Online Marketing Goals

Know what you want…

Seems simple right? In my experience, dealing with hundreds of clients over the last 12 years, very few can actually quantify what they want.

Some tell me they want marketing help (far too vague), but when I ask about success metrics, they almost invariably cite traffic as their primary success measure. Now, not to discount traffic, but that’s not what pays the bills is it?

ROI shouldn’t be calculated on traffic*, but by counting other other measures. If your aim is engagement, count comments, reviews, buzz. If your aim is sales, count overall revenue increases, direct conversions, increase of average sales…

In an SEM campaign in particular, knowing what you want is vital, because every click costs you. Your campaigns should be highly segmented, helping you know where each dime goes, how each ad performs, how each keyword you’re buying contributes to the goals you’ve set.

Search Engine Guide has an excellent post up today about segmenting your keywords:

There are four distinct keyword segments each representing a different phase of the searcher’s buying cycle. After going through the process above you should be left with one or more groups of keyword that can be optimized into a page or several pages. The next step is to take each group and segment them even further based on those keyword segments.

Once you know what you want, you can do A/B testing to determine where your money’s going and whether or not your plan is working.  Know what you want and you have a heck of a lot better chance at getting it.

*there are a few, rare exceptions to this rule

SEO For Noobs

When I talk SEO, most people new to internet marketing want to know what keywords are and how to use them.  Many still think that appropriate keyword usage is just keyword stuffing at it’s best.  ::sigh::

There is never a reason to ‘fool’ the search engines with keyword stuffing, unless you are a Tool.  And, yes, I mean tool as in a clever way to say jerk, not tool as in a useful thing that get’s stuff done.  But, I digress…

Search engines like keywords.  They literally eat them up.  By understanding keywords and SEO, you are helping both Google, and Yahoo!, to provide relevant results (disclaimer, I work for Yahoo!).  Keywords tell search engines what your site is about.  Using keywords in ‘key’ places is what makes your site appear high up in search engine results pages (SERPs).  If I want to rank well for the term SEO, I’m going to use ‘SEO’ all over my site.  But, it’s not just the main word that’s important.  The words that often appear with ‘SEO’ are key as well.  Words like relevance, SERPs, H1 tags, keywords, etc. tell the search engines that they can trust my usage of SEO, because there are other words that usually appear with this word in natural language groupings.

In my daily wanderings, I found this SEO tutorial for the person who is new to SEO.  I hope it helps.

An SEO Christmas Present – Giveaway

Update: Contest is open to all. This contest is not US only. Yay!

A few months ago I decided that I wanted to do something special this Christmas for my readers and for some kids. While I’ve still been pondering what to do, I got a cool email from a friend over at one of my fav magazines and an idea was born. Boris over at Search Marketing Standard has graciously offered to give away a 3 year subscription to his magazine for the winner of my little contest (more on that in a second).

In the spirit of Christmas giving though, he’s also offered to sweeten the pot with a discounted rate for my readers and a charity match to one of my favorite charities. You’ll get a 67% discount off the price of a year’s subscription. It’s usually $15 per year and for the next 15 days you can get it for $4.95 US ($6.60 Intl) by using coupon code HOLIDAY67. (subscribe here)

Bonus: He’ll match each subscription that comes through with this coupon code with a dollar to Toys For Tots.

The Contest

So, how do you win? Well, it’s actually fairly easy. I want to know what you are doing this Christmas to change the world. No, not the whole world, just your little part of it. Just post it on your blog and ping back here to enter (trackback). At the end of next week I’ll go through the trackbacks or comments and compile a list of all the entries and make one big list. I’ll post the full list here and will choose the winner. Of course, if you have one that you think really shines, I’ll take that under advisement. I don’t really want to try voting on this one, but if there’s one that just really amazes you please let me know.

So, if you are doing anything special, from soup kitchens to Operation Xmas Child, please let me know. I want to be inspired. How are you changing your corner of the world?

