Google is taking to the air today with the launch of their new AdBirds platform. You can easily customize the bird of your choice and let them fly to your targeted locations carrying your customized ad messages!
Google is taking to the air today with the launch of their new AdBirds platform. You can easily customize the bird of your choice and let them fly to your targeted locations carrying your customized ad messages!
The GoYaMi name is under attack! We originally created GoYaMi as a combination of Google Yahoo and Microsoft, the big 3 in search engine advertising.
We just got word today, that the transition from Yahoo Search Marketing to Bing is complete. Now you can manage all your ads across Yahoo and Bing from your Microsoft AdCenter account.
With Ya going away and Mi being Bing, are we supposed to be GoBing or BinGo?
This combination of Yahoo and Bing into a single ad serving platform now gives advertisers access to 163 million unique searches and 33.8% of the US search queries on Yahoo! Search, Bing, and Partner sites all from your single AdCenter account.
Starting on Thursday 10/28/2010, Yahoo Search marketing accounts will switch to "read-only state for the next 6 months so that you can view and download your historical data. Historical data will be available for the past 13 months only.
Yahoo is reporting that no further click charges will accrue, but have not detailed time lines for returning any pre-paid funds. I suggest you contact your rep and request any leftover pre-paid advertising as soon as possible.
For those of us who have been advertising on the platform since the Overture days, it is with mix feelings we mark the passing of the platform that originated the pay-per-click sponsored listings in search engines.
A moment of silence please...
Now back to your normal marketing activities. Bing...
On August 20th, 2010, I wrote an article called Pay-Per-Call Programs from the Trenches for Revenews. In this article, I took a look at my first experiences diving into the Pay-Per-Call marketing programs. It's a new market, and certainly worth keeping your eyes on.
One of the issues I highlighted in the article was that the pay-per-call landing pages weren't much different than the normal landing pages, except with a phone number replaced here and there (sometimes).
If you are running search ads targeting "calls" instead of clicks than you are probably targeting your ads to the mobile phone devices, Unless you want to waste your money on "clicks" than you need to really think about the mobile user's customer experience. I wasn't too happy with what I saw, and went about trying to fix it, and created call-now.org. (Best viewed with your mobile phone)
Call-Now.org is a mobile click-to-call directory and includes mobile landing pages for many of the clients currently offering pay-per-call services. These landing pages act as better mobile users customer experiences when they click on one of the mobile PPC ads marketing the companies.
For example, if someone was looking for one of the following:
Imwave, inc., one of the leading performance search engine marketing agencies, announced today that they have officially served up their 4 billionth ad on behalf of their clients!
“imwave pays for advertising for our clients, and earns a commission on the sales and leads we generate for them.”, said Tony Pantano, CEO of imwave, inc. “We have spent approximately $17 Million on these ads which have generated over 96 million visitors to our client’s websites.”
imwave, inc. is one of the leading performance search engine marketing agencies in the industry focusing primarily on building and launching effective pay-per-click search engine keyword marketing campaigns for companies paying commissions on sales and leads generated. In 2009 imwave was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies by Inc. Magazine.
According to the press release below, Bing's share of the search marketing spend has increased 10% compared to Google's 3% for Q1 2010. But, Yahoo dipped 9% and since it is looking like Yahoo and Bing's search spend is merging in the near future, one could say that Google gained 3% while the Yahoo/Bing team only gained 1%. It also shows that Google gained 13.6% in the UK market, while both Yahoo and Bing decreased in the UK.
Bing Gains Big in Q1 Search Spend –
Google Up 3 Percent to Microsoft’s 10 Percent,
According to WebVisible Quarterly Report
Small Businesses Continue to Increase Search Spending and Conversion Rates;
Fastest-Growing Conversion Actions Were Form Fills and Video Views
IRVINE, Calif. (April 15, 2010) – The battle for search dominance continues, as Bing saw its share of search spending increase by 10 percent in Q1 over the previous quarter – while Google’s share increased by 3 percent over the same period, according to the latest quarterly report from WebVisible (www.webvisible.com), released today. Yahoo!’s share of spending dropped by 9 percent.
