Category Archives: Online marketing events

Pay Per Conversation – SES

What you do with visitors after you get them to your site was a common topic this year.  By improving the site conversation rate for traffic delivered by search can make or break a campaign. In this session, ‘persuation architect’ Bryan Eisenberg teamed up with Brett Crosby, one of the founders of Urchin (now Google Analytics) to explain what you can monitor, tools that can help, and how to act to improve campaign performance.

Speakers:
Bryan Eisenberg, Co-founder, Future Now Inc.
Brett Crosby, Group Manager, Google

Brian:

Pay per conversation
You can think of this as searcher behaviour optimization. The best way to do this is to think of your customer as a toddler, that is someone who is always asking ‘why?’. Your job is to answer this question quickly – unlike a toddler, your audience will only ask this question a few times. The attention span is less than that of your average toddler!

Scent is very important – aside from being like a toddler, searchers are also like beagles. If a searcher scents the right path, then they will continue. If the scent is dropped, they move on. As analytics guru Jared Spool puts it, either you present relevant content or you present links to relevant content.

Think about the relevancy: every hyperlink is a contract. You present the value (by describing the link and what comes next) and the searcher will give up their time to follow the link. But how do we know we are providing what is most relevant? We need to understand the intent – this goes beyond the few keywords used to conduct the search.

Content needs to be optimized for different possibility types (eg. spontaneous people’s interest: top sellers, new releases; humanistics: care about reviews; methodicals: find by genre, competitives: search by actor/title). At this point Bryan showed a few examples using the matrix of different users.

Brett:

You should concentrate on the pages with the most business need. Google Analytics (GA) can help you work out what these are: you can look at which pages get the most visitors and which pages most people enter through.

Landing page analysis
Look at the bounce rate on top landing pages (change the default view to compare metrics against site average)

Leaky funnels: use the funnel analysis to see where people are exiting through the funnel

Site overlay: this report is particularly useful to see which elements are well-positioned/badly-positioned
Internal site search: useful to see what people are searching on, especially when they are lost or ‘off-scent’

Google Website Optimiser: useful for fixing broken pages (this tool was pushed heavily throughout this conference).

For more information, check out Google’s Conversion University

Universal and Blended Search – SES

In this session, representatives from all the major search engines explained what has been happening in the universal (blended) search space over the last year. You’ve probably noticed that more and more other media are showing up in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Think video clips, images, blogs. These and other verticals are now given increased prominence through universal search. What does that mean for the marketing folk?

Moderator:
John Tawadros, Chief Operating Officer, iProspect
Speakers:
Shashi Seth, Chief Revenue Officer, Cooliris
Johanna Wright, Director of Product Management, Google
Chris Pierry, Senior Director of Product Management, Yahoo! Search
Erik Collier, VP, Product Management, Ask.com
Todd Schwartz, Group Product Manager, Live Search

All speakers roundly agreed that it’s all about relevance. That is the key reason why the engines have been adding extra content into the search results. It also explains the slow rollout of these features. All engines claim that they are testing user interaction to ensure that they provide the most useful experience.

Joanna:
The process is as follows:

  • Search against all indexes (web, images, video, etc.)
  • Decide what to show only AFTER you have all the data
  • Coverage – decide where to place this content on the page

Take advantage of the prominent new verticals:

  • Publish high-quality, well-captioned images
  • Make video sitemap
  • Create high quality blogs

Chris:
Blended search is a way to offer semantic content, that is content that more aptly reflects the searcher’s intention.
Yahoo has developed a platform called SearchMonkey that allows publishers, site owners and developers to leverage structured data to enhance the functionality, appearance and usefulness of search results. With SearchMonkey, you have the ability to alter the way certain search engine results pages (SERPs) appear.

Erik:
We use business rules and editorial judgement to work out which sites rank. There are notable instances where it is still difficult to isolate exact searcher intent. Think of a search for trigonometry. There are numerous great images using trig, but how relevant are these? We use A/B testing in these cases to figure out whether or not to display blended results.

Further coverage on Universal Search by Search Engine Roundtable.

WordPress meeting: Wordcamp San Francisco 2008

Wordcamps are events organised by the WordPress gang to pull together developers working on the popular blogging platform. The latest event took place recently in San Francisco, pulling together some of the top brass working on WordPress. The affable inventor of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg led the proceedings.

