Paul Pedersen

Search Engine Marketing Professional (SEO, PPC/CPC)

Google Search Result Changes? New Layout Screenshots

Google presented me with the following search result layouts today. It’s a very clean and attractive design, not to mention extremely functional. It’s clear that Google has FINALLY hired a usability expert. By far, the most interesting of the update is, oddly enough, the addition of the “Updates” tab (screenshot #9).

Behold the Screenshots (Click to Enlarge) Continue reading

Repositioning of Google Sponsored Links

Word on the street is that Google has changed the layout of their search results page in order to increase their revenue per search. The change is a repositioning of their sponsored links—which are purchased through Google AdWords.

I’ve provided before and after shots of the layout changes below: Continue reading

Is Google Building the Social Web?

For a long time Google has been criticized for not getting involved in the “social revolution”. Yes they bought Orkut, but when you look at Facebook, Twitter, and all the big players before them, Google has done nothing close to that scale.

With Google being such an Internet visionary, we have to step back and ask, “What are you doing, Google? Why are you ignoring such an obvious opportunity?”There’s no doubt that sites like Facebook and Twitter are social giants gaining an enviable portion of the Internet traffic and face time. What I want to ask, however, is this… Are Facebook and Twitter REALLY doing it right? In other words, is this really the best we can do in terms of social interaction on the Web?

The Internet has a lot of things to see and do, but do we have to go somewhere to be social? In real life we can be social without going to a destination. We could simply be social at home, in the car, at a bar, on the phone, etc, etc. In other words we can be social anywhere we want. We aren’t limited to a few select locations in which to be social. This is not the case when it comes to the Internet.

In order to do it right, we can’t just make this website or that website social. To do it right, we have to make the Web social.

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Don’t Ignore Google AdWords’ Content Network

Many of you may have been like I was …Ignoring Google AdWords‘ Content Network because of low click through rates and low conversions.  The problem with the content network, I eventually discovered, has nothing to do with the quality of the network and everything to do with the way these campaigns need to be setup.  A properly set up Content Network Campaign can add a lot to your search engine marketing ROI.

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SEO: Going from Good to Great!

A heated conversation broke out on Sphinn yesterday that centered on whether you need to know HTML to be good at SEO.  Frankly, I’m surprised that’s even a question.  It’s a kin to asking if you need to understand the human anatomy to be a good doctor.

I’m not trying to be mean or belittling but if you only have an academic knowledge of SEO factors, you can’t be good at SEO.  You only think you are because [1] the smallest changes can have big impacts and [2] you don’t know what you don’t know.

But in this article I’m not going to focus on the negatives.  I’m going to focus on some constructive ways to go from being a good search engine optimizer to being a GREAT search engine optimizer.  The following are the four core things, as I see them, which you need to be good at if you want to go from good to great in terms of SEO. Continue reading


Today was a sad day for me. An old friend has died. Tomorrow, February 27th is the last edition of the Rocky Mountain News. Denver, as well as the rest of the nation, will not be the better for it.

Working for E W Scripps, the Rocky Mountain News has been a big part of my life for the last year. Although a late adopter of SEO, they were quick to see the benefits of its common-sense principles and adopted it more fully than most any other paper within the company. Some of the things we have been able to accomplish over the last year have been profound, and the plans for the future held even bigger SEO success for the paper …a future we will never see.

One example of their success was our SEO initiative around the Democratic National Convention. During a period of heavy news coverage and other web resources covering the Democratic National Convention, the Rocky Mountain News was able to hold first page Google coverage, sometimes out-performing the official DNC sites and Wikipedia …and always outperforming CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the news giants. Even today you will find them as a first page result for Democratic National Convention.

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I’m a Search Geek!

I just got my letter regarding the SMX Biggest Search Geek Contest.

Dear Paul,

Thank you for participating in the SMX Biggest Search Geek Contest, sponsored by Marin Software. We are pleased to inform you that out of nearly 1700 entries, you scored in the top 10% – a truly great achievement!  You can view where you scored in relation to others at

To recognize the contest?s top achievers, we have created the attached badge, with code that you can place on your website.

Search Marketing Expert

To read more about our Biggest Search Geek Winner, Keri Morgret from San Mateo, CA, please visit:

Thanks again for participating and we hope you join us again next year!

Natalie Clifford Cann
Director of Marketing Communications

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Google AdWords Quality Score

While I’ve written about decoding Google AdWords Quality Score and CTR in the past, I wanted to point out that Google released their official position in their post the other day about quality scores and the ad auction.  Within the post they talk about CTR being a primary indicator of relevance in determining quality score which is them multiplied by Max CPC to determine position.

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SEO Keyword Organization

Foundational to good search engine optimization is the understanding that every search is someone asking a question.  Someone who searches for “George Washington’s birthday” is asking, “When was George Washington’s birthday?”  Someone who searches for “chicken soup recipes” is asking, “Where can I find chicken soup recipes?”  Every search is a question, and every searcher has a unique job to be done.

When we understand that every search is a specific question and every searcher has a unique job to be done, it should change the way we think about creating, organizing and optimizing our web pages.  Our pages can’t simply be a collection of facts on a page.  Our pages have to become answers to specific questions and solutions to unique jobs to be done.

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The Future of SEO is User Experience

Last week AdAge reported that Google CEO Eric Schmidt, while speaking with a group of magazine executives, referred to the internet as a “cesspool”.  What is even more noteworthy, to us a search engine optimizers, is his statement that “We don’t actually want you [as SEOers] to be successful [at gaming the system]”.

The vast majority of us, as SEOers, are still stuck in 2006 when it comes to our SEO practices.  We’ve generally ignored that the search engines have built countermeasures to our SEO tactics.  As producers of real content have slowly moved up in the results, system gamers have moved down.  So what is the solution?  Better title tags?  More links?  In my opinion, it’s none of these.
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