This Week in Search

Posted by Sam Niccolls

The following is a compilation of some of the most newsworthy, as well as the most useful stories in and around the world of search over the last 1-2 weeks.

LifeStyle Lift’s Fake Reviews: Andrew Shotland wrote a great post about LIfeStyle Lift, a cosmetic surgery company in need of a serious brand facelift themselves after being exposed for ordering employees to write fake reviews. Ethics aside, LifeStyle Lift is a great example of how costly such shady practices can be for a brand when they get caught. Now, even after paying a $300,000 fine, LifeStyle Lift still has their fare share SERP cleanup to do around their brand.

Checkbook Journalism: Gawker Founder Nick Denton said “We don’t seek to do good. We may inadvertently do good. We may inadvertently commit journalism. That is not the institutional intention.” Whether you agree with Denton’s approach, or the idea of incentivizing writers and news sources with page view compensation, at the very least, Gawker Media’s approach to news is an interesting one.

Google’s Microsoft Moment
:  Just over a week ago, Matt Cutts gave a lengthy response to a great post made by Anil Dash about Google’s culture. And though it remains to be seen whether or not Obama’s antitrust cop, Christine Varney, will pursue antitrust actions against Google, each post offers an interesting perspective on how the present is a critical time for Google to prescribe to their ‘don’t be evil’ mantra.

Anonymous TechCrunch Post on Search Regulation: With a scathing review of the search industry TechCrunch’s guest author sparked quite a bit of controversy the other week. But regardless of whether or not you are of Michael Gray’s opinion, it is hard to read this post without numerous objections. This is why the author of the anonymous post deserves the uniquely German honor of ‘Deutschebag of the Week.’  Ein herzliches Dankeschön!

5 Search Tools you May Not Know About: I enjoyed using the Bing-vs-Google tool when first I discovered it. And now, after reading Matt McGhee’s post in Search Engine Land, I have a handful of other nifty SEO tools to add to my SEOmoz tool set. Not the least interesting of which is SearchMuffin, which shows Google SERPs in any city, regardless of what location you are searching from.

Perform Better with AdSense: In a detailed blog post that is informative for both newbie and experienced AdSense partners, Smashing Magazine outlines just about everything you would ever need to know about AdSense. This is a particularly great Saturday morning read for anyone looking to increase AdSense revenue to their website or blog.

Sharing Links: Inside Facebook reported using AddtoAny data that Facebook is the most popular way to share links on the web. According to this data, 24% of all links shared on the web are shared though Facebook. In other words, according to AddtoAny, more links are shared through Facebook than are shared on Twitter and e-mail combined.

URL Shorteners and Affiliate Programs: Amazon has stopped giving affiliate commissions on visits via Twitter and Facebook, but where should the line in the sand be drawn? In his post, Dave Naylor talks about the subject of affiliate commission on URL shorteners.

The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship: Jay Goltz of the New York Times addresses the sobering realities of starting a business through the story of an electrical engineer turned CEO in Chicago who loses it all. This story offers an interesting, and timely juxtaposition to yesterday’s news of Amazon’s blockbuster acquisition of Zappos.

Google Autocannibalism: A ridiculous yet amusing concept that outlines an autocannibalistic model where Google could be made to eat itself. Get money, buy stock. Get money, buy stock. Ahhh… I see, it’s so simple. It’s in the computer.

Google Mini Appliance: Michael Cottam outlines his frustrations with Google’s webserver in a post that proclaims the appliances are overpriced, short lived, and little more than disposable search engines. And thanks to Michael’s reminder at the end of his post, we now know what to link to. :-)  

AdWords Demographic Bidding: AdWords is now enabling advertisers to control ad spend based on user demographic data. Several hoops have to be jumped through to implement GA tracking codes, but there is now an AdWords interface that allows for demographic bidding.

30 Non Google ways to get traffic to your website: From shopping search engines to Yahoo Answers, SEOptimize illustrates that there are more than a few ways to drive traffic to your website other than traditional SEO.   

Death of London Startups: Paul Carr’s post in The Guardian talks about how the geek trip Robert Scoble, Craig Newmark, Sarah Lacy and others made trip to London breathed ephemeral life into a dying startup culture. But in dramatic fashion, Carr concludes that the London startup scene is dead. Is this true? Any thoughts on this from our friends across the pond?

Employers Should Not Give Bonuses: I had strong initial objections to Alfie Cohn’s article. But the New York Times author (ear muffs, Rand, ear muffs.) offers some compelling reasons as to why rewards will likely not lead to higher performance.


The Psychology of Restaurant Menus: Last month Jeff Sexton of FutureNow wrote a post where he took examples of real world billboards and described how marketers could incorporate effective billboard tactics into online banner ad creation. Liz Kay’s post in the Baltimore Sun about what advertisers and consumers can learn from the manipulation of restaurant menus is a similarly interesting read.

And last, but certainly not least, there were some great entries on YouMoz over the last couple weeks. From MichaelC breaking down dynamic landing pages to Roadies addressing brand management through the example of United Airlines, there was a wide array of interesting posts. Keep ‘em coming this week!!! We are always looking for standout posts to promote to the main blog.

1. Dynamic Landing Pages: Optimizing for Natural Search by MichaelC

2. 7 Reasons Why You Should NOT Use Google Analytics by Nicki Hicks

3. Choosing Your Brand — Two Case Studies of Different Methods by Raaboo

4. SEOmoz: It’s like a Digital Florida by Ciaran

5. Dear United, Here’s Your Chance for Awesome Reputation Management by Roadies

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Have an article or blog post that would be great for next week’s post? If so, send me a direct message on Twitter or tweet about it and include @samniccolls in your tweet.

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  4. This Week in Search for 8/13/09
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