Lee Odden

Yahoo and Google Copying Each Other

For some good humor, check out the following posts by Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo and Matt Cutts from Google. Jeremey points out a striking similarity between the Yahoo and Google MSIE splash pages. Google has changed the splash page to something else by now.

Matt responds in that very politically correct and polite way that Matt does and then he points out how Yahoo has been copying Google’s PPC ad layouts.

I’ve seen other examples of this sort of thing shared with me by a search engine employee and I guess it’s bound to happen. They watch each other so closely and there are so many teams involved that stuff like this can slip by. Although, the ad formats and colors are pretty hard to miss. 🙂

Lee Odden

SES Chicago SEO Videos – Gord Hotchkiss

In the tradition established this summer at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose, there are more video interviews here in Chicago with interesting people that work in the search marketing industry. I’ve been shooting short videos with my trusty Sony Cybershot which you can see below.

First up is Gord Hotchkiss from Enquiro who discusses a few details of their most recent eyetracking report which compares Google, Yahoo and MSN search results. Online Marketing Blog did a short review of this report in November.

[googlevideo]5322867270797653502[/googlevideo]

You can find out more about Enquiro here and Gord writes a handy blog over at Out of my Gord.

TopRank Marketing Editor

Session – Bulk Submit 2.0

TopRank Marketing Editor     Google, Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, Yahoo

Bulk submitting your site to search engines is quite an easy task. Granted, it may sound spammy, but it’s not. 🙂 This session covered things like XML site maps and paid inclusion options. Google gave an overview of their webmaster tools and gave tips like having separate XML site maps for different types of media (like mobile) and removing un-necessary information from the urls (like session ids). Yahoo talked about Yahoo Site Explorer and said that more features were on the way. They noted that a feedback area launched recently and it was a great way to put in your opinion on what was missing orbroken. It also comes with Digg like functionally so users can vote on topics. The more votes, the quicker Yahoo will consider working on it. Overall, XML site maps is the way to go to make sure you get all your URLs indexed by the major search engines.

Lee Odden

Mainstream Pubs Invite User Content

Lately I’ve noticed a few mainstream web publications making concerted efforts to solicit user generated content. Enabling consumers to submit news gives media access to millions of potential stories they might otherwise not know about, or not have a scoop on. I know our local (and likely national) public radio station has been soliciting user generated content and news stories for at least a year and so do some TV stations. Also, Topix.net allows users to interact with news stories on their forums which, according to Topix.net founder Rich Skrenta, has enabled a big boost in traffic.

Most recently I noticed that Yahoo News has launched You Witness News that allows you to upload photos and video for potential use in Yahoo News stories. According to comScore, Yahoo News is the #1 online news source, so marketers should take notice of such an opportunity.

TopRank Marketing Editor

Session – Vendor Spotlight

TopRank Marketing Editor     AdWords, Google, Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies, Yahoo

The vendor spotlight session covered alternatives or additives to going with PPC campaigns from companies like Google and Yahoo. They discussed how pay per call was more effective and available in more areas like TV and print than pay per click was. It also doesn’t suffer click fraud and clients like it more as it’s closer to a sale.

Tools for managing your pay per click and pay per call accounts were also discussed. Zanox offers a one stop shop for managing all your accounts including Google PPC, Yahoo PPC, click per call and more. Since it’s available worldwide, it can even help you with international accounts and search engines. Lycos spoke on how there offerings and how they can be customized for verticals and you can even become a publishing partner to use Lycos tools while running your own ad network with your own look and feel. Both companies trying to make it easier on the end user and increasing ROI.

Lee Odden

Yahoo Changes Bidding Information and Grandfathered Bids

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Yahoo

Yahoo Search Marketing sent out an email today announcing changes. Some of the manage bids information will be removed and replaced with “Estimated Average Position” and “Bid Range for Top Positions”.

Here are the details from the email:

In early December 2006, some of the information on the Manage Bids page will no longer be available. We will be removing the “Top 5 Max Bids,” “Position” and “Your Cost” columns from the current account interface. The View Bids tool will also be removed.

These columns will be replaced with two new columns of data:

  • Estimated Average Position
    This displays an estimate of the average position your listing may achieve, based on your bid and the current bids of other advertisers.
Lee Odden

Las Vegas Pubcon Yahoo Party

Yahoo Party at Pubcon
Wow, what a party! Yahoo had a very private, invite-only party last night at the Palms Towers in the Playboy suite.

