=> Intro. <=
Finding myself in the company of talented,
beautiful women seems to have become a surprisingly welcome
occupational hazard for me. Following on from last issue's
excellent guest article by Alexis D Gutzman, this issue it's
the turn of Pay Per Click expert Chrys Philalithes. Chrys
is Marketing Director with major European Pay Per Click search
engine Espotting. As an expert in this form of online promotion
she's seen her company "do a Topsy" over the past
two years and just two weeks ago soar into the Financial Times
Creative Top 50 Companies list.
Chrys was kind enough to invite me to
Espotting's impressive sky-scraping London headquarters last
week. Here, she demonstrated an extremely in-depth knowledge
of the power of PPC and ROI. Fortunately, I also discovered
that she's not very good at welding. Once again, with insecurity
at bay, I'm able to carry on :-)
Thanks to Chrys and colleague, Espotting
Editor, Duncan Parry for this insight into the power of PPC
PAY PER CLICK ADVERTISING - YOUR BOTTOM
LINE'S NEW BEST FRIEND.
So you've got a website. It looks good,
your customers love it and you're making sales through it.
It works - but you need to find new customers and make more
sales. Where do you find them?
Well, you know that customers are using
search engines like Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves to help them find
the products you're selling. But how do you get them from
the search engines to your website? That's the key.
You want to connect with potential customers
without spending months optimising your web page content and
tags. You want to be able to switch search engine traffic
on and off at the click of a mouse, only paying for the traffic
you receive. And the CEO wants you to do this by the end of
the week. It just doesn't seem possible - and yet every time
you (and the CEO!) check, there's your main competitor, sitting
on the first page of results at Yahoo! How do they do it?
They've discovered a valuable tool for
any website owner or marketing manager - pay per click advertising.
The idea is simple: search engines auction-off space at the
top of their results, under the heading 'Sponsored Matches'
or similar. Websites wishing to advertise in this space decide
which search words they want to appear for - so for example
a site selling new cars will bid on words like 'cars', 'new
cars', 'import cars' etc. If two sites want to appear on the
same word, they can out bid each other to appear at the top.
This allows you to specifically target
the right consumers - the ones searching for the products
or services you offer. These are the consumers who, of the
thousands using search engines at any one time, are most likely
to get their credit cards out and buy from you. (The PPC engines
provide keyword research tools that show you what words and
phrases people are actually searching for).
So pay per click advertising lets you
target exactly the consumers who are your potential future
customers. But pay per click has an added strength which is
implied in the name; you only pay for the visitors to your
website you receive, as you are only charged when your advert/link
is actually clicked on - hence pay per click (PPC, also known
as cost per click, CPC). So you can limit your advertising
spend by targeting keywords that will generate new sales,
whilst still bidding high enough to stay at number one or
two in the results - ensuring you get a good return on your
So how do you start to build pay per click
campaigns? First of all you need to understand that the search
engines sell the 'Sponsored Matches' space on their results
through third parties, known as PPC search engines. These
engines do deals with different search engines, major ISPs
and major destination sites to place their 'sponsored' links
at the top of the results pages on their sites - so when you
advertise through PPC engines, you gain access to a whole
distribution network. In Europe, the leading PPC network is
Espotting which drives traffic to over 10,000 companies including
British Airways, Orange, eBay, Direct Line and Procter &
Gamble. Through Espotting, you can have your company listed
on some of the web's leading sites including Yahoo! Europe,
Lycos Europe, AltaVista, Tiscali, Ask Jeeves, Looksmart UK
and Netscape. Through its search network Espotting powers
over half a billion search requests each month across Europe.
Other PPC engines include US-based Overture,
which is slowly pushing into Europe, and Google, which has
recently started a PPC form of advertising on its site (although
this works in a different way).
All of the pay per click engines have
style guides and relevancy rules which cover the way they
expect adverts to be presented and how they (and you can)
determine what words are relevant to your website.
The general rules on style are that you
should use normal English grammar and a normal writing style,
as you would in an essay or letter. So, avoid excessive capitalisation
and exclamation marks - (don't use 'FREE!!' or 'Buy Cars Here
Now!') - the PPC engines have human editors who will change
or reject this. Their aim is to make the adverts fit in the
style with all of their partners' websites - so this sort
of thing is guaranteed to get you noticed by them for all
the wrong reasons.
Relevant words are those which describe,
or relate closely to, the products or service your website
offers - so a site selling socks and shoes can bid on words
like 'shoes', 'new socks' and 'footwear' etc, but not 'clothes'
- because they only sell a small selection of what could generally
be called clothes (i.e. socks). Relevancy rules are based
on the idea of providing a straight forward, good experience
to the consumer (so that they feel confident about getting
their credit card out whilst at your site).
The general rule to help you decide if
a word is relevant is, if you were a consumer and typed that
word at search engines, would you be surprised to see your
advert (because it doesn't seem to have anything to do with
the search) and would you be able to quickly see why it is
actually relevant by clicking through to your website? If
the answer is no to either, then it seems likely the word
is not relevant- and even if you are allowed to bid on it,
may produce poor results.
