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February 24, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Building Your Blog Audience

By Li Evans

After a little hiatus the Online Marketing Tips Videos are back! This week I'm discussing three tips that can help you build your audience a bit more around your blog and the community that forms around it.

Full Building Your Blog Audience Video Transcript After the Jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Building Your Blog Audience" »

February 22, 2009

Search Resources: Building a Better Economic Model

By Y.M. Ousley


Even though study after study shows that more eyeballs go to organic listings, pay-per-click is often the advertiser default because the business model is easy to track and understand. Richard Zwicky moderates this panel, with thoughts from Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, John Marshall of Market Motive and Andrew Goodman of Page Zero Media. Some of my thoughts on the session are in italics.

Rand starts with a presentation on how to scale an SEO business, but the advice could apply to any service based business or consultancy. Readers of SEOmoz will know that over the last few years, the mozzers have gone from focusing on client work to a subscription model that focuses on search tools, training and support.

His view is that the typical consultant model doesn't scale. The number of clients and volume of work requires an increase in people and human hours. Additionally, the exit/sale price multipliers max at 1.5x revenue for consultancies, 4x for ad revenue based businesses, 8x for product revenue businesses and up to 100x for technology. For someone looking to take their SEO business further financially, the technology model is the path to take when it comes to outside investment or acquisition. 

Pay for performance as a model for organic search is an option, but has downfalls and is volatile. Stock/share compensation is more frustrating because factors outside of the consultants control can interfere.

"Productizing" SEO is a way to leverage a product/service/technology that increases in revenue without increasing in human resources. The product can be an event, subscription based, research based or technology based model.


These all scale better than models that require an increase in human resources as revenue increases - the typical consultant model.

Continue reading "Search Resources: Building a Better Economic Model" »

February 21, 2009

The Pirate's Dilemma - SES London Keynote by Matt Mason

By Li Evans

Mike-grehan-matt-mason-ses-london-2009 Matt Mason, author of the Pirate's Dilemma spoke at the opening keynote of SES London. Prior to him speaking I got a chance to speak to him a little and I was really impressed with what a down to earth person Matt really is. That carried through to his presentation as well.

Matt started out by giving the audience some big picture overviews about Piracy by asking the audience how many of us knowingly pirate things and how many don't? Matt went on to point out it's not the piracy laws that we know that we break, but the ones we don't know we break every day. The audience seemed a little bewildered until Matt went on to point out that singing happy birthday in public, forwarding emails and photocopying books are all examples of piracy. If you calculated it all, 4.65 billion a year would be owed by each person for violating laws around piracy.

In the past, information use to flow in one direction but with the changes in society, technology and advancement with the internet, information is now flowing in a lot of directions and decentralization is happening. Piracy is having a great impact on businesses such as fashion, pharmaceuticals, and movies just to name of few industries, and its only just getting started. With the advent of the 3d printer and the fact that these printers are getting extraordinarily cheaper each year( a few years ago they were 21k, this year 1,800) as well as smaller and faster, piracy is becoming more and more a big issues companies face.

Continue reading "The Pirate's Dilemma - SES London Keynote by Matt Mason" »

SES London 2009 - Link Building Basics

By SEOidiot

This session is in the fundamentals track so a lot of the content may not be suited to people at a more advanced level already

Moderator:
Kevin Newcomb, Managing Editor, Search Engine Watch

Speakers:
Peter van der Graaf, Advanced Search Specialist, Netsociety
Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link
Jonathan Stewart, Head of Natural Search, iCrossing UK
Brian Turner, Offpage Optimisation Specialist, Propero Digital

Debra Mastaler of Alliance Link:

Links are the soul of the web, sites that have a lot of links rank well.
Before we can do that we need to understand where this all came from.
Back in the 50's with the launch of sputnik the world realised that they needed a network that would survive if nuclear war happened and this eventually lead to the creation of the internet. Once the amount of pages on the net increased the search engines became the way to find information.

Google started with the view of course that the links between these sites were citations as sites voted for each other.

Link Popularity

Link quantity - Number of links
Link quality - The authority that is passed through the link
Anchor text - The text used in inbound links
Anchor text is most effective when these links point at pages optimised for that term.
Link relevance - establishes where your site is in the neighbourhood of links.

