Transmogrified

Musings About Online Marketing

Archive for November 2008

Google SearchWiki

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Google unleased their SearchWiki upon the world yesterday (but seriously, does the Average Joe really know much about it yet?).  In a nutshell, SearchWiki allows a user to customize search results.  How, you may ask?  Well, you can move results up or down in the rankings, and you can also add results if you are not seeing a site that you use frequently.

A user can also make notes about any listing or remove a listing from the results page altogether.

In the video below, you’ll hear emphasis that this doesn’t affect search results for users who are not logged in, or when a user who is logged opts to view the non-custom results.

They say that now…  but you have to wonder at what point these will start factoring into the algorithms.  My instinct tells me that we’ll see some influence on it once Google figures out how to combat any potential black hat tactics.

Here’s the Google propaganda video:

This is a grand example of why SEOs must stay well informed of trends and think about how new changes can affect your approach to keeping a site visible.

Written by rogersikes

November 21, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Google Search-based Keyword Tool

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This is a neat feature for when you are doing keyword research on Google.  It really works well for both PPC and SEO.

First impressions of the starting point may be that you’ve seen all of this before.  Mostly likely, you have seen all the kinds of data in different places before, but now Google is putting it all in one convenient spot for you to research keywords down to a very detailed level.  I used one of my favorite record labels (Sub Pop) as well as one of my favorite topics (music) as an example.

 

 At this point, you may be telling yourself, "big deal."

After you enter in the URL you are researching along with selected keywords, you reach a screen that shows suggested keywords, monthly searches, advertiser competition, and the suggested bid.  Again, nothing real groundbreaking or different from the other External tool that Google offers.  Note that you can see how keywords perform in specific categories as well.  Now, click on the magnifying glass next to one of the keyword suggestions.

 

Google Search-Based Keyword Tool Step 2

 

Here’s where it gets really exciting.  When you drill down into the keyword detail, you get a page that shows you the geographic locations searches are coming from, current trending, and much more.  You can drill down into a region to see exactly what cities are generating searches.  You can also look at various date ranges and add other terms for comparison.  There are some more numbers and features available if you log in to your Google account.  I suggest logging in and checking it out for yourself.  😀

Google Search-Based Keyword Tool Step 3

Most free tools are just about what you would expect.  You have to go to several different spots to compile sufficient data to make a client proposal or devise a strategy for your ad campaign.  Google has managed to provide so much of that for free.  Having been in the search engine marketing business since 2000, it’s exciting to see the level of detail now available in this area.  In the early days, you’d just pick a bunch of keywords and bid on them using some archaic tracking methods that involved a lot of spreadsheet, blood, sweat, and tears to pull everything together to make informed decisions.  Now, all this information is easily available, even free in so many cases. 

Google, I’m tipping my hat to you.  This time.  Don’t get cocky.

Written by rogersikes

November 20, 2008 at 8:12 pm

The Power of Craigslist and Other Free Classifieds

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A few years ago, I remember riding in a cab in New York from Laguardia to the hotel we were staying in the week of the Search Engine Strategies show.  The cabbie was a very engaging person, and while we were discussing what we were visiting New York for, the conversation shifted to Craigslist.  It wasn’t the first time I had heard of Craigslist, but at the time, I only saw it as a useful tool for those in large metropolitan areas.  Being from Kansas City, I had my doubts that the community would adopt this method of advertising for various reasons, a big one being that the metro area is spread out.

Man, was I wrong.

As my wife and I were preparing to have a garage sale to unburden ourselves of various baby items we still had stockpiled, I looked at our options as far as advertising the sale.  The obvious first choice was in the Kansas City Star.  After reviewing their packages, and seeing that it was going to take at least a $10 investment to get listed online, and $21 to do both print and online.  Considering the timing of the sale (November 1), I opted out of doing an ad with the Star out of concern that a bad turnout would result in a null investment.

So, this is what brought me to Craigslist and KC Backpage (the service The Pitch uses for classifieds).  Listings were free, I could create a listing every day leading up to the sale, and their ad guidelines are pretty loose, so I could even yell in the headline of my ads on Craigslist.  🙂

Within 1 hour of posting the ads a full 3 days before the sale, I got my first response.  By Halloween (the day before the sale), I had more than a  half dozen inquiries about the sale and some of the items there.  We knew that we would at the very least sell some of the baby items.

After the sale on Saturday, we had made the most money we have ever made at a garage sale (we have had one a year for the past 10 years).  The most incredible thing of all is that we are STILL getting inquiries about unsold items, and will most likely sell the remainder of baby items next weekend.

From now on, when I want to sell an item that isn’t eBay worthy, I’m not going to hesitate placing the listing on Craigslist and KC Backpage.  The response was incredible, and the price for advertising can’t be beat.

I’m sold.

Whether it’s small businesses looking to create awareness of their services, or someone looking to unload some junk, free classified do work, probably moreso than their print counterparts.  When you have a small or nonexistent advertising budget, this can be a way to create some awareness for your business or services you offer, and you won’t have to spend a dime.

Written by rogersikes

November 5, 2008 at 10:37 pm