Blog Postings for 2009

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Monday, December 14, 2009: Google's Real Time Search If you tweet, can you get into the top results at Google? Let's try this.

I searched Google for a hot topic, such as "apple tablet". There were no real-time results (RTR). iphone? SEO? No RTR. No RTR for "global warming".

Let's try "tiger woods." Bingo. Every few seconds, his latest girlfriend.

So, if you tweet about your product, how long will you last at the top of Google? Let's measure... about 17 seconds. After 17s, your tweet scrolls off the page. How many people were looking that moment at your tweet?

Two lessons: 1) Google has very few Twitter feeds. Global warming talks are going on right now in Copenhagen, with tens of thousands of demonstrators. Yet not even "global warming" shows up in RTR. Only Tiger Woods gets a real-time feed. Google talks RTR, but does very little. They're not going to turn Google into a secondary page for Twitter.

2) What company could have anything that can be presented in a feed such as Tiger Woods? His sponsors are laying low right now. And if you had something, you'd get only 17 seconds of placement.

By the way, you can put a twitter feed on your website. Go to

Wednesday, December 02, 2009: What's My Rank in Google? This weekend, Google quietly rolled out personalized results to all users. If you're using your Google ID and you're logged into Google, then your search results are based on your search history and interests. Now, everyone gets personalized results.

"What is our ranking?" "Can we be #1 in Google?" Those are among the most common questions we get from clients. What does the change at Google mean?

There isn't "one Google search result". Every search result is tailored to the user. Let's say three people search for "apple". For me, who uses Unix or Windows, Apple is the Beatles' music company. For Laramie, who is a Certified Master Gardener (look it up), there are well over 700 types of apples. For Emily, Apple is a company that made her laptop computer. Google sees what each of us visit and after a while, Google delivers results that match our pattern. Each person get different results.

SEO is not about "be #1 in Google." There is no more "universal Google". You can't be #1 in everyone's search results. The real meaning of SEO is "be findable by your target audience, wherever they are looking for you."

The good news: Personalized searches make it MORE likely that your page will show up for your target audience. A garden supply store that has Ashmead's Kernel apple trees no longer has to compete for search engine ranking against Apple Corp (Beatles) or Apple Inc (Mac). Know your target audience. Be findable wherever they search.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009: Stephanie told me about this collection of 11 case studies that cover how companies in different industries tracked the ROI or results in their social media campaigns. Examples include consumer retail, enterprise, rock concerts, automobile, and so on. They measured their campaigns in social media and public relations (PR). The document includes names of tools and how they did this. See Social Media ROI Success Stories at (I am not affiliated with them. We subscribe to their service.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009: Our book Search Engine Marketing has been published in China by Tsing Hua University Press in Beijing. Tsing Hua, the leading technology university in China, is known as the MIT of China. Many thanks to Maggie Guan (co-author), Stephanie Cota (co-author), Emily Huang (proof reader), Roslyn Layton (co-author of the KPI chapter), Lili Knobloch (coordinator), and Bob Platkin, plus many more. We also thank the team at Tsing Hua University Press and McGraw-Hill China.

Last Friday, we also reached agreement with a publisher in Taiwan.

The China book has been completely updated and revised. We teach SEO, PPC, and analytics in a 3-day in-person course for Search Marketing Professionals.

Sunday, November 22, 2009: Dear Web Guy, What do you think of It tells me my SEO score. Does that really work? -- Perplexed in Peoria.

Dear Peoria,

In the beginning, SEO was a technical process: put keywords in the meta-tags, sprinkle keywords around the page, get lots of links: bingo, you showed up in Google. Basically, it fooled Google's algorithm. But search engines finally realized users don't want to see the page with the best SEO; users want to see the page with best answer to their query.

This means it's no longer sufficient to get a high rank by using links, meta-tags, keywords, etc. It's entirely possible for a page with zero keywords (no keywords in the meta-tags, the HTML, or the URL) and zero backlinks to rank #1 over pages with lots of keywords and high pagerank scores. (Yes, we know examples of this for highly-contested, highly-visible topics, and yes, we'll tell you how if you sign up for our SEO/PPC course or hire us :-)

As we wrote in our book, Google uses 10,000 humans to evaluate web pages. They look at the user's intent in the query. The Quality Raters choose what goes to the top of the search results page. They down-rank sites that are not relevant.

