Tag Archives for " Google "

Your Bing Strategy

Yahoo is being Bing-ified - What is your strategy?

Sometime next year, Microsoft will fulfill a planned integration to power Yahoo’s search results with Microsoft’s Bing Engine. The move will effectively consolidate 28% of the US search market, giving both companies a platform upon which to seriously battle Google.honeypotmarketing.com, To Bing or Not To Bing?, Aug 2009

You should read the whole article over at Honeypot Marketing.

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Yahoo Never Was A Search Engine

Image representing Carol Bartz as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

Well I've never been a fan of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and she continues to stupify me with her ridiculous statements which she holds to so dearly.

As covered over at Search Engine Land Bartz was interviewed in the New York Times. She is stunningly moronic in some of her claims:

"Yahoo, according to Ms. Bartz, simply feeds search results for people who have grown curious while reading one of its news stories or watching a video. It doesn’t generally pop into peoples’ minds as the first place to go look for answers during the course of their day-to-day activities."

How is that possibly the case? On so many levels I would argue the validity of this claim:

  1. Yahoo was initially a search directory then a search engine then added portals.
  2. If Yahoo doesn't pop into mind as answering questions for users, then uh, what about Yahoo Answers? What's the point of that then?
  3. Bartz is singlehandedly dismantling Yahoo as a company with unique software technology and turning it into a portal and content company. Granted for many years they have had a content focus but Yahoo Search Marketing and Yahoo Search were always major components of their company.

"The biggest thing for Yahoo is increasing the number of pages people consume and slapping as many display ads as possible across those pages. “My fortunes are tied to my pages,” Ms. Bartz said."

This is nonsenscial. I have an ad network. We are interested in content pages to serve advertising. Yahoo is a software technology company...er...it WAS a software technology company. How sad for Yahoo to have a such a short sighted myopic CEO.

"According to Ms. Bartz, the majority of Yahoo’s sites will go the way of Sports. In particular, Yahoo will throw investments behind its entertainment, finance and news operations. Ms. Bartz noted that there are plenty of unemployed journalists out there to pick up."

Well Carol. Hey Carol. Umm Carol....those journalists are unemployed because the notion of traditional journalism and simply serving up that content and selling ads is not the same as it used to be. They are unemployed because many companies in this space are unprofitable.

Excuse me while I go bang my head against a brick wall.

"In addition, Ms. Bartz will remember that Terry Semel, a longtime Warner Brothers executive, was brought in before to turn Yahoo into more of a media company. Mr. Semel’s tenure was perhaps characterized more for losing to Google than anything else."

Clearly Carol doesn't believe the notion that if we are not aware of our history we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. I think we can revise this though at this point, Yahoo isn't in the "losing" position any longer. It has lost. Full Stop.

"Ms. Bartz has decided to correct past mistakes by getting all of the employees on the same page and presenting a more consistent look across Yahoo’s sites. In addition, she’s trying to boost morale and get the energy of the company up again –- a task hurt by the hit Yahoo’s shares took after the Microsoft deal was announced.

“I felt bad for the employees because they think it’s a report card,” Ms. Bartz said."

Honestly, this woman is a CEO? Of any company? Your share price is a report card of sorts, it's the market responding to the strategic decisions being made. Clearly this is perceived as being a bad decision. Which it is. It's a horrible decision.

In fact it's a series of horrible decisions, capped off by myopic thinking and topped off with a healthy dose of delusion.

Way to go Carol!

Update - Just ran into a fantastic quote from the New York Times Bits Blog:

I’ve got to wonder how much running a sales force that peddles expensive software to engineers and designers has to do with running a free Web site that attracts users through branding and products and makes money through advertising.

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Google to Index Google Voice?

Google Loves YouIn an interesting although expected move Google is about to relaunch GrandCentral as Google Voice with a few new features:

  • Free voice mail transcription, which converts recordings into typed text. Users have the option to have these messages sent to themselves as emails or texts — enabling them to search through, sort, save, copy or even forward material from voice mails.
  • Free conference calling.
  • Cheap international calls, with rates competitive to online telephony leader Skype: $0.02 a minute to France or China, $0.03 to Chile or the Czech Republic, for example.
  • Text message organization — texts are sent to whichever mobile phones you specify, including multiple ones at once. They are also collected into your Google Voice inbox, like email, and can be filed and kept — a first in mobile phone history, the NY Times observes. As is the case with Gchat on Gmail, back-and-forth texts will be kept as "conversations."