The average small business advertiser spent $2,201 on search advertising in Q1 2010 – representing a 2.4 percent increase over the previous quarter and a 91 percent increase over the same period last year. This continues the strong year-over-year (YoY) gains seen in the second half of 2009 – YoY spending was up 111 percent in Q4 2009 and 91 percent in Q3 2009.
These are among the top findings of the third installment of The WebVisible Report: State of Small Business Online Advertising Q1 2010, which examines trends among WebVisible’s U.S. advertisers from Q1 2009 through Q1 2010. The data represents nearly $23 million in U.S. small business advertiser spending from more than 12,000 individual advertisers in Q1 2010. This report also includes an analysis of Q4 2009 and Q1 2010 data from more than 10,000 advertisers in the U.K.
“The search engines will continue to duke it out and fight for their share, but small businesses will spend their money wherever they can get the most bang for their buck – the most clicks and conversions for the least money,” said WebVisible CEO Kirsten Mangers. “Bing maintains the highest click-through rate at costs that are lower than Google’s overall. Small businesses are the engine of our economy, and it’s telling to see how they’re spending their ad dollars and how they shift their strategy to maximize their results.”
Small businesses saw positive results from their search spending in Q1. From Q4 2009 to Q1 2010, there was a 35 percent increase in the percentage of search clicks that resulted in a phone call for advertisers using call tracking numbers.
Website conversion activities of all types increased in Q1 2010 over the previous quarter – the fastest-growing conversion actions were form fills and video views. In Q1 2010, 21 percent of advertisers showed conversions on form fills (up from 15 percent the previous quarter), while 23 percent showed video conversions (up from 19 percent the previous quarter).
Keyword counts increased in Q1 2010, up 8 percent to an average 72 root keywords per advertiser.
Click-through rates (CTR) continued steady year-over-year (YoY) improvement in Q1 2010, with Google’s CTR up 29 percent, Yahoo!’s CTR up 138 percent and Bing’s CTR up 53 percent.
While each of the three major engines saw cost-per-clicks (CPC) decline in Q1 compared with the same period last year, overall CPCs have remained relatively stable since Q2 2009.
Similar to previous quarters, the most popular advertiser categories in Q1 2010 were attorneys, general contractors and dentists. The categories that showed higher-than-average spending levels were attorneys, roofers and plumbers, while general contractors and landscapers showed lower-than-average spending in Q1 2010.
U.K. Search Trends
Google performed the strongest of the three major engines, with its share of U.K. spending increasing by 13.6 percent from Q4 2009 to Q1 2010, its CPC declining slightly, and its CTR increasing by 5.3 percent. Yahoo! and Bing declined on all measures in the U.K. from Q4 2009 to Q1 2010.
The top 10 U.K. advertiser categories accounted for less than 12 percent of total advertisers in Q1 2010, compared to 42 percent in the U.S.
Average U.K. advertiser spending increased by 17 percent from Q4 2009 to Q1 2010. The categories that showed the highest gains in that period were printers (+77 percent), solicitors (+39 percent) and builders (+24 percent).
Anyone can request a full copy of The WebVisible Report by going here: http://www.webvisible.com/wvreport. Members of the media contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (818) 990-5001.
About WebVisible, Inc.
WebVisible makes it easy for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) to be found online, where and how customers are looking. The leading provider of local online marketing products and services since 2001, WebVisible was among the first to pioneer the use of search as a reliable, measurable avenue to connect directly with a buyer’s needs. The company has helped more than 100,000 SMB customers from more than 3,000 industries in 14 countries to create innovative and accountable Internet advertising campaigns. SMBs partner with WebVisible directly and through its many partner companies, including Intuit, AT&T, British Telecom and The New York Times Company. WebVisible is based in Irvine, Calif. For more information, visit www.webvisible.com or call 949-255-9677.
# # #
Edge Communications, Inc.
If you have been doing Search Engine Marketing or Affiliate Marketing for any length of time, you have probably grown to the point where you have decided to either hire employees or work with contractors to complete necessary tasks.
Working with a Remote Workforce can be tricky. You need to have the right tools and mindset in place to insure that you get the most productivity out of your remote workers and are able to communicate effectively with them so that they can get their jobs done.
RemoteWorkTools.com is a new site focused on the topics and tools used by Remote workers and companies trying to manage a remote workforce.
According to comScore, Online Holiday spending is approaching $20 Billion for the Season, and 2 recent days surpassed $800 Million on Spending!
