Natural Search Blog

7 Habits of Highly Effective PPC Advertisers

I just saw this great article on “Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Pay-Per-Click Advertisers” by John Ellis, who does search marketing for Gaylord Entertainment, and I thought it was worth highlighting.

Some of the tips include:

…and more. I think there’s some great stuff here – both for paid search newbies as well as veterans.

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Misguided Science Fiction Writers Advise U.S. on Homeland Security

SigmaUSA Today has reported in “Sci-fi writers join war on terror” that a small group of science fiction writers have been contacted by the U.S. government to advise on new and innovative ways that security could be improved. The group, called Sigma, was formed about 15 years ago by writer Arlan Andrews and was specifically intended to advise the government on advanced technology issues.

Their motto seems ominous in context of recent-history political trends and frighteningly nationalistic: “Science Fiction in the National Interest“. I think their involvement is a bit horrifying, misguided, and more than a bit egotistically self-grandiose. Read on for more details.


Not a Stumble – eBay to Acquire StumbleUpon

In yet another social media acquisition move, eBay has announced today that they’re acquiring StumbleUpon for approximately $75 million.
StumbleUpon purchased by eBay
This closely follows Fox Interactive Media’s acquisition of Photobucket and Flektor along with CBS Interactive’s purchase of and If you recall, Google has purchased YouTube while MySpace is already owned by Fox. Yahoo! has been buying social media types of sites for quite some time now, what with their earlier purchases of Flickr,, and such.

All the exuberance and hefty valuations seem to smack a bit of the over-valuation and acquisition craze just prior to the dot-bomb i-apocolypse. Purchasing a social media web 2.0 site or two just seems so trendy at the moment. These sites have some undeniable amounts of traffic and associated marketshare, but won’t there eventually have to be a bit of fallout? Won’t users eventually migrate over to a primary dominator in any given type of site?


AMA Hot Topic Series: Search Marketing NYC

The AMA Hot Topic Series on Search Marketing in New York this past Friday went well. Presentations were given by Stephan Spencer (Netconcepts), Alan Rimm-Kaufman (Rimm-Kaufman Group), Neil Patel (Advantage Consulting Services), Maile Ohye (Google), and myself, Chris Silver Smith (Netconcepts GravityStream).

If you missed out on this, there’s yet another opportunity to attend the seminar day in Chicago. For more info, visit the AMA Hot Top Series: Search Marketing page. I understand that this Hot Topic Series is to be expanded out with another few cities in the Fall, so stay tuned.

As promised, here’s my PowerPoint presentation on how Content is the Basis of SEO. (8.4 mb download)

social media marketing companies

Google Purchase of DoubleClick Under FTC Investigation

The NY Times reports that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has started a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google’s planned $3.1 billion purchase of the online advertising company DoubleClick, an industry executive briefed on the agency’s plans said yesterday.

Some consumer groups have raised questions about privacy issues involved in having companies which handle more and more of the end-to-end process in users’ clickstreams through the internet, since holding more of the links in the process chain inevitably means being able to ascertain individual’s actions, interests, motives and desires in their day-to-day lives. Read on for more info.


New Results Filtering Parameter for Google Image Search

The Google Operating System blog reported this past weekend that Google Image Search introduced a new parameter that can allow you to pull up only images of people’s faces or only images from news sites/stories.


The Internet is Killing Independent Bookstores

In all the good done by the internet and technological innovation, it’s easy to sometimes overlook that some changes haven’t been for the better. On Monday, the news everywhere was mentioning the odd and sensational story of the bookstore owner in Kansas City, Missouri, who has started burning books on his doorstep to dramatize his perspective that people are not reading books nearly as much anymore. While I’m afraid his belief that people are reading less is faulty, his observation of the trend in people shopping less at stores like his is correct. I’ve personally witnessed the closing of hundreds of indie bookstores all across America, and there’s no question that the rare book shops and independent book dealers have been under siege and endangered as a species for about ten years. The internet has been killing them.

Book Burning at Prospero's Books in Kansas City, Missouri
Burning book – photo used by express permission
of the photographer at Prospero’s Books.

There are worse crimes than burning books,
one is not reading them. ~
Joseph Brodskey

A few weeks ago, I was in New York attending the Search Engine Strategies Conference, and I took a few minutes to walk a few blocks south to the grand old Gotham Book Mart to get a friend back home a birthday present. I knew that the Gotham had moved a couple of blocks over in 2004 from its original home on West 47th (in Manhattan’s famous “Diamond Way”), to East 46th. The Gotham was always a place that gave me the warm fuzzies — it’s been around since the 1920s and was the sort of commercial home to one of my favorite author/illustrators, Edward Gorey, and it was a long-running meeting place for the Finnegans Wake Society and the James Joyce Society. Every spring, I tried to make a point of visiting their annual exhibit of rare old Goreyanna books and illustrations, and I’d typically be enchanted into buying something.

Wise Men Shop Here Chains Bar the Wonderful old Gotham Book Mart doorway
“Wise Men Fish Here”, sign over Gotham Book Mart (Left)
Chained door with author’s reflection (Right)

The shop was famed in the book world for its appreciation of humor with its “Wise Men Fish Here” sign above the door, its love of books, and its support of book collectors. It was with extreme shock that I found the Gotham locked up tight and the lights out. There was a terribly tragic air about it, because there were a number of cute stuffed Gorey characters still sitting in the window in their little rocking chairs. With a sinking feeling in my heart, I knew that store was dead, and that this was the end of an era.


Google Calendar Goes To Mobile

Google just launched their shareable Calendars via Mobile today. Here’s the entry about it at the Google Blog.

Google Calendar Logo

I love the concept! I’m excited to see this innovation.

Unfortunately, I have a small problemmo. My company uses Google Calendar for us to all share schedules and invite each other to meetings and such. But, when I try to login to Google Calendar sometimes with my email address, Google Calendar is a bit confused and says I can either set up a custom calendar for myself, or I can click through into the company calendar.

This issue has transitioned over to the Mobile version, apparently, because when I login to the Mobile Calendar, it isn’t giving me the branching page to choose the company calendar. So, it shows no items scheduled for me. I can click through into one of my coworker’s calendars, since she apparently has shared those with others such as myself.

Hopefully, this little blip will be fixed soon. I like everything I see so far!

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Advanced Search Engine Optimization for College & University Websites

I earlier posted some basic tips for SEO of University & College websites here on Natural Search Blog. I’m now circling back around to post some advanced tips for optimization of .EDU sites. Some of these tips are more along the lines of helping out with overall marketing, though using the college’s or university’s web presence to accomplish it. Even those ancillary efforts can contribute to the overall online marketing and natural search optimization success.


I wrote those tips after getting a number of interested questions from educational professionals attending the AMA Hot Topics seminar that Stephan and I provided in San Fran a few weeks ago. Read on for the details of my .EDU secret sauce!


Experiment with Google Voice Local Search

Google recently released their new Voice Local Search in beta, also known as “GOOG-411”, and I thought I’d kick the tires a bit. They also mentioned it on their new Google Lat Long Blog.

Google 411

I used to work for a major telco (Verizon), and we had a number of researchers working on various voice recognition systems. I’ve also tinkered a bit with applications using text-to-speech voice synthesis software such as the AT&T Labs Text-to-Speech software, so I’m familiar with some of the issues that are commonly associated with these types of systems.

I was curious about whether Google’s clever engineers had perhaps improved upon some of the issues involved with having software recognize spoken words, and I also wondered how the quality was of their voice-synthesis.


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