To help you design and implement a PPC
campaign, here are some guidelines: Decide on your aims: do
you wish to promote your whole site, only a certain product
category or even only one (well designed) page?
Research your keywords in line with your
aims, using the tools provided by the PPC engines, so you
are only bidding on words consumers are actually searching
on. Don't focus on just the big traffic, generic words (like
'cars'); these are important but are the most expensive words
and often provide the most traffic with the least conversions.
Research those less popular, cheaper words (e.g. 'car import
new') that suggest more about what the consumer is looking
for. If you meet this need, they are more likely to become
a paying customer. Don't expect to find every single keyword
in one go; find the obvious ones, start a campaign and then
research more - you'll find you think of synonyms over time.
Avoid thinking like an industry insider
and research words that the average consumer would use to
describe your products/service, not those an inside expert
would use. There are more consumers out there than experts!
Espotting's Keyword Generator can help
you plan your campaign. The tool allows you to type in a keyword
and generate other keywords that include the original. The
tool brings up the most popular keywords that consumers have
been searching for across the Espotting network within the
past 30 days and shows how many times each word has been searched
Make your titles work for you. Put the
search word in every title (change the word order if it makes
it grammatically correct), e.g. for the search 'new uk cars'
- 'Buy new cars at Car Sales UK'.
Why? This clearly demonstrates to the
consumer what your website offers. It can encourage more clicks
from people who are looking for what you offer - and discourage
those who are looking for something different. Think of putting
the keyword in the title as a filter; it attracts good traffic
to your site and deters bad traffic which is unlikely to convert
into customers. All the PPC engines suggest this; some insist,
so it's easier to do this from day one - especially if your
competitor hasn't. Your campaigns may well outperform theirs
for just this reason.
The five first words in your description
are the most important as these are all consumers see on many
of the major search engines (because of the way they implement
results). So get your brand name, domain name or something
about what makes your service or product unique here. So with
a title of: 'Buy new cars at Car Sales UK', use a description
like: 'Quality new car imports from Europe - cheaper than
in the UK, all right-hand drive models and ready to drive
Deep link. Do not send all the traffic
to your homepage (unless you have an incredibly small site).
Send the clicks to the exact page which details the service
or product related to the search terms used. Make it easy
for the consumer to find what you offer - or they will click
'back' in their browser, and possibly end up at your major
Monitor your bids. Increase them to stay
in position one or two (as the search engines only use between
2-5 results from the PPC engines, you need to stay in these
positions). But if you find the campaign too expensive, lower
your bids on one or two generic high traffic words and research
more cheaper, less traffic (but more specific) terms.
Pay per click engines will drive highly
targeted traffic to exactly the right page of your website
that the visitor requires; this will lead to increased conversion
rates, turning more visitors into new customers. You only
pay for the traffic you receive and reach potential new customers
across the major search engines. As the signup fees are relatively
low compared to the cost of full scale optimisation services,
this means that SMEs can start to advertise their services
and products alongside multinationals with large online and
offline advertising budgets - making PPC your bottom line's
new best friend (and hopefully the CEO's new best friend,
Copyright 2002 by Chrys Philalithes,
All rights reserved.
Get into PPC - Get into Europe - Test
YOUR PR BY INCREASING YOUR PR.
Once upon a time, in an agency far, far
away... I worked in PR. I had a B2B client who was a gruff,
self made, wealthy businessman. This is the guy who invented
"plain speaking". We were planning a campaign in
conjunction with one of his major suppliers. A meeting was
arranged with the marketing director of the company, his name
was P T Craig. Naturally, everyone simply referred to him
as "PT". In his office, my client introduced us
this way: "PT, meet BS". And then sniggered like
a schoolboy who had just broken wind in church.
Now my client understood that PR was very
important in his mix, but he had a very poor opinion of the
industry. He believed he was overcharged and didn't get the
kind of exposure he expected. And expectations of what can
be achieved via PR can differ entirely between client and
agency sometimes. I expected to get him on the cover of the
major trade publication for his industry: he expected me to
get him on the front page of the Financial Times!
It wasn't a particularly good relationship
and he ended it abruptly when, after six months, he decided:
"I'll do it myself." Prior to him doing this, I
had entered his company for an award which was sponsored by
a major industry publication. An award which his company won
and also gained him a DPS feature in the publication. Well,
I had to laugh when I saw the feature. The headline was a
direct quote from him which read: "Suppliers are basically
just haemorrhoids on the backside of this industry."
Credibility out of the window, supplier
discounts down the pan and crisis management in place. What
a PR exercise! I discovered afterwards (from the journalist
who wrote the feature) that my former client had littered
his interview with phrases like: "If you want my honest
opinion, I think..." swiftly followed by: "But that's
off the record. I don't want you to print that." Yep,
that's plain speaking.
