Friday, December 1, 2006

New Google Ad Placements « John Chow dot Com

John Chow has posted details of a new AdSense beta which allows publishers to highlight certain ad units to advertisers and tell them what position the ads are in. John writes:
“To use Google Ad Placement, you create and implement a custom channel just as you would before - tracking the performance of your sports pages or your skyscraper ad units, for example. Only now, you can choose to make that custom channel visible to advertisers as an Ad Placement. When advertisers search for sites on which to place their ads, they’ll see the ad placement you’ve created - with your site’s name and description - and can decide to target their ads to your Ad Placement.”
It looks like an extension of Targetable Custom Channels added a week or two back.
Here’s a screen shot of the new control panel in John’s AdSense back end.

Read John’s post at New Google Ad Placements

Google’s Secret Display Advertising Network

John Chow has broken the story that Google has a ’secret’ CPM advertising network called the ‘Google Display Advertising Network’ which is an invitation only impression based ad network for high profile advertisers and a select group of publishers.
It apparently lets publishers negotiate their own CPM (cost per thousand impressions) with Google with year long contracts. The ads are image and video ads.
Google already do run CPM ads in their AdSense system but John is reporting that the rates that he’s managed to negotiate on his ad units in this program make those ads the highest earning ads on his sites.
The program seems pretty basic at this stage - reports come in via email once a week with very little information - sounds like it could be some sort of beta test or at least a pretty embryonic new ad network - definitely one to watch though!

Tracking your Blog’s Performance in Search Engines

If you’re interested in tracking the performance of your blog you might like to start using UrlTrends - a tool that checks page rank in Google and Alexa as well as tracking the incoming links to your site.
It looks like a useful tool - although when you first use it the information might not be that dynamic as its not likely to have been tracking your performance previously. Your first checking of your blog will simply add you to their database and show you graphs with just your current performance. However if you come back over time you should see it tracking your performance.
I also use a free keyword tracker over at Digital Point which also tracks a number of key performance indicators for your site or blog. It Not only tracks your page rank and incoming links, but also checks how you rank on keywords in Google, Yahoo and MSN as well as telling you how many of your pages have been indexed in the search engines.
The only down side of this tracker is that you really need to use it regularly in order to get the best out of it as it only checks the above features for you when you manually stop by and ask it to. I do this as a part of my daily blogging rhythm. If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to the Free ProBlogger Newsletter
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Is Google Page Rank Still Relevant?

Paul at Work Boxers asks Is PR Still Relevant?
‘However, it definitely isn’t as important as it used to be, since so many people have learned to game the system. PR is good for long term success in the search engines, but is not something that can be measured very well short term.’
I agree with Paul - Google’s Page Rank isn’t anywhere near as important as it has been previously - however I don’t completely write it off. I suspect that it still plays a part in how Google ranks sites in its results - but another important factor is that page rank can still be an important factor in working out how much to sell ads on your blog for.
I am regularly asked by people to sell them text links on my blogs and Page Rank remains one of the main factors that they ask about. The higher my page rank the higher amounts I’m able to charge for a link - so I’d answer Paul’s question by saying - in terms of Search Engine Rankings I’m not sure Page Rank is as relevant as it previously has but in terms of grading the value of a blog for other purposes it remains one of the few tools people use and therefore is helpful. If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to the Free ProBlogger Newsletter
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Why Blogs are Popular with Search Engines

Corporate Blogging Blog writes a very good article about why blogs rank well in Search Engines. Of course one of the big reasons is links - one of the major features of blogging is the interlinking between blogs of a similar theme or topic. If you write good content on a particular topic it is likely that you’ll attract inward bound links from other relevant blogs - this of course is one of the major ways that a Search Engine like Google or Yahoo decide how to rank sites. However Frank argues that there are other reasons in addition to links that make blogs attractive to search engines including:
- Keywords, key phrases
- Straight to the point- Each post’s page structure- Coding- One subject per post- The blog site’s information structure- Links then…?
Frank expands each point well and his argument makes perfect sense. In fact they are more than common sense some of his points can actually be built upon as a strategy. Learn from what he’s saying. For example - ‘one subject per point’ - the temptation is often to write 10 points on each post that you do. The smarter way to approach it would be to write 10 posts - each with a punchy title and content that tightly focused upon one point. You’re more willing to get picked up and ranked highly by search engines using this method than by a long general essay. If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to the Free ProBlogger Newsletter
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Search Engine Optimization Tips for Blogs - Site Themes and Design

Time for a couple more tips for the Search Engine Optimization Tips for Blogs Series:
Themed sites - One of the growing theories of SEO that I’ve been reading about recently is that you are more likely to rank well if you have a substantial amount of pages on a similar theme. ie a niche topic blog will probably rank higher than a general one that covers many topics. Build a blog with over 200 pages of content on the same theme and you’ll increase your chances of ranking well as SEs will see you as an authority on the topic. The take home advice here is to keep to some kind of a topic/niche/theme for your blog. Of course not doing so doesn’t mean you’ll never rank well - it’s just another factor to consider.
Site Design - Search Engines like well laid out, well coded and easily to navigate sites. Make sure your pages validate (I need to work more on this) and that they are viewable on all major browsers. Search Engines don’t tend to like too much Flash, Frames or Java Script in your site - keep it simple and clean and their robots will index your site a lot faster and more accurately. If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to the Free ProBlogger Newsletter
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How Comments Can Help Your Blog Rank Well in the Search Engines

A few weeks back I wrote a post titled 10 techniques to get more comments on your blog which got a bit of attention around the web after doing well on Digg.
As usual - the comments that a post gets when it is featured highly on Digg were mixed (both the comments on Digg and the post itself) but one of the recurring questions I was asked as a result of the post was:
Why would you want more comments on your blog?
There are many reasons why I think comments on a blog are good. Here’s three that I responded to the question with last week:
Feedback - I find that the comments readers leave help me to improve my blogging
Group Learning - the comments on posts often add to the knowledge base and learning that goes on as a result of the post. My ‘expertise’ on any given topic will only ever be partial at best - but between us we know a lot more
It Feels Good - OK - I’ll admit it. Looking at a post and seeing that a few people have wanted to take the time out to respond is a nice feeling.
I’m sure there are a lot more reasons that we could come up with (feel free to share yours) but another one that hit me earlier today was the impact that comments can have upon Search Engine Optimization.
Comments Present Search Engines with Fresh ContentOne of the many ‘rules’ of SEO is that search engines like freshly updated and changing content. This is one of the reasons that blogs do so well in search engines (if you regularly post that is) as your blog’s front page is constantly presenting new content to the SEs.
The beauty of comments is that they too freshen up your blog and present the search engines with something new to look at.
Each time that someone comments on your blog they change the page that your post is on and the next time that Google or Yahoo send their bots to index it they will find that it has been updated - which can’t hurt that page’s ranking.
The exception to this is when comments are spam comments with links to dubious sites - which can actually hurt your standing in search engines - plenty of motivation to keep on top of comment spam. If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to the Free ProBlogger Newsletter
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