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In this issue:

FEATURE:
Affiliate Marketing: Increasing Money and Traffic

BACK TO BASICS:
Building a Web Site Theme with Silos, Part Six

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

FEATURE: Affiliate Marketing: Increasing Money and Traffic
Affiliate marketing is designed to earn businesses more money by increasing traffic to their Web site. Affiliates who send traffic to businesses are also able to earn a few bucks as well. This article will cover the basics of affiliate marketing for businesses and Web designers, how to go about finding affiliate Web sites and merchant businesses, as well as how to effectively use affiliate marketing to grow and increase income for your business. If you are not currently involved with affiliate marketing, it’s something you may want to consider. The right affiliate campaign can more than double your business’s income.


BACK TO BASICS: Building a Web Site Theme with Silos, Part Six: Site Maps

This series has sought to clarify the Bruce Clay methodology as it relates to “Content Siloing,” which is in line with Google’s own blueprint of the Google search engine. Let’s go back in time to Google 1.0, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote a paper while at Stanford University called The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. A core tenant in this paper harkens back to the simple illustration of a book, or in their case, a PhD dissertation paper. In order for a book to effectively communicate to the reader it needs to organize information into clear chapters, paragraphs and sentences so it can transfer knowledge as easily as possible. Site maps serve such an organization function, clarifying, for both user and search engine a clear delineation of the major focus of information on your site.


Hot Topics
Algorithm Changes Spark Digg Revolt

On January 23, 2008, Kevin Rose announced New Digg Algorithm Changes over at the Digg blog and caused a firestorm he likely never saw coming. Kevin stated that the goal of the algorithm changes was to give each person a fair chance of getting their submission promoted to the home page by requiring diversity in digging activity. However, what the changes really did was penalize loyal users and spark what can best be described as a mini revolt among Digg's top players. The community was not happy about it and a petition was quickly passed around demanding immediate change.

Soon after the announcement was made, users were threatening a Digg embargo where they would boycott the site and submit nothing until Monday, January 28th. To combat this, Rose and Digg CEO Jay Adelson agreed to talk to users via an emergency episode of social media podcast The Drill Down where they addressed many of the site's recent changes and users' top concerns.

After the two and a half hour chat that started at 11pm PST and went into the early hours, top users were still upset, but somewhat pacified. The embargo may have been called off, but tensions have yet to die. Users remain angry that it now takes top users an excess of 150 Diggs to send a story to the front page, when it will take a new user much less. The new algorithm is a long way from creating the "fair" atmosphere Rose seems intent to achieve.

Trouble At Target

The folks at Digg weren't the only ones to make a blunder in their dealings with loyal fans. Target found itself in a world of trouble when they insulted a blogger by refusing to speak to her about a grievance she had. Instead of reaching out, they claimed that the Target corporation "does not participate with non-traditional media outlets". The error in judgment caused a PR nightmare when the story hit Consumerist and became fodder for the New York Times. Eventually, all the attention caused the company to rethink their policy of not responding to bloggers.

But it wasn't the first time Target had shot themselves in the foot by failing to realize the power of social media. They did it back in late 2007 when they tried to fake engagement by paying kids to talk about their brand on Facebook and "keep it like a secret".

How To Use Social Media

Successful companies learn from the mistakes of others and know not to alienate their core audience. Learn how to leverage social media sites to increase search visibility while keeping this important demographic in mind. As the old adage goes, and a new study proves, it's cheaper to retain old customers than find new ones.


Contest Reminder
Give, Get, Go!

If you want to put yourself in the running to win a free ticket to SES New York, as well as more than $3,000 worth of search engine optimization education, make sure to get your charity site reviews in to Lisa Barone by February 11th. The winner will be announced on February 15th via the SEO Newsletter and the Bruce Clay blog.

For full contest details, requirements and deadlines, please refer to the Give, Get, & Go To SES NY 2008 post on the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog.


Shuffles

In high profile shuffles: Robert Scoble and Shel Israel both joined FastCompany TV, while Lauren Dougherty joined Red Door Interactive as their newest Senior Business Manager.

Meg Whitman resigned as eBay's CEO after serving for 10 years, Vince Broady signed off at Yahoo, and Todd "Oilman" Friesen left Range Online Media to join Visible Technologies.

At the end of the month, rumors were finally confirmed when Jerry Yang announced that Yahoo will be laying off 1,000 employees in its attempt to realign and refocus.

In corporate launches, mergers and acquisitions:

  • Google added new features to its Experimental Search and reintroduced demographic targeting.
  • Yahoo signed a mobile ad deal with T-Mobile in Britain, began testing Delicious integration in its SERPs, and officially killed the Brand Universe project.
  • Microsoft launched its adExcellence accreditation program in the UK, and signed ad deals with EDGAR Online and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Ask began offering customizable search skins.
  • Baidu relaunched in Japan at http://www.baidu.jp/.
  • Marchex signed a local advertising agreement with Idearc Media.
  • SEM technology firm SEMDirector rebranded as Covario.

Shindigs

Search marketers are encouraged to kick off the month by attending Bruce Clay's SEO training on February 5-7 in Simi Valley, California. That is, if you're not attending the sold out SphinnCon Israel on February 5. After training, hop flight to attend Brisbane's Search Engine Bootcamp on February 14, check out SES London on February 19-21, and hit SMX Santa Clara on February 26-28.

Heading up March will be the PPC Summit taking place in Boston on March 3-4, South by Southwest takes over Austin, Texas on March 7-11, SEMpdx's SearchFest lands in Portland on March 10, and SES New York will be held on March 17-20.

Australian SEOs will want to pack their bags: ad:tech Sydney arrives on 12-13 March, and Bruce Clay's Australian SEO Training Course takes place on 17-20 March.

April is the month to attend the SMX conference of your choice. There's SMX Munich (page in German) taking place April 8-9, SMX Sydney on April 10-11, SMX China on April 18-19, and SMX Social Media will hit Long Beach, CA April 22-23.

Also in April is the Elite Retreat happening in San Francisco on April 3-4, Blogger Social in New York City on April 4-6, and the eMetrics Marketing Summit (page in German) taking place April 8-9 in Munich.


Attaboys

SEMPO announced the nominees for its 2008 Board of Directors. We're proud to announce that Bruce Clay is up for nomination, as well.

Google was once again rated the best place to work in 2008 by Fortune Magazine. They also partnered with Twitter and Facebook on the Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disaster to help coordinate rescue responses, and announced four other strategic initiatives.

The China Internet Network Information Centre revealed that China now has 210 million Internet users, up from 137 million a year ago.

The Library of Congress teamed up with Flickr to create The Commons and released approximately 1,500 photos from their most popular collections. The goal is to give users better access to their collections and ensure that they have the most complete information as possible.


Word on the Wire

PaidContent revealed that Nokia and Facebook were working on a way to port the social network onto Nokia headsets similar to the way YouTube appears on the iPhone.

WebProNews suggested that former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel was looking to invest in New Line Cinema or MGM, and word spread that eBay would be straying away from its auction-based model.

TechCrunch reported that AOL was in talks to acquire Where Are You Now, a UK social travel site for $200 million.

In Google talk: John Ellis speculated that Google would buy The New York Times, Search Engine Journal wondered if Google was testing click to call again, we heard that Google Picasa would be coming to Mac OS X, and we also saw signs that Google Health may launch in the near future. Marissa Mayer had previously promised a release date of early 2008.


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.