Sunday, January 27, 2008

Google To Go After Paid Links?

[editorial] Google appears to be going after paid links, and they want you to do the work for them by reporting such links, regardless of the reason they were bought or sold.

Check out Matt Cutts’s post How to report paid links and notice that he appears not to have responded to the comments that mention Text Link Ads or similar brokers. This will be a huge disappointment to all those small websites that make a bit of money selling sponsored links. Whatever reason the sponsor uses them for is their business, but if they perceive Google’s move to mean ditching the links, then there goes a lot of revenue.

The other problem is that they seem to want us, web surfers, to make the distinction between whether a link is used for SEO or for traffic. If the ad code uses Javascript, according to Cutts, then it’s for traffic because there’s a redirect or nofollow. Any other form of sponsored code means the links were sold for SEO (even if they were free).

So that means that little publishers like me who earn roughly $35-55/mth in AdSense and a bit more from paid links - and work very hard to earn even that much - are going to get screwed by some jealous newbie blogger who thinks the other person is making a fortune because they have a lot of sites. Or if I do a link exchange with a site to get relevant niche traffic, and it’s misconstrued as a paid link. Very nice.

Cutts says in his article that they’re collecting datasets to test some algorithms. He repeatedly refuses to clarify how the information supplied by unpaid tattletales will be used.

Google seems to be going after a monopoly on advertising, telling webmasters what they can or cannot have on their sites. Does anyone else now think it’s a conflict of interest that search engine as powerful as Google is monopolizing advertising?

By the way, SEJ’s Carsten Cumbrowski left a very detailed, rational explanation of why this move cannot possibly work. It’s as valuable a read as any other comment, if not more, and less hot-headed than this post.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Free Big Brand Marketing and Other Facebook Problems

As a social search engine, Facebook does many things well. With membership growing exponentially, you can find almost anyone who's online there. The Facebook buzz continues to build with brand marketers, consumers, and social media mavens.

Facebook, though, isn't flawless. Case in point: the TripAdvisor Facebook application discussed here. You'll recall TripAdvisor's application generates about 85,000 active users who place pins on a virtual map showing where they've traveled. That's local search at its best.

Show Us the Money

Where's the revenue stream for Facebook?

Facebook doesn't receive a dime from TripAdvisor for this application. TripAdvisor, on the other hand, receives tremendous brand value.

There's e-commerce and now, social commerce. TripAdvisor will receive future "socialommerce" from the Facebook app in the coming weeks. You'll see TripAdvisor integrate specific deals (hotels, airfare, vacation packages, etc.) for the cities people "pin." Users and their friends will have the ability to click directly on these deals to book travel.

Many companies that develop popular applications have started to sell advertising/brand placements within the applications themselves. This isn't small change, either. Popular applications like the "Oregon Trail" (yes the same game many of us played on a Texas Instrument computer) or "Fun Wall" can reach as high as 3,669,000 active users.

Again, the apps generate zero revenue for Facebook, with the social platform cut out of the revenue loop.

Missed revenue opportunities are not the only Facebook flaw. They've put the spotlight on their users commercial transactions, creating a huge backlash.

Why Did Facebook Beacon Users?

Beacon is the marketing initiative Facebook would have rolled out differently. Beacon alerts your friends in Facebook about some of your activities conducted on the Web outside Facebook. The problem? Facebook users weren't made aware of the change.

So Facebook became the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas. Or at least, potentially spoil it.

For example, if you had purchased a Christmas present for relatives in your Facebook network, they had a good idea of what present you bought for them. "Alert: Erik Qualman just purchased the latest Harry Potter book at"

Facebook has since adjusted the way users are opted into Beacon.

What's the Best Marketing Play in Facebook?

This is a somewhat complex answer that depends on a lot of factors. If you're new to Facebook as a company, the first thing you should do is perform a search on your brand terms. There's a high probability even though you haven't lifted a finger yet, someone else has. Facebook users may have already set up multiple groups around your brand.

A group page is analogous to a water cooler on steroids (share photos, comments, post information, etc.). A good start: read what discussions are going on and determine why one group is more popular than the next. This will give you good insight into what the users are interested in, many of whom are probably already consumers of your product/service.

The good news: it's relatively inexpensive for marketers to get started in Facebook, a change that occurred only recently. Up until about a month ago, marketers needed to commit a minimum $300,000 media buy with Facebook in order to have a sponsored group page (a group page allows for more marketing bells and whistles).

This media buy was generally money well spent because it drove Facebook users to sign-up to your sponsored group page. However, not every company can risk $300,000.

Build Brand Equity Free on Facebook

Recently, though, Facebook announced the "page" with improved "bells and whistles." It's absolutely free for advertisers to develop. It essentially replaces the sponsored group page.

Obviously, this has caused quite a rift with existing advertisers with sponsored group memberships. They now must move their sponsored groups to a page.

For Apple, with 450,000 members, it's no small feat. These are some of the growing pains that Facebook will learn to understand with an existing base of high profile, big ticket clients. Simple things, like, get your major clients' input first (kind of like asking your users first before beaconing them).

Ultimately, the release of this new "page" capability was well received by the majority of advertisers and users.

As a marketer, while there's no monetary barrier to entry, you'll want to strategically vet out a comprehensive plan before launching something that might damage your brand's reputation. However, you should move quickly. Others will develop their own pages around your brand.

How to Hire Facebook App Developers

Many companies have decided to dive into Facebook with a robust application first rather than developing a more complex page. There are several agencies that now specialize in Facebook application development (e.g., Slide, RockYou). Not surprisingly, these agencies can be quite pricey.

Moving fast, many companies have succeeded by using younger consultants or software developers to quickly launch a high quality application. Speed is of the essence.

Rather than developing your own application, you can find great value in reaching out to smaller application developers. Buy an existing popular application or integrate your brand message appropriately within the existing application.

For example, the popular "Hug Me" application (278,000 daily active users send virtual hugs to each other) is a logical fit for 1-800-Flowers to integrate appropriate offline gift ideas.

Obviously this has less risk because you're associating your brand with an already popular application rather than conjuring up the next best thing.

Whatever your eventual strategy, one point is clear. Start thinking about it today.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Search Engine Strategies (SES) London

Search Training Classes - Friday, February 22, 2008

Search Engine Strategies presents SEM Training Workshops, including optimization and advertising strategies, tactics and best practices. In order to keep the training intimate, seats are limited, so please register early. Greg Jarboe, Amanda Watlington, Jennifer Laycock, Christine Churchill and Matt Bailey all present onsite to help you grow your business.