WordPress sessions of interest:

Andrew Mager made this wonderful blow-by-blow account of Wordcamp San Francisco 2008.

BuddyPress: Social networks on WordPress

Unfortunately I didn’t get to attend this session, but thankfully, through the beauty of blogging, there are numerous other accounts online.

BuddyPress grew out of a series of plug-ins that added social functionality to WordPress MU (the multi-user edition). It is being touted as Facebook-in-a-box, ie. you can setup your own personal Facebook for your community.

Credit: Andrew Mager

More screenshots from Andy Peatling’s blog.

Andy graciously added his presentation to Slideshare:

Secret of virality

Ben Huh, CEO of Icanhascheezburger gave a great presentation on how to get your viral message out. This guy walks the walk: LOLCats has really taken off as a tool to mashup and share sweet animal photos. Beyond that, his presentation here was excellent – viral in its own way.

BODY { FONT-FAMILY:Verdana; FONT-SIZE:10pt } P { FONT-FAMILY:Verdana; FONT-SIZE:10pt } DIV { FONT-FAMILY:Verdana; FONT-SIZE:10pt } TD { FONT-FAMILY:Verdana; FONT-SIZE:10pt } He explains that viral is the ability to build goodwill. If you really want to build a business out of this, you need to think about creating something lasting – don’t just go for that initial spike of interest.

I’d have to say, having heard a lot of so-called experts speak on this at Web2.0 Expo and other conferences, this really was a great lesson in online marketing 101. Go after sustainable virality. Think of the medium (eg. Twitter is often more trusted than a blog post).

Check out Ben Huh’s presentation

SEO for WordPress

Stephan Spencer from Netconcepts led this well-attended session on how to maximise search visibility using WordPress. Generally, blogs work well for search engine optimization (SEO) due to their emphasis on generating lots of regularly updated content. However, there are steps you can take to optimize the standard WordPress installation.

Key points:

Internal linking

Try and ensure your internal links (from one page on the blog to another) are as relevant as possible. Using a tag cloud in the navigation can be a great way to achieve this. Taking this a step further, building conjunction pages can really help. What are these? If your blog has a category on ‘gardening’ and some of these post are also tagged ‘urban’, then create a page that pulls all relevant ‘urban gardening’ content. The ‘UTW Theme Compatibility Thing’ plug-in can help with this.

Let your most valuable content sell itself: there are numerous plug-ins that can take your top blog posts and add this list to the navigation. Adding links to this content will help it rank.

Title tags

Put the blog name at the end of the title – not at the beginning, given that terms later in the text have less weight.

Use the SEO Title Tag plug-in to override the title tag and create more keyword-rich titles. If you have many posts on your blog, concentrate on the top ones: homepage and category pages are particularly important. Make sure this is an iterative process: test frequently.

URL structure

According to data from MarketingSherpa, short URLs are more than twice as likely to be clicked on. You can use the settings within WordPress to change your permalink structure.

When it comes to naming your blog, it can help to have your blog registered on your main domain. As your blog builds up authority, ensure that this value is held on your core domain.

For internal anchor text, try and get away from using ‘permalink’ or ‘read more’. Include the name of the title in the anchor text. Don’t let the archive pages get indexed – these are not well structured for search. To hide these links, use the ‘rel=”nofollow”‘ within the link tag to direct search engines away from these pages.
When writing new posts, remember to link back to older relevant posts, using meaningful anchor link text.

Minimize duplicate content

Make full use of WordPress’s ‘Optional Excerpts’ field to write independant synopses for posts. Don’t just let the system pick the first x characters and display these as this constitutes duplicate content.

Improve keyword focus

Make sure you are fully using HTML heading tags – particularly for titles and tags. Put the category name in a heading tag on category pages.

Use ‘sticky posts’ to keep precious posts on the top of the list. The plugin WP-Sticky can help with this.
The default tagline on WordPress reads ‘Just another WordPress blog’. For SEO purposes, make sure this is renamed.

RSS optimization

Some top tips for optimizing your RSS feeds from your blog:

  • Use full text, not just summaries
  • Display 20 or MORE items (not just 10)
  • Setup multiple feeds (by category, latest comments, comments by post)
  • Ensure your most important keyword in the site <title> container
  • An RSS feed that contains enclosures (i.e. podcasts) can get into additional RSS directories & engines