Fast Five in Search – Week 48, 2014

fast-five

 

So this week I’ve been reviewing our Search Industry Event Timeline which forms part of our introductory SEO course at Search Engine College. I was struck by the sheer number of acquisitions made by search giant Yahoo over the past 20 years and how controversial some of those purchases have been for them.

So this week I give you: the Five Most Controversial Purchases Made by Yahoo.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) January 1999: Yahoo Acquired Geocities for $4.58 billion

In the 1990’s, before the rise of Content Management Systems and online web page builder services such as Google Sites and WordPress, there was Geocities. Everyone could have a web page at Geocities and populate it with as many animated gifs and flashing headlines as they liked. Yahoo saw the potential for eyeballs that Geocities presented and purchased the service for a whopping US$4.58 billion in stock in January, 1999, then proceeded to completely ignore it. The site finally died from neglect in 2009.

2) July 2003: Yahoo Purchased Overture for $1.63 billion

This purchase was a direct response to the growing success of Google’s AdWords paid advertising program. Originally known as GoTo.com, Overture was the first paid search advertising program and had no serious rivals until Google launched AdWords in 2000. Yahoo’s purchase included search engines AltaVista and AllTheWeb, which Overture had acquired just a few months earlier. Yahoo later rebranded Overture as Yahoo Search Marketing and ran it haphazardly until it became clear it was no rival for AdWords. In 2010, Yahoo’s partnership with Microsoft morphed the program into Microsoft adCenter and the combined service eventually became known as Bing Ads.

3) March 2005: Yahoo Bought Flickr for Between $22 and $25 million

There was enormous outcry when Yahoo! acquired photo sharing service Flickr and its creator Ludicorp. The acquisition reportedly cost somewhere between $22 and $25 million and was announced almost casually on the Flickr blog. Most people agree that Yahoo’s purchase ruined Flickr forever.

4) December 2005: Yahoo Acquired del.icio.us for an Estimated $20 million

Online bookmarking service del.icio.us was purchased by Yahoo late 2005 for an estimated $20 million. The once respected social sharing site was left to flounder for 6 years, before being sold off to the founders of YouTube in April 2011.

and finally…

5) May 2013: Yahoo Purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion

Yahoo’s purchase of blogging and publishing platform Tumblr in mid 2013 was met with shrieks of horror from the blogging community, who had witnessed the slow death of other Internet services purchased by the search giant. Announced directly on her own cutesy Tumblr, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promised “not to screw it up”. Whether that happens remains to be seen. The most positive feedback I can find since the purchase is a comment from Tumblr founder David Karp who admits that Yahoo has allowed Tumblr to maintain independence so far. Although that may change soon because apparently Yahoo is trying to turn Tumblr into a competitor for YouTube.

I wonder what Yahoo will buy next?

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 47, 2014

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This week I’ve been taking the Google AdWords Certifications in order to re-satisfy the minimum requirements for my agency to achieve Google Partner status. So it’s not surprising that AdWords-related posts have caught my attention most often this week.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) AdWords Gets Local Google Forwarding Numbers by Chris Crum of WebProNews. Lots of new AdWords features were announced by Google this month, one of which is local Google forwarding numbers, which advertisers will be able to display on their ads. These will have local area codes with number displayed and may inspire more clicks/calls from searchers in the vicinity of the business.

2) AdWords New Demographic Charts Offer Visual Insights on Age, Gender & Parental Status by Ginny Marvin of Search Engine Land. Another new Google AdWords feature is Demographic Charts. These new charts show detailed reach metrics for your ads on the Display Network across particular demographics including gender, age and parental status. The new charts can be accessed via the Demographics tab under the Display Network section of AdWords and can be viewed by impressions, clicks or conversions.

3) 7 Alternatives to Google AdWords for Small Businesses by Adrienne Erin of SiteProNews. As a small business owner, this post jumped out at me. In it, Adrienne explains why AdWords may not always be the best ad network choice for small businesses with limited budgets. She offers up several economical alternatives for advertisers who are currently disenchanted with AdWords.

4) Delving Into the Auction Insights Report by Helena Clark of Search Engine Watch. I’m a big fan of the AdWords Auction Insights reports, so I was pleased to see a recent post dedicated to this. Basically, Auction Insights reveal several different statistics about your search campaigns: impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, top of page rate, and outranking share. Because the report provides information on advertisers who participated in the same auctions as you, it provides a loose benchmark for your performance against other advertisers in the same industry. Strangely, Helena’s article does not include how to find your Auction Insights reports in your AdWords account, but you can access them by selecting your campaign, ad group or keywords, then clicking on the box next to the metric you are measuring, clicking on *Details* at the top of the table and then choosing *Auction Insights* from the drop-down menu.

and finally…

5) How Google AdWords Works (Infographic) by Lindsay Kolowich of HubSpot. If you manage Google AdWords campaigns for a living like I do, you will eventually get asked the magic question: “How does Google determine where my ad ranks against other advertisers?”. Well, this handy Infographic now saves you the exhausting task of explaining Ad Rank to a non-technical person. I’ve printed it out and stuck it to my office wall. I’m even tempted to carry a copy in my wallet for those awkward networking events.

