Each year, SEMpdx selects a Charity of Choice to support for a 12 month period, and for 2009, the Police Activities League was selected as our Charity of Choice. Throughout 2009, we consulted with them to improve their search marketing efforts and recently, we presented them with a check for $1,200 to further support the important programs they provide our community.
Blogosphere SearchFest 2010 Session
Link Building for the SEO PRofessional
Nick Herinckx of Anvil Media Inc, a Portland Oregon SEM agency
General Link Building
- The old saying, “build great content and links will come naturally” just isn’t true, there is so much great content on the web that nobody knows about.
- In order to get inbound links, you have to not just build great content, but advertise and promote that content to the people that control the links. If you do just one or the other, you will be disappointed.
- Social media is an excellent way to reach the people in your niche that control the links and is also a sufficient way to promote your great content.
Link Bait vs. Link Magnet
- Link bait is something that’s created to simply attract links regardless of the niche or relevance to your site.
- Link magnet is something that is on-topic to your site, and while it doesn’t attract as many links, it will attract the “right” links, or links from people in your niche.
- You should seek to create link magnets for sustained long term results
Types of Content
- In order for your content to be link worthy, it must be remarkable, not just great.
- Remarkable content is something that isn’t just useful, but is both unique and fun/engaging to use. Infographics use to be remarkable, but now everyone is doing them. Seek to create something that stands out from the crowd.
- If you want your site around and ranking for a long time to come, then don’t purchase links
- If you just care about ranking as fast as you can and won’t be too upset if your site gets banned or slapped, then it’s okay to buy links, just don’t be upset or surprised when you get caught
- The truth is, rules on link buying aren’t enforced equally. Big brand, well known sites can get away with a lot that a new site or small brand could never get away with simply because of their brand. This isn’t fair but is the way it is.
- There is a lot of gray areas with link purchasing, such as sponsorships or banner ads, and there are no definitive answers as to what is considered acceptable link purchases. Best to play it safe.
Learn how to leverage advanced SEO tools to improve the performance of your website.
Rand Fishkin - SEOmoz
Richard Zwicky – Enquisite
Live blogging by Rachel Andersen of Anvil Media, a Portland SEM Agency.
10 Problems SEOs Face – and the Tools to Solve Them (Rand)
Find all tools mentioned here: http://www.seomoz.org/dp/10-seo-tools
- Indexation Data: ignore site command – the “about” number is useless. Webmaster Tools is better. Best data is Google Analytics – look at the # of landing pages getting organic visits.
- Identifying Crawl Errors: GWT is excellent for 404 and 500 errors. Top Pages is good for 302s and robots blocking. Xenu Link Sleuth (desktop download)
- Valuing Sites and Pages for SEO: how well would content rank on this domain vs. that domain. If I were able to get a link on this domain vs. that domain. Ignore Google Toolbar PageRank – this not worth your time. Instead, track relevant traffic! Domain and page authority tool.
- Real Time Tracking of Social Activity: track progress and success with PostRank. How many people tagged on delicious, tweeted, etc. One caveat is that you need a feed but ties into Google Analytics. Cool! Backtweets is also great for tracking tweets regardless of URL tracking service used. Bit.ly is good but obviously only tracks URLs shortened by Bit.ly… BUT if you put the plus (+) sign at the end of the shortened URL you can see user and competitive data. Trendistic – tracks tweets by topic, enter any keyword and see activity.
- Competitive SERP Analysis: best thing you can do at this point is custom build your competitive analysis. Root domains linking to page vs # of keyword match anchor links. SEOBook toolbar is also decent. mozBar SERPs Overlay.
- Efficient On Page SEO Analysis: DaveN Keyword Analysis (Density) Tool – a plug in that provides a deep analysis. Also mozBar Overlay is pretty bomb for a quick and easy page analysis.
- Identifying Search Engine Penalties: Check Historical Google PageRank, compare PageRank vs. mozRank – if there is a major difference there could be some sort of penalty, may want to dig deeper here. Unique keyword phrase rankings.
- Competitive Link Acquisition Tools: HubFinder on SEOBook, LinkIntersect, Link Acquisition Assistant
- Optimizing Keyword Clusters: using synonyms to create a “cluster” to create a stronger page theme. Google Wonder Wheel, Google Related Searches, MSN AdCenter Entity Association Graph (can only do one term at a time).