Pubcon Jolina and Karen at Yahoo Party
Thank you to Yahoo PR for letting me bring Karen and Jolina from the TopRank team. This was their first conference and Karen’s fist time in Las Vegas. There were only 100 or so people invited to this party from a conference of several thousand, so it made quite an impression.

The Playboy Suite was quite a place. Here are a few photos:
Projection Pool Playboy Suite

Pubcon Daron Babin telling tall tales

Pubcon The band at the Yahoo Party

Pubcon Bartender at Yahoo Party

Pubcon Yahoo Party

Pubcon Hanging out in the Pool

I’ve got to run to do my next presentation but will post more photos later or you can check my Flickr page. Nice job on the party Yahoo!

Lee Odden

SEO, New Media PR and Social Media Links

Here are this week’s list of blogs/sites that I’ve added to my huge list of resources and blogs covering search engine optimization, new media public relations and marketing with social media.

Timboy – Tim Converse at Yahoo offers a great sense of humor and is sometimes referenced as Matt Cutts’ alter ego. One of my favorite posts of Tim’s, “Search Engine Optimization from Black to White“.

SpinThicket is a sort of Fark for public relations and advertising created by PR Firm Idea Grove,who also publishes the excellent Media Orchard blog.

Online Business by Brian Mark – An active WebmasterWorld member, conference speaker and SEO guru for ToolBarn.com

Marshall Clark SEO Consulting Blog – Seven Years In SEO / From Term Vector to TrustRank. Offers a handy post on, “Sun Tzu‚Äôs Guide: Dominate Google in 5 Easy Steps” and other useful how-to’s.

Lee Odden

New Google, Yahoo, MSN Eye Tracking Report

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Manoj over at Web Analytics World blog has announced the release of a new eyetracking study by Enquiro that takes an in-depth look at interactions with Google, Yahoo! and MSN using eye tracking methodology. Many search marketers are familiar with Enquiro’s original eye tracking report on Google. (pdf)

The new Google/Yahoo/MSN whitepaper covers:

  • How We Scan a Listing
  • Semantic Mapping
  • Information Scent
  • Thin Slicing
  • Banner Blindness
  • Growth of Navigational Search
  • Impact of Bolded Search Queries and Icons
  • Perceived Relevancy
  • Golden Section Theory
  • Portal Entry Success
  • Interactions with Top Sponsored
  • Interactions with Side Sponsored
  • Interactions with Top Organic
  • Interactions with Bottom Organic
  • Interactions with Vertical Results
Lee Odden

Is Yahoo Courting AOL Again?

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Via TW, Fortune reports that Yahoo may be resuming talks with AOL about an acquisition as a play against rival Google.

“FORTUNE has learned from multiple sources that Yahoo! recently approached Time Warner (parent of FORTUNE’s publisher) about buying America Online – essentially trying to jump-start talks that broke down a year ago. A source close to Yahoo disputes that Yahoo approached Time Warner and says that there are no active conversations between the two companies.”

The story also offers speculation about what Yahoo’s next moves might be:

  • Sell to Microsoft
  • Merge with eBay
  • Stay the course
Lee Odden

Yahoo Search Marketing Blog

ysmblog.jpg
Yahoo has launched a snappy new blog today for Yahoo Search Marketing. Call me crazy, but purple is my favorite color after all and the look/feel of this blog is consistent with many of the newer and more progressive blog designs coming out.

With the launch of Yahoo’s new platform (Panama) it makes sense to offer a communication channel specific to Yahoo advertising options. I am very interested in the media side of this:

“We‚Äôll examine how 21st Century media such as Tivo, satellite radio and the Internet are contributing to the challenges faced by traditional marketing channels like TV, radio and newspapers. Audiences are fragmenting, and advertisers both large and small are looking for understanding and insight into alternate solutions that will provide the connections they need to their target markets.”

Lee Odden

Yahoo Sending Invites for Upgraded Sponsored Search

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I guess it’s the night for emails from the search engines. Yahoo sent out an email to Yahoo Search Marketing advertisers with a notice that Yahoo is now allowing them to request an invitation to upgrade. That’s an interesting spin isn’t it? Have your advertisers ask to upgrade? What it really means is a phased approach at rolling out the new program:

“Invitations will be sent in stages to U.S. advertisers over the remainder of the year and early next year. You’ll be notified of your upgrade date at least two weeks in advance. You’ll also be able to access a preview of what your account will look like after the upgrade.”

Some of the new features include:

  • Fast ad activation (no more 3-5 days)