Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Debate Traffic Spike

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

During last night’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney briefly mentioned food stamps. At that moment, there were five people on my blog. Sixty seconds later, there were hundreds. Here is a snapshot of Google Real-Time Analytics (click to enlarge):

That spike was an order of magnitude larger than any spike I have ever noticed on my site. Imagine if Romney and Obama had actually discussed food stamps. Sixty seconds of that, and I would have had thousands of people.

However, this is very low-value traffic. People were just doing a quick fact check, and I only got a couple of ad-clicks. So, the whole giant spike only generated a couple of dollars in revenue. But it was fun to watch.

Business Insider Surpasses Bloomberg

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Since I put up the “Top Investing Websites” page eight months ago, Bloomberg has been the #1 site, and Business Insider has been #2. However yesterday, Business Insider moved above Bloomberg. So, there’s a new sheriff in town.

This changing of the guard was not only from Business Insider improving its Alexa Rank recently, but from Bloomberg taking a nose dive. Here are the charts from my Rank-O-Matic app:

Now we will see if Business Insider can hold the high ground and widen their lead over Bloomberg.

Congratulations, Business Insider.

Facebook Click Fraud?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

A month ago, I posted “Why You Can’t Make Any Money with AdWords” which discussed pay-per-click advertising fraud. Now there is a related story about Facebook ads.

Limited Run, a New York start-up company says that they found what looks like bots clicking their Facebook ads, and burning up their advertising budget. They are shutting down their Facebook page. Read their account here (while the page is still up at Facebook.)

Their is no way that Facebook or Google can stop criminals from clicking on your ads. However, they can scrutinize traffic and give you refunds for fishy-looking clicks. Google AdWords does that; I don’t know about Facebook.

Google has a much larger policing problem because sites that run AdSense have an incentive to click on ads that appear on their site – at least until Google catches them. As far as I can tell, Facebook doesn’t have revenue sharing, so you can’t make any money by hiring a shady character with a bot network to click the ads that appear on your Facebook profile.

A possible motive to click Facebook ads could come from short-sellers. Right? You put on your short position, you fire up the bots, and then you sit back and wait for Facebook’s advertisers to raise a stink.

In any case, it’s Facebook’s responsibility to deliver real leads to their advertisers no matter what the bad guys are doing. And if Facebook doesn’t have a click-fraud detection system, and refund policy, in place now, they had better get one fast.

Top Investing Websites – Update for July 2012

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

The Top Investing Websites page has been updated. Among the top-ten sites, there was only one change: Zero Hedge moved above ADVFN to regain the #8 position that it lost back in March.

FinViz moved above Morning Star into the #13 slot, and Wall Street Cheat Sheet continued its meteoric rise to #16. However, it won’t be easy for Wall Street Cheat Sheet to continue advancing. If you look at the table, you will see that the site is at the top of the second tier. In order to break into the top tier, they will have to take out IBD, which is 6,000 ranks higher. That’s a very long way to go.

Why You Can’t Make Any Money with AdWords

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Click Fraud. That’s why. Look what this kid wrote on Reddit in IAmA 17-year-old Internet marketer that makes $20,000 a month:

“…when I was 14. …I was introduced to PPC (pay-per-click), which is websites that basically pay you for clicking on advertisements and watching them for certain amount of time.”

His idea of what “PPC” is all about is the exact opposite of yours, the advertiser, right?

A click-fraud operation sets up a website with AdSense, and content that attracts your ads. Then they pay people to click on the ads. But they know that some of you are studying your server logs looking for just that sort of thing: a bunch of quick clicks from a shady looking site. So, like the kid says, the click-monkeys loiter on your site. They fill out your forms, sign up for your mailing list, download your software, install it, run it, etc.

Their job is to create a plausible-looking stream of traffic in your logs.

If I were this kid’s dad, I would take a very close look at what he is doing now. He might be too small for the FBI, but the FBI does indeed to prosecute click-fraud cases. Here’s an example from November 2011.

Spotting click-fraud sites is still possible though – even when they use well-trained click-monkeys. For example if a site with a poor Alexa rating sends you as much traffic as a quality site with a strong Alexa rating, it’s probably a click-fraud site.

I find sites like this all the time using “click-fraud finder” software of my own invention. And I block them from my AdWords campaigns.

Problem solved, right?

Wrong!

Every time I block a bogus site, another one pops up.

You see, these click-fraud gangs know that I will block their sites, so they have plenty of spares ready to go.

So, I don’t let them hurt me too much. I bid low in Google’s “display network”. I study new sites very quickly. I try to get a feel for whether or not they are operated by honest people. And I track my conversions diligently. If I make a sale after spending less than $20 advertising on a site, it’s probably legit, etc.

Maybe you’re thinking that you can just take traffic from name-brand sites? Not so fast. I have a couple of stories about that, but I don’t need to be sued by any big companies and their legal teams. Suffice it to say: trust no one. Every site is suspect until your conversion tracking proves otherwise.

A few months ago, Google said that they were tightening the requirements for new sites that wanted to run AdSense. From my perspective, it hasn’t made any difference. If you have evidence to the contrary, please post a comment.