- Comparing Website Traffic: Quantcast is best for Quantified Sites, Compete.com slightly more accurate but not as accurate as Google Trends for Websites. Google Reader Feed Subscribers – shows actual number of feed subscribers!
Stuff You Possibly Might Not Already Know about Tools and Stuff (Richard)
- Cool Tools with API’s – Alexa (numbers cant be trusted, but look at relative data), Compete, scoring tools like mozRank, Forecasting tools such as Epiar, MajesticSEO is good for links. A balanced approach offers true value.
- At the end of the day it’s all about accountability.
- Every day customers tell you exactly what they are looking for and what they are interested in but we’re ignoring the (analytics) data. Improve your business through proper segmentation.
- Data can be really valuable, getting consensus on numbers can be hard
- Back in late 90′s early 2000s – lack of meaningful data to provide accurate and consistent data.
- Predictive analysis allows you to capture high value customers
- Where Tools Fit – invest, execute, monitor, report and then re-invest. This process requires a set of tools to be strategically.
- How to use tools to build applications – Akamai, Aster Data (database management software) and Enquisite. Take different tools and use them in conjunction with each other.
- Enquisite Suite – API driven apps from tools
- Enquisite Optimizer – social, search and links. Uses Yahoo API for maps. Akamai for 2 levels of geo-verification – need to understand online and offline activities which Akamai does this with fantastic granularity. Adobe has layers built to transfer data to connect various APIs to create meaningful data.
- Enquisite Campaign – predictive analysis. Because analytics tells you what happened yesterday and not what is going to happen tomorrow. Predictions, Insights and ROI.
- How APIs Flush out a Product – Linker. Very cool opt in network for link building. Submit information to be connected with relevant sites that could be a link opportunity.
Local Search SearchFest 2010 Session
Up-to-date strategies for achieving prominence within Local Search listings.
John McPhee of Anvil Media, a Portland SEM agency
David Mihm has taken the stage to discuss the important stuff, cocktails after the session. OK, now the real introductions…
Mary Bowling starts first. Local search is a “big ‘ol jumbled mess”. There are a number of places to search for local results, but 65%+ are still using Google, similar to natural search. Google has moved to a 7 pack, and has begun identifying users by IP to server the appropriate results.
There are 3 different algorithms: organic search, Maps & local 7 pack
When comparing Google organic to Maps results, there is very little correlation. They are vastly different. There is also no correlation to the 7 pack to Google organic as well. Now, Mary is comparing 7 pack and Maps results, and the similarities are very strong here.
How to get listed in the 7 pack:
- Must be in the Maps database in order to rank
- Claiming your local listing
- Address must be in city being searched
- Choose the most appropriate categories
- Keywords in business names
- Info in major data providers (Axciom, InfoUSA & Localeze
Negative Ranking Factors
- Multiple listings with different info
- Not using completed address
- Not using local phone number
- Different signals from data providers
- Getting rid of confusion
Getting citations (web mentions without links) is one of the most important aspects of ranking in local search. Citations are to local rankings what inbound links are to organic rankings. Where to get citations? Look at sites like IYP (Internet Yellow Pages, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, directories, etc…
When researching local, Mary uses Google Insights to see trends over the last 12 months. She uses this for keyword research to determine how to optimize a local listing.
Chris Silver Smith is now taking the mic…warm it up Chris
Google is now using IP to determine what the SERPs will look like for local. In order to help rank locally, think about your website, not just your LBL. City and state names are very important on your website so the engines can more easily determine that you are a local business.
Getting keyword rich inbound links is very important in the local ranking factor (different from citations). Do a link:www.site.com command to find where competitors are getting links from, which can then be sought by you/your client to obtain local links.
Rich snippets may play a bigger role in the future as Google is now able to parse out event and location information. Google is using this data to show additional links in the organic results (looks like sitelinks, sort of), which then pushes competitor results further down the page and increases your chances for increased CTRs. Microformats available are hCard, hCalendar, hReview, hProduct and Geo (longitude and latitude).
Contact Us and Location pages should not be neglected on your website. Include a Google map (might help Google identify long/lat coordinates), street address, phone, driving directions and hCard format (may generate a plus box, which can be expanded on the SERPs).
