SEO For Google Plus: How to Optimize your G+ profile.

If you want to explore the full potential of some of the most influential social media platforms, you cannot afford to ignore G+ (Google Plus), with its ever-growing popularity or its plethora of amazing marketing opportunities. Facebook and Twitter may be trending these days, but keep in mind that they aren’t the only channels that you should focus on when it comes to creating and applying a successful set of off-page SEO strategies.

Julia Mccoy, from socialmediatoday.com has some handy hints on how to capitalize on SEO results using G+, outlined here:

Not many people are aware that Facebook and Twitter actually stop Google from accessing and utilizing a great percentage of their data. On the other hand, G+ doesn’t keep any secrets. This is only one good reason why you should work on your Google Plus optimization efforts as soon as possible. Here’s an experiment done by the Moz blog on the topic:

“If you use Google+, perform a search for your name and check the domain distribution of first 100 results. The graph below shows what happens when searching my own name.

 

Even though I use Twitter and Facebook far more often, Google+ dominates the search results. Google+ even beats SEOmoz and my own blog. Multiply this for 100’s of millions of people, and you can begin to comprehend the scope of Google’s platform.”

Creating a winning strategy for Google Plus, in 5 easy steps:

1) Optimize Your Profile and Profit from Limitless Editing Power. Start by optimizing your Google Plus profile. This means that you have to complete all fields (profile image, website URL, business details and so on). All in all, your profile should be a mirror of your interests, capabilities, goals, vision, mission and purpose in business. Getting your Google Plus page verified by the mighty Google also helps, since it allows you to build credibility and trust. You should know that Google Plus allows you to erase and rewind. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, this platform offers you the chance to profit from limitless editing power. Therefore, you can go back to your old posts and fully edit them, anytime, anywhere.

2) Make Sure Your G Plus Title Tags Are Optimized. The very first sentence of your G plus posts becomes a part of your title tag; therefore it can impact your rankings and maximize your click-through rates. Opt for the most relevant keywords and note that the title is the first thing that people analyze before reading your post. Your title tags should be short (around 65-75 characters), compelling and concise.

3) Get in Touch with Influencers. Be sociable and always give people something to talk about. Make new connections. Add new people to your circle; ask other users to add you to their circle, share a post with a few influencers, tag them in a photo, mention them in posts, start meaningful conversations, invite them to an event and so on; just make sure you don’t cross the line. Strangers who are a tad too friendly on Google Plus are often cataloged as spammers and get banned till the end of times.

4) Count on a Killer Author Pic. Cyrus Shepard from Moz has conducted an experiment with his Google Plus profile pic. The results were amazing and predictable to some extent: in a world in which looks are extremely important, your profile pic says a lot about you and your competencies. A perfect (real), professional-looking picture of yourself taken in a very flattering light can boost your website traffic.

5) Stay Active. Whatever you do, do something. Inactivity is one of the capital sins when it comes to social media marketing strategies. You don’t want to be one of the many inactive users that have a Google Plus account, but refuse to put it to good use for one reason or another. Give your readers at least one good reason to use the 1 button. According to Business2Community, you can accomplish this goal by simply:

  • Posting quality content on a regular basis
  • Creating and updating content based on the needs, interests and expectations of your audience
  • Connecting Google Plus to your website and all your social extensions

Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget to connect your web content to your Google Plus profile via Google Authorship. This is the simplest method to reaffirm your authority, increase your influence and enable readers to identify your content in no time.

 

Google retires photo editing tool Picnik

Google just rained all over Picnik’s picnic. The photo editing site got the ax on Friday and will shut down in April.

Picnik — which said via its site that its last day will be April 19 — will be moving to Google+ in the future.

Picnik has been an extemely handy tool used by a number of people to edit photos quickly without having to use a software program like photoshop.

But, dont worry folks picknik has ALREADY been integrated into google+. Its called “creative kit”. click on one of your pictures in google+, top left hand corner.

Unfortunately you will need to join Google+ now to use the features!

