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Google’s PageRank Developed "Completely Randomly"

Google’s Larry Page finally helps marketers realize that it’s pretty futile to try and figure out the components of PageRank, when the inventor didn’t exactly have a plan when he created it. CNN reports from Page’s visit with the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

As a computer science graduate student 11 years ago at Stanford University, Page said he came up the with idea of “page rank” — weighing the relative importance of hyperlinks to improve the relevancy of Web searches — completely randomly.

Of course, he’s not actually saying that PageRank wasn’t given much thought, he’s actually trying to encourage other scientists to think more like entrepreneurs and look for ways to solve the world’s problems.

AdSense Arbitragers Using Free Domain Names Thanks to Loophole

It’s always satisfying to learn something new about an industry, and today brings to light a marketing practice, I never knew existed.

AP explores a loophole with domain registration, which allows anyone to return a registered domain name within 5 days and get a full refund. This has led to hundreds of thousands of domain speculators and search arbitragers registering domain names, testing which ones do well for type-in traffic, and getting a full refund on any duds.

During the grace period, the entrepreneur puts up a Web page featuring keyword search ads and receives a commission on each ad clicked…Addresses likely to generate more than the $6 annual cost of domain name are kept — not a high threshold given how lucrative search advertising is these days…The rest are thrown back into the pool on the fourth or fifth day, only to be grabbed by another group of domain name tasters.

Did-It’s Bill Wise Resigns as CEO

Why is it I get a strange sense of déja vu, while writing this news that Bill Wise has resigned from his position as CEO of Did-It?

Wise, who has worked with Did-It since January 2005 after being hired away from Ask Jeeves’ sales department, said his departure stemmed from a fundamental disagreement about the direction of the company. “I wanted to take the company in one direction. As CEO, and as a guy who really, really helped scale and create the brand that it has in the marketplace, that’s what I wanted to do,” said Wise

Well, considering founders Lee and Pasternack seem intent on attacking SEO and have a strange affection for comical frogs, I’m putting my money on Wise having the best idea for taking the company forward.

Google Testing Tabbed Adsense Ads?

Stanley Shilov is reporting the sighting of a new tabbed ad format for Adsense. The ads have three tabs for searches, web pages, and videos.

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The ads are different in two distinct ways:

* They are tabbed. The three tabs deliver different content, titled Searches, Web Pages, and Videos.
* Two of the tabs have links that lead to Google search results and to Google’s Videos page, as opposed to the standard contextual ads that lead straight to the advertiser’s page.

From the looks of the ads, they may be a replacement for the default charity ads shown when Google decides it has no relevant paid advertisements available to show. As these don’t seem to be PPC links the question becomes, will Google pay for these clicks?

Alexa Adds New Traffic Details

I noticed a change to the Alexa traffic reports late Friday, and have now found the official announcement from Alexa. They’ve added new data points including:

  • Geographic location of visitors.
  • Your site’s traffic rank in different countries.
  • Audience reach percentages.
  • Changing terminology to reflect latest data is from “yesterday” and not “today”.

Is Google Overrated? Danny Sullivan Fights Another Battle.

When Danny Sullivan’s not busy protecting the reputation of SEO, he’s off fighting crime protecting the reputation of Google.

In this month’s issue of Fast Company, Danny squares off against Donna Bogatin, and fights against claims that the world’s largest search engine is tapped out.

Google Plans AdWords Algorithm Change; Expects Complaints

UPDATE: It looks like Google’s pushed the button too early – and it could be the wrong button too. Lots of people are complaining that their Quality Score has gone crazy.

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I just got off the phone with Google’s Nick Fox, Senior Business Product Manager for Ad Quality, and got the scoop on the upcoming changes to the AdWords Quality Score.

As we reported earlier today, Google is indeed planning a change to the Quality Score, with two major updates.

  1. The addition of a new column in AdWords campaigns, showing the Quality Score.
  2. A change to the Quality Score algorithm.

Fox explained the addition of the new column was Google’s effort to “improve transparency” and “make it easier to understand the quality score.” He also explained that Google hoped the new Quality Score information would “help advertisers optimize their ads.”

The new data will be available as early as tomorrow afternoon, which is a key move in anticipation of an algorithm tweak to the Quality Score in the next week or two. By being more transparent with the scoring, Google hopes to prevent any backlash that may come with the new algo.

While the new algorithm shift won’t be as dramatic as when Google introduced the landing page factors, Fox does expect to hear some complaining from advertisers. He confirmed that the new algo “will impact a fairly large number of keywords”, which might lead to a knee-jerk complaint by a large contingent of AdWords advertisers. However, Fox stressed the “bulk of the impact will be on keywords not driving traffic.”