Cost: Full-day registration cost £575. Half-day registration cost £475.

Training can be taken in addition to the SES London conference or independently, as workshops are on the Friday following the event.


Optimizing for Universal Search

Greg Jarboe, SEO-PR
Amanda Watlington, Searching for Profit

Reaching Your Audience Through Blogs

Jennifer Laycock, Search Engine Guide


Lunch Break


Making Pay Per Click Pay - Best Practices in Pay Per Click Advertising

Christine Churchill, KeyRelevance

Usability & Accessibility

Matt Bailey, SiteLogic

Students will be provided with guided, hands-on exposure that puts theory into practice in a highly interactive environment. These workshops, taught by world acclaimed search engine marketers Greg Jarboe, Amanda Watlington, Jennifer Laycock, Christine Churchill and Matt Bailey, will provide you with the practices and applications you need to become (and remain!) a top performer in your field. In the end, you will not only walk away with the knowledge and skills you need to be a successful search engine marketer, you will also jump-start your career and enhance your professional know-how.

Whether you are a consultant, site designer, website owner, or in-house marketing professional, you cannot afford to miss this opportunity to experience firsthand the latest developments in search engine strategy. No matter where you are in the SEO & SEM process, you will leave these intensive workshops with the necessary skills and tools to improve your business results and take your search engine marketing to another level.

Optimizing for Universal Search

Event name:

Optimizing for Universal Search

Event type:

SEO Training


Friday, February 22, 2008


Spaces Limited




Universal search changes everything! The advent of Google's Universal Search has been called "the most radical change to its search results ever." So, how do you take advantage of Google's new approach that blends listings from news, maps, video, and image search among those it gathers from web search? In other words, how do you get found in all the right places?

Who is this workshop for?

Everyone who promotes Web sites as part of their work should attend this workshop. Web marketers should understand how to optimize and leverage their content and its distribution across news, image,, and video search engines.

How Will I Benefit?

After attending this half-day workshop, you will be able to optimize, distribute and measure: After attending this half-day workshop, you will be able to optimize, distribute and measure: Press releases ImagesMaps Video files RSS feeds, and free submissions for books and products Attendees will also learn strategies and tactics for expanding the audience for their content through Google News, Yahoo! News, Google Maps , Google Product Search, Technorati, Google Image Search, Flickr, YouTube, Yahoo Video and a growing variety of other sites.

What Will I Learn?

During this workshop, you will learn how to: Pick your target keywords for news, image, video and web search engines; Position your keywords in crucial locations; Create original and unique content of genuine value, including text, images and video; Avoid search engine stumbling blocks; Build inbound links intended to help people find interesting, related content; Just say no to search engine spamming; Submit your Sitemap, RSS feeds, and videos to search engines and directories; Verify and maintain your listings; and Go beyond web search engines to include key vertical search engines.

About the Instructor

Greg Jarboe is the president and co-founder of SEO-PR, a search engine optimization firm and public relations agency with offices in San Francisco and Boston. He is also a partner in Newsforce, developer of an integrated suite of press release SEO tools.

SEO-PR has been praised by world-renowned search authority Danny Sullivan for "focusing on search as a public relations tool." SEO-PR is one of 10 companies that Larry Chase's Web Digest for Marketers named to its Who's Who in SEO Experts. has put SEO-PR on its Recommended List of SEO Consultants, Experts, Firms and Service Providers.

Greg is a frequent speaker at Search Engine Strategies, WebmasterWorld's PubCon, and public relations conferences. He is also the news search, blog search and PR correspondent for the Search Engine Watch Blog.

Gord Hotchkiss, who writes the Out of My Gord blog, has called Greg "the guru of cranking up web visibility through effective optimization of press releases and leveraging news search." Lee Odden, who writes the Online Marketing Blog, has called Greg "a pioneer in the field of using search engine optimization in combination with press releases." And Matt McGowan, Vice President of Marketing for Incisive Media, has called Greg, "the industry's top expert in press release SEO and social media relations."

Greg has more than 25 years of experience in public relations, marketing, and search engine optimization at Lotus Development Corp., Ziff-Davis, and other companies. He graduated from the University of Michigan, attended the University of Edinburgh, and worked on his Masters at Lesley College.

Amanda G. Watlington Ph.D., A.P.R. Before setting up Searching for Profit, Amanda was director of research for a leading Search Engine Optimization firm. Her consultancy focuses on how businesses can leverage search engines and new media such as blogging, RSS and podcasting to achieve marketing objectives. She has over twenty years of experience as a communications, sales and business strategy consultant, and ten years as a Web marketer.

Amanda has developed award-winning print, web, training and presentation media. She has developed patent-pending language-based analytic tools and methodologies to support search engine marketing campaigns. She is a renowned expert on blogs, podcasting, and the language and psychology of search. The clients she has worked with include Fortune 500 companies, search engines, publishers and e-commerce merchants.

Amanda is the author of two books. Her most recent book is Business Blogs: A Practical Guide. Amanda is a sought-after presenter and a recognized industry thought leader. She appears regularly as a speaker at Search Engine Strategies and DMA's Annual and Multi-Channel Marketing conferences. She serves on DMA's Search Engine Marketing Council, of which she is the past co-chair. She is the chair of the Web Analytics Association's research committee and has served on the search and research committees of IAB.

Her education includes a Bachelors Degree in Classical Civilization from Douglass College in New Jersey, a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.B.A. in Marketing from Eastern Michigan University. She is a member of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the Web Analytics Association (WAA), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and has an APR accreditation.

Reaching Your Audience Through Blogs

Event name:

Reaching Your Audience Through Blogs

Event type:

Search Engine Marketing Training


Friday, February 22, 2008


Spaces Limited




With more than 71 million blogs currently being tracked by Technorati, the opportunities for businesses to speak with their customers is nearly unlimited. That's why more and more companies are turning to the blogosphere to connect with consumers. Never before have businesses had such effective access to the frustrations and desires of their target audience.

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is for marketers and business owners that want to learn more about harnessing the power of blogs to build buzz about their business online. It will cover the use of both internal blogs and third party blogs as we explore what sparks conversation and passion in readers and how to leverage that conversation and passion for marketing purposes.

How will I benefit? What Will I Learn?