Don’t completely neglect User/Custom Maps. These have potential to drive long-tail traffic and can show up on the Place Pages. These are user-friendly for folks traveling to your location and want to find new things to do (i.e. restaurants, shopping, dancing, etc….). When creating a Map, you’ll want to add a description that is useful for the end user as these can drive traffic to site.
If you have multiple locations you may consider creating a KML sitemap and upload this to Google Webmaster Tools or include it In your robots.txt file so Google can easily find it and understand where all of your locations exist.
Tips for creating good Custom Maps:
- Provide a useful service
- Customize Google profile
- Provide links to your site
- Include name, address for custom map markers to appear
- Promote the map outside of Google maps (site, Twitter, etc.)
- Use KML files for larger sites with multiple locations
Chris ended with this super tactic…Another advanced tactic for local is optimizing your business via Wikipedia. Determine if Wikipedia has a page for your business. If not, create a page on Wikipedia using geo-location from Google Maps. This may be a difficult tactic as many Wikipedia pages don’t stick.
Matt McGee has now taken the mic….
Matt is going to focus on reviews, the human element to local search.
Why Reviews Matter
- 90% of people trust recommendations (word of mouth)
- 70% rely on recommendations from online reviews, total strangers
- Engines rely on reviews/ratings as a signal of trust/credibility
4 Things About Positive/Negative Reviews
- Most reviews are positive
- 85% of reviews on Yelp are 3 stars (out of 5) or better
- Bad reviews are OK
- Negative reviews can actually help increase trust
Prevent bad reviews when possible
- Customer service is now more important now than ever
- Make reviewing easy
- Ask for reviews and encourage them through your website
How to Get Reviews
- Invite reviews on your website through badges/links
- Outgoing emails (order confirmations)
- Email signature to invite reviews (include links)
- Target reviews wisely
- Maps, Yahoo, Bing, Citysearch, Insider Pages, Yelp, industry review sites (TripAdvisor, Urban Spoon)
- Signs in storefront
- Include laptop in lobby/office
- Include review links on business cards (or review us cards)
Tools & Competitive Intelligence SearchFest 2010 Session
Learn more about your competitors. This session will teach you how to gain the insights necessary via tools to help facilitate advantageous business decisions.
Brian Carter was the first speaker for this session. His talk is about competitive intelligence for social media and SEO.
44% of marketers using social media for competitive intel; 21% use social media but not for competitive intel.
Captain Dominance: Abe Lincoln
- Team of rivals
- Keep enemies close
- Respond the right way at the right time
What is competitive intelligence? It’s spying and monitoring. You start with data, analyze and then act on it.
How do you “do” competitive intelligence? Gather info about products, competitors, enviroment, strategy and tactics.
Problems with competitive intelligence?
- Workload – it’s a huge job.
- Leadership – great companies don’t follow their competitors.
- Impact – less data on micro / neotrends so competitive intelligence conclusions can be obvious.
- Results – does it really improve success?
Why is competitive intelligence important? Insights – get to know your customer better than your competitors. If you know them more than your competitors, you’ll most likely be able to market to them better than your competitors.
Everything you discover during competitive intelligence needs to fit your plan – don’t imitate but don’t stray from your plan. If you copy, your customers might think of you as a copycat and not a leader.
An idea: crowd-source your competitive intelligence; ask your customers what they don’t like about your competitors.
Next up with Neil who is talking about 5 social media discovery tools.
His five points are:
- Twitter search – Neil isn’t a fan of Twitter but likes Twitter search. Search on keywords that have to do with the business you’re doing competitive intelligence for. Searching will help you discover what customers want and don’t want.
- Google Trends – current trends help you determine what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. Trends change very quickly; be careful what you go after. Dig into the trend a bit deeper to see if you can discover relevant hot trends.
- Social Mention – don’t just rely on the popular social sites to figure out what’s hot and what’s not. You not only need to create a lot of buzz but positive buzz.
- Tweetmeme – get in with the “it crowd” before they go popular. Search for things that are in your industry or competitor terms and look into a couple of things like sorting by age, don’t focus on popular stories and go after the ones that are rising in popularity fast.
- Technorati – it’s not “sexy” anymore but it does a pretty good job.