This means and similar tools give webmasters a false sense of success ("hey, I have 98 points!") that has nothing to do with how search engines actually rank pages. Ignore Write better pages.

Friday, November 20, 2009: Here's a Word Cloud of my blog. Use to create word clouds of a blog, yours or someone else.

Friday, November 13, 2009: I found out about Yahoo Alerts. It sends weather, breaking news, and alerts on any mention of a keyword to your phone via SMS. It's free (in comparison, Google Alerts can't use SMS and it doesn't include news or weather.) Go to 0 comments ://" title="Edit Post">

Thursday, October 29, 2009: The Berlin Wall: The 20th anniversary is coming up (Nov. 9, 1989). I'm getting requests for radio interviews and reprints of my article. Remember the wall? Read my story about the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Five million people were there in Berlin, and I was the only one who wrote about it.

Daryl Heron has a good collection of videos of key speeches by Kennedy and Reagan, plus the events at the Berlin Wall.

Nobody predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union. Not the CIA, the US military... None. The collapse took them by surprise and they had no idea what to do. Bush Sr. spent a year trying to figure out what to do. Thatcher in the UK actively tried to prevent the collapse of the wall.

Could it happen here? Could the USA collapse? For the last 40 years, American economic theory has been based on Milton Friedman. In fact, Friedman's economic theory stated it was impossible for a collapse to happen. Nobody realized Wall Street could collapse as it did in September 2008. We now have no economic model for the USA. Nobody understand why Wall Street collapsed and nobody knows how to fix it. Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize in Economics) wrote a wonderfully clear article about the state of American economic theory.

Sunday, October 11, 2009: The Infinite Web. Is the web infinite? Is everything on the web? A squirrel comes to my glass door and taps the glass; I give her a peanut or two. Last week, I saw one of the peanuts looked like a duck. People saw it and said "Hey, that peanut looks like a duck!" Someone joked I could sell it on eBay for $50,000.

So... I typed into a search engine "peanut looks like a duck." Guess what? There's a website for that:

Amazing. There's a website for literally everything.

Thursday, October 08, 2009: BusinessWeek is publishing a series of interviews on how Google manages search results. Rob Hob interviewed Scott Huffman (Director of the search results evaluation team); Udi Manber (Google vice-president of technology for core search); Amit Singhal (Director of the ranking team).

Interesting, but nothing new. They talked without saying anything.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009: On Adobe's Purchase of Omniture: What does this mean?

Many of you have been through an M&A (merger and acquisition). It's the same story: Adobe already has an HR department, finance, billing, etc., so many of those people at Omni will be fired, despite assurances from the CEOs. That dismays the other employees, so some of them will leave. Some in upper management will cash in their stocks and leave. It will take few months for regulators to approve the merger. And another nine months or more for the anaconda to swallow its prey, er, for Adobe to complete the merger. This means a year of confusion, slow sales, and unhappy customers. The top two enterprise competitors are Coremetrics and Unica, so they'll move in to poach customers, perhaps pick up a few experienced staffers, and perhaps start a FUD campaign.

Why would Adobe buy an analytics company? The purchase doesn't make sense. It doesn't fit into their line of products. Adobe sells end-user desktop design software, such as PhotoShop, fonts, PDF, and so on. Omniture is in an entirely different type of business. Forrester & others think Adobe can embed analytics into Flash. Yes, and you can already use Google Analytics to track Flash and it's free. But whatever. Adobe embeds Omni into Adobe PDF. What then? Will that be free to Adobe users? Or will they have to pay for it? $50 for Adobe PDF and... $30,000 for the analytics? And just exactly who installs this? Omni is not easy to install. Could Adobe offer Omni for free? It's too complex to install and configure for non-experts. If anyone thinks this could be free, they simply don't know what they are talking about.

So what is Omni? Omni isn't really an analytics company. They don't call themselves an analytics company. They say they do "business optimization", i.e., their suite of tools and services are used for global optimizing of an entire business strategy (marketing, leads, sales, etc.). And that REALLY doesn't fit into Adobe's product line. So I don't see a long future for Omni at Adobe. Analytics isn't really an issue for Adobe, so they won't pay full attention to it. But whatever. M&As often don't make sense.

