Welcome to Issue # 17. I’ve got some SEO/SEM questions and answers this month of which topics include paid inclusion, AdWords and AdSense. I have also recently been invited to become a frequent guest blogger at Search Engine Guide. I am sure you have heard of blogs which are simply logs that are published on the web. Blogging has become very popular and I found it very fun to begin blogging myself. Rather than include a feature article this month (because I haven’t written one) I have included two select blog entries that deal with a very interesting subject that is involved in an ongoing debate. Let’s get right to it.
In this issue…
- SEM/SEO QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
- BUYING & SELLING TEXT LINK ADS – SEARCH ENGINE GUIDE BLOG
- SEARCH ENGINE HEADLINES
- CLOSING COMMENTS
SEM/SEO QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Here are a few questions that were asked on some of the forums I am privileged to moderate for which I was able to provide answers for.
Guaranteed results With Paid Inclusion?
Q: I was just brought on board to manage SEM/SEO work for a company with a number of different web site. Non of these sites have been optimized at the present time. In the meantime, I was approached by a company that claims they can get us good results with paid inclusion even though our websites are not optimized, and for the most part, have a fairly low page-rank. Does this sound like it is possible, or are they just giving me a sales pitch
A: What they probably will do is to submit pages “they” have created & optimized as well as “own” and then charge you for click-thru traffic. When you decide to stop paying them one day, the pages disappear. Wouldn’t make much sense for them to do anything else. My advice: Don’t touch them with a ten foot pole. Instead work to optimize your own sites and pages within the sites. If your navigation is set up properly as well, you do not need to do any inclusion. Besides, Yahoo is the only search engine that has an inclusion program anyway. How is their inclusion going to help you in Google, MSN and Ask Jeeves?
To AdSense or Not To AdSense?
Q: I was wondering if Google Ads somehow made the consumer think “less” of a site. I myself don’t think less of the site but it does make me think the company seems “smaller” for some reason. “Or that this is the main revenue source of the site?” I ask. regarding my own site, my main revenue source is not Google ads, but I don’t want potential advertisers to think that I can’t sell enough other ads. What to do
A: I think AdSense has become pretty common place for resourceful and informational sites. They key is to make sure you have one space for AdSense and another space for advertisers. that way it is clearly defined where AdSense runs and where advertisers can place their ads. If you do have the ability to attract advertisers, I think it is important to give them more prominence than AdSense but at the same time you want to make sure AdSense is in a place where it has visibility as well.
Do AdWords Help Link Popularity?
Q: I would hope that my AdWords campaign is not helping or hurting my organic campaign. However, I am getting Google Alerts of new links that are just AdWord links. Are my AdWords links helping my link popularity?
A: Seeing that there is a tracking code in every AdWord link, this would be impossible. the only link that can help your link popularity is a direct link to one of the pages on your site. AdWord links are Google tracking links that then redirect click-thrus to whatever URL you have specified for your specific ad.
In SEO, Is There One Thing That Is the Most Important?
Q: What is the single most important/effective way to increase your ranking level?
A: If a football team has a start quarterback then people may think that the quarterback is the most important team member but in reality if his linemen do not protect him, he is going to be eating grass everytime. the offence can also score touchdown after touchdown but if the defense doesn’t stop the other team from doing the same, what good is it going to do?
Same goes for search engine marketing as many things play a roll in a successful campaign.
BUYING & SELLING TEXT LINK ADS – SEARCH ENGINE GUIDE BLOG
Is It Appropriate for a Site to Monetize its Page Rank as Well as its Page Impressions?
That was a recent question asked by Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc, in response to Phil Ringnalda’s comments claiming search engine spam by advertisers on O’Reilly sites. Phil had complained that the O’Reilly sites were selling links to search engine spammers. Here is one example he pointed
O’Reilly’s OSDir.com, where amusingly enough I was looking to see what had happened to Danny O’Brien’s To Evil! column, is brought to you by things like Cuban cigars, mortgage refinancing, Jack Daniels (no, I didn’t click to see what sort of scam involves wanting to be highly ranked for “Jack Daniels”), online degrees, and cheap hotels: basically, the same folks who are spamming your comments…
As a result of this, a big debate has heated up regarding the issue of “link spam” and what to do about it. It is nothing entirely new. In fact debates like this have been going on for some time now. It is an issue that was recently discussed at the Search Engine Strategies San Jose “Buying & Selling Links” session where Greg Boser of WebGuerrilla made a point that Google created this monster when they popularized link popularity being added to search engine algorithms.
So back to Tim’s original question, “Is It Appropriate for a Site to Monetize its Page Rank as Well as its Page Impressions?” Here is one of the points he makes:
It’s pretty clear that the practice of “cloaking” — that is, hiding links so that you’re selling only the page rank — is illegitimate. But what if someone pays you for a real ad, even if you know that they are paying you primarily because of your page rank rather than your targeted audience? As long as there’s no deception as to the nature of the sponsored link, and a legitimate opportunity for click through, isn’t this still an ad?
