Were you online today between 9 and 10:45 a.m. ET? Did you notice anything different about the sites you were visiting? Perhaps they looked a bit less cluttered than usual. If this was something you came across, you witnessed Google’s DoubleClick ad Server was down. Instantaneously, publishers began losing out on millions of dollars in revenue. This was a large hit to many publishers as Google’s advertising platform provides them with a large portion of the earnings they bring in daily to their sites.
While this was occurring, there was an aspect of the Internet that stayed exactly the same and continued to function earning publishers revenue. It has been apart of the web since the beginning and has earning potential that must not go unrecognized. It is the link. Links are an integral part of any online strategy as they seamlessly connect readers to the merchants and products they seek. In this form of marketing, the publisher writes editorial content and links to products, leaving the “advertising” to the landing page of the merchant’s site. The ad itself doesn’t exist on the publisher’s site at all.
The web without banner ads is not only more enjoyable, but allows readers to focus solely on the editorial content that publisher’s work so hard to produce. We think publishers deserve credit for sending readers where they want to go, and that’s exactly why we are delivering them value.
Written by Hanna Fritzinger
Tags: adtech, businessinsider, doubleclick ad, Google, links, tech, VigLink Posted in News and Updates
Monday marked the launch of the Google News Publisher Center, a new feature of Google News that allows publishers to dictate how Google indexes their site. Most top publishers spend hours generating engaging and relevant content, however that’s not enough to drive traffic to their site. Until Monday, publishers could only hope Google would predict the layout of their site correctly and pick up on any recent formatting changes.
For example, ELLE one of our coveted publishers, categorizes their site by fashion, beauty, accessories, culture, etc. With this new feature ELLE can label the different segments of their site from the Publisher Center, therefore enabling Google to efficiently categorize the content. If ELLE decides to delete the “beauty” category from their site or add a “lifestyle” category, they would subsequently go to the Publisher Center and ensure those changes are made. This will result in more accurate Google News results, which is beneficial for ELLE, Google, and readers.
The Google News Publisher Center can be simply explained as a tool that gives publishers the power to edit Google’s records, thus putting power and responsibility into the hands of publishers. It is now up to them to attentively keep information in their Publisher Center portal up to date, simultaneously relieving pressure from Google Support.
What do you think about the latest advance in Google News?
Tags: best practice, elle, Google, publishers, tech, VigLink Posted in News and Updates, Publisher Best Practices, Publisher Spotlight
We have long stated our belief in the power of links on the web. We integrate them into the content of your site, promoting a seamless user experience for your readership and a revenue source for you. And now, Google has caught onto to the potential of this form of native advertising. For those of you who don’t know what Google Adwords is, they are the ads that appear next to your Google search results which drive traffic and revenue.
Dynamic sitelinks, the newest feature of Google Adwords, will still have the original link to the homepage of the website as it always has, but additionally have links to different pages of the site. Instead of offering potential customers one place to click, they’ll now have multiple opportunities. If this sounds familiar maybe our newest product, Spotlight, is ringing a bell! Google is already seeing success with this new technology, and we’re not surprised. With further advances and developments on the web there will be more of a push toward native advertising and using links to bring customers to your site. After all, did you know you’re more likely to get hit by lightening than click on an irrelevant banner ad?
Tags: Dynamic Sitelinks, Google, google search, links, Native Advertising Posted in News and Updates
Google announced Hummingbird at the end of September and we felt it was time to review what this actually means for you (publishers) and quash any fears you may have about its effects. The good news – the changes are mostly positive for content creators (woop!). Jenny Stowemarket writes for www.WhoIsHostingThis.com and works in online marketing and is familiar with the recent updates in Google. She has kindly agreed to share her insights on why this change is great for bloggers.
The last two large-scale algorithm updates Google released—Panda and Penguin—continue to cause ripples throughout the Internet, and for the most part, not in the most positive ways. A lot of sites are still trying to recover traffic and revenue lost as a result of those updates’ initial releases. So when news broke about Google’s latest big update, Hummingbird, there was understandably a moment of panic among digital marketers and businesses that rely on search for their traffic and revenue.
Not to worry. Hummingbird is actually here to help you.
Just as Panda barreled through, swinging its clawed paws through thousands of marginal sites, knocking them down in the SERPs, Hummingbird flits by, alighting ever so gently on sites that are moving, as Google is, toward more natural-sounding content. You may have to make a few adjustments to how you’re currently creating content, but if you embrace it, Hummingbird can be great for your blog.
Whether you’ve written your content yourself, or outsourced to a professional copywriter, it’s likely much of your content strategy hinged on keyword research. If Google Analytics told you someone landed on your site by searching for the phrase “buy red widgets online,” you turned around and made sure that phrase popped up in strategic areas of your site. Maybe you were even counting the number of times it appeared in your content, trying to hit some magical, mythical keyword density number.
Now you can throw that strategy out—to a degree. Of course keywords are still important. But they’re not everything. Rather than writing to keywords and search engines, you now have the freedom to truly write for people. You no longer have to contort your content to accommodate awkward search phrases. As long as you keep your content relevant, make sure it naturally contains your primary keywords (and if you’re just writing about your products, of course it will), and ensure your content is high quality, Hummingbird will smile upon your site.
