Category Archives: Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Posts about white papers, patent filings, information, and strategies and tactics involving Search Engine Advertising

Advertising on Electronic Billboards via the web

Imagine being able to tap into an advertising network on the web that allowed you to upload your ads for display where large numbers of people will see them offline. A new patent granted today describes a method for doing that.

You’re driving to work, and pass a billboard that would be an idea place for an ad for your business. You notice that it’s not presently showing an ad, but has a web address displayed, along with a message to “advertise here.” You repeat the address over and over a few times to try to remember it.

You get to your office, fire up a browser, and visit the URL that you’ve been chanting for a couple of minutes now.

The page shows the rates for advertising on that billboard, some editorial guidelines, and a way to register and accept pay for showing an ad. After registering, and brainstorming for a few minutes on what you would like the billboard to say, you create an ad using powerpoint, submit it, enter in your credit card information, and set the time and duration to display it.

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SEO, PPC, and the US government

I was exploring the FirstGov web site from the US government, and their section on web content, and I wondered how much of our tax dollars are being spent on paid search. I remember seeing some paid ads by the DEA last summer, and the agency is still using Google Adwords.

On the page about search engines, the webmasters provide information to help people working on US government sites add site searches, and they also give a window into future additions on the site, including “Getting found on search engines (search engine optimization).”

I looked around to see if they had anything about paid advertising, and found some guidelines about advertising on government sites, but nothing about using paid search on search engines.

I’m tempted to volunteer some information and assistance on SEO, especially if it could help them to build a more balanced online advertising presence within Google and other search engines (and maybe reduce my tax bill).

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Microsoft and localized media delivery based upon site location

One approach to providing advertisements on a website is to try to gauge the subject matter of a page, and provide advertising related to that content. But many advertisers are interested in delivering advertising that will go to an audience in a certain area or region.

Ads based upon content can be targeted to specific geographical locations by looking at the IP address of a visitor, though that approach often results in serving the visitor with advertisements based upon the location of the owner of the IP address. One problem with doing that would be when a visitor uses a large ISP located a distance away from where he or she is viewing a site from.

An alternative would be to attempt to collect some geographical location information from the visitor, relying upon a user of a personalized web service to supply that information, such as a phone number, or zip code, or something else that can tell where they are at. But people don’t always provide that type of information, or may supply it to get something like information about local weather and then move and not change the information that they supplied.

A different way of delivering ads based upon location would be to attempt to understand the location of the site, if it has one associated with it, and serve yellow pages styled ads on that page. A patent application assigned to Microsoft, and released this week explores ways to display ads related to what it believes is the location of a site.

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The future of ads on phones?

I’ve recently done some Google mobile searches, including a local search where a map and a telephone number was displayed for the pizza shop that I was looking for.

It’s a nice feature.

One thing I’ve wondered is if we will see ads from Google on mobile searches. If we do, this patent application published earlier today might describe a little about how they might work.

Advertisements for devices with call functionality, such as mobile phones
United States Patent Application 20060004627
Inventor: Shumeet Baluja
Published January 5, 2006
Filed: June 30, 2004


Continue reading The future of ads on phones? applies for patent on advertising

Trying to quickly understand how well an online advertising campaign is doing is important.

There are a lot of factors to look at, to make sure that it is working, and a lot of methods to use to test those ads.

A patent application from describes one method they are using:

Systems and methods of achieving optimal advertising
United States Patent Application 20050289005
Inventors: John B. Ferber, Scott Ferber, Mark Hrycay, and Robert Luenberger
Published December 29, 2005
Filed: May 18, 2005


A system and method for achieving optimal advertising is disclosed.

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A Time Capsule: Looking at a Four Year Old Vision of Paid Search

Back before there was Yahoo! Search Marketing, and prior to Overture, there was changed its name to Overture in September of 2001, and was purchased by Yahoo! a little over two years later for the small sum of $ 1.6 billion.

goto logo

John Battelle’s book, The Search paints an interesting picture of what this search engine was like, and he posted an excerpt on his site this summer, to give you a glimpse: The Sugar Daddy: It’s All About Arbitrage.

A couple of posts ago, I noted that I was surprised by seeing Stephen Jobs name listed as an inventor of one of the patent applications I looked at. I was even more startled to see listed as the assignee in another patent application this morning. This one was originally filed back before the October 2001 name change, and wasn’t published for the public to get a gander at until today.

In many ways, coming across it was a little like unearthing a time capsule. You have to look in the internet archive to get a first hand taste of what it was like, and be reminded that it has an even longer history under an older name. In How We Got To GoTo, we are told that the site’s original name was the World Wide Web Worm, and before it was acquired, it was one of the first searchable sites that automatically indexed the web with its own web crawler.

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Secure Conversion Tracking at Google

Search engine optimization and paid search advertising both share a similar goal. While both try to get the right visitors to web sites, even more important is that a visitor performs some action while there that fulfills some goal of a site’s owner.

The meeting of one of these objectives by a visitor is often referred to as a conversion, and can include viewing a specific page, buying something, downloading a file, signing up for a membership or newsletter, or another action as defined by the owner of the site.

In paid search, it can be difficult to tell how effective your campaign has been. Conversion tracking is an approach that can be taken by search engines like Google to help an advertiser understand how well their advertising is working. There’s a nice summary of how conversion tracking works in the O’Reilly article Understanding Google’s Conversion-Tracking Mechanism.

A deeper look into how it works is described on the Google AdWordsTM: Conversion Tracking Guide (pdf)

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New Category at SEO By the SEA

I saw a reference a couple of months ago to advertising on search engines as SEA – Search Engine Advertising. I hadn’t seen the term used that often, but it oddly fits into the title of this blog.

By itself, that wasn’t enough to get me to start writing about Search Engine Advertising. But, I’ve been coming across quite a few interesting articles on the subject, and it make sense to pay attention to how the search engines earn money, too. So, I’m rolling out the “SEA” category here at SEO by the SEA.

This new category may look at things like the incorporation of landing pages into the factors looked at by Google when they assign a Quality Score to an ad in determining a minimum bid. But it will do so from the stance of keeping an eye on what the search engines are up to, rather than trying to provide advice on how to do well at search engine advertising. Or at least, that’s my original intent.

And, my next post will take a close look at some of Google’s plans for their advertising.