Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Google Caffeine: how will it affect the rankings of your web pages?

Google Caffeine is the name given to Google's next algorithm update that is going live after the holidays. It seems that Google Caffeine will be more than Google's regular updates. It will probably be a major overhaul of the calculations that Google uses to rank web pages.

CaffeineWhat is going to change?

Of course, Google hasn't revealed the details of Google Caffeine yet. However, the new index has been live on some test servers and some Google employees also talked about the next index. The following factors might play a larger role in Google's next index:

  • Website speed: if you have a slow loading website, it might not get high rankings on Google.

  • Broken links: if your website contains many broken links, this might have a negative impact of the position of your web pages in Google search results.

  • Bad neighborhoods: Linking to known spammers and getting a lot of links from known spammers isn't good for your rankings in Google's current algorithm. The negative impact of a bad neighborhood will probably be even worse with Google Caffeine.

  • The over-all quality of your website: Google's new algorithm probably will take a closer look at the over-all quality of your website. It's not enough to have one or two ranking factors in place.

    You'll probably need good optimized content, a good website design with a clear navigation, good inbound links, a low bounce rate, etc. The number of social bookmarks might also play an increased role.

Factors like the age of a website, its past history, authority etc. will still play a role in Google's new index. However, the effect of the different factors on your rankings will shift.

How can you adjust your web pages to Google's new Caffeine index?

Although Google's Caffeine update hasn't been release yet, there are some things that you can do to increase the chances that your website will get good rankings in Google's new index:

  • Remove all spam elements from your web pages. Anything that might be considered spam can and will have a negative effect on the position of your web pages sooner or later. This includes text that has nearly the same color as the background, cloaking and fully automated linking systems.

  • Check your website design and the navigation of your website. Your website should have a professional look and feel. The navigation should be easy to understand and your web pages should easily be parseable by search engine spiders. You can test this with the search engine spider simulator in IBP (Select Tools > Search Engine Spider Simulator in IBP's main window).

  • Get links from social bookmark websites. Social bookmark links already play a role in Google's current algorithm and that role might increase.

  • Check your links. You shouldn't link to websites that look like spammers. It's better to focus on selected quality links instead of as many links as possible.

Google Caffeine is going to be released after the holidays. If you follow the tips above, your website will be in a good position when Google's new index will be online.


My blog MBA Internet Marketing Manager

Friday, November 13, 2009

Does AdSense makes sense?

This is the question for many of us working in online advertising.
No doubt AdSense is a great tool. It basically gives you money without doing practically no sales efforts. You just sit back and focus on your content or on traffic generation and AdSense will take care of your income.
That sound great for a good blog, a small magazine or a niche site, but of course... there's no free lunch. Some say the share Google gets from each dollar advertisers pay is as high as 50%. Other estimates put that between 20%-30%. In any case 20%-50% is big slice of the pie, specially if you have a lot of traffic and that's your revenue generation model.

What if your website has a million visitors per month?

What if you have 10 or 20 million banner impresions per week?

Then maybe AdSense is not that great anymore... or at least It's worth to re-think the way you use Google AdSense.

I'm the General Manager of a company called e-Holding. Our network of websites has around 3 million visits per month and I'm currently trying to answer the two questions posted above.
Of course we generate some money through AdSense but that's not what worries me. What worries me is how much money I'm leaving on the table (meaning giving it away to Google) by not selling that advertising space by my own salesforce.
I'm sure lots of other media companies have the same concerns. Although I still don't have a definitive answer, I think Advertisers in the same situation that I have could benefit from the following guidelines:

  • It's a gradual process: It's not about cutting 100% of Google AdSense and trying to sell all your Ad space through your salesforce. If you want to get more share of revenue, you can start by cutting AdSense from your premium Ad space and leaving it active on the less atracctive places.
  • Training of your salesforce: You can't cut AdSense if your salesforce does'nt have the capacity or skills to sell directly to clients. That takes time. In the meantime, you'll still generate marginal revenue by leaving AdSense, even on premium spots. As soon as your salesforce is ready, start by taking it out from your premium spots.
  • Block key Advertisers: If you approach some advertisers through your direct salesforce they'll usually respond: "Why will I buy from you directly if I can run Ads on your website through AdSense". The advertiser will probably pay more or less the same (maybe a little less through AdSense). The difference is that through a direct sale you as publisher get 100% of the revenues, while through AdSense you get between 20% and 50% less. AdSense has some tools for publishers that allow you to block specific advertisers. You can star here. This way you don't cut out completely your adsense income but at the same time give your salesforce mor chances to sell directly and generate higher revenues.
These are just some thoughts... I still don't have a definite answer about what to do with AdSense...Should I take it out completely? Why? Why not? What other criteria should I be taking into account?
Maybe you can help me a bit... comments are open

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

eBay vs Amazon: The buyer's perspesctive

A while ago I wrote a couple of articles about Amazon vs. eBay focused on the seller’s perspective. Now, here’s my view on both marketplaces fron the other point of view: the end consumer; the buyer.

On a feature by feature analysis, this would be a very concise summary of the buying experience in both eBay and Amazon from my standpoint.

BUYERS Perspective





Higher average fees translate to higher average prices


Lower average fees prices means lower prices for the end consumer


FIXED Price Format


Average sale Price


Amazon buyers tend to focus more on product condition than price.


eBay, by its nature, is competitive and draws buyers looking for the lowest possible prices.