What are the implications for the analytics industry? Not really much. "Adobe Analytics" (or whatever it will be called) will be around at least for a few years. Coremetrics & Unica are focused, so they will be a bit stronger. For the present, no major changes.

So the real issue is to see how Coremetrics and Unica react and adjust their future strategies.

Saturday, August 22, 2009: What ever happened to... Geocities? While we're talking about Facebook and Twitter, what about other social sites? Geocities let people create webpages. It became a vast community. In the late 90s, Geocities was #3 on the web and in 1999, Yahoo bought it for $3.6 billion. Geocities will close in Oct. 2009. Gone. When is the last time you visited a Geocities site?

Yes, this means you can have a site with tens of millions of visitors... and still not make money.
China Book: I finally finished the updates and revisions for the China edition of our book. It will be translated and published by Tsing Hua University, which is the MIT of China and the leading Chinese technical university. I'll be in Beijing in late November for the book release.

Thursday, July 02, 2009: Speaking on analytics in Palo Alto at the BMA (Business Marketing Association) on July 9th at 8:30 am (yes, morning). It's a breakfast meeting at Scott's. Here's the event invitation ($15 for non-members).

Monday, June 29, 2009: Tom Foremski at SVWatch writes how digitization destroys value. Everyone talks about "disruptive technologies" and "creative destruction" as good things, but after 17 years of the web, what we're getting is mostly disruptive destruction. Industries and jobs are being wiped out. That's great for a few VCs and a few mega-websites, but it doesn't create anything to replace what was destroyed for others.

Tom writes that these new technologies are 10X better and 10X cheaper. Actually, it's generally 1,000X better and 1,000X cheaper. My new car radio can play MP3s; just push a memory stick into the USB slot. Better than CDs; no skipping, it can't get scratched, and it's instantly changeable: just copy new albums and songs onto the memory stick. And forget FM radio; in comparison, it sounds muddy. USB memory sticks are free at trade shows. Tom points out that an album used to cost $15-20. But now, digital music is basically free. Anyway, read his article.

Thursday, June 04, 2009: So, how does Google rank pages? Google finally talks. A blog at The Wall Street Journal has a 3-part series of interviews on Google Quality Raters system. John Paczkowski (WSJ's blogger at All Things Digital) interviews Scott Huffman (Director of Engineering), Matt Cutts (Senior Engineer, Spam Team), and Amit Singhal (Google Fellow, works with the Search Quality team) (links below to the interviews).

The first interview includes a link to the Google Quality Rater manual (the 2007 edition). You can download this and see for yourself how Google's team of 10,000 (yes, ten thousand) contractors review and evaluate websites according to a long list of criteria.

In short: It's the QUALITY of the page, not SEO, that counts. A website can be SEOed to the gills, but the Google Quality Raters evaluate it and if they don't like it, Google engineers write new filters to block it.

Google uses humans, not software, to evaluate sites. The software does the heavy work (the indexing of billions of pages). But "bad" pages creep into the top results: either the filter was poor, the page is spam, or the page uses SEO tricks. So humans look at the top results, evaluate these, and the filters are adjusted. When they find bad pages, these are pushed down (Matt Cutts states that in the second interview.)

This means that much of what passes for SEO (keyword density, page rank, back links, etc.) has a limited value: it can get a page INTO the index and it can bring a page up in ranking, but the Google Quality Raters will look at the web page and evaluate not on its technical issues but on the quality, which means navigational, informational, or transactional criteria.

To read the WSJ blog items: 1) Interview with Scott Huffman. 2) Interview with Matt Cutts.

The implications of the Quality Rater manual and how to improve pages according to the manual is clearly described in our book Search Engine Marketing (see Our book is the first to describe this and we are so far the only book that describes this.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009: End of Home Telephones?: When I bought a new home phone a few years ago, I realized it might be the last telephone I'll ever buy. This week, I unplugged it. No more regular phone. Cell only.

35% of US homes can be reached only by cell phones. Oddly, the less income, the more likely they use cell, but that makes sense: why pay for two services? As usual, US Asians and Latinos are far ahead in cell use. Cell phones go anywhere, they include text messaging and digital cameras, plus they can be personalized with ring tones, music, and games. Verizon lost 4 million landline subscribers (from 39m to 35m) last year.