Google Makes More Enemies

I can never understand what it is that makes a large company think that they are indestructible, but apparently Google continues to believe that because they are the god of search that this will always remain the case. (Disclosure, I work for a search company that was once doing really, really well in search, ahem)

Most recently they decided to penalize bloggers who were selling text links, including this blog. Page rank, which now is apparently completely devalued, went from 5 to 3. I’m in good company here however, some of the best blogs on the net also lost 2-4 points of page rank. The points lost were not relative, but arbitrary, from what I can tell, with some blogs who sold text links only losing one point and others that did the same losing three. Again, they were secretive about the why, with the blogosphere having to determine that it was text link sales and interlinked blogs from blog networks. They have more secrets than the CIA…

Today it seems they have attempted to force morality, or their definition of it, by completely wiping out the page rank of PayPerPost blogs. Now, you know I am not a fan of PPP, having had more than one comment argument about it. However, who am I to say what someone can or can’t do on their own blog. I mean, it would be different if they were using Blogger blogs and only Blogger blogs were penalized, at least then they’d have an alternative to go about writing their blog the way they see fit (ie move to Vox or something like that). But, as you can see, the company that owns search has decided to single-handedly remove page rank from these blogs.

What alternative do these blogs have? Google has around 65% of the search market firmly in hand.

The saddest part is that many of the blogs in PayPerPost are not bloggers that have been doing this for very long, and they are not A-listers either. These bloggers are part of the blogosphere, but because they don’t pull in massive traffic (IMO, likely because they refuse to resort to linkbait day after day), they are evil to sell advertising space within the post. A-listers are ‘above’ selling posts, I mean unless the pay is substantial. Advertising is far different from posts that advertise, with disclosure.

Erm, you don’t see the difference? Well, there really is one, but it’s subtle. The real difference is that PayPerPost doesn’t pay very much for their posts and the ads on A-list blogs go for hundreds, and in some cases thousands of dollars, per month. See that difference now? It boils down to the have-nots getting punished and the haves all shaking their finger in an “I told you so” fashion.

I have no worries today. I am not a PPP user and I’ve already been penalized for selling links (with no traffic loss, by the way), but I can’t help but bastardize Niemoller’s poem:

They came first for the text link sellers, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a seller of text links;

And then they came for the blog networks, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t in a blog network;

And then they came for the Posties, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Postie;

And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

Plenty are fed up with Google

Since I cleaned up my RSS feeds a few weeks ago, ie I deleted every last one of them, I had to go back and add my friends this week. Two are very upset with Google, although Liz seems a bit melancholy about the whole thing and Wendy sounds more on the ‘pissed off’ side of things.

My page rank didn’t change so I can’t muster up a real emotion except that it seemed to me that many people I trust are paying a penalty, which really doesn’t make sense. In addition, Wendy found that many sites that are doing exactly what they shouldn’t be doing are rolling in the SEO juice:

So, what gives? Are we supposed to write for people, or is that just for those of us who don’t care where we rank?

From Wendy:

Do a search for a competitive term, and look at the page rank of the first result, for example: Paid Survey – PR3,
Home Business – PR5,
Mortgage – PR5,
Jewelry – PR4,
Halloween – PR5,

As I said before, I’m not sure what to feel, but it definitely has me wondering.

Text-Link-Ads Script

John Pozadzides is one of my favorite people because every time he sends me an email or shows me a post it’s something concrete and useful (and because he founded our MyBlogLog User Group). Over the past few days he’s sent me a few ideas for improving my site that are golden. Again this week he sent an email out to the Mybloglog list that was first rate.

I’m not sure if anyone else has ever struggled with this, but I needed to put text link ads on just the home page of my WordPress site, which of course is difficult considering that it is auto-generated.

He’s devised a way to do this (front-page only ads) and he’s kind enough to share the text link ads work-around with the rest of us. If you are one of those bloggers who are earning money with text link ads, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the code and see if it’s something you want to implement on your own site. Of course, if you aren’t a current text link ads publisher, I do hope you’ll sign up using my link. 😉

Now I Know Why My Blog Was Banned From Google’s Index

Update:  Brian, from the Search Quality Team, just gave me a bit more info.

You probably have a compromised .htacess file, and maybe a .php script dropped in your cgi-bin/ directory, based on cases I’ve seen in the past.  I can’t be sure without access.  These hacking spammers tend to change and adapt.

On our end, we see pay-per-click pages when we visit the pages from Google results.  One of this spammer’s goals is to leech off your good reputation in our index to send users to pay-per-click programs, which is a clear violation of our Quality Guidelines.

