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In this issue:

FEATURE:
Expectation Management: A Two-Headed Coin

BACK TO BASICS:
Successful Site Architecture and Design: Part 1

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


FEATURE: Expectation Management: A Two-Headed Coin
When entering into any kind of agreement, there is an element that permeates the entire relationship from start to finish. It is key to feelings of satisfaction, obligation fulfillment, and success. But rather than being a double-edged sword dangling precariously over either or both parties, expectation can be an opportunity waiting to be acted on.

BACK TO BASICS: Successful Site Architecture and Design: Part 1

This two-part series will discuss how to design and construct a site for optimal rankings. The first part will cover the importance of planning your site's architecture and the way that this process is similar to building yourself a new house. In the second part we will cover how to plan the content and linking structure of your site — like the furniture and walkways — along with maintaining and securing your site — or the upkeep and security system.


Hot Topics

Over the past two weeks we've seen strong signs that the search engines will be bringing in video content from all angles. Whether appearing more in Universal Search, as special paid Partner placements, or alongside regular PPC ads, in-SERP video is showing everywhere and it looks like it's here to stay.

Google and Yahoo Experiment with Video Ads

On March 20, Barry Schwartz discovered Yahoo displaying graphical and video Partner results in its SERPs after a television commercial prompted him to do search on the term [Honda]. Once performed, Barry noticed that search brought up Partner listing that came complete with an in-SERP video. Noting that playing the video essentially hides the rest of the SERP, Greg Sterling wrote Branding Coming To Search In A Big Way.

The appearance of Yahoo's Partner results with video triggered Barry Schwartz to try out a similar search on Google. After conducting searches on terms like [cell phones] and [smart phones], Barry discovered that Google was testing out a brand new type of Google AdWords video ad that allowed users to watch an in-SERP video with the help of a watch/hide commercial feature. The Google Operating System blog commented that Google will be introducing video ads conservatively. Ads will continue to be mostly text-based but will also offer the option to play short video.

YouTube Gives Video Analytics

On March 27, we saw how seriously Google was looking at video and Universal Search when YouTube, a Google-owned property, released its free analytics tool Insight. YouTube explained that the tool is designed to help users, advertisers and publishers to learn more about their videos and how well they're performing.

Reaction to the new tool was mixed. The RedHerring listed off a number of ways the tool could be used, while ABCNews said it wasn't a toy and was aimed only at serious marketers looking to push themselves into Web 3.0. Wired's Kevin Maney seemed far les impressed with the free analytics tool, calling it "underwhelming" and saying it needs to be much more refined before it's actually useful.

Though the level of data reported isn't yet awe inspiring, Insight does give video creators the ability to learn more and optimize their new content in a way that will help them gain exposure in the new world of Universal Search. Users are not able to add video to their Google Maps listing and other Google properties.

Universal Search = Fewer Clicks

This month we also saw the effect video and the whole Universal Search phenomenon was having on user click behavior. WebProNews explained that the reason comScore saw clicks going to PPC ads decline wasn't because search marketing was dying out, but because Universal Search = Fewer Clicks.

James Lamberti explained in a recent comScore blog post and during SES NY's Universal Search Orion Panel that the more universal results on a page, the fewer paid clicks that took place. He reported that during one week in January comSore saw over 220 million Google searches containing a universal result, and that with 17 percent universal results, paid clicks declined to 14 percent. Interestingly, James says that Google is now sending 78 percent more downstream referrals to YouTube.


Shuffles

Head of Yahoo's developer network Matt McAlister resigned, Ethan Beard left Google for Facebook, and Brian and Suman stepped in as the two newest AdSense representatives in Google Groups.

CNET will reportedly cut 120 people, or 10 percent of its workforce, effective immediately. It's hoped that the cutbacks will allow CNET to put greater focus on its leading brands, as well as help drive efficiencies throughout the business.

In corporate mergers, acquisitions and shuffles:

  • Google launched a new source code browsing tool as part of Google Code's project hosting feature, made Google News comments more visible, sent the benchmarking feature in Google Analytics live, and began offering demographic bidding in AdWords.
  • Yahoo partnered with Click Forensics to combat click fraud, rolled out Search Assist in several international markets, began displaying a centered logo, and released the new REAL algorithm for its HotJobs property.
  • Microsoft launched a new adCenter community at adCenterCommunity.com, is inviting select advertisers to try out new ad editor ACE, and acquired rootkit detection product developer Komoku.
  • YouTube released the Insight analytics tool to help users, partners and advertisers improve their videos and monetization efforts.
  • ABCSearch acquired Aftervote.com.
  • Facebook upped privacy features for users giving them more control over their site Friend's lists.
  • LinkedIn added company profiles and related factual information to its business network.
  • SoloSeo launched a free service called LeaveFeedback.org to help local businesses encourage customers to leave testimonials on online review sites.

Shindigs

Search marketers everywhere are just starting to recover from the weeklong Search Engine Strategies New York that took place earlier this month. If you missed any of our liveblogging coverage, you can find links to the individual sessions in our SES NY 08 Conference Recap.

April will bring with a number of SMX shows. Conference enthusiasts can look forward to SMX Munich (page in German) on April 8-9, SMX Sydney on April 10-11, SMX China on April 18-19, and SMX Social Media in Long Beach, CA on April 22-23. Bruce Clay, Inc. will be providing liveblogging coverage for much of the SMX Social Media event, so keep your eyes open for that.

Also in April will be the Elite Retreat in San Francisco on April 3-4, Blogger Social in New York City on April 4-6, the eMetrics Marketing Summit (page in German) in Munich on April 8-9, Ad:Tech San Francisco on April 15-17, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed on April 22-23.

If you're heading to Ad:Tech San Francisco, you can catch Bruce speaking on the Tactical SEO Workshop panel on Thursday, April 17. Bruce Clay blogger Susan Esparza will also be in attendance and covering many of the sessions. You can find her Ad:Tech San Francisco 2008 liveblogging schedule via the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog.

Programming Note: The Bruce Clay, Inc. UK SEO Training class originally scheduled for November has been rescheduled to 9-11 September. These are the confirmed dates, so if you're hoping to attend, make sure to reserve your seat today. Space is likely to go fast!


Attaboys

Yahoo's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that the company expects to double its cash flow in the next three years from $1.9 billion to $3.7 billion. New numbers from HitWise show that Yahoo Buzz is already catching up to Digg in terms of traffic.

Michael Sachoff shares reports over at WebProNews that Internet Display Ads Grew 15 percent in 2007. You can expect this number to grow now that Google has officially taken control of DoubleClick.


Word on the Wire

Silicon Valley Inside repeated speculation from Citi analyst Mark Mahaney that Microsoft will raise their Yahoo bid to $34 a share, while Search Engine Land says Yahoo is getting ready to negotiate, not fight.

TechCrunchUK says despites rumors to the contrary, Facebook's not dead. It was just resting. TechCrunch in States is also spreading Facebook news saying the social networking site will soon launch an instant messaging service.

In other rumor news: Date Utter reported that Google would limit site exclusions to 5,000 per campaign and there was much chatter in the WebmasterWorld forums that Google Suggest will become a default feature for the search engine.

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.