Coming from a media background as I do,
I've seen PR in action on both sides. I've been both interviewer
and interviewee. I've been the one who received the press
releases - and I've been the one who wrote them. And during
the entire period I spent in PR, the great debate raged on:
do you do it internally? Or do you hire an agency?
Hiring an agency is the route which many
medium to large companies take to get themselves noticed.
This brings its own set of problems. Which agency do you choose?
How can you be certain that they really understand your products
and services? How will you measure the impact? In pure column
inches? If their fee is retainer based, is that flat, or will
there be other hidden charges?
And doing it in-house also brings its
own set of problems. Do you have the skills to formulate and
execute a good PR strategy? Do you have the manpower hours
to distribute press releases and news announcements? Do you
have the expertise to write opinion pieces, secure conference
speaking gigs and enter your company for awards?
Both online and off, the process is much
the same when using PR to increase awareness, differentiate
yourself from the crowd and improve perception.Many offline
PR companies now employ staff with specialist online skills.
The web itself offers a plethora of news sites and services.
And, of course, there are thousands and thousands of newsletters
and zines covering just about every topic under the sun. Never
before has there been a better opportunity to get your message
to the broadest geographic and multi-demographic audience.
But you need to understand the pitfalls on both sides to be
able to avoid
So, here are a few basic tips for, first
of all, selecting a PR agency. And secondly, for doing PR
Selecting an agency:
O Draw up a shortlist and talk to at least
three agencies or even more. Make sure they understand your
primary objectives (and that you understand theirs ;-).
O Ask for testimonials from existing clients.
Personal recommendations are valuable in the decision making
O Check the size of the agency and the
number of clients so that you don't find yourself at the bottom
of the client priority list.
O Ask to meet the account manager/director
or account team whom you will be working directly with. Don't
get a presentation from the A team to win the account and
then end up being serviced by the B team.
O Test their knowledge of your market
niche by asking questions about current trends and activity.
Ask them to name major players and key journalists.
O Agree realistic targets in terms of
coverage and performance. Look beyond just column inches and
agree measures for all activity under the PR umbrella.
O Avoid transparency on costs. If it's
retainer based, make sure there are no hidden external costs.
Agree the accounting and billing process in advance of engagement.
O Make sure you actually LIKE the people
you'll be working with. A good PR partnership relies on good
teamwork between both parties.
Doing PR in-house:
O If you are doing it yourself, be realistic
about what you're likely to achieve.
O If you write a press release for distribution,
ask yourself honestly: is this genuinely newsworthy?
O Plan your program so that it's a 'drip,
drip' approach which is better than one-off isolated pieces.
O Be careful about bad-mouthing or attacking
your competitors to try and look better/superior. It's not
professional and usually backfires.
O Make your writing concise and to the
point. Don't be afraid to "keep it simple". The
easier it is for a journalist to grasp the content/concept
of your piece the better.
O Study the style and content of the publications
you are targeting and adapt your piece to fit.
O Try to get to know key journalists/figures
by providing them with good content. But don't pester them
with too many emails or calls. Remember, most of these people
are inundated with press releases.
O Be prompt in providing further information
if it's requested. Journalists are almost always working to
a tight deadline - don't let them down.
O Make sure your web site has as much
information as possible about you, your product/service. Be
sure to have clear contact details for your key personnel
and make your press releases available online.
Of course, I don't work full-time in PR
now, but I'm still involved. And like everyone else online,
I'm keen to know what works and what doesn't. What resources
are available and what's the most cost effective approach.
But like everyone else marketing online, I've also got a thousand
other tasks waiting to be checked off. So, do I do it in-house?
Or do I farm it out?
Boy, was I was so pleased when my friend
Anne Holland, over at MarketingSherpa, pointed me in the direction
of an excellent report called PR For The Internet Age: Free
Tactics That Work.
It's written by Marcia Yudkin, the recognised
"Queen of the online PR scene" so I took a look
over at her site to pick up a copy. I was greeted with the
words: If you learned your PR skills before 1995, it's time
to brush up!
And Marcia was so right. The report is
packed with information, resources, case studies, sample press
releases and "how to" tips. It contains a list of
101 web sites where you can post your press releases for fr*e.
There's a list of web sites where you can post articles you've
written for fr*e and a list of topical directories to submit
to. And using her real world experience, Marcia explains how
to use it all to pull together your own strategy for maximum
exposure online. It's simply hours and hours of time saving
information all in one report.
Being the "search engine kind of
guy" I am, I was intrigued with the "light bulb"
experience Marcia described in the intro to the report. She
was using search engines to do some competitor analysis for
a new product and noticed how frequently press releases were
returned in the results. These were on sites other than where
they originated from. This is what gave her the idea of posting
press releases for the product all over the web and not just
rely on her own site for promotion. PR - PR we have both!
This is what really interested me. I took a look at some of
the sites which accept press releases for fr*e and noticed
that some of them had a high PR (PageRank that is) because
they were large, busy sites with many people pointing to them.