Authority sites
Sites that rank well and have strong positions within their niche and have quality inbound links that support that.

Avoid when link building: -

Try to build slow and steady to avoid sending a signal to the engines that this isnt normal
Repetitive anchor text - try to avoid just using one term and link deeply into the site rather than just to the homepage.
Reciprocal links - dont get stuck just using reciprocals
Links in the content rather than the navigation as these can appear to be potentially paid or out of full context.
Links that nofollow or are affected by robots.txt wont help you with your link popularity
Make sure the pages you are trying to get links from are indexed as a guide that it should pass at least some value.

Jonathan Stewart of iCrossing UK:

Links - its all about quality

  • Trust
  • Dofollow
  • Age of links
  • Page Rank
  • Content
  • Anchor text
  • Position
  • Relevance

Tools for link analysis

  • Google webmaster tools
  • Yahoo site explorer
  • SEO Elite
  • Linkscape

How to get links

  • Directories
  • Had a tough time of late (Google have even removed it from their guidlines)

Dont use to focus on big money terms (Better used for long tail)
Make sure the directory has good editorial and that the page you want is indexed and has a cache in google

Link reconfiguration

  • Approach webmasters already identified as linking to you and ask them to change the link to something more optimised or even add further links to additional content.
  • Agencies - use the clients email address to ask and be personal (phone, manual email etc)
  • Identify sites linking to a 404 page on your site and ask them to correct

Press Releases

  • PR Web
  • Response Source
  • Source Wire
  • 27-7 Press release

Embed links in the release
Google only takes the anchor text from the first link. So if three links in your release all point to the home page the first found is the one that google uses.

Creating great content

  • For a recent toyota blog campaign they looked at the fact that the car was aimed at people who are looking for fuel efficiency
  • They decided to do some hypermiling where they tested how efficient you could get the car to act.
  • Flickr photos
  • Twitter
  • Blog posts
  • Picked up and linked from some highly valuable sites.

Peter van der Graaf of Netsociety

Just sending mass emails isn't that effective
Stages of link building

  • What do i have and where do i want links from (Inc competitor link analysis)
  • Link bait creation
  • Distribution
  • Continue the relationship with people who link to you

Preparation

  • How natural and full is my current link profile
  • Do i have good links?
  • Do I have links that could appear paid
  • How does this appear in relation to your competition
  • Which possible link partners would help bridge that gap?
  • Can these possible link partners be grouped into possible approaches ?

Link Bait Creation

  • You have to match the content that you create that match the approaches that you identified in the previous stage. Do some research on a topic and create content based on that research.
  • Contribute to websites, content, providing tools, guest post, reward their visitors (discounts perhaps?)
    Linker rewards - reviews, testimonials, link trades (knowing the down sides of that now)
    Must see - shocking, funny, hot topics

Distribution

  • Email, as personally as possible. The more personal the better the results.
  • Take personal control of the most important targets to ensure the best chance of success.
  • Distribute through sites that already have some authority. Press releases, social, news etc
    Spread virally
  • Continue relations
  • Link value keeps building up so don't lose them.
  • Makes it easier for ongoing projects.


Brian Turner of Propero Digital

A lot of people misunderstand link building as they often look at links in isolation as a way to manipulate the results rather than making it part of the overall marketing process.

  • Link buying is a good example of an area that if focussed on getting links can cause you problems.
  • Google is developing newer methods than just links as signals. Human traffic values for example.
  • Link building therefore has to be part of a wider communications strategy.
  • By entering into conversations with people in your industry you are naturally inviting links
  • The internet is a social web run by people for people so engaging in conversations is a natural way to invite links as part of that conversation.

Q & A

1 link building tactic that works right now

  • Jonathan - Link reconfiguration
  • Peter - Reduce branding - people are far more likely to respond without a prominant brand
  • Brian - be newsworthy



February 19, 2009

SES London 2009 - Successful Site Architecture

By SEOidiot

Moderator:
Anne Kennedy, SES Advisory Board, Managing Partner and Founder, Beyond Ink

Speakers:
David Snyder, Co-Founder, Search & Social
Alan Perkins, Founding Director, SilverDisc Limited
Dean Chew, SEO Engineer, Ayima Search Marketing


Alan Perkins

Why successful site architecture
Everything else is built from the foundations of site architecture
Not only good for SEO but good for all types of web marketing

Site architecture
Information architecture
The web as a whole
Pages in the core are linked to by other pages in the core and link out to pages in the core

Your linking partners
They divide amongst the following areas: -

Platform - pc, mobile, tv
Language - English, French, Spanish
Location - E.g. UK, Glabal, Spain etc
Vertical theme - E.g. mining, construction

To get the best success you need to match the architecture to the linking partners.