Google Unveils +1 Button in Search Results

Google describes its new +1 button as a way to say “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out”. Much like the “like” button on Facebook which displays your approval for a brand, artist, or product, the Google button will show your “stamp of approval” to your friends and contacts in search results. The feature is intended to “give the right recommendations, at the right time, and in the right format” and users can choose who gets to see their +1’s in their public Google profile. Google hopes that other websites will also jump on board by adding a +1 button. The button is slowly rolling out and it will be a few weeks before every user notices the addition.

More from Google.

Building “back links” for search engine optimisation – for beginners!

All commercial website owners want people to visit their site. Since you’ve gone to the trouble to produce a website, you have probably also made a little effort to learn something about how to get it noticed. In the course of your reading, you will have read about back links, but you may not know exactly what they are. This guide for building back links is intended for people like you.

Once you’ve published your site, you’ll then want to start the process of promoting it using SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You’ll maybe subscribe to newsletters by SEO gurus in hopes of gaining some valuable insights. Like many beginners, some of the best advisers will be useless to you because they use terminology you don’t yet fully understand.

The first and most important thing you will have to do to get your site optimized for search engines will be the creation of back links (or backlinks) and this is where beginners often get lost. Their SEO guru doesn’t tell you what these “back links” are. Instead, he will skip ahead and tell you that you have to write blog posts, join and post comments on forums, make article directory submissions, etc. That include backlinks, but you don’t know what he’s talking about.

Don’t be too annoyed with your guru. You do know what backlinks are. It’s just the terminology that you don’t understand. Backlinks are those underlined links you see all over the web. So yes “backlinks” are basically links from other websites to yours. When you click them on, you are sent to another website.

It’s as simple as that. These links are important in SEO not so much because you’re hoping to get the people who stumble across your links to click them on and go to your site, but because web crawlers (the automated programs search engines use to “crawl” the web for content) take note of them. To the web crawler, those links to your website are an indication that your site has been noticed and commented on. This is turn helps your search engine ranking. Think of the web like a big democracy and links are votes, like in a democracy the person (website) with the most votes (links) will rank the highest.
In very competitive niches, it’s almost impossible these days to have your siterank highly in search engines unless you employ a paid link building service. (Paying people to build these links for you in an ongoing fashion) In smaller niches, however, it can be done by the site owner. For starters, you will have to get links from anywhere you can, the more relevant to your site, the better. So starting with any suppliers, partners, associations etc and then you can also write articles and publish them to as many social media markets as you can find.

You will also need to visit relevant forums and other people’s blogs and post comments that include backlinks to your URL. You have to spread the word if you want to be found. It will be a big job, but it can be done.

Talk to us today for more information about a link building strategy.

Build your link popularity attract more free website traffic, heres how…

Build your link popularity attract more free website traffic, heres how…

Build Links to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings Introducing Wordtracker’s Link Builder Tool

The surest way to improve your website rankings in the search engines is to get quality links pointing to your site.

With Wordtracker’s powerful new Link Builder tool, you’ll be able to:

  • Find hundreds of top quality link prospects
  • Uncover your competitors’ linking strategies (and beat them at their own game)
  • Analyze sites that rank well for a particular keyword
  • Plan and create your own high impact linking campaigns
  • Drive more traffic, sales and revenue for your business

This Link Builder tool offers 7 day free trial (credit card required), a 30 day money back guarantee and the cost is $59 per month, not much if you consider other forms of attracting traffic. And unlike pay-per-click improving your search rankings means you dont have to pay for every visitor delivered to your site. Yes it takes some time and effort but in the long term its a must to not have to rely solely on paying for visitors.
Follow this link to find out more info and/or sign up for the free trial

Start building your link popularity, improve your search engine rankings and attract more free website traffic

Google Does Not Use Keywords Meta Tag to Rank Web Pages

There has always been some discussion as to whether Google pays any attention to the “keywords” meta tag when ranking web pages. For now, that discussion can be put to rest. Today, Matt Cutts, Google’s page ranking head honcho (he refers to himself as the head of Google’s Webspam team) put out a video and several blog posts that state conclusively that Google disregards the keywords tag.”At least for Google’s web search results currently (September 2009), the answer is no. Google doesn’t use the “keywords” meta tag in our web search ranking.”