And I started to think about reciprocal linking. Or more to
the point, the fact that it didn't have to be!
Imagine getting fr*e links to your site,
which may drive more traffic AND without diluting your own
PageRank, benefit from the power of another site's? Nothing
wrong with this: the pages which point to you are on topic
(they're about you) and the link anchor text will (usually)
have your keywords in them!!
There. Increase your PR by increasing
your PR and you'll get more recognition through PR and a higher
rank at Google through... er... PR!
[NB I ran this past my friend Chris Ridings,
the Google PageRank expert. And he agreed that it's a very
neat and legitimate strategy.]
A report that has so much great information-
and a list of 101 web sites to submit to... Download PR For
The Internet Age by Marcia Yudkin now, and increase your profile
and your PageRank.
A VERY QUICK THING. ONE SENTENCE WILL
DO IT. (well, maybe two short ones)
was I asked more times than anything else from the last issue?
Q: Mike, what does corollary mean?
A: It means you don't have a dictionary!
DO YOU WANT ACCESS TO
A TRUE ALADDIN'S CAVE OF MARKETING TIPS, TOOLS AND STRATEGIES
THAT REALLY WORK?
Usually, when you go to the site of a
top online marketer, you get showered with words and phrases
like: "explode your sales" - "dynamite affiliate
program" - "customers won't be able to resist buying
from you", yada, yada, yada. So, you've no idea how refreshing
it was to see this: "I'm going to get into so much trouble
for telling you this, I'll probably never get anyone to promote
my products again." And: "I'm literally throwing
away thousands of dollars in extra sales by not having an
affiliate program for the private site, but it's a decision
I feel great about!"
This, from Neil Shearing, a guy who makes
a very comfortable living marketing online. So, what's it
all about? Well, Neil has created what he calls the Private
Site. Here, he's pulled together a massive resource for online
marketers. In particular, his main target group: people like
himself working from home. "I see the Private Site as
a place where like-minded entrepreneurs can enjoyan environment
dedicated to helping each other succeed. The right tools,
the right people, the right advice...all in one place"
What's in the private site and what can
you do there? I sneaked a peek inside and this is what I discovered
- you can:
o Discuss ideas and search 4500 posts
at the Forum
o Learn from original tutorial videos
o Download top quality interviews
o Ask experts questions by email for fr*e
o Read Neil's customer-only Snippets
o Form Joint Ventures
o Take advantage of exclusive discounts
o Enjoy over 333 past articles from his newsletter
o Read the 17-page Newbie Tour and find out the truth
o Use cool tools such as domain lookups and link checkers
o Find out exactly what tools Neil uses to succeed online
...and much more.
Like me, Neil's a Brit online. So we can
talk to each other in the same time-zone (no BS included ;-)
Neil's a very nice and very clever guy. He holds a PhD in
cancer research (specifically how human breast cancer cells
become resistant to anticancer drugs). and yet, he makes his
living marketing online. He's as successful online as he wants
to be. Multi-millionaire? No. Does he need/want to be? No.
I mentioned to Neil that, with a PhD in
cancer research, surely he could earn a six figure salary
as a consultant in the field. True, he said, but first I'd
have to move from research scientist to post-doc. And then,
maybe after 20 years, to consultant (with a whole load of
further studying involved!). It was way back in the early
days of the web when Neil came online (it ran on steam back
in those days :-) and since then, he's amassed this enormous
amount of web marketing intelligence. And to back up how he's
used this knowledge and experience he'll show you how, in
April of this year, he paid a deposit of USD 32,000 for his
new house. And how in three months he OVERPAID the mortgage
by another USD 24,000. That's USD 56,000 spent on his house
in just six months!
There's something else which Neil is web-famous
for: his guarantees. Not only does he give refund guarantees
like nobody else, i.e. forever! He guarantees the guarantees
of many of the products he promotes, i.e. if you buy from
them and they don't give you a refund - he will! Is he mad?
Is he having the odd whiff of anaesthetic himself sometimes
when nobody's looking? Nope! It's just 100% great customer
service. There's no affiliate deal for Neil's Private Site
- so, you can't make any money out of promoting it.
But if Neil really is kicking out the
usual clutter and noise that goes with trying to find out
what really works online: that'll do for me (and you ;-)
Whew, this one just made it in. Talking
about Neil, I mentioned in my book that, Neil had created
a really neat online service called Internet Success Spider.
The main reason that Neil developed this
tool, was to find "Super Affiliates". It interrogates
major search engines and returns linkage data i.e. who is
linking to your site (and better still: you can discover who
is linking to your competitors).
So it serves as a dual purpose tool for
me: I can improve linkage for my clients' sites by finding
out who links to their competitors and then approach them
for links to my respective clients. And yes, when I'm looking
for new affiliates for my own products, this is a way of finding
the ones who have the biggest number of affiliates in their
As a web based application, it sometimes
suffered from slow periods due to the sheer volume of people
using it. So Neil has now packaged it up as a desktop application
giving you complete control.