Mission
Match your sites mission to the searchers mission (Keyword research to find their missions)

Breadcrumb trails help architecture and the engines to understand the structure of your site better.

Rules of thumb for information architecture on your site
The higher something is placed in your site arch the more important that content is.

Technical architecture
To appear in a relevant country results try to use a country specific domain (eg .co.uk) and host within that country.

Javascript / Ajax
Search engines dont index
Javascript should be used to ad bells and whistles but the site must work without it.

Cookies
Search engines dont read cookies
The sites content should be divided into marketing pages (no use of cookies) and functional pages where they can be used. Try to avoid using session id's in the urls

Robots.txt
Plain text file
Placed in the domain root
Stops content being crawled and indexed (Meta tags dont stop the crawl whereas robots.txt does)
Works on all content
Plan your URL's in advance to get the most out of it
See www.robotstxt.org for more details

Rel=canonical
New standard to help tell the search engines what the preferred cononical url is.

Rel=nofollow
Tells the engines not to apply the value of the link.
Dont overuse it.




David Snyder

Information architecture - the art of designing websites to aid usability
This definition is perhaps slightly concrete

Information environment design is perhaps a better way to describe it. Environments are constantly adapting and helps change our thought process about what we are doing.

Categorise your information first the go into link building. Unless you have the first part done the anchor text on the inbound links wont help categorise your site.

Domains
The top level TLD which can have multiple sub domains within it
Correct canonicalisation
Correct use of redirects
Page architecture
H tags
Get rid of code bloat

Sections
These represent the hubs that contain the categories

Categories

Pages
Where your content lives

Media
Use of micro formats in media

SEO Virtual siloing
Categories and sections has links to pages that have the content
Each category has its own mini site map
Interlinking between the categories
People undervalue the power of internal linking

Dean Chew

Technical site architecture
Do your keyword research then align your pages to match those terms
Get the title, header tags and pagename lined up

Keep them as short as possible and as near to the root as possible
Try to avoid query strings both for the engines and for the user

Header tags
H1 - only once for the header of the page
H2,3 Can be used multiple times to divide up the content

Canonicalisation
Make sure you funnel all versions of the same url (Think www.domain v domain) to one URL as you cant control what version people will link to you under.

Printer friendly pages - put a noindex meta tag in the print page to help avoid dupe content

Sub domains v folders
Sub domains dont pass authority from the main domain

Http status codes
Make sure the codes returned by your pages are correct

200 - ok
301 - moved permanently
302 - moved temp
404 - page not found (make sure you return a 404 header)
Make your 404 useful for the user

SES London 2009 - Balancing Paid & Organic

By SEOidiot

Moderator:
Mike Grehan, Global KDM Officer, Acronym Media

Speakers:

Andy Atkins-Krüger, Managing Director, WebCertain Europe Ltd
Caragh McKenna, Head of Search Marketing, ICAN
Dixon Jones, Managing Director, Receptional LTD



Caragh

UK companies spending approx 52% of their budgets on paid search as appose to organic.

In 2008 39% of search engine users feel that companies listed first in the results are leaders in their field (That includes the paid listings)

Organic
Now made up of
Traditional web results
Youtube and video results
News
Stock results
Social
Maps
Local
Blogs
Etc

Why organic?
More users click on the organic
Organic results instill greater brand confidence
Organic favors optimisation for blended search

Why paid?
Provides visibility for official site
Provide visibility for sites with indexing issues
Provide top listings where organic visibility has not been achieved
Suits short campaigns
Provides targeted entry points

Showing an example of a search for hotels you could see that the paid and local listings push the organic below the fold.

The future
The search results will no longer be the 10 blue links
2008 survey showed that search users favored results from: -
News 36%
Image 31%
Video 17%

Universal search is still patchy so its still worth concentrating effort on those 10 blue links

Dixon

As the credit crunch has started to bite there has been a move by clients towards concentrating on organic more than PPC.

