Archive for April, 2007

Joost Invite Update

April 27th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

Two update points.

1) My associate at the office has 3 more Joost Invites. So now we have six Joost invitations to give out.

2) I’ve actually tried to read the blogs / sites of some of the people who emailed or left comments. A lot of people emailed me directly. One of the people who requested an invite had an interesting blog. I read it, liked it, and since I now have 2x Joost invitations to give away, I’m going to give her one. Perhaps she’ll link to enquisite at some point, I don’t know. I didn’t ask anyone to link to us, but hey, maybe I should have!!!

Same process goes - leave a comment, or email me, I’ll go through the comments next week, and will give away 5 Joost invites.



Joost Invitation Giveaway

April 27th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

Aiden Henry was in my office yesterday, and he mentioned he’d had a few extra Joost invitations which he had given away through his blog. I realized that I too had a number of Joost invites which I had not used.

So if you want to use Joost, and haven’t received a Joost invitation yet, here’s the deal: email me, or leave me a comment. I’ll go through them later next week, and pick out 3 who’ll get the Joost invites.

Obviously, I might just favor Enquisite users when choosing

Search Engine Market Shares - Google in the U.S. & Canada

April 19th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

When search engine market share numbers get published, they generally reflect Google’s overall numbers, Yahoo’s overall numbers, etc. I was chatting with an Enquisite user this morning, and realized that when our users look at their reports, they get to see much more detailed breakdowns. For example, they can look at search engine search traffic from the U.S. alone, and then see v v v That’s valuable. But whenever I have published breakdowns, I’ve always just noted it as “Google” along with Google Images, Google New, etc, never the breakdowns into national TLD’s.

So, we pulled through our database of queries since January, and bring you this highlight, based on almost 100M queries..

Sites in our network which received a search referral from a searcher located in the U.S. used this version of Google:

Obviously, users in the U.S. went to more often than any other Google property. But look at Canada below for a usage comparison.

The national tld is still dominant, but froogle is absent, (not surprising considering it never took off in Canada), and shows up at #5.

Search Engine Market Shares - AOL in the UK

April 19th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

Andrew Goodman emailed me during SES NY last week, wondering about AOL’s search engine market share numbers. He mentioned there was a debate going on about their international presence. He did a post on it over at Traffick, labeled Global Search Market Shares: AOL insignificant . In the data we’re seeing, outside of the U.S., Canada, and the UK, AOL is at 1.1% market share, for search referrals. Obviously, a lot of AOL users internationally don’t use their engine for running searches.

Interestingly, AOL’s highest usage rate came from the UK, not the U.S. I’m not sure why AOL search is so much stronger in the UK than anywhere else, but it is interesting.

I’m in the midst of putting together a longer post on North American search engine market shares.

Josh Stylman - Reprise Media - Interviewed

April 17th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

When I was preparing up the various interviews lately, Josh Stylman was one of the individuals who I knew would make an interesting contribution. I’d known of Josh for quite a while; lots of friends hold him in very high regard, but we’d only actually met within the year, in relation to Enquisite. Ten days ago or so, it was announced that his firm Reprise Media, had been sold to InterPublic. Over this past weekend, Josh was kind enough to send me his answers to the interview questions. They are extremely interesting, and a lot of what he writes is both common sense as well as wise.

Q. Josh, how long have you been working with Internet Marketing ?

13 years.

Q. What’s been your favorite organic technique that you can no longer use due to algorithmic changes at Google?

None. Any good white hat SEO will tell you that by subscribing to methods that are totally above board, and approved by the search engines, you are never subject to algorithm chasing. The SEO’s that are always looking for the latest edge (i.e.: trick) will need to redeploy a new SEO strategy every time the engines update their algorithms. I’m exhausted just thinking about that.

Q. Has Google (or any other engine) ever made an algorithm change which made you very happy?

I don’t know if this is an algorithm change, but it’s nice to see that Google now explicitly recommends excluding website search results from search engines — this is a recommendation that we’ve been making to our customers for years.

Q. If you could get each of the search engines to each answer just one question about their algorithms, what would it be?

I’m not a mathematician, so this question is probably wasted on me. There are some other folks in my firm that would love to pick their brains for hours.

Q. Why analytics are important to you?

Web analytics are the underpinning of everything we do, in both organic — and paid — search. They help us determine testing strategies and are the ultimate measure of success. If you’re not measuring, then you’re just guessing.

a. how often do you look at them?

Our analysts “look” at the stats every day, but that doesn’t mean we’re reacting to them quite as often. Testing strategies are for the longterm. It is important to keep your eye on the data regularly though.

b. how do you suggest your clients use them?

