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Are Likes the New Links?
Videos, YouTube and Being Found Online
Calculating the ROI of SEO
THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topics, shuffles, sound bytes, shindigs, attaboys and word on the wire.
  FEATURE: Are Likes the New Links?
Author: Bruce Clay

There is a change coming that mimics search as it existed in the early days. In the very beginning, search was developed to find answers and there were more people with questions than truly authoritative sites with answers. Authorities were identified by a combination of competent, well-constructed content and testimonial-grade inbound links (essentially a trusted testimonial system).

This led to a culture of link-building and eventually deceptive link spamming which eroded and eventually undermined the concept of trusted links. It is really difficult to identify a purchased link from an earned testimonial-grade link. Simply put, spammer link camouflage is just too good.

With link spam winning, search engines are turning to signals received from trusted friends (Facebook Likes), reviews appearing in the LocalPack (7-pack local maps), and in referrals and sharing within social media as new sources for testimonials. By substituting what a user's actual friends like in the place of spammy links, ultimately what we see today as link spam will lose its impact.

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Videos, YouTube and Being Found Online

Author: Jessica Lee

If you're not already using videos as part of your Internet marketing strategy, it's time to start considering it for two very important reasons: Universal Search and YouTube. With videos being a standard blend in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and YouTube being the second largest search engine in the world behind its parent company, Google, people are looking to videos as a new way of obtaining the information they seek.

Don't know much about video? You're not alone. Like most new online developments, it takes time for them to go from industry to mainstream. It may seem like an exhausted issue by now to Internet marketers, but for many businesses - small or large - it's still unchartered territory.

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Calculating the ROI of SEO

Author: Des Odell, Bruce Clay Australia

As search marketers, one of the most common questions we get asked is: How do you calculate the return on investment (ROI) from a search engine optimisation (SEO) project? These questions come from a number of sources including those looking to:

  • Justify spend on a new SEO project.
  • Increase spend on an existing SEO project.
  • Transfer funds from other marketing channels to SEO.
  • Reduce their spend on paid search and increase spend on SEO.

It is great when we are asked this question, as generally the ROI for an SEO project is high and out-performs other marketing channels. We believe that all marketing channels should be subject to detailed scrutiny and we encourage rigorous ROI analysis where all available strategies are evaluated on a level and transparent playing field.

In this article, I will outline how we approach the ROI calculation and identify some of the common pitfalls in the process.

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  Hot Topics

Local Search and Google Places
Author: Nasim Jafarzadeh

Late in October, Google made a major transformation in the way Search Engine Results were displayed for searches with a local intent. The result of this change was that the Google Local 7 Pack is no longer always in the SERPs in the way that it used to be. Instead, Google has begun to integrate the local results within organic results and provided more prominent presence for local results on the SERP, while pushing the Web results below the fold.

As a result, the significance of being number one in the organic results has lost its meaning dramatically. At the same time, due to the competitiveness of the local space, obtaining and maintaining a Google first page results has become even more difficult; therefore local businesses should claim and ensure their presence in local before it is too late.

Google's update places more emphasis on Google Places Page. It seems what is on the place page can be as important for the Local results than what is on the website. That said, the following are a few important things that you should consider:

  • If you are local, it is imperative to claim your Google Place Page.
  • The more information on your Place Page, the better. Our research shows the top local results all have very complete place pages (address, phone number, hours of operations, pictures, reviews and so on). Google is committed to user experience and shows listings that can provide thorough information and therefore enhances overall user experience.
  • Google put emphasis in Place Page reviews to the point that they are showing reviews not only from Google users, but also from other review sites like, so don't underestimate the importance of Reviews in its impact on local ranking. But please Avoid Fake and Untruthful Reviews! As a local service provider, your reputation and client's trust is worth far more.
  • Try to optimize your place pages for your keywords.
  • Categories listed on Place Page influence your Place Page's ability to rank in local results directly, so it is imperative to have the right category on the Place Page. For example, if you own a local Mexican restaurant, make sure to use "Mexican restaurant" as your category as opposed to just the generic business category "restaurant".
  • Acquiring listings in local directories which verify your local presence can also help your local search rankings.
  • Last, but definitely not least, traffic, click-through and your overall Place Page's popularity are important, so make sure your Place Page is built with users in mind.

Bruce Clay mentioned in his interview with WebProNews at PubCon, "You should either figure out how to play in the local space… or you are not going to get the clicks even if you are number one."

This is just a start, stay tuned to see how Google Place search will evolve and what is next.


Broadcasting live from its headquarters, Facebook discussed its new messaging system. Following, some claimed this was just one of many attacks in the ongoing Facebook-Google war.