Being seen twice in paid and organic is a good thing when possible
It reinforces your brand and gives two opportunities to see the brand
Uplift in CTR of 25% on both listings (Research shows - E-consultancy)
It also increases your chance of converting to sale
Takes up real estate to help eliminate a competitor
Is really cheap on your brand term (Increases ctr and prevents brand reputation management issues)

Dixon showed an example of how spotting the paid listing is getting a little harder with blended search. The example showed a search for "sun" and Dixon drew our attention to some of the commercial businesses in the serps that were arguably paid listings rather than pure organic.

You need balance becuase...
Sometimes organic is too dangerous by itself
Sometimes ppc is too expensive
Two takes real esatet
PPC allows for quicker reaction and short campaigns

Strategic mix
Organic
Brand
Long term campaigns
The big keywords are the prize, but not always the goal

PPC
Brand
Calendar events
Scale using many highly focussed Adgroups / Targets
Use for rebuttals
Avoid broad match bids on big keywords
When universal search kicks in

Andy

Tweaking the conversion rates on ppc can make a serious difference to the maximum cpc
Then if you take into account the contribution of seo you can look at that as part of the calculation towards what the maximum available cpc there is for your ppc
This has the effect of allowing you to vastly increase the level at which you can compete and raises the bar for competitors. If they still have their ppc in isolation then they will have a break even point below ours and therefore we can make life very difficult for them.





 

February 18, 2009

SES London - Orion Panel - SEO Where to Next?

By SEOidiot

Moderator: Mike Grehan

Speakers:
Kevin Ryan, SES Advisory Board Chair & CMO, WebVisible
Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOmoz.org
Brett Tabke, CEO, WebmasterWorld.com
Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land
Jill Whalen, CEO, High Rankings Where does

Where does SEO go next?
Why do we do SEO - why don't we expect the engines to do that work and fix their crawler?

Ses_seo_panel

Jill Whalen - We have to do it. The problem is often the developers who don't understand what they have to do to make life easy for the engines.

Chris Sherman - SEO is as much PR as it is tweaking pages.

Rand Fishkin - Linkbuilding is its own art and science, great linkbuilding isn't always tied to great marketing. Good marketers who find technical and psycological ways to make people want to link.

Mike Grehan - If you think about great ways to attract people and make good content its better than trying to set yourselves some number based target. One great link can outway a volume of poor links. Is it about quantity or quality?

All- quality

Should we spend more time on quality?

Jill Whalen - Natural links are best, getting that extra edge is a real science

Rand Fishkin - When you do a lot of site analysis you sometimes find that it isn't always quality. Yes in the long term quality counts but when you see weaknesses in the algo its hard not to take advantage of that.

Mike Grehan - The weakness of the link based method is that unless you have a website you don't get to vote

Rand Fishkin - Web 2.0 has partly addresses that and now the public does get to vote

Mike Grehan - Usergenerated content is now 5 times that of traditional content.

Rand - I think we may underestimate google. Is a crawler going to be the best way to gather all the information in the world? When you look at things like twitter for example.

Mike Grehan - What are some of the new things we should be doing now?

Chris Sherman - If we are doing some of the quality things we should be OK.

Brett - We are coming into a new era where search engines aren't the defacto way to get information. Social media is starting to take some share of that task.

Kevin Ryan - Getting access to the data isn't the only factor, local 2.0 has become the integration of usergenerated content into the mix.

Rand Fishkin - When you look at what has changed, local is one area. The new sources cant be manipulated in the same ways.

Mike Grehan - On doing a search for bed and breakfast new york all the work that people had done on organic rankings and getting backlinks is wasted by the fact that google puts a list of local listings before the first result.

Rand Fishkin - You have to do different things to manipulate your chances in local, you have to be aware that if you simply sit back and let it happen naturally then you aren't influencing the results.

Jill Whalen - We should be helping make the internet better and helping the search engines give good results

Rand Fishkin - Blackhats aren't ruining the web, they are pushing the envelope. They are one of the drivers that make google improve their systems.

Mike Grehan - If we did just stick to googles guidelines that would be hard

Rand Fishkin - Yes it would be hard but even now by leveraging the new user generated content and thinking differently you can still.

Mike Grehan - Lets talk about social media, should we be recommending that people use that? Should it be part of the mix?