After attending this half-day workshop, you will have a solid understanding of concepts that are vital to reaching out to consumers via blogs including:

  • Why blogs are the fastest growing form of consumer generated media
  • How blogs can change the way you interact with your customers
  • How to engage your target audience in conversation and how to put what you learn into action
  • Why blogging works for both B2B and B2C companies
  • How to avoid the most common corporate blogging mistakes
  • Crisis control tactics in case you encounter negative blogging

In this workshop, you will gain a better understanding of the concepts, ideas and implementations that are required to launch an internal blog or to market through third party blogs. You'll learn why so many companies are launching corporate blogs and how they are creatively using them to advance their brand and marketing campaigns. You'll also learn how to leverage other people's blogs to build your company's reputation, address criticism and introduce new products.

The workshop will give real life examples of both good and bad blog campaigns as well are sharing insight on how your business can build their own blog style based on consumer feedback.

During this workshop, you will learn:

  • How to find your corporate blogging voice
  • What resources are needed to launch an effective corporate blog
  • How to balance sales and information to build a more loyal readership
  • Why pitching bloggers is different than pitching traditional media
  • Why companies ignore blog comments at their own peril

About the Instructor

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Guide, an online publication aimed at educating Small Business owners about search engine marketing, viral marketing, social media marketing and blogging. Jennifer also operates as an independent online marketing consultant specializing in organic search marketing and viral marketing. Her clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings, Highlights for Children and Option-Line, a national crisis-pregnancy hotline. She is also the author of the popular e-books "The Small Business Guide to Search Engine Marketing" and "Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and Thirty Days."

Jennifer is a requested speaker and has served as both a panelist and a moderator at Incisive Media's popular Search Engine Strategies conferences, the eComXpo virtual trade show, Microsoft's Small Business Summit and several local search marketing training seminars. In 2005, Jennifer delivered the keynote presentation at the MIVA Small Business Conference. She has also been interviewed and quoted by a variety of publications including The Financial Times, USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Entrepreneur magazine.

Making Pay Per Click Pay- Best Practices in Pay Per Click Advertising

Event name:

Making Pay Per Click Pay- Best Practices in Pay Per Click Advertising

Event type:

Paid Search Training


Friday, February 22, 2008


Spaces limited




Paid Search is one of the fastest and most effective ways to gain a presence on the search engines. Done incorrectly it can also be one of the costliest. There are many diverse components to a pay per click campaign, but all have to work together to achieve the best return. This comprehensive training program will familiarize attendees with a multitude of paid advertising subjects. The course covers material for both the beginner and experienced advertiser. Attendees will learn about the paid search landscape - the players and the many paid search advertising options available. The course also covers the steps involved in setting up and optimizing a paid campaign to ensure every click counts.

This interactive training provides best practices on how to select and evaluate keywords, tips on writing effective ads and optimizing landing pages, and in addition will show you how to establish an overall PPC strategy for bidding and budgeting for campaigns. This training includes guidance on structuring your PPC campaigns for easy maintenance and best returns.

Is your company budget conscious? We'll show you ways to stretch your click dollars and alert you to budget disasters. We include a segment on analytics that show you easy ways to monitor performance and capture the information detail you need to make good marketing decisions.

This half day training session provides practical real-world solutions and techniques to help you get the most from your paid advertising.

Who Is this Workshop For?

Anyone involved with marketing and sending traffic and leads to a website will likely benefit from this training workshop. Marketing Directors, search professionals, Internet consultants, CEOs, Advertising Executives, Media Directors, Product Managers, Creative Directors, Webmasters, as well as business owners who want to learn more about paid advertising. Search managers will gain new insight and ideas on how to improve campaigns they manage.

How Will I Benefit?

This is a comprehensive training session that includes real-world information for users and managers. The practical advice and best practices taught in the session will help attendees run more efficient campaigns with higher returns.

Attendees will:

  • Enhance their knowledge base about paid search and its many options
  • Understand the components of a good paid advertising strategy
  • Learn proven techniques to select and evaluate keywords that produce results
  • Acquire tips on developing effective ads and landing pages that convert visitors to buyers
  • Discover ways to measure paid search performance and learn techniques to optimize campaigns
  • Gain new insights into bidding strategies and campaign management
  • Increase their skills and comfort level working in the paid search field

What Will I Learn?

PPC Agenda:

  • Introduction to Paid Search Advertising
    • The Search Landscape
    • Major Players and programs
    • Comparison of Paid and Organic
    • Benefits and Uses of Paid Search
    • Marketing Mix
    • Comparison of three big players - Google, Yahoo, MSN
  • Keyword Research for PPC
    • Brainstorming Keywords
    • How to Expand Keyword Lists
    • Evaluating Keywords
    • How to "bucket" keywords
    • Matching Options
    • Negative Keywords
    • Keyword Tools
    • Keyword Strategies
  • Tips on Developing Effective Ads
    • Editorial Guidelines
    • Best Practices
    • Insider Copywriting Tips
    • Testing Ads
  • Landing Page Optimization
    • Components of a good landing page
    • Conversion Tips
    • Quality Score Factor
    • Testing methods
      • A/B Split and Multivariate
      • Testing software
  • Bidding and Campaign Management Strategy
    • Management Tools
    • Tips to simplify management and increase effectiveness
    • Bidding Strategies
      • For Position
      • For ROI
      • Dayparting
    • Geo Targeting Options
      • IP Targeting
      • Geo Keywords
    • Pitfalls and Tips
    • Budgeting and Forecasting
    • Traffic Estimating
    • Click Through Rate
    • Expected spends
    • Campaign Management Strategies
    • Optimization Techniques
    • Tools Available
  • Conversion Analysis
    • Identifying Metrics
    • Tracking Methods
    • Methods to improve conversion
    • Ways to find the weak link in the conversion chain
    • Tools Available
  • Reporting
    • What to track
    • Tools for tracking
    • Reports
  • Ad Types and Networks
    • Search Ads
    • Text Ads
    • Contextual Ads
    • Local and Geo targeted Ads
    • Graphic, Video, Mobile Ads
    • Niche and vertical networks
  • Quality Score
    • What it is and how it works
    • Tips to optimize campaign to improve Quality Score
    • Minimum Bid Price
    • Ad Position
  • Troubleshooting Accounts
    • Common Problems
    • Diagnostic Tools
  • Second and Third Tier Engines
    • The players
    • Different Programs
    • Pros and Cons
  • Click Fraud
    • Symptoms of fraudulent activity
    • What to do when you suspect fraud
  • Legal Issues Related to Paid Search
    • Trademarks
    • Legal concerns
  • Future Trends in Paid Advertising
  • Resources

About the Instructor

Christine Churchill the President of KeyRelevance, is a recognized expert in the field of Search Engine Marketing. She is a strong advocate for ethical search engine marketing, and was a member of the founding Board of Directors of the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO).