Payment Methods

Only Credit / Debit cards or AMAZON payments



Besides credit and debit cards, eBay sellers can accept PayPal, money orders, cashier's checks or cash (in person)

Return Policy


“A-Z Guarantee” favors the Buyers


NO Buyer Guarantee, only a “Resolution Center” that works sometimes



Buyer always knows the shipping cost

(Amazon sets the shipping cost)


Variable shipping costs, dependant on sellers.

Web experience – Personalization tools


No doubt, Amazon is probably the best online store available

Doesn’t have as many personalization tools, cross selling, A/B testing methods, etc as Amazon. The buying experience is

Summing it up, Amazon is a better online experience for the buyer… but at higher average prices than eBay. Both are perfectly valid options for online shopping and just as in “brick and mortar” retail stores some prefer to buy at WalMart and some at Target, on Internet the different mix of service/price also gives consumers more options to choose from.
My personal favorite... Amazon. I don’t care if they’re cents more expensive on average. .. so far, no other online retailer has been able to create a better experience than Amazon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reciprocal links: Are they useful or not?

Reciprocal links are discussed controversially among search engine marketers. Some think that reciprocal links are great, others think that they are a waste of time, another group thinks that reciprocal links work to some degree.

Great or crap?

What do search engine marketers think about reciprocal links?

There are three main factions:

  • Group 1: reciprocal links have no effect at all on the position of a website in the search results on Google.

  • Group 2: reciprocal links work just like any other inbound links.

  • Group 3: there's a threshold value. For example, you shouldn't have more than 33% reciprocal inbound links.

Which group is right and should you use reciprocal links with your website or not?

Is there a threshold value for reciprocal links?

Webmasters in group 3 think that a high number of reciprocal links is a red flag for search engines. The idea behind this is that links should not be trusted if (for example) 100% of a site's inbound links are reciprocal.

However, this is not really a good indicator. If high quality websites do link to each other, they won't harm their rankings in any way.

For some sites, it is normal to have a high reciprocity percentage

Link building expert Eric Ward recently did a test. He found out that there are websites for which it is perfectly normal that they have almost 100% reciprocal links.

The more specific the topic of a website is, the more likely it is that it will have a high reciprocity percentage. As an example, Eric Ward used the website of "The Southeastern Bat Diversity Network", an organization with a goal to "conserve bats and their habitats in southeastern North America through collaborative research, education, and management."

The top sites in that subject are all linked back and forth to all other websites that write about bats. This is not surprising and it shows that a high number of reciprocal links can also be a sign of high quality. It depends on the topic of the website.

If the websites were about different topics, then the reciprocal links would look suspicious.

Should you use reciprocal links for your website or not?

You don't have to worry if a link is a reciprocal link or not. That does not matter. Reciprocal links are neither good nor bad. They are just links and it always depends on the individual link whether it is a good link or a bad link.

If a link comes from a website that is related to your website then it is a good link. If the other website is related to yours then you can link back and this won't cause any problems. As long as you make sure that the links make sense to your website visitors then everything is okay.

You can use IBP's link building tool to get links to your website. IBP can help you with one-way links, reciprocal links, links from blogs, links from related websites, links from Internet directories and much more. It is a spam-free link building tool that helps you to get high quality links.

Copyright by

MBA Internet Marketing Manager

Monday, September 7, 2009

5 Steps website layout design tutorial

“You can find part one of this article in the following link “Website Architecture Tutorial: 5 steps to design a website””

3. Define “How”

  • Now It´s time to propose how’d you like all the “Whats” defined in step 2 to function.
  • For this step is very important to let go your imagination and creativity. Don’t think of costs, development time or anything else that could restrain your creative power. Just brainstorm with your peers and come up with as many creative ideas as you can.
  • The only restriction here is that you can only brainstorm about the things you defined in step 2, otherwise you’d end up losing focus.

4. Prioritize

  • This is the part of the process where you have to decide what are actually going to implement, what are you going to leave for version 2.0 and what are you going to discard.
  • You have to revise one by one all the suggestions made in step three and evaluate each one of them.
  • At this point is very important to have some thecnical staff in the decision making process, because the most important criteria to go ahead or discard a suggestion is a basic “Cost/Benefit” Analysis. You might have a clear idea about the benefits but to have an accurate estimation about development time, software/hardware costs, maintenance, etc, you need the technical staff advice.
  • In this step and the one before, it’s very important to separate the creative process from the analytic one. Starting to analyze your options too early, restrains creativity and you could end up with less alternatives or alternatives with lower quality if you do both processes at the same time.
  • Always be focused and doublecheck if what you are actually approving, is directly related to solve the problems defined in step 1.

5. Design

  • Finally… after all these steps, you design.
  • The objective here is to translate everything you’ve stated and prioritized so far into a graphic interface. It will not be very difficult because you already know What you need to include (and what not) and have an idea of How you want it to function.
  • Everything you’ve put into your design comes from a specific objective and solves a specific problem. There will be no “useless” features here, no ”wasted” screen space and no time invested in programming code that will not be used
  • Iteration. Check if your first layout is what you really need and you haven’t leave anything important out of it. If that’s the case, repeat steps 2 - 4 one or two more times until you’re comfortable with the end result.
  • After you have your basic layout (in a piece of paper or basic HTML), maybe the two or three most important screenshots, you call your programmers and design team and start developing your website/application