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April 25, 2006

Creating Web Pages & Driving Search Results Based on Analytics

According to a news report WebSideStory this week is announcing that it will marry its back-end Web analytics engine with consumer-facing search engine technology in Search Version 4.0.

The technology, dubbed Active Ranking and Active Navigation, allows the search engine to write to a suite of APIs in the analytics engine to pull data out of the system. Consumer searches on retail sites, for example, could present results based on most commonly purchased model, color, or style of product.

Essentially, this tool allows the analytics to determine in real-time what is most popular over a set period of time such as the last 30 days or 3 months. If a user on a cell phone site searched for Motorola on the site and the Pink Razor had the most purchases, then the search results would list the Pink Razor at the top of the results. This allows previous consumers to somewhat dictate what current shoppers are seeing.

Most web sites are currently using the analytics to determine the most popular items and then adjusting their site accordingly. Also, many sites such as Amazon.com utilize similar technologies to the recommend the products that people commonly buy that are related to the product that you are currently viewing. This technology takes it one step further and takes the manual labor out of the picture and automates the process in real time using these API’s.

What the future holds…

This technology has the ability to increase conversions dramatically. If sites can present these search results in this manner, one would think that the ability to build the site dynamically according to consumer preference is right around the corner. Here is a possible scenario:

A customer is on a phone company site. If they click on a link for phone service, the site would be able to instantly determine the most plan that has been purchased most frequently in the past week and then lead the customer to a page featuring that plan and then list the next most popular below, and so on.

Creating web pages or driving search results based on analytics was typically a behind-the-scenes manual operation, but now it can be automated. The end result for companies is less time spent analyzing data and more time to focus on other aspects of their marketing and their business.

-Mark Barrera
Search Engine Marketing Services

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April 20, 2006

Pew Internet & American Life Project: Report on influence of the Internet

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released a report on the effect that the Internet has on people's lives. According to the report:

"The internet has become increasingly important to users in their everyday lives. It is also the case that for many of online Americans, the internet has become a crucial source of information at major moments and milestones in their lives.

Our surveys show that 45% of internet users, or about 60 million Americans, say that the internet helped them make big decisions or negotiate their way through major episodes in their lives in the previous two years.

Specifically, we found that over the three-year period, internet use grew by:

  • 54% in the number of adults who said the internet played a major role as they helped another person cope with a major illness. And the number of those who said the internet played a major role as they coped themselves with a major illness increased 40%.
  • 50% in the number who said the internet played a major role as they pursued more training for their careers.
  • 45% in the number who said the internet played a major role as they made major investment or financial decisions.
  • 43% in the number who said the internet played a major role when they looked for a new place to live.
  • 42% in the number who said the internet played a major role as they decided about a school or a college for themselves or their children.
  • 23% in the number who said the internet played a major role when they bought a car.
  • 14% in the number who said the internet played a major role as they switched jobs."

  • -Mark Barrera
    The MasterLink Group
    Dallas Internet Marketing

    April 11, 2006

    MSN adCenter Launching New Features

    I just received the following email from the MSN adCenter team:

    We have listened to your feedback during the MSN® adCenter pilot, and we are excited to announce an upcoming update of the tool, with some new features that will offer you a better, easier, and more productive customer experience.

    With these new features, you will be able to:
    • Add multiple keywords when creating campaigns, rather than manually typing each keyword.
    • Sign up for MSN adMail with the new Communication Preferences checklist.
    • Print billing statements through our updated Billing tab.
    • Estimate bids to help reach position one ad ranking through our improved price estimation tool.
    • Insert text dynamically into an ad title or ad text (formerly known as parameters).
    Please note that MSN adCenter will be down briefly while it's being updated on the afternoon of April 18. This should have no effect on your existing data or campaigns, which will remain live during this time. However, you will not be able to access your account or its features while we update adCenter, so we encourage you to make any needed immediate changes to your account beforehand.

    To ge
    t more information about MSN Search, or to review frequently asked questions about MSN adCenter, check out our FAQ and Troubleshooting sections in the MSN adCenter Learning Center.


    The MSN adCente
    r team

    These changes are going to be very beneficial to adCenter advertisers, with my favorite being the ability to add lists of keywords instead of the previous time consuming way of typing each keyword one at a time. The other key benefit of the upgrade will be the addition of the bid estimation tool. This will be very beneficial for advertisers who are targeting a specific ranking position. The part of this upgrade that is new to me is the MSN adMail. I assume that this will just be a way for MSN to communicate the latest news and changes to adCenter in an easy fashion. We will just have to be patient and wait until April 18th and test out the new features once the system is back online.

    -Mark Barrera
    Dallas Search Engine Optimization

    April 07, 2006

    Yahoo Search Marketing Upgrade in Beta Testing: Great for Advertisers

    Rumors in the search industry have been confirmed by Forbes that Yahoo will be testing a new and improved advertising system. They are claiming that it will be the best system to date, but I will only believe this when I see it. Reports say that they are testing the system with select advertisers in Scandinavia. The beta tests are expected to begin in June or late summer for the US advertisers. This new advertising system will feature dynamic bidding similar to Google and MSN which would take such factors as Click-Through-Rates and max bid price to determine the actual Cost-Per-Click. We will be searching for any screen shots and other fresh news on this MUCH AWAITED upgrade to Yahoo's antiquated system, so keep checking our blog for more info.

    -Mark Barrera
    Dallas Search Engine Marketing

    April 03, 2006

    Yahoo Index Updated

    Yahoo just announced that they have done a major update to their Index over the weekend. As a result, we ahve noticed some changes in ranking as well as some shuffling of the pages that are included in the index. Most of the changes seem to have had time to stablize but some search query seem to still be bouncing the results around pretty good. Thus far we have not seen much negative effects from this update. Meantime, if you have any comments or concers about the new index, feel free to email Yahoo at ystfeedback@yahoo.com.

    -Mark Barrera
    The MasterLink Group
    Dallas Internet Marketing