Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Help AdSense publishers avoid committing inadvertent clickfraud

Recently your CEO admitted clicking on AdWords ads "all the time" to test that everything is working (yes, I know ads clicked on from Google.com IP addresses are not counted) but, of course, AdSense publishers are not afforded those same rights. Granted, you provide an AdSense Preview Tool (but I'm on a Mac so I can't use it), and instructions on how to find the URL, but they are both too hard. As an AdSense publisher, I want the ability to EASILY follow an ad that I see on my site: e.g. it's something I'm interested in, or it looks dodgy and I want to investigate it further. The way I imagine many publishers do it now is to make sure they are logged out of the AdSense system, clear their cookies, and then use a proxy to click and hope for the best. If they had to fire up the AdSense Preview Tool, there's no guarantee they'd see that same ad again within the Tool.

I think you can guess what's coming... my suggestion is that you provide an easy way for AdSense publishers to click on ads on their site without risk of being thrown out of the AdSense program.

How about having a setting in the AdSense admin where you can specify your own IP address and not counting clicks from that IP address? Or not count the clicks when the publisher is logged in to their Google account? Or having a unique identifier on each Google Toolbar installaion and then allow an AdSense publisher to associate their installed Google Toolbar with their AdSense account so it identifies them and ignores their clicks?

On top of that, it would be fantastic if you would provide a one-click way of adding a competing ad to my competitive filter. Since you would know that I'm the publisher and not to count my clicks.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Google Co-op and creating your own vertical search for your site

I'd like to be able to put a Google Co-op search on my site or my blog like I can with the Rollyo Search. With Rollyo I can specify which sites I want my visitor to be able to search and then I can stick a search box on my site. I would like to see similar functionality from Google Co-op. That is the sort of thing that would really kick-start adoption of Google Co-op. It looks like you can put a Google search box on a page -- like the one on here -- but you'll find that on this page a search for "rover" returns a car company web site as the #1 result, which is clearly not relevant. I'd suggest that the search results on this first search be better refined.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Integrate Google Checkout into Google Base

You claim that Google Checkout will be a universal checkout for making purchases online. Then it makes sense that you integrate Google Checkout into your Google Base so that shoppers who are looking for product-related content on Google Base can actually purchase the products using Google Checkout from the merchants who are set up with the Google Checkout program. I would also recommend that you somehow make it easy for shoppers to restrict their searches on Google Base to just those merchants who offer Google Checkout.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google API returns vastly different number of results from Google.com

I find it really frustrating that I cannot rely on the Google API to return an estimated number of results that is even remotely similar to the number of results returned by a standard Google web search on Google.com.

Thus, I can't rely on the Google API for tracking the number of pages of my site that is indexed over time. Or the number of back links reported.

I'm sure plenty of people would rather not scrape Google SERPs to track their indexation or link popularity numbers, but Google, you give them little choice!

If you want fewer SEO tools scraping your pages for the results numbers, then I suggest making the API return the same number of results that Google.com does.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Extend the canonicalization feature in Google Sitemaps

Canonicalization, for those readers who don't know, is a term that refers to which URL is the definitive URL of a site, the one that the site most wants to be known by. For example, your home page address may be linked to on some websites without the www. Inevitably this happens, even though you really would prefer they link to it with the www.

It is very nice that Google Sitemaps (now renamed to Google Webmaster Tools) has a feature where you can specify which version of your site you want indexed: the one with the www or without. Then all inbound links to either version should aggregate to the version that you specify through Sitemaps. However, this doesn't go nearly far enough because many sites own multiple domain name, for example typo versions of their brand names to protect them from cybersquatters or to bring visitors in who don't know how to spell. And there are plenty of blogs out there under domains like typepad.com and blogs.com but the blogger has also signed up for TypePad's Pro service and have the blog under their own domain name too. For example, divamarketingblog.com and bloombergmarketing.blogs.com is the same blog, but the blogger (Toby Bloomberg) had to redirect www.divamarketingblog.com to bloombergmarketing.blogs.com to resolve the canonicalization issue, even though the redirect should have gone the other way. Unfortunately, the folks at TypePad (who control blogs.com), do not allow their bloggers to have a 301 or 302 redirect issued from blogs.com or from typepad.com. Therefore the only way to properly solve this canonicalization issue for bloggers on TypePad is for Google to extend the Google Sitemaps canonicalization feature to allow for other URLs too, not just the www or no www switch. So in the case of Diva Marketing Blog, Toby should be allowed to specify that her preferred canonical URL is www.divamarketingblog.com, not bloombergmarketing.blogs.com.

Think of all the huge number of Typepad blogs out there where they have signed up for the Pro service and have their own domain name associated with that blog. That adds up to a heck of a lot of duplicate pages in the Google index that could be eliminated with this Sitemaps feature.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Google Checkout needs to deliver the shopper back to the merchant

The current way that you have Google Checkout set up you basically lead the shopper to a dead-end after they complete their purchase. I imagine a lot of merchants would be reticent to put Google Checkout on their site given that, because they would lose the opportunity to further develop the relationship with that shopper after they have completed the purchase through Google Checkout.

For example, merchants could suggest the shopper create a wish list, or sign up for their email newsletter, or subscribe to RSS feeds, or read their blog, or continue looking around their catalog.

You need to allow merchants to supply a "thank you for your order" URL that, when defined, Google Checkout redirects the shopper to that URL after the purchase.