Archive for November, 2007

SES Chicago

November 22nd, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

Next week I will be in Chicago for the Search Engine Strategies SES conference. I will also be in Las Vegas for PubCon, most likely late on Thursday and most of Friday, but possibly also on Tuesday. If you’ll be there and want to meet, please email me.

At SES I will be appearing on two panels, please come check them out, and say hello. I’d love to heard from you! The two panels in question will be Search Marketers on Click Fraud, on Thursday morning, and User Behavior on Wednesday. The format for the panels has changed considerably from previous SES conferences.

In August I presented on User Behavior at SES San Jose. I believe each panelist had 10 to 12 minutes to present, followed by audience questions. This time, presentations are only 5 minutes long, followed by 20 minutes of moderated discussions, and then 20 minutes of audience questions. It’s going to be quite an adjustment to try and make a 5 minute presentation. I hope all of you in attendance will enjoy what I bring forward.

I’ve already laid out my presentations for the conference. Not the final versions, but the outline. For the User Behavior session, I’m thinking of spending time on two things. 1) User trends in so far as clickthrough and conversion rates from different pages within search results, and how local, images & video search behavior is different from web search; 2) language variations. I’ll also share a couple of quick tips on how to optimize a SEO or SEM campaign to succeed as Universal Search becomes the default.

On the Click Fraud panel I risk being a very presenter from the other panelists. I’ll go into some of the science around improper billings, what to look for, and how to lower the time you spend searching for undesired clicks and managing PPC customer reporting, while increasing your effectiveness at identifying the improper billings which often get labeled as click fraud.

As our firm has built PPC Assurance, and I’ve written a couple of patents on Click Fraud detection, I might also have time share some interesting insights into why a lot of the problems are not being properly dealt with.

If you are in Chicago, you’ll really enjoy the Click Fraud session. I know it’s always very well attended, and I’m excited to be there. I know you’ll walk away with lots of answers, and also a lot of questions. Please feel free to ask them. A lot of people are afraid to ask. Don’t be. It’s why we attend and speak at the conferences.

Finally, if there are some specific issues around either User Behavior or Click Fraud which you would like to see me address, please email me. I’ll attempt to include answers to questions in my presentation. These sessions are designed to be more interactive than ever. I think that’s a good thing.

SMX Stockholm and SMX PhoCusWright

November 21st, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

The last three weeks I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of testing out quite a variety of aircraft, and airlines. From Airbus I’ve flown the following series; 319, 320, 330, 340. Boeing: 737, 767. From Bombardier, two different RJ’s, plus Dash 8’s in a couple of configs. The Embraer 75 & 90, and an MD 80. There was one other vehicle I flew on SAS which I’ve quickly forgotten. I have to say, the Air Canada’s Embraer’s are really nice and quiet. I had excellent service on Air Canada and SAS. Lufthansa was ok. On JetBlue & United service was notable in its absence.

Anyhow, this post isn’t about airline review; maybe I’ll start a site about that sometime.

This is a short commentary on the first two SMX’s I’ve participated in. Much to my chagrin, I missed attending SMX advanced last year. Stuff gets in the way sometimes. Fortunately, the opportunity to speak at SMX Stockholm, as well as SMX PhocusWright in Orlando arose.

In Stockholm I presented on Analytics, and on Tools for SEO and SEM. Rand Fishkin moderated both sessions. I used a case study in the Analytics session, something which a lot of people told me that they appreciated, as it was very tangible for them, and thus they understood how to apply the information presented to their own sites.

Building Enquisite’s given me some interesting insights into the data within analytics reports. For one thing, there’s way too much information in too many analytics packages. People drown in the data. Our beta version of Enquisite has a ton of information. It’s a search marketer’s delight however, as it’s focused on just search and only search. PPC Assurance however is different. There’s still a lot of data, but we’ve presented it in a very simple and manageable way. We also give you something no other analytics company does; an action item. PPC Assurance automatically files claims with Google, (and shortly Yahoo) on your behalf. Check it out, learn more, and give it a try. It’ll drive the ROI of your PPC campaigns way up, and your campaign management and reporting time way down.

After lunch, the Tools session was a little more challenging. There are so many great tools for SEO & SEM out there, and some people create a lot of them. I tried to draw on a broad selection, and show how to use them how to make best use of them. Everyone on that panel was extremely strong and knowledgeable. Actually this was true of all the sessions I saw. There were no slouches on the podium. (or in the crowd)

I’ve never been to Stockholm before, and quite honestly this was a very rushed trip for me. I flew 18 hours each way, and only spent ~ 50 hours there. Fortunately, I only slept for ~5 of them, so I made the most of it!

The conference itself was smaller, as expected, but a very high quality of participants. There were a number of individuals I had not met before, but had communicated with via email for quite a while. There were also some Enquisite users, and it was very nice to meet them. We have so many whom I’ve never met or spoken to.

One very nice thing about this being a smaller conference was that I was able to speak at length with friends whom I rarely get much of a chance to chat with at conferences, as well as to comfortably meet at chat with new acquaintances.