Saturday, May 16, 2009: Wolfram|Alpha is a new type of search engine. But it's not really a search engine. Google (and Yahoo Search and many others) are search tools: they index billions of web pages. When you use these to search, they find pages that match your search.

Wolfram|Alpha is different. When you search in Wolfram|Alpha, it uses formulas from mathematics, physics, astronomy, geophysics, and so on, plus known data (the elements, scientific data, etc.) to calculate your answer (here's a list of topics) It creates the information for you.

Google, in contrast, can only show you what someone else has already written on a webpage.

For example, let's search for the distance from Earth to Neptune on May 14, 2022. Here is Google's result. None of the first page results are correct. Here is the same query in Wolfram|Alpha

Google can't give an answer unless someone has already written that answer. Google simply reports what it has indexed. Wolfram|Alpha calculates the answer. If we ask for the distance at 8:02 am, 9:12 am, and 3:23 pm on that date, it can calculate all of those. It lets you view data that nobody else has considered. Is there a correlation between earthquakes and diabetes?

Does Wolfram|Alpha matter? Most people use search engines to find people, products, companies, and locations. 85% of searches at Google are either navigational (find something) or informational (learn about something.)

People use search engines to find already-known things because they've learned the limitations of search engines: that's what it can do. Wolfram|Alpha is a knowledge tool: we can use it to create new information. But I wonder if this is "a solution in search of an audience."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009: Google quietly announced a major change in how they index websites. Google has started to use markup code to allow data tagging so Google knows what kind of information it is. Google has begun the process of stating how the web will be structured.

Examples of items that can be tagged:
People: Name, title, role, URL, affiliations, address, photo, etc.
Reviews: Item, reviewer, date, rating, etc.
Companies: Name, URL, address, telephone, etc.
Products: Brand, category, description, name, price, photo, URL, etc.
That's just the beginning. There will be more tags.

What does this mean? You will be able to search like this: "Show me airline tickets from Dallas to Paris between June 20 and June 24 between $200 and $300 with more than 20 ratings at 4 or higher." Currently, that's not possible. With Google's new markup code, it will be very easy.

When companies mark up their data, it will be simple to build software to shop by location, date, price, ratings, and so on. We will see a new generation of comparison shopping tools.

Users will get exactly what they want without having to look at multiple websites. This puts pressure on websites.

This means a rewrite of websites. This also impacts SEO, web design, and overall business strategy.

For details, see the Google blog announcement (and example). See also examples of code and definitions.


Friday, May 08, 2009: I've been watching Rome, the HBO/BBC series, on DVD. It's quite good: lots of detail, introspective, and character development.

Thursday, April 30, 2009: eMetrics Marketing Optimization: Produced by the American Marketing Association's Silicon Valley Chapter in conjunction with eMetrics Summit.

Speaker: Andreas Ramos, Director at The CCG Group. Author of Search Engine Marketing (McGraw-Hill, 2009).

Panelists: David Rogers, Senior Web Analytics Researcher at Paypal. Roslyn Layton, Director of Client Services at Coremetrics. Akin Arikan, Director of Product Strategy at Unica Corporation. Author of Multichannel Marketing. Bob Heyman, Chief Search Officer at Mediasmith. Author of Digital Engagement.

Hands-on experts in Coremetrics, Unica, Omniture, and Google Analytics discussed how analytics can manage multichannel marketing, including SEO, paid search, email, social networks, radio, TV, newspapers and mobile by using KPIs, UVP, and tracking URLs. Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, CA.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009: Google launched yet another tool. This one appears to be a Facebook killer. Google may try to kill the social network sites (i.e., Facebook...) by offering a better solution (in other words, a more-available solution).

If you search for someone, you now see "Google Profiles" at the bottom of the results page. If she set up her Google Profile, you can click on her pix and see info about her. If you're in her Friends list, you can see her contact info. It would be very easy for Google to add chat messaging, email, gadgets, and more to this: yes, it can replace Facebook. Facebook is currently losing money, so Google could destroy them.

Try this: search for my full name (andreas ramos) and scroll to the bottom. There is info about me. It even includes pixs.