I've literally just installed it and started
testing it. The new version of the Spider searches several
engines quickly and displays the familiar link information
along with Alexa data. Plus, there's the option to find out
Whois info, visit the site and email the owner!
Get all the details from Neil himself:
HOTBOT OR HOTCHPOTCH? WHY
HAVING A TOP TEN HIT AT INKTOMI CAN BE WORSE THAN USELESS.
There was a time when Inktomi almost ruled
the web in the way that Google almost does now. And it was
free, just as Google is right now. But these days, I think
of my old friend Inktomi, the one who brought me so many top
ten hits for my clients over a range of engines such as MSN,
AOL, HotBot and others, as an aging prize-fighter.
It still has style, technique and most
certainly, some staying power. But its once powerful punch
is weaker than when in its prime and its popularity is waning.
No longer can you rely on it to serve up winning matches in
the big search arenas. Now, you'll find it frequently KO'd
by the shifty Looksmart at mighty MSN and relegated to second
rate matches at back street venue HotBot.
But wait: it's even worse than that. You
now have to shell out your hard earned dollars to see these
mediocre results, and sometimes it doesn't even turn up for
There's a massive amount of speculation
within the industry over the future of Inktomi. And there's
an enormous state of flux where results are concerned within
the Terra Lycos Network, which includes HotBot. Lycos partnered
up with Fast for results and pretty soon Inktomi was ousted
from HotBot UK and replaced by Fast, leaving only the HotBot
US site with Inktomi powered results. But, the first page
of results at hotbot.com are still powered by DirectHit. And
DirectHit is now part of Teoma. Confused? You will be!
And this, I believe, is where the recent
"glitch" I spotted comes from. I've just completed
updating my book to cover the recent changes, including Yahoogle!
Goohoo! or whatever its known as now ;-)
During the course of this, I began to
notice some irregularities over at HotBot. I have some excellent
top ten results for my clients in the Inktomi database. And
they enjoyed excellent traffic from AOL when it served up
Inktomi results (before the Google giant ho, ho, ho'd its
way in). So why wasn't I seeing any of them on the second
page at HotBot following the DirectHit results? Was it just
me? Had I slipped up somewhere and lost all of those top ten
As a subscriber to the Inktomi pay for
inclusion program via Position Technologies, I have direct
access to the Inktomi database, which means I can run a check
on the existence of URL's within the database as well as ranking.
So, I did that. And, bang, there they were! So why weren't
they turning up at HotBot? I did another check, and another...
I was beginning to think that the results may have been coming
from somewhere else (either that, or I had been consulting
with my colleague Jack Daniels a little more than I should
:-) And then I realised, after spotting one of my client's
pages at number 14 in Inktomi: sure enough, he was turning
up at HotBot it was only the top ten pages that my clients
had which weren't!
More checking done and I was at the bottom
of it. Even though the results on the second page at HotBot
do come from Inktomi they actually start at the top of the
second page with the number 11 result i.e. the top ten Inktomi
results are obliterated by the preceding ten from DirectHit!
You could call this just a technical anomaly.
You could also call it insult to injury. My clients always
ask me if I can get them into the top ten results at search
engines. That's the goal and that's what I aim for. Sometimes,
depending on the competitiveness of the key-phrase, it's not
so difficult. Now it's rather like the sublime to the ridiculous:
"Mike, please could you guarantee me a number 11 hit.
Or, actually, 12 or 14 would be good too." Come on! If
I do my job as best I can (like every good SEM scout should
;-) I'm aiming for a top ten hit.
I put a call through to Danny Sullivan
(venerable Yoda of SEM) to discuss this (amongst other things):
"It's a bug," he declared. Danny spoke to Lycos
and mentioned this to them: something they were not unaware
of he discovered. I had reason to speak to Jim Stob over at
Position Technologies (another SEM Master) and mentioned it
in passing. Yes he said, on certain searches that happens.
What certain searches? It's happening on all of mine. What
are they going to do about it? Well, at this point in time,
it's not high priority, as Lycos (as some may be aware) have
already stated that there are changes coming to HotBot in
the near future. So, we could see Fast results there as you
do at HotBot UK. But then again ... who knows. Perhaps, like
me, nothing surprises you anymore when it comes to search
engines and partnerships.
Okay, let's look at the real deal here.
Downside and upside. Here's the downside to begin with.
I have to explain to my clients why some
hundreds of URL's they have paid Position Technologies for,
and which feature in the top ten results at Inktomi, will
not be seen at HotBot. I can do that and explain: "HotBot
is hardly a major traffic driver for us when compared to Google."
That's fair enough: we're not going to sink because of it.
But because these clients have signed up with Inktomi for
one year, it means we'll continue to "pay to be ignored"
for one year over at HotBot if no immediate solution is forthcoming.
