Domaining for Links

Peter van der Graaf wrote an article today on Search Engine Watch that deals with domaining for links. Van der Graaf writes that even though this is old school it is still a method that works for acquiring link value.

From the article:

What Domains Do You Buy?

Domains with link value become available once the current owner has little use for it anymore. This happens in various occasions, which all have their unique signal for Google to pick up and act on when they suspect unnatural behavior.

  • Expired domains are of no use to their previous owner and come fairly cheap. It is however the easiest signal for Google to detect. Julie Joyce wrote about this in “How to Build Links Using Expired Domains“.
  • Domains for sale and parked domains are another group of opportunities that spread their own signals. In many cases the domain placeholder itself is a signal for Google, but with every domain acquisition the combination of a simultaneous ownership-, hosting- and content-change offers the clearest signal. So make sure you spread these over a longer period and try to resurrect the original content first.
  • Insolvencies or bankruptcies also make the domain become available again. Contacting the curator can often get you a lucrative deal on a lot of link value. Especially when the company name isn’t continued by anyone, nobody knows that there is value in the acquired links. With the right approach Google has little characteristics to detect SEO intent.
  • Outdated conferences and events are often accompanied by a domain with a year in it. These are kept as archive, but after about 2 years they receive no visitors anymore. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
  • Any sign of outdatedness can be used to find opportunities. Use Google queries or your personal scraping script to look for old copyright footers or a news section without any recent updates. This is a strong indicator that the current owner has lost his interest in the domain and that it might be for sale for an affordable price.

Read the full article on Search Engine Watch

Who Won The Super Bowl Of Search ?

Vanessa Fox wrote piece on MarketingLand.com that took a look at the Super Bowl of Search.

In the article she started out with how long they have been covering the Super Bowl ads and their correlation to search.  “It’s year number six of tracking how Super Bowl ads compelled us to search and just how well advertisers take advantage of all that searching.”

From the article:

So what can we learn from Super Bowl advertisers this year?

  1. Keep it simple: No, even simpler than that. Different hashtags on every commercial and yet another layer of different taglines, plus even differently named microsites does not make your brand easy to find in search results. Most brands got that right this year, but there’s still room for improvement.

  2. Don’t forget the basics: Some sites just needed to stop hiding all the text on the page in images. Or to use a descriptive title tag. Or a meta description at all. These things are easy, quick, and don’t cost anything, but can make a huge difference in how many visitors the site sees from search.

  3. Mention the huge star in your commercial! Lots of searching happened for the stars featured in the commercials. I couldn’t find any video descriptions (on YouTube or web sites) that mentioned them by name, other than Chrysler and Bob Dylan.

The article took a long look at Budweiser which apparently won the Super Bowl of Search. Check out the article for all the screenshots and info that Vanessa brought to light about the Budweiser campaign.

Of course our readers are concerned with the domain industry and Vanessa did cover Go Daddy.

GoDaddy

Putting aside the content of previous years’ commercials, GoDaddy always did a fairly good job of integrating their online presence into their commercials. They typically had a “see more on our web site” teaser and included the domain name (although in the last couple of years, they confusingly started advertising both godaddy.com and godaddy.co).

This year, with a new CEO and all-new advertising strategy, they dropped the online link altogether. They promoted two hashtags: #liveyourdream and #itsgotime (apparently, the new grammatical hashtag rule is that drop apostrophes in order to properly irritate English majors everywhere). They also promoted the tag line “Get Found”. The web site has the commercials, which is great, but mostly promotes the tag line “It’s Go Time” (apostrophes get to come back in tag lines, to the joy of us all).

OK, so a little confusing, but how did all of this impact search? Searches for the brand [godaddy] are fine: they rank organically and have bought a paid search ad for brand searches. But they’re nowhere to be found (organically or paid) for any variation of #liveyourdream or #itsgotime (in any combination of spaces and hash marks).

Who Does Search Arbitrage Benefit ?

Dan Monarko of Flying Cork Media took a look at the practice of search arbitrage, who it benefits  and what they do to protect their clients.

Search Arbitrage is the practice of purchasing a keyword on one search engine (i.e. Google) while directing the person searching to another engine (i.e. Ask.com, about.com, info.com) for the same or similar more expensive term and profiting from the price discrepancy. In layman’s terms these “search engines” are paying for a click to get a click and earning a profit from the difference.

From the article:

For example, let’s say our client was Nike. (Nike: We know you are not a client, but if you want to become one you can find my contact info below!). It costs Nike $0.15 to bid on their branded term and an Ask.com listing with the headline “Nike Shoes” is in position 2. Ask.com takes the person searching to the Ask.com search engine for the search term “Nike shoes,” which broad matches everyone bidding on the term “shoes”. You can quickly see how a $0.10 click can result in a $7.00+ click on a broad match for “shoes” on Ask.com.

We processed our client’s trademark complaint by each individually branded keyword to get these sites to stop using our client’s branded terms in their ad copy. Over the next three weeks Google eventually stopped these search engines from using our client’s branded terms. In theory, the branded terms should now be safe. Third party search engines cannot use the branded search terms in their headline copy anymore.

The chart below shows how our client’s branded CPCs increase by over 100% when Ask.com and others started their Search Arbitrage efforts. Once Google finally stopped these engines from using our client’s branded terms, CPCs returned to normal.

Read the full article here and check out the charts of how the cpc fluctuated when the arbitrage stopped.

Harvard Business School Study: Display Ads Drive Search Clicks After Two Weeks

Greg Sterling wrote an article on Search Engine Land today that related to a study showing display ads drive search clicks with a delayed effect. The study was conducted by Harvard and Ozyegin University researchers. Ozyegin is located in Turkey.

From the article:

The conclusions and insights are useful, however, and can be boiled down to the following:

  • Display advertising does indeed generate more search volume, clicks and conversions

  • Search ads don’t drive increased interaction with display ads however

  • The effect of display ad exposure on search may not be immediate but is significant “after a period of two weeks”

  • Marketers may not be correctly determining ROI and CPA by using common, simplistic calculations and metrics

  • There are budget-allocation implications from the researchers’ “dynamic” ROI analysis that argue for a higher search spend

I have embedded the report below:

Did Expedia Get Caught Trying to Buy Its Way To The Top of Google ?

Search Engine Land wrote a piece yesterday on the travel website Expedia losing 25 % of their search visibility in Google. The possible reason is for unnatural links.

From the article:

Expedia.com’s Google Traffic Decline:

Patrick Altoft noticed a drop in Expedia’s traffic today and posted about it on Twitter. If you look at their decline today, it looks like Google has penalized Expedia in their search results. We reached out to Marcus Tober from Search Metrics who sent us additional details showing that Expedia has indeed seen a major drop in rankings for most of their generic keywords. Here is a picture of their search visibility drop:

The article highlights the keywords that saw the largest declines, these include car rentals and vacation.

Read the article here

Today Search Engine Land was back with another article stating that both Google and Expedia declined to comment on the possible penalty for unnatural links.