He notes that the “description” meta tag is used to determine what a page is about, and it is also used as the short summary that is part of a web page listing when it appears in a Google search results page.

The “description” and “keywords” meta tags usually appear at the top of the HTML for a web page. They are not visible in the web browser unless you select View > Page Source or View > Source.

Google will display the contents of the “description” meta tag as part of the information in a search results page listing when it is useful information for human visitors. If there is no description meta tag or the information is not especially relevant, Google may use information from the visible web page instead. …
So there you have it…concentrate on good meta descriptions!

Talk to us if youd like to know more!

Google says Christmas shopping is starting earlier than ever

Research shows that 44% of US shoppers have already started their Christmas shopping, and the trend looks similar in Australia.

According to data from a Google survey, 44% of US shoppers have already started their Christmas shopping and researching.

Eric Lopez of Google’s retail team also points to the search giant’s own trend data, saying “In taking a look at query volume using Google Insights for Search, we see that search interest in ‘christmas gift’ has upticked sharply over recent weeks, demonstrating this increased research activity.”

A similar query looking at search interest in ‘christmas present’ and related terms in Australia reveals the same trend — though with predictably lower volume and less data available.

In a post on the Google Retail Advertising Blog Lopez continues “Consumers are not just researching, many have already begun purchasing. In fact, over a third of respondents (36%) said they have already begun making holiday purchases. This demonstrates that consumers are not waiting for the traditional kick off to the season, many are already spending time online researching gift ideas and heading into the store or to your site to make that special purchase.”

YouTube to Launch Movie Rental Service

Google is reportedly preparing a movie rental service for YouTube, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The service — which would compete with online rental firms like Apple, Amazon and Netflix — is pending closed testing among 10,000 employees. The pilot shall last three months and is currently awaiting the completion of negotiations with Warner Bros., Sony Corp. and Lions Gate Entertainment before kick-off.

Rentals will likely cost $3.99 per film, with studios getting a 70% cut. YouTube will host the titles on the same day as their DVD releases.

An interesting development as Google struggles to montize the online video giant.

I think its a great idea, I know id be happy to pay $4-7 to have a choice of recent releases in the convenience of my own home.

Got to be better than the supposed “Box Office” feature on my cable TV that has 5-10 (crappy movies) at a time…whats up with that…if they can pipe 5-10 to my TV why not 50-100?

Tip Of The Day: Don’t Overlook Paid Search Advertising

It is important not to overlook paid search engine advertising for your online business. Many of the leading search providers, such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing, offer paid advertising at rates that are affordable to businesses of any size. This is a great way to get targeted visitors to your website which could lead to potential sales. Start an acount with as low as $50. Talk to us today about using this strategy to get qualified traffic to your website.

Pay-per-click Advertising: Top 6 Mistakes

Here is a quick list of the top 6 pay-per-click advertising mistakes that we’ve seen. I suggest that you print this list and go through it before you start your next pay-per-click campaign.

  1. Check for Strange Keywords. You may have accidentally typed-in or pasted an incorrect keyword into your keyword list. Sort keywords alphabetically, skim through the list and make sure you didn’t accidentally miss a space in your keywords or add an incorrect term.
  2. Check Destination URLs. This is probably the most common mistake (and also the most costly one). Search engines will continue sending traffic to your site regardless of whether your destination URL works or not. If your campaigns are suddenly not performing like they should, I suggest checking your destination URLs.
  3. Copy Negative Keywords. Negative keyword optimization is your best friend in pay-per-click because it greatly reduces paying for clicks that don’t relate to your products. Make sure you copy your negative keywords from one campaign to another before launching the new campaign.
  4. Check Campaign/Ad Group Geo Settings. Different search engines have different default settings. For example, Yahoo! defaults to Canada/U.S. targeting. Microsoft targets the entire world by default. Make sure you check your geo-targeting settings to ensure that your ads show in places where people can actually buy what you sell.
  5. Turn Off Content Network Ads. You should never have search traffic and content traffic going through the same campaign. Content network distribution should be set up in a separate campaign, if you choose to employ this strategy at all.
  6. Check Landing Pages. Have you checked your landing pages lately? Roughly ten percent of the landing pages that I see have some sort of technical mistake. Make sure you don’t get any browser errors on your pages. Check whether the contact form works properly. Check how your pages render in different browsers (nifty tool: BrowserShots).

