A summary of search related news items that occurred this week including Google adds comprehensive back link tool to Webmaster Central, Walmart enters the movie download game, Google opens Gmail to everyone, SEMPO releases “State of Search Engine Marketing 2006″ Report, and finally Michael Gray provides 13 ways to promote your local business for free or 5 ways to do it with a limited budget.
- Google Releases Comprehensive Back Link Tool - For the longest time one had to use Yahoo’s link: operator to get an idea of the total number of backlinks a site or single web page has. Using the link: operator at Google was useless as it displayed only a small sampling of the total number of links they actually recognized. Now that has changed. Through Webmaster Central, you can now get a much more expansive look at your links, both external and internal. Unlike the old link: operator, this data is much more comprehensive and can be classified, filtered, and downloaded. All you need to do is verify site ownership and off you go. Learn more at the official Google Webmaster Central Blog. Danny Sullivan has also done a concise write-up at Search Engine Land.
- Wal-Mart Enters the Movie Download Market - TechCrunch has the news that Walmart has entered the already crowded space of movie downloads. They have arranged deals with all the major movie studios including Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Universal. Television networks who’ve agreed to provide content include Fox, CW and Viacom’s MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Logo and VH1. Prices for movies will be $10-$20 while television shows will be $2. Will they be successful? Well, they are Walmart. I am not one to watch movies on a computer or an iPod for that matter. However as television sets become more like computers, I can see the movie download business becoming the norm, eventually replacing in store rentals such as Blockbuster and movies by mail such as Netflix.
- Google Opens Gmail To All – Gmail has been around for about three years now (wow how time flies) but has only been available by invitation only. In fact, Gmail invitations have even been sold on auction sites such as eBay for as much as $250. While Gmail is still in beta, it is now a public beta meaning anyone can sign up for a Gmail account. Want an account but haven’t been able to get one up to this point? Sign up and get more details here.
- SEMPO Releases “State of Search Engine Marketing 2006″ Report – What did the report reveal? North American advertisers spent $9.4 billion on search engine marketing (SEM) in 2006, up 63 percent over the $5.75 billion spent on search in 2005, and beating last year’s estimate of $7.2 billion. Other interesting facts include 76% of respondents take part in organic SEO activities and 71% do paid search, and SEM is poaching budget from other marketing channels, especially from offline. Kevin Newcomb has all the details in a SearchDay article entitled, “Search Marketing Shows Strength in 2006.”
- Promoting Your Local Business For Free or With Limited Budget – Michael Gray (GrayWolf) has been on a “local search” teror this week, not only conducting a variety of interviews with search marketers (which I may summarize next week) but also giving us a couple of resourceful “how-to” posts. 13 Ways to Promote your Local Business for Free provides advice on how to take advantage of free opportunities to promote your business locally including getting listed in Google and Yahoo Local, joining LinkedIn, and creating a lens at Squidoo to name a few. 5 Ways to Promote You Local Business for $ 888 a Year includes getting listed in Yahoo Directory ($299), RegisterLocal.com ($199), and TrueLocal.com ($60) to name a few.