Natural Search Blog


Do Google AdSense ads cheapen your site?

Does displaying Google AdSense ads on your web pages cheapen your site? Not in my opinion. Some of the most reputable sites prominently display Google adverts on their pages. For example, see example pages on NYTimes.com (the “Advertiser Links” section near the bottom of the page is AdSense) and Oreilly.com. The only danger with AdSense ads on your pages is that you are driving traffic out of your site. So, if you are trying to sell a high ticket item you might want to leave the ads out until you have an order — or at least an email address.

For those who don’t have etail transaction concerns, then Adsense makes a lot of sense (pun intended) for any kind of site that wants to monetize their rich content without having to charge a subscription for access. It is entirely possible to support a content site on AdSense revenue alone, a welcome change after years of popups and intrusive banner ads. For example, we own several content sites (e.g. WritersNet and InnSite) that collectively earn 5-figures from Google (actually from its AdWords advertisers, but the check comes from Google) each month. It’s “money for jam,” as Kiwis would say!

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Google’s new keyword suggestion tool

Undoubtedly the brand new Google Suggest service was built for the benefit of users not SEOs (search engine optimizers), but us SEOs can certainly appreciate the elegance and utility of Google’s new creation. The way Google Suggest works: start typing and it suggests search keywords. With a few keystrokes you have alternate search terms (keywords) to consider chasing in your SEO efforts. For example, if you’re an online music store going after “buy cds” as a keyword you can quickly see that “buy cd” and “buy cds online” are two alternative keywords to potentially chase as well. Just to the right of each search term is the number of search results competing for that search term. Looks a like it could be sorted in order of search popularity, too. Thanks, Google!

iProspect gets acquired

Congrats to our competitor iProspect and its founder Fredrick Marckini! iProspect just got bought by Isobar for $32 million in cash, plus $18 million in deferred compensation contingent upon reaching certain performance criteria over the next 2 years.

By my calculations, that makes my company worth at least $128 million in cash. Give or take a few million. ;-)

Google Desktop security holes?

It seems a small tick-box is causing a few ructions in the world of Google Desktop. Which tick box you may ask? The one where Google Desktop, by default, indexes secure web pages.

This ‘feature’ of Google Desktop results in GD indexing and caching secure files such as internet banking pages and web-based email pages that are viewed by the user. The index isn’t providing the passwords to access these, but the pages viewed by the user once the password prompt is passed.

These cached files have previously been somewhat buried in windows, but with them easily available to GD there are obvious security concerns. For example, try a search for ‘compose’ on Google Desktop if you have used web-based email recently and you may be surprised at what GD indexes and caches.

While the tech news sites argue over whether this is or isn’t a security threat, it’s clear Google overlooked an obvious user concern when they left that GD option on by default.

It makes one wonder what secrets may be buried deep in the Google web index, just waiting for some intrepid searcher to discover!

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Be careful who you link to

There is an interesting and amusing thread over at SEW. A punter asks, on the surface, an innocent question as to why his mate’s site has dropped out of Google.

A bunch of the regulars offer some suggestions for possible problems, and then on the second page, GoogleGuy appears and really wades in, revealing the site is linking to some very bad evil affiliate spammers.

Interesting that GoogleGuy would take the time to do some research on the site. Interesting that SEW allow such specifics to be discussed. Interesting that a good number of other SEO’s didn’t catch the real problem. And amusing that the punter gets his butt kicked from very high up in such a public manner. At least he had the good grace to admit he’s been a bad boy.

The lesson here people, is to be careful who you link to and who they link to in turn. Reciprocal linking is bad, you don’t know who else they have requested a link from. And do you have the time and skills to research those link properly. It took GoogleGuy to find the real problem and a bunch of professional SEO’s missed it.

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Google Desktop: Total Search Recall

Google Desktop Search gives customers “Total Search Recall” capabilities – altering search engine optimization as we know it

Continue reading »

Bloody hell, that’s a lot of information

My feeling of technogeek euphoria that I got last month when Google doubled the size of their index has quickly evaporated as I perused Berkeley’s “How Much Information” study. Here’s some stats that will blow you away:

What I found even more amazing (and depressing) is the degree to which we consume this data. We are a society of
information junkies. Witness this from the same report:

Published studies on media use say that the average American adult uses the telephone 16.17 hours a month, listens to radio 90 hours a month, and watches TV 131 hours a month. About 53% of the U.S. population uses the Internet, averaging 25 hours and 25 minutes a month at home, and 74 hours and 26 minutes a month at work — about 13% of the time.

I can’t imagine sitting in front of the ‘idiot box’ for 131 hours a month. What a terrible waste of one’s life. For an average person, that’s something like 7 years of your life — gone.

Dave of the excellent PassingNotes.com blog looks at it this way:

IF you were all of those things, then of the 720 average hours in a given month, of which you should be sleeping circa 200 (give or take a few hundred), then you’d basically be occupied by media (in some form) for over 330 hours per month – and since we spend about one-third of our lives ‘waiting for something to happen’ (bus, phone etc) and about another 20-40 hours per month in a bathroom (much higher for ted kennedy), then discount sleep, and you’ve got about 80ish hours to be a genuine, sentient human being…sad, sad world…

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