In the same vein as writing naturally, Google Hummingbird means search intent is more important than ever. That’s a term that gets thrown around quite a bit, but think about what it really means for a moment. If someone searches for “best digital camera,” what do they mean by “best”? Highest quality? Lowest price? Most popular brand name? Search intent is all about context.
Keeping potential intent in mind will allow you to create content across a broader spectrum. It opens up possibilities for richer content that will speak to every intent for vague search terms like “best.” As of now, you should be bursting with ideas for new content that drills down into smaller niches and more specific meanings. And with every piece of content you create with a specific intent in mind, you cater to the person who searched with that intent. Serving up to people exactly what they’re looking for is a sure way to gain readers and customers, not to mention keep them coming back.
At first, this may not sound like a benefit to your blog. Why? Because quality takes time and costs money. But think for a moment about how Hummingbird and Panda are now working in tandem, one seeking out poor quality content, the other looking for more natural, organically created content. The blogs with the highest quality content are naturally going to rise to the top.
Not only is quality content going to help you in the SERPs, it’s going to go further to landing new customers, and securing conversions. Get into your customers’ heads for a moment. It’s easy. You’re a consumer too, right? What impresses you? If you go online to buy something, and the website selling it is full of errors, and is poorly designed or structured, and difficult to navigate, what does that make you think about the product they’re selling? Is it just as poorly designed? So while quality content is going to help you in search, it’s also going to help you convert casual visitors into customers. Quality breeds authority and trust. Never underestimate its power of quality free hosting.
Make no mistake, Google Hummingbird doesn’t mean you can just sit back, relax, and let the search engine do all the work for you. You must still work to gain or maintain a competitive edge in your vertical. However, there will undoubtedly be those out there who don’t heed Hummingbird’s move toward more natural search language, and who, either out of habit or just plain stubbornness, will stick to what they know—basing content on keywords.
Those who become or remain stagnant will begin to fall further and further behind, both in the SERPs and in sales. By not adjusting how they create content to accommodate semantic search and cater to search intent, a lot of marketers and businesses are going to deny themselves a lot of organic search traffic—and a lot of customers. This is true of any part of any business venture, really. If you don’t continue to evolve and keep up with industry changes, you will soon become obsolete, surpassed by those who make the effort to stay abreast of new developments. Continue to create high-quality, natural-sounding content, and you’re on your way to the front of the line—or the top of the SERPs.
One of the most important things to remember, though, no matter what algorithm update comes out next is not to put all your conversion eggs in one search engine basket. If you’re relying on Google (or any search engine) for all your traffic and all your sales, you’re missing out as well as setting yourself up for failure. Expand your marketing efforts beyond the search engines to see an even greater return. But no matter what marketing method you use, the ultimate goal is to bring people to your site, so make sure it’s a site worth your visitors’ time.
Tags: Bloggers, Google, Google Hummingbird, Hummingbird, publishers, top tips Posted in Guest Post, Relevant Reading
Audizine was founded a decade ago by Anthony Marino, a graphic artist and avid car enthusiast. He started the website as a place where he and his close knit group of friends could discuss all things automotive, namely their passion for Audi.
The site steadily grew and several years ago Anthony decided to focus full-time on building the auto-enthusiast community he started as a hobby. Today, the site boasts a comprehensive editorial section, photo gallery, video gallery and classifieds section, in addition to the forum component which was the initial draw.
The site also sees a sizable amount of traffic each month. Audizine has over 77,000 community members, and nearly 1 million readers visit the site each month, collectively viewing over 5.5 million pages.
Anthony driving a rare Audi Sport Quattro (courtesy Audi of America)
Anthony initially turned to Google AdSense banners and market-related sponsors to cover the costs of the site, but he chose to remain cautious when it came to other monetization methods.
“My number one responsibility is to the experience and safety of our members,” said Anthony. “While I do have costs to cover, I don’t want advertisements to impede on a reader’s ability to use the site effectively. Early on I made it a point to keep the site design clean and muted. I wanted the content to shine, and certainly not be filled with advertisements. I also went into it with the mindset that I didn’t need to be the biggest Audi-enthusiast site, but I did want to be the best.”
In regards to Google AdSense, that meant keeping ads below the site fold. And in the case of his direct relationships with advertisers, Anthony was careful to check each one out himself to verify a fit for his readers before accepting them onto the site.
Beyond AdSense and banner ads, Anthony is very careful about other monetization methods.
In late 2010, Anthony found VigLink. The solution’s seamless integration with content was appealing, but he was unsure how much revenue it would actually generate for his site. Because the solution appeared to be so unobtrusive, he decided to sign up and test the solution.
“The VigLink implementation was probably one of the most seamless ones we’ve had,” said Anthony. “And once VigLink was live on the site, I was extremely surprised by the amount of revenue that was coming in, particularly from something that is basically invisible. It’s the proverbial win-win!”
The VigLink service automatically affiliates outbound links to merchants and advertisers on the Audizine site, and also weaves new links into the content when it detects references to products. When a reader clicks on a link in the site’s content that goes to a qualified online merchant, VigLink ensures the site receives a payment or commission on the resulting sale, easily and automatically.
Today, VigLink comprises around 15% of Audizine’s monthly income. VigLink helps Anthony to continue focusing on what matters most to him: keeping Audizine a free-to-use and easy-to-navigate website with great content.
Tags: AdSense, Audi, Google, Hyperlink, Monetization, Publishing Posted in Publisher Spotlight