No Go on Microsoft Acquiring Yahoo

May 4, 2008

After months of talks, it looks like Microsoft withdrew its bid to acquire Yahoo.

Here’s Microsoft’s press release.

Reading the whole press release, and maybe it’s just me, but it looks like Steven from Microsoft is telling Jerry from Yahoo to stick it.

We regard with particular concern your apparent planning to respond to a “hostile” bid by pursuing a new arrangement that would involve or lead to the outsourcing to Google of key paid Internet search terms offered by Yahoo! today. In our view, such an arrangement with the dominant search provider would make an acquisition of Yahoo! undesirable to us for a number of reasons:

And…

This would also effectively enable Google to set the prices for key search terms on both their and your search platforms and, in the process, raise prices charged to advertisers on Yahoo. In addition to whatever resulting legal problems, this seems unwise from a business perspective unless in fact one simply wishes to use this as a vehicle to exit the paid search business in favor of Google.

I guess they don’t like Google so much. Nonetheless, no acquisition will occur soon.

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How to Use Negative Keywords to Help Your PPC Campaigns

April 5, 2008

Negative keyword options have been around for years, but not many advertisers use them to help ensure targeted traffic. This post is to help identify negative keywords, how to easily place them in both Google and Yahoo campaigns, and how to find new ones in your analytics program.

For anyone unfamiliar with negative keywords, these are the keywords that you do not want to show up in your PPC ads once users perform a search query. A few common starting ones are:

  • free
  • download
  • cheap
  • ebay

Basically, if you sell red staplers your ad can be blocked by users searching for “free red staplers”.

Finding additional negative keywords can be as easy as tracking your analytics. Whatever analytics you use, find what keywords that you’re getting traffic for that does not provide quality traffic and include them as negative keywords. The amount of these words you find can be amazing and they’re very easy to find. This can be updated on a weekly or monthly basis in as little as a few minutes.

AdWords Example

While finding negative keywords is easy, implementing them can be a bit tricker depending if you’re advertising on Google or Yahoo.

In Google, it’s pretty straightforward. You can go into your campaign, click on the “tools” tab and you’ll see the option that says “edit campaign negative keywords”.

AdWords

Here is some more information on negative keywords, straight from Google.

Yahoo is a little more tricky. Once you log into your account and select a campaign, you can then click on an ad group. On the right site, you can see a blue box that says “ad group settings”. In the drop down, select “tactic settings”.

Yahoo

From there, you’ll see a box to show “excluded keywords” (negative keywords) and you can now implement them. Keep in mind this is done at the ad group level. Here is some newer information on excluded keywords, straight from Yahoo.

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Minnesota Businesses – Check Your Yahoo Local Listings

September 11, 2007

As mentioned in the last post, Search Engine Land has made local search marketing a major focus for this week, and I wanted to give input on how select articles can help out local Minnesota businesses.

In the above series, Mike Blumenthal writes a great piece regarding Yahoo local and User Denigrated Content. It’s really worth the read. Users can affect how people view your online business results, good or not-so-good.

Yahoo Local (not the only victim) has definitely had its problems in their listings with bogus addresses and fake user reviews. In March 2007, I posted about local florist results and noted that the Yahoo Local listings were pretty relevant in Minneapolis. It didn’t take long for Cathy to point out that I was wrong. Oops. 🙂

In June, I posted about a Yahoo Local result that makes the Interweb cry. An attorney (not local to MN) basically spammed Yahoo Local (and Google Maps, and CitySearch) with fake, self-generated five-star ratings and keyword-rich user reviews every month, almost to the date. They’re still all there today.

So, Minnesota businesses… it’s a good idea to check your online reputation anyway, but you can watch out for manipulation as well. Maybe you’ll see a fake business and/or bogus address listed above you, competing business owners that love themselves and write fake reviews about them, or in rare cases, write some fake BS about you. Un…cool. The silver lining is that you can usually report these results as crap abuse.

Here are a few places you can probably find your business (and add relevant information, too).
Yahoo Local
Google Maps
CitySearch (Twin Cities)

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Dex Advertisers Continue Relationship with Yahoo Local

August 29, 2007

If you’re in Minnesota, you’re one of the 14 States that may get that tree on your doorstep known as the Dex print Yellow Pages. Winds up they and R.H. Donnelley expanded their relationship with Yahoo Local.