Christine currently serves as the Chairman of the Dallas-Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM). Ms. Churchill holds a Masters Degree in Business and has over 10 years online marketing experience.

Christine is a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies, Webmaster World Publishers Conference, High Rankings Seminars, Internet World, and other Internet conferences. In addition, she has written widely on search engine marketing for publications including SearchDay, MarketPosition, Workz, SitePoint, SearchEngineGuide, and NetMechanic, and has taught search marketing classes through the International Association of Webmasters.

In addition to running KeyRelevance, Christine is the Search Engine Friendly Design and Usability Moderator and the Pay Per Click Moderator on the High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum.

Usability & Accessibility

Event name:

Usability & Accessibility

Event type:

Improving Search with Accessibility and Usability Techniques


Friday, February 22, 2008


Spaces limited




Accessibility is not only the law in the UK, it is good business sense. In the same thought, the slightest usability changes can make a significant impact to your bottom line. The business case for both of these objectives is clear, and taking advantage of the upside can increase the amount of sales, leads, search engine rankings, and attention your website will receive.

Accessibility is gaining a lot of attention internationally as major internet retailers like Target,com have been sued over access problems by the National Federation of the Blind in the US courts. In the UK, accessibility is the law, despite being a commercial or government website. With the latest concerns of Government plans to withdraw '' domains from non-compliant sites, this is becoming a harsh reality.

Usability is a central theme of a website. Now that people are there, how do you get them to do what you want them to do? Incredibly enough, usability improvements to a website can improve search rankings, conversions, and branding. Many times, simple usability improvements can create the biggest impact in conversions. The reason that usability is so critical is that it focuses on the user experience. Usability is also a critical factor in Accessibility, and is usually overlooked.

Combining the user experience of accessibility and usability creates a unique method of evaluating a site, prioritizing the experience into getting to the site and using the site. However, usability and accessibility both require elements that are beneficial to search marketing, thus the relationship among them.

Who Is this Workshop For?

This workshop is for anyone who is responsible for the creation, management or marketing of a website. Site owners, marketers, managers, SEO's, and development firms wishing to understand the legal aspects of conforming to the Government Web Accessibility Plan, Disability Discrimination Act, Disability Equality Duty, and WCAG. The course will also cover the Pas 78 document for commissioning accessible websites.

How Will I Benefit?

This session will provide practices, advice, and testing procedures than can be immediately implemented.

Practical lessons include:


  • Learn the different methods of conducting usability assessments.
  • How to conduct low-cost usability assessments of your website.
  • What to expect from high-cost usability testing.
  • Usability's impact on search engines optimization.
  • Usability's impact on PPC landing pages.
  • Simple usability ideas that will improve your site immediately.


  • Learn and discover resources such as WAI, PAS 78, and the RNIB.
  • Absolutely necessary programming to have an accessible website.
  • The Accessibility checklist (in human terms).
  • How to evaluate accessibility with common SEO tools.
  • How accessibility is the counterpart to SEO.
  • Evaluate your site for interoperability on web phones, PDA's and handhelds.

About the Instructor

Matt Bailey is president and founder of SiteLogic Marketing and an internationally recognized authority on search engine marketing, website analytics, usability, and accessibility. As a consulting and training company, SiteLogic focuses on helping organizations take control of their websites and their web marketing plans.

Sought after worldwide as a seminar presenter and teacher; Matt speaks regularly for The Direct Marketing Association; Search Engine Strategies Conferences and Training; the American Advertising Federation, and many private training seminars. Matt is known for his conversational, entertaining speaking style and his ability to make technical topics both understandable and practical.

Matt oversees The Direct Marketing Association's SEO Training Program and is the trainer for the DMA's Web Marketing Seminar. He has consulted with hundreds of companies including Goodyear, Hilton International, JCrew, Gradall, Moen Faucets, American Greetings, and Samsonite.

Top 5 SEO and Link Building Challenges for 2008

Fear has infected the entire Web community -- not just link buyers and sellers. Google's public attack on paid links has caused a flood of scared Webmasters who are scared to link to other sites. Google's assault on paid links has forced Webmasters to ask: What is a paid link?

Here are the top five trends and challenges SEOs, link builders, and Webmasters face.

1. Webmasters Scared to Link Out

There has always been a segment of Webmasters scared to link out. The number of fearful Webmasters has increased drastically because they're worried Google will consider it a "paid link."

What does Google consider a paid link? Here are two real-world scenarios:

  • A hotel sends you vouchers for two free nights at their newest chain of suites to reward their "best customers," generate buzz, and gain links.

  • A software company doesn't charge you their normal consulting rate of $150 an hour for the 15 minutes it took them to fix the problem. You decide to recommend and blog about how great they are.

Linking out is not so black and white anymore.

2. Overuse and Abuse of NoFollow Tags

With that fear of linking to other sites, many Webmasters are choosing to put a NoFollow tag on all outbound links, including established links that may have been live for years. Those established links could be the very links getting you top rankings.

Just the other day I ran across a well established hosting company that put NoFollow tags on their internal links to main product pages from within their content. Most experienced SEOs understand the value and importance of links from within content.

If an established hosting company uses NoFollows in this way, can we honestly expect average Webmasters to use NoFollow on external links in the proper way?

Plus, search engines change their mind on how they want people to use NoFollows over time. At one time, NoFollow was supposed to be used for blog comments that might be spam. Now they want you to use them on all advertising and to sculpt your PageRank.

Wonder why there is confusion and overuse?

3. Neglected Link Building Destroys Top Rankings

Many sites have enjoyed top rankings for years without being proactive in link development. Once they got top rankings they started to take their rankings for granted. Some feel a sense of "entitlement" to top rankings.

"I am generally finding this sense of entitlement and arrogance among Webmasters who have maintained rankings for some time," said Benjamin Pfeiffer, president of "If they can't get the rankings, they throw a Google tantrum. This attitude, however, shows their inexperience, as a good SEO would never be so hasty."

