Natural Search Blog

Organic Search Marketing in 2008: Predictions

If you’re even the slightest bit aware of what’s been going on in organic search marketing, you couldn’t help but know that Google made a number of changes during 2007 which impacted the natural search marketing programs for many webmasters. So here’s my little post predicting where I see the trends pointing and what we can expect in 2008 and beyond… (more…)

Google Testing New Local OneBox Layout & Addresses in PPC Ads

Greg Sterling this morning mentioned that Google is apparently experimenting with allowing full street addresses to appear below the URLs in PPC ads.

Even more interesting, this thread at Webmasterworld now reports seeing a new layout of local listings within Google SERPs — their screengrab shows the Google Maps onebox results on the right side of the page, apparently above the Sponsored Links ads.

Is this just usual UI/Usability testing, or could this segue into more unrest for the local SERPs?

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ReachLocal Becomes Authorized Google Adwords Reseller

ReachLocal announced today that they’ve formed a strategic alliance with Google to become an authorized Adwords reseller. Kevin Heisler at SEW reports that this will give them a leg up on competitors in local search who won’t benefit from the same status in the Google ecosystem.

ReachLocal also sells local ads into Yahoo!, MSN, Ask, AOL, and my old company,

I was privileged to be given a tour of the ReachLocal offices here in Dallas back in September, (more…)

GravityStream Does Local SEO: Now Fixes Store Locator Pages

I’m pleased to announce that GravityStream can now optimize store locator pages for those retailer sites which provide search utilities for their local outlets.

GravityStream Compass Rose

As you may recall, I’ve written before about how dealer locators are terribly optimized and how store locator pages can be optimized. A great many store locator sections of major corporate sites are not allowing search engine spiders to properly crawl through and index all the locations where they may have brick-and-mortar outlets.

Most large companies seem fairly unaware that their store locators are effectively blocking search engine spiders and are making it impossible for endusers to find their locations through simple keyword searches. I’ve also listed out a number of top store locator providers which produce locational services like this for many Internet Retailer 500 companies.

Read on for details on our results…


Google Maps to Embed in New Magellan GPS

Barely one day in advance of the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show opening in Las Vegas this week, Magellan issued a press release about their next generation of GPS navigation devices, highlighting how they will come integrated with Google Maps to provide local search capabilities.

Magellan 4050

John Hanke, Director of Google Maps & Earth is quoted, saying, “We’re pleased to be partnering with Magellan to provide users with detailed, relevant local information while on the road. Magellan devices are powerful, interactive tools for navigation and discovery that serve as a cutting-edge platform for Google’s robust local search capabilities.” (more…)

Upcoming Appearances

SMX West Speaker Badge 2008I’ll be speaking on the “Local Search, and Blended Results” and “Online Retail and Blended Results” panels at the SMX West conference in Santa Clara, California, February 26 – 28, 2008.

Quite a few sessions at this conference are focusing on “blended results” — the new paradigm that has been affecting search results pages layouts and listing rankings. Each of the search engines have been looking into folding their various specialized, vertical search contents into the main keyword search results pages in order to better expose that content and facilitate usage of those features.

Google’s introduction of Universal Search during 2007 was probably the most attention-getting paradigm shift in terms of bringing search marketers to realize that they frequently need to achieve good placement in each of the specialized vertical searches like Images, Local/Maps, Video, News, and etc. to help guarantee rankings and ongoing market-share.

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More on ISPs & Behavioral Ad Targeting

ClickZ has another good article on ISPs and Behavioral Ad Targeting today. Not only do they mention NebuAd which I wrote about in December, but they also list a few other companies that use similar NOC hardware for the same sorts of behavioral targeting, including: Phorm, FrontPorch, and Project Rialto.

My private individual half doesn’t like this sort of targeting. I pay for internet access, and I don’t particularly want people using my data to pigeon-hole me into a demographic for specific types of ads — and I’m mistrustful of how private/secure/anonymous these companies will keep my individual usage data.

My more public, professional half has to readily admit that for advertisers, behavioural targeting may be very advantageous in terms of communicating to a desired audience of buyers, and could also be very cost-effective in reducing wasteful ad impressions. I suspect that behavioral ad targeting may convert at a higher rate than other media if executed in a sophisticated manner. The only downside is that it likely also restricts the size of the audience share available to be exposed to the ads.
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Hello 2008 @ Natural Search Blog!

Hi, all!  As you may have noticed, I’ve been quite silent of late due to taking a lengthy time off for the holidays. I spent Xmas in Central Texas with my family, and then went down to Galveston to a vacation rental for the annual New Years reunion with a bunch of old friends from college (we choose a different location every year, with most being far away from Texas).

Even before the holiday vacation hit for me, I’d gone pretty silent/infrequent with my postings since I was heavily focused upon helping our major online retailer clients get shipshape for all the Cyber Mondays and we made little tweaks to help them maintain their juice as needed. (Oh, yeah — we were also targeted here by some malicious hacker, but that proved to be mostly an annoyance and it’s not really why I’d slowed down postings. Thanks to all of you who sent us notes of encouragement and offers to assist with that, btw!)

While the business sections of the newspapers have subsequently reported a mediocre-to-bad holiday season for retail sales at the end of 2007, it looked quite different from the stats that we watched pouring through our many servers for our GravityStream clients.

I’m pleased to report that this holiday season was very sunny for the majority of our GravityStream installations, and our automated SEO service made a significant difference for the retailers using us, resulting in many millions of dollars in sales. I’ll check and see if I can later circle back and share some actual performance figures.

I’m looking forward to this new year, and I’m now revving back up to blogging and article writing and such along with the usual analytic/consulting work I do behind the scenes at Netconcepts along with fantastic teams of other pros within our company. In the near term here on Natural Search Blog, I expect to write a bit about future developments I foresee happening in the search space — my little contribution to the many 2008 predictions that are globbing about in the blogosphere.

Stay tuned!

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