RESTON, VA, December 13, 2009 – comScore (NASDAQ : SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 41 days of the November – December 2009 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $19.9 billion has been spent online, marking a 3-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week saw above average online spending growth of 4 percent versus year ago, as two individual days surpassed $800 million in spending, led by Thursday, Dec. 10, with $852 million.
Vinny Lingham posted the following article on Revenuews in August of 2006, I was looking for it on Revenews but it was missing. I found it on Archive.org and am reposting it here, because I think it is just as relevant today as it was in 2006 (if not more)
The question is : Do either agencies or search affiliates you cover every possible keyword relating to an online business? Probably not! So in that case, shouldn't you use both?! This post deals primarily with Paid Search Affiliates that direct link to the site, and use display URL's, something that all the larger advertisers allow, but smaller, more insecure ones, don't.
For any large business selling more than a few hundred products, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to cover all variations and misspellings of keywords that you could be bidding on in the search engines. Most (not all!) Search Marketing Agencies focus on spending a lot of money on branded keywords and 1,2 & 3 keyword combinations, as their systems cannot cope with volumes lower down in the tail (4,5,6 keyword combination). Companies like eBay, Expedia & Amazon have some of the most advanced search platforms, and even they realize that they cannot cover everything and utilize paid search affiliates to assist them in growing their business – one of the reasons why they are so ubiquitous in search.
I’m often asked whether or not utilizing paid search affiliates (Performance Marketers) will conflict with existing campaigns run by search agencies and the resounding answer from the data we have is NO!
The key differences between PPC Performance Marketers & typical (not all!) Search Agencies are:
You have to ask yourself at some point – what are you paying for?
Many argue that it’s more cost effective to use an Agency, as you cut out the middle man (the affiliate), but this is simply not true. The reason that performance marketers can make money is that they are able to scale their systems, sift out and analyze keywords better, and get the same clicks cheaper through the search engines, like Google, by obtaining high yields and better conversion rates. There is no additional charge to use performance marketers.
Gone are the days of 1-man affiliates sitting at home trying to manage campaigns using spreadsheets, Clicks2Customers, as an example, consists of about 40 full time employees – half engineers, half campaign managers. These are professionals in the marketing space who can manage brands, build traffic volumes and deploy world class search marketing campaigns. Clicks2Customers manages their multi-million keyword campaigns through over a dozen high end servers and generates over $100m/annum for their clients in sales and over $10m in annual revenues – all on a performance marketing basis, in the belief that this model is more linked to success, and not % of spend!
If you’re paying an effective $20 CPA to Google, and you offer an affiliate the same $20 CPA to acquire customers through Google, how is this a conflict, even if they use the same display URL – Google ranks the BEST ad, not the worse! If the affiliate is able to acquire customers cheaper than what your or your agency can, then realistically, they are entitled to the difference in margin for having a better campaign. I would obviously advise not to approach any old affiliate off the street, but as long as you work with reputable companies, you cannot lose.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some very forward thinking agencies, (NetExponent comes to mind), that understand that Search is the channel and if the client benefits by having more traffic and sales overall at the right target CPA, then it doesn’t matter whether you pay the search engine directly, use an intermediary or a combination of both (which is what I advise).
Affiliate and Agencies can work side by side, share data and grow their campaigns independently – the issue really comes in when Agencies, who right now tend to have a lot more leverage, given that many of the companies that outsource to agencies do not understand this space, place their trust in the agency who, as a defensive reaction – prevent affiliates from competing with them, due to fears that they will “look bad” in front of the clients. In that case, Agencies should not take business that cannot deliver on.
In my mind it’s just a question of ethics – Agencies need to advise their clients on what’s best for the client in terms of sales and exposure, not trying to protect their profits from search – a very well known agency in the UK actually admitted that their reason for advising their clients not to use affiliates, was fear of looking bad and losing revenue! On the other side of the coin, Affiliates need to focus on building real value, not just brand bidding, in order to demonstrate that they can provide large amounts of supplemental and quality traffic from the very long tail of search.
"Google and Yahoo, by way of the auto-matching feature, can show your ads on keywords that you did not intend to sponsor."