Bonus – Digg. You can search by keyword and see the highest-dugg stories that have that keyword in it. Neil adds “+np” to the keyword search query that disallows any stories that hit the front page.
Jordan was the last speaker. Jodan is going to cover what exactly you should be monitoring for social media.
Jordan suggested using Trendrr and Trendistic, a couple of tools that shows you the volume of social conversions happening at social media sites. Blogpulse was another tool which looks specifically at blog conversations. WhosTalkin brings a whole bunch of different resources (blogs, forums, etc.) into one space for you to search where conversions are happening on the social web.
In Twitter search, you can search by positive or negative mentions now, which can help you zero in on what you’re looking for while getting rid of the fluff.
Tweetbeep will email you whenever something is mentioned in Twitter (think Google Alerts for Twitter).
PostRank aggregates a lot of bookmarks and sharing statistics from many websites and shows you graphs on these stats. It’s a free tool.
Compete can help you spy on competitors and see a “guesstimate” as to the percentage of referral traffic.
Christian Bullock of Amplify Interactive, a Portland Oregon SEM agency
Landing Page Testing
Great session full of tips, and excellent advice about how to deal with landing page testing and optimization. Please bare with my gross spelling and grammatical errors, and special shout out to Evan Davies for the use of his laptop.
Mary Huffman kicked off the session by offering 10 aspects to test on your landing pages. These 10 items are great ways to squeeze more value out of the clicks.
Mary recommended testing every aspect of a page in a measured approach if possible. She even said the sometimes counterintuitive works sometimes, and the only way you would know would by testing.
Mary provided examples from WhichTestWon. Her top aspects to test were:
1.) Headline: Keywords in Headlines?
2.) Try Breaking Up Long Forms: Breaking Up a Long Form May Convert Better
3.) Length of Form: Short or Long
4.) Layout of Page: More Copy Can Be a Good Thing?
5.) Placement of security icon: Yay or Nay? Yay!
6.) Button Size: Bigger is Better
7.) Vocabulary: Training vs. Webinar.
8.) Photos: Know Your Target.
9.) Button Color: Make Your Most Important Button Standout.
10.) Photo vs. Video: Video Worked Best for New Users on Landing Page Only.
She followed up with a short stats lesson about data validity, sample size and determining test time. Long story short…..it may take awhile.
Finally, Mary touched on some great resources for marketers to use for testing.
Cameron Cowan from Omniture explained the dilemma most SEM’s run into. The no man’s land between the users and creative.
He highlighted that control of your landing pages is essential to success, as SEM’s agree costs for clicks are going up. He emphasized that not optimizing and testing your landing pages is a waste of money, and more importantly time.
He also spoke about Omniture’s new Test and Target product for landing page testing. It is a robust platform that allows companies to take a measured approach to the creation and testing of landing pages.
Cameron left off by saying SEMs must use their testing to target users. This will improve site experience, and should improve profitability which he mentioned gets lost in the shuffle of conversion metrics.
During the Q&A, Mary invited users to visit Which MVT, a landing page testing platform comparison site.
Well done on both accounts. Their slides are available at http://www.sempdx.org/slides
Mary Huffman – Ionic Media
Cameron Cowen – Adobe
Spencer Helm of Amplify Interactive, a Portland Oregon SEM agency
Blogosphere SearchFest 2010 Session
Boosting Performance Through Connection
Rebecca started off the session with the Basics of Blogging. Why should you have a blog? It’s easier for your website to create content with a blog. Blogs also brings traffic to the website, whether they be main search terms or long-tail ones. They also attract links; if you discover something profound, people will link to it. Blogs also engage users and builds a community.
Questions you should ask yourself:
- What’s your blog about?
- Who’s going to blog?
- How often will you be updating the blog?
Format-wise, it’s good to go blog.domain.com… but what’s even better is domain.com/blog. Having a blogger URL, WordPress or just another website altogether won’t help you out.
There are multiple platforms you can use. The most popular choice is WorPress. Movable Type, Joomla and Drupal are a couple of other platforms that work well.