This trend of established sites dropping off the first page will only increase in 2008. The fact is while these sites were enjoying the benefits of top ranking; their competition was been proactive in promoting their site and building links.

Ironically, it's much easier to maintain top rankings than play catch-up. Yet large enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses treat SEO and link building as a one-time cure.

4. Google Paid Links Assault: Collateral Damage

With every search engine update, there's always collateral damage. As Google turns up the assault on paid links, some unsuspecting and innocent sites will be wounded.

The average site owner doesn't keep up with SEO. They're not reading Matt Cutts' blog (Google Engineer), SEO sites, or checking for updates to the Google Webmaster Guidelines. They're busy running their business to support their family.

Most people's lives don't revolve around search engines, a fact often forgotten by SEOs and search engines.

In doubt? Consider how many "professional designers" still produce sites that aren't search engine friendly.

5. Scarcity of Link Building Resources

Anyone who has spent time developing high-quality links knows it's time consuming and tedious work. Experienced custom link developers have been in high-demand for some time now.

With Google going to battle with paid links, the demand for custom link development will increase, making custom link services even harder to find.

Companies must decide where to allocate finite resources. For companies with larger budgets, it's easier to outsource link development or take it in-house. Many may reallocate funds from traditional marketing to SEO.

This is harder for companies with smaller budgets. They must make more difficult choices about allocating their limited resources.

This will surely be a challenging and adventurous year. Creative and outside-the-box thinkers will thrive.

As Winston Churchill said, "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty."

Google AdWords 101: Landing Pages

Launching a PPC (define) campaign is still the best way to advertise online. You can measure your results. You can make changes on the fly. You can control your destiny.

Last time, we looked at the basic steps to set up a Google AdWords campaign. Now let's look at how to test your results with an easy landing page test.

A/B Landing Page Testing

With your paid listings in place, it's time to use A/B testing to perfect them.

In Google, you can have multiple ads in any ad group. When you're ready to do an in-depth keyword analysis, isolate the keywords with the highest CTRs (define) and the largest impression numbers in their own ad groups. This allows you to write two creatives for a specific keyword and test the results. The code is similar to what we discussed last time,, with addition of "+1" or "+2" (numbering the different creatives) at the end of the link: This way you learn which ad for this keyword sends the best converting traffic.

The process actually is a little more complicated if you want to do it efficiently. You now have two major numbers to work into a further set of calculations. The first is the CTRs for each term. I usually turn off optimization during the first round of testing, so each ad gets an equal number of clicks.

You then calculate the CPA (define) for each ad. Divide total CPC (define) for the ad by the sales it brings in.

Sometimes the CPA differences jump out at you, making it tempting to let the winner be your chosen ad before looking any further. This could be a big mistake. It's one of the parts many people overlook in the battle to perfect paid listings. When you have a significant difference in the CTR and CPA, you must explore what each can mean to the cost of doing business.

Let's take an example. Blue widget's creative 1 generates 80 clicks from 1,000 impressions at a cost of $0.50. The CPC can vary a little, but for easy understanding and calculating, let's say both creatives have the same CPC and a CTR of 8 percent. Creative 2 generates 40 clicks at the same $0.50 with a 4 percent CTR.

The tracking shows us that creative 1 gets eight sales (conversion to impression rate: 0.8 percent) and creative 2 gets five sales (conversion to impression rate: 0.5 percent). Thus, the CPA for blue widget creative 1 is $5: $40 CPC divided by eight sales. The CPA for blue widget creative 2 is $4 : $20 CPC divided by five sales.

It's true that creative 2 costs less to get a sale. But since creative 1 generates more sales from the available traffic, the question of quantity versus quality must be taken into consideration. As long as both are profitable, you need to do more calculations.

If the gross profit per blue widget sold is $8, the profit per sale is $3 for creative 1 and $4 for creative 2.

But what about the number of impressions? Given the limited number of searches for any keyword, the CTR and profit per sale can be critical.

Let's say there are 50,000 searchers. Creative 1 generates 400 sales at the conversion to impression rate of 0.8 percent. Creative 2 would generates 250 sales from the same 50,000 impressions. Creative 1, then, generates 400 sales at $3 profit per sale for $1,200 for every 50,000 impressions. Creative 2, meanwhile, makes $1,000 from the same amount of traffic. (It gets a little easier the more you do this.)

The next step is to test improving the CTR and the CPA. With advanced Web analytics, you can then do visitor path analysis to see where visitors go on the site as a group when they come from a certain ad set. This allows you to make further changes to links on your page and where you land searchers when they do click.

Any successful PPC campaign has to work with the site it's sending traffic to. The more the two work in conjunction, the better the results will ultimately be.

Local Search Lives or Dies by User Reviews

Back in the dark ages, referred to by some as BC (Before Computers), consumer opinions regarding personal experiences with businesses were passed around in a practice known as "Word of Mouth" marketing.

Jane tells Mary about how great her new microwave is, or that the service could have been better at the new restaurant in town. Soon enough, word gets around and sales are up for that microwave, and the service is carefully watched at the new restaurant.

The Internet has transformed word of mouth referrals into "user reviews" and "ratings," where consumers can comment on and rate products or services that they have purchased or experienced.

The Importance of User Reviews/Ratings

A study by comScore and the Kelsey Group, conducted in October 2007, found that online, consumer-created reviews have a big impact on prospective buyers. In fact, 24 percent of those who purchase local services -- people searching for restaurants, hotels, and automotive shops -- consult online ratings and reviews before making a choice.

This works both ways though. Consumers not only read reviews to decide what they'll spend their paycheck on, they also write the reviews, and not just to inform potential consumers.

A study by Bazaarvoice and Keller Fay (both user review and WOM marketing experts) found that 79 percent of reviewers write reviews to reward a company for the quality of the product or service they bought, with 87 percent of the reviews being positive in tone.

Reviews: The Good, Bad, and Misinformed

The good news about positive reviews is that according to the comScore/Kelsey Group study, 97 percent of review readers find the reviews they read to be accurate. However, the opposite, and of course more detrimental, could be said about bad reviews.

Advertisers and local business owners alike worry about user-generated content that comes with user reviews. They could be praised or destroyed in front of the public with just the click of a mouse. However, the recent study by Bazaarvoice and Keller Fay suggest that more than half of respondents surveyed usually left positive reviews.

