with the good? Do you try and hide the fact that, like any business, you’ll have people who may not like you? I know that personally, when I’m commenting on blogs, I only leave my comment if it actually adds to the discussion, and if it’s something I’m willing to put my name behind. If I wanna be anonymous about it, that’s usually a good indication that I may not be living up to my own personal morals and ethics.

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to these questions, just what you think is best for your blog. I’d love to hear other bloggers’ take on this topic, or any basic rules of comment etiquette you follow, either when commenting, or for comments on your blog.

So what do you think? How do you make the call on what comments to allow, and which to delete?


Ray Zalinsky Road Trip


Ray ZalinskyAlthough not as lengthy of a trip as the Tommy Boy venture (but very close to as much fun), yesterday Mark Fischer and I did some old fashioned door-to-door, pounding the pavement sales calls to businesses throughout the greater Philadelphia area.

We want to express much admiration to the many security guards we encountered that did their jobs and would not permit us to pass through to any possible decision makers. Also, we want to apologize to the young lady at the one business that opened the door for us but then took a “tongue lashing” from one of her bosses for letting us through. Thank you!

As Mark and I were venturing through one of the business parks we became curious as to how many other internet marketing/SEO companies send their sales force out cold calling on businesses in this manner. Further more, how many SEO firms have a sales department and do any type of prospecting?

We have been very successful with generating leads online (obviously), but we like to be more aggressive with introducing our services to others. It is still surprising how many businesses do not understand what we do and that a website automatically gets ranked.

I would love to hear any practices or structures that other SEO firms have for their sales and customer service departments. Please include funny stories. Of course, we would love to offer advice on those tough situations.


10 Steps For Overcoming Writer’s Block


It’s pretty pathetic when the “content manager” of an internet marketing company has very few posts on said company’s blog. So, I’m trying to rectify the situation. It’s time to step up, put my blogging hat on, and get to work. I’ve been told by many different people that I’m a good writer…but I personally don’t feel as though I’ve actually proven it. Sure, I’ve written some articles, posts, website copy and even ebooks, but a lot of the stuff I write that I really like never winds up seeing the light of day.

So I’m making 2009 my “year of blogging.” Get ready to start seeing me crank out more content, both on this site and hopefully as a guest poster for several other sites.

Of course, we can’t all be rockstars and write rockstar posts like David Brown. Mainly because if all of us were as confident (read:cocky) as Brown here in the office, our heads wouldn’t actually fit through our doors. (Sorry Brown, you know I love you!). Besides, when you’ve reached a certain level of success and made connections the way he has, you deserve to be a bit cocky.

That being said, I wanted to set out and make my first post of 2009 an awesome one. So I sat down to think about what I wanted to write about. And I sat. And I sat. And then I ate something. And then I sat some more.

Ahh, Writer’s Block 2009

Image of Writer’s BlockAnd, just my luck, I got smacked in the face with a big bag of writer’s block. As a writer, especially in the SEO world, it often feels like everything has been said before. And it has, with the exception of when you’re lucky enough to be the first on top of a breaking news story.

For instance – there are THOUSANDS of articles on writing and writer’s block, but here I am, writing the 54,873rd post on it. Because when it comes down to it, it’s not so much about what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it. It’s about engaging your readers and keeping them interested.

It’s about your writing voice – does yours flow? Is it fun to read? Or are you a big bore? I don’t have a magic answer that will instantly make your writing more interesting. However, I do have one big suggestion, one that not only got me over my writer’s block but has helped me to develop my own voice and style as I grew up.

And the 10 Steps Are…

But before I give you my suggestion, I would take a peek at Brian Clark’s “10 Steps to Becoming A Better Writer,” a short post he did on Copyblogger back in 2007. I agree with his post, but I think he could add 10 more steps:

  1. Read.
  2. Read more.
  3. Read even more.
  4. Read even more than that.
  5. Read when you don’t want to.
  6. Read when you do.
  7. Read when you have something to learn.
  8. Read when you don’t.
  9. Read every day.
  10. Keep reading.

