JenSense Google Referral Wishlist

JenSense has a great wishlist of things she would like changed in Google AdSense Referrals. It is a great list, and I have to agree with her points. I have only used Google AdSense Referrals a few times, but I got so frustrated with the back button that I just gave up. You would think that Google would make sure the back button works.

I have found it easier to find merchants at Commission Junction or Linkshare. Not to mention the fact that the majority of sales made through Commission Junction or Linkshare tend to be higher than the merchants in Google AdSense Referrals. I have yet to find a product or service I would want to promote from Google AdSense Referrals, the only exception is the Google Products. Google has some work to do before Google AdSense Referrals are as good as affiliate networks like Commission Junction or Linkshare.

PageRank Update

I know this is old news, as far as the Internet goes, but the PageRank update happened while I was away on vacation. I know there are a lot of people out there that say PageRank does not matter and it really does not mean anything. Personally I like seeing what my PageRank my websites have and finally having one on this blog makes me happy. It is like getting your name in the phone book for the first time. To quote Steve Martin from the movie “The Jerk”

Navin R. Johnson: The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!
Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.
Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 – Johnson, Navin R.! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity – your name in print – that makes people. I’m in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.

Ok, maybe I am not that excited about the fact that the PageRank update happened, but it does make me happy.

Google, eBay and StumbleUpon – The Saga Continues

Yesterday was a very busy day for news about StumbleUpon. As many of you probably already know StumbleUpon has been in acquisition discussions with a number of the large Internet companies recently, including Google and eBay. According to TechCrunch, StumbleUpon has signed a term sheet with eBay to be acquired. Will this be the end of the StumbleUpon we know and love? Will eBay turn it into nothing more than a shopping toolbar filling up our stumbles with auctions and ads from eBay?

Hot on the heels of the announcement about StumbleUpon and eBay, Google announced a new addition to the Google Toolbar, a recommendations button, that looks like a pair of dice. I installed the Google Toolbar for Firefox but do not see the pair of dice yet. Perhaps it is only available for Internet Explorer users. According to the Google Blog the recommendations button will “take you to a site that may be interesting to you based on your past searches”. This sounds surprising like StumbleUpon, with some differences, mainly the recommendations being based on a users search history. There is no mention if Google will be trying to recreate the community aspect of StumbleUpon, which is part of what drives and makes StumbleUpon so interesting. Not to mention will the Google recommendations be able to drive traffic to a site that people like StumbleUpon does so well. Is Google perhaps playing the school yard bully here. They did not get their own way so they are coming out punching.

It seems that Google, for a change, is actually playing catch up on this one. People use StumbleUpon to “channel surf” the Internet, not search the Internet. When I am searching for something specific I use Google, when I want to discover new websites, I use StumbleUpon. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future and how it might affect how Google views Adsense and StumbleUpon? Will StumbleUpon now be considered an autosurf program that will eventually get people banned from Adsense?

Google Ajax Wizards

I was reminded today when I visited the Google Adsense blog that Google has some interesting wizards that you can use to add ajax addons on your website. The Adsense blog was talking about a news bar, but there is also map search, video bar, video search, and book bar wizards.

The news bar wizard offers some possibilities to offer your regular readers the latest news about the topics you choose. For example if your website was about golfing, you can set the news bar to just display the latest news about golf. This should help deliver information that will be useful for your visitors,

These addons will do little to help your placement in the search engines, but they can be useful for your visitors. The map wizard, for example, is the easiest way to generate a Google Map to add to a website.

Shopping Carts on Adsense, Canadians Still Left Out!

It was confirmed on the Google Adsense blog yesterday that some Google Adsense ads have a tiny shopping cart badge alongside the ad title to signify that people can purchase the item advertised via Google Checkout.

What is interesting is what the blog post does not say. It does not say whether a click on the cart still pays the publisher the same as a click on an ad? One could probably assume that is true, but they do not say for certain.