Tone of User Reviews for Products & Services (on Bazaarvoice client Web sites) August-October 2007 (percent of respondents)

User Reviews/Ratings on Internet Yellow Pages, Local Search Sites

Once a rating or review is entered, it's posted near, or directly following, a specific business or product's listing information. Some systems allow consumers the ability to rate a business and/or product on a specific scale, which then factors into an overall ratings score for the business or product. This rating is often used as the determining factor or one of the factors in establishing listing positioning.

In just the past few years, the trend of user reviews and ratings has extended into local search sites. As a result, now nearly all local search sites offer a ratings and review component to their listing information. Business Listing Example

By Gregg Stewart


1. Clearly define your goals with finite, measurable objectives.

2. Develop an operational plan that links those objectives with dedicated resources, processes, and relevant technology.

3. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) then set up a method for KPI based performance analysis and optimization of your campaigns.

4. Develop a customer acquisition model that helps meet your objectives through continuous testing of variables, strategies, and management tactics.

5. In real-time, test and analyze interrelated and constantly changing variables.
- Keyword selection
- Keyword matching
- Ad grouping
- Ad placement
- Ad copy tailoring
- Landing page design testing
- Bidding techniques assessment

6. Devote resources to keep up-to-date on the dynamic nature of search engines as well as your competitors.
- Ranking algorithms
- Search engine policies and offerings
- PPC category "share of voice"
- Competitor strategies & promotional offerings

7. While automated tools help to efficiently manage this complex process, nothing can replace human judgment, resourcefulness, and insight – rely on a mix of both.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Strategies to Make Your Pitch Perfect

Here's a four-part game plan young entrepreneurs can use to present themselves and their ideas with confidence

As a communications coach, I enjoy working with young entrepreneurs because they have energy, passion, and vision. But unless they have a famous parent, amazing connections, or have created a truly game-changing technology like Skype (EBAY), many face the challenge of pitching their ideas to skeptical listeners. Because of this, Tory Johnson, chief executive officer of recruitment services firm Women for Hire and workplace contributor to Good Morning America, recommends that young entrepreneurs perfect their public speaking skills.

"Even if you're pitching the best idea on earth, if you don't come across as confident and knowledgeable, you won't get heard. On the flip side, sometimes an idea that's not so hot—or one that's easy to poke holes in—will likely be considered because you connected personally with the people you were pitching. Don't underestimate the power and importance of these soft skills." I agree with Johnson. Here are four strategies for young entrepreneurs to use to pitch themselves and their ideas with confidence.

1. Follow your passion

Donald Trump has been promoting his new book, and I know millions of people enjoy reading his ideas or watching him speak in person. Trump's key message is not how to get rich in real estate. His key message is simply to "love what you do." It seems as though most of Trump's other principles of success are all based on this key concept. I saw Trump do a recent TV interview where he urged young entrepreneurs to "know their subject" cold. But he also explained that if you're passionate about your subject, you'll do what it takes to learn everything about it. You see, it all goes back to passion (, 8/31/06). I can teach people how to present more effectively, but I can't teach passion. And without it, you will have a much tougher time winning people over to your ideas.

2. Craft a concise, memorable vision

A vision is different from a mission statement. A mission statement is a long, complicated paragraph often created by committee and destined to sit at the bottom of a drawer somewhere. A vision is a concise picture of a brighter future made possible by your product or service. Ideally, it should be 10 words or fewer. Yes, I have actually been told this by prominent venture capitalists. One investor told me that if an entrepreneur cannot describe his product in 10 words or fewer, he's not investing. Period.

Why? Because conciseness actually demonstrates a thorough understanding of a particular problem in need of a solution. Interesting, isn't it? For example, I was once told by an investor at Sequoia Capital that when the "Google (GOOG) guys" (Sergey Brin and Larry Page) first approached the firm, the two young Stanford students had no track record or experience running companies.

But Brin and Page had passion for digital information and a concise vision: Google would provide "access to the world's information in one click" (eight words). The investor said when his team heard this, they understood the vision immediately and were eager to hear more. That's the point of a powerful, concise vision. It may not get investors to open up their wallets, but they will start reaching for them.

3. Follow the 10/20/30 rule

If you're not accustomed to using presentation software like PowerPoint, start practicing now. Investors, partners, and potential customers want to have information presented visually and have a hard copy they can take with them. But keep in mind
presentations (, 4/10/07) can be done well or very poorly. Former Apple (AAPL) evangelist turned venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki, says he listens to hundreds of pitches, the majority of which "are so lousy that I'm losing my hearing." He's tired of useless jargon like "patent pending," "first mover advantage," and other empty terms. When I told Kawasaki that I was working on this column, he reminded me of his 10/20/30 rule.

The rule is simply: When giving a presentation, you should stick to 10 slides in 20 minutes with 30-point font. Following the rule forces you to refine your pitch. If you only have 10 slides, then you must edit the extraneous information. If you only give yourself 20 minutes to actually present your material, it forces you to stick to the most important information, and if you build slides with larger fonts, according to Kawasaki, "It will make your presentations better because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well." I have never seen a persuasive presentation that deviates greatly from this rule. It works.

4. Dress like a leader

Your listeners are making judgments within the first 90 seconds of meeting you. That doesn't give you much time to deliver content, does it? That means they are forming impressions based on your body language and what you are wearing. A military hero who was depicted in the movie Black Hawk Down once told me that great leaders always look a little better than anyone else in the room.

Not too long after that conversation, I spoke to a former speech writer for Ronald Reagan. He said, "You know what I remember about Reagan—it might sound funny, but he always looked more 'put together' than anyone in the room." It wasn't surprising to me. Don't just dress to look like your friends, dress (, 1/19/06) but like the leader you want to become.

The creator of TV shows Survivor and The Apprentice, Mark Burnett, once said "all success begins with the ability to sell something, whether it's a shirt or an idea." Selling an idea is tough enough for most entrepreneurs. Young entrepreneurs often have the extra challenge of having little or no experience. A persuasive pitch can help you clear that hurdle and put you on a path to success.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Affiliate Online Marketing A Good Place to Start

Internet Affiliate marketing has become one of the most popular methods for making money online today because the products or business services have already been created for you. All that is needed is to promote, or advertise them in order to make sells and earn sales commissions which are pre-determined by the owner of the business product or service that you will be marketing.