Some blog launch tips:
- Have a few posts already published
- Have an RSS feed
- Have comments enabled; a big point of having a blog is to have a place for people to comment.. without this, it takes away the dynamic feel of a blog
- Include appropriate share buttons
- Set up web analytics
There are certain kinds of content that work pretty well with blogs. The first is lists: this kind of content is easy to digest and can get you popular on social networking sites. The second is just having some sort of humor into the post. How to’s are straightforward and useful posts. Regular features of some sort (like SEOmoz’s “Roundup Thursday” that Rebecca used to do). Caste studies may not be super sexy but they get a lot of responses. Catchy titles also work due to having an initial response which can encourage a good clickthrough. Reviews and criticisms can also garner huge responses, which can be positive or negative. Controversy typically always does really well in getting responses.
- Make it as visual as possible
- Post as early as possible in the day, especially if you write for a business blog
- Think of things your audience can relate to
- Mix your content! People don’t want to see the same kind of post each time you write a blog post
- Look on and off-site for inspiration for future blog posts. Maybe a commenter asked a question that you can turn into a blog post. Or even look into Yahoo Answers or another question-type website and see if there are any popular questions you can write about
How do you promote your blog? Email newsletter subscription is an “old school” way of doing it. Add a link to your blog in your email signature. Create a Facebook page where you can put unique content as well as an RSS feed of your blog posts. Twitter is another place to promote your content. Comment on other blogs and include a link as your username or in your comment.
For social community sites, make sure you get to now the community before submitting anything to their community. Also do not submit your own content, unless you know what you’re doing. Make sure your website’s servers can handle the response if your submission gets hot as well.
Matt was the next speaker. He’s going to talk about his humor website and his history of how he got to where he is.
Matt started off at Mingle2 by writing some humor pieces as linkbait. After some success, he decided to start making some quizzes which you can then imbed the result as a “badge” on your website which included an optimized anchor text link back to their website. It was a huge success.
Most of the time now, users don’t embed these results on their website anymore; they share the results via Facebook and Twitter.
He launched The Oatmeal in July 2009. He got about 300,000 unique visitors in his first month of launch and it has only grown.
How does Matt make money from The Oatmeal? He sells a comic book and posters. He makes about $11,000 a week from Adsense and book purchases.
He picks topics that everyone can relate to. His example was about his “How not to suck at Facebook” comic in which everyone can really relate to.
His “How A Web Design Goes Straight To Hell” comic page went from 0 to a PageRank of 7 in one month.
Take some facts that you know and illustrate them. This is an interesting take on conveying information that might not be super exciting in text form but can be in visual form.
It’s about finding that common gripe. Some examples that Matt listed was his “Why I’d rather be punched in the balls than talk to customer service” as well as “how to use an apostrophe” as examples that everyone has a gripe about.
Some communities that Matt submits content to:
- Digg – you need to create great content. It may be frustrating to say, but you need something really catching in order to have some traction on Digg. When you do submit, keep it benign; don’t slather it with ads or make it marketing-driven.
- Reddit – when you submit things, submit it yourself and make it first-person. Something like “Hey guys, my friend made a zombie game. What do you think?”
- Stumbleupon – there is really no spam control. It is absolutely visually-driven.
Christian Bullock of Amplify Interactive, a Portland Oregon SEM agency
Making Friends & Generating Business
4 Point Plan for Facebook Domination
Speaker: Will Scott
1st remember to have a good time…and don’t interrupt people having a good time. Rules:
- Be real
- Give to receive
- Don’t be a jerk
4 Point Plan to Facebook Domination
- Get team involved
- Reach out to current fans
- Give reason to get involved
- Make new friends
Hold internal competitions
- Ask employees to recommend your brand to their friends
- Make it worth their while (e.g. $200 gift certificate)
- Nothing wrong with bribing your employees
Install Facebook fan box
- Already on site, makes great fans
Hold an external competition
- Ignore Facebook rules at your own risk
- Can hold on-site and off-site
Find fans you don’t already know
- Advanced demographics and kw filters through Facebook ads
- Value of fans
- Target fans
- Target people coming to an event
- Bday targeting
- 1:1 communication with event attendees/maybes
Lion Brand Yarn
Speaker: Ilana Rabinowitz
Facebook is a tool. Use it as such.
Lion Brand Yarn’s Strategy
Become a valuable source of information and vital community. Create a place where:
- People interact with each other
- Where fans can become brand advocates
- For people to share stories, ideas, tips, photos, and experiences
- To listen to consumers
- For us to answer questions
- Show appreciation to fans
- Seen as individuals rather than a faceless corporation (President made video for fans and was joking around)
How do we know what to say on Facebook?
