Podcasts

SEO and web review

by Webfly | Webfly podcast

SEO and web review transcript
Hello! Welcome to another Webfly podcast.

Webfly is the antidote to search engine marketing jargon. A techno-blog without the techno-babble. The place to find real business information you can use and the place to catch up on the real Internet news.

Here we are into a bright, shiny new year. So now is a good time to take a look at what hit the headlines in the world of SEO and the Internet over the last 12 months.

First up in our review of the year is the Go Compare blacklist fiasco. In January, the high-profile comparison site was temporarily blacklisted – sinking down and out of Google almost overnight. Be warned! Listen to your SEO people – bad practice has consequences.

In May, Google changed its Trademark words policy, so now you can set up AdWords that appear when someone types in a protected brand name. Great for search engine marketing.

Not everyone was happy about the Trademark Words change and fashion giant, Louis Vuitton was so unhappy that they promptly filed papers and took Google to court.

Talking of crime and punishment, this year ‘fake’ reviews became illegal under UK law. So don’t even think about making up any customer reviews online or in print and get expert help before you start!

Meanwhile everyone else was talking! Yahoo! had talks with Microsoft and Google had talks with Yahoo! The only people not talking to each other were Microsoft & Google. And the only thing everyone agreed on was that Google is the winner!

Microsoft found time during the talks to launch a cashback incentive scheme that gave US customers rebates on goods purchased from selected retailers via Live Search.

In June, Google announced that it could now read Abobe Flash in the same way as html text – great for SEO!

But there was trouble on the horizon for Google when Street View, its real-time map feature ran into problems in the US over invasion of privacy and in Europe it contravened the EU Data Protection Directive.

This year, it was time to shake up the old rules for ICANN, who announced that from early 2009 we will all be able to invent our own top level domain names! Goodie!

August saw the launch of Google Insight which gives you the chance to look at detailed worldwide popularity stats for any given search term.

Microsoft went shopping and came back with Ciao, the e-commerce comparison site and meanwhile, sick of all the talking, Yahoo! got busy and sold off their own comparison site, Kelkoo.

Facebook eventually broke into the Top 5 most visited sites in the UK for the first time, knocking the BBC back to sixth place.

And finally…

Google launched its long awaited new browser – Chrome. Faster and more flexible it looks set to become the new standard.

Phew! A busy year!

Here at Edgeworks we work hard to keep you up to date with all the latest SEO, search engine marketing and Internet news. Keep an eye on Webfly and we’ll make sure you’re always the first to know.

We take a look at what hit the headlines in the world of SEO and the Internet over the last 12 months

Bidding on your brand

by Webfly | Webfly podcast

Bidding on your brand transcript

Hello! Welcome to another Webfly podcast.

Webfly is the antidote to search engine marketing jargon. A techno-blog without the techno-babble. The place to find real business information you can use and the place to catch up on the real Internet news.

This is the second in a series of Webfly White Papers designed to help you get to grips with the key issues. In this podcast we are going to tell you everything you need to know about Bidding on your Brand and, believe me, you need to know…

OK. So why do people bid on brand names?

Bidding on brand names is simple economics. Or should that be simple statistics?

A study, undertaken in 2006 by 360i and SearchIgnite, looked at the effectiveness of branded versus and non-branded terms by tracking over 3.9 million users and 5.1 million clicks. Their findings make interesting and compelling listening:

Firstly, the more times a consumer clicks on a marketer’s ad, the more likely that a consumer is to convert. In fact, consumers who click a marketer’s ads ten times are three times as likely to convert as consumers who click an ad only once.

What’s more, conversions also rise as consumers enter more unique keywords, with consumers who enter multiple unique keywords accounting for 8.39% of the sample studied, but they accounted for 19.2% of transactions, supporting the ‘long tail of search’ concept.

So what does this mean?

Basically, it means that more of your customers click on ads that include brand names they know, and customers are also drilling down into the search by using more and more specific words or word strings , this includes brand names, generic terms and combinations.

Hence, it follows that to be successful you need to create ads with brand names that people will therefore click repeatedly. Simple!

This is all well and good but what is a brand name?

In terms of keywords, brand names are the name of a company, person, website, product or trademark, for example: “Johnstone Health” or “Johnstone Toothbrush.”

But what about Navigational searches?

This term comes from people trying to ‘navigate’ the internet by typing brand names or parts of a web address or all of it into the search box. For example, people searching for books will type Amazon, Amazon.com or www.amazon.co.uk.

There is hard evidence that this type of search is becoming very popular as people return to sites they know and trust and try to cut through the clutter.

