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Design Rules That Apply Online and Offline
Design Rules That Apply Online and Offline

Although catalogs and websites are two very different entities, there are some basic design rules that apply to both. Both the catalog and the website should have a clean, consistent design, and they should both look alike.

Watch the WebProNews interview with Brent Niemuth for more design rules.
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David A. Utter
Google Says You Can't Buy The Top Ad Spot
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wealthy businesses and smaller operations all compete fairly when it comes to testing ad quality, and thus a placement at the top isn't a divine right for anyone.

Editor's Note: Google wants a better ad experience for its visitors, from the copy in ads to the speed of landing pages. How have Google's initiatives impacted your ad budget and website designs?

Ad quality becomes a bigger issue in the coming weeks, as Google plans to subject advertisers to landing page load time assessments. Speedier pages, which will mean those without lots of plugged-in third-party content, will receive better ad quality scores.

Google's strategy considers quality as king of the advertising and visitor relationship. Relevant search results are no longer enough; it might be suggested that certain competing search engines would suit people as well as Google does for queries.

Better ad destinations make the organic search results look that much more valuable. Google's strategic shift from quantity to quality ads over the past few months means they believe the company makes more money from a single well-conforming ad than several less-pertinent ones. Google isn't about to leave money on the table, and neither should its clients.

The issue of ad quality appeared in a post at Google's Testing blog. Alex Icev wrote about the team and process involved with ranking the quality of search results, and how that transitioned into work on the advertising side.

"We needed to change a system that was predominately driven by human influence into one that (built) its merit based on feedback from the community," Icev said. He detailed a little of the process behind this, especially in the context of moving poor performers out of view:

The idea was that we would penalize the ranking of paid ads in several circumstances: few users were clicking on a particular ads, an ad's landing page was not relevant, or if users don't like an ad's content. We want to provide our users with absolutely the most relevant ads for their click.

Even though the big change to scoring ads based on concepts like landing page speed hits everyone, we think the bigger spenders have an advantage, and always will have, when it comes to bidding for certain lucrative keywords.

The most competitive keywords spur advertisers to improve their all-around page quality. When all other factors are equal, the bid spend makes the difference. Advertisers spend more, and Google profits. With luck, the visiting ad-clicker benefits the most.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Follow me on Twitter, and you can reach me via email at dutter @ webpronews dot com.
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Rafael Robinson

Lessons to be learned?

Our featured post today comes from staker2. They want your advice on when it's a good time to consider yourself a search engine optimizer. Are there qualifications and certifications you have to go through to offically be in SEO? Tell us your thoughts at WebProWorld!

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Good Enough to SEO?
I have recently taken up freelance writing with an SEO bent. I have only done a few websites, but the one website that I worked with was extensive. I do not have a Google engineer on speed dial, and I do not have excellent relationships with quality websites that will just drop links on their PR 5 sites at my beck and call.

My main question is at what point can I honestly, 100%, sell my services as an SEO partner? I have tested in the top 20% on Odesk for their SEO optimization test, but I have a feeling a monkey pushing a button may be able to do the same. Is there a valid, bona fide way I can test my current skills before live-testing on someone else's site, that would be considered a good place to do so by all of you scary good people on here?
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