To set up your Profile, log into your Google acct (such as Gmail) and then go to


Friday, April 03, 2009: How to Create Your Own Background in Twitter

- According to my analytics data, 32% of my users have monitors at 1024x768 pixel resolution, so I designed the sidebar to fit for those monitors. If you design for 1200-pixel monitors, your sidebar will be overlapped and look broken on smaller monitors (i.e., for 30% of your audience)
- Create a blank sheet that is 1600 pixels wide and 1200 pixels tall.
- In the left upper corner, create a box that is 120 pixels wide and 580 pixels tall.
- Or use this sample background image (I've drawn the box in it for you). Click the link, save the image to your computer, and open it in your graphics program. Delete my photos and text. Insert your photos and text.
- Save your new image in PNG format and upload your background. Use PNG format (not GIF or JPG) for the image (PNG is much sharper and clearer).
- In Twitter, go to Settings, select the Design tab, and click on "Change Background Image". Select your background and click Save Changes.

Read my previous Twitter posting for more info about Twitter and analytics. You can also follow me at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009: Silicon Valley American Marketing Association Panel Discussion: Use Analytics to Manage Integrated Marketing

Keynote Speaker: Andreas Ramos, Author of "Search Engine Marketing" (McGraw-Hill, 2009)

Roslyn Layton, Director of Agency Services at Coremetrics
David Rogers, Senior Web Analytics Researcher at Paypal
Akin Arikan, Director of Product Strategy at Unica
Bob Heyman, Chief Search Officer at Mediasmith

In today's economy, ROI is more critical than ever. SVAMA's panel will discuss how analytics gives you measurable insights into the effectiveness of your marketing programs. You'll learn how to manage multi-channel marketing including SEO, paid search, email, social networks, radio, TV, newspapers and mobile by using KPIs, UVP, and tracking URLs. We'll look at examples from Intuit, Cisco, Aveda, Northface, MIT, Google, and other companies.

Experts in analytics, including Coremetrics, Omniture, and Google Analytics discuss hands-on use of analytics for managing multichannel integrated marketing. What works, what doesn't work, and how to manage and improve your marketing and sales. You will come away with a solid understanding of analytics.

Date: 5:30-9:00 pm, Thursday, April 23, 2009
Time: 5:30 Registration and Networking. 6:45 Keynote. 7:30 Panel discussion. 8:30 Your opportunity to meet with panelists 1-on-1.
Location: Network Meeting Center, 5201 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA
Sponsored by Coremetrics
Produced by American Marketing Assn. - Silicon Valley Chapter
Price (includes great food!): $40 non-members, $30 Partner members, $25 SVAMA members, $20 Students.

Friday, March 27, 2009: Coremetrics added Twitter reports into their analytics package. It tracks a keyword by the number of mentions in a time span, along with the Twitter user name (and the number of uses of that keyword by each user). Another screen shows the complete Tweet text. It sends notifications by email/SMS if there are mentions or traffic spikes. All in all, both Coremetrics and Omniture now have the ability to track Twitter activity.

I don't see yet that either tool can do conversion tracking (i.e., Macys tweets about a diamond chihuahua collar to their 10,000 followers; 500 come to the page; 100 buy the collar; and Macys can track the sales and revenue value). Google Analytics has nothing yet for Twitter; you set up your own tracking URLs (but the vast majority of Google Analytics users have no idea how to do that). There are indeed a number of 3rd-party tools that track mentions, etc., but that's a patchwork of other tools by companies without revenue models, which means they're not enterprise-ready. I'll look into the conversion tracking and write about that.

On April 23rd (Thursday), I'm hosting a panel discussion on analytics for multichannel marketing. Panelists include (so far) Roslyn Layton (Director of Agency Services at Coremetrics), David Rogers (Senior Web Analytics Researcher at PayPal), and Bill Mirbach (Director of Marketing and Agency Services at Intuit.) This will be hands-on inside-story discussion on using enterprise analytics (Coremetric, Omniture, Google Analytics) to manage multichannel marketing and drive revenue. Sponsored by the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association (SV-AMA), the event will be held at Google.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009: Google's visual designer quit and blogged about it. Here's the really funny part: "I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can't operate in an environment like that."