I consider the print Yellow Pages as useful as a broken, manual typewriter, but they’re continuing something pretty useful.

Dex advertisers can benefit from Yahoo Local’s featured, enhanced, and maps business listings. Here’s an overview, straight from Yahoo. Turns out that these ads are pretty prevalent in Yahoo Local, often in Yahoo’s version of their “one box”, and often Yahoo Local results appear in Google’s main search engine listings.

Is this for you? Maybe. Depends on the price point.

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A Look at the New Yahoo Local

August 15, 2007

It was just earlier this week when Yahoo came out with blended search, similar to what Google and Ask have recently done. Now they’ve gone a step further by updating Yahoo Local. Yahoo can arguably be considered the better local engine already, although this looks like another step in the right direction.

It’s taking a bit to get used to, but I noticed one thing right away. It’s stepping further away from the search engine look to more of a community-building look. For what Yahoo considers metro areas, right up top you see visual tabs for different “guides”. These prominently include ratings and user reviews, maps and buzz tabs, and even an event tab to see what band, sporting event, or art scene is going on in your neighborhood this coming weekend.

Yahoo Local in Minneapolis

I do like the community-building feel. Outside of pizza, music, and maps however, you do have to search around for other local services such as attorneys, lodging, or even piano lessons. Luckily, these local results still often show up in Yahoo Web searches, their local search box, and even from Google searches. 😉

Not everyone likes this new look. Yahoo does provide a suggestion board for those who want to share their thoughts.

Post also up at Search Engine Guide.

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Nice Way for Yahoo Local to Encourage User Reviews

May 23, 2007

On Sunday, our rec league soccer team played a great game at the Augsburg College field. To celebrate our win (really, it doesn’t happen that often), a few of us headed across I94 to Tracy’s Saloon. I wound up ordering some bottled PBR and what just might be the tastiest batter-fried chicken strips I’ve ever had.

Exciting? Maybe not. It was a nice enough experience though to give a very quick user review on Yahoo Local.

A day later, I received an email from Yahoo Local with the heading “Nobody knows the hottest local spots like you”. I don’t go to the “hottest local spots”, but the heading was easily enticing enough for me to click. The email invited me to share my opinions on other places. Plus, it provides the Social Web implications of being part of an online community.

Yahoo Local

I’m glad to see Grumpy’s on that list. The juke box alone is worth the visit. The Yahoo email I received does entice me to write a quick review for them. Some day I probably will.

It’s probably not new, but I’m glad to see this approach from Yahoo. It’s something that can help their local results and their relevancy.

On the lighter side, during our game I was smart enough to not collide heads going for a header with my own teammate, Rob. Three weeks ago I did which gave me a little shiner, just in time for three search marketing presentations for some full-time job clients. Oops. 😉

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Negative Keywords in Local PPC Advertising

May 1, 2007

In early February, I noticed something a bit odd with Yahoo Panama and their local targeting feature. If I set up a geo-targeted campaign for the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, the ad coverage seems to appear not only across the Twin Cities, but in many areas across Minnesota.

Yahoo’s Twin Cities Ad Region

If you’re an upper-end personal injury attorney, it’s certainly worth it to have an ad show somewhere like St. Cloud, Brainerd, Owatonna, or Willmar. It might easily be worth the case if you travel to these prospective clients. If you’re like many Twin Cites business who depend on more local traffic, having your ads shown in out-state areas aren’t necessarily bringing qualified traffic, and it’s costing you money.

If you want certain city search queries to not appear, Google makes it simple. With Yahoo, it’s a little tricky. Here are some tips on how to help ensure unwanted city searches don’t appear in your geo-targeted ads.

In Yahoo, just log into your Panama campaign and go to an Ad Groups page. In the upper right corner, click on “Ad Group Settings”.

Ad Group Settings

From there, click on “tactic settings” (right hand side of the page).

Tactic Settings

You then get an “excluded words” tab showing. You might have to click the “show” icon to implement the keywords.

Excluded Words

If you only want your ads showing in the Twin Cities area, you can then add these negative (excluded) keywords such as St. Cloud, Willmar, Brainerd, and any other cities in the respective map you don’t want your ads shown.

Keep in mind, this won’t deter someone in these areas from finding your ad when they type in your keywords. This will just omit ads when users type in the respective cities you added to your negative keywords when they do a search. Nonetheless, it can certainly reduce unwanted clicks from your local PPC ads.

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