At imwave we have run into this a number of times. With Google they will take your broad match terms and display the ads on competitive trademarks you didn't ask for or know they were going to choose. Running a broad match term like "sneakers" doesn't mean you will only show up under terms like "basketball sneakers" and "tennis sneakers", but they may match your ad up to shoes, boots, sandals, or terms like nike, adidas, etc... At Yahoo the situation gets even worse! Not only will they start displaying your ad under these brand terms, they will actually sometimes adjust your ad copy (without telling you) to include these keywords in headlines so that they get higher click through rates!!! This can be very annoying when you have agreed to follow strict brand guidelines, and then Yahoo decides they know better!
What is the solution? You can stop running broad and advanced matching, but that is going to leave A LOT of opportunity on the table. The only other solution I know of is to work with your clients to establish a good list of negative keywords that you know you don't want your ads to appear on.
I'd love to hear your experiences with this issue.
Search Engine Marketing businesses are great because you have lots of flexibility and if you work hard you can make quite a bit of money, but running your business out of our home can be challenging, especially when you have computer problems.
Now, I am fairly technical and can fix most software issues that arise, but lately I have been having some hardware issues with several computers at home.
I have had two laptops with broken powerjack issues (no way to charge them up), and another where the USB ports have decided to quit on me.
So I went to the number 1 organic listing in Google for "Laptop Powerjack Repair in Reston Virginia" (onCall258.com), gave them a call, and they came out to my home, picked up the laptops and fixed them up for me (actually the USB problem ended up being larger than I wanted to fix, so I kept that one with the broken USBs).
Score one, for local search engine marketing and search engine optimization efforts for onCall258!
Now I have my own local tech support team, cool!
If you can't find a local computer repair shop in Google, check out Angie's List, they have been life savers for me as well.
Are your sites save? The how to hack Google video on this page shows some interesting ways that people can use Google's advanced search techniques to find things that you thought were protected. Very interesting!
The following is a paid review of the PepperjamNetwork Site that came in via ReviewMe.com. I signed up for ReviewMe sometime ago to see what it was all about, but this is the first review request that has come through.
I have had a chance to browse through the site and offering of Pepperjam's new affiliate network, and on the surface it sounds interesting. Certainly Pepperjam has been very visible in the affiliate world having been both a publisher and an outsourced program management company. Kris Jones has been a public and vocal member of the community,
The company was founded in 1999, and according to Inc magazine had revenues of $3.4 million in 2006 (up 460.4% from 2005) with 26 employees at the time. This earned them the 293rd spot in Inc Magazine's top 500 small growing companies.
The new affiliate network offering from Pepperjam, being billed by them as "Affiliate Marketing 2.0", after 8 years of development, aims to address two primary shortcomings of other networks, namely (1) poor, unreliable communication tools and (2) lack of affiliate transparency.
For Advertisers, the site claims:
pepperjamNETWORK is built upon the foundation of empowering advertisers to build successful publisher relationships through exceptional communication technology and enhanced brand protection through full and unfettered publisher transparency.
For Publishers, the site claims:
We strongly believe that publishers are the lifeblood of affiliate marketing. Therefore, we provide the necessary resources and educational materials to help publishers become Super Affiliates.
Great, but I have heard all this before. I haven't heard any new "network" claim to offer less communication or transparency.
So how does this new "transparency" work? As a search affiliate that primarily drives traffic directly to merchants via PPC advertising, I am happy if the merchant's know that my traffic comes from Google, Yahoo, or MSN, but I want some level of comfort that my keyword lists are being protected. I have some great concerns with merchants obtaining my hard built list of profitable keywords through analytics data and http referrer's.
So how does Peperjam's new affiliate tracking software work? If you click on Services / Affiliate Marketing / Affiliate Tracking Software, it just point's back to the home page. Apparently there are no current details on the site as to what the software tracks and how it works.
This is even more of a concern as unlike other networks, Pepperjam is an active PPC search publisher for their merchants. So now you have a "network" with clear conflicts of interest with affiliates.
I think it will be interesting to see how they do, but I won't be quick to start sending any significant traffic through their network without a better understanding on how they are tracking affiliates and how they are dealing with these clear conflicts of interest.
It will be nice, once I am activated, to have a chance to login and see what kinds of new innovations they have come up with after 8 years of development and a deep understanding of the market. The industry can always use some more innovation to really bring us into affiilate marketing 2.0.
