Yahoo! Will Stop Ripping Off Searchers via Paid Inclusion Soon

yahoo-paid-search-inclusion.jpgI have been known when I speak to groups around the country when publicly asked about ranking in Yahoo! to smirk a bit. I have despised Yahoo! for years becuase of their completely unethical practice of having you pay them to be included in their “organic” results. Well, it’s coming to an end, largely because of their deal with Microsoft.

Barry Schwartz broke the news a few days ago and included this from Yahoo! in his post:

We are committing our resources and efforts to our core areas of focus, including improving the search experience and relevancy of our ads to increase user engagement and ROI for advertisers, and as a result, have decided to exit Search Submit. We have stepped up innovation in Search Marketing, recently rolling out search retargeting, Rich Ads in Search and improved matching technology, and in Consumer Search, with enhancements like the new search results page. These enhancements deliver value, control, innovation and relevance to our advertisers, leading to increased ROI.

Yahoo! will exit Search Submit at the end of 2009. Yahoo! is providing those advertisers affected by the decision a sufficient lead time to assist in the transition. In addition, Yahoo! has recently announced a series of important enhancements to its Search advertising business and will work closely with many Search Submit advertisers to provide them with search solutions that will benefit their businesses.

The Take Away

So what does this mean for business owners and marketers? My advice is to begin paying attention to Bing’s results if you’re concerned about engines other than Google. We believe that you’re going to see Bing’s results when you search on Yahoo! in the coming months.


3 Golden Rules of SEO (for the Tech)

We find, more often then not, that the people who develop business websites and web applications do not understand the basic principals of search engine optimization. Even if they do understand, they may not care, or may not find it to be an important enough part of the project, deciding to just worry about it later.

It is much easier to consider these tactics during the process of the project rather then trying to modify it after the fact. For all the tech’s out there, I’d like to offer my 3 golden rules of SEO:

  1. Do right to Google, and Google will do right to you.
  2. If you try to trick the search engines, it may work today. But eventually, you will be penalized.
  3. You don’t have to do everything right. Just do more right than your competition.

What do these golden rules actually mean?

Do right to Google, and Google will do right to you.

“Do right to Google” means several things. It means to follow their best practices. Think about what Google’s goal is - they want to provide their users with an efficient way to find the information they are looking for. In order to do that, they have created an algorithm to rank sites in order of which they feel is the most likely internet result to answer the user has queried. Most of the scoring techniques are secret, but the goal is not.

So think about it this way - anything we can do during site development to help Google do their job, is extra points for the site. See the Google Webmaster Tools site for more information.

If you try to trick the search engines, it may work today. But eventually, you will be penalized.

Even though rule number two simply states the opposite as number one, it still is important in its’ own right. If we are doing everything right to Google, we shouldn’t be doing anything wrong, right? Sometimes SEOs will employ methods to optimize their site to unnaturally inflate their rankings. Using these techniques are considered “Black Hat” or “Grey Hat.”

The entire premise of rule no. 2 is that we don’t want to do anything that appears like we are trying to trick the search engines. If so, you may not get caught today or tomorrow. But one day, maybe your site will have points taken away… therefore dropping your ranking.

You don’t have to do everything right. Just do everything more right than your competition.

Last but not least, you don’t have to do everything right. Just make sure you’re doing more things right than your competition. It makes sense… perfect sense.

Just like winning a race, a football game or the even the World Series. In all of those examples, the winners can still make all sorts of mistakes, and still end up winning. They just need to do better then the competition.

So fear not, developers of the world. You don’t have to become an expert overnight. Just take these three solid rules into account while working on your next project.

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Google Making Money On Image Search Ads

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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.


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.