Tag Archives: seo

Creating a Cohesive Search Strategy Across Multiple Business Units

If you have ever grappled with trying to create SEM strategies for companies with more than one business unit or how to sell in the value of SEM to upper management, then this session was for you!

David Roth did a particularly good job of explaining how he created the current SEM strategy for Yahoo (to be clear, these are campaigns to increase Yahoo’s visibility through search – he is a marketer working for Yahoo, not a representative of the engine technology).

Introduction by:
Amanda Watlington, Owner, Searching for Profit

Speakers:
Eduardo Llach, Chief Marketing Officer & Co-founder, SearchRev
David Roth, Director of Search Marketing, Yahoo!

David:

The challenge is to do a few things well across a large scope. You really have to pick your battles.
Yahoo is a particularly complex case : every form of advertising – CPM Media, transactional, lead generation, B2B campaigns, B2C campaigns.

The only way to compare campaigns is to look at the lifetime value of the customer.

One big takeaway is to work out the money you are not making from doing SEO – the opportunity cost. David shows the spreadsheet he uses to formulate this. He works out what are the rankings they are currently not getting. Using data from paid search and other tools, he works out how much traffic this translates to, and finally using conversion data, works out the lifetime value of these customers. The numbers will not be exact, however you should try and ensure that they are somewhat realistic.

For the SEO stratgy, the message for projects of this size is to not fix what’s out there. David focusses on the new stuff being built. This works well in a world of limited resources, and over time all assets are optimized.

David offers the mantra: “if you can’t quantify it, it doesn’t exist”. With this strong emphasis on metrics, Yahoo reforecast every month to ensure campaigns are on target. This is a considerable task with workflow to manage the process across marketing, sales and finance.

Measuring success
Use a marketing scorecard to compare different campaigns.
Create an SEO dashboard that is available to upper management.
Ensure there is a strong relationship between marketing and finance (in Yahoo’s case, the Markops finance team) to create LTV figures and keep on top of budget management.

Eduardo:

Perform the optimization across the frontend (traffic, or the data you would find in Google Adwords interface) and backend (site, the data you would find in your web analytics).
Successful traffic optimization involves finding the difference between geo (or metro) targetting, network and creative. Eduardo advocates the use of optimization algorithms to figure this out across large data sets.
For site conversions, track microconversion points (ie. look at each click along the path). By optimizing for lifetime value, it has been possible to increase campaign performance by 20% for same traffic level.
For ad creative, don’t just look at CTR, also consider conversion rate. The CTR could be low yet the messaging could still produce quality traffic.

Questions:

David: when considering brand terms think of canabalization and lift (what do you gain by adding these?)
Eduardo: on the thorny question of market attribution (which marketing channel gets the credit for the sale when many channels have been involved?) – Eduardo recommends thinking of search as closing the loop – in particular look for SEO traffic uplift from offline activities to help build a case for this.
David: take people out to lunch, even your competitors
Eduardo: concentrate on the top terms

Optimizing for news search

News search engines have grown in popularity over the last few years. This session covered how to make the most of press releases and news content to tap into the power of news search.

Moderator:
Dana Todd, CMO, Newsforce

Speakers:
Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR
Lisa Buyer, President & CEO, The Buyer Group

Lisa:

Some background on the press industry. Journalists are lucky to have a job and will now most likely work for more than one publication.

  • 64% use google or yahoo to follow news
  • 85% visit a corporate blog once a month

In addition, journalists use LinkedIn and Facebook to find sources. Lisa gives the example of a journalist who uses Google News to find the top 20 technology stories and build a digest. It is also common for journalists to use Google alerts to keep up on subject updates.

Lisa made the point that often press releases are written using too much jargon and industry-specific language. The AP Style Guide (used frequently by journalists) recommends using 7/8 Grade English level. The advice here is to use this in press releases.

If you need help optimizing releases, there are a number of tools available, including:

It is important if you use agencies, that your SEO and PR agencies should work together around strategy and operations.

Remember to think about lead generation as well when it comes to measuring the value of PR.

Multimedia content
Adding multimedia content to releases can really help boost visibility. For instance, YouTube clips can be embedded in PRWeb releases.

Images are always useful, as journalists (especially trade journalists) are always looking for images. Don’t forget to think of graphs if you are stuck for good quality images.

Lee:

Beyond straight press release optimization, think of how you display your releases on your site. Often this is by date order which isn’t that meaningful for search engines. Think about ordering PR releases by category or even keyword.

You should consider optimizing the following:

  • Press releases
  • Online newsrooms
  • Corporate blogs
  • Whitepapers and other marketing collateral

You’ll often hear SEOs talk about keyword density but don’t obsess over this for press releases. Just try and include the core keywords at least 3-4 times.

Measurement
Measurement is key. Think about press release analytics and social media monitoring.

Greg:

Greg went through some examples and showed how adding an image to a PR release helped generate a thumbnail in Google News (which in turn led to greater visibility).

Blog outreach programs are useful to push a new idea. However, you should think of blogs like publishing houses – sell content that will appeal to their audiences. Don’t just pass on press releases.

When it comes to measurement, Quantcast is a good independent way to gauge traffic.

During the questions, Dana Todd cited this Website Magazine article which explains how your website can be included as a Google News publisher.