Remember to Triple Check

It’s easy to make these rookie mistakes. Triple check all the changes you make to your pay-per-click campaigns because these mistakes can be very costly.

YouTube expands click-to-buy ecommerce effort

Expanding on a program that enables video viewers to click on ads related to content they’re watching, YouTube’s “click-to-buy” ad program will now be available in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

The program launched in October 2008 for the US and United Kingdom. It empowered music labels to capitalize on their content, as well as pirated material, by providing links where users can buy songs featured in music videos on YouTube, for example. Purchasing icons currently include Amazon, iTunes, EMI and Electronic Arts.

In an announcement made Wednesday, YouTube claimed such ads helped boost sales of Monty Python DVDs “23,000%,” pushing the series to No. 2 on Amazon’s list of Movies and TV bestsellers. Monty Python launched a YouTube channel last November, a month after the click-to-buy program launched.

“The past few months have demonstrated that great content on YouTube leads to increased sales,” the company stated, adding that, in the future, the program will include products beyond the existing selection of music, DVDs and video games.

YouTube also said it would experiment with how links are displayed.

Content providers interested in the offering may add click-to-buy links through ContentID, which identifies YouTube videos containing pirated material. From there, rightful copyright-holders can opt to block the video — or monetize it.

A recent comScore survey found about 77% of the US internet audience watched an online video in November 2008 — driving the total of online videos viewed by US internet viewers to 12.7 billion. This marks a 34% increase from November 2007.

The figure will likely only grow as the recession drives Americans to seek cheaper alternatives for entertainment. Earlier this month, Google — YouTube’s parent company — also announced plans to stop accepting uploads on Google Video, which launched some years ago as a YouTube rival.

Using descriptive text in your website links

If you are trying to improve your search engine ranking and results, and optimize your site, one of the first things you should look at is the wording of links within your site. This not only applies to your website’s navigation menu, but also any links you have on your site that link to other pages or information. More importantly if you can control how other websites link to you this is essential part of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), make sure you get these incoming links (or backlinks) to use keywords and not just your business name.

Don’t Click Here!

The use of “click here” as the actual link to another page or info on your site will not produce good search engine results and you are wasting an opportuinty to add to your site’s SEO performance if you use this for internal (or external links) on your site.

Search engines treat a link’s text like a keyword, therefore you should make the actual text that is used as the link more descriptive. For example, if you have a page on your site with information about Gucci sunglasses, and you are creating a link to it from another page on your site, ideally the text in the link to the Gucci sunglasses page should be descriptive “keyword” type text.

So you could use something like: Gucci sunglasses – the newest range of Gucci sunglasses

This will mean a lot more to a search engine, and produce better results if people use these keywords in a search.

Your website navigation menu

The same applies to your navigation menu. If you can use descriptive wording on your site’s navigation menu, without getting too long, then you are vastly improving your site SEO. If we use our Gucci sunglasses sample again, on the site’s main navigation menu you might use the wording: Gucci sunglasses

This will again mean more to a search engine and the results to a person searching on sites like Google.

Say no to images

This brings us to another important topic when considering your site’s navigation menu. If you use images to create the navigation menu on your site, you will hurt your sites chances of gaining good search engine rankings. The text in an image based navigation button can not be read by a search engine when it crawls your site, and therefore can’t index the links based on the link text. Search engines are smart but they arent smart enough to read the text embedded inside an image (yet!)
The use of text based menu links is a much better way to gain good SEO for your site, and also means your site is more standards compliant as screen readers can read the links which helps vision impared visitors to your website.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) demystified

We’ve had a lot of queries about search engines and how they work lately. There are many ways to get traffic to your website, but for the average small business they probably boil down to only four. These are outlined below simply, and you can always dig deeper later. The four main ways are:

  1. Traffic from search engines, known as search engine optimisation or SEO.
  2. Traffic from paid search ads, the pay-per-click (or PPC) text ads that appear in e.g. Google.
  3. Traffic from other advertising, such as newsletter advertising, e-mails, blogs, direct mail, print advertising, TV ads, radio spots, etc.
  4. Traffic from former visitors, e-mail newsletters that keep you in touch with visitors and customers.

