Marketing Pilgrim's "Search Marketing" Channel

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Google Shutting Out Tool Developers with API Removal

You may not have heard but Google has closed their Google Search SOAP API and replaced it with a new Google Ajax Search API.

What’s the big deal? The new API doesn’t easily allow third-party tool developers to utilize Google search results. So why in the world would Google take such a backward step? One reason, the new API allows them to better control how developers use Google’s search results.

Existing users of the API will still be supported.

9 Cost-Effective PPC Branding Strategies

Pay-per-click advertising can be very effective channel for increasing your brand’s reach but PPC branding campaigns are often cost prohibitive. Bidding to top positions for your industry’s core terms is an excellent way to expose your brand to new audiences but the “short term ROI be-damned” strategy is usually risky business. Below are 9 strategies to help you build your brand without burning through your spend.

  1. Start with the campaign structure and creatives. Separate your branded terms from your other terms so that your ads’ creatives can be more easily controlled. Searches for your branded terms should always trigger ads with strong brand-based titles and messaging instead of your more traditional ads for industry terms.

Arbitrage Defined

Arbitrage is a hot topic these days. American Heritage Dictionary defines arbitrage as “The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on another market in order to profit from a price discrepancy.”

A YouTube video titled Adwords Abuse which was uploaded back in April has begun re-circulating. The video highlights some of the issues surrounding arbitrage but it only discusses one form of the problem. Arbitrage is not a one size fits all practice.

So let’s look at the different types of arbitrage.

PPC / Adsense Arbitrage 1.0
A website or web page which contains no content. The page is filled with PPC ads such as Adsense or Yahoo Search Partner Ads. This is the most blatant form of Arbitrage and the one the majority of people are talking about.

PayPal Has No Answer to Google Checkout

The NYT takes a look at Google efforts to take market share away from eBay’s PayPal. The two are in a battle for the right to process credit card payments of companies looking for an alternative to merchant accounts.

What’s interesting is that PayPal doesn’t appear to be concerned with Google’s onslaught. Despite Google offering free payment processing until the end of 2007 and consumer incentives such as $20 off a $50 purchase, PayPal isn’t responding. Why? Well for one thing, it doesn’t need to…

Checkout’s gains have not necessarily heralded a PayPal decline. A Goldman Sachs report this week said that based on conversations with various merchants, Checkout appeared to be making gains against traditional payment options and that PayPal’s share of online transactions was also growing.

Avoiding Google’s Duplicate Filter When Syndicating Your Blog

Rand pointed to Adam Lasnik’s – yep Dr. Google himself – guide to avoiding duplicate content filters at Google. I know some of you are thinking at this point, “duplicate content is Google’s problem, not mine”, but Adam has some great advice.

One suggestion that caught my eye…

If you syndicate your content on other sites, make sure they include a link back to the original article on each syndicated article. Even with that, note that we’ll always show the (unblocked) version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.

How to Own an SEO Firm

Andy has covered how to make your SEO company more profitable, but understanding the inner workings and personnel management of an SEO firm is also an important facet of owning an SEO firm. In light of the recent acquisitions of SEO companies, here are some tips on what to do after acquiring an independent SEO company.

  • SEO requires a certain amount of creativity, flexibility and uncertainty—pretty much anathema to the corporate world. But without these things, your company’s services will become outdated and stagnant.

  • SEO requires research and experimentation. Don’t expect to be able to devote 125% of your resources to slaving away solely for clients, unless your clients are willing to be guinea pigs as your SEOs try out new things—things that may or may not work.

Google AdSense Bans Images Next to Ads

I must admit, I’ve been tempted to experiment with adding images next to Google AdSense ads. I have seen other bloggers use them and heard them gush over how they can help increase click-thru-rates. Unfortunately, Google has just decided that they are not fair to the users (and the advertiser) and have banned images alongside AdSense.

We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find something that isn’t actually being offered. That’s not a good experience for users or advertisers.