Posted on: October 22, 2008 by Syzlak
Yesterday, Rand posted a rather short-sighted view on the discrepencies in SEO and PPC budgets. While, I understand his fundamental argument for increased SEO budgets, the post drew ire from myself and fellow PPC advocates. Through quick smattering of evidence, Rand showed that PPC is on the decline, everyone looks at organic listings all the time, and no one clicks on ads (paraphrasing here folks). So, aside from a simple disagreement on the purpose of PPC and the effectiveness of SEO, what am I so mad about?
To some of you this may be familiar:
This eye research has been shown countless times to illustrate the Golden Triangle of search – the red area in the top left of a SERP where users are most active, violently clicking away to their hearts’ desire on the first thing they see. Since you’re probably familiar with this research, you probably know that I used it in a post from December of 2007 about Google’s encroachment on this Golden Triangle. Shit, I’m not even the first to use it! In fact, if anybody clicked through on the link Rand gave for the pic, you would see that Inspired Impressions used it back in April of 2006 (over 2 years ago). 2 years in “search time” is an eternity. For reference, if you were to have a kid in 2000 and he were to grow up in “search time,” he’d be Robin Williams from Jack.
Here’s how SERPs look more often than not today…well at least as of December 2007 (I’ll admit when I took the screenshot)
See how our buddies at Google are putting ads into that Golden Triangle? Do you suppose that users might be clicking on those a bit more often than they did 2+ years ago? More importantly, did you see what the top listing was in the pic that Rand gave us?
Look’s like that’s a Sponsored Link, and it’s getting quite a few clicks too…
Wouldn’t it be great if current data was used to make claims of suspect? While I think that some of what Rand is arguing is prudent (SEO could use a bit more money and focus for many companies), I do not agree with either his methods or his implied conclusion (we didn’t get a conclusion out of Rand, so I don’t want to put words in his mouth).
The fact of the matter is, PPC can drive instant gratification (traffic), qualified visitors (through ad copy and keyword targets), motivated visitors (drop ‘em on a landing page…they’ve seen everything – they’ve seen it all), and it can do all of this for as many or as few pages as desired on as much or as little a budget available.
Market size is also a determining factor of PPC/SEO budget. When I worked in local search for a few years when it was first blossoming, I would never have suggested to the 100 plumbers in Atlanta that they could spend their budget on trying to beat each other, as well as the national giants, on organic listings. For some industries, it’s pretty easy to compete in the less competitive field of PPC with focused keywords than to try to tackle 8,000 competitors in organic. So, why not allocate $100 towards a PPC budget that will pay off, and do so quickly, as opposed to spending thousands on SEO – especially when thousands aren’t available?
I hate to call out my pal David Mihm, but I also had a problem with his comment:
Well, honestly, it all stems from Kate’s comment, but I was more irked by this one. Not to be a downer, but sometimes in a “down economy” (I call it a depression, but ok ), some companies may have to go with the cheap & quick solution just to stay alive. A lot of times, that’s the small businesses. Small businesses need to be present, build their brands and get visitors “in the door” just to make it to the next step-especially in a “down economy.”
I know Mihm, I know his work, he’s damn good and any small business would be wise to pay for his SEO services. Hell, businesses of any size would be wise to spend money on SEO; but for a lot of them, it’s just not in the cards right now. Not everything comes down to SEO having a bad reputation, being misunderstood & misrepresented, complex or the rest of the excuses a lot of us use; sometimes, SEO is just not what a business needs when we’re trying to sell it.
Posted on: April 1, 2008 by Syzlak
I get pinged this morning by a former co-worker asking whether “[I'd] come across any blogs that say running homepage & branded terms in ppc is a good thing?”
It’s getting old people.
What’s getting old? Two things:
1) Asking around for answers instead of figuring it out for yourself (whether it be running tests or looking it up on some sort of universal encyclopedia…we need to get access to one of those)
2) Thinking that for any reason, bidding on brand name keywords would be a bad idea.
I know that I come at this industry from a different direction now that I work at an agency. The main focus of our agency has been building brands. So, whilst drinking the Kool-Aid (mmm, cyanide flavor!), I apply branding to everything I do online. Sure, some of our clients don’t have branded terms that generate much traffic, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Building a presence in the SERPs is half the battle sometimes, especially for small clients.
That being said, did I learn this from running small accounts at the agency? No, I learned the value from running branded keywords and homepage ads on Best Buy – not really a small business.
So, in response to my friend, go run a test and figure it out for yourself. While I love how open this industry can be at times, and admit that I’ve learned a lot from some of the bloggers out there and the conferences, I hate how lazy it has made some of us. Shit, on average it takes 20 minutes and a week to find out how a new concept will work, and only 5 minutes to convince the boss man that it’s worth testing.
Posted on: March 18, 2008 by Syzlak
Then you screwed me over when I’m trying to fix the fact that I didn’t have any presents for Current Future Ex-Mrs. Syzlak. At around 9:45 in the AM, I was presented a box from Amazon. Filled with glee, I emailed CFEMS (pronounced Sea-fem-iss) and told her that her birthday might be happening soon (the real one being almost a month ago). Now you’re making me look bad, Amazon!
