Sunday, January 21, 2007

Linkbait, Bribery, Widgets and Advertising - Where's the ROI?

Jim Boykins' excellent post on the relative value of strategic linking (Link Ninjas) vs the current vogue of linkbait makes some excellent points.

Although in 2007 I think the more accurate term for what Jim is describing should be 'link bribery' -- not 'link ninjas', I'll let his mythology live on.

Hyper-competitive industries demand not only volume but quality neighborhoods, authority links and targeted anchor text, something that you just can't control with linkbait.

Viral-quality content getting massive buzz is nothing new, it good advertising. Think of a classic of the TV generation, like Wendy's Where's the Beef? However, we've long known, even good advertising may not help the bottom line.

The value of the net to the ROI focused has been measureability and targeting. Search gives us targeting like we've never seen it before, and successful marketing tactics for the ROI oriented will focus on the attention of individuals who are have a demonstrated need or interest in your product, or who are proven influencers and authorities about your product.

Widgets have the potential to to provide both viral quality content with greater control over anchor text and audience. The bride countdown widget designed by Conde Nast is a good step towards creating viral content (read functionality), to promote a product and give

Conde Nast got it 50% right with the myspace widget they designed for brides to be. Gawker nailed the problem, by pointing out that myspace users might be too young to be seeking to promote their wedding. Soon, many companies will get it right in 2007. Focused audience, targeted and controlled links, viral content.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

MyBlogLog Spam

SoloSeo wrote a noteworthy article on MyBlogLog Spam. MyBloglog; the 'it' widget of the month, is appearing on everyones blog (including mine), and was purchased this week by Yahoo for a rumored 10MM.

Just don't believe it. All my contacts, subscribers and friends are fake. Well not all. Closeted Spam king Jeremy "Shoemoney" Shoemaker was one of the first folks to add me as a contact.

California Mortgage shopping has never been easier.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Adwords/Quality Score Voodoo

A few months ago I got hit by an AdWords Quality Score update in a big bad way. It happened just around the time that I was attending PubCon in Las Vegas. Frustrated like many with the nonsense Google-Speak centered on 'principles', and unable to cure my Adwords quality score issue by following these principles, I hit the forums for help.

The most hope I was able to get in Webmasterworld Forums was to hang in and wait until the next landing page QS algorithm change, or at least until the bot comes around again and notices how I turned my "very poor quality" site into a high quality site by following Google's guidelines.

Nevertheless, nothing worked. I read Greywolf's interview, and I reviewed Brad Geddes' presentation on Quality Score. Nothing new.

I knew my problem was landing page, because my CTR was sky high and my ad copy and title matched the keywords.

So this week, when one website which Google had branded "very poor quality" in their form email, was linked to by the Wall Street Journal as an authority, I got angry and pulled out my best voodoo techniques.

I tested everything I could with the interface, including:

-Setting up a new account using the same keywords, landing pages and copy
-Deleting and setting up new ad groups
-Rerouting the keywords and copy to a slightly different domain name and 301ed the new domain to the original domain.

The third option worked 100% and I'm now paying the same minimum bid that I enjoyed previously for all keywords. The other two met with limited but measurable success.

Message to Google Adwords: Make it easy for users to do the right thing. When it easier and quicker to exploit the system than to decipher Google-speak in an attempt to do the right thing, there's a problem.

ABM-AMRO Unit For Sale?

Reuters speculates last week that ABM-AMRO may be partially or wholly on the block. Add that to Ameriquest which was previously speculated about, and today's AP report that Mortgage Lender's Network USA has ceased operations and is laying of 80% of staff.

Pundits are predicting recession unrecognized by the fed until late 2007 and no signs of housing market recovery.

Can lenders/borrowers hold out until the next refinance boom? Or will Bernanke act more agressively. There are more surpises to come as US fiscal hubris keeps its head planted in the sand.