Google recently announced that they have agreed to purchase DoubleClick for 3.1B from two private equity firms. Not a bad return for the private equity firms who took DoubleClick private in April of 2005 for just 1.1B.
DoubleClick is the largest provider of online ad technology. They help advertisers to purchase and track online advertising across the Internet and enable publishers with large amounts of traffic to sell their site's ad inventory and track that as well.
In June of 2004 DoubleClick acquired Performics, an affiliate network and management company and search engine marketing agency in an all cash deal totaling between $58M and $65M.
Now, seemingly in an effort to acquire the DART ad technologies and publisher relationships, Google has also acquired an affiliate network and search engine marketing agency that consequently gets paid by their customers to help them perform better in Google.
Google recently dipped their toes into the affiliate business with the launch of their CPA advertisements through the AdSense network, but clearly the ownership of a search marketing agency could be a huge conflict of interest for the search giant.
So what will happen to Performics? That is going to be the hot question floating around the affiliate community. Will Google integrate the affiliate network and search agency into their business or spin them off?
My guess is that Performics will be spun off or acquired. Perhaps AOL will scuttle their Tradedoubler deal when they see a Gem like Performics on the block.
What do you think? Should Search Engines be allowed to own an SEO and SEM company?
Wow! When we went to the Affiliate Summit conference in Las Vegas, Karen White, the Affiliate Manager for the Wynn Hotel, was nice enough to get us some complementary tickets to see LeReve at the Wynn. Now I much more of a comedy guy, and when I first read about the show, I was a little skeptical about seeing a show about "Dream Sequences", I thought I might doze off myself, but from the first moment the show opened, I was enthralled with Le Reve and couldn't take my eyes off the action. It's one of those shows that you just have to see to believe. My guess is that's why Karen wanted us to see it for ourselves. Smart move. If you are going to Las Vegas, you just have to see LeReve. It's hard to describe with words, so take a look at the following LeReve preview video if you have a few minutes, you won't be disappointed.
Don't miss LeReve playing at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas!
Microsoft will showcase a good selection of Digital Advertising Breakthroughs at their Third Annual Demo Fest this week, their two-day gathering on Microsoft's Rednond campus.
Microsoft will showcase nearly 60 technologies at various stages of develpment. Their latest digital advertising beta tools are available at http://adlab.msn.com.
“The technologies showcased at Demo Fest will help create unprecedented opportunity for developers and search engine marketers like the Keyword Services Platform,” said Tarek Najm, distinguished engineer and general manager of Microsoft adCenter at Microsoft. “KSP is a service that provides a framework for researchers to plug in advanced algorithms in the form of building blocks to be consumed by developers for building sophisticated advertiser applications.”
Developed by the rapidly growing team of more than 120 Microsoft adCenter Labs researchers and engineers, technologies displayed Wednesday are all designed to help provide the best advertising experiences for users, advertisers and developers. They include the following:
• Keyword Services Platform. The platform provides a set of Web service APIs related to keyword technologies, including keyword recommendation, forecasting, categorization and monetization, enabling developers to build more intelligent applications for online advertising and beyond.
• Commercial intent detection. Advanced keyword analysis helps differentiate consumers who are looking to make an online purchase from those who are searching for information about products or performing other tasks.
• Large display feedback. Vision-based technology creates interactive public displays that can measure the size of the audience, as well as track audience gestures and estimate demographics.
• Social video sharing. This next-generation video sharing solution features a synchronized “commenting” technology. The introduction of novel in-video, synchronized comments enables a new level of interaction between users, opening up the video as a medium for collaboration.
• Content classification: By accurately analyzing and matching the Web pages included in search results, Microsoft adCenter Labs technology helps increase the probability that the ads displayed during Web searches are relevant to consumers.
Has anyone else noticed that Google Adwords slows down to a crawl around lunch time? I am sitting here at about 12:20pm trying to create an ad, and it appears that the entire system is hanging up. I had the same issue yesterday.
Maybe Search Engine Markerters work harder during their lunch breaks?
Hitwise reported today that the share of US Internet searches for "gift cards" surged 109% for the week ending December 16th, 2006 vs the previous week as online shoppers looked for last minute gift ideas. Some of the fastest growing Gift card searches include "american express gift cards" up 184%, "itunes gift card" up 69%, and "visa gift cards" up 19%.