He goes on to say…
That leads to a whole nest of hard questions: Where are the boundaries between legitimate “search engine optimization” to help people find stuff that they will appreciate, and “search engine gaming”, to
inflate the rank of sites that are less useful? Whose responsibility is it to solve this problem? Should web sites turn away advertisers just because they are performing arbitrage on Google and other search
engines? Or is it the search engine’s responsibility to adjust their heuristics to counteract any attempts to game the system? Or both?
Matt Cutts, a leading software engineer at Google who often represents them on issues of spam, chimes in on this debate with the following comment:
As others have noted, if you’re going to sell text links that pass reputation/PageRank, the way to do it is to add rel=nofollow to those links.
Tim points out that these these links have been sold for over two years. That’s true. I’ve known about these O’Reilly links since at least 9/3/2003, and parts of perl.com, xml.com, etc. have not been trusted in
terms of linkage for months and months. Remember that just because a site shows up for a “link:” command on Google does not mean that it passes PageRank, reputation, or anchortext.
Google’s view on this is quite close to Phil Ringnalda’s. Selling links muddies the quality of the web and makes it harder for many search engines (not just Google) to return relevant results. The rel=nofollow
attribute is the correct answer: any site can sell links, but a search engine will be able to tell that the source site is not vouching for the destination page.
Wow! It will be very interesting to see where this all goes. In my opinion, Google created this beast and now they are trying to tame it. Internet marketers who either buy or sell links will definitely want to keep their eye on this issue and what policies end up being formed as a result of it.
Matt Cutts Talks About Text Links and PageRank
In a blog entry last month, Matt Cutts talks about paid text links and their affect on PageRank. This following the recent debate (see above) over O’Reilly Media’s right to sell text link ads on its web properties, Matt gives us some Google insight on how they view paid text links.
Here are some excerpts:
“Selling links muddies the quality of link-based reputation and makes it harder for many search engines (not just Google) to return relevant results. When the Berkeley college newspaper has six online gambling links (three casinos, two for poker, and one bingo) on its front page, it’s harder for search engines to know which links can be trusted.”
“Google has a variety of algorithmic methods of detecting such links, and they work pretty well. But these links make it harder for Google (and other search engines) to determine how much to trust each link. A lot of effort is expended that could be otherwise be spent on improving core quality (relevance, coverage, freshness, etc.).”
“Reputable sites that sell links won’t have their search engine rankings or PageRank penalized–a search for [daily cal] would still return dailycal.org. However, link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank and anchortext).”
“What if a site wants to buy links purely for visitor click traffic, to build buzz, or to support another site? In that situation, I would use the rel=”nofollow” attribute. The nofollow tag allows a site to add a link that abstains from being an editorial vote.”
Some interesting insight, Matt. You can read the entire post here.
SEARCH ENGINE HEADLINES
Here are some of the latest headlines related to the search engine industry.
What is RSS, and Why Should You Care?
This week, SearchDay takes a close look at RSS, a web publishing format that’s transforming information delivery for both publishers and users.
AOL News Joins the Big League of News Search Engines
AOL News has quietly and quickly sprinted into place as a leading news search engine, joining Yahoo News, Google News and Topix.net as a primary destination for online news.
Google Gives Publishers More AdSense Control
Google is testing an AdSense program that will give publishers more control over the ads shown on their sites, allowing them to submit demographic and psychographic data about their audiences.
New Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings Program Lets More Advertisers Buy Direct
After weeks of rumors, Ask Jeeves unveiled a new automated paid listings service today — Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings — that will allow anyone to purchase ads directly on the Ask Jeeves network rather than having to buy placement via Google or work
That’s all I have for today. My wife and I attended the San Jose Search Engine Strategies Conference last
month and then headed up to Santa Rosa and San Francisco for some R&R. The conference was awesome. I was able to put many new faces to people I already knew online. The parties were in abundance this year. Yahoo held their party at Paramount’s Great America, Google at the Googleplex and then there were other various parties held at clubs close to the convention center. Oh, there was a conference as well.
Santa Rosa was wonderful. We toured several wineries, bringing home some souvenirs, and ate an authentic Italian dinner at Occidental, a little town in the middle of a forest famous for their Italian family style dinners. San Francisco was great except for one negative experience at the Handlery Hotel. Upon checking in, we quickly discovered that they overbooked and gave away our room! After getting extremely frustrated and vocal with the desk clerk, he finally found us another room at the Palace Hotel which was superb. So I give a plug for the Palace Hotel but keep away from the Handlery Hotel (sorry, just had to throw that in). Other than that, San Francisco provided its usual great time and experience for us. Can’t wait to get back again next year!
Thanks for reading! Catch you next month.