Jill Whalen - It creates traffic and people are using it in addition to google

Rand Fishkin - I don't know how we couldn't recommend that

Chris Sherman - Depends on your goals, if you use it for areas that don't work for social media you may get a backlash.

Mike Grehan - How do we get the new signals from user generated content into the algo? Rand Fishkin - The goal of many of sites now is to be the defacto answer to the query so you dont rely on google. bt - When google did their recent ajax test it stripped off the referring keyword and if implemented would cause us to rethink our optimization strategy.

Mike Grehan - If google changes overnight we don't get a warning that they will change.

Jill Whalen - Thats why concentrating on making the pages you create the best that they can be and have made good use of social media then it shouldn't matter if google changes its algo.

Mike Grehan - Video? is optimizing video the SEO's job

All - Yes

 Chris Sherman - We are going to see more technologies like speech to text conversion that will make our job easier.

Mike Grehan - Again we are all talking about new signals

Chris Sherman - Content is king and will continue to be, the technical aspect of SEO will change but content remains king

Jill Whalen - The IT department and the marketing departments of businesses need to come together. they need to understand that SEO is a function of both

Kevin Ryan - Other than googles dominance the involvement of google in government now is a concern.

Q & A

With the advent of so many new ways to get to the web without having to go through google (Think Tweetdeck for Twitter and other applications) how are our jobs going to change?

Brett - If you focus on the user then the engines will follow
Rand Fishkin - Perhaps thats a different job than the job of an SEO?

When you are looking at applications that access the sites directly thats perhaps not search. Is Google now finished as we move away from a link based eco system?

Chris Sherman - In the early days the method of viewing value through citation that was a good way to look at the web, there will be new ways going forward.

Rand Fishkin - Link analysis still has some life in it for coming years but citations can evolve beyond just links.

SES London 2009 - SEO Through Blogs and Feeds

By SEOidiot

Moderator: Andy Atkins-Krüger, Managing Director, WebCertain Europe Ltd

Speakers: David Naylor, SEO, Bronco
Sante Achille, Consultant, Sante J Achille
Maile Ohye, Senior Developer Programs Engineer, Google

Daven_blogseo

Maile:

Lead for the webmaster central blog Blogs
Think about Blogsearch as a way of adding opinionated content to the search results

Triggered by hot topics

  • Entertainment
  • Tech
  • Politics


Publish > ping > indexed (typically less than 10 minutes)
If you aren't using a service like blogger or wordpress you can ping the service manually

SEO faqs

Publish full content or snippet?

It doesnt make that much of a difference but its mildly better for Google to get the full (only makes a few minutes difference)

Can I robots.txt some of my categories etc to avoid dupe content

If you are confident with robots.txt yes but google will try to sort it at their end

What about tweets?
Not currently in the ping service, crawled if linked to on the web.

Security, blogger and webmaster tools

Receive 'hackable software' notification in webmaster tools message centre
Blogs seem especially vunerable
Up-to-date software software can prevent attacks
Verify your site with webmaster tools

Feeds for product search

Back end is Google Base
Google.co.uk/products
Submit your products through feeds, text, xml, api or even manual submission

Product feeds appear in universal search via the onebox
Extended Product pages show in uk (electronics) and us for (electronics, books, dvds etc)

Best practices for feeds

Strive for accurate information
Good attributes to include in your base feed.

  • UPC (unique product code)
  • MPN (manu part number)
  • Brand
  • Accurate description
  • Image


In the US there is a data quality tab that will help verify UPC's and checks if titles are correct lengths

Google base discussion group is a good resource More of these features coming to the UK

Sante:

Architecture
How to optimise your blogs architecture

Avoid starting on free portals
By starting on a free service and growing there its hard to take all that work with you.

Showed an example of a site that moved from moveable type to wordpress and gave up due to the work involved in trying to migrate so many inbound links

Make the urls better

Recommended www.domain.com/category/title-keywords

Custom structure in wordpress /%catgory%/%postname%/

Should I change to keywords from ?=
If its working well now then leave it

Theme templates
Choose a theme that privileges your content so the content is prominent rather than the sidebar being first in the code.

