Google took a big step recently by finally allowing Canadian companies to become Adwords Qualified; a stamp of a approval previously denied to Google’s ignored neighbors. Yes, that is ever so subtle bitterness you sense. Thankfully however I can begin to put to rest my ill will now that Google has come to its senses.
South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has ordered Google to change the wording of Adsense contracts to comply with domestic fair trade law. Here is a snippet from the YONHAP News article that broke this news and handily describes some of the more crucial issues:
The FTC highlighted several clauses in the AdSense contract that violate domestic fair trade laws, of which one provision allowed Goggle to “reserve the right to refuse participation to any… participant at any time in its sole discretion.”
It also pointed towards an unfair clause, which said that “Google makes no guarantee regarding… the amount of any payment to be made.”
Concerning revenue division, FTC noted the disadvantage towards website operators, as one clause stipulates that “no other measurements or statistics of any kind shall be accepted by Google,” when calculating payments.
In addition the Korean FTC is forcing Google to switch the jurisdiction for all legal complaints from California to a location within South Korea.
How Will Google React?
The online market in South Korea is booming so there is little doubt Google will be as accommodating as possible with all of the issues raised. Still I have to wonder what will happen if they get stuck on an issue that can be chalked up to a cultural difference in conducting business. After all, how can Google guarantee payments?
Is Adsense as we know it going to prove compatible with the South Korean marketplace, or will it need a complete overhaul? I am very interested to see what happens next.
Complete Question: “How about duplicate content for resellers where the manufacturer or producer of a product describes a product with technical details and so on. Do I have to rewrite text, create my own descriptions? Or is Google able to recognize that i have to use the original text from the manufacturer and not to punish me?”
Answer: Google has a powerful algorithm that may be able to determine “right” or “wrong” duplicate content. That said, I would not rely on it. In this scenario I would rewrite the product descriptions wherever possible and improve the optimization of each description while I was at it. After all, many default descriptions are boring and less than ideal for rankings anyway.
But allow me to remind you of one thing… If you are talking about a shopping cart system where you have thousands of widgets and they all appear using similar text then DO NOT be overly concerned about this duplicate content; it is not a threat to your rankings. Yes it is usually ideal to have unique content but in this case just concern yourself with balancing this duplicate content with added value within the rest of the site. You can do this by adding unique pages dedicated to each widget. These pages can be created whatever unique content you want (diagrams, specs, reviews, etc.) but they ultimately serve to introduce a particular widget to users (and search engines) while providing direct links to the appropriate section of the cart.
Answer: Excellent question. The fact is there are a few ways to ensure you are chosen as the primary content provider. The best option is to require that all who syndicate your content provides a inline text link directly to your original posting of the article. For example they would say something like this at the end of the article included in a link: “SEO Answers #15 by Ross Dunn”. This way everyone who repost’s your article is sourcing your content as the original.
If you do not source the original release in this manner the website who publishes your article and gets the most attention for it (via links or publicity measurable by Google) will have a better chance of being chosen as the original content provider.
In conclusion, unless you strictly enforce your ownership to the article you may not get the final credit when Google is forced to guess who published it first.
For more info here is an article on article syndication content duplication I recently wrote.
I have a lot to learn about sending out email newsletters so I constantly keep an eye out for interesting articles on this subject. Well here is one from Lyris that really spoke to me and I expect it will for many of you who are in the same position I am (a newbie).
Essentially the article boils down to one conclusion… using CSS in a newsletter is foolhardy. Why? Well apparently a large portion of email clients and web-based email portals (Hotmail, GMail) ignore CSS. Personally this is bewildering to me since CSS has been so widely adopted but I have long since learned that some things just don’t make sense. As a result, any newsletter formatted with CSS may be entirely unreadable when viewed by an email client; which does not exactly bode well for the success of a CSS-driven newsletter.
Anyway, this is likely a very obvious fact to any of you with more than average experience with newsletters out there. But for those of you who are new to newsletter creation read this article and follow the advice: format the whole newsletter with inline HTML and you are off to the races. You can expect StepForth’s SEO newsletter to be significantly better as a result of this simple change – all CSS has been removed and reformatted in HTML. I am now looking forward to seeing the first readable edition of the Step Forth Weekly Newsletter in GMail next week
All the best this fine weekend – Ross Dunn
In a move that has been long in coming Google has chosen to provide a safer environment for its patrons by blocking access to sites that appear to have malicious code.
The genius, in my opinion, is they are not blocking the sites from appearing but offering a warning under the title of a ‘harmful’ listing. The site may even appear number one and two as in the case of the search phrase “beautiful free screensaver” where the top 2 listings from the same site have the “this site may harm your computer” warning listed below the title. Read more…
Last Wednesday Google released the results of a survey they conducted on the Valentine’s Day shopping habits of 2214 adults. Here is an excerpt of the most interesting data for retailers:
Highlights From Survey Results:
Among U.S. adults who typically buy Valentine’s Day gifts:
- 50% indicated that they purchase multiple Valentine’s Day gifts.
- Although men and women (both 71%) are equally likely to typically buy at least one Valentine’s Day gift, women (56%) are more likely than men (44%) to buy multiple gifts.
- 55% of men indicated that they plan to buy for spouse, compared with 44% of women.
- These adults are more likely to buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets (6%) than their fathers (5%) or grandfathers (1%).
- Women (83%) are more likely than men (74%) to indicate that they typically buy a Valentine’s Day gift for at least one family member.
- 41% indicated that they plan to purchase from more than one store/website this Valentine’s Day.
- 11% indicated that they typically spend $10 or less. On average, U.S. adults spend about $70 in total on Valentine’s Day gifts.
Among U.S. adults who typically buy Valentine’s Day gifts for a significant other:
- Men (50%) are more likely than women (37%) to indicate typically buying multiple Valentine’s Day gifts for a significant other.
The purpose of the survey was to pitch the benefits of being found on Google Checkout but either way the information is intriguing.
This SEO answer is a follow-up to a common question I received from my recent article “The Most Common Reason for Dropped Rankings: Duplication“.
To be as clear as possible with my answer I am going to break it down into two sections: one for those who syndicate their own content and the other for those who publish syndicated content.
Please keep in mind, however, duplicate content is not an exact science or anything close to that. As I wrote this article, I often imagined exceptions where a penalty would or would not take place. That said the following answers are based on what my experience dictates to be the most common scenarios. Read more…
Ever since Google stopped showing accurate backlink (aka incoming link) counts to websites webmasters and SEOs have been forced to turn to other, more accurate tools like Yahoo. This hasn’t really been all that bad in my opinion but it is refreshing to hear that Google has finally launched a new backlinks analysis tool within Google Webmaster Central.
I have to say, it rocks! The system allows you to navigate a Google-generated sitemap of your website where at the right side of each page a number appears which denotes the number of backlinks to that page. Then, if you want more information on those backlinks you have only to click on it and a comprehensive list appears; very slick indeed. The list is even downloadable in .csv format.
For more information here is Google’s blog post regarding this update. I hope you enjoy this tool as much as I will. Just keep in mind that Matt Cutts noted the tool is not quite 100% accurate.
It is my pleasure to introduce to you Scott Smith, partner at CopyWriting.Net and copy writing guru. Before you read any further, however, I want to give you a heads up that this is not a normal article from StepForth. This is an unedited interview written in a very personal style. In other words, this is not the normal condensed knowledge that my staff and I try to put out every week. That said, I really wanted to introduce you to Scott because I feel his copywriting skills are top of the line and either his services or his tips may help you shore up your bottom line. If you want to get in touch with Scott Smith he is best contacted by email. Read more…