Where’s Your SEM Scholarship Article Entry?

I know it’s been a busy news week, with Yahoo and Google both announcing upgrades to the paid search products, but where the heck are the scholarship entries?

If you’re considering entering the contest, this is the week to do it as we have NO ENTRIES this week. None, nada, zip!

I guess a $5,000 scholarship prize that includes a full pass to the next Search Engine Strategies show, is not enough of an incentive for ya?

We’re upping the ante even more, with the addition of 1 year of AdWatcher service (ad tracking and click fraud monitoring) and 1 year of AdScientist service (bid management), courtesy of the guys behind the Search Marketing Standard magazine.

The prize package is now worth more than $6,000, so what in the world are you waiting for? :-)

Why Those in Glass Blog Houses, Shouldn’t Throw Stones

There’s a reason why A-list bloggers shouldn’t try and set standards for blogging or criticize other’s blogging attempts. Edelman’s recent blow-up with their handling of the Wal-Mart blog demonstrates how karma can come back and bite you in the butt.

Channel Sponsors

Citysearch Adds Mobile Search

Greg Sterling reports Citysearch has launched a text-based mobile local search service.

Results I received were also “sponsored.” Rather than a relevant advertiser link at the top of results, there was an advertiser-sponsor referenced at the bottom. The advertiser had nothing to do with my particular search for hotels but I would expect over time that will change.

Google Harnessing the Sun

Google plans to take advantage of the sun, with the installation of solar panels to deliver 30% of its power consumption.

Soon we plan to begin installation of 1.6 megawatts of solar photovoltaic panels at our Mountain View campus. This project will be the largest solar installation on any corporate campus in the U.S., and we think it’s one of the largest on any corporate site in the world.

This should put to rest the rumor that the sun shines out of Google’s @ss – if it did, they wouldn’t need the panels! (sorry, couldn’t resist). ;-)

Throw Your External Metrics Data Out the Window

Rand Fishkin has put together a whole bunch of analytical data from some of the top search bloggers. He asked a couple dozen SEM bloggers to share their visitor data and then compared it with external services such as Alexa and Hitwise.

The conclusion?

Based on the evidence we’ve gathered here, it’s safe to say that no external metric, traffic prediction service or ranking system available on the web today provides any accuracy when compared with real numbers.

If you want to learn more about where the top search bloggers get their traffic, check out the study.

PS. I had to turn down the offer to participate as when I left FI, I had to start a new Google Analytics account and didn’t have enough data. :-(

Google Announces Website Optimizer for Landing-Page Testing

Right about now, Google’s Brett Crosby is revealing a new tool at the Emetrics Summit in Washington, D.C. Called Website Optimizer, it is designed to help AdWords advertisers test different landing pages in order to determine which one drives the highest number of conversions.

Multi-variable testing for landing pages is something that has become more popular over the last couple of years, as advertisers look to tweak different aspects of their campaigns – looking for that edge.

According to Google…

The beta launch of Website Optimizer is a limited release that is offered to AdWords advertisers on a sign-up and acceptance basis. Website Optimizer is fully integrated with Google AdWords and is free to AdWords advertisers…It is a self-service tool that enables non-technical users to set-up and run multivariate landing page experiments. Website Optimizer uses Google Analytics technology for tracking and reporting which landing page variation had the highest conversions.

Yahoo Launches Panama Interface

As you read this, Yahoo is announcing the launch of their long-awaited Panama interface for search marketing, replacing the system that has been in place since the acquisition of Overture.

The full roll-out of the Panama’s ranking algorithm will not launch until the first quarter of 2007, but Yahoo Search Marketing advertisers can choose to migrate to the new interface over the coming months, in anticipation of the full launch. Migration will be via invite, but advertisers can also request a faster switch. They’ll get a chance to preview the new interface before switching, but those deciding to switch will find the migration in not reversible.


New YSM Interface – click to enlarge