Now that means that pretty much your entire digital communication stream can (and will) be captured by Google. It's going to be in an index somewhere. I would be 100% certain that your Google Desktop Search will index these entries and Google will keep a cache.

I think I'll stick with Skype. Is anyone else going to try this out? There is an inherent coolness factor but I'm not sure how much more information Google *cough* Big Brother needs about me. Check out http://voice.google.com

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SEO Return On Investment

I am pretty active on LinkedIn and have been for quite some time. I really do my best to try to answer one question per week and participate heavily in that community. It’s a good way to connect with others, make contacts and also use it as a sounding board for input to my ideas and thoughts on SEO, Search Marketing, Internet Marketing and what I do for a living both with Honeypot Marketing and with my own projects.

I figure since I am posting there I should also share some that with this audience. So the question that was posed from LinkedIn was this:

“How can you calculate the ROI of further SEO Investments for online project? Is there a model that can be used?“

That is a darned fine question since typical ROI models do not stand up well when it comes to SEO and Organic Search for a couple of reasons:

  1. Investments are indirect. You invest in link programs, content etc and it doesn’t directly drive traffic. The engines drive the traffic but the investments are there to help increase your authority in those engines. It confuses alot of people as to the logic.
  2. Most companies fall flat in terms of customer acquisition models. They are not correctly tracking a converted visitor from search, which makes it impossible to optimize your converting terms from the engines. I have seen many instances where terms which you wopuld not think are big converters in fact are massive converters (especially in tail of search). If you dont know this information then throw out your ROI model, you’ll be guessing anyhow - you could lie I suppose but then again that would be even worse and since SEO’s never ever lie (I’m ducking from the lightening!) that would never be a problem. :mrgreen:

Given those two factors I’ve come up with a fairly decent model that I find works and here for your viewing pleasure is the overview. If you disagree with me or if you think I’m wrong then register and comment or email me.

One of the key things to consider is that calculating ROI on Organic Search is different than traditional media. Here is the layout I utilize:

A Total Amount of Search Traffic
B Total Amount of Converting Search
C Conversion Rate from Search
C Life Time Value of a Conversion (is it CPA or LTV)
D Converting Terms (focus on these)

Determine total Search Traffic = 1000
Determine the Converting Search Ratio: B/A (10/100) = 0.10
Use the Total Converting Search Numbers = 100
Determine the value of the Conversion: C = $200

You have profited $20,000 from organic search.

Total current budget : Link Building $1500 per month plus other monies spent (I am not sure what these are)/

[poll id="4"]

Your profit of $20,000 from all search engine optimization programs is being generated by $1500 of spend to acquire 200 customers. Your cost per customer is $7.50

Your spend is generating a 13:1 profit to cost ratio. Now you know your budget to work with and you can shift your overall tactics to increase the overall number search joins as you wish.

I’ve used this model (with much more detail) successfully in the past on numerous projects in the online gambling industry including online sportsbooks, casinos, generic ecommerce sites, online dating, lead generation and ebook marketing industries. It provides for a strong ROI model, justifies SEO budgets and keeps the business people happy since they understand what the goals of the program really are.

I would love to get your input, comments and suggestions on expanding the ROI model for Search Engine Optimization. Please comment below and let know, even if you think I'm completely wrong!

Cheers,

Dan

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WordPress Injection Attack

March 4, 2009 Update: My plan has worked out very well and everything is back to normal without too much of an interruption. My request for Google site review took a total of 12 hours and it was completely handled through Google Webmaster Tools. Google spidered the entire site for about 6 hours checking every existing page on the site from Mountain View California. Around 6pm EST I was given a new notice in my Webmaster Control panel that the notice would be removed with the next update which took place about 90 minutes later.