I read. A lot. Blogs, articles, magazines, the occasional newspaper, you name it, I’ve read it. But I believe it is my love for fiction, both quality AND trashy fiction, that has really given me my writing skills. I probably read at least 1-2 novels a week, sometimes short, sometimes long. Shoot, I’ve banged out 4 this week alone (I don’t get much sleep). Literary novels. Romance novels. Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Christian Fic. Mysteries and horror. You name it, I read it.

I gained a large vocabulary from reading (nevermind that I can’t pronounce half of it). I gained an instinctive feel for grammar and spelling (not that I am anywhere near perfect, grammatically speaking). Most importantly, I’ve developed a style all my own by voraciously consuming other authors’ styles.

Keep It Short, Sweet and To The Point

So how did I overcome my writer’s block? I read. Mostly blogs this time around. And suddenly, I felt the urge to write. Granted this blog post is unnecessarily long but hey…it’s the first of 2009. Cut me some slack.

Perhaps next time I’ll write on the importance of keeping blog posts short and sweet. That is definitely something I need to work on. New Year’s resolution: Keep blog posts under 500 words, unless it’s really, really important.


Fox News Got Twit-Phished. Did You?


I’m not trying to make light of anyone who got caught in the scam, but it seems that Twitter caught the wave of some “phishy” business over the weekend.

Twitter Phishing ScamA lot of people were affected, including Fox News, Britney Spears and CNN’s Rick Sanchez.

If you got a random direct message from someone and clicked a link that redirected you to, DO NOT FILL OUT YOUR INFORMATION.

I haven’t been personally affected by phishing on the social sites, but my wife has received some strange Facebook messages from friends on her wall with alleged “pics” of her on sites like “” and “”

If you didn’t know, this is also a phishing scam, just on Facebook.

AriWriter has a list of the all the different .com’s that are part of Facebook phishing. The culprit behind these recent phishing scams is, which is based in China.


SEO Gets ‘Sticky’ In 2009


Have you ever been “burned” by an eBook? Are you jaded by FREE reports that provide little more than statistics and a call to action from another firm that promises “top placement in Google FAST!”

Sticky SEOThe market for eBooks is so cluttered with lead gen tools that when a thought provoking piece enters the market, I think it deserves a pat on the back. “Sticky SEO” by David Leonhart - President of The Happy Guy Marketing - introduces everyone to the “Usefulness Algorithm” that he predicts will start to take effect as soon as this year in search results.

Leonhart’s theory: if a site visitor hits the “back” button on your site less than your competitors, your rankings will improve in the search engines.

Thus, the “stickier” your site is, the better it is optimized for search engine success.

Why does this make sense? Search engines do not want to be perceived as a provider of non-relevant results. Therefore, Leonhart believes the bounce rate of a webpage or website will begin to play a featured role in how the search engines determine credibility.

I don’t agree with all of Leonhart’s theories on how search engines might measure the usefulness of a website. That said, I think he offers some great perspective on the type of holistic approach SEO’s will need to take in 2009 and beyond if they are going to produce results for their clients.

The six critical elements of bringin’ sticky back in 2009 (with personal side comments included in bold, lowercase italics):

  • Quality Web Design (of course)
  • Engaging Web Content (always)
  • Ignore Nobody (everyone is a customer)
  • Segment Your Market (different people want different info)
  • Cover All Personality Types (we all search differently for the same thing)
  • Be Their Next Search (you want customers to come back, right?)

I don’t want to give away everything Leonhart offers in “Sticky SEO,” but I did find it thought provoking. If you want to take a look at the eBook - a 25-page quick read - and judge it for yourself, check it out at - Sticky SEO.


Star or Planet Under The Moon?


Coming from Lancaster, PA and heading to York last evening (New Year’s Eve), my family and I noticed a very bright non-moving object in the sky below the Crescent Moon. My hopes of it being a true UFO or even better yet a “Space Station” were quickly dismissed.

When reality set in, further investigation indicates that it was the planet Venus. It was truly a very cool sight to see.

Did anyone else notice Venus last evening under the moon?