January 8, 2013 – It was back to the basics Tuesday night as SEMpdx kicked off a new year. Formic Media’s John McPhee began the evening by covering SEO fundamentals and touching on a few current best practices we should all be doing. Among them were his tips for successful design and development such as utilizing HTML, using text navigation and implementing SEO elements. He advised against flash sites, too many images and too much java script. Onsite optimization is another key area to focus on by creating search friendly URLs and always optimizing with tags (e.g. title, meta description, H1 header and ALT image). John also touched on local SEO, explaining that, while you still need to follow all SEO tactics, there are additional steps to take like claiming and verifying local listings. You should also include your NAP (name, address, phone number) on everything from your website to directories, etc. And, of course, take advantage of GetListed.org.
Aliza Earnshaw, from AboutUs, covered content and social media marketing. There are three components of social media marketing: create great content, promote relevant content via social media and engage with people. Doing these at the same time is key to a successful marketing strategy. Good content must be useful, show expertise and be easily shareable. When promoting your content, avoid a title or link formula. Vary your content so you’re not being repetitive and promote new posts whenever relevant news is released. To develop an engaged audience, avoid boring posts, respond to criticism promptly and politely, and have real conversations.
The night ended with Amplify Interactive’s Ryan Campbell giving us the rundown on paid search. He stressed the importance of utilizing conversion tracking and key performance indicators in any campaign you run. When choosing keywords, be careful to include those that customers use when talking about your product or service. Set negative keywords and take advantage of the various match types. There are different ways to structure your campaign and ad groups. A good way to start is by looking at how your website is set up. When creating your campaign, hyper-target your audience by setting a daily campaign budget and adjusting the ad schedule. Separate search and display campaigns and set geo-targets. You can also choose how ads are rotated. Ryan’s preferred setting is “rotate evenly”. Finally, while it’s hard to identify best practices for writing successful ads, there are a few tips to remember such as capitalizing the first letter of each word and utilizing ad extensions. Make sure your landing page is targeted, reflecting the keyword in the ad.
Sarah is a search marketing consultant, helping clients improve ROI through paid search, SEO and social media initiatives. She is also the Official SEMpdx Event Blogger and can be found at all of the monthly events.