Nonetheless, we have the mighty MSN where Inktomi results
appear ... of a sort.
Pop over to MSN and run a search on "digital
cameras". What do you see? First, you'll see results
from weareinbedwiththesesites.com (Ooops, I mean MSN Featured
Sites). Next, you'll see wetakecontrolofyourcash.com (Ooops,
I mean sponsored sites from Overture :-) Next you'll see wehaveyoubythe*****ifyouwanttobeinmsn.com
(Ooops, I mean MSN directory results from Looksmart) and then...
Here's where you begin to wonder if your
pages were submitted by Jules Verne, because right down there
at number 550 (close to the centre of the earth) come your
Inktomi results. Now explain this to your clients when they
ask you: "If we can't be found at HotBot because of the
'glitch' and we're number one at Inktomi which makes us number
550 at MSN; just run it past us again: why did we pay for
The upside. You're Amazon. You spend thousands
and thousands of dollars to get trusted feed to XML all those
zillions of pages into the Inktomi database at a vastly reduced
price because of the volume. Someone does a search at MSN
for: Schaum's Outline of Biochemistry. You come in at number
two. Holy smoke! We nearly sold a 12 dollar book.
Question: How many search engines does
it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: None, they prefer to work in the
I'm just about to mail this out to current
purchasers of my book to let them know the free, courtesy
upgrade is ready. The whole Yahoo! thing has been splattered
all over the web so there's nothing new to report. But, if
you take a look at the HotBot thing above, and the updates
below: the only thing you're missing is the rest of my book
(about 298 pages ;-)
All results now from Google. But those
which are also included in the Yahoo! directory are 'flagged'
with a red arrow and the Google snippet is replaced with the
Yahoo! title and description. To do well at Yahoo!, you need
to do well at Google. Do you need to pay to be in Yahoo! now?
If you have a good rank with Google: no. If you have a poor
rank with Google: yes. This will add a very important link
to your PageRank score.
There is no free submission to Inktomi
anymore. You need to use pay for inclusion as in the service
offered by Position Technologies. Inktomi results only really
figure at MSN and HotBot. At MSN primary results are provided
by Looksmart. If you are chasing very competitive key-phrases
i.e. 'digital cameras' DON'T bother with Inktomi as you will
be buried by Looksmart results. If you are chasing key-phrases
for more esoteric subjects i.e. 'cryogenic containers' DO
use Inktomi. In the long term it's much cheaper than paying
USD 0.15 per click at Looksmart (remember to review the section
on optimising for Inktomi).
HotBot only uses Inktomi results from
the second page onwards. And because of a ridiculous glitch,
the results on the second page start from number 11 in the
Inktomi database. If you have a top ten hit at Inktomi, it
will never be found at HotBot. Terra Lycos which owns HotBot
has given me an indication that a major change is due very
soon. Expect to see results possibly from Fast.
My best practice advice for this update?
Don't lose sleep over PageRank at Google. Sure, this is the
most important place to be at this time. PageRank is only
one (important) factor in the overall algo. Google wants to
see/read like a human being. Think about what's natural for
a human visitor in the way you develop your pages. Don't fake
linkage ever. A link from a knitting pattern site to a site
for extreme skiing can be spotted a mile away.
Finally, when seeking linking partners,
remember this protocol for writing for the web: link with
For more details on knitting patterns
click here (where 'click here' is the anchor text).
Link with great power:
Click here for more details on knitting
patterns (where 'knitting patterns' is the anchor text).
One more final thing: don't develop a
web site for knitting patterns if you want to be an Internet
Search Engine marketing: The essential
best practice guide is now updated to November 2002. You can
download it here:
HTML OR PLAIN TEXT?
THAT'S THE USUAL CHOICE WHEN YOU OPT-IN.
It seemed, for a while, that email marketing
(the killer app on the Internet) was about to transcend from
dull, plain text, into glorious full colour for all. The number
of people happily accepting HTML in their inbox is on the
increase and the response to this glorious new medium is at
an all time high. However, this month (November) Microsoft
revealed details of the new Microsoft Office 11, the code
name for the next version of Office XP, which is currently
in beta. Yes, next year sees the launch of the latest Microsoft
product, and lo-and- behold Outlook 11, by default, will no
longer grab data such as images from
outside servers when previewing email formatted in HTML.
This was once touted as a major feature
in both Outlook and its little brother Outlook Express. So,
why would Microsoft want to do this? Answer: SP*M.
One of the oldest tricks your average
Sp*mmer has, is to Hit you "out of the blue" and
then give you the opportunity To opt-out. Opt-out and you're
in! By that, I mean if you declare that your email address
is live, by trying to opt-out, this is a clear indication
to Sp*mmers software that you're a live target: so you're
not out - you're most certainly in!
So, perhaps, like me, instead of suffering
hitting the opt-out link, you just hit the delete key again...
and again... and again...
