Komodo Links: Self Serving Reviews, FriendFeedFeed, an Open Letter to Google, and AOL Buys Bebo

We’ve got some interesting and humorous links from the past week for this installment of Komodo Links. So sit back and enjoy while you wait for the weekend to begin.

RealSelf.com, an independent site for consumers to discuss anti-aging treatments, has accused plastic surgery corporation, Lifestyle Lift, of breach of contract and computer fraud. Basically RealSelf.com claims that Lifestyle Lift agents posed as patients and posted positive reviews about Lifestyle Lift procedures. These charges were filed as a counterclaim to a Lifestyle Lift lawsuit filed against RealSelf.com for trademark infringement. MediaPost has more on this plastic surgery soap opera.

Here’s a funny post (and comments) about FriendFeedFeed. FriendFeedFeed, currently in “pre-beta,” aggregates all your social networking aggregator feeds into one aggregated feed of aggregator activity feeds. Definitely a quality piece of Web 2.0 satire.

On a more serious note, Danny Sullivan writes an open letter to Google. In the letter, Danny asks Google to divest itself of Performics, DoubleClick’s SEO firm. “Google’s in the SEO business now, …conflict of interest? You bet.”

And in an unexpected move, AOL buys social network Bebo for $850 million. In response, AOL users ask their grandchildren, “what’s a Bebo?”

Marketers Preparing for Pricier PPC Ads

MediaPost published a great article yesterday about the increasing costs of paid search and how marketers are coping by investing in natural search. The article includes many quotes from Tim Kauffold, director of business development at Oneupweb.

The following are some of Mr. Kauffold’s quotes from the article along with some of my thoughts on the issue.

“In most cases, natural and paid search campaigns perform better together than they do separately. Greater awareness of a Web site created by a paid ad can lead to more natural traffic. In similar fashion, people are logically more likely to click on a paid promotional ad of marketers they recognize, such as those they’ve encountered during a natural search.” -Kauffold

I would also add that paid search and natural search campaigns perform better together through shared data analysis. Paid search campaigns provide detailed data about which keyword phrases are performing the best. This data is also great at spotting keyword trends like what keywords have increasing conversion rates and vice versa over a given period of time. Marketers can use this keyword data for their SEO campaigns to optimize content around those keyword phrases. On the flip-side, traffic data gathered from search engine optimization can give insights into user behavior on your website. These insights can help marketers improve the quality of paid search landing pages.

“One of the things that surprises marketers–particularly those who have been using the media for several years–is how the costs are rising. They think, ‘Why doesn’t the same dollar buy me the same volume it used to?’ But there are really big inflation numbers with cost-per-click. It’s still a great avenue, but as more folks jump in, costs are going higher.” -Kauffold

I briefly covered this basic market concept about two weeks ago in our post covering the Kelsey Group’s annual forecast, but it’s worth repeating here. As Kauffold says, paid search is still a great avenue but costs are increasing. Companies that optimize for natural search will reduce their dependence on paid search for leads and customers.

“Paid search is a media buy, and natural search optimization is an investment in the site itself, and that can take some time–maybe even a few months–to see results,” -Kauffold

This statement pretty much speaks for itself, and it is a statement that is important to remember. Many large companies and tech/internet related companies have known this for years. However, many small businesses and franchise companies are just beginning to realize the importance of natural search optimization and how long it takes to see results. If anything, undertaking a search engine optimization campaign is all about building a foundation for the future.

Kelsey Group Annual Forecast: Interactive Advertising Revenues to Reach US$147 Billion Globally by 2012

The Kelsey Group released their Annual Forecast (2007-2012) today. The Kelsey Group is the leading provider of research, data and strategic analysis on directories, small-business advertising, online local media, vertical market advertising and mobile advertising. According to the Annual Forecast, the global advertising market will be fueled by exceptional growth in the interactive segment.

Some interesting highlights from the press release:

Interactive advertising revenues will increase significantly from US$45 billion in 2007 to US$147 billion globally in 2012, representing a 23.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

“We see Internet development—including increased subscriber/user access and broadband penetration—as a driver of both interactive advertising revenue as well as migration of traditional ad spending to new media platforms.” -Matt Booth, senior vice president, Interactive Local Media, The Kelsey Group.

Interactive advertising, which comprises search (including local search), display advertising, classifieds and other interactive ad products, grew its share of global advertising revenues from 6.1 percent in 2006 to 7.4 percent in 2007. By 2012 Kelsey Group analysts expect the interactive share of global ad spending will reach 21 percent.

Directional advertising, which comprises local search, print Yellow Pages and Internet Yellow Pages (IYP), will grow from US$33.3 billion in 2007 to US$41.4 billion globally in 2012 (4.5 percent CAGR).

  • Local search revenues will grow from US$2.1 billion to US$6.6 billion (25.5 percent CAGR).
  • Print Yellow Pages revenues will decline from US$27.5 billion to US$25.6 billion (-1.4 percent CAGR).
  • IYP revenues will grow from US$3.7 billion to US$9.2 billion (20.1 percent CAGR).

What does this mean to a small business’s online marketing budget? My bet (and I’m really going out on a limb here) is that costs are going to increase as more small businesses begin advertising online. Cost-per-click (CPC) bids are going to increase for the majority of keyword phrases and advertising rates for local search directories and Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) will increase.

Small businesses that follow best practices for search engine optimization and provide the informational content that online consumers want will reduce their dependence on online advertising for leads and customers.

Welcome to SEO Komodo

The first post to our first blog. Wow!

The dragon is here to optimize your presence on the web. SEO Komodo provides comprehensive website analysis and search engine optimization services that strengthen your organization’s presence in search engine results and throughout the internet. Find out more at our Search Engine Optimization Homepage