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In this issue:

Internet Marketing using Microsites

Boosting Conversions with SEO and Email

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


FEATURE: Internet Marketing using Microsites
One of the more interesting Internet marketing methods being implemented today is the creation of microsites. A microsite is a Web site that is considered a child of a larger site and exists to provide information on a topic loosely related to the parent. In most cases, this includes housing content that is either dissimilar to the main theme of your site or perhaps serves an entirely different purpose. To avoid diluting your main theme, it makes sense to put this content on a different domain. Microsites allow site owners to subtly, or sometimes not so subtly, refer to the parent's site brand. In the best instance, they are there to intrigue the surfer into visiting the main Web site, while at the very least they help raise awareness.

BACK TO BASICS: Boosting Conversions with SEO and Email

As more businesses actively pursue Internet marketing, the increasing competition for available ad inventory has pushed the cost of paid search and display advertising up, resulting in limited buying options. Marketers are spending more to drive traffic to their Web sites, while at the same time, they are faced with lower conversion rates, which in turn lead to increasing customer acquisition costs. Site owners can improve their Web site conversions with the right combination of search engine optimization and email marketing, very popular, cost-effective marketing strategies.

Hot Topics

Things haven't died down since the paid link debate that occurred at the beginning of the month. In fact, things have gotten even more heated with Google issuing a widespread PageRank update penalizing sites suspected of participating in link buying or selling. As you can imagine, the reaction from the search engine optimization community has been something of an angry frenzy.

Google Issues PageRank Algorithm Update

Anyone who read Search Engine Land's post on October 7th heralding that Google would lower the PageRank for those suspected of selling links shouldn't have been surprised when they woke up two weeks later and saw a shorter green bar in their browser, but most never saw it coming.

Site owners across the Web will remember October 24, 2007 as the day Google lowered their PageRank, with a large number of site owners reporting significant drops. Early rumors were that the PageRank update was a direct attack by Google to lower the value of sites that buy and sell links.

Barry Schwartz gave Search Engine Land readers a glimpse into how widespread the drop was, highlighting a number of high profile publishers who had been hit. The list included names like The Washington Post, Forbes, Engadget, Problogger, Search Engine Guide, Search Engine Journal, Blog Herald, Search Engine Roundtable and plenty more. Not surprisingly, site owners were angry.

Bloggers like Andy Beard, Donna Fontenot, Brian Clark, John Chow, Loren Baker and a host of others at TechMeme all expressed their frustration with Google's attack on PageRank. Mathew Ingram wrote that Google had used the PageRank hammer, while TechCrunch opted for the more dramatic Google Declares Jihad On Blog Link Farms.

Coping With Google's PageRank Update

The day after the drop, webmasters were still reeling as Forbes declared that Google had scared the search crowd. There were even exaggerated reports that DigitalPoint members were being put on a suicide watch after watching their sites tank.

Search Engine Roundtable helped to put things back into perspective asking What Does This Google PageRank Message Mean?, also offering up a theory as to why some sites were hit and others were spared in a post entitled How Does Google Determine Which Sites Sell Links? In the latter post, Barry Schwartz wondered if perhaps Google had some help identifying paid links due to site owners outing each other and using the paid link reporting tool released in June.

Additional community members offered insight like 5 Things You Can Do With Your New PageRank and The Oracle of Mountain View, while others simply made fun of the mass hysteria with PageRank Victim Badges and PageRank: LOLCats Style.

Confirming The Penalty

On October 29, we finally received confirmation that the update site owners were seeing in PageRank was, in fact, a penalty. Senior Google Engineer Matt Cutts emailed Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal to let him know that the Google PageRank update that had occurred was a result of Google's campaign against those buying and selling links to influence PageRank.


It's been a slow two weeks for industry shuffles.

Greg Hartnett became the newest Search Engine Watch Forums moderator. While in leavings, Yahoo's Vice President of Sales Strategy Jacki Kelley resigned to become Executive Vice President of media sales at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., Yahoo Marketing Chief Cammie Dunaway is headed towards Nintendo, Vint Cerf resigned from ICANN and Google's Director of Corporate Development Salman Ullah also resigned.

AOL revealed some sad news, revealing they will be forced to lay off 2,000 employees as they continue to make the shift from a subscription-based ISP to an advertising-supported Web company.

In corporate shufflings:

  • Google released Google Docs Mobile and partnered with Nielsen for better TV ad targeting.
  • Microsoft released Voice Search and Live Mobile, partnered with enterprise software company Atlassian and RSS solutions vendor NewsGator, and launched analytics product Gatineau into private beta.
  • Yahoo announced a new display advertising deal with,, and Ziff-Davis Media, and closed down Yahoo 360.
  • AOL released customizable mobile desktop application MyAOL.
  • Omniture bought Visual Sciences.
  • AdBrite launched a new advertising platform for Facebook application developers.
  • British newspaper the Guardian launched a US Web site.
  • The Washington Post bought search engine marketing firm CourseAdvisor.
  • YouTube redesigned its site.


November will open with a bang with Ad:Tech New York taking place November 5-8. If you're in town, Bruce will be making the rounds and moderating Thursday's SEO Workshop with speakers Sandoor Marik, Bill Macaitis and Tim Mayer.

The blogging and social media inclined will want to make time for BlogWorld & New Media Expo taking place in Las Vegas November 7-9. Bruce Clay's Lisa Barone will be liveblogging the event from the session floor, so keep your eyes on the blog for full recaps. And, of course, if you're attending, make sure you track her down and say hello.

Finishing out November will be SMX Travel in Florida on Nov. 12-13, SMX London on 15-16 November keynoted by Googler Mario Queiroz, TechCrunch's Meetup 11 in Boston on Nov. 16, and Melbourne WordCamp on 17 November.

Search marketers will have to play favorites in December with SES Chicago happening on Dec 3-7, overlapping Las Vegas' WebmasterWorld Pubcon on Dec. 4-7. Bruce Clay, Inc. will be attending PubCon, with Bruce speaking on the SEO 101 - The Timeless and Classic Hits panel. Lisa Barone and Susan Esparza will be providing tag-team blog coverage of the event.

With our team in Vegas, we won't be providing new coverage for SES Chicago, but the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog will keep you in the loop as to how you can find recaps for all the sessions we've already covered, along will where you can find us for the rest of the year and well into 2008.

If you're still standing by the end of the month, you may want to check out the one SEO day workshop being held for public relations professionals in New York on December 14.


Google reported a 57 percent increase in revenue from this time last year, bringing them up to $4.23 billion.

Professional networking site LinkedIn announced it has reached 1 million members in the UK, with more than 2,000 Brits signing up every day.

Gmail increased its mail storage to 4GB, Google Kirkland celebrated its 3rd birthday, the BBC News Web site turned 10, and after its advertising deal with Microsoft, Facebook is reported to now be worth $15 billion.

Lastly, big congratulations to Elisabeth Osmeloski who was recently married, and to Chris Boggs who just welcomed a baby girl to his family!

Word on the Wire

The biggest rumor of the past two weeks centered around who would buy a stake in Facebook: Microsoft or Google? And at the end of the month we got our answer, with Microsoft paying $240 million for a 1.6 percent take in the social media site.

David Dalka speculated that Google may be looking to build in North Carolina after coming across a job description referencing a new building program in that area, while TechCrunch speculated that Google would soon released a new social networking attempt called Maka-Maka to compete with Facebook.

And keep your eyes open, because after some revealing statements made by Google's Marissa Mayer during the Web 2.0 Summit, we may see an operating version of Google Health in 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.