But let’s start with the most basic and possibly the most important – traffic from search engines.

Traffic from Search Engines
SEO isn’t something you can just turn on. It would be great if we could just flick a switch and suddenly your website would be optimised and start receiving highly targeted search engine traffic. But, unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. Your website structure may need to be modified, text links rewritten, Titles and Meta descriptions created, and content overhauled. Even paid search can’t be turned on with the flick of a switch – keywords need to be defined, landing pages created, campaigns need to be set up, etc.

SEO needs time to age. After your website has been put into perfect SEO shape, it will start to receive more targeted search engine traffic. But even that is a slow process. Traffic will increase incrementally, and get better over time as the organic SEO work begins to mature.

SEO needs link popularity. Organic SEO is only half of the battle for more search engine visitors. The success of your SEO depends on the overall link popularity of your website. If your website has been around a long time and has already built up a lot of links, that will certainly help things go faster. However, most websites will need some additional work in this area.

SEO needs to be done in conjunction with other marketing. While SEO is a relatively inexpensive form of marketing, it shouldn’t be the only thing you do to gain business. SEO is very volatile and the search engines can change their formula or drop your website just like that. You should never count on the visitors you receive from organic search to always be there. Use it to supplement your other marketing, but always be aware that what Google giveth they can also taketh away. It’s a good idea to use other online marketing campaigns such as paid search, email marketing, blogging, social media marketing, etc., but also offline marketing such as direct mail, print advertising, radio spots, etc.

There’s a lot that goes into a successful SEO campaign; when done correctly it’s a worthwhile, long-term investment for nearly any business with a website. Just make sure to build it into your marketing plan from the start and not make it an afterthought.

Far and away, the least expensive traffic you’ll ever have to your website will come through the “natural” or “organic” search results on Google or Yahoo. To get traffic to your website for the search words or keywords that are important to your organisation, you need to do what is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.

SEO has two parts, each equally important: (1) webpage optimisation and (2) getting links back to your website.

1. Webpage Optimisation

Basically, webpage optimisation involves setting up each of your webpages so that it can be easily “understood” and indexed by the search engine robots or “spiders” that come calling.

Each webpage (except your homepage, of course) should be clearly focused on just a single topic. The more focused the better. Then you give the search engines spiders clues to the nature of this focus. The strategy is to use the main keywords for that page in the title tag, description metatag, headline or subheadings, and in your body text. You don’t stuff keywords everywhere; just make sure that you’re leaving a clear trail of clues as to the content. But webpage optimisation is just half of the equation.

The other half, and the harder task, is getting …

2. Incoming Links to Your Site

Search engine ranking formulas, known as “algorithms,” rank websites higher the more links they have that point to their website. Links are considered a kind of recommendation that a website is worth visiting. But getting links from websites that Google considers trustworthy isn’t easy. Start by submitting your website to various directories in your niche. Provide great content on your website that is worth linking to. Write articles that others would want to host on their websites, each with a link back to yours. Use blogging to get links. Exchange links with websites in your industry, called “reciprocal linking.” This work is inexpensive, but takes patience and constant work.

Search engine optimisation will take several months to get traffic flowing well, but don’t skip this step just because you’re in a hurry. SEO is an essential foundation for internet marketing.

Use the Google Content Network for your Adwords campaigns

The most common mistake Google AdWords advertisers make is assuming that Google’s search network and Google’s content network are the same. In reality, the two are very different. A content network campaign should be set up separately from a search network campaign for a number of reasons: You’ll be reaching your target audience at a different stage of the buying cycle. You’ll be targeting prospects using various types of ads types/formats. Quality of traffic generated through the content network is different. Talk to us today about utilising Adwords in a more effective way.