How does bidding work?

Let’s start at the beginning. All the main search engines allow pay-per-click advertising. Individual pay-per-click ads are triggered to display only when a person types a specific set of words into the search engine. These keywords are chosen and input by the ad owner on set-up and the owner ‘bids’ an amount of money to display the ad. Generally, the more money the owner bids the more often the ad will be displayed for that keyword or sets of keywords. Plus the greater the bid, the higher up the page, or pages, the ad will display.

Google Trademark Policy Change

On 5 May 2008, Google put a cat amongst the pigeons by changing its policy to allow companies to add trademarked brand names to their list of keywords in their pay-per-click AdWord campaigns.

Today, you can choose any word, trademarked or not, to trigger the display of your ad. That means you can set up an AdWord that targets big global brands and their products in any sector, for example Coca Cola, Shell, iPod, and Gucci. However, you still can’t use the name of the brand in your ad text, unless you have permission from the brand’s owner – but you can use it as a keyword. You can also bid on your own company or product names on Google and also on Yahoo and MSN.

What’s all the fuss about?

The fuss is mainly coming from the large global brands. No surprise there then! Basically, up until now their brand name or products have been a closed shop in advertising terms in the UK. Only select suppliers have been allowed to use their brand names as keywords but now the floodgates have been opened and anyone can add these names to their keywords.

In the US, where bidding on trademark terms is already allowed, brand owners are seeing up to 7.6% of brand search traffic being redirected to competitor or other websites equivalent to millions of searches every single day!

Some companies have already made a stand. Tesco has announced that it will not bid on rivals’ names. Louis Vuitton, hot on the heels of a legal victory in France, has launched a lawsuit in the European courts in an attempt to protect its trademark across the continent. And Thomas Cook is considering legal action and has already terminated the contracts of five partners – travel agents or affiliates – who have bid on brand names associated with the company.

Why should I bid on brand names?

The most obvious answer is sales. If your ad is triggered by a product brand name then you could increase sales of that item. Known as ‘conquesting’, having your brand or products displayed next to your competitors’ is an old real-world trick.

But there is another vital reason to bid on brand names: To build brand exposure. By being seen on screen in conjunction with a well-known brand you become associated with that brand; positioning your company, raising your profile, building trust, credibility and increasing your long-term prospects.

What about my own brand name, should I bid on that?

Yes, bidding on your own brand name or product names can be equally profitable. However, unless you already have an established or growing market for your services or products it could be a waste of money, so monitor your campaigns closely. If your competition is using your brand to trigger its own ads then you need to jump in.

Building your profile by bidding

Bidding on brand names can be profitable, but when you’re creating a long-term strategy that will help you create a buzz and build your brand think laterally – it’s about much more than just bidding on brand names. So here are a few things to consider when bidding:

Slogans, typos and alternative spellings

High profile slogans or straplines are used as search terms along with alternative spellings and misspellings. Large globals are getting clever, creating print and TV ads that use only visuals along with strong straplines, slogans and sometimes just domain names without displaying the product just to draw people in.

Competitions, Conferences, Trade and Public Events

Whether you’re attending or not; putting in an entry or not; your competitors, customers and other attendees will be searching for that trade or public event, conference or competition, and if you have won something, shout about it! We all do on our websites, so why not link your name to an award in your pay-per-click advertising?

Generic Industry Terms and Branded Terms

Generic terms are often overlooked in pay-per-click ad campaigns but they can be vital. Think about it: When we search we often start with the first thing that pops into our head, for example ‘Channel Tunnel’ when we mean Eurostar. Generic and branded terms play an important role in the way people search.

Names of your key staff

People do search on real names. Especially if you have a high-profile person in your organisation or they’ve just been featured in the press. Remember people are naturally nosey!

Your domain name and your competitors’ domain names

Always add your domain name and those of your competitors plus various spellings into your bidding strategy. As demonstrated by the statistics people do love navigational searches and do type domain names directly into the search box.

Get yourself a good landing page!

Finally, don’t just set up a targeted pay-per-click ad, spend the money on bidding and then let it go straight to your home page. Set up a tailored landing page for each ad that will give people the info they expect when they click your ad.

Most importantly take advice!

Bidding on brand names should never be your whole strategy. Building profitable long term PPC campaigns requires time, patience and expert help.

Bidding on your brand could help you attract new customers, increase your brand awareness and boost profits. It could be the best thing that ever happened to your business. But only if you play the game!

For further information and more visit the webfly blog.

Why it’s now more important than ever to promote your brands via Pay Per Click to ensure competitors don’t steal your traffic!