Google Place Search rolled out this month as one more giant shift in the way search works. Locations of users are now auto-logged by IP address, and if Google believes users are looking for something geotargeted, organic listings are now pushed below the fold in favor of local results.

Also in Google launches, was released in beta as a hybrid shopping-fashion portal that generates leads for participating merchants.

YouTube introduces a program called On the Rise, giving up-and-coming channels the opportunity to grace the YouTube home page. Channels that have less than 100,000 subscribers with accelerated subscriptions in a 30-day period are put into the pot, and viewers vote on a handful of finalists to create one lucky winner.

New search engine blekko hit the scene, causing a stir this month. Key features include "slashtag" search and lots of data served up to anyone for Internet marketing research. While many speculate whether or not it will replace Google, blekko asserts that's not the point.

RockMelt, a new Web browser, also became the talk of the town this month with the social-centric Web browsing experience it's offering to its clients.

Despite selling off its search property to Microsoft, Yahoo is continuing to develop search tools. The new Yahoo Rich Assist gives Google Instant-like functionality to users of the Yahoo interface.
  Sound Bytes

If you like what you've read in the SEO Newsletter, there's more Internet marketing expertise where that came from. Check out SEM Synergy every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern and noon Pacific on

Bruce Clay and the other hosts discuss industry news, SEO tactics and marketing trends, while expert guests share their insights on methods, best practices and upcoming events. Check out the show schedule below for a look at recent shows and upcoming topics.

Air Date

Segment One

Segment Two

Segment Three

November 3
(Listen Now)

Google Place Search

Crosby Noricks

Blogging Basics

November 10


November 17


November 24
(Coming Soon)




Got something to say? Contact the SEM Synergy team by email or on Twitter @SEMSynergy and share your thoughts, comments and questions. You might even hear your question answered on the show.


Last month:

  • SES Chicago took place October 18-22.
  • November 2-4 saw two different but awesome conferences: BlueGlass conferences in Florida, and in the north, ad:tech New York.
  • Pubcon Vegas was a smash hit November 8-11.

The big conferences are taking a break for the next couple of months. Enjoy the holidays and plan your speaker pitches for SMX West (first round ends December 10) and SES New York (first round ends January 21).

In the U.S., the newly updated SEOToolSet® standard and advanced training and certification dates for 2011 have been announced. Take your pick of 8 courses throughout the year and across the United States:

California Training 2011

  • January 17-21
  • March 14-18
  • May 16-20
  • July 11-15
  • September 19-23
  • November 14-18

The dates for NY Training 2011 will be announced later this year. East coast students will be able to chose from two sessions during the year.

Bruce Clay Australia has just announced the date for the next 3 Day SEO Training in Sydney:

  • 3 Day SEO Training in Sydney -- April 4th, 5th and 6th, 2011

Google opened up Google Person Finder to the community, inviting developers to help improve the tool that's been useful in aiding natural disaster response.

In other Google news, employees received word that a companywide 10 percent raise will take effect in 2011 and that everyone is collecting a $1,000 holiday cash bonus.

Causes, an app that allows Facebook users to give money to charity, raised $9 million and begins selling gift cards in supermarkets.

Google still most popular Aussie site - Google is still Australia's most popular web property, garnering more than 12.7m unique visitors in the past quarter

Australians love to tweet - Australia can lay claim to the third highest per capita Twitter usage in the world, according to co-creator Dom Sagolla.

  Word on the Wire

Myspace and Facebook announced a non-financial partnership on Nov. 18 with MySpace's Mashup with Facebook, which imports "like" data from Facebook accounts and then personalizes entertainment for that MySpace user.

Facebook and Google played nice, sort of, for the Web 2.0 Summit that took place on Nov. 15 to Nov. 17. Moderators asked Google's Eric Schmidt and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg direct questions about what each company wanted from the other and garnered vague responses.

Yahoo! Clues in beta, announced Nov. 17, provides trends and demographic information for any given search query. Could be just in time as Google makes changes to its keyword tool, making it less useful to search marketers.

Google is experimenting with two new Meta tags that help identify the original sources of content online, called "syndication source" and "original source".

In other Google news, Google Shoppershows mobile phone users stores nearby that carry the item they are looking for and if it's in stock via an Android app that uses GPS.

Rumor has it that a launch for Twitter Analytics is imminent, with some invites already having gone out to select accounts.

Online can boost TV effectiveness - Supplementing TV ads with online and print activity can increase purchase intent by up to 300%.

Bing testing to end mid 2010 - Microsoft's search engine Bing is set to come out of its testing phase by mid next year in Australia as it attempts to dent the dominance of Google.


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

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