Move the get_sidebar to below the content loop

Personalisation
Plugins
Be cautious to avoid problems and badly written plugins
Check the number of downloads
Research who is using it and whether there have been problems
Mine your content to identify keywords that help you create new content

Wordpress as a multi lingual platform
Blogslot (Plugin to help group content by language)
Group your categories into languages

Dave Naylor;

It starts with what software to use Wordress, Drupal, Movable Type, Blogger etc....
Wordpress is the best to choose

The fact that wordpress pings google blogsearch
Its a solid CMS

Check the plugins carefully as there are many out there that can cause problems

Considerations for the blog Root sub dom or subfolder

Tend to put them in subs for clients Hosting - put the subs on different servers and therefore ip's so you get a gain from google thinking they are external rather than internal links

Making the blog SEO friendly

  • Make the title of the post count
  • Make use of heading tags - H1's H2's etc
  • Change the url structure to be your-doamin.com/your-post-page/


Blog linking

If you dofollow (eg using the do follow plugin) you have to be sure to spend the time moderating
Link to relevant sites Social networking
Add the relevant buttons to your blog posts (Dont go crazy, just add the relevant ones)
Submit your stuff to digg, stumble etc

RSS feeds

Snippets tend to help bring people to your site and see your ads etc but full feeds make people more likely to subscribe
Use Joost's (http://www.yoast.com) RSS-Footer plugin to add a link to you in your feeds
If someone is using your feeds and not linking back email them and give them a deadline to remove or add a followed link.

February 17, 2009

SES London - Measuring Success in a 2.0 world

By SEOidiot

Moderator: Mike Grehan

  • Richard Zwicky, Founder & CEO, Enquisite
  • Miles Bennett, Director, Targetstone Limited
  • John Marshall, CTO, Market Motive
  • Neil Mason, Director of Analytical Consulting, Foviance


SES_success_WEB2

What do we need to track? 
Many years ago clients merely asked that we needed to simply track hits

Richard Zwicky - 2.0 is how user want to interact with the web.  Measure the value delivered rather than simple numbers

Miles Bennett - Usability towards growing registrations rather than simple traffic metrics.

John Marshall - Becoming tougher to measure the success of the business rather than simply the website. So much of the interaction with business now happens off the website (think RSS feeds etc)

Neil Mason - Define what you mean by success - time needs to be taken to make the client understand what success means. Analytics simply show behaviour rather than determine success in the visitor achieving what they came to achieve.

How does the client determine what the KPI's are ?

Richard Zwicky - Clients do need to be lead through the process

John Marshall - Its getting harder for the client to grasp the fact that a lot of the value happens away from the website. Email marketing for example can be difficult as so many of the savvy younger web users use mediums like social networking

Mike Grehan - In 2.0 there are so many additional factors (think user generated content video etc)

Miles Bennett - Trends, peaks and troughs as a method to show where the risks and value are. It doesn't matter what the historic numbers are if they get problems off site on things like Youtube it can still affect the brand.

Mike Grehan - How important is it to measure things like tagging - del.icio.us twitter hashtags etc

Neil Mason - The toolkits are sparse in that area so its difficult. researching using the newer tools helps large customers to start to understand the value from multi channel behaviour.

John Marshall - The analytics traditional tend to now give a more 2 dimensional view but don't tell us much about the intention and experience of the user. Surveys are an important tool as is competitive information. KPI referrals from search is better with a view of share of search as it gives a far more meaningful metric.

Richard Zwicky - Professional analytics give so much more than the basic tools like google analytics etc - we fall into that as its easier when some of the professional tools give so much more. Its like a professional photographer using a high end SLR verses the ease of use of something like a camera phone.

Richard-Zwicky  


Mike Grehan - So how do we add value to our clients?
People give value too often to the last click rather than the whole picture

Neil Mason - To do a job you need a variety of tools. Google Analytics - good strong basic analytics tool but as you ask more questions you start to need more tools. Got to get the data in one place as you need to be able to see all the data across the different technologies and therefore be unable to understand the total picture which then in turn informs what decisions you make.

John Marshall - Admission of complexity is a first step in understanding that we need to change. Tools like Hitwise and other competitive data isn't a replacement for analytics but provides an additional layer.

Mike Grehan - tools that are out there ?

Neil Mason - Hitwise as competitive analysis
John Marshall - Compete

Many of the newer tools are expensive as we have been lulled into a sense that analytics data is free whereas many of the new services rely on work that costs a great deal to assemble.