Not hitting the opt-out link may give
the Sp*mmers Something to contend with. But with HTML email
they have a much more potent method of picking up live addresses
on the radar: a "web beacon". Because HTML email
starts to pull in graphics and other files from outside servers
as soon as it hits the preview pane, this triggers a message
to Sp*mmers that "you're a live one" even if you
don't open the mail and simply dump it. Of course, this then
leaves you open to more Sp*m from the same source, or worse,
your email address being added to a list to be sold to other
Now it's possible that this move by Microsoft
may help to filter out unwanted rubbish for the average Joe,
but it also means that the good guys may have to "take
it on the chin". Legitimate email marketing companies
who mail out to valid opt-in lists also use "web beacons"
to collate stats about advertising campaigns etc. And, of
course, those involved in viral marketing, where images, sound
etc. add to the novelty value. Well, it's a case of thinking
caps on I'm afraid. This new feature can be turned off by
the user. The mechanism can be disabled completely, or turned
off for individual messages. But the major problem is always
going to be the fact that it's installed as default. And generally
speaking, the average Joe installing new software usually
just accepts the default setting - and that's that.
Simon Marks, Office XP product manager
is quoted as saying: "We've taken a step backwards, so
to speak, by blocking external content when you preview email."
And also described the feature as a new "Sp*m fighting
Forrester research analyst, Laura Koetzle,
says that North American online consumers are 47 percent less
likely to look through email promotions than they were in
2000. Adding "the shift in policy for Outlook isn't just
a crowd pleaser - it reflects a broader shift in Microsoft's
WHAT'S IN THE SP*M
BIN THIS MONTH MIKE?
Last month, the delicious Alexis Gutzman
of MarketingSherpa gave us a wonderful piece with her five
top tips to avoid being deleted. Now Alexis is an expert email
marketer (and a very close friend) so when she speaks: I listen.
But even if we all try and stick to the excellent advice she
gives, sometimes, unavoidably, you'll end up in someone's
And yes, last month, I was that deleted,
dumped and rejected online marketer, because of one tiny word:
sex. I couldn't believe it when I was snooping around in my
email failure logs (yes, I know, it is a bit like looking
in the garbage can. But there's interesting stuff in there
;-). I noticed dozens and dozens of rejects from Sp*m filters
all stating that the newsletter had been rejected because
it contained the "offensive" term.
I was a little puzzled, because, in all
honesty, I just couldn't remember using the word anywhere
at all in last month's issue. I decided to have a quick check
and opened the newsletter in Notepad and used the search facility
to look for the word "sex". I thought that, maybe
it was a typo with "Alexis" or something. As I certainly
didn't remember writing anything of a "fruity" nature,
shall we say. But no, sure enough, there was the "tiny
terror" highlighted on the page.
In the final part of this news letter
is a section called: Stuff you may have missed. And I used
the phrase: "They may not make you irresistible to the
opposite s*x (correct spelling) and that's all it took to
have me binned by so many. I've been trying to avoid the current
tactic of replacing certain letters in words with an asterisk,
but as you can see, it's Sp*m filters one - Me nil :-(
So, if you do turn off your Sp*m filters
- what unexpected little gems are you likely to find illegally
sitting in your inbox?
Well, I turn mine off from time-to-time,
just to remind myself of why people turn them on. And also
to let you, dear reader, know exactly what you're not missing!
You may be saddened to hear of the death
of the head of State in N*geria. His poor bereaved son is
trying to shift 42 million dollars of his late father's money
(just part of the billions of dollars his father actually
had). Anyway, he'd like your help to get this money out of
In a strangely and curiously similar scenario,
the widow of the late president of Zai*re is trying to move
18 million dollars of her late husband's billions. And she
would also like your help. More interesting with this plea
for help is the fact that, the late president must have been
one of those guys with dozens of wives. Because at least 15
of them, all with different names, are trying to shift these
millions. I fear that, if you do try to help them, by the
time they've shared it out, you'll be left with about 20 dollars
;-) [NB - if you do receive mail of this type with similar
messages, please don't think for one second that it's a serious
communication - bin it!]
Apart from that, I've had the offer of
joining a site which will provide me with "discreet extramarital
dating". So discreet that my wife saw it in my inbox
when she brought me a cup of tea and nearly divorced me on
the spot. There was the offer of a "private table dancer"
and also a special deal on a new children's toy which is not
available in any stores (no doubt because they would never
stock it anyway!).
Do I really get all of this junk mail
in my personal inbox? Strangely enough, all of this and there's
tons of it, comes into an address which is only given to people
who purchase my products. Cest la vie.
A ROUND WITH RICHARD
CRY FOR HELP ;-)
Ever thought of writing a book? Ever thought
of writing an Internet marketing book? As they say, it seemed
like a good idea at the time when an opportunity presented
itself recently. But just putting a proposal together for
a leading academic publisher for the first time is a steep
The content: - How do you make it current,
original and more interesting than Steve Davis. What are the
hot topics NOW to be included in the text and can we crystal
ball gaze on next month or next year's burning issues. What's
essential and desirable for current and future online marketers
and students? I'm not going to tell you that bit today, as
that would give the content away. After much head scratching
the content was duly pulled together: RESULT one publisher
very happy with the outline.