Google launches new browser

Earlier this week Google announced that they are launching a new browser called Chrome.The browser will be available in 100 countries and is billed by Google as being a competitor to both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox. The browser will be cross platform working with Windows, Mac and Linux and is the first software release for Linux that Google has released. The developers at Google who have been working on this new browser started with a blank page – looking at what the guys at Google would ideally like a browser to do, having spent so many hours on the internet.

The Chrome browser is aimed at both making the internet easier for user and also to drive innovation on the internet. Designed to be clean and easy to use it’s focussed more on the experience of browsing the web. Their tabbed browsing will run each tab as an isolated instance meaning that if a website crashes the browser won’t shut down as with IE and Firefox, just that one tab. As a result of their user focus Google are aiming to make their browsing experience much faster and user-friendly.

We’ve commented a lot on the good SEO plug-ins that are available for Firefox but we have yet to hear if any similar functionality will be available in Google Chrome.

Google Chrome is only being released as a beta version and will be constantly improving and building on the stability of the product.

We wait to see if the new Google Chrome browser lives up to the hype!

Google Formally Introduces AdSense For Mobile

After a period of beta testing Google is rolling out AdSense for Mobile in 13 countries: US, England, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Russia, Netherlands, Australia, India, China, and Japan. Much like AdSense on the desktop, it’s aimed at publishers and site owners and intended to extend Google ad penetration farther into the mobile Internet.

The idea here is that available monetization will encourage mobile friendly site development. There are a number of other mobile ad networks (with more on the way), including Third Screen Media (owned by AOL), Medio’s MobileNow network, Yahoo Mobile Ad Network, Ad Mob, Enpocket (bought today by Nokia), among a few others.

Could your website be easily transferred to a mobile friendly format, would it justify the cost?

Google search goes universal

In a revamp of its industry-leading Internet search engine, Google Inc. today introduced a “universal search” application that blends video, images, news, books, and local search results.

People searching for “I Have A Dream,” for example, will not only be able to get information about the Rev. Martin Luther King’s famous civil rights speech, but also view a video clip of the speech and scroll through books about King’s speech on Google’s search pages.

“Let’s face it,” said Marissa Mayer, the Google vice president for search results and user experience, when people type ‘big wheels races’ into Google, they want to see some action… They want so see some crashes.”

The new universal search application, meant to drive more traffic to Google products like its YouTube video clips, is the most radical of several innovations rolled out at a press briefing at the company’s headquarters.

Others include contextual navigation links on the top of search results pages letting users drill down into news, weblogs, images or other categories of information most relevant to their queries, a navigation bar on the top of Google’s home page that takes people to Google’s e-mail program, and a site where people can view the company’s latest experiments, like time lines or map views, and incorporate them into personalized search engines.

All told, today’s moves mark an acceleration of the company’s efforts to draw more computer users into the Google environment for longer periods of time just as rivals Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are stepping up their own search products.

If it can use these kinds of things to increase its relevance, Google can further increase its market share.

Google Brings Web Ad Platform to TV

Google, confirming reports it had been testing television ad sales, is announcing today it will expand its efforts in the USA with an “automated system for buying, selling, delivering and measuring television ads.”Agencies can upload ads to Google’s system, and then bid auction-style on where the ads will be placed, with different networks, time windows, regions and other categories as options. Google then reports back an aggregate number of interactions and any information about ads being skipped.

Where to next for the media monolith?

Is Google a Media Company?

As we all learned last week, Google’s efforts to strike content deals with the major media companies, on behalf of their YouTube division, seems to have hit a wall. Viacom pulled all their video clips, NBC accused them of “Mafioso” negotiating tactics, CBS backed off at the 11th hour of deal talks, while Fox and NBC continued to push their vision of launching a big media-backed YouTube competitor.

All such setbacks notwithstanding, it’s still pretty safe to predict that it’s just a matter of time before one of the big media brands caves in and strikes a ground-breaking deal with Google. And maybe not too much longer before Google starts buying programming directly itself.