I'd like to thanks a few people who gave me some good advice. If this does happen to you make sure that you:

  1. Remove any old plugins may have or update them.
  2. Ensure the source of the plugin is using best practices for PHP coding. If the plugin is not listed In the Official WordPress Plugins Directory then be careful.
  3. Add the following plugins: WP Security Scan and WordPress Firewall (Thanks to Ruud Hein for the suggestion!).
  4. Backup your content, themes, and plugins on a regular basis so a roll back is easy in the event that you are attacked again.
  5. Be careful of who you send your site to on Twitter! See the end of the post for the official Twitter email I received and this was the source of the attack.
  6. This one is obivious but make sure you WordPress version is current as many security fixes are implement in point releases (ie 2.7.1).
  7. Secure you Web Server or have your System Administrator or Web Host ensure that everything is in order.

/Update.

I woke up this morning ready to get to work and as per usual I check my sites indexes in Google, Yahoo and MSN. Even though it's a beautiful sunny day outside I was shocked to see the following:

Bad News for Tuesday MorningBad News for Tuesday Morning to be sure. So the question is what do I do and how do I get this bad message off my Search Listing?

I'm not too concerned to be honest except for the fact that my site is vulnerable to this injection attack. I would love to smack the hacker that instituted this attack.

So first things first:

What is this message all about? Well when I viewed the source of my site I saw what is called an obsfucated injection attack on the footer of every single one of my pages. This is a bit of a pain since I am using WordPress MU with a number of plugins.

That means that  the hackers could have injected their little code block into my theme, my plugins into the core WordPress MU files. Not a pretty thought to have to go through all of those areas to remove these individual code blocks. Bottom line: my site got hacked. What steps do I take to repair the damage that's been done?

[poll id="3"]

My plan to remove the PHP injection attack:

  1. Identify which files on the web server are compromised.
  2. Identify if the compromised files are plugins, comments, themes, or WordPress Core files.
  3. If the compromised file is a plugin then determine if the plugin should be removed completely (is it the source of weakness?) or simply a victim and should be reuploaded and reactivated.
  4. Upload a clean version of WordPress MU core files. This prevents me from having to wade through all of the compromised files.
  5. Go through comments and identify any potentially malicious links to malware sites. I am very lucky since I have recently moved the domain to a new server since my previous horrible host disabled access to the phpMySQL instance through the cPanel (yes EMC Web Hosting Sucks NEVER use them). This will not be a huge issue.
  6. Go through my theme which is a customized version of Revolution Theme by Brian Gardner. I frequently backup this theme since it is a a simple matter  of uploading the theme to the web server.
  7. Visit Google Webmaster Tools and submit a request for Google to audit my site to remove the malicious tagging on my site.
  8. Audit the entire site to ensure the malicious code in completely removed.
  9. Back up the theme again, ensuring I have the ability to restore clean code in the event that I am on someone's hacking list.
  10. Harden WordPress MU to ensure that this does not happen again.

That's my plan. I am about half way through it but there are some serious issues at play here since it is not only Google which is tagging my site as malicious (bad for business!). Check out the number of blocks which exist:

Google Malicious Message:

I'm not Malicious but Google thinks I am

I'm not Malicious but Google thinks I am so next step is to click on the SERP that's when Firefox jumps in:

After clicking the SERP Firefox jumps in and says I am bad too!

After clicking the SERP Firefox jumps in and says I am an attack site. How fascinating but just wait. It's not over yet when I get to the site:

Firefox toolbar warningFirefox toolbar warning

So clearly the powers that be and the tools on my computer are working hard to identify malicious sites. It is very clear that this site could be malicious and even though it was through no intent on my part the bottom line is that my site was hacked and turned into an attack site. This is a good line of warnings to any user and in the time frame that I am repairing the site and hardening my WordPress to ensure this does not happen again I don't really mind having these messages there.

They are good for users.

Update - Twitter just sent me the source of this injection attack:

Uh oh! We found a bad apple in your Twitter feed.

We detected a link in your account pointing to a phishing site or other harmful material that we identified as malware. Here's the troublesome post:

"@BlogDuJour hey there try out my blog [ your unsafe link was here ] - I am in the process of redesigning now but should be back to normal soon!"
March 02, 2009 22:07

We removed this update from Twitter. Please be mindful of others in the Twitter community, and post only safe links on Twitter.com.

Thanks! Twitter Support


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