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In this issue:

FEATURE:
Developing a Link Campaign, Part Two

BACK TO BASICS:
Will Pay-per-Call Invite Click Spam?

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.

Welcome and Welcome Back!

Welcome to the new and improved SEO Newsletter from Bruce Clay, Inc. We can hear our faithful readers among you wondering to yourself right now. "What's going on here? March? What happened to February? Did I miss it? Wait, what's the SEO Newsletter?" We know, and you didn't miss a thing. We held back last month's issue, but not without good reason. And to make up for it, this month we're rewarding our readers with a special, first ever double issue! This debut issue of the Bruce Clay, Inc. SEO Newsletter is bursting at the seams with four brand new articles and even more SEM news than usual. New readers pay attention because you're about to learn what our old friends already know.

We've been super busy the last couple of months - you may have noticed the brand new site - and as we raced to the finish, we decided the best way to make our announcement was to hold off on this newsletter and make one grand entrance. Now, here we are with a revamped site, twice the amount of newsletter, and of course, some new subscribers!

The SEOToolSet® Newsletter has transformed into the SEO Newsletter, but readers shouldn't be alarmed. All the stuff that counts hasn't changed. You can still expect great articles on Search Engine Optimization just like always but we're bringing it to you from the new BruceClay.com site. We've expanded our focus without changing our commitment to ethics and quality.

The Bruce Clay, Inc. site has been reworked and remodeled to include an unbelievably greater depth of content. The site offers unmatched tools, resources and information on the topics of SEO, Pay Per Click advertising, Web Analytics, Email and Branding. Each topic has been given its very own portion of the site, making usability a breeze. We are confident there is not a more comprehensive SEO site out there. While checking things out make sure to stop by the new Main Players page where you can read all about the Top Dogs at Bruce Clay, Inc. And don't forget to visit the Click Here page to challenge our annoyingly addicting Green Monster! He's been darting across people's screens for weeks now.

So old friends, we invite you to sit back and enjoy your special double issue March 2006 SEO Newsletter. We're certain you'll find it even more informative and helpful than before. And to our new readers, welcome -- we're glad to have you on board and look forward to calling you old friends!

Enjoy!



FEATURE: Developing a Link Campaign, Part Two

There are a variety of ways to conduct link campaigns for your site. The type you choose to conduct will depend on how much time and effort you want to invest, and the quality of results you expect. The two main ways of increasing outbound link popularity are link submissions and link solicitation. However, outbound effort isn't the only way to increase the link popularity of your site. One example of inbound effort is providing something that is link-worthy either on your site or for other sites to use. Link campaigns can be overwhelming and often people don't even know where to start.


BACK TO BASICS: Will Pay-per-Call Invite Click Spam?

Telephone spam in the form of unsolicited phone calls from telemarketing companies has long been a source of irritation for many people. The passing of the Do-Not-Call Provision from the Federal Trade Commission in 2003 helped tremendously. If you registered your phone number, cell phone and/or land line, you've probably experienced that many, if not all, of those obnoxious phone calls have been eliminated. The passing of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act effective January 1, 2004) has even helped put the lid on some, although certainly not all, email spam. There is a new menace on the horizon: Pay-Per-Call spam.



BONUS: Sitemaps Improve Site Value

Getting your pages indexed. It is your most important SEO goal and perhaps the one most vital in determining the success of your SEO campaign. However, many search engines have trouble finding links buried deep within the structure of your site. So how do you make sure your pages are easy for the search engines to find? With a sitemap. Creating a sitemap provides the search engines with a one-stop-shop for all of the pages on your site. And if designed correctly, your sitemap can also be a valuable resource to lost visitors looking to understand your site structure.



BONUS: SEO Competitive Research, Part 3: Measurable Parameters

All major search engines claim a staggering 100+ parameters that play an active role in how their algorithms evaluate a website. Each major search engine's user support section claims the purpose is to ensure the maximum search result relevancy. What are these 100 parameters that each engine considers important? The truth is that it is impossible to know for certain what each of the 100 parameters are and how much weight each element merits. To make matters even more confusing, each search engine has its own idea of what parameters are most relevant. The secret to overcoming this hurdle is fairly simple. By studying the user support information and search engine results, the answers become much clearer



Hot Topics

Justice in the USA

February and March had everyone's eyes pointed toward San Jose as Google and the Department of Justice went head to head over search data.

Google's court drama began in August 2005 when the DOJ ordered Google, as well as MSN and Yahoo, to hand over two months worth of search data to help with an ongoing court case to defend the 1998 Child Online Protection Act.

On February 29th, Google was the only engine to officially refuse the DOJ's subpoena, saying complying would impede on user privacy, as well as reveal trade secrets. Google vowed to do no evil.

Then on March 14th, the stage was set in San Jose as the DOJ and Google met in court to once again wrangle the issue. This time the DOJ fought they would only need one week worth of data. Funny, how that number changed so drastically, isn't it? The judge told Google they would likely be forced to share, but that he would give special consideration to privacy concerns as he weighed the government's request. We all feared the worst.

