Tuesday, January 30, 2007

US Companies selling online

56% of U.S. companies will sell their products online by 2000, up from 24% in 1998. (NUA)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Google shares YouTube ad money

Great News:

Internet giant Google is going to share ad revenues generated from YouTube with the millions of users that create video content on the site.

YouTube has not yet decided how much content generators will be paid or what mechanism will be used to issue the payments. No launch date for the new scheme has been set.

Hurley of YouTube said: We didn't feel it was a great way to build a community. We wanted to keep it pure."

“We are getting an audience large enough where we have an opportunity to support creativity, to foster creativity through sharing revenue with our users. So in the coming months we are going to be opening that up," He added.

Google bought YouTube last year for $1.65bn in November. Around 70 million videos are viewed on the site each day.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

New UK Company Legislation

From 1st January 2007, Company Law requires UK Limited Companies to show on their website and e-mails the standard statutory information which should be shown on the bottom of every Limited Companys headed notepaper:

The address of their Registered Office
The Company registration number.

Place of registration (e.g. the company is registered in England and Wales). This information needs to be shown on all business e-mails and therefore it is recommended that Limited Companies show it as part of their standard e-mail footer.

For websites this information does not need to appear on every page.It could be shown on the front page or perhaps on the about us or legal info pages.

Under the UK E-Commerce regulations the minimum information that must be shown on any Limited Companies website is as follows:

The name, geographic address and e-mail address of the service provider.
The name of the organisation with which the company is contracting must be given so if the company is operating under a trade name details must be shown e.g. XYZ is the trading name of Blogs Limited.
Registered Office (see above).
Registration number and the place of registration (see above).
If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details including any registration number.
If the business is registered for VAT the number should be shown.
Prices given should make clear whether they are inclusive or exclusive of VAT (and delivery costs).

e.g Newman Consulting Limited Registered office 58 Devonshire Road, London NW7 1LL Registered in England and Wales Company number: 5164897

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

User generated video revenues

"User generated videos slow to generate revenue."

The honeymoon for user generated content is over, according to new research which indicates that while consumer usage exploded in 2006 revenues will prove slow to develop.

Research from Screen Digest shows that user generated videos accounted for more than half of all online video content, but will make up just 15% of total revenues.

The user generated online video market (UGOV) exploded in 2006 and by the end of the year, user generated videos made up 47% of the total online video market in the US.

Screen Digest believes that advertising will be the principal source of revenue for UGOV sites. In the US ad revenues will grow from $200m in 2006 to almost $900m by 2010. This represents only 15% of all online video revenues.

So whilst there is no shortage of consumers ready to use these sites, the key challenge facing the many companies that now operate in the UGOV arena is finding a business model that will make them financially viable.

According to Screen Digest, there are five business models currently being used to make money from UGOV:

- Advertising
- Content Licensing
- D Commerce (digital sales and rental of premium movie and TV content
- Subscriptions
- Technology Licensing

Whilst they are experiencing a period of trial and error searching for the right advertising formats, the sites risk losing their ‘cool’ factor as users are turned off by finding mainstream advertising on their personal videos. Arash Amel, Screen Digest Senior Analyst and the reports author, comments: ”As yet though, no one has found a way to make real money from the huge audiences who participate on these sites.

"User generated online video will drive the majority of Internet content consumed in the future, but despite its huge popularity with web surfers worldwide, the major players have yet to find a way to generate significant revenues from it."

Why has user generated online video proved to be so popular now?

The popularity of user generated video online reflects what the Internet has emerged to be all about – empowering and connecting people.

In 2007 expect to see videos on Sumo.tv, YourkindaTV and Putfile in the UK, MyVideo and Clipfish in Germany, DailyMotion, YooTribe and Wideo in France and Flurl Media in Belgium.

Source: Screen Digest

Google stretches lead

Google stretches lead in US market

In December 2006, Google Sites captured 47.3 percent of the U.S. search market, gaining 0.4 share points from the previous month.

Yahoo! Sites grew 0.3 share points, maintaining its second place ranking with 28.5 percent of U.S. searches, followed by MSN Sites (10.5 percent), Ask Network (5.4 percent) and Time Warner Network (4.9 percent).

