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July 27, 2007

Squidoo Back in Google Results

There have been many reports earlier this month on Squidoo, a co-op site that allows anyone to create web pages on just about anything they want for free. Squidoo has been used (or abused?) by SEO's, internet marketers, and spammers for the last year to gain links and search engine visibility. Squidoo pages, or lenses as they call them, ranked surprisingly well for relatively competitive terms rather easily and quickly. The traffic to lenses which ranked well could then be directed to any other site via links.

That all changed when Google seemingly penalized the site. Squidoo lenses disappeared from the search engine results across the board. Duncan Riley of TechCrunch wrote about Google Acting Against Squidoo Due To Spam:
"The reports indicate that some Squidoo pages have seen a 75% drop in traffic, and in other cases have either been removed from high ranking positions on Google, or removed all together."
Now I have a few Squidoo lenses out there with links pointing to my clients sites. These were ranking well in the search engines, but we didn't really feel the hit of the so-called "Squid Slap". Fortunately, we Never Put All our Social Marketing Eggs in One Basket as social marketing blogger Michelle MacPhearson suggests.

Well apparently Squidoo is back. Seth Godin, founder of Squidoo, wrote on the Squidoo blog:
"Those of you who track Squidoo pretty closely know that we had a lousy week. 30 spammers took advantage of us and blew Squidoo’s name all over the web.

The good news is that as of Thursday, July 12th, all of those holes are closed. We erred on the side of goodwill, and we’re going to be a lot more careful in the future."

Today we noticed Squidoo lenses back in Google's search results, even at #1 & #2:

Interestingly, the results above show our lens at #1 and the links feed at #2. The clients actual site with the keyword in the URL is ranked at #3. While I love to see a domination in the SERPs like that, I can't seem to figure out why the Squidoo lenses are now outranking the actual site that has more content and a stronger domain.

Has anyone else noticed Squidoo pages not only back in the search results, but perhaps ranking even higher than before the "Squid Slap"?

July 23, 2007

Using Blogs for Online Advertising

The market for paid blogging has been receiving much attention recently. Services like PayPerPost have created an unprecedented business model which connects advertisers with bloggers. Advertisers gain publicity and traffic while improving their rankings with the search engines. Bloggers also receive an opportunity to generate revenue from their Web site.

Paid blogging delivers online word of mouth marketing, brand awareness and traffic leads for the advertiser. Companies like PayPerPost provide advertisers with a way to promote their Web site, products, services or company through a network of independent bloggers. Companies can team up with bloggers to generate buzz, build traffic, and receive product feedback, as well as gain links, syndicate content and much more all in an effort to improve their internet marketing plan.

In a staff opinion issued by the Federal Trade Commission, the consumer protection agency discussed the practice. Though no accurate figures exist on how much money advertisers spend on paid blogging, it is quickly becoming a preferred method for reaching consumers who are skeptical of other forms of advertising.

The FTC proposed that companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships.

I can’t seem to wrap my head around that line of thinking. Why should bloggers be required to disclose whether they have been paid to post about the company or not?

When we see the contestants on Survivor winning rewards such as a cold Mountain Dew or a Pontiac Aztec, do we assume it’s because Mark Burnett actually prefers Mountain Dew over Coca-Cola and Pontiacs over Fords? When Red Beard at Lone Star 92.5 radio suggests drinking an ice cold Coors Light, do we assume he personally prefers Coors Light over say a Heineken or Shiner Bock? Not I. I know that this is product placement and they are being compensated by those companies to have their products shown or spoken of without them having to tell me so.

Even if paid bloggers must include a disclosure, I see paid blogging from an advertisers stand point to be a wonderful internet marketing solution. You can determine how much you are willing to pay, how many different posts you want as well as requiring the blogger to link to your Web site using your chosen keywords.

When comparing paid blogging to something like Yahoo’s Directory listing which costs $299 to submit and $299 annually I find paid blogging to not only be a bargain, but much more beneficial to the advertiser as well.


July 13, 2007

Google Audio and SEMPO Present in Dallas

The Dallas / Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM) will be hosting an event this Monday evening with co-presenters Jay Donovan from Google and Katie Donovan from Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO).

Katie Donovan will discuss the SEMPO Institute’s new educational certification for search engine marketers. She will also be presenting "Hire for Attitude; Train for Ability", highlighting best practices of hiring for Search Engine Marketing candidates for small businesses, corporations, and agencies.

Jay Donovan will talk about Google’s latest news on Google Audio, Google Print, and Google TV ads.

The event begins at 6:30 PM with networking, and the speakers will begin presentations at 7:00 PM. The event is open to all DFWSEM members and non-members, including marketing professionals, SEO’s, agencies, and the general public. The event is free for existing members, and $20 for non-members.

The meeting will be held at The Renaissance Dallas-Richardson Hotel located at 900 East Lookout Drive, Richardson, Texas 75081. View Map.

Hope to see you there!