5 Things no one will tell you about SEM – SES

This in-depth SEM session tried to debunk some of the myths floating around the industry (and many of the halls around SES). I found this one of the most interesting sessions and it did actually cover interesting points that fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

Moderator:
Chris Zacharias, VP Search Sales, Omniture

Panel:
David Rodnitzky, VP, Strategy, PPCAdBuying.com
Terry Whalen, SEM & Internet Marketing Expert, Founder, TDW Consulting
Chris Knoch, Principal Consultant, Best Practices Group, Omniture
Vinny Lingham, CEO, Synthasite

Chris Z:

Myth 1: The long tail keeps growing
Data from OneStat shows that over the last year, shorter queries (ie. 1-2 words in length) are becoming more common. This is a departure from trends over the last few years where the word-length of queries had been growing.

Why is this happening? According to data from Hitwise (Apr 2008), growth in navigational (branded) search has been growing. In the UK this now represents 88% of all searches (it was only 68% in 2005). Search is becoming more about direct navigation, and this is being seen in SEM campaigns, so don’t fixate on the long-tail terms – think of the head terms too.

Vinny:

Myth 2: Optimize every campaign
Focus on what will give you the best profit – ie. don’t spread the net too wide.

Work out what kind of costs you are saving for the work you put in. You can potentially get a lot more benefit by optimizing a $200K campaign vs. a $20K campaign. If you are a small advertiser, focus on fewer engines. Start with the head words before going after the tail.

Dave:

Myth 3: SEM works for everything
For some businesses, SEM just doesn’t work.

SEM is not good for mindshare marketing (eg. not good for products with a latent demand), that is where you want to get your idea out to the world at large. John Battelle has said that search is the database of intentions. So if the intention doesn’t exist, you are not going to reach your audience through search. Image ads can be more compelling in this instance.

Chris K:

Myth 4: All PPC Search traffic is equal
For PPC advertisers, the search network represents permission marketing. Searchers are actively seeking information and are looking for sites like yours. The content network is quite different. Your ads are competing with the content from the site publisher. Therefore there is a vast difference in quality between search and content.

Sometimes what Google calls the search network is not even strictly the search engines you might expect. So it makes sense when you organize your Google Adwords campaigns to keep the content separate – even to the degree of separating out the accounts for search and content.

When it comes to the content network, there are ways to keep out of the made-for-Adsense (MFA) domains – that is the domains that just exist to drive traffic through the ads by offering spurious, low-quality content). Use the search query report to analyze your kewords. Beyond finding out what keywords are working for you, you can also figure out which are the red herring terms that you don’t want to be found for and add these to your negative keyword lists.

Google also pushes Youtube and Myspace advertising onto its advertisers. Both of these sites may not perform as well as you expect and need to be treated carefully.

Terry:

Myth 5: Search is opaque
There is a lot you can learn about what is happening in your industry.

Take a look at what your compeitors are doing. If big advertisers are bidding on head terms, they are probably profitable: look at what they are doing – their keywords, ad text, landing pages. Find out where in the flow you can make the biggest benefits. Look at microconversions (each click along the conversion path).

Useful tools for competitive analysis include Compete, Quantcast and Hitwise.

Storyteller Marketing – SES

Subtitle: How The Art of Storytelling Matches Up With the Business of Marketing

Stories have been around since the beginning of communication, and there’s a reason: it’s a form of communication that beats all others when it comes to delivering a memorable, motivating, and meaningful message.

This is another session that deals with the popular (and someone thorny) issue of how to handle visitors once they get to your site. In addition, this session also covered how to attract more people through inclusion in Google News (the most popular online news service).

Moderator:
Rebecca Lieb, Contributing Editor, ClickZ

Speakers:
Gary Stein, Director of Strategy, Ammo Marketing
Sally Falkow, President, Expansion Plus Inc.
Larry Lawfer, Founder/President, YourStorys.com

Gary:

People listen to a story and act inefficiently, however there is no denying that stories shape behavior. The best brand marketing builds a story around your brand – it doesn’t just pump out brand messages. (I’m thinking of the story around how Krishna Bharat built Google News after wanting balanced news accounts following the September 11New York bombings).

Apparently, there are only five stories that can be told:

Origin: where did we come from?
Purpose: why are we here? / Vision: where are we going?
Education: teach the crowd, show them something
Ethics: walk the walk
Connection: eg. CEO reaching out to disgruntled blogger

Sally:

In every business there is a story. If you don’t tell it, others will tell your story for you. (I’m not sure this is always such a good thing, given there are always two sides to every tale).

You need to monitor onlline conversations and know what people are saying about you. Listen for the story. It can come from employees, customers, suppliers – anyone within your business’s ecosystem.
But beware: insincerity or fake stories will backfire. You can use tools like BrandsEye or Radian 6 to monitor online reputation.

All creative should be tied to the story and you can amplify the story online.

Spreading the word
Optimized press releases with images will show up in results (news and web now we have more universal search). Multimedia is a useful aid in transmitting your story.

Sally gives the example of Intercontinental Hotels, who have produced low-fi videos talking to most concierges across the road. Concierges have lots of stories and these unscripted videos were produced for around $4k per video.

Think of blogs: these are often picked up by search. As with age-old PR, you have to be consistent. Make sure you carry the story across all channels. However, regardless of the story, product performance and service is the final word. If these are in place, then you can work out your story and let others tell it for you.

Larry:

Starts off presentation with this adage:
Advertising: you say you’re a good date
PR: your mother says you’re a good date
Engagement marketing: your date says you’re a good date

So, how do we move towards engagement marketing?

Words and pictures are a great way to build a story.

The basic rule is to be real:

  • Be authentic
  • Invite involvement
  • Listen, respond, repeat