Universal Search

by Webfly | Webfly podcast

Universal search transcript

Hello! Welcome to another Webfly podcast.

Webfly is the antidote to search engine marketing jargon. A techno-blog without the techno-babble. The place to find real business information you can use and the place to catch up on the real Internet news.

This is the first in a series of Webfly White Papers designed to help you get to grips with the key issues. In this podcast we are going to tell you everything you need to know about Universal Search and, believe me, you need to know…

OK. So what’s this Universal Search stuff?

Last year, Google changed – forever.

Basically it changed the way it searches and displays results. Prior to this change, if you were interested in, for example, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, your search results were returned in ‘vertical silos’ – Vertical silos being a list of results on the main page and the option to see news results on a separate news page or images on the images search page and so on.

Today, when you search ‘the web’, you will see not only news and image results but also blogs, videos, press releases, maps, podcasts and books blended together at the top of the main results page.

So what! Not a problem, I hear you cry! It doesn’t affect me or my business!

Well – it does and it could be that you’ve already noticed the effects – even though it’s not fully rolled out in the UK yet.

The most obvious effect could be that your website has plummeted for no apparent reason. This could well be as a result of Universal Search. The way it works means that there is greater diversity in the type of results returned on the first few pages – so not as much room for normal, average websites with normal, average content! Basically if you don’t have the types of content that the new Google is looking for, you could well drop down the rankings and you might soon be over-taken by your competition.

That’s not good is it?

So you will need to change. Everyone in business will need to change. There’s just no escaping it. Universal Search is going to make a massive difference to the way every company – including yours – needs to market itself on the web; we’ll all have to change our approach to meet the challenge of Universal Search . And as with all changes, it’s best to start now.

So what can we do?

For some, Universal Search is a threat. But it’s also a huge opportunity. After all, Google uses a programmed robot. It searches in a way that is at least partly predictable. It uses algorithms – mathematical formula – that deliver the results and we can use what we know about the changes made to these algorithms to exploit Universal Search to our own advantage.

How can we do this?

We know that the new Google likes websites that have lots of different types of content, are popular with searchers and have highly relevant pages. You’ve probably already noticed that many top ranked, popular websites are starting to look and sound very different: Videos; links to live TV broadcasts; blogs; animated content; more pictures. All this new stuff ensures the website makes the most of the new Universal Search. To make Universal Search work for you and your business you need to focus on the following content:

  • Blogs
     Add a company blog to your website. Industry commentaries, white papers and information blogs are the key way to increase your search ranking and attract new business.
  • PR, Podcasts & News sections
     Live or recorded broadcasts on newspaper and TV websites are great ways to increase your exposure and Google loves them!
  • Audio and video
    Adding correctly tagged and optimised audio or video to your website makes sound business sense even without the issue of Universal Search.
  • Image-optimised content
    Concentrate on unique, correctly tagged, relevant images on every page.

What about my online advertising?

For now, your Pay-Per-Click ad campaigns just need close monitoring. But Google has hinted that it will introduce a new form of PPC in the near future and trials are currently underway in the US. It will echo the Universal Search and enable video and animation advertising, opening up a whole new explosion of competition for your business!

What should I do first?

Get professional help – speak to your agency or if you prefer, speak to us here at Edgeworks! Integration is the key to the future

But above all – Don’t panic!

Universal Search could help you attract new customers, create a new market for your products and services and increase profits. It could be the best thing that ever happened to your business. But only if you play the game!

For further information and more visit the webfly blog

Universal Search is a massive change. It’s set to revolutionise how websites are designed and what content they contain. It will ultimately make a huge difference to the way your company markets itself on the web.

Episode 2

by Webfly | Webfly podcast

Episode 2 transcript

Welcome to the Webfly podcast.

Webfly is the antidote to search engine marketing jargon. A techno-blog without the techno-babble. The place to find real business information you can use and the place to catch up on the real Internet news.

This month…

  • New Google TV ad service hit the streets
  • Microsoft drops their Yahoo bid
  • Google’s new Trademark Words policy
  • And why Google when you can Scroogle

First off, the New Google TV ad service…

No. Google has not set up its own TV station. Though I wouldn’t rule it out. This new service helps you (or in this case Americans) get their ads onto national network TV. Our first thought was – why on earth should I want Google’s help with that? Surely I’d do the sensible thing and employ an agency to create and place my ad. Ah, yes. But this is America where you get more TV commercials per square inch than you do actual TV programmes – so it does fill a gap in the market.

