Saturday, January 23, 2010

AdWords Invitation Again

While it seems many are still feeling the effects of a the financial downturn, the monster that is Google reported 6.6 billion dollars revenue recently. No-one is denying the firm's amazing grasp on today's current market share, and if anyone can topple Apple's current iphone monopoly, it could just be Google (but maybe not with the nexus one). Indeed, CEO Eric Schmidt will be touching down in Barcelona next month for the 3GSM Mobile Phone conference.

75 Euros Invitiation from Google - Barcelona SEO Blog
However, maybe the above article has more to tell, as investors were less than pleased with the revenue created in the last release. Cue my typical letter through the post for an invitation to Google's AdWords programme. I'm not quite sure why Google assume I'm not already using AdWords, or have not in the past, but still the letters come.

This time, the offer was for 75 Euros to spend on AdWords, with the usual annoyance of this only applying to new accounts of less than 14 days validity. So that's really 75 Euros minus the $5 Google makes you pay to set up the account then? The amount goes down if I don't "claim" my credit before 28th February - a clever trick to get users in the door asap.

As I've explained before, this "hook" is an easy way for Google to make more money, given that the majority of small businesses would leap at the chance to have a free 75 Euros spend on AdWords, perhaps not knowing the cost per click of their chosen keywords. AdWords interface is sufficiently complicated for you to plug away until you have a campaign and a couple of adgroups set up for a free 75 Euros, but the enticement is there once that 75 Euros is spent - they already have your credit card, and you have your campaign set up, so all you need to do is leave it live - temptation is great.

Depsite there being some great online resources from Google themselves to learn more about AdWords, it's not all that well publicised, and I suspect that many people will be sucked into throwing away lots of cash on campaigns which are not optimised, or which they have no idea of how to manage. It's also fairly well known that ads can appear on poor choices of the content network, and that default settings such as broad match are always left on, meaning an initial 2 or 3 day campaign can throw away money before refinement is carried out.

Do you have an AdWords account which needs attention? I offer AdWords set up and management in Barcelona as well as other Pay Per click campaigns. Contact me at Barcelona SEO for more details.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Query Deserves Freshness

Fresh? Barcelona SEO Blog I've talked before about the importance of real time search and the engines have been trying their hardest to keep up with the speed of the internet, especially with breaking news stories - things like Michael Jackson's death and even going far back as the elections in Iran. While Google likes to think they're keeping up with real time search, and Matt Cutts comes out gloating as soon as something worthwhile occurs, the fact of the matter is that google is still having to rely on Twitter updates in their new "onebox".

The whole idea stems from something within Google's algorithm which is known as QDF or "Query Deserves Freshness". So basically if a load of people start to search for something similar, then this can trigger something within the algorithm to search for more current documents. Let me give you a concrete example.

Imagine we're in mid-July, and you perform a search on google for "Golden Globes". The likelihood is that you'll get a pretty standard SERP with 10 results (likely no local results here), possibly a video? OK, but we're not in July, we're in January, and the Golden Globes have just finished last Sunday. So this is the kind of query that searchers want to return "fresh" results, get it? Check out the image below.
Google onebox - Barcelona SEO Blog

You can see that the SERP is returning the scrollable "onebox" with tweets from 2 minutes ago. This one box appeared around half way down the page. First was news results, then 4 organic results, then the onebox. I assume that google is still taking high preference with the news results as obviously they are much more credible and trustworthy than people's tweets. In fact, I'd bet my bottom dollar that it's why they're doing that - check out this worrying post on real time spam from sugarrea and a couple of others.

So what's the takeaway from this? Well, if your niche within your sector is currently not being exploited and you run a very "current" business, think about staying REALLY up to date with news and breaking stories - obviously without spamming. If no-one else within your industry is doing it (or no-one in your area) then the chances are you'll establish yourself as an authority on that niche, and if google decides to experiment more with the onebox away from the QDF algorithm , then you'll be right placed to scoop up all the traffic.

Need help planning a campaign to stay on top of the current real-time search? Contact me at Barcelona SEO for a chat about your business and website. I offer affordable organic website optimisation for your website as well as SEO Training, PPC campaings and link building campaigns.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Increase Subscriptions with Email Sign up

Despite the varied attempts at making RSS an open and easy thing for everyone to use, it's still pretty complicated to the everyday internet user. Most people recognise the difference between a typical website and a blog, and often people can stumble upon blogs when searching for something on the web. Now maybe the blog doesn't fulfill the original query's desire, but is still of interest and is something a user might want to look back on at a later date, with more time. This is what bookmarking is all about. But what about if you love the content on a site and want to subscribe?

Well, up to now there's been RSS, which is the norm for any site publishing new content on a regular basis. News, reviews, blogs all use RSS, and the unfortunate thing is that not everyone knows what it is or how it works. However, help is at hand. We're talking about e-mail subscription.

Adding meial subscribers through Feedburner - Barcelona SEO blog

Not only did hubspot recently find that if you're looking to add subscribers to your blog or your news feed, then 12 times more people will subscribe if compared to RSS, but it's a hell of a lot easier to simply type your email address into a box and subscribe than work out how to read your RSS feeds if you've never used a reader before, or have an intention to. What could be easier than opening an email in your inbox from your favourite blog?

For some strange reason, blog hosts like Blogger and WordPress don't use the email subscription widget as a default (although RSS is there). There is more than one free tool to enable email subscription, and despite Feedburner getting a little bit of a hard time over this sometimes, it's dead easy to set up.

First you need to set up a feedburner account, or if you have RSS through blogger, it's likely you already have one. Next you need to go into the feed itself from the default page, and then click the publicize tab, top middle. From here you'll see the third option down should be Email subscriptions. Click here, and then you have a couple of choices. If you're using typepad or blogger, you can simply convert the code into a widget and blogger will add that to your html template you already have in place (you may want to move the widget around - usually up to near the top). And that's it! from then on, you can manage your feed subscriptions and look into the stats any time you like. Given hubspot's anaylsis and the general idea of it being easier than RSS, I'd be surprised if you didn't see an increase in subscribers.

Are you looking to optimise your website or blog? Barcelona SEO has many techniques which can raise your web's profile and move your pages up in the organic listings. Or would you prefer to lear yourself? Barcelona SEO Training is another option for in-house sessions tailor made for your website and needs.