Major Google Organic Keyword change coming

Been a while since i (@evankrob) blogged but Phil Mui (@philmui), Vp of Google Analytics just tweeted a MAJOR announcement regarding Google’s organic search.

Phil announced that all google searches will be redirected to SSL for users who are logged in to their Google accounts. Link to tweet

While this is good news on the user privacy front, he also reported that Google Analytics will no longer receive query data and keywords from organic searches will be reported as “not provided.” Link to Tweet This is a major change and will rock the search marketing world in my opinion. With the number or gmail and google account users out there and growing, SEOs are about to stop getting a huge chunk of data.

This brings up a lot of questions and based on Phil’s response to me it seems this is being done for user-privacy reasons although I think we don’t have the full picture. If GA only reports user data as an aggregate then where is the privacy concern? Will they continue reporting Adwords data? Where is the concern there. Unless we are about to see user level data in GA I’m really confused by this move from Google. I’m hoping I can get a more detailed response from Phil soon.

Do you all see something I’m missing?

It’s Been a Good Day in the Web World

I wake up this morning to find myself quoted on the Freshbooks blog

and then find my boys @ Twiddy & Company got another shout out on another Google Blog here. Four links from Google, yea, I’ll take it.

Apple Store, A Victim of Apple’s Success

I was up at 5am yesterday and tried to pre-order the iPhone before my morning workout with no luck (my buddy Dan highlights the universal frustration with the pre-order process here). Error after error message I slowly broke down and decided to drag my butt to the Apple store after all I needed to get my MacBook Pro battery checked anyway.

Trips to the Apple store used to be a joyous moment. Fancy toys, good service & zero chaos. And then the iPhone happened. It used to be that only us geeks had iPhones but now everyone and their brother has an iPhone, iPad, MacBook or other Mac related product and it shows. No matter what time of day you go to an Apple store it is pure hell. People and kids running everywhere, grandma getting ever feature of her new iPhone explained to her and every Genius Bar appointment is booked for days in advance by people trying to figure out where the button is on their Magic Mouse.

As I was standing in the store looking around in circles trying to find someone to ask about getting my battery checked (a 3 minute check) I realized that the Apple Store I knew and loved is no more. I snagged an employee and asked to get my battery checked and she informed me that there were no more Genius appointments open today and they didn’t have time to check my battery. Holding back my frustration I then asked her if I could buy an iPhone3Gs for my girlfriend since I had just broke her 3G when she kindly informs me that I needed to check-in with an employee up front who would then put me in line with a customer service rep to help me out. So not only did I have to make an appointment to get my battery checked but had to essentially get an appointment to actually buy something. Unbelievable.

It’s pretty evident that the Apple brand has outgrown the Apple Store and w/o adjustments I’m predicting Apple customer service going through the same pain points that ended up hindering Microsoft and Dell in the eyes of the consumer.

Link Building with Sponsorships

I wanted to expand on the excellent SEJ post about link building with charities. There is another method that can also help people in need and help you build links as well, Project Sponsorship. I know the debate on buying links will not end until they stop working but Matt Cutts even mentioned sponsorships as a relevant link building technique in one of his Google Webmaster Tools videos (although I can’t find the video now).

Typical sponsorships with local projects, charities and businesses are not always easy to come by and typically cost a quite a bit of money or resources. Enter Kickstarter. From their website “Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.” And build links! Click around and read about the different projects people are hoping to get funded and see what interests you & who is offering links. Look around and you’ll see notes like “offering web credit” or some will outright say a link on their site.

Projects range from “Documenting the History of Maine’s Waterfront” (link) or helping a web series documenting the building of a new habitat for a Chimpanzee (link) to even funding a Facebook competitor (link) For as little as $1, but usually around $5 to $10 you can help fund a project that interests you and build links at the same time.

Like all link building it takes some time and effort but can reap rewards and you get the warm fuzzy feeling of helping someone reach follow through on their dreams. A win-win if you ask me.

Flashback to 3-years ago – Click Fraud and IP exclusion Still Important

As one of my many new year’s resolutions I was doing some house cleaning on my sites and stumbled upon this post I wrote back in 2007 about Google’s IP Exclusion tool.

I think it’s a topic that needs to be revisited. I’ve seen consistent increase in competition and CPC’s across my client base for the last several years and in order to be sure costs don’t increase as well, you need to be vigilant in stopping fraudulent clicks and spending on inefficient keywords.

I can’t tell you how to exactly do that because each account is unique but making sure you are on top of your analytics (bounce rate, conversion rate, CPC, cost per conversion, et al) along with proper geo-targetting and IP exclusion will go a long way staying ahead of the game.

check out my thoughts on IP exclusion

Two Local Entrepreneurs Launch

The informational website offers party-goers a one-stop shop for checking out all Raleigh has to offer for New Year’s Eve

(Raleigh) – Lisa Jeffries, owner of Raleighwood Media Group + Raleighwood Event Group and Evan Roberts, owner of local search marketing company, Search Sage have announced a joint venture aimed at bringing local party-goers an informational web guide to all that the Capital City and its surrounding areashave to offer this New Year’s Eve.