Basically, you have an ad made by an agency and then via the Google service, which looks and operates very much like AdWords, you choose a time slot on a national TV network, pick a programme, choose your budget and off you go. It’s simple to use, cost effective and gives you total control over who you target. Watch out for its arrival in the UK. We predict interesting times ahead!

Microsoft walks away from Yahoo

If Microsoft had been successful in its much-vaunted bid to take over Yahoo would have been the largest transaction of its type in history.

And despite reports, insiders still think it could be. After months of talk and posturing Microsoft pulled out of the deal. But is the walk out part of the game? Who knows? What is for sure is that Yahoo still have their sights on doing a partnership deal with Google. And Microsoft still need to make up ground against Google. So until Google stops being the dominant force in the market place – don’t hold your breath – then both Microsoft and Yahoo could be heading down this road again quite soon.

Google’s new Trademarked Words policy.

This story even made it into the national press which just shows how important this minor policy change is going to be to you. Prior to 5th May you couldn’t add a competitor’s trademarked word, usually their brand name, into your list of keywords as part of your Pay Per Click advertising.

But on 5th May, Google changed and now you can use your competitors’ brand name to attract potential customers. BUT, before you get too excited, they’ll be able to use yours too AND it’s not quite that simple. Before you rush to bid on millions of new keywords the advice is clear: Check with your IT people or agency. It’s a complex set of new rules and the word on the streets is that there could even be legal challenges to it popping up all over the place, so call us at Edgeworks and we can help you make the most of the new rules…

Finally – Scroogle – ever heard of it?

Well it’s a private search engine which, unlike the vast majority of mainstream engines, does not keep a record of who you are and what you’ve been looking at…Yes – the vast majority of search engines do this so watch out!

Scoogle however does not give you that sweaty, palpitating feeling that you might have done something wrong when you haven’t because it’s completely private and within an hour of using the site, the search terms are gone forever. Phew!

That’s it for this month – see you next time…

For the full details on all these stories and more visit the webfly blog.

News and updates on New Google TV ad service, Microsoft’s Yahoo bid, changes in “Trademarked word” bidding and Scroogle.

Episode 1

by Webfly | Webfly podcast

Episode 1 transcript

Hello! Welcome to the very first Webfly podcast. 

Webfly is the antidote to search engine marketing jargon. A techno-blog without the techno-babble. The place to find real business information you can use and the place to catch up on the real Internet news.

Steve Helsby, the man who writes Webfly is from Edgeworks . But he’s too shy to speak, so I’m doing it instead.

This month…

  • Who’s been blacklisted by Google
  • How Wal-Mart have entered the world of SEO
  • What’s so exciting about videos
  • And why there are new rules for viral marketing

First,

Web 2.0 – The Universal Search – started getting serious when Google announced it was going to roll out video ads into the Search Engine Results Pages.

Soon, instead of what your customers see now when they search, they will see your competition’s pay-per-click moving video images. Oh Great! A whole new world of search engine marketing to get your head round – yippee I hear you cry!

So what should you do? Visit edgeworks.co.uk and download our guide to Universal Search of course!!

Thought leadership guru David Meerman Scott has just published a new book called The Rules of Viral Marketing.

Upbeat, easy-to-read and FREE, it analyses why certain campaigns work and offers some great advice on how to make viral marketing deliver real results. Check out the Webfly blog for further details.

Late last month there was much foaming at the mouth in the world of SEO when Wal-Mart entered the fray. Sam’s Club – a Wal-Mart subsidiary – is now offering SEO, SEM and PPC services. Honestly! Yes! It’s true! And actually it’s quite a good thing.

To push SEO and SEM towards the future, we need more people to understand what makes SEO and SEM worth doing; what they are and why they work. The industry needs to work harder to explain the benefits and spend less time patting people on the head. If that means letting Wal-Mart help then so be it.

And finally – A nightmare came to call on a big UK name in the form of the dreaded Google Blacklist effect. GoCompare.com’s nationwide TV ad campaign couldn’t save them from suddenly sinking without trace after breaking Google’s infamous, largely secret and ever-changing ‘rules’.

Go Compare was riding high on the search term ‘car insurance’ until one fine day on or around 26 January when it plummeted faster than the stock exchange on Black Wednesday. A salutary lesson – listen to your SEO people, keep up to date and don’t try to do anything you think is clever! Because it probably won’t be!

For the full details on all these stories and more visit the webfly blog at www.webflyblog.com

 

Webflyblog podcast news and updates on Video Pay Per Click, New Viral Marketing Rules, the SEO Supermarket and Google blacklisting.