We impose that our customers use analytics to develop KPI’s so that internally and externally, their business goals are clear. Far too many people spend time obsessing about ranking reports, when the absolute rank isn’t what’s critical — what is important, is moving the needle on business goals.

Q. What do you see as being the biggest change coming to the search industry over the next 18 months?

The biggest changes are dynamic reply pages that are starting to be deployed around personalization and vertical search. Search engine optimization will become increasingly complex, as pages are different for individual people based upon their history, preferences, etc. Again, it’s about delivering value, so the core model won’t change. Some of the tactics will though.

Q. What’s one tip you give to all new clients about Internet Marketing?

Deliver good content, don’t try to outsmart anyone and realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Oh yeah, measure everything.

Thanks Josh!

Matt Cutts - Interviewed

April 10th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

When I started this group of interviews with leading search engine marketers, I realized I had a strong selection of people from the organic search side, some great PPC specialists, and outstanding industry observers. What I was missing was anyone from the search engines. So, I approached Matt Cutts about participating. With all the tradeshows, conferences, and travel, not to mention the actual daily work at Google which Matt does, I knew it was a longshot, and that his finding time would be a challenge. Graciously however, Matt agreed.

I’ve met Matt a couple of times at tradeshows and conferences over the years, most recently at SES London in February. Wherever he goes, a throngs of people seem to follow. Unlike for most, the speaker’s room at shows don’t seem to offer much peace and quiet, it’s just a different band of questioners coming at him. But he seems to thrive on the constant questioning, and takes note of what’s being asked, and follows up. I believe that he is one of Google’s big marketing assets; There’s no doubt that he’s contributed tremendously to why Google is so well liked in the Internet Marketing industry today. He’s affable, approachable, entertaining, and provides solid information in responses to queries.

Cognizant of Matt’s time constraint, I only forwarded him a few short questions, including two from interviews run as part of this series. I hope you’ll enjoy his responses.

Q. Matt, how long were you developing, and writing code prior to joining Google?

I was a geek going back a long time. I used to hack out little programs on a Commodore 64 and a Sinclair/Timex ZX81 before that. So I did code for a while before joining Google.

Q. Personalization appears to be the biggest change in search; what other big change do you foresee over the next 18 months?

I think Google will keep looking at new and interesting types of data to search for users. I think Google will also try to communicate even more with webmasters and SEOs. We’ll be ramping up even more on lots of languages besides English, too.

Q. Personalization appears to build a profile of the user, based on their primary location. This affects the results travelers receive. How can a user compensate for this?

One of the ways that we compensate for this is letting people log in. That way, a user can access the same account and settings even if they go to a new location. That’s a really great way to improve search quality when we know a little more about users.

Q. Why don’t you understand me? (how will context be improved?)

Google is getting better at this. We can learn more by ramping up document understanding, query understanding, and even understanding concepts written in different languages. For each of these, the more data you have, the more you can improve search quality.

Q. Does it bother you that algorithm is spelled with an “i” rather than a “y”?

I guess it never occurred to me. I remember the first person that I heard use the word algorithm though. I remember thinking that they were kind of geeky. I don’t know what it says about me that I use that word all the time now.

Thanks Matt

Benj Arriola - Search Marketing Specialist from the Philippines, Interviewed

April 5th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

Benj Arriola is a search engine optimizaton (seo) and search marketing specialist from the Philippines. He’s also the man behind the isulongseophh project, and contests. I invited him to participate in this series as he brings a welcome perspective to the series.
He’s also been an early adopter of the Enquisite Reporting tool, and provided very good feedback, and suggestions.

Q. Benj, how long have you been working with SEO / SEM ?

For was 3 years although before that, I can say we were already doing some SEO but we did not know it was called SEO. At that time it was basically keyword spamming the copy, comment, meta tags and everything. This of course is different from what is known as general practice of SEO today.

Q. What’s been your favorite technique that you can no longer use due to algorithmic changes at Google?

Hmmm, this is a fun one, the 302 bot redirect.

Q. What percentage of your SEO / SEM work uses tools vs. manual work?

I use tools on many things, and the only time I would do manual work is with keyword research since I sometimes do not trust a single tool and I look at several ones and the manual work there is the combination and comparison of keyword research tool results trying to get the general picture. But I do not do this all the time if the target market is not that competitive.

Q. Has Google (or any other engine) ever made an algorithm change which made you very happy?

Let me see. I guess not. Since most of my sites that rank high, after an algorithmic change, they either stayed there so there is no more happiness to add to the existing happiness, or if a site went down due to an algorithmic change, then it made sad instead but challenged to put it back up in the SERPs. And if ever I do get an increased ranking, most of the time it was not due to an algorithmic change but due to some optimization technique. So I guess I algorithmic changes so far in my experience either temporarily made me sad or just kept me at my current happiness but no algorithmic change ever made me happier to call it very happy.