It has been suggested that Google should make this a referral product as well so publishers could get paid when someone new signs up for Google Checkout.

Google Checkout is still not available to sellers that do not have a U.S. bank account. This leaves out all the potential sellers here in Canada, who may have the same products as U.S. companies and sell and ship primarily to the U.S., often at better prices.

It is nice to see that they are giving some extra promotion to Google Checkout sellers, but they need to expand the countries that sellers are allowed to be from before rolling out these extra features just for U.S. sellers.

A Beginners Guide to Google Pagerank

In my work as a web developer and lately as an SEO I am going over the basics of PageRank with clients on a regular basis. I thought I would put some of the usual things that I tell them here for others to read and as a resource that I can give to my clients. I try to keep things simple, without a lot of geek speak. For those of you who have been involved in SEO for sometime this will probably be a very simplistic overview of PageRank.

People have often heard about Google PageRank, or have the Google toolbar and they see the different PageRanks of websites as they surf. People want to see their website getting a good PageRank because they see it as an indicator how popular their website is. This may or may not be true, but it almost never fails though when their site is finished the next question well be “How come my site does not have PageRank?” at which point I have to try and explain that Google updates their toolbar PageRank roughly every four months. In an effort to explain Google PageRank to clients this is often what I will say when they ask. I always remind them that I am not an employee of Google and what I say might not be entirely accurate. It is my opinion.

What is Google PageRank
In short a number between one and 10 of Google’s ranking of the web pages importance on the internet.
Why Does My Website/Page Have No Pagerank?
Google updates the visible PageRank on the Google toolbar roughly every four months. If your site is new it will take time before it will be assigned a visible PageRank on the Google toolbar. If your site has been up for a while and you still don’t have PageRank you might need more incoming links to your website.
How Do I Get PageRank?
While the exact formula for how PageRank is calculated is only known to Google it is known that links to your website will help you get your site included in the Google index and be assigned PageRank.
Do I need a high PageRank to get better listings in Google?
Most people would say no. While PageRank has some bearing on Google seach results there are many factors that determine Google search results.
Can I buy PageRank?
The short answer is no.
If links are important can I buy links from high PageRank pages?
Yes and no. While many sites that have high PageRank often sell links to help raise funds, and those links may help to increase a pages PageRank it might not be as beneficial as one might think. Google favors natural linking and frowns upon bought links to increase PageRank. A bought link from a high PageRank page might help in the short term as Google’s algorithm picks up on possible bought links it could potentially hurt a pages PageRank.

It is important to not worry about PageRank. There are many websites out there that have low PageRank and do great. The most important thing is to focus on your website, and what it has to offer. Focus on what matters, your websites content or service and PageRank will come as people naturally link to your website.

More reading on PageRank around the web:

Adsense Referral Policies – Clarified

There is an excellent post on the Adsense blog this morning clarifying why publishers can draw attention to the referral products Google offers. Google referral products include Google Adsense, Google Adwords, Firefox with Google Toolbar and the Google Pack. recently Picasa was rolled in with the Google Pack, if you was wondering where it went.

To sum up the post you can draw attention to Google’s referral products because they are a cost per action basis, opposed to a cost per click, and because you know exactly what product you are referring, unlike ads where it could be almost anything.

Of course you are still not allowed to have people click or install products for deceptive purposes, and the attention should be done in a way that supports the product or service. I hope that means NO POPUPS, since I absolutely hate them.

Google Webmaster Tools – Link Update

Google has added a new way of discovering websites that link to yours in the webmaster tools that they offer. Google’s link: operator is famous for not showing all of the external links back to your website, something that often frustrated webmasters, but was done so webmasters could not manipulate rankings to easily. They have even offered the ability to download the data so you can look at it more closely using a spreadsheet.

The Google Webmaster blog has all the details on this new external link feature that they have added to the webmaster tools. If you don’t have it on your webmaster tools yet, expect it soon. This is a great new feature that they have added and I look forward to looking more closely at the sites that link to mine.