Next, Mr Gay can you tell me which organisations
you will be using for your case material? As you will know
pedagogically we can gain so much from good quality case studies.
And they're an essential element of any academic text. After
Amazon, Tesco, Lastminute, and Jungle, where do you go for
original UK/Euro cases?
STEP 1 Scratch head again! Get help. Call
Mike Grehan! Not content with spending a year researching
his e-book on search engine marketing, Mike couldn't resist
the opportunity for more fame and glory. Fortunately, he brings
along a good current catalogue of clients as well so things
were looking up.
STEP 2:Widen the search. It's not what
you know AND who's business card did you retain from that
exhibition? Frantic phone calls to meet publisher's deadlines
ensued and my sincere thanks go to the following people. (1)
Andy Readman at net. fulfilment (part of the Braywood Group).
(2) Justin Anderson at Frontwire (leading e-mail/SMS agency
and (3) Jonathan Prow at Rotherham Council (a visionary public
sector user of technology) for their help and support.
I was still lacking in good mainland European
cases and one of my fine students from France, Harold Paris
has provided me with a number of excellent French opportunities.
What a name, Harold Paris from Normandy. Was this a wind up?
No it was genuine and after a little thought it came to me
how many people may have their own capital city as their surname.
I'm showing my age but remember Brian London the boxer? Any
others? Please e-mail.
CRY for HELP. Whilst the case study roll
call is looking brighter we still need more good, original
cases of an UK/Euro/Global nature. Can you help? We're looking
for cases (700-1000 words) in the areas of strategy, pricing,
and online marketing research, personalisation and integrated
marketing communications. Obviously, full recognition will
be given to any contributions made and I will be forever in
Online Retailing - Food for Thought.
It has often been said that marketers
have learned most of the tricks of the trade from innovators
in the fmcg sector over the years in terms of sales promotions,
merchandising, atmospherics and store design.
Naturally, many of these applications
have been adopted online as we seek to enhance the customer
experience. Usability and site navigation to ensure a user-friendly
interface has become essential. For example, various researchers
suggest how important the shopping cart link is for ease of
customer use to fill that online trolley. But how many companies
are actually thinking about the offline checkout as we wait
eight deep in the queue and ponder magazines, chocolates and
other impulse items to increase the retailer bottom line.
The more visionary online retailers are now prompting customers
at the checkout to buy complementary products e.g. Cartridges
if you've purchased a printer in the past OR other non-related
items, which just might titillate your taste buds.
Are there any other offline activities,
which might lend themselves neatly to online operations?
If you'd like to have your company case
study featured in The new book, then simply email Richard
with a quick Overview:
Please put the word "Richard"
in the subject line.
STUFF YOU MAY HAVE
WHO'S THE SMARTER ONLINE MARKETER? ME
Actually, I only wrote that headline to get your attention.
I know that you must be the smart one - or you wouldn't be
reading this newsletter - right ;-) Emode is a great site
with all kinds of PhD developed tests. Take the fr*e IQ test
and see how you smart you really are.
JUST THE FACTS MA'AM.
If you've read my book, you'll know how much I just love doing
research (I know, I need to get out more). So, I spend a lot
of time researching for research. Often I come across stuff
that's useful and fre*e. Here's some stuff I found this month:
The Office For national Statistics in
the UK has released a report showing the overall value of
sales made over the Internet in 2001 was (excluding the finance
sector) GBP 18.4 billion. Download the report here (pdf):
Permission email marketing: The view from
the inbox. A Quiris report which analyses attitudes and behaviours
of email users regarding permission, personalisation and privacy
in corporate email programmes. Very interesting reading: You
can download it here (pdf):
The spell checker and grammar checker
in your word processor can be very valuable time saving tools.
But, they simply can't do what a proof-reader does! Find out
"How Mary passed her bra exam" :-) You can download
it here (pdf):
THERE ARE SCOUNDRELS OUT THERE ON THE
Best book of the month: Web of deception by Anne P Mintz.
The author is Director of Knowledge management at Forbes Inc.
Here she brings together ten information industry gurus to
help you deal with the flood of deception and misinformation
you'll find on web sites web-wide.
UK Link:< http://www.emarketing-news.com/deceptionuk
US Link:< http://www.emarketing-news.com/deceptionus
SET UP YOUR ONLINE STORE FOR FR*E
There are all kinds of cheap or fr*e offers online for adding
a full e-commerce store to your site. But this one is the
genuine article. Look and perform like Amazon.
REALLY. Download it for free here:
That's a wrap for this issue. Be good
to others and be good to yourself. And remember: If you can't
be with the one you love - blame Railtrack. Catch you next
Editor: Mike Grehan. Search
engine marketing consultant, speaker and author.
Associate Editor: Christine
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