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In this issue:

Designing A Search Engine Friendly Web Site

SEO Competitive Research, Part 7

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

FEATURE: Designing A Search Engine Friendly Web Site

Designing a search engine friendly Web site is not complicated, but it requires dedication and constant communication between the graphic designer, content developer and SEO analyst, as well as special attention to the site's architecture. Site architecture should not be an afterthought, nor should SEO.

BACK TO BASICS: SEO Competitive Research, Part 7: Site Strategy

In this Site Strategy article, we will discuss how to organize and execute a strategy to overtake a major competitor. The creation of a site strategy will build upon all the conclusions rendered from each preceding article where we identified specific competitor data. This article will clarify how to create an ongoing game plan to prioritize the steps through goal oriented achievement and learn the steps that will be necessary to stabilize and dominate the competition, one competitor at a time.

Hot Topics

Click fraud was back in the spotlight this month, as we finally closed the book on the Lane's Gift case and looked to a brighter, more transparent future.

Here Come the Filings

As per the Lane's Gift settlement, an independent researcher was called in to assess the quality of Google's PPC system and determine if their handlings of click fraud were indeed adequate. On July 21st, the verdict was in. The independent reviewer in charge of the task filed a report in Arkansas court that said Google's practices were, in fact, reasonable. Google may have been satisfied, but it was a huge blow to advertisers.

The report, compiled by NYU professor Alexander Tuzhilin, was considered to be the most comprehensive, detailed (public) look into how Google deals with click fraud ever released. Tuzhilin spoke to about a dozen members of Google's Click Protection Team, read internal reports and was given access to various other documents.

In a separate filing, Google responded to the very public outcry that the proposed $90 million settlement was nothing but a slap on the wrist and, at best, embarrassing to advertisers. Google defended its claim that the settlement represented the best interests of all parties and even continued to take stabs at the suit, calling it without merit.

Lane's Gifts Suit Comes To an End

After reviewing both filings and two days of testimony, Judge Joe Griffin made his final ruling in the Lane's Gift case. He ruled the proposed settlement was "fair, reasonable and adequate for all members of the class". And that was it. The case was over.

Under the terms of the settlement, advertisers will receive pennies on their dollars in advertising credits, while the lawyers will split $30 million in cash. More than 500 companies chose to opt out of the settlement and the more than 70 objection letters Griffin received from advertisers were dismissed with prejudice. The champagne is flowing in Mountain View.

Moving Forward

Regardless of how you felt about it, the most highly publicized click fraud case to-date has been settled. All advertisers can do now is move forward with a motto of vigilance that will hopefully keep them better protected in the future.

Last week, Google made an important first step in this process by adding two new reports for AdWords advertisers: Invalid Clicks and Invalid Clicks Rate.

The two additional reporting options will help advertisers keep watch of the number of invalid clicks Google is catching (or not catching). It's a great move on Google's part, but advertisers would be foolish not to do continue their own monitoring. Ideally, advertisers may want to consider sharing their personal click stats with others in their industry to try and get a clearer picture of how widespread click fraud is. We'd also like to see Yahoo! and MSN develop similar systems and have the engines work together to combat the click fraud problem. After all, vigilance and transparency are in everyone's best interest.


There's typically a lot of shuffling in any given month, and this month was no exception. We'll start with the human movers and shakers:

While Microsoft was still reeling from last month's sudden departure of Martin Taylor, fifteen-year Microsoft veteran Vic Gundotra announced he was ending his stay in Redmond to take the long trek down to Mountain View -- but not for another year. Before Vic can take his new position at Google he must wait for Microsoft's non-compete clause to expire. In the meantime, Vic will work on his charitable endeavors.

Later in the month, Microsoft lost Michael Wehrs when he decided to become Chief Technical Evangelist (a la Robert Scoble?) for AOL wireless group. Maybe it's because of all the departures that Microsoft had to hire 10,081 employees last year.