In a typical affiliate Online marketing set up the merchant provides his or her affiliates with the tools and resources required to sell his product or internet business service. The affiliates use these online resources, such as banners, graphics, or text advertising to post on their sites, or to put in internet blogs. They can also be sent out in emails to create sales of the product or service that they are promoting. The affiliate then gets a percentage of the total price of the product when a sale is made, which is usually 25% to 75% of the total price of the product.

Signing up as an affiliate online marketer is easy. Just find a company that offers an affiliate program for their internet business product or service and fill in their online form with your personal details. Most affiliate programs are free to join and most offer valuable instructions to help you get started in selling their business products. The merchant stands to gain from your success so it is to their benefit to help you succeed with your affiliate marketing business.

AdSense Relevancy, How Google Determines this?

There are many Adsense publishers that viewing the ads. So I believe you also think same thing like me: How are they going to get the relevant ads?

When attempting to match ads with those pages Google considers:

Entire keyword list associated with an ad group.
You want to use well themed keyword adgroups to help ensure your ads are delivered properly. Including generic words like laptop can make it harder for Google to understand what your adgroup is trying to sell.
Using appropriate campaign negative keywords can also help further target your ads.
Adgroup creative are also used to help understand what ads to display.
Max PPC and click through rate also play into the order of the ads displayed.

Making Profits with Google Adwords

I was starting my online marketing just 2 years ago and makes some money from the internet. Yeah, little money from my photoshop skills.

I want to try to setup my own logo's website that will create a logo for a blogspot, same like what you see now at So i'll try make up one and will try to promote via Google Adwords (pay per click) and looks how it's going on. With just usd5, it just pay off to try this great tool.

Plus, I'll place google adsense to that web too :P

I know that bigginer like me will lose some money at first, so i need to ask person that more expert s in this area. (maybe by asking/searching to their blog?)

I have read 5 steps to make money with google adwords, taken from

Steps Number 1: Target profitable two-tier or residual income niche markets.

First, the products or services that you will promote with Google Adwords should target a niche where people have lots of money and are willing to spend it. In other word, think about what people are willing to buy.

Step Number 2: Use effective tools and software for your Google Adwords keyword research.

Use Effective Tools for Your Google Adwords Keyword Research

First, did you know that you can spy on your competitors keywords by using an amazing tool called GoogSpy:

Simply, enter a domain name of your direct competitors and see what keywords they are bidding on. This little-known secret could make your online profits soar instantly.

Second, as you probably know, the competition among advertisers in ppc marketing is fierce. That's why you should avoid using only free keyword research tools like
Overture's Keyword Selector:

You will miss lots of profitable keywords if you do so. To succeed with ppc the only tool that works is WordTracker:

You should take at least a one day's subscription when you are ready for your keyword research.

Step Number 3: Get a Domain name, a Hosting Account, and Create a Simple
Landing Page

If you don't have your own web site for your niche product or service that you advertise with ppc search engines, you are leaving money on the table.

Step Number 4: Capture Your Google Adwords Visitors' E-mail Addresses

Yes, you can promote affiliate links directly with Google Adwords. However, this way you will lose lots of prospects that could be contacted later.

Picture this...

When you promote an affiliate link you drive traffic directly to your affiliate web site. If a visitor doesn't purchase the product or service immediately, the chances are he or she will never purchase from your affiliate link again.

Of course, top affiliate programs place cookies on their web site visitors' browsers. This way you get paid even if your referral returns to your affiliate web site later. That's why it is important to select the best affiliate programs from the begining.

If you can achieve 1% visitor to sales conversion ratio (it means 1 sale from 100 visitors) with Google Adwords - you have a winner!

Imagine... What if you could set up a simple opt-in form on your landing page and write a great copy encouraging your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or an e-mail course? You would enjoy not 1% but 20 - 30% visitor to subscriber conversion ratio when driving targeted traffic
to your web site with Google Adwords!

You see, when you capture email addresses, you build a list. And, as they say - money is in the list!

Step Number 5: Follow Up With Your Subscribers and Pre-Sell Your Products
and Services

This step is where you make real profit. Simply, create quality targeted content in your newsletter or ecourse and follow up with your prospects using autoresponders.

It is said that online products and services are sold after 7 - 9 follow up messages. Besides, you can contact your subscribers anytime later as new quality products hit your targeted niche market.

This simple surefire action plan should help you boost your homebased Google Adwords business profit instantly. As you can see, without a web site you cannot profit as much
as you could by simply creating a one-page website.

Now i have some idea!!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

SEO Service- Keyword Analysis

Keyword Analysis & Ranking

Good keyword analysis is the first step in a successful search engine marketing campaign. If you do not choose good keywords, then you never get a rank and your efforts will be washed. But the main problem is How to choose Good keywords. The best key words will be words that have a large search volume but little competitions. Here are some ways to search for such keywords.

· A perfect keyword is list of words and phrases that related to your website and people might type into search engines when looking for your site

· Each page on your site should have one to three related keyword phrases that are site-specific. For example, if your website is related to Shoes, Good phrases to target on this page would be buy shoes, get online shoes, or stylish shoes. They are all related, and they are all pointing at the same general content on the page.

You can use the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool to get an estimation of the search volume of a key phase.

Competition Analysis:

When consumers use search engines, they want results quickly. Many users will stop at the first page of results — maybe even on the first couple of links. If a site isn't near the top of the first page, it will essentially be invisible.

Competition Analysis: Competitor analysis has two primary activities, 1) obtaining information about important competitors, and 2) using that information to predict competitor behavior. Competitive factors include how attentive sites are to optimization issues and the number of relevant inbound links they have received. Clustered meta search engines such as Ixquick and Zworks can provide a quick overview of the competitive landscape on any given search term.

There are few steps for competition analysis.

Firstly, find the main 2-10 keywords of your website. Suppose if you are selling mobile then perfect keyword for that is buy mobile, buy mobile phones, buy cheap mobile etc. After that search, these keywords on search engine like google, yahoo or msn. Then choose two website, which is ranking on top 10. Then make a sheet

You have to compare these things between your site and related competitor website.

· Google Page Rank
· Back links
· Page Index
· Google Ranking on these keywords

Competition Analysis is a method to know website Physical strength. If you want to know how much your website is improving, you can do monthly web site analysis. It’s better option to know your site strength.

SEO Service | Search Engine Optimization | Search Engine Marketing

SEO is an acronym for "search engine optimization". It is the process of analyzing your potential design and problems for search engines indexing and positioning. In other words, making your web site and its content attractive, relevant and visible to search engines and web searchers.

