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March 14, 2009


Note To Small Business Owners: Unlearn

by Anthony Verre

The Need To Unlearn

It went official this week: Google now has behaviorally-targeted PPC Ads.  Before we talk about the ramifications of this act on small/business owners, let’s figure out what this actually means.

Explaining Google Behaviorally-Targeted PPC Ads System:

Small/Business Owners Need To Unlearn Their Obsession With Rank

Small/Business Owners Need To Unlearn Their Obsession With Rank

  1. Mar 15 2009

    Let’s not forget that SEO is a young field. With millions of advertisers and users, wouldn’t you want something more targeted to your patterns. This is somewhat similar to our grocery coupons on the back of our receipts that target what we buy. Is it too far or welcomed?

  2. Mar 19 2009

    Really great posts on this blog and some interesting thoughts here. I still need to dig into the demographics on content network, I’m anxious to see if it will provide any insight, have you tested? I believe all of Googles data from all of it’s services intersect in some ways and possibly leave a algorithmic footprint or impression in unexpected ways. Or maybe Google is just broken. 🙂

    An example of this would be 2 of my sites:

    Goto Google and search for “chicago heating repair”
    In google maps, look for my (under construction) website is found for “chicago heating repair” in Google Maps

    I’m almost 100% I know what happened but need to do further testing before making an ass of myself.

    If you have any thoughts on the subject or would like to discuss sometime please contact me through one of the websites, Cheers!

  3. Lauren
    Mar 20 2009

    Actually, the new behavioral targeting only affects those text ads on the content network, not within search. This change actually has little to do with rankings, and this non-search type of behavioral targeting has been around in online ads for ages.

    The other change, however, (and the one that happened long ago, so it’s not really breaking news) is the targeting based on IP address. And Google has been saying it since the middle of 2008.

    In terms of brands gaining more trust since the algorithm change, Matt Cutts recently addressed this in one of his YouTube discussions. The change doesn’t affect a majority of queries, and doesn’t necessarily put brands first. Most people, and most small businesses, will not notice this change in the online landscape.

    The one real truth here is that there is a decreasing importance on specific search rankings due to how people search and how search engines are interpreting that data. But this is just joining Bruce Clay and others in the long-standing chant of “Ranking is dead.” What’s more important is what comes next, and how we evolve. Turning attention to semantic web and new forms of engine information parsing is more useful than cursing the changes Matt Cutts and company have implemented last year.

    • Mar 24 2009


      A few points of contention with your comment. (Not that I like to argue or nit-pick)

      1) The Google Blog: not once do they actually mention the name “content network”. Of course it’s implied, but why not come out and say it for concerned “users” who might not want specific targeting? And, if you read between the lines, it also implies they are/will be in the near future applying these behavioral-targeting techniques to actual SERPs. So, Lauren, I like to think that just as you speculated how and where these behaviorally-targeted ads will appear to users, I too can extrapolate and speculate from the information read and project they are already using this within Search-Based Results.

      2) You are correct, they have been talking about IP Targeting for some time. But how many users/marketers actually knew this and know that it affects their search results? Not as many as you would think. Of course it’s no big secret, but it’s always important to keep the base information in front of people.

      3) Do I trust Matt? Yes. Do I necessarily believe everything he says? No. And neither should you. Unfortunately, this change will affect search results, and just because Matt Cutts “says” it shouldn’t, doesn’t necessarily mean it will. We’ll all have to wait and see on that one.

      Lastly, there is more than “one real truth” here. There are several truths here with the larger focus on “goal conversion” and through-put, instead of rank. I’m talking about SEO that is more than gray-hat techniques for keyword stuffing/density and link building. I’m talking about a fully fluid SEO that is well-versed in all forms of website marketing: usability, lead maximization, brand-building and monitoring, as well as SEO.

      Remember, Google, while there motto may be “Do no evil”, is a company. Evil is part of the playbook. They’re in this to profit just as all of us are. So taking everything they’ve ever put on the web/paper as gospel is just silly and naive. I point you to the Google -60 Penalty and Filtered Search Positions. They do what they have to make more money.

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