- Surveys (what are you interested in?)
- Looked at peaks in data (what updates are people interacting with?)
- Know customers after years of correspondence
Voice of Lion Brand
- One consistent voice
- Marketing department brainstorms ideas
- Used graduate student
- Maintain calendar but much is ad hoc
Building a fan base
- Compelling content (e.g. custom comic strips)
- Promoted through other media (catalog, newsletter, blog, website)
- Fans get you fans
- Suggest to friends
- Advertise on Facebook
Facebook v. Print Ads: Facebook is extremely effective and measurable & can help engage with a younger audience
Facts of Life on Facebook
- Cannot control conversation (competitor mentions, customer complaints)
- Requires time and planning (but maybe not too much money)
Marketing with Facebook
- Solicit Facebook fans wisely (they are earned capital)
- Promotions can make fans disappear like crazy
- Keep helping your fan base (continue to provide resources)
Facebook is Measurable
- bit.ly to measure clickthrough on links
- Facebook Insights to measure interaction with fan page
- Google Analytics to measure engagement from traffic from facebook.com
Benefits of Facebook
- Builds relationships with consumers
- Drive web traffic
- Manage reputation
- Acquire new customers
- Builds word of mouth
- Provides customer insight
- Offer customer service
- Amplify other marketing efforts
- Replace/Supplement traditional advertising
- Generate direct sales
- SEO benefits on search engines
Q: Facebook Group v. Fan Page
A: Group makes sense where people engage with each other. Page makes sense where people engage with the brand
Q: Facebook Do’s?
A: Use a company email as an admin. Include keywords throughout fan page. Don’t be a broadcaster – it’s not about you
Q: Analytics Used to Measure Performance?
A: Google Analytics to measure on-site engagement, fan behavior, conversions, URL variable. Image tag to measure traffic on Facebook. Facebook Insights are useful as well
Q: Tips and Tricks for Facebook Ads
A: Test, test, test. Think about the venue you are advertising on
Q: Structure of Facebook social media team and requirements
A: LBY: Grad student works 3-4 days per week, knowledgeable of the brand; can do it in an hour a day
Q: Ideal Frequency
A: Rate of update is based on how frequently fans interact. Test messaging during various days of the week/hours of the day
Q: What Media Gains Fans Fastest
A: Amplify everywhere it makes sense. Facebook users hate Twitter. Twitter users hate Facebook.
Mike Nierengarten of Anvil Media Inc., a Portland SEM agency
Blogosphere SearchFest 2010
Live blogging from Leisa Hall of Anvil Media, a Portland SEM Agency
Speaker: Mike Roberts, SpyFu
- Know the keywords that your competitors are buying and get to “the best” keywords they have. What happens when a competitor buys a keyword? They are willing to bet their hard earned cash that the keyword is going to make them money.
- 5 Reasons a keyword might NOT be profitable
- The lost money but it didn’t suck
- Inconclusive – not enough volume to make a decision
- Asleep at the wheel
- Vanity buying
- Randomness and libel – random people doing random things
Where does this leave us?
- Antidote – Time: the longer you run a keyword, the better. Eliminates: asleep at the wheel, inconclusive, didn’t suck, randomness (#1, 2, 3, 5)
- Antidote – Money: Accelerates the effect of time. Eliminates: vanity buying, randomness and libel (#4, 5)
- Antidote – Activity: Changes in ad copy, adding and removing keywords, managing bids. Eliminates: asleep at the wheel (#3)
- So, which ARE you competitors best keywords? What would you expect them to be? What are YOUR most profitable keywords – usually branded.
- “ebay” is THE most profitable keyword for eBay
- SpyFu helps to gain intelligence about what keywords you should try buying based on what your competitors are doing
- See which they are buying that you aren’t
- See where you overlap
- Identify profitable terms
- Filter out terms that aren’t universally profitable
- Tool helps winnow down to the best terms to act on
Speaker: Larry Kim, WordStream
How do we leverage competitive intelligence for both PPC & SEO?