There is nothing worse than having a beautiful web site with excellent written content, though you still lose traffic or you even keep potential visitors away, while your site cannot be found.

Before you begin optimizing your pages for Search Engines, consider that the following search engine optimization techniques are SPAM!

* automatically generated doorway pages;
* cloaking and false redirects;
* keyword stuffing;
* hidden text or hidden links;
* pages loaded with irrelevant words;
* duplicated content on multiple pages;
* misspelling of well-known web sites;
* unrelated and centralized link farms;
* other methods that try to trick search engines.

If you use one of the above techniques, you might get short term results, but it's most likely that your site will be banned from search engines, and therefore you will put your business at severe risk.

You will have more success, if you will optimize your site for humans, and not machines.

More about:

More about "Search Engine Optimization (SEO)" from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Don't miss this article too! "Why SEO should be important to you".

An excellent SEO Analysis Tool! .

Please report broken links or other issues, as misleading information, etc.

SEO Code of Ethics
* Search Engine Optimization Code of Ethics

Search Engines Guidelines for Webmasters
* Google Webmaster Guidelines
* Yahoo! Search Site Guidelines
* MSN Guidelines for Webmasters
* Ask Jeeves Guidelines for Webmasters
* Open Directory Editorial Guidelines
* Zeal Guidelines Overview
* Overture's SiteMatch™ Content Guidelines

* Filing at Google a reinclusion request - howto
* Remove content from Google's index

Search Engines Spammer Reporting
* Overture, AllTheWeb
* AltaVista
* Google, AOL
* Ask Jeeves
* Lycos
* Inktomi, MSN
* Teoma
* Yahoo

Sandbox & Banned Sites Checker Tools
* Google Sandbox Checker Tool
* Google Banned Site Checker
* Yahoo Banned Site Checker
* MSN Banned Site Checker
* Another Google Banned Tool

Search Engines Information for Webmasters
* Google Information for Webmasters

SEO Tutorials
* SEOmoz Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization
* Do It Yourself SEO, Where Do I Begin
* Basics of search engine optimisation
* Website Promotion Tutorials by instantPROMOTION
* Google vs Yahoo! vs MSN Search: Defining Search Engine Relevancy

* SEO Toolkit 21 part guide to getting a top-10 listing on Google and Yahoo
* Ten Tips to the Top of the Search Engines
* Bruce Clay Search Engine Optimization Technical Tips

* SEO Book - Learn Search Engine Optimization Today
* Search Engine Marketing Book

SEO Desktop Software
* GR Search Engine Optimizer

Free Online SEO Tools
* Page Strength SEO Tool
* instantPROMOTION SEO Tools
* Sitening SEO Analyzer - A Web Standards & SEO Web Design Page Analyzer
* Reaction Engine Free Online SEO Analysis
* Digitalpoint Keyword Ranking Monitor (Search Engine Positioning Tool)
* SEOBook Free SEO Tools
* AbiLogic Page Keywords Analyzer
* SEO Scanner
* Keyword Density & Prominence
* Meta Tag Analyzer
* Search Engine Keyword Tracker & Keyword Ranking Tool
* Web Site Analysis
* Free Robots.txt Generator
* Robots.txt syntax checker
* Robots.txt Validator
* Link Vendor SEO Tools
* Bad Neighborhood Text Link Checker
* Free Site Map Generator

Free SEO Desktop Tools
* WebCEO Download Web CEO for FREE
* Good Keywords
* Free Monitor for Google
* SEO Junkie Site Wide Duplicate Content Analyzer
* GSite Crawler Google Sitemap Generator for Windows

Web Site Submission at Major Search Engines
* Google
* Yahoo!

Web Site Submission at Human-edited Directories
* Webnauts Net Human and Search Engine Friendly Web Directory

SEO Discussion Forums
* SEO Workers
* Webnauts Net
* Digitalpoint
* Google Community
* Search Engine Forums

Social Bookmarking
* Social Bookmarking (all in one)

SEO Joke
A declaration of the abbreviation SPAM:

Turn on your loudspeakers to hear the spam hymn:

Top Online Dating Sites: Singlesnet takes the lead

Online personal sites are a lot like social networks; the most critical factor for a site’s success is people. More specifically, the volume and activity level of members needs to be high enough for users to make connections, and for visitors to be enticed to join. But despite the online personals market becoming increasingly crowded with newcomers, the top dogs of the industry seem to be as strong as ever.

The chart below compares total site traffic to total active members for the top US online personal sites. By comparing these two numbers, its possible to see how factors such as acquisition efforts, site design, and audience impact site usage.
10 Ten US Dating Sites: Visitors vs. Members

10 Ten US Dating Sites: Visitors vs. Members

* and both do a terrific job of driving visitors to their sites, but this traffic simply doesn’t convert. Members represent 13% and 24% of total visitors (respectively).

* members also make up a small share (21%) of total visitors, but this results from the fact that visitors can rate members (the main draw of the site) without being a member themselves.

*, a service built on ad revenue is a great success for all involved. More visitors become members because the service is completely free, and the site generates an a great deal more money because members consume considerably more pages.

* Niche dating site also sees a large number of members as a share of total visitors (71%) due to a very targeted audience.

Top 10 US dating sites: total member visits

Top 10 US dating sites: total member visits

The next step in the love equation is member usage, and if repeat visitation is any indicator, consumers find a great deal of value in free (or at least open) services. The chart above shows overall member involvement (measured as the total number of times a member accessed each site). Since this metric is a function of both total members and member activity, it paints a more accurate picture of each site’s base.

*, ranked 4th in terms of UVs, ranks first in total member visits at over 27 million in December. A fairly open platform and free trial membership helps encourage registrations and an average of 10.7 monthly visits per member.

*, despite having around 1/5 as many visitors, nearly ties Yahoo Personals in terms of total visits. The entirely free service encourages users to communicate, and drives Plentyoffish members to visit the site an average of 14 times a month.

* While the represent major dating services in terms of total visitors, both and look like they compete more with Niche site BlackPeopleMeet when compared on the basis of member visits. Aggressive acquisition and sales tactics (such as requiring a subscription for any type of user-to-user communication) are prime factors in their equally low repeat visitation (around 5 times per month per user)

With social networking providing much the same service as a dating site, its interesting that pure online personals sites continue to grow. But then again, “looking for anything I can get” doesn’t really mean anything on Facebook, but it will probably get you a full inbox on Mate1.