Why do I look bad? Because of this:
See, I live in Portland, OR. Hell, in one of my posts from last week, I went so far as to say that I’m “from here.” So why in the hell are my packages halfway between Everett, WA and PDX??!?!? Don’t you read my highly significant and clearly popular blog?
You’re making me look bad Amazon…and as a white guy, I’m enjoying hating you right now.
Interestingly, while writing this another package arrived (which is amazing as it was supposedly 200 miles away just minutes ago). Funny, when you click the button that says “group my packages together in one shipment,” you expect that to actually happen. Way to go, chumps.
This isn’t entirely their fault. It’s also partially DHL’s. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to have the same driver deliver all 3 packages at the same time? And people wonder why we’re in a recession…
Posted on: February 29, 2008 by Syzlak
This is pretty heavy.
Amazing news: Apparently, aimClear has that same problem that Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker have…except with himself!!!!
Excerpt from an interview with the esteemed Todd Mintz
Comment on other blogs, where you participate rather than self-promote. Identify niche’ social media communities like Sphinn and bring perspectives which offer value through your membership.
Good point Marty! It is really annoying when people self-promote.
Hey! Wait a minute here!
Do you understand the words that are coming out OF YOUR OWN mouth?!??!?!
Now, you could say that technically this is promoting SEMpdx and Todd Mintz, both of which deserve all the press in the world. However, to me it’s just another example of bullshit self-promotion coming from someone that says self-promotion is wrong. For regular readers, aimClear is the same person that was referenced in my article about why SEO gets a bad rap, mostly due to his abuse of the StumbleUpon system in the eyes of the StumbleUpon community for, what else, “stumbling” (and apparently mis-categorizing) his own sites, pages, etc.
Everyday I wake up, hoping that the community will make significant strides to advance our industry and improve our rep …and everyday I’m disappointed.
WolfQuest?!??!?! This is supposed to equate to international prominence as a recording “artist?”
Posted on: January 18, 2008 by Syzlak
Earlier this week I had a quick thought about the site 1on40. I believe that thought was “bullshit.” A little later that same day, I found a restupulous post about how to increase web traffic through forums. A few days ago, the SEM community was abuzz with the now legendary SEL v. Wired v. Johnon v. SEOmoz v. MVanDeMar v. SEL.
What happened? Here we have 3 examples of some shady-assed shit going down in what was slowly becoming a respected industry. On the SEL v. Wired issue, I sit in the middle. I don’t think it was such a hot idea to post a “how-to” that essentially (I know it wasn’t the intent…) suggested people hit Wired for a link. While many of us probably read this post and were somewhat intrigued, there were most likely many more that jumped at the opportunity to spam Wired for clicks. The subsequent backlash from the SEM community prompted much debate and thankfully changes to the site, article, etc.
The trouble is, many members of the community were upset that such a post was made in the first place. The problem for most of the community was that the article made us (SEL members, semi-responsible interactive marketers ) look like bottom dwelling miscreants willing to exploit any loophole for personal and professional gain. It made us look like spammers & cheats, as does 1on40.com.
1on40 promises to propel your site to the top of Google. How can they do that?!??!? They’re glad you asked
We do NOT:
- cheat search engines
- trick search engines
- create any sort of doorway pages
- create dodgy links
- make mistakes that jeopardise your site
- change any code on your site
- get YOU banned from search engines
- divulge how we get your web site to the 1st result of GOOGLE + 39 BUT… we do! And for FREE…
- get you to 1st result on the TOP 40 search engines to include GOOGLE & YAHOO
- take your web site to NUMBER ONE for 5 keywords
Well shit dawg! After you’ve hit number 1 (which, if you’re not familiar with the Google, you may never do) then they’ll let you sit atop Google et. al. for a week before charging you to bid on 5 keywords. I must admit that of all the restupulous SEO schemes out there, this one is well thought out. I mean, it’s bullshit, but it’s well thought out. Just look at the, rather long, list of directories, engines, etc. that they submit your site too!
Thank God they submit to james, jimmy and Juicy Babes! I’ve had the hardest time getting respect for my site, but now that I have jimmy and the Juicy Babes working for me, I’m golden! Do you not know jimmy? That guy’s bat shit crazy about ranking and won’t stop till he sees your site hit number 1.
Oh, by the way, they also submit to Inktomi, so if you really need to rank well on the Wayback Machine’s index of MSN listings from 2002 then you’re set.
As for the other post I referenced earlier, “How to increase your web site traffic through forums.” Didn’t we do this? Isn’t this just one of the reasons why we have rel=no follow? Doesn’t everyone hate people like this? This just isn’t cool. Couple that with the fact that most of the forums that are used as examples in his post are porn, and you have a very poorly researched/thought out article.
Speaking of which, porn! That’s the market we all need to be in on. Let’s see how your Christian Supply URLs in your signature please your client. Way to go ass clown!
Oh Syzlak, chill it around! These sites are just poor examples of bad characters that you happened to stumble upon. There’s no reason to worry.
You’re right, I did StumbleUpon (see what I did there?) these sites (not SEL mind you) and my professional account is filtered to only show me sites with advertising, search, internet and liquor (again, that’s a prerequisite right?). Which means that people interested in the same categories felt that these posts were important enough to “thumb up.” Through inference, we can assume that the shady marketer is again on the rise…