I agree entirely with Google. Digital technology allows us to use testing to find the optimal solution. No more "experts agree..." No more "because mommy says so". Find out what works.

Far too much marketing is done by tradition, by over-paid people with 20-years experience, or just "that's the way it's always been done." The plain fact: with testing, anyone can learn how to produce consistently better results and they will outperform the guys with 20-years experience.

Friday, March 20, 2009: From an Efficient Frontier report: Based on 60 billion impressions and 428 million clicks over the past year, Google's Cost-per-Click (CPC) in the Search Network increased 4.7% (from $0.58 to $0.61) ($0.03 increase). Content Network CPCs increased 20.4% (from $0.24 to $0.28). In contrast, Yahoo decreased by 4.7% and Microsoft increased by 6%.

Thursday, March 19, 2009: Did you know that a company can KNOW the name of people who come to them via Twitter? Yep. Quite a privacy issue.

Using Google Analytics, I can see the traffic from Twitter. Analytics also reports to me the Twitter IDs of the people who came to my website via Twitter. Just click on those to go to their Twitter profiles.

How to Do This: In Google Analytics, select Traffic Sources | Referring Sites. Find Twitter in the list of referrers. Click on Twitter. You now see the names of Twitters. A Twitter name is actually a URL, so a Twitter visit will show the path. You can then click those names to visit the Twitter profile.

That's the whole idea of the web: you can surf anonymously... no more! Let's see how Twitter, the blogosphere, and the Twitterati react to this.

Saturday, March 14, 2009: Twitter is the new land rush. Everyone is snapping up names as fast as possible. But what does that mean, "Land Rush"? In 1889, the US government allowed settlers to enter Oklahoma. Tens of thousands on horseback, in wagons, and on bicycles lined up at the border; the cannon fired off at noon; and they raced off to grab their land. But why read about it? Watch the video!

: I'm writing a Powerpoint about Twitter and will make this public in a week or two. Follow me on Twitter at

Thursday, March 05, 2009: My Trip to China: I was in Shanghai and Beijing: here are my notes about food, shopping, and so on. Did you know there's a great toboggan ride at the Great Wall? What does dog taste like, anyway?

Why was I in China? Our book will be published by Tsing Hua University Press. They are the MIT of China. It's their most prestigious engineering school. Half of the committee of ministers who run China are graduates of Tsing Hua. We're working to make our book the standard textbook for marketing for China's millions of companies.

Why China? For example, we work with Minfon. They helped a US real estate developer come up with a global strategy to promote their products both online and offline in Shanghai with a real-time backend tracking system. Small-to-medium (SMB) companies can use the web to go global.

Using Adobe Acrobat reader? It has a bug that lets hackers get your data. Adobe won't have a fix until mid-March. So... you must get rid of Adobe Acrobat. Luckily, other free PDF readers are faster, better, and free, such as Go to your Control Panel, uninstall Adobe Acrobat Reader, and install FoxIt.

Twitter: I'm still playing around with this. Follow me at (and I promise: no tweets about "hey, I'm playing with my cat"). In the next newsletter, I also plan to write on how to use Twitter for your company.

Talking about cats, go to YouTube and search for "Simon's Cat" and watch his videos.

March 5th: This Thursday night we speak at Books Inc in Mountain View (on Castro, 7:30p). Talking about our book and Google and so on. We'll record this and make it available.

April 23: Speaking at the Silicon Valley AMA (American Marketing Association). I'm arranging a panel discussion with Coremetrics, Intuit, and (hopefully) Google. We'll talk about using analytics for mid-size and large companies: how to manage multichannel marketing, how to get your Google costs under control and make it profitable. We'll also video this.

Last week was busy: Monday, I spoke at SDForum on how the web in China is different from the web in the USA. Friday, I met with Francisco Santos, the vice-president of Colombia, who also happens to be my cousin. I asked him to help me to get my book published in Colombia. Saturday was a HYSTA conference at Stanford with Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba. It's a mega-Chinese company. You could say they're the eBay or Amazon of China, but they're bigger than eBay and Amazon combined. We met with Alibaba in China and we're interviewing them for our China book. China now has 300 million users on the web and they're growing 40% per year. China is definitely in your future. Read my article on China :-)

Monday, March 02, 2009: A client got a burst of traffic from Italian and Polish adult sites. In ten days, they got 70% of their normal annual traffic. By using analytics, we saw it wasn't from Google or any search engines; it was all from referring links. It turns out the client had hired a company to build links. The company placed links on worthless sites and then used software to click those links. All that traffic and not a single sale. Be careful if you pay for link building. Monitor the results and evaluate it by conversions and sales.

