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Google farewells AdSense video units

Published 03/31/2009
Google has announced that after reviewing its AdSense video units feature, which allows publishers to show YouTube content and ads on their pages, they found that it hasn't had the impact they'd had hoped for.   Google will retire the feature at the end of April in order to "focus our resources on other opportunities to help publishers earn from their sites".

Google has asked those publishers currently displaying the video ad units to begin removing them from their pages. Accounts will be credited with any earnings made from the units. From the end of April any leaderboard or skyscraper video units remaining on pages will direct visitors to YouTube and other video unit sizes will automatically convert to standard embedded YouTube players, but these will not generate any revenue.

If you're an Australian here's your chance to become a PPC rockstar

Published 03/5/2009
Simon Leung is one of the best AdWords Trainers in the world. One of the big reasons he's so darn good is that he's a Google AdWords insider. He actually used to work for Google as an optimization specialist.
So he knows stuff that most people simply guess about.

He's going to be in Australia and has arranged with Jay Stockwell to run a 1 day intensive PPC marketing workshop. It's short notice but Jay's managed to lock down two possible dates. They are the 18th or 19th of March. It will be somewhere in the CBD of Melbourne.
This workshop will just be one day, but will be intensive.  It will include some basic training, however, will assume a basic knowledge of PPC.
Jay and the team want to ensure you make the most of the opportunity at hand. So they'll be focusing mostly on the meaty stuff that you can't just get out of a guidebook.
They'll also be teaching some very cutting edge stuff as well.

For more information contact Jay at  Jay AT SpeedPPC DOT com

Get free access to PPC Classroom and over $3,197 in bonuses

Published 03/1/2009
PPC Classroom just announced that they have hit capacity (and above).  The demand for PPC Classroom has been tremendous.  But to be fair to everyone, they're giving everyone a final chance.

This is your LAST chance to get over $3,197 in free bonuses, including 60 days trial of our own SpeedPPC.

Check it out now. You have absolutely nothing to lose:

Save $700 on Search Engine Strategies New York

Published 01/6/2009
Search Engine Strategies (SES) is the leading global conference & expo series that educates delegates on search engine marketing (SEM), including optimization (SEO) and advertising strategies, tactics and best practices. SES Search Marketing Events provide instruction from the industry's top Search experts, including representatives of the Search Engines themselves.

Register for SES New York (March 23-26, 2009) by Friday, January 9, and save $700. Search Engine Strategies

The Year in Search

Published 12/8/2008

Get ready for the New Year in Search,  On Thursday Dec. 11, 1 PM EST,  join the webcast "Search Marketing 2008: What We've Learned, Where We're Headed" - featuring SEMPO chairperson Dana Todd, SEMPO president Jeffrey Pruitt, plus Chris Sherman and Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land.

It will be recorded and available on-demand for those who can't view it.

Registration and more info at

Online ad slow-down ahead

Published 09/24/2008
Christine Holahan from Business Week thinks "...perhaps the most pressing topic for attendees of the Advertising Week V conference in Manhattan is the financial crisis gripping Wall Street and what it means for their business, especially on the Web".

According to her "Companies dependent on Internet-based advertising are bracing for a slowdown as financial-service companies cut ad budgets."

Business Week

Google-Yahoo! deal goes ahead

Published 06/16/2008

"Clearly, it's time to move on." said Jerry Yang, chief executive of Yahoo, as his company announced it had ended talks with Microsoft and agreed instead to a partnership with Google.

The alliance between the two search companies will put Google ads alongside Yahoo's search results and on other web pages in the US and Canada. The arrangement with Google will add about $US800 million a year to sales, Yahoo! said.

The companies will delay implementing the program, which covers search results in the US and Canada, to give the US Justice Department time to review it.

Microsoft abandons bid for Yahoo!

Published 05/4/2008

Microsoft has dropped its bid to buy Yahoo because the two sides cannot agree on an acceptable sale price. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer formally withdrew the offer in a letter to Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang.

Mr Ballmer said Microsoft had raised its original offer from $44.6bn to $47.5bn (£24.1bn) - $33 per share. But he added that Yahoo had insisted on at least $53bn, or $37 a share - more than Microsoft was prepared to pay.

Read Steve Ballmer's letter here.

Search Engine Strategies

Published 02/16/2008
Search Engine Strategies Conference And Expo New York......the intersection of search, marketing, and commerce. SES New York takes place March 17-20 and is a "must-attend". The industry converges for a week of spirited discussion, high-level learning and attendees leave with actionable battle plans to go forward with for their companies.

Get your ticket today.

Yahoo and PayPal streamline checkout

Published 04/18/2007
Yahoo and eBay today announced a partnership in which Yahoo Sponsored Search results will feature a blue shopping cart icon linking to merchants that accept PayPal Express Checkout as a method of payment. 