“For the second year now, we’ve seen a pattern of increased searches on gift cards as Christmas day approaches,” said Bill Tancer general manager of global research at Hitwise. “This year branded credit and charge gift cards dominated top searches as gift givers opted for the most flexibility for their gift recipients.”
Ok, I saw it coming, the new chain letter 2.0 has arrived and it's called Blog Tag. It's a little more fun and informative. On December 10th, Jeff Pulver started a little game of Blog Tag. The concept was to tell 5 interesting things about yourself and then "tag" 5 friends and see how fast it can spread. It has quickly spread across the Internet, and I am honored to have been pinged in just 6 days. Thanks Vinny! I'm not sure I can compete with Rock bands and 8-ball and chess championships, but here are 5 things you may or may not know about me.
In July of 2001 I was diagnosed with Leukemia, and I have just past a big milestone of being in remission for 5 years this November.
When my first son, Addison, was born in 1996 I setup a camera on his crib so his grandfather could check in on the crib over the internet. Addison's Cribcam was the first of it's kind and was covered by tv stations, newspapers, and radio stations around the country. It was even covered by Tom Brokaw!
I love to play Poker! I'm not as good as I would like to be, but I'm always up for a game. In fact one time I went to a business meeting where some of the attendees were late flying in, and we stuck up a poker game using a deck of cards from the Hotel and M&M's as the Poker chips!
I'm an early Internet entrepreneur. In 1993 I started York Pennsylvania's first for profit dial-up BBS that evolved into York PA's first commercial ISP. After several acquisitions starting in 1998 Cyberia is now part of Earthlink
Finally, like Vinny I too have had my likeness manipulated by bored designers! Vinny I really do like your Vinny the Poo:
Here are a couple they did of me when I worked at Network Solutions:
The "Viener" Donald
Yes, Potse is me!
Can you Sing - YMCA!
So, Vinny, sorry to say, Vinny the Poo might be only the beginning.
Rand Fishkin, the CEO and Co-Founder fo SEOMoz.org, had the opportunity to sit down with Venessa Fox, the Product Manager of Google Webmaster Central,.at the SES show in Chicago. It's always great to hear some questions answered right from the source
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It's been another great year, and as we move into the affiliate marketing busy holiday season, where many eTailers earn 50% of their revenues, it makes sense to take a short pause and remember all the things we have to be thankful for. Here are some of the many things in the Industry that I am thankful for this year:
The Affiliate Networks - I am thankful for the affiliate networks who have created platforms that enable affiliate marketers and merchants to quickly and easily start a business partnership at a click of the button, so that we can quickly test new programs and find the ones that are going to work best for our businesses. It would be hard to image the cost in time, legal fees and technology expenses needed create each and every one of these relationships on our own. Thank you Affiliate Networks!
Google - I am thankful that Google has created platforms that enable affiliate marketers to make money. From Adwords, and Adsense, to Google Analytics and the now in beta website optimizer product, Google continues to innovate platforms that enable affiliate marketers to earn money for both ourselves and for Google in the process. Thanks Google!
Affiliate Managers that "Get it!" - I am thankful for the many affiliate managers who truly take the time to understand the technologies and many different ways that affiliate marketers can promote their services, for the affiliate managers that truly understand that more is more in this industry and that less is less, and for the affiliate managers that understand and embrace the ongoing change that exists in this space. Thank you!
Affiliate Marketers - I am thankful to my fellow affiliate marketers who I have gotten to know at industry conferences. It is truly a dynamic and fun group, and having worked in other industries, I can honestly say that the affiliate marketers that I have meet are some of the smartest, brightest, and most entrepreneurial people I have meet in any industry. I am honored to be part of this group. Thank you!
Fun Holiday Logos - Finally, I am thankful for fun holiday logos, maybe someday we will actually see one from Microsoft....
I got an email from Pool.com today listing their "Hotlist" of domains for sale, and was interested to see that in today's list there was a domain for Yahoo and a Domain for Ask. Here are the domains and prices.
Today, Art, left me a great comment asking me how things were going with the site since March of 2006. Sometimes you need a little nudge to go back and really take a look at how the site has progressed and what things you did during that time to promote the site and try to continue to make it successful.
