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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - December 2009

Welcome to our last newsletter for 2009, covering web search and marketing news, trends and advice.

This month's edition looks at the top 10 ways to develop high quality links for a website, as voted for by industry practitioners. We also review the new Internet advertising figures released for the past quarter by IAB Australia, which show continued growth in the search advertising market. Finally this month, we consider the introduction of Google's new service, "Promoted Videos", which is a new way to place videos on YouTube (as well as on other video related sites) and to make it easier for people to find these videos.

Read more about these stories below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month or by subjects covered. If you'd also like to keep up with the latest developments during the month, don't forget our web marketing blog - we've included a summary of some recent stories from the past month at the end of this newsletter. You can also now follow us for regular updates on Twitter.

On to this month's edition...

10 ways to develop high quality links

Improving the search engine optimisation (SEO) of a website to achieve high ranking positions involves a wide range of factors, both on and off the site. The 'off site' factors largely revolve around links into a domain, and this has been a core factor of Google's success since this search engine first launched over 10 years ago. It is therefore an essential element that websites can't ignore but one that can often be hard to achieve.

Although website marketers can create a highly optimised website through a combination of factors such as page content, title tags and design, it can still be difficult to achieve good ranking positions on Google if there are few links directed at the site. This remains an important difference in Google's search results and it will usually but not always follow that the better the 'link popularity' of a website, the better chance it will have of ranking well for its target search terms.

Link building should therefore be a core part of a search engine marketing strategy and one that needs to be developed as an ongoing strategy through many different routes. It often needs to be creative and it can be time-consuming, but the rewards in terms of higher ranking positions and more visitor traffic to a website can be immense.

A recent article on the SEOmoz.org website in the US listed what are considered to be the most important SEO factors, as voted by over 70 practitioners in the field. A section on link development listed the following top 10 factors that are considered to be vital in achieving good ranking value from links, in descending order of importance:

  1. Keyword-Focused Anchor Text from External Links which means that links gained from other sites should use relevant keywords in the text link that relate to the content of the target page (such as Google AdWords training)
  2. External Link Popularity this reflects the overall quantity and 'quality' of external links into a website. Google places a strong emphasis on this issue and the quality factors are covered by some of the other points listed here.
  3. Diversity of Link Sources ideally there should be a large number of links coming from many unique root domains
  4. Page-Specific 'TrustRank' this indicates that a page has attracted links into it from 'trusted' sources, such as government (.gov) or educational (.edu) websites
  5. Iterative Algorithm-Based, Global Link Popularity this is essentially Google's PageRank calculation, a complex mathematical formula based on the exchange of hyperlinks around the web
  6. Topic-Specificity / Focus of External Link Sources ideally external links to a web page should come from topically relevant pages or websites that are relevant to the target page
  7. Keyword-Focused Anchor Text from Internal Links internal links within a website are also important, particularly within body content
  8. Location in Information Architecture of the Site a link from the Home Page of an external site can be much more important than one from a directory level page deep within the site
  9. Internal Link Popularity similar to item 7 above, the number and 'quality' of internal links within a site can be important, not just to the Home Page but to other core pages of the site
  10. Quantity & Quality of 'Nofollow' Links to the Page the 'nofollow' command within HTML code can reduce the value of inbound links (such as from blogs) but may still have a small impact on the overall link popularity of a site.

So, as can be seen from this list, there are a number of considerations when developing the link popularity of a website, such as having relevant keywords in the text of external links to a website's page on that topic being a key factor. The quality and diversity of the links, as well as the level of trust and the PageRank of the sites upon which they are placed are also important factors.

If you would like to know more about developing a link building strategy and how the Web Marketing Workshop can help, please contact us now.


New Internet advertising figures released for the past quarter

The latest quarterly figures on Internet advertising in Australia have just been released by IAB Australia and they show that the market has recorded continued growth during the tough economic period. The total spend for the latest quarterly period, ending 30th September, reached $466 million, the highest total recorded to date.