Looks like when my site was hacked last year, some annoying links were added to my site without my knowledge. Take a look at what happens when you do the “” search on Google:

Google Banned

Now I have to find out how to dig through my server and find any pages like that. That should be fun 😉 Of course, I also have to find out if they’ve done it on any other domains I hold, since I also don’t want them being banned either.

So, no conspiracy, just a clever, malicious hack that will cause me hours of work…

Brian White from Google was kind enough to send me an email giving me a heads up as to what the problem was, so, “Many Thanks!” to Brian.

My guess is that spammy pages were added by a malicious third party. You may want to contact your ISP’s tech support if this is the case.

The reality is that such pages can have a negative effect on our users, so in these cases we typically prioritize a removal from our index first. We do want your site in our index 🙂

More On My Google Banning

Looks like it is an actual ban, since when I logged into the Google Webmaster area today I saw this notice:

Google Banned My Site

It would be much easier for site owners if your account would say ‘this is why you were banned’ when it does the check in this area. Instead it just says, ‘you’re banned, deal with it’.

I have no idea what could have caused this, as I don’t even do any SEO on this site… I decided to submit a reinclusion request, but there is no way I am agreeing (by submitting the form) that my site has in the past broken TOS, because I don’t believe that it has…

Banned Sites Must Admit Wrongdoing To Get Back In The Index

This isn’t really a huge deal to me, as the site isn’t really monetized well and most of my readers come from bookmarks, links to me or are RSS subscribers, but I can’t help but be a little pissed that it’s happened. I mean, what if I depended on my site for income, as so many of you do? The only recourse is to admit wrongdoing and ask for reinclusion?  How am I supposed to know what I’ve done?

Using MyBlogLog Will NOT Get You Banned From Adsense

I’ve been seeing these posts for a few months. I asked Google Adsense, and here’s their response:

Hi Robyn,

Thank you for your question regarding click tracking software such as
MyBlogLog. We do permit these type of programs
however, we recommend that
you exercise caution when using third-party software to ensure that you do
not violate the AdSense Terms and Conditions nor inadvertently disclose
sensitive information about yourself or your site through the use of such

In addition, it is solely your responsibility to verify that any tools or
software used in conjunction with AdSense do not violate the AdSense Terms
and Conditions and program policies.

For your reference, you can find tips and guidelines for keeping your
account in good standing by visiting our Help Center at

Thanks for your cooperation.


The Google AdSense Team(emphasis is mine)

So there it is, straight from the horse’s mouth. Whether you use MyBlogLog or not, at least ask Google before you tell others that it’s against Google’s TOS.

SEM Job Post – Did-it Search Looking For An Associate Account Executive

A friend of mine is looking for someone at his agency. I told him I’d post the job here, in hopes of finding the perfect SEM for it. Note: This is not a paid listing, just a good gesture. (Insert Applause)

Did-it Search Marketing is the leader in cutting edge technologies and marketing strategies that leverage Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other search engines and media providers, with over 100 professionals employed. We are rapidly expanding and looking for great candidates to help strengthen our team. On client services side we are looking for:

Associate Account Executive:

The Associate Account Executive is responsible for daily campaign monitoring, optimization, and keyword/creative level changes and improvements. They receive campaign optimization and management direction from the Account Executive and provide daily task assignment to appropriate team members or Production through the RT task mgmt/ticketing system.

Because of the broad range of responsibilities and collaboration with all team members, Associate Account Executives can define career paths which include Account Manager, Account Executive, or Campaign Strategist. Because their role is focused on defining a career path, they are supported with related hands-on training/tasks by their team, and work that supports their continuous growth into a selected path/role.

Essential Job Functions:

– Daily Campaign Optimization and Monitoring

– Daily monitoring of campaign performance, recommending or making adjustments to clients target metrics (CPO, ROI) to achieve desired results

– Daily monitoring of listing performances making adjustments to desired position or maximum bid allowable

– Review power terms for market competition, noting any new competition or existing competitor creative/position changes

– Adjust settings to the AI (Maestro)at various levels to achieve preferred automated responses on the real-time click stream, producing desired bid changes

– Communicate status of tactical initiatives to clients, answer questions, and field requests.

* Position requires proficiency in MS Excel including formula creation, custom report with table/graph creation, etc.
Applicants from Marketing, Statistics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Business, Finance, and other analytical backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

To apply, please send a resume, cover letter and salary requirements to