Q. If you could get an engineer at Google, Yahoo!, MSN, to each answer just one question about their algorithms, what would it be?

I may have several questions:

- The weight of on-page over off-page optimization for Yahoo, MSN and Ask (I seem to know the answer for this on Google)
- The level of effectiveness of LSI on Yahoo, MSN and Ask. I do not need to ask Google on this either.
- Are 301 redirected handle well with Yahoo, MSN and Ask? I still see a few problems with this.
- How often does Ask crawl and do index updates. Will Ask also participate in the movement?
- Why is blogspot and given a lot of weight on MSNs algorithm?

6) Why analytics are important to you?

It makes SEO/PPC worth your time and helps you guide your SEO/PPC efforts into better conversions.

a. How often do you look at them?

When the workload is low, like in handling less clients, I check them a bit more often, even as often as every other day. But when the workload is high, when there are a lot of projects being done within a single month, I sometimes barely get to check the analytics reports but if the reports have a good historical record, then it should not be a problem.

b. How do you suggest your clients use them?

There are different types of clients. There are those that just show me more sales is coming in, I am not interested in the numbers and they tell me that’s my job to do. But there are also hands on clients that want to know all the details. And I share them the reports by sending reports on a quarterly basis. If they are really the hands-on type of client that wants to see every movement, although I never had one like that yet, then I might give them login and passwords as well.

I believe the more data and complication you give to a client, the more questions they ask, and the more customer support you need for questions. I try to suggest that this is what I do, and this is my job to analyze these numbers for you and I will do appropriate action. And I will only explain in more detail if the client demands more information. I work this way because talking alone is a big time consumer and there are clients that the only graph they want to see is the revenue over time graph.

Q. What’s one tip you give all your clients about Internet Marketing - SEM / SEO / Email / links, etc.?

- (SEO) Internet marketing is not all about getting number 1 on Google and there are tons of other ways to market online.
- (Links) Do not buy links from some strange website you found online, please tell me about it first.
- (SEM) We can never say yet without proper research what works best for you, PPC, SEO, or both.
- (Email) Do not spam and keep building your opt-in list.
- Don’t expect results right away like after a day.

“You’re based out of Asia. How does SEO / SEM in your market vary from what is typically seen in North America”

The online buyers seem to still be predominantly from the US. And in Asian countries, websites are more of branding tools and sales still happens in the offline stores. I believe this is so because of several reasons:

1. Land area: Many Asian countries are small (except China which is very large) but Hong Kong, Singapore, are quite small. Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines although slightly larger, main businesses still concentrate within smaller cities. Being in a small area, buying something and holding it and scrutinizing it physically is easily accessible so might as well do a visual and hand-ons buying and just use the Internet for searching good suppliers and looking at product specs and service details. In America, the product supplier may be in Florida and you live in California, then you would really rather prefer to buy online.

2. The Asian culture of face-to-face bargaining: For some reason whatever a price of a commodity has, you may ask for discounts for no specific reason at all. It is a negotiating bargaining skill where some people are natural in doing this. This is not possible online.

Other point of views:

- Asian companies really interested in selling products online are usually selling to the United States or other countries and since shipping is more expensive, then most of the time you niche market are for large bulk buyers who are wholesales in the US.

- Service labor that does not require physical presence is what benefits most from SEM, since labor is cheaper and no physical goods need to be shipped. Like doing SEO for selling services like offshore programming, call centers, accounting and auditing, technical manual writing, copy writing etc.

- In America, you can make a fortune in Internet marketing by selling something small and stupid that can be bought by impulsive buyers. With all the buying power and online culture with a large population, you can sell things well. In some Asian countries something small and stupid can be seen in nearby malls and stores that are just a few blocks away and you would prefer to see it than buy it online since the country is small and everything is near each other.

As a kind of truthful joke, I sometimes say: “In the Philippines, just tell your next door neighbor what you are selling over the fence the whole country will know about it tomorrow.” This is very very exaggerated, but that just shows how much less need to promote online if your target market is people in the same country.

Thanks Benj!

"Big Bill" Kruse of Kruse Internet Interviewed

April 4th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

If you’ve been around search engine optimization (seo) for a long time, you’ll be familiar with Big Bill, from Kruse Internet in the UK. That’s because even if you have not dealt with him directly, you’re certain to have seen his posts on the usenet.

Maintaining an active presence in the group is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes hundreds of new posts appear daily, and questions range from basic to sophisticated. Bill seems to appear in responses almost daily. Being an “old timer” with lots of battle scars from the usenet alone, I thought he could make a valuable contribution here to this series.

Q. How long have you been working with SEO / SEM, and What got you started into the search industry?

Just over a decade. You have to keep your mind alive with something, SEO seemed like an engaging challenge.

