Marketing Pilgrim's "Search Marketing" Channel

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Maturation of Paid Search Means the End of the Free Lunch

There’s certainly been a lot of noise being generated by medium-sized companies, complaining they’re no longer getting the same ROI from paid search – especially from Google AdWords.

I’ve been taking a look at the trends and believe this is simply the continuing maturation of the paid search channel. Here’s how it’s developed thus far.

  • Stage 1 – Medium and Large companies spend huge amounts of money on banner ads. Small companies can’t compete, so they start experimenting with paid search and get great ROI with little effort.
  • Stage 2 – Medium companies start experimenting with paid search. Their campaigns are not very targeted but they’re able to get great ROI with little effort, so they start pumping in more money. Meanwhile, the small guys find that they can no longer compete for generic keywords, so start targeting the “long tail” and find there are great returns to be had from more targeted keywords.

Exclusive – Yahoo Using Dirty Tactics to Switch Google & Firefox Users?

UPDATE: Here’s the official word from Yahoo spokesperson Terrell Karlsten. They’re claiming they don’t upgrade users to IE7 and their reasons for switching your settings? Everyone else does it.

Yahoo! Messenger’s update process does not download IE7 to a user’s computer. As part of the Yahoo! Messenger update process, people have the choice to download Yahoo! Toolbar, set Yahoo.com as their homepage and set Yahoo! Search as their search engine. This is an industry-wide practice….IE7 is not bundled into the Yahoo! Messenger update process.

UPDATE 2: Jarrod’s added a comment that suggests that IE7 was not added as part of the download, as he first described to us. All other aspects described below are known to be accurate, including changing the default browser to IE, changing the default homepage to Yahoo and changing the default search engine to Yahoo. The post has been updated.

Are You Still Reading Search Engine Watch?

I’ve noticed that I’m visiting Search Engine Watch less and less these days. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re doing an admirable job in keeping it active, but since the departure of Danny, Chris and Barry, it’s just not been the same.

Without the industry contacts and scoops that Danny Sullivan brings, it looks like traffic levels have dropped off significantly. Here’s the Alexa stats for SEW versus Danny’s new home, Search Engine Land.

Does this mean SEW is doomed to fade into obscurity? Maybe not, they’ll likely just level-out at some point. The question is, how long will it take before Search Engine Land has more traffic than Search Engine Watch. My guess, is that by the end of March, we’ll see that happen.

What Google Millionaires Do In "Retirement"

The SF Chronicle profiles some of the 900+ Google employees who became instant millionaires, once Google became public.

New found financial freedom and the loss of the “I mean something here” mentality, makes it difficult for Google to retain many of it’s most experienced employees.

Financial freedom gave the former Googlers in this article wide latitude in deciding what to do with their lives. The reasons for leaving are many: Alack of new challenges, ambivalence about the company’s growth and a desire for a career change are just a few.

It’s interesting to see what’s left in life, after working for arguably the best company in the U.S.

Google and CSS Files, It’s Not What You’re Thinking

It seems like every other week, someone will come out with a story that just catches fire in the SEO community. After all, we SEOs need something to gossip about don’t we? The story of the week has been Google indexing CSS & JS files. From there Threadwatch & Wolf Howl picked it up.

I think most of these people have it wrong though. Do we really think that Google is worried about hidden text in this day and age? There are so many legitimate ways and reasons to place text on a page that the users do not see when it first loads. Just look at Yahoo’s homepage and use of CSS on-page tabbed browsing. I believe the only on-page spam techniques they really care about are auto generated content, cloaking, and redirects. Hidden text is just no longer a factor in Google’s SERPs.

Jon Schepke Back in Business with SIM Partners

Former Proceed Interactive exec, Jon Schepke, is back in business for himself, after a brief gig with iCrossing. The lure of starting another internet marketing firm was just too much for Jon – I know how that feels - and so he’s brought together some former Proceed employees and launched Strategic Internet Marketing Partners.

Best of luck Jon!

Google Named Fortune’s Best Place to Work

Grab you morning coffee and settle down for a long, envy-inducing read as to how Google made it to the top of Fortune’s list of Best Companies to Work For.

Is it any wonder, with benefits like these?

At Google you can do your laundry; drop off your dry cleaning; get an oil change, then have your car washed; work out in the gym; attend subsidized exercise classes; get a massage; study Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, and French; and ask a personal concierge to arrange dinner reservations. Naturally you can get haircuts onsite. Want to buy a hybrid car? The company will give you $5,000 toward that environmentally friendly end. Care to refer a friend to work at Google? Google would like that too, and it’ll give you a $2,000 reward. Just have a new baby? Congratulations! Your employer will reimburse you for up to $500 in takeout food to ease your first four weeks at home. Looking to make new friends? Attend a weekly TGIF party, where there’s usually a band playing. Five onsite doctors are available to give you a checkup, free of charge.