In late 2009, a well known and established promotional products supplier wanted to launch a new website, targeting a different type of buyer.

Why was Liberty brought in?

Keyword research was needed and so was an analysis of competition. The company recognised that this wasn’t a strength of theirs so asked us to advise on target keywords. was born and in early 2010 the SEO strategy started.

The goal of the website was always to take a large share of the search engine traffic. Thousands of searches take place for the chosen keywords each week and it is vital that MyBrandedMerchandise becomes one of the most visited suppliers.

After writing keyword rich content for the main pages of the site, we started to build links from other websites, in order to convince Google that the website is worth showing high in the results.

Within weeks, the promotional products website was appearing in the first few pages of Google for some of its keywords and within six months it was on page one for almost all of them.

What has working with Liberty meant?

1. A website that did not exist only a few months ago now receives thousands of visitors a month.

2. The business has been able to pause its Google AdWords campaign, yet traffic figures keep growing.

3. New enquiries are flowing in and the business is busier than it has ever been.

4. New sales take place each week.

The ever increasing list of features and changes to Google AdWords doesn’t look like it’ll get shorter anytime soon with the recent release of a “related to” section in the sponsored search results.

When certain broad phrases are used in the search engine, not only do adverts from the websites bidding on those keywords appear, but below them other adverts that Google believes are related to the search are now also being shown:

What does this mean to Pay Per Click advertisers? If you don’t bid on broad match keywords then not much, other than more competitors will now appear within the results. According to Google the adverts are being served on “relevant broad match keywords”, so make use of your negative keywords if you don’t want your ads to show within the “related to” section.

Google has built its success on providing people with relevant results to specific keywords that they search with. While this experiment may at first seem like a ittle change, it's another step away from Google being a search engine and another where it tries to interpret what person really mean. With these new "related to" AdWords enhancements and other recent changes at Google, we are in for an interesting time.

If you run a Pay Per Click account and would like an experienced Pay Per Click consultant to go over these changes with you then call Liberty on 029 2076 6467. 

It is no secret that Google is growing from strength to strength, not only improving its own search engine but also investing in video (YouTube), blogging (Blogger), browsers (Chrome), mobile phones (Android) and so much more.

In an editorial piece, The New York Times makes the argument that Google - in a position to place its fingers in many pies and look after its own invested interests - could potentially manipulate its own search results to its advantage, showing its own interests above those of the competition.

Whether Google decides to play completely fair or help itself is a contentious issue. Revealing its algorithm will force Google to do the former and play fair. This piece offers some possible solutions:

"Some early suggestions for how to accomplish [a fair editorial policy] include having Google explain with some specified level of detail the editorial policy that guides its tweaks. Another would be to give some government commission the power to look at those tweaks."

It is true that revealing elements of Google's secretive algorithm would clear this. For example, if YouTube were to rank higher than other video-sharing websites, it would be noticeable whether the ranking appears naturally or forced by Google.

However, there could be other wider implications of revealing the algorithm. Google's success so far is because its algorithm is a secret. Even so, as Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan points out in his take on the New York Times piece:

"Google constantly speaks at search marketing and other events to answer questions about how they list sites and how to improve coverage... Google is constantly giving interviews about its algorithm..."

Although the algorithm is a secret, Google helps webmasters, not by telling them outright what the algorithm is, but by telling them how they can help themselves with regards to how the algorithm operates, and why it displays the search results it does.

After all, what if everyone knew the algorithm? Google's Marissa Mayer explains (originally printed in the Financial Times but reproduced on Google's Public Policy Blog):

"If search engines were forced to disclose their algorithms and not just the signals they use, or worse, if they had to use a standardised algorithm, spammers would certainly use that knowledge to game the system, making the results suspect ."

We are reminded of an incident last year when a Google search for "ugg boots" displayed seven spam/fraud websites within the first page (top ten) results. In this instance, the websites used suspect, black hat SEO techniques to get to the top of Google for that keyword. Surely revealing the algorithm would only encourage such practices - both good and bad; white hat, black hat and everything in between - affecting the quality of the search engine results shown, and in turn damaging Google's reputation as (mostly) showing the most natural, "neutral" results. Otherwise, Google would have to invest much more heavily in moderating the results and weeding out those websites manipulating the algorithm, which is likely to be a larger number if the way Google operates is disclosed.

All of this is without even considering governmental intervention, as mentioned in the second half of the above quote from the New York Times piece. Some of the bigger sceptics on the WebmasterWorld forum have expressed their fears that, amongst other things, the government may suggest changes to the algorithm from which they themselves could benefit.

Whatever the outcome, although Danny Sullivan believes the First Amendment and the fact that Yahoo survived a similar incident will save Google from such a fate, it will be interesting to see what - if anything - transpires, whether such action would be seen as a necessity as Google continues to grow and dominate the search engine world as well as other industries.