The situation seemed even graver when just a few days later a judge granted a subpoena brought by the Federal Trade Commission asking for Google to turn over one user's entire Gmail account - including deleted messages. But then, almost a month after Google officially refused the subpoena, the judge ruled the DOJ would only be able to get their hands on 50,000 randomly selected sites, not the 1 billion they were originally after. The judge also refused the DOJ's request for a list of user's search queries - saying that privacy concerns outweighed the DOJ's needs. It was deemed a Google victory and citizens everywhere rejoiced.

On March 30th came the news that Yahoo!, MSN and Google were NOT the only three companies the DOJ had subpoenaed for queries, and that 31 other security software companies had been asked. The other companies included Time Warner, Verizon, Cablevision, Bell South, EarthLink and others - and at least two (Verizon and Cablevision) also refused the subpoena. Interesting.


Shuffles

It was two months of 'who still works here?' as Gary Price left Search Engine Watch to become the Director of Online Information Resources at Ask, Barry Schwarz stepped in to help out the SEW crew, Chris Boggs became the Associate Editor of Search Engine Roundtable, Jenstar left WebmasterWorld to join the DigitalPoint Forums, Ask took its new Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist from Teoma, FeedBurner lured away Yahoo!'s Networks Products Director and Lycos significantly downsized staff. Wow. As far as I know I still work for Bruce Clay, Inc.

It wasn't only the players who were changing; the sites were following suit. With Gary Price on board, Ask finally lost Jeeves (from its name and homepage) and launched their new, feature-filled site; and Yahoo played with tweaks on their new homepage hoping to gain consumer insight.

In the corporate world: Google paid $1 billion dollars for a 5% ownership of AOL and AT&T purchased Bell South for $67 billion. Let me repeated that -- 67 billion dollars.


Shindigs

In February, off to the Big Apple we went, as everyone prepared for the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York held at the end of the month. The Bruce Clay, Inc. staff was there so we hope you had a chance to stop by the booth to say hello, and catch Bruce speaking at several of the advanced sessions. Next stop, Toronto!

March shaped up to be a busy month for all you SEO types. Techies had a chance to get their geek on at the 5th O'Reilly Emerging Technology (ETech) conference held in San Diego, CA this week, while the Microsoft-inclined flocked in droves over to the MIX06 conference held in Vegas to hear a keynote presented by Head Nrrd Bill Gates.

Looking ahead to April, the virtual eComXpo is set to take place on your computer screen from April 4-6 so don't forget to register. After all, where else can you 'attend' 50 educational sessions (for free!) without the hassle of getting dressed? This virtual conference includes all the benefits of a traditional conference without the embarrassment that occurs when you're caught snoring midway into the Keynote speech.

At the end of the month is WebmasterWorld's annual PubCon conference being held in Boston from April 18-20th. You'll definitely want to get a seat at that one - it's shaping up to be a great event!


Attaboys

Google has appointed Larry Brilliant as Executive Director of their charitable arm Google.org. We would never insinuate anything, but boy, Brilliant and Google does make for a wonderful headline. Just kidding, Larry!

Google continues to shoot evil at Microsoft announcing their acquisition of Writely.com, fueling rumors they are getting ready to launch into a head-to-head battle with the boys of Gates. With Google's ever-growing list of office-based additions, this is one fight you're not gonna want to miss!

It was a busy month for Google as they joined the S&P 500, completed its Big Daddy update, launched Google Finance and the potentially evil Google Desktop, and debuted GeoAds in the form of flying coffee cups. Mmm, coffee.

In search news: Bear Sterns released a report showing Google's continued increase in market share, this time jumping to 42% percent. Research also indicated that Ask's penchant for displaying ads of crazy monkey antics seems to be working. The engine has climbed .7% points since the fourth quarter. Good goin' Ask, we think this is going to be your year!

Oh, did we mention Bruce Clay, Inc just launched a major redesign of our site? Now even deeper in content and twice as filling, we think it's pretty great, but you should check it out for yourself!


Word on the Wire

The industry rumor mill was working over time insinuating that Google and leading thin client manufacturer Wyse were in talks to develop a Google operating system. Goobuntu? Google says that they have no product called Goobuntu and that their internal operating system will remain internal. Fact or fiction? We don't know, but it won't stop us from talking about it. And it's only mildly because of our love for the word Goobuntu!

Also in the works for Google: a continued play to ruin Ebay's day as they work a on secure payment system, tentatively called Gbuy. Ebay, Craigslist and PayPal silently wept. And a potential beta nicknamed Google Health. Hmm, we won't what this one will do.

And of course, Google nerds everywhere (including yours truly) got way too excited this month when leaked screenshots of Google's highly-anticipated Calendar system CL2 found themselves on Michael Arrington's blog, fueling (apparently unfounded) rumors of corporate espionage. The AJAX-based calendar is currently in testing and isn't expected anytime soon. The excitement is almost too much.



If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles above or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, Inc.