At the center of such a forthcoming deal will be, of course, money. Specifically, the minimum amount of dollars that Google will guarantee the media company for every year of the deal term. Rumors are that they offered the old media giants as much as $500 million of guaranteed revenues per year, but it wasn’t enough.

Whatever the final guaranteed amount turns out to be, the bottom line is that Google is willing to take a substantial financial risk, upfront, to secure their rights for the distribution of content.

Taking such financial risks is nothing new to Google. In fact, one of the boldest moves they made early in their life was to offer AOL guaranteed revenues, a deal that could easily have bankrupted Google had it not worked out to expectations. Since then, they have used guaranteed minimums as a key weapon in securing every major deal they’ve closed — including the $900 million guarantee they made to MySpace.

But here is where Google’s dealmaking model gets even more interesting. Going back to their efforts with big media companies, Google’s willingness to guarantee substantial revenues further exacerbates the never-ending debate on whether “Google is a friend or foe” to the existing media establishment.

When you look at the big media companies that Google is trying to woo, like CBS, their business model is quite simple. First, they own distribution, which at the end translates into a fixed channel on your TV dial.
Buying programming is the risky part, as CBS must pay the producer in advance often without the comfort of knowing that the program will succeed in attracting a sufficiently large viewing audience. Lastly, CBS will sell advertising against their programming in the hopes that they will recoup their upfront investments in the shows and make a profit.

Given that, let’s now look at what Google is proposing to do. First, Google owns distribution, both at Google.com and now also at YouTube.com. Then, as they negotiate with the big media companies, they are offering to “buy” their programming for an upfront, bankable financial instrument — the guaranteed minimums.

Here, Google is taking a big financial risk as it is very unclear that the guaranteed minimums will prove to be a smart move. And Google will find that out as they sell advertising against the programming they purchased, in the hopes of generating sufficient revenues to cover the guaranteed minimum commitments and make a profit.

The parallels between an existing media company’s business model and the one that Google is pursuing are pretty strikingly similar, aren’t they? And as you click down further, you start to wonder what will stop Google from eventually going directly to the Bruckheimers of the world, cutting out the broadcast networks as middlemen?

Quigo Challenges Google and Yahoo in Online Advertising

By now most people know about Google Adwords, and to a lesser extent Yahoo’s own Contextual Ad service they purchased off Overture.

The problem at the moment is many niches are beginning to show major saturation in contextual advertising. While this is great for the online advertising economy in general, lack of competition is causing price hikes, pushing many of the smaller operators out of the game.

Quigo offers its advertisers the ability to choose which sites their ads are displayed on.

Not all websites are run equally and a top tier site with hundreds of thousands of visitors might be more appropriate than a small blog website depending on the product or service offered.

The key though is choice, which is very important when you want to fine tune your results even more than Google and Yahoo allow, particularly when dealing with gargantuan budgets from the big players.

“Because traditional networks are blind, I’ve always assumed that many of the places where your ads come up are on B- and C-level sites,” Mr. Klein said. “With Quigo, you know it’s on ESPN.com, not Joe Schmo’s sports blog. It’s a premium site, and you’re willing to spend more money.”

Some statistics are suggesting Quigo has 10% of the contextual advertising market already which is a sizable amount. Googles response is of course calm and collected, yet they show their true cards by announcing they will immediately begin work on offering similar features to Quigo.

One huge aspect of contextual advertising which isn’t as much of an issue in traditional media advertising is fraud. Due to the nature of Pay-Per-Click, there is always going to be a number of clicks that are accidental or unintentional, however with website operators standing to make a dime each time someone clicks an ad, there becomes a financial incentive to defraud the advertising networks.

The ability to pick and choose the websites your ads appear on may well allow you to prevent some of this fraud simply from opting out from dodgy looking websites or sites that are giving low RIO’s (return on investment).

Personally I feel Google has changed the world and done many great things on the web advertising front. But the games never over and Google has become complacent with their own profiteering. Competition is a great thing in the web space, and everybody loves the story of the new upstart underdog who revolutionizes the newest incarnation of sliced bread and becomes a house hold name. After all, that’s where Google came from, and it’s probably #1 on the list of Netizen Dreams.

My 2 ad-cents.