As has been mooted for a while, Google UK have announced that anyone will be able to bid on brand terms in PPC campaigns, where before it was restricted only to the legit owners of those brands. September 14th is the date that this will start.
Google have been accused of profiteering off brands who’ve built trust for their brands via search – but Google say that it simply widens the footprint of those brands by allowing 3rd parties to use that brands’ name in their PPC copy. I am quite split on the issue: on one hand it does indeed widen the footprint of a brand – but this is perhaps being naive about what Google will gain out of this.
“Why is it naive?” some may ask. Well, it’s worth remembering that Google isn’t here to help people find what they want – it’s primary business is to sell advertising online: that’s what they do. It’s in their DNA. Kidding oneself that they care about any given brand’s presence online is wrong. What they care about is making money. If people can find what they want in the process, that’s a nice bonus (and helps their “Don’t do evil” image).
Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t think that making money is wrong (far from it). But working under the illusion that Google ever does anything that wouldn’t benefit their bank balance most certainly is wrong. You don’t get something for nothing.
The point is that Google stands to make a lot of money from people – brand owners, their competitors, interested parties, novices who want to try something new – everyone. They’ve basically changed the bidding format and made it completely open. And, yes, the much-vaunted Quality Score will help keep the costs down as it should weed out people who’re just trying to bid on brand terms for products that aren’t related/relevant – but for competitors who’re selling an identical product but, say, at a better price, this could see quite a bit of cash arrive in Google’s wallet.
I also wonder how this will affect affiliate relationships. They are often restricted on bidding on brand terms, so what does this mean for these rules? Will affiliates have to submit to a new tranche of rules to keep promoting a brand’s products? Will we see an increase in grey/blackhat affiliates try their luck anyway? Or will it mean affiliates and brands embrace a stronger, more communicative relationship – a gentlemans agreement-esque approach whereby they agree not to bid? What about competitors affiliates? Might they be encouraged to bid on competitor brand terms to steal away business?
Although I really cannot stand PPC, that last point could see some interesting tactics emerge…0
There’s been speculation recently as to whether Google actually pay attention to dodgy link-building tactics. eConsultancy carried a fairly damning article that implied the Google spam team weren’t paying attention – and judging by the articles, it was true…
A bit of recent digging revealed that maybe the spam team have just been held up whilst sifting through the weird link-building campaign that Aviva have been embarking on. Admittedly, this could also be the ‘Caffeine’ update coming into effect, but the evidence is a bit…damning, frankly.
Last week, Aviva were ranked #2 in Google’s natural SERPs for ‘Life insurance’ – a coveted and popular search term, up there with ‘car insurance’ and the like – second only to Money Super Market (who, let’s face it, will probably be dominant for insurance-based search terms until hell freezes over).
As of today, though, Aviva are not even on the first page.
The reason? A quick check through Yahoo Site Explorer reveals inbound links from noted and respected life insurance authority sites such as:
- http://www.zen.org.au/reiki.html (an Australian Reiki site)
- http://www.goddess.com.au/Playshops/ (an essential oils site)
- http://www.carpetsofkashmir.com/silk-carpets.html (’nuff sed)
- http://www.sharkfreemarinas.com/LC/catch-release.shtml (my personal favourite: “Tags for sharks are as important as life cover for humans”)
- http://www.setox.eu/projects.html (the Slovak Toxicology Society)
Nice work! A quick squint through those pages reveals links dropped into the content that’s is (in my personal opinion) quite clearly there purely for search engine gaming. Perhaps there’s hope for spam detection yet…?2
Just spotted that Google are touting a microsite called www.givechrome.com.
It’s essentially a fancy ‘email a friend’ mechanism, but it’s been quite nicely done – with options to wrap your present and send a personalised e-card to your friend, informing them of their new present. It’s not ground-breaking, but I like it.
There’re various opinions around how Google and other search engines deal with duplicate content. Google’s comments on the matter give an indication of how they deal with it, and the main takehome points are:
- They can usually spot unintentional (i.e non-malicious) duplicate content
- In the above case, Google will simply index the content it feels most relevant to the query that’s been typed in (so analysis/decision is done on a per-query basis), and will give users the option to see similar-looking results from that site – see below:
- In the case of webmasters trying to game search results by keyword/content-stuffing, they’ll spot that too – and will penalise accordingly.
This is good news and everything, but it does rather raise the question: How can Google tell if you’re malicious or not? And what if Google misunderstands your content and accidentally tags you as a spammer?
If you’re new to web copy writing content/management, duplication perhaps doesn’t sound like an issue…but from a search perspective, it can be. Why could you be penalised? How do you get round it? What are the options? Read on and find out…1
We’ve all heard recently about how Google & Microsoft are now indexing the Twitter-feed. Does this mean Twitter will become the future of paid-for links?
eConsultancy have raised an interesting point about this, and conclude that it’s gonna be hard to distinguish between valuable links tweeted vs those that are paid for.
Quite frankly, I predict at least one outcome – a surge in Twitter-spam: a huge influx of those ridiculous accounts called ‘Maryjane410′ (or whatever) who simply Tweet bot-driven spammy bollocks. Hurrah.0
As the proud owner of a Google G1, I’ve always been a fan of the handset’s functionality and the Android OS’ general affability. However, a number of things irked me – namely the lack of decent battery life, and the occasionally clunky user-journey.
However, they’ve changed all that with a recent nifty update – huzzah!
We now have, amongst other things:
- Battery life that seems to last longer than a day;
- A camera that will shoot video as well as stills (albeit still questionable quality);
- Nice rounded new icons;
- GoogleTalk included;
- Google Latitude, the friend-locator thing;
- A touchscreen keyboard, a-la the iPhone.
Not bad at all!0