Friday, February 20, 2009: John McCain's daughter Meghan McCain blasts the GOP for being clueless on the web. She writes: "We live in an era where most individuals my age get their political news from The Daily Show and SNL's Weekend Update. I know this aggravates the old school political operatives to no end, but it's true. The Obama administration understands that my generation spends most of its day on a laptop or a BlackBerry, and that using the web is easy way to communicate their ideas to their constituents. (...) President Obama currently has around 5.5 million supporters on Facebook; my father has around 500,000." See her complete post.

Sunday, February 08, 2009: Where do people look when they search? Here is a Google eye-tracking study (click for a larger image). It shows where people look on the page. They concentrate on the title and then the description.

This means: Write very good TITLE and DESCRIPTION tags for your pages.

You can also see that people look mostly at the first two results. Only a few look at the third and forth result.

This also means: You must be at the top of the page. If you're not showing up at the top in unpaid (natural) search, then you must use paid search (i.e., use Google Adwords to advertise).

For more, see

Friday, February 06, 2009: FYI. Free health care clinics. Pass this along to your friends.

Free Clinic San Francisco (415) 750-9894
Free Clinic Berkeley (510) 548-2570
Free Clinic San Jose (408) 705-0119
Low-Cost Clinic: $59 per visit: (in SF, San Jose, Oakland, Fremont, San Mateo, Sacramento, Rohnert Park. To find free clinics in your city, search for "free clinic" and your city name.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009: With Google Gadgets and Google News, you can create a customized news feed on any topic.

Saturday, January 31, 2009: Using Google Analytics? Here's a great blog entry on add-on tools that improve Google Analytics (these work ONLY in Firefox).

Friday, January 30, 2009: I was talking with a company this morning. Their web person had been trying for two months to make changes to the analytics tool's configuration. I made the changes in five minutes. That's the difference between experts and non-experts.

Whatever. Still looking for Karen Brodnick.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009: The End of TV: Let's go to the numbers. Obama's inauguration was watched on TV by 30 million people and on the web by 70 million. Not just more. Twice as many.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009: Google Shuts Down Newspaper Ads: Last week, Google turned off its print ads service. This allowed you to place ads in newspapers, just as you can use Google to place ads in search engines, radio, and TV. Why did Google shut it down?

Other bloggers talk about this, but we actually use the print ads tool. I see two reasons.

A) It didn't work as easy as the other tools. The web, radio, or TV ads are digital and are automatically inserted into the media. Just create your ad, set your bid, and the ad shows up. But newspaper ads were different. The bids weren't based on competition. You made an offer, and the newspapers would manually review the offer. If it was sufficient, then they selected the ad. The ad showed up several weeks later.

B) Newspapers are dying. Their revenues are dramatically falling every year. Everyone agreed that most newspapers would die, but the New York Times would survive. Well... it's the NYT that will die first. They operate at a huge monthly loss (millions of dollars per month) and was expected to shut down this May. Last week, Carlos Slim, a Mexican billionaire (he owns Mexico's cell phone network) put $60m into the NYT (at 14% interest!). So there's no future in newspaper ads.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009: Obama's family is black, white, and Asian.

They are Christian, Muslim, and Jewish.

They speak English, Indonesian, French, Cantonese, German, Hebrew, African languages (incl. Swahili, Luo and Igbo), and even a few phrases of Gullah, the Creole dialect of the South Carolina Low Country.

A few are wealthy, and some, like Sarah Obama, his step-grandmother who only recently got electricity and running water in her metal-roofed shack, are quite poor.

Click the photo for a larger image.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009: Here is a good article on Google China (strategies, goals, problems, etc.). The article is mostly about Google China, and if you don't know about Baidu, Alibaba, TaoBao, TenCent, etc., you may miss some of the context. Maggie Guan and I are preparing a book about the web in China, to be published in early summer 2009.

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