The new Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER) has been compiled for the IAB by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as usual, using available data or estimates of advertising spend in the period covered. Although the latest quarterly figures have reached new highs, the year-on-year growth against the same period in 2008 was only up by 3%.

The Search and Directories sector, which is dominated by Google AdWords, is continuing to show healthy growth, despite actual figures from Google being unavailable, so the trend is largely based on market estimates. In total, this sector accounted for 51% of the total online advertising market in Q3 of 2009, and an increase of 12% on the same period a year ago. General Display accounted for 26% of the market and Classifieds 23%, although both of these sectors showed a decline in value compared to the same period a year ago, down 3.8% and 5% respectively.

For the first time, the latest report also captured the online advertising expenditure within the General Display category for the specific media of video, email, CPM (cost per thousand, often referred to as 'brand') as well as direct response (often referred to as 'performance') advertising. Online video advertising which represented 4% of the General Display category, is on par with figures seen in the US and UK, and is expected to increase sharply in future quarters. Email advertising was 6.5% of General Display whilst CPM advertising (mostly banner advertising) made up 75% of the category, with only 22% reported for response and 3% for a hybrid classification that combines these two forms of advertising.

Overall the online advertising industry is continuing to show healthy growth compared to recent declines of other advertising markets in Australia, so that the online share of the total market of the $13 billion Australian advertising industry continues to grow. However, this continued growth, although slowing against the previous year, continues to come from search advertising sector and particularly Google AdWords in Australia, as more and more companies enter this market to promote their businesses through targeted search marketing.

A spokesman for IAB Australia said that "With continued industry developments in online audience measurement, research demonstrating the effectiveness of online advertising in influencing consumers' purchasing decisions and behaviours, and maturing self-regulatory standards and best practice guidelines, online is now a trusted, core and essential component of effective marketing communications."

If you'd like to know more about these figures and the trends for Internet advertising, please contact us now for a discussion.


Google's Promoted Videos available in Australia

Google Australia recently announced on its blog the introduction of their new service, "Promoted Videos". This is a new way to place videos on YouTube (as well as on other video related sites) and to make it easier for people to find these videos. Having been tested in the US for a period, this feature is now being rolled out to other countries and provides new marketing opportunities for video content.

Promoted Videos works in a similar way to Google's Adwords system, in that advertisers will be able to compete on keywords on a price-per-bid basis and drive traffic to their videos, after they have chosen the best site to place them upon (such as relevant YouTube search results pages, video watch pages, and Google's publisher network). There are also 'Call-to-Action overlays' in Promoted Videos, whereby advertisers will be able to add a clickable overlay to their videos, allowing them to drive viewers to a website off YouTube. This means that advertisers can track the performance of a video and whether viewers are converting into customers.

The idea of Promoted Videos is to help advertisers find a relevant audience for their videos and quickly get a decent number of views of them. There are reportedly 20 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, so it's currently not easy to make a video stand out from the crowd, particularly in the business market. Google has now taken the opportunity to target those willing to pay for a placement and will undoubtedly reap extravagant rewards from doing this,such is the popularity of YouTube and other video sites.

Google's aim is not only increase its revenue from Adwords advertising though, but to broaden the functionality of its current campaign management tools, whilst simultaneously giving searchers an enhanced ability to find particular videos. So it appears that it will be a win-win-win formula that will increase in popularity in relation to the rapid speed that the demand for online video viewing and placement has grown in recent years.

If you would like to find out more about Promoted Videos and the opportunities for the Australian market, please contact us now.


Recent articles from The Marketing Workbench

The Marketing Workbench is our regular web marketing blog covering news and comment on Internet marketing events and trends. If you want to keep track of current stories you can visit this section of our website on a regular basis, or set up an RSS feed. These are just some of the items posted over the past month:


We hope you've found this month's issue useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website's performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.