Since I shared the story of the site's creation, I feel it's only fair to share some of the results (good and bad ) and interesting things I did and lessons learned so that you might be able to take some interesting takeaways for your own affiliate sites.
I created a paid search campaign promoting learning Spanish and learning French and linked those campaigns to the corresponding pages. Unfortunately the costs per click out paced the conversion rates, so I lost some money with the test. I would estimate a loss of a couple hundred dollars. This test showed me that the conversion rates were not very good, and that I will need to re-consider the design of the site, and or the promotional copy to better turn visitors into buyers.
Additionally, with the recent quality score changes, the prices Google wanted was even higher, so I have pretty much stopped paid search for this specific site.
An article from Joel Comm turned me on to a little language translation script called Translation Gold (Link through Joel Comm in appreciation for his turning me on to it, Thanks Joel!) It was easy to add this script to my site, and with a click of a button it translates my pages into 9 major languages. I thought this would be great for a site basically helping people learn different languages. I added that tool in August, and now most of my top referring sites are from overseas, and my top referring keyword is something my browser doesn't translate, I think it's Chinese! What a wonderful world!
Since I was looking for organic traffic, I decided to explore some direct type in traffic as well, I did some research on soon to be expiring domain names that had the names of the languages I was promoting in them and came across the domain "chineseso.com". I ran the domain through Mozzel's Domain Name Pro software and identified that it has a few decent inbound links, so I acquired the domain in October after it expired for $60 through a SnapNames auction and setup a 301 redirect to the learn to speak Chinese page of the site.
Today when I was going back to see how the site was doing, I saw a HUGE discrepancy between the reported page views in Google Analytics vs. my hosting providers analytics program. I ran an error page report and figured out that my 301 redirect wasn't setup perfectly. I was trying to direct all the traffic to a specific page using the following command in the .htaccess file:
I had assumed that this command would redirect ALL incoming pages to that specific url, but a closer look at my logs indicated that it was adding on the extra page names at the end creating page like language-learning-software.com/learn_to_speak_chinese.htmldvbbs/. One page had over 202,722 error pages in October alone! So initially I went back in and added a ? to the end of my redirect argument so the page would be chineses.html?dvdbbs and that seemed to work, but then I decided to look a little deeper. If this domain is driving that much traffic, let's take a closer look.
Utilizing Archive.org and Google's translation tools, I discovered that I had acquired a domain that used to be used for the Mainland Undergraduate Association website. Since the site is in Chinese, I decided to link the traffic to the Chinese version of my home page, kindly provided by Translation Gold. Now the traffic should be going the site instead of error pages. I also added the following argument to my .htaccess file to make sure I capture any future error pages:
I will probably watch the traffic and conversions for another month, and if that huge amount of traffic doesn't turn into conversions, I will start exploring other alternatives for the high traffic domain I acquired. Clearly it's worth a lot more than the $60 I paid for it!
I would love to hear your comments and suggestions.
Chris Carpenter, the write of the ever popular Google Cash eBook, has been working on an update to answer some of his customer's latest questions about the changes going on at Google.
Chris was just about to release his 3rd edition of his book as well as an update entitled "the Landing Page Special Report" when his office caught fire. See the pictures below:
Could this have been a coincidence? Could it have been one of those funky Sony batteries that have been being recalled left and right? Or could be some interesting tidbits in his new book that Google doesn't want you to know about?
Maybe Google is Evil after all. Maybe Matt Cutts has created an undercover hit team? I better stop writing before I get targeted for demolition...
US Sites are seeing more International Traffic. How are your international ad campaigns going?
comScore Networks, a leader in measuring the digital age, today released the results of a study showing that 14 of the top 25 U.S. Web properties attract more traffic from people outside the U.S. than from within. Among them are the Top 5 Web properties in the U.S. -- Yahoo! Sites, Time Warner Network, Microsoft Sites, Google Sites and eBay.
"As Internet usage outside the U.S. has grown rapidly from a small base, the U.S. share of the world’s online population has fallen from 65 percent to less than 25 percent in the last 10 years," said Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe. "The fact that more than three-quarters of the traffic to Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft is now coming from outside of the U.S. is indicative of what a truly global medium the Internet has become."