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More of Google’s Adsense Changes

Google are now communicating to Adsense publishers about the new changes to their contextual ad system that I’ve been posting about for the past 24 hours. They are taking the line that it will bring more advertising dollars into the network which will of course benefit publishers.

CPM ads – One of the biggest changes for publishers will of course be the CPM (cost per impression) based bidding that advertisers will now be able to engage in which means we won’t just be paid on a per click basis but for some advertisers we’ll be paid whether clicks are registered or not.

Things could get a little complicated with this introduction as CPC (cost per click) ads and CPM ads will compete with each other – the highest value ad will be shown. So if a CPC ad worth 20 cents is available and a CPM ad worth 19 cents is available the CPC one will get served first.

Expanded text ads - another new feature is ads that can take over the full banner or skyscraper ad in an ad block. So instead of seeing 4 ads in an adblock you might start seeing 1 ad in it. Again these ads will only show if the value of that ad is worth more than the other 4 ads added together. The ads will fit with the color scheme that you’ve previously chosen for your text ads.

More Image ads – publishers will also see more image ads on Google (if you have enabled them in your Adsense code). You might also notice the introduction of a small number of flash and animated ads which are currently being tested.

Site targeted ads - as previously mentioned advertisers will soon be able to specifically target (and block) your blog for advertising.

All in all these changes are going to shake things up a little for advertisers and publishers alike. I’m sure we’ll see a short period with some fluctuating results for publishers as advertisers test the new features – hopefully things will settle and we’ll see the changes open up the market for advertisers even more. One would hope that Google’s spin on it is right and that we’ll see these new freedoms for advertisers increase the numbers of those willing to advertise (which in turn should build the competition for the ad space we have available). Time will tell.

Read more about Google’s Changes here. Scrivs posts about how this might impact Publishers.

How-To Get Slashdotted

Nicholas Roussos has a good post on How-To Get Slashdotted. His method is a slightly less direct method than you might think – ie it’s about getting your link on Slashdot in the byline of the person who submitted the article rather than having a post you’ve written directly linked to.

‘The secret lies in submitting stories. Slashdot relies on readers to send in stories. A lot of sites work like this. If you send in the story, they’ll throw you a link in the write up. Bam, you’re on Slashdot. Sure, it’s not as high profile as it would be if the write up was about your site, but it’s better than nothing. Plus, if your site has an article of interest, what better way to make sure you get referred to than to write the story itself.’

Nicholas is onto something here – whilst you might not end up with a deluge of traffic from this type of Slashdot link – there are other benefits – the main one being that it gives you a link from a highly ranked website (Slashdot currently has a PR of 9). I’ve used this method before and it does work (its all about picking the right story), it does bring a trickle of traffic and you can slip in links to your own blog (if they’re relevant to the story).

So if you want to get linked to on Slashdot – check out Nicholas’s post which includes the steps he uses and a useful submission guide as an update.

BlogKits Blogger Survey on Advertising

Head over to BlogKits and fill in the survey there if you’re interested in helping them research what blogger think about ads on their blogs. The survey is easy to use and quick (took me 5 minutes) and will help to create a blog ad system that is useful and profitable for bloggers.

Site Targeted Ads Will Bring Innovative Advertising

I’ve been pondering the new Site Targeted Ads from Google that I mentioned in the last post and have been thinking about all the interesting implications that this might have on those advertising on blogs.

I suspect that with the advent of these ads that we’ll also see some pretty innovative advertising that targets publishers sites – especially blogs. For example I suspect we’ll see:

Ads Targeting Competitors – Imagine being able to have ads that come up on competitors blogs enticing them to come across to yours – even making disparaging remarks about the blog they appear on (until they get blocked).

Conversational ads – Ads that add to the conversation happening on a particular blog.

What other types of ads do you think we’ll see – leave your ideas in comments below.

Google to Let Advertisers Target Sites – Adwords Site Targeted Ads

Google is beta testing a new feature for AdWords that will allow advertisers to choose which sites their ads will appear on – Site-Targeted Ads. They explain the program with the following statements:

‘Since Google first introduced AdWords, advertisers have asked us for the ability to run their ads on specific websites. Site targeting gives our users that ability, while also allowing their ads to compete for ranking with traditional keyword-targeted AdWords ads. It’s one more tool that AdWords advertisers can use to bring their message to highly-targeted groups of web users.

Site targeting isn’t available yet. We’re currently running a beta test of site-targeted campaigns with just a few advertisers. We expect to make site targeting available to all AdWords advertisers in the near future.’

So for instance if you wanted to specifically expose your blogging related product (or blog) on my blog here at ProBlogger you could specify that as an advertiser and ensure it only appears here. Advertisers will be charged on a CPM basis (per 1000 impressions at a minimum of $2 per 1000 – and not a CPC basis. Also animated banner ads look like they’ll become available to all Adwords Advertisers and not just some.

How will this impact publishers?

I guess this is yet to be seen and will vary from site to site – however if you have a quality site that is in high demand by advertisers wanting to get their ads seen on it you should see an increase in your click value. It could be a dream come true for some higher profile sites who have advertisers engage in something of a bidding war over them.