Americans conducted 6.7 billion searches online in December, up 1 percent versus November. Annual growth rates in search query volume remained strong with a 30-percent increase since the same month a year ago.

Google Sites led the pack with 3.2 billion search queries performed, followed by Yahoo Sites (1.9 billion), MSN-Microsoft (713 million), Ask Network (363 million), and Time Warner Network (335 million).

Source: comScore qSearch

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

UK Behavioural Ad Campaign

Ocean Finance runs behavioural ad campaign

UK finance broker Ocean Finance is to roll out a targeted banner ad campaign using a new ad serving solution from PositiveFeedback that responds to browser behaviour.

Managed by TBG London, the campaign follows a test campaign in December. The campaign consists of a number of offers and propositions for loans and mortgages.

PositiveFeedback will be used to calculate which offer and creative will work best for each viewer, serving them with the most relevant banner in real-time.

PositiveAdserver automatically optimises creative rotation using Predictive analytics -technology that takes a number of factors into account, including click-history, before deciding which banner is best to serve the viewer.

Paul Cook, founder of PositiveFeedback said: “Self optimisation is a powerful marketing tool that will be used by many more businesses with an online presence as they realise its potential and ROI. The days of random ad rotation are numbered, I’m sure that intelligent banner targeting will become as common as post-click tracking within the next year or two.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Germans shop later

Germans shop later but spend more online than Brits.

Germans spent the most online during the holiday period but shop later, according to a new report comparing the Christmas shopping habits of British, French and German consumers.

The figures, from comScore Networks, reveals that German shoppers spent an estimated 5.4 billion EUR from 30 October - 31 December, 2006.

UK consumers spent an estimated 4.0 billion EUR online during the same period,

and the French spent an estimated 1.9 billion EUR.

This compares to an estimated 18.8 billion EUR ($24.6 billion) spent in the U.S. during the holiday shopping period (1 November to 31 December).

ComScore said that these online spending estimates are based on estimated purchases made at sites within comScore’s retail category and exclude travel and auction sites."

Source: Netimperative

BBC teaming up with Google?

The BBC will possibly make it's programming available via a branded channel on YouTube, according to a report in the Guardian this morning.

Friday, January 19, 2007

How to Maintain Rankings ...

How to Maintain Rankings after a Redesign

If your site has no, or very few rankings, some of this advice may be safely ignored.

However, if your site ranks very well in the search engines, or even has 1 or 2 key positions that you would not want to lose, here are some tips how to maintain your rankings:

Site Structure

The existing structure of your site is in most cases the single most important factor behind a safe redesign. If your structure changes, even just a little, you could easily see your rankings plummet.

With the redesign you will want to do everything in your power to maintain your existing site structure and page file names. The second you move or rename a file you risk losing valuable rankings.

Unless it is absolutely necessary to restructure the file hierarchy, don't. In cases where it must take place, the use of a 301 redirect is your best friend.

The 301 redirect will save your existing customers from head aches when visiting now-moved pages by seamlessly directing them to the new location. Permanent 301's will also help you retain your rankings – sometimes.

Change in site structure can also include your domain name. If your domain name is the only change you make to your site, the above rule still applies. Even when proper 301 redirects are in place, you can expect to see your rankings drop significantly if not entirely.

The 301 should help to reduce the down time, but it is not uncommon to see a sites rankings slip considerably, sometimes indefinitely with a domain change. Changing your domain name can be a complete rankings killer.

If you have implemented the new site to include a new site structure, a valuable tool combination is an XML sitemap combined with an HTML sitemap. For sites with current rankings many will have these two items already in place, but if you don't they can be your best friend. This is one more way to help Google index the new location of your site pages to ensure an easy and faster recovery from the change.

Be Safe! Even if you move all your files around and implement the appropriate 301 redirects and everything looks all nice and perfect, ensure that you also have a 404 redirect in place.

Either direct “page not found” traffic to a custom 404 error page, or to your site's home page. Displaying to a potential client (or search engine for that matter) a 404 error can be tragic. Customers and search engines can lose confidence in your site. The custom 404 page is your best bet for retaining their attention.


Undoubtedly, navigation is one of the most important aspects of your site contributing to positive site rankings. Drastic changes in the site's navigation can be fatal to your existing rankings.


