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News from the World of Search Engine Marketing

By Shari L.S. Worthington

In preparation for the 5th Annual ISA Marketing & Sales Summit, September 1-3, 2010, Atlanta, I thought I'd give you a sneak preview of a few of the topics I'll be covering in more detail next month.

Google Updates Adwords Trademark Policy

Google will no longer prevent PPC advertisers from selecting a third party's trademark as a keyword in certain EU countries. This is a big change of direction for Google, which has long supported the rights of trademark owners. But a March 2010 EU ruling has changed their direction. So as of September 14, 2010, trademarks as keywords will no longer be restricted in most European countries. Companies concerned about trademark infringement in these countries can still complain, but must use a third party.

Note that this applies to trademarks as keywords. Google also does not investigate the use of trademarks in display URLs. There is still a restriction on trademarks in ad text.

This change does NOT affect Google's policy about trademarks in ad copy. Google will only allow the trademark holder to freely use its trademarks. But, in some cases, Google will allow some ads to show with a trademark in ad text if the ad is from a reseller or from an informational site. However, if Google finds that the advertiser is using the trademark in the ad text in a manner which is "competitive, critical, or negative," they will require the advertiser to remove the trademark and prevent them from using it in similar ads in the future.

Read more about Google's trademark policy.

How Google Works

The algorithms that control how Google indexes and ranks web sites are incredibly complex. Here is a great visual description of how the process works (courtesy of Click here to open a large version of the image.

According to Google:

The software behind our search technology conducts a series of simultaneous calculations requiring only a fraction of a second. Traditional search engines rely heavily on how often a word appears on a web page. We use more than 100 signals, including our patented PageRank algorithm, to examine the entire link structure of the web and determine which pages are most important. We then conduct hypertext-matching analysis to determine which pages are relevant to the specific search being conducted. By combining overall importance and query-specific relevance, we're able to put the most relevant and reliable results first.

The bottom line, today as always, is generate the best possible content and fine-tune the coding on each web page to ensure that Google quickly crawls, indexes, then ranks it.

Google and Low Page Quality

Google is ever mindful of its reputation for providing high quality search results. But they do want to see honest companies rank well (and they want your ad dollars), so they provide guidelines on how your pages are doing in terms of quality. The reason you care about your pages quality scores is that it will affect the ranking. And for PPC, it will affect the price you pay for a particular ranking. The lower the page quality, the lower the ranking and the higher the pay per click price you pay for the ranking you do achieve.

Make sure you are keeping things on the straight and narrow. Google notes that they regularly receive complaints from users about web sites that seem a bit shady:

  • Arbitrage sites that are designed for the purpose of displaying ads.

  • Low quality affiliate sites, such as poor comparison shopping or aggregation sites whose primary purpose is to send users to other comparison sites rather than to provide useful content or additional search functionality.

  • "Get-rich quick" sites.

  • Sites that go against Google's Software Principles, such as malware sites that install software on a visitor's computer.

  • Sites that feature false or misleading claims or misappropriated content (including competitive claims, generic superlatives, unauthorised use of trademarks or copyrighted content, false endorsements, scams and other types of false or deceptive claims and content).

  • Sites that go against Google's Webmaster Guidelines, such as those that use cloaking or other inappropriate technologies.

  • Data collection sites that offer free items, etc. in order to collect private information.

This last one is a potential problem as it seems to include targeted landing pages, a mainstay for increasing conversions in PPC campaigns. To do landing pages right, make sure they are rich in keyword content and offer useful information, not just a form to complete. Remember, your PPC keyword quality score is a combination of your keywords, the PPC ad copy, and the quality of the landing page.

For help creating your search marketing program, contact the experts at Telesian: search engine optimization and pay per click advertising.