Sounds good – however the New York Times which has an an article on Site-Targeted Ads writes:

‘Google will abandon rules that require advertisements to be directly relevant to the pages on which they appear; it will now place a motor oil ad on a wine site if the refiner outbids the cheesemonger.’

If this is true then publishers should be a little concerned as it means you could end up with some pretty non relevant ads appearing on your site. Of course the non relevant ads might pay more than your other ads (the highest bids appear) – however non relevant ads get clicked on a lot less than relevant ads. It will be interesting to see how this works itself out.

Jensense sums up the changes by saying it’ll be good for publishers as well as advertisers – as long as they are good advertisers (with good content). She writes:

‘Overall, this is a great move for Google to make and should pay off for publishers with solid quality content. However, the effect on publishers with less-than-stellar content could be significant, if advertisers begin monitoring their content conversion rates and begin excluding sites they feel are not up to par.’

Read more on Site-Targeted Ads at:

Tracking your Blog’s Performance in Search Engines

If you’re interested in tracking the performance of your blog you might like to start using UrlTrends – a tool that checks page rank in Google and Alexa as well as tracking the incoming links to your site.

It looks like a useful tool – although when you first use it the information might not be that dynamic as its not likely to have been tracking your performance previously. Your first checking of your blog will simply add you to their database and show you graphs with just your current performance. However if you come back over time you should see it tracking your performance.

I also use a free keyword tracker over at Digital Point which also tracks a number of key performance indicators for your site or blog. It Not only tracks your page rank and incoming links, but also checks how you rank on keywords in Google, Yahoo and MSN as well as telling you how many of your pages have been indexed in the search engines.

The only down side of this tracker is that you really need to use it regularly in order to get the best out of it as it only checks the above features for you when you manually stop by and ask it to. I do this as a part of my daily blogging rhythm.

Blog and Ping

T.L. Pakii Pierce has a great rant about Blog and Ping and the growing trend of using Blogger.com blogs for the purposes of Spam. Especially the emerging automated mechanisms that allow spammers to ‘blog and ping’ hundreds (if not thousands) of times in a very short period. I won’t link to such services out there because I don’t want to give them page rank – however they’re out there and becoming increasingly popular.

I’m getting increasingly frustrated with these attempts to climb the search engines by exploiting blogs in this way and worry that in the long run it will harm the rest of us who blog. I’d be particularly worried if I was blogging on Blogger because they are increasingly getting a bad reputation and I suspect there could be some flow on effect of such a reputation unless Blogger/Google come up with some solution.

Also a concern to me is the way that ‘Blog and Ping’ is increasingly being talked about blogs as a legitimate method of growing your site’s rankings in Search Engines. One or two blogs that I had previously respected as quality sites have recently been promoting it and linking to the automating services – this to me is unethical, dangerous and plain stupid.

If you’re tempted to get into ‘Blog and Ping‘ can I suggest that you pause for a second before you swallow all the rubbish that is being said about it to sell these automatic services. The consequences of blog and ping may bring you some short term benefits – but I suspect in the long term you run the risk of being black listed by the search engines for spamming. You’ll also ruin your own reputation and possibly the reputation of the rest of the blogging community whilst also creating yet another collection of rubbish which is already cluttering the internet.

If you want to climb the search engines and stay at the top can i suggest that the quick fix strategies that people use are not worth it. Rather work hard, do it honestly and build a quality website or blog that naturally grows over time – these are the site that will be most profitable over the long term – and you won’t be selling your soul to do it.

Not for Profits and Blogging

Wayne writes on the topic of Non Profits Profiting From Blogs. He believes that not for profit organizations can gain incredibly from blogging which is something that I’m also a strong advocate for.

‘The value of blogs to any non-profit is almost unlimited.

First of all, a blog provides a powerful informational vehicle for the association. The Board of Directors and association staff can keep the membership up to date with the latest initiatives and activities of the organization.

Because a blog is constantly updated, with fresh content, the organizational leaders can maintain up to the minute contact with the members.

Since one of the major difficulties faced by many non-profit organization is membership recruitment and retention, a blog can display the benefits of membership, in real time. Regular postings of how members benefited tangibly from joining the non-profit, can be a useful and interesting series on the blog….’

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of consulting for a number of non profit organizations here in Melbourne who have set up blogs and needed advice. Like Wayne I see incredible potential for some of these sorts of organizations for blogging. Particularly I noticed the interactive nature of Blogging between blogger and reader coming into play in these instances with readers/supporters/volunteers not only finding relevant news and information but able to add their support/advice/questions etc via comments. Hopefully we see more not for profit organizations taking on blogging in the future.

If the Blogosphere were a Nation

Paul has been imagining if the Blogosphere was a Nation and has started putting together some office bearers including:

Well – I agree with Robert who responds to Paul’s nomination with a very gracious post about everyone being the president. Whilst these lists are fun they do tend to be a bit of a mutual admiration society and miss most of the amazing bloggers that are out there – many of whom I’m loving getting to know over the past few months.

My only addition to Robert’s thoughts are that when I showed my wife Paul’s post she laughed her head off – I think the thought of me in charge of anything to do with money really amused her to the point of hysterics. Thanks Paul.

Update – Jeremy posts his Blogosphere Heads of State.