On the last night, Rand’s parents invited me to join a group they were putting together to go for a smorgasborg. Unfortunately, they are not in these pictures. Dinner was great, although some SEO extraordinaires like Mikkel deMib Svendsen, and Thomas Bindl did appear to be have had a little too much fun, as witnessed in these pictures!

OK - not sure why, but the pictures aren’t pulling, and I don’t have time to figure out wordpress today. sorry.

Thanks to Rand, or rather Geraldine, for thinking to bring a camera and for using it, unlike me, who never seems to remember to take one anywhere.

SMX PhoCusWright was a completely different kind of Conference. Where Stockholm had a broad representation across industries, Orlando was 100% travel related. I presented on Competitive Strategies, as well as balancing SEO & SEM. For both sessions I used case studies; every time I do so people enjoy it.

Earlier this year, I presented at SES Travel in Seattle. It was a very different crowd from Seattle. The audience in the Seattle conference seemed to be made up more of people who actually did manage campaigns, where SMX PhoCusWright had more decision makers, and fewer on page specialists. Both groups were very interesting to speak with, and it’s nice that there is a different crowd at the two series. Both have real value for attendees, and the value of each conference will continue to grow. Marty Weintraub was actively blogging the sessions in Orlando, so please read his session reports to get a gist of the topics. There was a lot of worthwhile information shared.

SMX Stockholm - Cool Links Tool

November 5th, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

I’ll post a bit more about SMX Stockholm later today or tomorrow. I really enjoyed the show, and the people, and I learned a bunch of new things.

One thing that’s time sensitive - Dixon Jones from Receptional posted access to their internal linking tool. It’ll only be available for two weeks (that might be two weeks from last Wednesday), so just until Nov 14 or 16. You’ve to to check it out. I’ve looked at a lot of links tools, and this really is worth looking at. It’s UK focused, so the “news” report will be skewed over there, but this is a great model for what any links tool should look like. Simple, clean, and easy to understand. Check it out.

Receptional Link Quality Checker

U: smx
P: smx

I’m not sure if Dixon’s firm simply uses this internally, or if it’s available to customers either through a subscriber model, or as part of a service package.

“Please note: if anyone seems to be automating queries it will be off in a flash.”

Hope you enjoy it!


Google Valuing Natural Search Results?

November 1st, 2007 by Richard Zwicky

I got an email late yesterday, with a link to a website in France, called Zorgloob. The article claims to have a screenshot which comes from the desktop of a member of Google’s Adwords team. If true, it’s obviously a member of Google’s European group.

“Les employés de Google disposent d’outils auxquels n’a pas accès le commun des mortels. Peut-être connaissiez-vous déjà “MOMA”, l’intranet de Google, qui permet aux Googlers de rechercher des informations plus ou moins confidentielles sur l’entreprise, ses employés, les réunions à venir, des documents, etc.

Aujourd’hui, Zorgloob lève un nouveau coin du voile sur l’interface dont disposent les Googlers. Du moins certains d’entre-eux. Nous sommes parvenus à obtenir une page de résultats d’une recherche sur Google, telle que peuvent la voir, selon nos informations, les employés de Google en relation avec le service AdWords.”

Translated, it roughly means:

“Google’s staff possess a variety of tools which are not available to the general public. Among these are the “moma” intranet service.

Zorgloob has managed to uncover yet another tool which some Googlers have access to. It’s a modified version of the search results page tied into adwords”

If true, what this newly discovered service does is extremely interesting. It overlays Google’s organic results with information as to whether or not the site is already an advertiser with Google, and the apparent value in Google’s eye’s of that organic position.

Google results?

The four pieces of information: GG Score, Adv, Vertical, and PV are interesting. What I like it the “Vertical” identification. It’s interesting to see how varied resources from multiple verticals can populate the results. For the rest, Adv is the only straightforward item: Is this site an advertiser or not? (Y/N). That’s a great way to let your sales staff know who to call next.

Looking at the PV and the GG Score items; GG score likely ties into the estimated CPC, or perhaps the estimated daily budget / spend for each client for that term. It’s really hard to tell, because the GG score value doesn’t obviously tie into the expectation that PV might indicate Page Views, but I’m not sure. If PV were an accurate indicator of how many pageviews the site might have on any given day, it would imply that Google knows a lot more about every site’s overall real traffic than anyone really suspected. Alternatively, it might indicate a relative strength of the Vertical, or estimated number of likely pageviews initiated by a Google search for that term on any given day.

Valleywag reported on this Zorgloob article as well, commenting that:

“But there’s a darker possibility — that this data factors into Google’s website-ranking algorithms. Small website owners have long groused that their Google rankings seem to change arbitrarily, and that buying AdWords seems to be the only way to get back in Google’s good graces. Until now, it’s been easy to dismiss their complaints as mere whining. But if Google is actively tracking the revenue potential of websites that appear in its search results, who’s to say it can’t quietly tweak those results to help its salespeople meet their quotas?”

I don’t believe Google is tweaking its results for this purpose. Nothing so nefarious at all. If I were running an ad network, I would want my sales staff to know and understand who’s advertising, and how much certain clicks are worth. In a lot of circumstances it’s difficult to advise people how much to spend. With a tool like this, Google’s sales staff can be much more precise, and provide much better information and customer service to potential and existing clients.