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In a nearly 1,500-word piece on Google, "The Humans Behind the Google Money Machine," the New York Times didn't say much about said humans except that one of the people who interpret the sea of data generated by Google's advertising business is a Harvard grad in his twenties. Quelle surprise! The article does quote the company's chief economist, Hal Varian (pictured), as saying Google's business is "recession-resistant," and cites criticisms by Wall Street analysts and major advertisers that the Mountain View search giant's operations are like a "black box." Granted, Wall Street firms have been using black boxes, or automated algorithms, to manage trades for years, so the criticism is rather ironic. But the real nut are the details on how you can buy Google ads on the cheap. We've pared that down to exactly 100 money-saving words.

[T]he company also looked beyond click-through rates to rank ads. Google now takes into account the “landing page” that the ad links to, and, for example, gives low grades to pages whose sole purpose is to show more ads. Soon, the loading speed of a landing page will also be considered, Mr. Fox said. These factors contribute to an ad’s “quality score.” The higher that score, the less the advertiser has to bid to secure top billing.... An advertiser with a very low quality score may have to bid so much for placement as to make it uneconomical.

There you have it — light, fast pages with minimal additional advertising means you can buy ads more cheaply than your competitors. (Photo by Joe Hall)