With newer design applications and technologies available these days more and more webmasters are incorporating Flash into their designs. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if used incorrectly it can destroy your rankings since search engines do not like Flash one bit.

If introducing a new Flash based site is essential to your master plan, you would be best to offer users, and search engines, a non-flash version of your site.

The best middle ground between Flash developers and SEO's is use “spot-Flash”. Incorporate pieces of Flash into the html based site. This will allow the search engines all the content they require, while leaving the aesthetics in place for your visitors. In order to retain your existing rankings, you are best to retain the existing means of site navigation.

While spiders are fully capable of following image based links, as well as a number of dropdown menus, basic text links offer the most ‘bang for your buck'.

Image Links

Alt tags help, but the best way to link to main pages is through standard text links. The text helps add key phrase relevance to the linked page. If your current site utilizes text links, ensure that they are carried over to the new design.

Even if the new site switches over to image based navigation, be sure to include the text based links somewhere on the page.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

If you decide to make the switch to a CMS you need to ensure that changed URL's are properly covered with 301 redirects. Where at all possible retain your existing URL paths.

Many Content Management Systems create a site structure with very unfriendly URLs that contain a number of extraneous characters. Do your best to find a system that will offer clean simple URL strings with minimal extra characters.

Try to find a system that will still allow you to edit all aspects of a given page. Can each page have unique title and meta tags? Can you adjust alt tags? A good search engine friendly CMS is money well spent, especially if you have existing rankings you wish to maintain.


Chances are if you are redesigning the look of your site, the majority of the content will not be changing. If this is the case ensure that all textual content makes it over to the new site, as it is most likely playing a significant role in your existing rankings. Changing up your content significantly can cause a drop in rankings if not done properly.

If your new site will contain entirely fresh textual content you will want to ensure that keyword densities and focus remain as close as possible to the old copy.

Be sure to keep items such as mid-sentence (inline) text links (especially if they link to internal pages on your own site), heading tags, and keyword placement within the top portions of the new site.

If your SEO has implemented text above the header image (often referred to as Search Engine text, or SE text), be sure to keep it in place also. This text was probably placed there to ensure that the search engines saw relevant content immediately when visiting the page, and there is a strong chance this text is contributing to your positive rankings.

Meta / Title tags

Be sure to copy over your title tag, meta keyword tag, and description tag from each page to the new version.

The title tag is especially important as there is still significant value placed here. You want to ensure that each page retains its old, optimized title tag.

The description tags do still carry some weight, and also can have an influence on the copy used in the search engine listing.

The meta keyword tag can really go either way. While these days it provides little to no value, if it is optimized and unique for each page, you may as well carry it over. It will provide some value for some of the smaller engines, but really have next to no impact on Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Alt tags

For images remaining on the site be sure to keep the optimized alt tags in place. These alt tags do have some value in your search engine rankings, and removing them entirely could cause a ranking decline.


Redesigning your site, even when following all the rules, can still result in your site being demoted. You may still find your rankings disappear. Redesigning a ranked website is really a gamble any way you look at it. Your rankings could drop, they could skyrocket, or they could stay exactly where they are. There is no way to know for sure without moving forward.

Scott Van Achte (article shortened)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Beyond Traffic and Conversions

Search Marketing 2.0 – Beyond Traffic and Conversions

As sophisticated businesses and marketing agencies embrace the world of Internet Marketing, Search Engine Marketers are being asked to deliver a level of strategy and value never before expected. With the bar raised, we must now focus on targeted business goals to prove ROI.

In today's market, it has become important to prove how SEM will

- increase sales,
- lower customer acquisition costs,
- decrease customer service expenditures, and
- achieve or exceed overall, pre-set, business goals.

I've even been asked to provide accurately projected and guaranteed ROI ratios from one enterprise client. That can be a dangerous corner to stand in when your success relies on Search Engine response.

Though someone within your client's organization is likely accountable for broad planning, budget creation, and ROI development, they will most likely not have the expertise to understand how

- various search patterns,
- landing pages, and
- targeted conversion paths will affect their bottom line.

If you're a Search Engine Optimizer who knows how to get top organic rankings on the Search Engine Results Page through ethical, white-hat methods, great!