The program enables a streamlined purchase process for the more than 100 million PayPal customers on the Internet, and helps extends the value of Yahoo!'s new search marketing platform, Panama.

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Page Cloaking - To Cloak or Not to Cloak

By Sumantra Roy

Page cloaking can broadly be defined as a technique used to deliver different web pages under different circumstances. There are two primary reasons that people use page cloaking:

i) It allows them to create a separate optimized page for each search engine and another page which is aesthetically pleasing and designed for their human visitors. When a search engine spider visits a site, the page which has been optimized for that search engine is delivered to it. When a human visits a site, the page which was designed for the human visitors is shown. The primary benefit of doing this is that the human visitors don't need to be shown the pages which have been optimized for the search engines, because the pages which are meant for the search engines may not be aesthetically pleasing, and may contain an over-repetition of keywords.

ii) It allows them to hide the source code of the optimized pages that they have created, and hence prevents their competitors from being able to copy the source code.

Page cloaking is implemented by using some specialized cloaking scripts. A cloaking script is installed on the server, which detects whether it is a search engine or a human being that is requesting a page. If a search engine is requesting a page, the cloaking script delivers the page which has been optimized for that search engine. If a human being is requesting the page, the cloaking script delivers the page which has been designed for humans.

There are two primary ways by which the cloaking script can detect whether a search engine or a human being is visiting a site:

i) The first and simplest way is by checking the User-Agent variable. Each time anyone (be it a search engine spider or a browser being operated by a human) requests a page from a site, it reports an User-Agent name to the site. Generally, if a search engine spider requests a page, the User-Agent variable contains the name of the search engine. Hence, if the cloaking script detects that the User-Agent variable contains a name of a search engine, it delivers the page which has been optimized for that search engine. If the cloaking script does not detect the name of a search engine in the User-Agent variable, it assumes that the request has been made by a human being and delivers the page which was designed for human beings.

However, while this is the simplest way to implement a cloaking script, it is also the least safe. It is pretty easy to fake the User-Agent variable, and hence, someone who wants to see the optimized pages that are being delivered to different search engines can easily do so.

ii) The second and more complicated way is to use I.P. (Internet Protocol) based cloaking. This involves the use of an I.P. database which contains a list of the I.P. addresses of all known search engine spiders. When a visitor (a search engine or a human) requests a page, the cloaking script checks the I.P. address of the visitor. If the I.P. address is present in the I.P. database, the cloaking script knows that the visitor is a search engine and delivers the page optimized for that search engine. If the I.P. address is not present in the I.P. database, the cloaking script assumes that a human has requested the page, and delivers the page which is meant for human visitors.

Although more complicated than User-Agent based cloaking, I.P. based cloaking is more reliable and safe because it is very difficult to fake I.P. addresses.

Now that you have an idea of what cloaking is all about and how it is implemented, the question arises as to whether you should use page cloaking. The one word answer is "NO". The reason is simple: the search engines don't like it, and will probably ban your site from their index if they find out that your site uses cloaking. The reason that the search engines don't like page cloaking is that it prevents them from being able to spider the same page that their visitors are going to see. And if the search engines are prevented from doing so, they cannot be confident of delivering relevant results to their users. In the past, many people have created optimized pages for some highly popular keywords and then used page cloaking to take people to their real sites which had nothing to do with those keywords. If the search engines allowed this to happen, they would suffer because their users would abandon them and go to another search engine which produced more relevant results.

Of course, a question arises as to how a search engine can detect whether or not a site uses page cloaking. There are three ways by which it can do so:

i) If the site uses User-Agent cloaking, the search engines can simply send a spider to a site which does not report the name of the search engine in the User-Agent variable. If the search engine sees that the page delivered to this spider is different from the page which is delivered to a spider which reports the name of the search engine in the User-Agent variable, it knows that the site has used page cloaking.

ii) If the site uses I.P. based cloaking, the search engines can send a spider from a different I.P. address than any I.P. address which it has used previously. Since this is a new I.P. address, the I.P. database that is used for cloaking will not contain this address. If the search engine detects that the page delivered to the spider with the new I.P. address is different from the page that is delivered to a spider with a known I.P. address, it knows that the site has used page cloaking.

iii) A human representative from a search engine may visit a site to see whether it uses cloaking. If she sees that the page which is delivered to her is different from the one being delivered to the search engine spider, she knows that the site uses cloaking.

Hence, when it comes to page cloaking, my advice is simple: don't even think about using it.

Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. To have Sumantra's company place your site at the top of the search engines, go to For more advice on how you can take your web site to the top of the search engines, subscribe to his FREE newsletter by going to

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