- Alexa search analytics
- Types of Data to gather
- keyword lists
- estimates (CPC, competition, keyword difficulty)
- So how do we interpret this?
4 Popular competitive intelligence blunders
- Never assume your competitor’s keyword list is relevant to you. If your competitors are idiots, their keyword lists will be idiotic.
- Too much analysis, not enough action. Don’t get buried in data; make sure it’s actionable.
- Never mistake estimated competitive data for ACTUAL campaign data. The actual CPC’s you see could be lower, for example. Focus on improving Quality Score.
- Ad rank = Bid x Quality Score
- How to Improve Quality Score:
- refine keywords (negatives, etc.)
- tightly themed ad groups
- relevant ad copy and landing pages
- CI data is an important component of kw research, and should be use in ADDITION to other keyword research tools. Don’t forget to leverage your own web analytics data – this is information that is available only to you. The problem with the free tools is that everyone has access to the same data.
Workflow using Competitive Intelligence for PPC
- Determine what is working and what isn’t
- Target more specific, less competitive keyword niches; avoid hyper-competitive spaces
- As your keyword research grows, stop thinking about CI in terms of individual keywords; why?
- Instead, try to break up your keyword research into categories/subcategories and track CI data on a per-grouping basis
CI is an important component of KW research, but pick KW lists that are relevant to YOUR site first. Be bold; don’t be deterred by competitive landscapes. Try it out, adjust, analyze, act.
Q & A
- How do you determine a keyword is profitable?
- Can’t hack data, so use behavior – if an advertiser is consistently bidding on $100 term, it must be profitable
Content SearchFest 2010 Session
Learn how to create content to drive search traffic . . . and, motivate visitors.
Heather Lloyd Martin – SuccessWorks
Stoney DeGeyter – Pole Position Marketing
John McPhee of Anvil Media, a Portland SEM agency
Todd just introduced Stoney…there’s some confusion on which microphone to use at first, but looks like we’ve got it figured out now. And away we go…
Stoney’s presentation will focus on both content and the Princess Bride (with accents and everything). Good content is text + SEO = sales. As you write content, it must be done with keywords and SEO in mind. Rewriting and optimizing content is a must. If there isn’t any content on your site/page, it won’t rank. It’s that simple, sorry.
“Perfect content has to change.” It might be the layout, content, headlines or keywords, whatever it is, you’ll need to test your content to determine how the search engines react to it, with the end goal of ranking on the 1st page.
Don’t mask content, such as hidden text. You’lll lose credibility. Do publish negative reviews, to help establish credibility. You might want to be selective of which reviews, but be sure to provide a fair comparison.
Good content cannot be rushed. Use an experienced copywriter who understands SEO, it will make your life a lot easier when it’s time to launch your site. Make sure copywriter works in top keywords in all of the important page elements.
When writing new content, start with keyword research. Ask the following questions when doing kewyord research:
- who is target audience, what are they looking for
- what areas of interest am I focusing on
User intent is a big piece of the pie. Keywords don’t always mean what you think. The following phrases can mean two totally different things, you must understand intent and write your content accordingly. “cordless telephone headset?” and “cordless telephone headset” can mean two totally different things (see the “?” in the first).
Know who your visitors are…researchers, shoppers, buyers. Understanding the buying cycle is key, and you must provide specific content for each stage. Capturing users at each stage builds credibility and encourages trust.
When considering keywords, use a number of different modifiers and create content for each. For example: exotic widgets, vintage widgets & classic widgets all work together, however, quality widgets, discount widgets and red widgets don’t really fit together.
Ignore “old school” content. Keyword density isn’t the way it works anymore. It doesn’t matter how many keywords you use on the page, you must place keywords in the appropriate page elements. Write for your visitors!
They keywords you choose may not end up being the best fit. If you’re an agency, the client should play a role in this stage as they know their business and will have some insight as well. Keyword research is an ongoing tactic and should always be reviewed.
Write content that no one else has. Find niche areas of interest for easier ranking possibilities. The phrases will be easier to rank for due to less competition.
Write for your audience first. Content must be read naturally. If you read it, and it sounds awkward, then it is. Rewrite it now. It will turn visitors away. Need persuasive content for call to action follow through.
