Articles written in February, 2007

February 28 2007

Can Smaller Engines Stack Up?


It has been my experience that most organizations want nothing more than to see their ad displayed in Google, the “Big Fish” in the Sea of Search Engines, but is there more to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) than using such industry giants? Could your money be spent effectively in other engines as well?

Recently I have submitted clients into smaller search engines such as Quigo. While some are not as well known, I am sure you have heard of ESPN, USA Today, and Fox News. Using networks such as Quigo, your companies’ ads will appear within the context of these well-known and reputable sites. The advantage here is that you are targeting highly motivated and interested users in an environment in which they enjoy and trust. I am also able to pick the sites that best fit my clients’ target audiences or even define whether a specific ad should be displayed in a local market or at a national level.

Of course, it is always important to analyze these engines before making any decisions and determine your expected ROI, but I can say that my clients are now enjoying the advantages of utilizing an additional, cost-effective channel for increasing their exposure.

February 27 2007

Yahoo’s Affect On Google’s Quality Score


Keeping up-to-date with the latest technological developments is important in the Information Technology industry. When it comes to Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Google always seems to be at the forefront of productivity and innovation. Yahoo’s new platform, however, seems to have a leg up on Google Adwords this time around.

Yahoo unleashed its new platform, code name Panama, on February 5th of this year. Advertisers have been eagerly anticipating a new interface to enhance a campaign’s effectiveness. Yahoo has done away with its archaic bidding system and has created a new ranking system that is easier to understand. The creation of this system will force advertisers to use solid copywriting and direct marketing principles in setting up ad campaigns.

Individuals who have upgraded to the new system can now gauge the quality of their ads by viewing the prominently displayed quality index within the new Yahoo Search Marketing interface.

The use of quality score grading measurements in each of the search engines can affect an ad campaign’s effectiveness. Utilizing quality score for optimizing campaigns and determining ad positions for sponsored ads has become a common practice in SEM.

Similar to Yahoo, Google Adwords uses a quality score for its ranking and is based on landing page quality, bid amounts and ad performance. Until recently however, the quality score data had not been visible to advertisers. The launch of Yahoo’s new interface prompted Google to allow access and the ability to its users to view an individual keyword’s quality score. The fact that Google is following Yahoo’s lead for a change is interesting because Google is usually at the forefront of new innovations. Within the Adwords program, Google’s quality score rating can now be displayed as an optional data metric. To read more on Google’s new quality score rating, click here.

February 26 2007

The Power of Social Search


Most of us have heard about Social Networks such as: MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, and FaceBook. Another form of Social Media is creating a buzz and online marketers are paying attention. It’s Social Search. These sites typically use social bookmarks and user feedback to organize their content. Social Search communities rely on its users to play the role of traditional search engine algorithms and determine the relevance of results. Since the results are endorsed by a group of users, many people feel that “human judgment” allows for more accurate and trusted information. In addition, users are constantly providing feedback on these communities so the results tend to be more up to date than traditional search results. For these main reasons, there is a growing population of online users who prefer social search over other search methods.

Some of the leading Social Search/Social Bookmark communities include:

digg: Members submit and vote on content. The more “diggs” a story receives, the higher the ranking on the site.

Stumbleupon: Community that allows you to share and discover new content based on specific interests/themes.

reddit: Similar to digg. All content is submitted and voted on by users and personalized to your preferences. Store and share your bookmarks in one place online. View what others have bookmarked and discover new online content.

There are pros and cons to everything and social search is no exception. There is a risk of spamming, since the users have the ability to add their input directly to these social communities. Mislabeled content is another issue. These potential issues will need to be monitored closely. It will be interesting to see how Social Search evolves and how it ultimately will co-exist with Traditional Search.

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