Mike Grehan - what are the important KPI's?

Miles Bennett - its hard to give a one size fits all as they need to align with the customers objectives

Neil Mason - You have to first define what the goals of the business are and these have to be clear and confident. what does good look like (what would the indicators be of success). Then looking at how you can measure that, perhaps for an investment company good may be determined by phone call enquiries. Many of these metrics point to outcomes that manifest themselves in actions offline.

Richard Zwicky - The site isn't an island in the business and so you need to understand how to listen to those customers

Q & A

Measuring success
If the client doesn't have a clear idea of the 'value' of each lead what can you do to counter that?

John Marshall - There are tools that can help attach the real search query into the lead generation tool. this then gives the sales people the opportunity to see the types of leads and it gives them a way to value those leads. Think - if the referral from search was 'cheap widgets' that gives the client a better idea of the value of that lead versus other terms.

How much time do you suggest businesses devote to measuring success?

Miles Bennett - Web analytics and data analysis is a full time role and people need to give it the resource to get the value

Richard Zwicky - If you define the goals then you can define the amount of time that you need to spend with the data to achieve those goals

Neil Mason - The more the pressure of the current climate bites the amount of time between adjustment cycles will mirror the faster pace of changes within the client.

Search Around the World

By Y.M. Ousley

Erica Schmidt (Isobar), Martin Sinner (Idealo), Andy Atkins-Kruger (WebCertain Europe), and Anders Hjorth (Outrider EMEA) are sharing their knowledge of the search landscape in various countries.

First up is Erica Schmidt, who gives an overview of the Asia Pacific search market. This presentation could probably be summarized as Countries Where Google isn't King (or Prince, or Duke, or...). China, Japan, India and Korea are the largest markets in terms of volume. Among these countries, users in Japan and Korea search most often.

There are opportunities in these markets, but the bad news is that it's not easy to compete without local partners. Each country tends to search with different expectations as well. In China, users search tends to be for free things - music, movies and entertainment. Additionally, there are government regulations to contend with that may not be clear to someone outside China. In Korea, the dominant search engine is Naver, which is similar to Yahoo! Answers. In a sign that Korean users may be accustomed to the Q&A style search, Google's Korean market share is 1.7%. Unlike the Americas and Europe, global campaigns that target Asia will likely have to include a local search engine for the largest audience.

Anders Hjorth is up next with a brief on search in Europe. For Europe, Google is search. Unlike Asia, Google has market share up to 90% in some countries. The closest competitors often see less than 1/5th of the amount of searches as Google. As it relates to the UK (and likely US as well), the most important criteria to evaluate include market size, language distance and cultural distance. Search marketing in Europe can be complex due to the variety of languages.

Martin Sinner, founder of Idealo (a German shopping comparison site), supports Anders' statement that in Europe, Google=search. In Germany, Google's share of the 3.7 billion query market is at roughly 93%. While US marketers have begun looking to social media as an alternative - or in most cases, supplement - for search, the German market doesn't have a Digg equivalent.

Since social can be a broad term, it's important to note that Sinner doesn't mention other social sites such as StudiVZ (a German site very similar to Facebook). Traffic breakdowns for Germany still indicate that social media isn't a strong enough driver of traffic to replace search.

Finally, Andy Atkins-Kruger presents Search Around the World. He focuses on the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China, which offer the greatest opportunities for emergin markets. Costs of campaigns can be lowered by targeting campaings at a city level, and using local engines that have significant market share. For example, Yandex or Baidu in Russia or China respectively, can offer lower click prices than Google.

In these emerging markets social media tends to be more important Particularly in Brazil, though sites like Orkut and Hi5 are popular in India and countries outside the US as well. Tips for targeting users in countries outside your own include targeting cities within cities, picking keywords unique to the culture, as opposed to literal translations, use of local domains, and caution not to fall into the "local is best" mentality and get discouraged from trying things which have worked in other markets.

The panel was moderated by Jon Myers of MediaVest he summed up by saying "the speakers on the panel covered off some great point and hightlight the differences across different markets. It will hopefully get the attendees to think about not one strategy suits all each country has to be looked at in its own right be it lauguage, local knowlegde or distribution for successful camapigns to by run"

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