If you're a Pay-per-Click expert who understands how to drive traffic through thousands of word variations, geo-targeting, and broad/exact phrase settings, excellent!

But if that's all you know, then your future in this industry is limited.

Here are the some facts:

If your skills do not include business analysis and strategic consulting, even though they may be well developed and important, you're missing the big-picture.

Right now, Directors, VP's, and C-level executives all tell the same thing:

"If you expect us to transfer 10 – 20% of our traditional marketing budgets to the Internet, you must be able to substantiate the broad and granular successes - both in the short-term, as well as through on-going trends."

I could just say, "Sure, we can do that." – But how do I know what I'm promising, unless I truly understand what "success" means for the client?

When you engage a new client for Search Engine Marketing, what's the first step in your campaign?

Is it…Keywords?


It should be an analysis of the client's business.

Some items from the list to investigate:

Marketing plan
Branding initiatives
Sales channels
Prior successes/failures
Past goal patterns
Current goals (broken down by variables)
Obstacles to these goals
Current audience segmentation
Internal structure
External image
Site metrics (usability, trends, baseline)

The thorough business analysis you perform will allow you to build a targeted list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on

- the type of site,
- conversion points,
- branding, and
- several factors specific to the site in question.

The assigned KPIs will then be used to track the success of the campaign and your work.

Finally, once you and your client are in agreement on the KPIs and the broad and granular goals of the campaign, then, and only then, should you begin working on key term development.

I understand many will say that's way too much work to go into a campaign before even starting search term development.

If that's your stance, that's okay, but realize that the rest of the industry is developing sophisticated ROI processes and demanding 10 to 20 times the professional service fees of those stuck in the old, simple-ways of SEM.

So, to review, what is the overall goal of an SEM campaign?

A. Drive traffic to the site
B. Create exposure on the search engines (branding)
C. Improve online sales (e-commerce)
D. Improve offline sales (leads to phone, form, or other contact)
E. Elicit downloads (indirect conversion)
F. All of the above
G. None of the above

Goals of a campaign differ for each client. If you don't develop KPIs and business goals with your clients in the beginning, you'll have no idea what successes to strive for; nor will you know whether or not your clients agree with your assessment of success.

Know your client's business, and understand their goals.

Most importantly, get the client's sign-off on the goals of your campaign and stick to them. If the direction changes mid-stream, get new sign-off; ensuring that you are always on the same page as your client.

By Scott Orth

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If you are planning for a year

If you are planning for a year, sow rice;
if you are planning for a decade, plant trees;
if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.

– Chinese Proverb

Fastest growing Internet sites

Research firm ComScore revealed the fastest growing UK internet web sites
(by percentage change in UK visitors).

The top gaining web site is Deutsche Telekom (driven by its T-Mobile ISP service), with 3.9 million visitors (an 89-percent increase).

Comp. Name Oct.-06 (000) Nov.-06 (000) Percentage Change

Deutsche Telekom 2,106 3,943 87%

Boots Plc 1,649 2,725 65%

Toysrus Sites 1,604 2,611 63%

HMV 2,380 3,262 37%

Woolworths Group plc 2,602 3,542 36%

John Lewis Partnership 2,151 2,893 35%

Dixons Stores Group 4,177 5,393 29%

Play.com Sites 3,639 4,627 27%

Marks&Spencer 2,445 3,106 27%

Wal-Mart 2,277 2,870 26%

GUS 6,993 8,652 24%

Arcadia Group Limited 1,867 2,300 23%

Ticketmaster 2,704 3,261 21%


Littlewoods Shop Direct Group 3,888 4,555 17%

Netsolut 1,804 2,097 16%

Sony Online 2,840 3,279 15%

Kingfisher 3,815 4,315 13%

ITV Sites 3,818 4,285 12%

NEXT Group 3,150 3,528 12%

Total U.K. Internet Audience, Age 15+ 29,553 29,498 0%

Top 20 Gaining Web Sites by Percentage Change in U.K. Unique Visitors*
November 2006 vs. October 2006
Total U.K. Visitors, Age 15+ – Home and Work Locations**

* Ranking based on the top 100 U.K. web sites in November 2006.
** Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes

Source: comScore World Metrix