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Do You Know Your SEO Myths From Your Facts?

SEO guru Lee Odden must be getting tired of hearing the same old objections to implementing an SEO campaign, as he has posted five myths of SEO.

Here’s the list:

  1. “Search Engine Optimization is a collection of tricks to fool search engines“.
  2. “People in our market don’t use search engines.”
  3. “SEO is a single event”
  4. “SEO is a function of IT”
  5. “Our site doesn’t get a lot of visitors, so SEO wouldn’t work for us.”

Read the full article for detailed insights to each myth and some bonus stuff too!

Can Yahoo Really Surpass Google in 2007?

Venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky is predicting Yahoo can outperform Google in 2007. His reasons include:

  • Yahoo needs to grow earnings faster than Google to regain investor interest
  • It can do that by cutting costs, growing audience, acquisitions or improving monetization (or some combination of all four)
  • It is easier to drive monetization than to increase audience markedly, and acquisitions are a mug’s game without better monetization tools. Cutting costs is a non-starter.

I agree that Yahoo’s likely hit the bottom and is ready to bounce back, but I’m not convinced they’ll be able to gain enough momentum to outperform Google in the next twelve months. Looking beyond 2007, they could just do it, especially if the backbone of their new search marketing platform (Panama) is as robust as the front-end interface.

The Twelve Ways of Click Fraud

As I mentioned previously, while I’m more skeptical than most, when it comes to talk of click fraud rates being over 20%, I still like to provide balanced posts. Along that theme, I asked long-time reader, and resident click fraud aficionado, Mike O’Krongli, to share his thoughts on Google’s click fraud filtering and balance out my original post.

If you’ve read Mike’s scary post describing how click fraud “zombies” could inflict massive amounts of click fraud, without being detected, you’ll appreciate his “Twelve Ways of Click Fraud” (sung to the tune of 12 days of Christmas, how festive!).

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The 12 Ways of Click Fraud

     This week while humming along to the 12 days of Christmas, I counted 12 reasons to question Google’s estimate of only 2% click fraud.

     1. Google earned $ 1.52 per month last quarter for every internet user over the age of 4 that use the internet 1 day a month (109 million)  Less than 50% of internet users use the Google search engine.  When you consider that many users do not click on PPC ads at all, the ones who do must click on a larger number.

     2.  There are many other things occupying the time of internet users besides search.  Video has become very popular and in the first year of YouTube.com’s life, over 9,000 years of video had been watched.  Email, Instant Messaging and sites like MySpace would also take time away from clicking on a PPC link.

     3.  I question the steady increase in PPC revenue quarter over quarter.  Other forms of internet advertising have always experienced a drop in interest over time.  One of the main reasons I don’t click on PPC ads is because I find them to be ineffective.  Any that I have clicked on turned out to be disappointing.

Five Secret Strategies to Add $1 Million in Revenue to your Interactive Marketing Agency in 2008

Digg!
When I wrote “The Top 10 Business Mistakes Search Marketing Firms Make“, I included a few of the items I commonly discover, when working with marketing firms, especially search marketers. The advice, if followed, would certainly help any marketing firm (not just search marketers), hoping to grow their business by avoiding the mistakes and pitfalls so common in the industry. However, while avoiding the common mistakes will help your business to avoid making expensive missteps, if you want to truly grow your marketing firm, you need to be more aggressive and proactive in your efforts.

One of the most common questions I am asked by marketing agencies seeking my advice–especially those that are newly-started or still relatively small–is “how do I attract new clients and grow my business?” While there are many ways to accomplish this task, depending on your resources and your target market, there are some proven strategies that any marketing firm can implement.

The five secret strategies listed in this guide are tried and trusted. I have used them to help grow one firm to $25+ million in annual revenues and another to an annual run rate of $2+ million in its first year. However, the strategies suggested below are not just confined to the companies I have worked with, they are evident in many successful agencies. Take a look at any successful marketing firm–whether it focuses on search, web design, email, viral or interactive–and you’ll likely see they’ve followed at least half the strategies I’ve listed.

I don’t want to sound like one of those overly-tanned, bright-smiled, “gurus” you see on infomercials late at night but, if you follow the strategies I’ve outlined, I’m convinced you can add at least $1 million in new revenue for your agency, over the next twelve months.

Strategy 1–Stand out from the crowd

Revenue Value = $100,000 in 2008

If you’re hoping to establish your marketing firm as a leader in its field, you’ll likely find lots of companies already established and better positioned to win clients. Simply launching a firm and blending-in with the rest of your peers is not the way to enter a market that is maturing or already saturated. Even the young search engine marketing (SEM) industry is filled with hundreds–if not thousands–of search marketing firms, all promising “top rankings”, “increased conversions” and “great customer service”. Too many SEM firms launch with the very same message and then languish in obscurity. If you want to avoid falling victim to this wasteland of mediocrity, you’ll have to be different.

Being different, doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel, but does mean singing a tune that a prospective client has not heard a thousand times before. If you want to serenade a new customer, you need to catch their attention and convince them you are different from the umpteen other marketing firms, they have heard from, or used, in the past. At KeywordRanking.com, we were one of the first SEM firms to offer content creation with all our search engine optimization packages. At the time, very few prospective clients were hearing the message we were telling: “we have a team of search engine optimization (SEO) copywriters who will create enticing, search engine-friendly content for your site.” Likewise, when we launched Fortune Interactive, we explained how we had a proprietary technology, no long-term contracts, and performance-based pricing models. In each instance, we sang a very different tune, than the many other firms that had called on that company in the same week.

Being different, doesn’t mean being radical. What set’s your marketing firm apart could be as simple as offering a weekly webinar for your clients, or offering live online customer support. The key is to find a niche, something that helps your firm stand-out from the crowd.

Stock Option Auction Plan for Google Employees

A new Google program will allow employees, with vested stock options, to sell them online without the normal hassles of exercising and selling. CNET reports the new program will be managed by Morgan Stanley and is aimed at financial institutions.

It would work like this: once an employee’s options are vested, he or she can look for bidders in the private auction. A financial institution may offer the employee, for example, $150 per option. If the employee’s strike price was $400 and the stock was trading at $500, the employee would have made $50 more per option going the auction route rather than selling them on the public market. Employees can also set a minimum price at which to sell.

Still Causing a Stir with Google Click Fraud Report

It seems like the conversation I started about Google’s click fraud rate, has rolled down the hill and picked up some momentum.

Matt Cutts wants his readers to read my article and Shuman Ghosemajumder’s own blog post. Danny Sullivan also digs into the numbers.

As my updated report suggested, Google’s user-detected click fraud is less than 2% of all invalid clicks (and not all clicks, as first reported). If that number is in the single digits, isn’t Google now admitting that click fraud across all clicks is less than 0.2%?

I was roasted for helping spread the word that the rate was at 2%, what kind of fury will appear with the suggestion that the rate is actually less than 0.2%?

The conversation continues.

Law Requires Disclosure of Affiliate Marketing Links, Word-of-mouth and Paid Reviews

Copyblogger has been digging around a new statement made by the Federal Trade Commission and reported by the Washington Post.

The bottom line, the FTC is pushing to make companies disclose any compensation received when promoting a product or company. While this is not a new law, the FTC wants marketers to know how it intends to interpret existing legislation.

…companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships…Word-of-mouth marketing can take any form of peer-to-peer communication, such as a post on a Web blog, a MySpace.com page for a movie character, or the comments of a stranger on a bus.