Yahoo! thinks this whole social search thing the kids are worked up over may become a big thing. In fact, they're so confident about it they went and hired Dr. Raghu Ramakrishnan, a well-known database expert, to study "links between computer and human-aided Web search". It's considered by most to be a pretty exciting hire for the company.

In other people comings and goings: Martin Child, Yahoo! Search Marketing's Vice President of Sales & Marketing, announced he would be leaving to work at Webloyalty; Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim welcomed Timothy Seward, owner of RIO Revolution to the team; and John Battelle stole Pamela Parker away from ClickZ and made her manager of author services where she will take care of Federation Media's growing list of authors.

Non-people shuffles included:

  • Technorati and redesigned their sites.
  • Yahoo! made its homepage redesign permanent.
  • Scoble's PodTech bought Geek Entertainment TV.
  • Feedburner bought Blogbeat.
  • Microsoft and Yahoo! made nice and merged IM networks.
  • Yahoo! partnered with Zillow for real estate and then British Telecom for Yahoo Local UK.
  • Then, of course, there was that whole Rocketboom thing.


We hope those of you who made it up to Chicago for ad:tech last month were able to catch Bruce speaking at the Organic SEO Fireside Chat that took place on the 24th. Joined by Dana Todd, Bruce was on hand to discuss topics like keyword selection, source code, site maps and removing obstacles to site indexing. If you missed it, here is Lee Odden's recap of the session.

Now that ad:tech is behind us, all eyes are on San Jose as SES is set to take off from Aug. 7 to Aug. This is not going to be one you'll want to miss.

Bruce will be speaking at the Organic Listings Forum on Thursday, while Eric Schmidt and Danny Sullivan will have a "conversation" in session on August 9. I'm personally looking forward to Matt Cutts, Jeremy Zawodny and Gary Price's "Speaking Unofficially" session taking place Wednesday afternoon.

For the child at heart, SEW has a full Party & Event Schedule up and running in the forums. The Must See's include GoogleDance V on Tuesday night and Webmaster Radio's Searchbash 3 (sponsored in part by Bruce Clay, Inc!) on Wednesday.

[Note: If you happen to come across a lost raven-haired kid walking around in a Bruce Clay shirt, don't be alarmed, it's only Lisa. In fact, come and say hi. She'll be on hand to act as your roving reporter during the event, giving you all the dirt on the sessions, the parties and of course, the swag! So, keep an eye out.]

Also happening this month, the first ever Wordpress Conference on August 5.


If you haven't done so already, please welcome Dell to the blogosphere! Google's favorite computer provider joined the blogging world this month with their One2One blog and has been stirring up conversation between users ever since. Congrats, guys.

Matt Bailey and his fellow Googlers released a new Accessible Search designed to help the visually challenged view the Web. The new search favors stripped-down sites with few visual distractions so make sure to get those sites W3C complaint.

YouTube revealed they are now serving up more than 100 million videos each day. That's a lot of footage of people hurting themselves and each other, sitting in a dark room with a video camera, barking cats and clips from The Daily Show.

Ask showed its support for the fight against breast cancer by using its blog to highlight the upcoming Divas for a Cure motorcycle ride hitting 17 cities in 13 states across the U.S.'s Kim Terrell can currently be found riding her Harley Davidson HD06 Street Glide across the U.S.

Word on the Wire

Tom Ruscoe resurrected the snoop in all of us when he shared his findings after hitting the sandbox mother load, which included enough mentions of yet-to-be-released Google services to make anyone drool. Previously unheard of finds included Google Guess, Google Real Estate, Google Events and more mentions of Weaver (H9?).

Also included in the mix of rumored Google services was a mention of "voice". Could this be a sign the rumored Google Phone Service ranted about by Jim Cramer is about to become a reality? Or is Google just going to start yelling at you via your computer screen? If it's the latter it should be called Google Mom.

Users got a glimpse of something called Platypus early this month. But was it the GDrive everyone was hoping for, or instead an internal Google program? We think internal Google program.

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.