Don’t destroy the conversion process. Each page should direct users to the next course of action. Lead them to the sale/lead form. They want to get there, but it’s up to you and the content to direct them there. Engage them throughout the process
- No magical amount of text
- Keep it brief and to the point
- Use no more content than what is needed to convert visitors
- Write for skimmers and scanners (paragraph headings, keyword rich links, bullet points & bolded text)
- Use action words, calls to action & textual links
- Keep content up-to-date, redirect deleted pages & re-purpose content for new mediums
Stoney’s phone went off to signal his time was up, and he was right on target. Nice job Stoney.
Todd now introduces Heather Lloyd Martin…
Heather states that she has been in SEO content since the very beginning and focuses on training, which she loves. We can tell Heather, great enthusisasm. Not to be outdone by Stoney’s Princess Bride-themed presentation, Heather went with The Family Guy – great choice.
What is content marketing?
- articles, news releases, blogs, product pages, FAQs, white papers, Facebook pages & Twitter
Why do we care about “freakin sweet” content?
Finding the sweet spot of keyword research, quality content and quality incoming links is the sweet spot and holy grail of achieving rankings. We all want “control” of the rankings, so focusing on great content is when we can actually realize these results
Think like a newscaster. Figure out the following questions: who is target audience, typical reader, level of education, etc. You then need to write content geared towards the personas that you create.
You must show WIIFM (What’s In It For Me), or people will bail on your site. People are looking for reasons to leave or not to purchase anything from you, so don’t fall into that trap. Provide quality content that speaks to their needs.
Heather gave an example of what Quicken did on a landing page, which OK. Minimal copy, decent headlines, call to action and nice benefits. Now comparing to Mint.com. They did an excellent job by overcoming objections and security concerns. Used headlines and calls to action wisely. They spoke to issues that customers were concerned about, which most likely led to higher conversions.
Always be looking for new content opportunities. Use Google’s keyword tool to help with this. Identify keywords that have high search potential. Consider using Twitter for new content marketing ideas. It’s a good idea to search on Twitter to get ideas for what others are discussing. It helps keep you current about specific industries.
Know when you can break the rules. Heather is discussing the “old school” tactic of keyword density. Back in the day, you needed a 5.5% keyword density to rank on Alta Vista. It doesn’t matter today!
If you remember anything from this presentation/blog post, make your titles HOT. This is the low hanging fruit of SEO. The first opportunity for conversion starts at the SERPs. You must use compelling and informative headlines (title tag) to get folks to your site in the first place. You should always be testing title tags & meta tags.
Tips for strong headlines:
- Write like a headline. Think clickability
- Keep titles around 70 characters
- Include main keywords in Title
- Clearly explain what is on the landing page
- Include benefit statements (free shipping)
Make old content new again. Search for your outdated content (i.e. press pages, conference/event pages, etc) and update it. Make it relevant or redirect it to appropriate pages. If you can’t easily update your content due to technical/site structure issues, create a blog, build articles or engage people on social media. These are great ways to help increase rankings, little by little.
Know the 5 W’s and 1 H of SEO Copywriting
- WHO does the writing (new SEO copywriters need training)
- WHAT pages need to be rewritten (create an editorial calendar)
- WHERE does the budget/time come from (good writing costs time/money)
- WHY don’t look at other opportunities (Twitter, blogs…)
- WHEN are you uploading new pages (set deadlines)
- HOW will you know if it works (conversion testing, traffic monitoring)
The final slide of Heather’s presentation is Stewie with arms raised in the air! Great presentation.
Q: What are the best ways for keyword research (i.e. focus groups)? Also, do you still get penalized for using too many keywords?
A: Stoney goes first: There are a lot of tools to use, which all have good data. Be comprehensive and use a number of tools. Google tools, WordTracker, WordStream, Keyword Discovery. Focus groups shouldn’t be sole point of keyword research, but could be used with other tools. In order to avoid penalties you must use natural copy and keyword overlap.
Q: Thoughts of the free Google keyword tool?
A: Stoney uses the tool, but this isn’t a keyword research track, so we didn’t delve into that. Heather prefers to use tools that are search engine neutral, then uses tools like WordStream, Keyword Discovery, etc.
Q: How do you motivate people to write content for SEO (if they are the only ones writing content)?
A: You must work to take little pieces and show them conversion rates. If your copy converts better, they may start to give you a little more leeway.