• When Google = Search, Indie Alternatives Continue to Dwindle
    Despite their efforts to keep the word "Google" from becoming as generic as "Kleenex," or "Xerox," or "Band-Aid," the search giant's name is still synonymous with -- well, search. It's great for the company's market share, but bad for smaller, independent search engines, according to OneUpWeb's Chip. While indies like Judy's Book and WiseNut are mere blips on the search landscape, they do add value and give searchers options that the giants don't provide. At least they used to. Both Judy's Book (a community-oriented search site) and WiseNut (pioneer of the "binoculars" feature that Ask.com currently uses) have …
  • Google's Stealth Coupon Search Upgrade
    Digging around for info on the Google Coupons feature of Google Maps led Mike Blumenthal to what seems like a newly upgraded user interface. Searchers can make coupon-only queries for "dog grooming" in "Daytona, FL" or "airport taxi service" in "07342." The service may not be new, but it is decidedly stealthy -- and along with Google's registration of the Google-Coupons.com and CouponGoogle.com domain names, may mark the first signs of a major, coupon-based local search upgrade. For local advertisers, this would mean adding coupons to their growing list of indexable organic and paid search assets.
  • Deeper Insight Into Live Search (Part 2)
    In Microsoft's quest to improve Live Search's relevancy for users (and ROI for adCenter advertisers) the software giant's search team focused on a number of key areas --including the actual semantics behind queries. The company continues to shed light on the nuts and bolts of the improvements --and today's post centers on the upgrades to user abbreviations (entering 'Nw' for Northwestern university, for example) and the handling of "stop words" (or articles like "a," "the," or "and"). Microsoft is banking on a better understanding of whether users mean "bio" for biography or biology (or "The Office," as …
  • Taking a Country-Specific Approach To Search
    In countries like Russia and South Korea, homegrown search engines such as Yandex and Naver, respectively, take the lion's share of search traffic and dollars. And the trend of country-specific search engines is slated to continue -- which, according to Helen Leggatt, means that Google may not achieve global search dominance akin to its chokehold on the U.S. search market.
  • An Extensive Organic Search Keyword Research Strategy
    Most search marketers realize that constant keyword research is vital to both organic and paid search strategies. But while there are top-level research tools supplied by the engines and third parties, developing a robust methodology behind keyword selection could mean the difference between drawing in high quality, convertible traffic and run-of-the-mill eyeballs. Julie Batten's piece is a keyword research how-to that blends consumer insights with classic SEO practices to come up with a set of creation, testing and allocation guidelines.
  • Yahoo's Givin' Out Link Love -- But Can You Get Some?
    At the Q3 earnings call last week, Yahoo's CEO Jerry Yang noted that the company would soon open up its homepage to third-party developers (for widgets and other apps) as well as more non-Yahoo content. It's all part of Yahoo's goal to become the main start page for a majority of people on the Web. And now the Web giant has begun sharing the link love -- that is, users will start to see front-page links to independent blogs and media sites with "unique or exclusive content" that have no Yahoo syndication deals. According to a spokesperson, …
  • 20 Tips For Better Site Navigation (And Better Conversions)
    The correlation between a site's ease of navigation and conversion rate is easy to see, really. If users can access the high quality content they want quickly, a site and/or the products on it seem trustworthy -- and deserving of their clicks, their money, or their personal information. Stoney deGeyter covers four major areas of site navigation -- usability, functionality, semantics and testing -- with 20 tips. These include making sure the nav bar is on the left-hand side of the page -- and that there's a site search feature.
  • Search Marketing For The Coming Holiday Season
    AdCenter media specialist Matt D. serves up a list of ten tips advertisers should think of when crafting their holiday search marketing strategy. While keeping an eye on competitors' rankings, creating new, targeted holiday campaigns, and offering guaranteed pre-holiday delivery factor into the plan, making sure the search budget is large enough to handle the imminent traffic spike (and resulting jumps in CPCs) comes in as the most crucial piece of advice.
  • Top Ten Annoying Clients
    Germany-based search consultant Tad Chef (nee Tadeusz Szewczyk) has likely dealt with at least a hundred clients since his start in 2004 -- so he's compiled a list of the top ten SEO client archetypes he's run into. His post is a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the challenges search pros face with clients' attitudes and expectations. There are clients who are too busy to give feedback or approval for moving forward with the next step in the search plan, acquaintances who want the "friendship discount" but are more work than a paying client, and clients who've had plenty …
  • Commission-Based Search Marketing: Pros and Cons
    "Would you offer your SEO services on commission only?" Steven Bradley starts this article with that question, spurred by a Small Business Forum discussion in which a poster was hoping to get a search pro to work on his site in exchange for 10% of the resulting sales. Bradley argues that taking that kind of commission-based gig wouldn't be in a search marketer's best interest, as driving traffic is one thing -- but guaranteeing conversions is another. Bradley does make the case for some commission-based SEO relationships -- but not many, and calls up the question of whether small …
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