Q. You’re well known as a frequent contributor to the Usenet ( What drives you to participate in that venue?

Grim determination. It’s an open forum which means when you get abusive idiots like [name removed] in there and that Godawful scenario with [name removed] happening you can’t really do anything about it. But there are (or have been till recently) knowledgeable people like John or Els that I know I can go to for technical assistance or advice if I need it. I hang in there at least in part because I just don’t like to be driven out by idiots and also in part because I don’t know where else to go. It’s a shame to see it go downhill the way it has over recent months.

Q. Has there ever been an algorithm change at any of the engines which really pleased you, or really hurt you?

Florida caught me out because it punished sites unfairly purely on the basis that they were new. Then there was the occasion when I tanked after the third phase — I forget which update that was — but that may well have been due to my sharing a link with an associate who was, unknowingly, I gather, running an experiment on his site that may have been the cause of the problem. So both those got me either directly or through a client.

Q. If you could get Google, Yahoo!, and MSN to each answer just one question about their algorithms, what would it be?

Why the hell is such obvious spam allowed to still go on?

Q. Why analytics are important to you?

Knowledge is power. Information is power. Use it well and it gets you places.

Q. How often do you look at them?

I go through phases when I’ll look every few days. I go through phases when I ignore them for weeks.

Q. How do you suggest your clients use them?

I suggest they study them when they have the time because they will have a perspective that I won’t. If we combine the two perspectives, my SEO knowledge with their insider knowledge, together we’re stronger.

Q. What do you foresee as the biggest change coming to search over the next 24 months?

It’ll be judged more by ROI than by rankings. That’s been coming for ages.

Q. What’s one piece of advice you give all new clients as they are about to start a campaign with you?

We’re both doing this. It’s a collaboration. We do this together.

Thanks Bill!

An Interview with Jason Dowdell of MarketingShift

April 1st, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

Jason Dowdell has been a participant in Internet Marketing for many years. Today he is best known as the principal behind Marketing Shift an entertaining and informative Internet Marketing blog. I’ve known him for a few years, first encountering him just after a Kelsey Group conference, and were introduced by Greg Sterling
How long have you been working with SEO / SEM ?

Since July of 1997

What’s been your favorite technique that you can no longer use due to algorithmic changes at Google?

I’ve never had a technique deprecated due to algorithm shifts. I’ve build my career on a very simple model, helping the search engines find good content. The biggest changes have come in the area of dynamic web site development and poor development practices in that area account for more seo issues than any single algorithm shift.

What percentage of your SEO / SEM work uses tools vs. manual work?

If only it were that simple. In the beginning of a project I place heavy demands on automation (probably 80%), but most of that is in setting baseline metrics for the client and their industry. Once a baseline has been set and the major changes have been implemented automation is only used for Quality Assurance and competitive research. That’s when things get fun because you can focus more on improving the client’s business rather than just their seo. The best seo clients are the ones that focus on conversion ratios rather than dissecting seo penalties.

Has Google (or any other engine) ever made an algorithm change which made you very happy?

Every algorithm change makes me happy. Algorithm shifts are one of the best ways to measure what’s happening offline. Take for instance the last Google update in late February. The overwhelming sentiment among seo experts is that Google is favoring the little guy more in serps. That can be tied directly to the social networking movement (Think MySpace, YouTube and blogs) and the fact that Time Magazine’s person of the year for 2006 was “Bloggers”. Google and the others aren’t trying to reinvent search, they’re just trying to give people what they want and you better believe offline behavior effects those algorithm shifts.

If you could get an engineer at Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask to each answer just one question about their algorithms, what would it be?

Does it bother you that algorithm is spelled with an “i” rather than a “y”?

Why analytics are important to you?

Because I don’t have to rely on what other people tell me is important, I can see what’s important to my users and make my own decisions. I often tell my clients that I’ll never know their business as intimately as them, nor will I have as much of a vested interest in it’s success as they do and that’s why I help them fall in love with their data.

How often do you look at them?


How do you suggest your clients use them?

As gospel.

What do none of the analytics tools do that you would want them to for you? (yes, this question is self-serving)

None of the current analytics solutions are custom tailored at a particular market. I think MyBlogLog is close because they focused on what’s important to bloggers and Enquisite has made a good stab at a horizontal… But none of the stats apps out there are dedicated to a single niche or vertical. They give you all the customization options you want but you have to “customize” them to the nth degree and when you’re done customizing, you forgot why you were doing it in the first place.

What’s one tip you give all your clients about Internet Marketing / SEM / SEO / Email / links, etc.?

Bake best internet marketing practices into your applications and development processes so you can focus on making your clients happy, you’ll sleep better, guaranteed.

Thanks Jason!