Happy advertising!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 45, 2014

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This week I’ve been spending a lot of time in Google Analytics and looking at the most popular pages on this blog.  Turns out that the Q and A posts are the most popular, so this week’s Fast Five is a collection of my most popular Q and A posts for 2014.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Q and A: Will Google penalize me for redirecting my old site to my new site with duplicate content? In this post, I help a webmaster who has moved domains and is concerned that his redirect may be penalized by Google as duplicate content.

2) Q and A: How many AdGroups should a single PPC campaign have? A Google AdWords advertiser is concerned about how many adgroups her campaign has and asks me for advice.

3) Q and A: Is rewriting content from another blog a legitimate SEO tactic? In this more recent Q and A, I help out a guy whose sister has hired a SEO company using dodgy site-scraping tactics for SEO purposes.

4) Q and A: How do I login to my YouTube channel The number of people who lose control of their YouTube channels is surprising. In this post, I assist someone who has forgotten their YouTube login and needs help getting it back.

and finally…

5) Q and A: Do Gmail accounts ever expire? In this post, I answer the age-old question of whether Google accounts every expire and whether they can be re-activated.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 40, 2014

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Lots of very interesting tech and search news this week. A couple of game changers for those of us using search channels to market products and services.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google AdWords Offers Ad Creatives at Scale for PPC by Jessica Lee at Search Engine Watch. This month, Google launched the ability for AdWords advertisers to create ads using custom parameters that you want inserted into your ads. Using a spreadsheet you pre-fill, the feature allows AdWords to retrieve product information that is most relevant to what each customer is searching for and dynamically insert it into your ad text.

2) New Panda Update Rolling Out, Google Takes Another Stand Against Thin Content by Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal. Earlier this week, an analyst at Google UK let slip that a new Panda update was in the process of being rolled out to the Google algorithm. Matt has the scoop on what you can expect from this update.

3) The Yahoo Directory – Once the Internet’s Most Important Search Engine – Is to Close by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land. This news came as a bit of a shock. As someone whose job (for years) consisted of submitting client sites to the Yahoo Directory, it was an *end of an era* moment to hear the Directory would be closing down. I’m with Danny on this one – Yahoo has cruelly glossed over the closure of the Directory that started the entire company AKA “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. So long Yahoo Directory.

4) Want to Improve Your Blog’s Conversion Rates? 11 Tests to Try by Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot. In this post, Pamela shares some logical testing formulas for improving your blog’s conversion rate. Suggested items for testing include Click Through Rate, content balance, calls to action and publishing rate.

and finally…

5) 14 Conversion Rate Optimization Tools Every Expert Needs by Steven Macdonald of Search Engine Journal. This one does exactly what it says on the label. Steven has provided a handy list of tools for testing your conversion rate, conveniently categorized by topics such as Analytics, Research and Testing. Be sure to bookmark this one.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 35, 2014

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in search and social. Some new features have been announced and some old ones switched off, with backlash in tow.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Search Marketers Tear Into Google Over AdWords Exact Match Change by Matt McGee. Google have isolated the search marketing community this month, with their announcement that Exact Match keywords will be phased out of AdWords, forcing all advertisers to use close variants. I’ve blogged about this before, when Google first introduced close variants as the default option for match types, but at least then you could opt-out of close variants. Not anymore. I’m not happy and judging by the backlash on social media, neither is the rest of the search community.

2) Google at Work on Kid-Friendly Versions of Its Products by Chris Crum. While we’re talking about Google, some more positive news. The company is apparently working on a new system that would let parents set up accounts for kids under 13 and control how they use services and what information is collected about them.

3) Buying Stuff Within a Tweet is Reportedly Coming to Twitter via Stripe by Mike Butcher. It seems there are businesses that want to sell products from inside tweets. Twitter is reportedly planning to add *Buy Now* buttons within tweets that will make this a reality, by allowing users to enter payment information without leaving Twitter.

4) The Beginners Guide to Establishing Personality and Engagement on a Facebook Page by Jesse Aaron. I really like case studies for how to use social media effectively and this article on Social Fresh contains some goodies. In this post, Jesse Aaron shares 7 neat tactics to use on a business Facebook page to drive engagement and inject some personality into your brand.

and finally…

5) 30+ Advanced Google Search Functions You May Not Have Known About by Craig Smith. This Infographic caught my attention because I like to think I know a lot about Google Advanced Search and I wanted to see how many of the 30 functions I already use. Turns out I knew most of these already, but not *location:* and some of the short-code searches like < tracking number >, < flight number > and so on. Neat!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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