The site,, goes above and beyond the traditional online event listing site to offer visitors a chance to narrow down their search by certain preferences like location, cover charge price ranges, dinner offerings, live music performances, and more. For each listing, contact information is provided for the host venue so that those who find their perfect New Year’s Eve fit can also make the next step in establishing contact, and if necessary, reservations or ticket purchases for the evening ahead of time. They can also share their favorites with their own contacts and social networks and check out maps for each destination
“Like a lot of great ideas, this one started during a conversation in a bar”, jokes Jeffries. “I was sitting at the new Isaac Hunter’s Oak City Tavern<
(http://www.HuntersOakCity.comwith one of the owners, Zack, and we were trying to figure out what everyone was doing for New Year’s. We both remembered being invited to parties here and there on facebook, but since that medium is becoming increasingly crowded; we hadn’t paid much attention to the details for each. That’s when I started keeping a list as to who (as in venues) were doing what.”

“It was when I had this conversation two more times – once with Evan (he asked for a recommendation for somewhere nice he could treat his girlfriend to on New Year’s Eve) and once with friends from out of town (who wanted to have a plan made before their arrival in Raleigh on the 31st) – that I knew there was a significant need for something like this. Something individuals and venue-owners alike could add to and benefit from. Before I knew it, Evan and I had this whole project online and we were ready to share it with everyone”, adds Jeffries.

“I’ve been frustrated with other local websites for some time, but trying to find New Year’s Eve information specifically was nearly impossible,” says Roberts. It reinforced the idea for me that Raleigh needed a website that was user-friendly enough to be helpful to people who are aren’t interested in combing twenty different websites to find what they’re looking for. is just the tipping point, so I’m really excited for what we’ll be able to do after this!

In addition to listings for New Year’s Eve events, restaurants, bars, service providers, and the like can also place premium relevant advertisements on the site for as little as $10.00 a day. “We wanted to offer local businesses a really affordable way to add some extra impact to their New Year’s Eve marketing, on top of a basic listing. So many of them are locally-owned and add a lot of the economic prosperity of our area, it’s hard not to want to add a little something extra for them… but at a price that doesn’t require a year’s worth of investment”, notes Jeffries.

For more information, visit http://www.RaleighNYE.comor email

About started as a joint venture between Lisa Jeffries, owner of Raleighwood Media Group + Raleighwood Event Group, and Evan Roberts, owner of Search Sage. In a casual conversation one day about the vast array of options that Raleigh has to offer for New Year’s Eve, we quickly realized there was not a “one-stop shop” for that information… or at least one where you could pick and choose your destination based on your preferences. So we set out to create – the place for all of your Raleigh New Year’s Eve details! Visit to check out all that our great area has to offer this December 31st!

More Google Wave Invites

I have 20+ more Google Wave invites to give out. If you’re willing to offer a link you’ll get higher priority 🙂 just be sure to fill out your email section in the comments and I’ll get in touch.

Links Links and More Links

I’m re-gurga-blogging today and just throwing up some interesting links from around the web via my Google Reader (and some I’ve had open meaning to talk about). – WebmasterWorld forum users are trying to put a list together of all 200 Google Ranking factors….GOOD LUCK! – Google dropping the ban-hammer on Adwords accounts and not letting up – Google blog explains their new ad formats, pretty sweet! One of those is the new Product Ads which Big G explains to us on the Adwords Blog here – 85% needed to pass the Google Advertising PE exam, which for $50 is a rip.  Google needs to offer out some more Adwords Exam promo codes! – Ever see an Analytics Keyword report showing 0 visits for a keyword, I have, here is why:

This is likely due to visitors to your site visited your site via two different methods in the same session.  For example if a visitor originally reached your site from “keyword A”, navigated back to the search engine, performed another search and clicked on “keyword B” and came to your site again, you would see one visit for “keyword A” in your report and 0 visits for “keyword B”. – -Custom Alerts, you NEED to be using them, here is what they are and how you can set’em up.. this is an old one but after using it I need to give Google some big props. This can dramatically change the way you value the content network.  If your content ad shows to a user and they eventually convert on your site, you’ll know!  The old marketing adage “a customer must see your ad 12 times before they remember you” now has a way to measure!  I’m excited. More on it here

Google offers a help session via Picturs on Picasa. Here and here

That is all for now, I’ve got to go cook Thanksgiving dinner, happy bidding!

Google Wave Invites For All

If you’re interested in a Google Wave invite, leave me a message why you think PPC Lab is the bomb and I’ll send one your way. Ok you don’t have to lie, you can just tell me why you deserve a Google Wave invite. I’ve got a “whole mess” of them to give out.

Using Twitter for Link-building SEO

Twitter is blowing up, that’s no secret, but use SEOs are still trying to come up with creative ways to use it to our benefit.  I had an idea while talking to a client over a premium-lager about searching for  people looking for or using a product similar to the one they are trying to push.  By doing this you are able to converse with this people and develop a connection, after all we know (or should know by now) that social media is a conversation.  Don’t try to sell on twitter, just try and connect.  I found this video by Will Reynolds who does a good job explaining a similar concept on how to use twitter for link building.  Check it out

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