Friday, July 11, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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Assess Your Online Marketing Strategy In About 3 Hours
Conversation Marketing
In three hours, you can assess the major strengths and weaknesses of your Internet marketing strategy using nothing more than an analytics program. Ian Lurie explains how it's done--noting that it's about finding out what your visitors are after, where they're going to on your site to find it, and making it easier for them to get there.

Use the first 15 minutes to find out your top 10 organic search traffic drivers with a program like Google Analytics. Take the next 45 to find out which pages those searchers see when they enter those keywords on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Those 10 pages have become your "target pages." You'll spend the next hour doing simple optimizations (including title tag cleanups, calls to action, and fixing copy errors).

The last hour is meant for optimizing your "hot pages" (or the top 5-10 most visited pages as per your analytics program) with those keywords as well. - Read the whole story...

Spending On Branded/Trademarked Terms Up 22% In U.K.
Internet Retailing
On May 5, Google changed its bidding policy on company names and other trademarked keywords in the U.K., allowing advertisers and affiliates to bid on their competitor's terms. And in the four weeks since the change, spending on branded terms jumped 22%, likely buoyed by both competitor bids and trademark owners upping the ante themselves.

"When Google announced the changes, many assumed the amount of Internet search traffic that brand owners receive from searches for their own trademarked brand terms would decrease because competitors and affiliates could now bid on these terms," Marcus Austin.

But according to Hitwise data, traffic to brand owners' Web sites dipped by less than 1% in those four weeks. "Will this be a short-term trend? Or will this be the future?" Austin says. "Only time will tell." - Read the whole story...

PPC Learnings From A Gray Hat
Slightly Shady SEO
Taking a break from the grind of day-to-day campaign management gave the Slightly Shady SEO some much-needed perspective on the art of search marketing.

For example, CTR may not always be the best performance metric to track. "I previously didn't track things down to the level of ad copy (at least not for all my campaigns)," he says. "I began doing that and discovered that out of my 2 active ads on one campaign, one had a CTR that was about 0.2% lower than the best one, but had nearly double the conversions on many less clicks."

Also, analyzing the competition is key. "If you see an ad appearing everywhere, examine it," he says. "Pick it apart. Pick apart the motivations, the banner, the offer, and where it's showing. Think, 'why is it showing so much here?"'

Lastly, understand that sometimes, campaigns just wear out their usefulness. After two months, a highly successful ad may just stop converting so well--no matter how you try to tweak the ad copy, placement or other factors. Take the best-performing parts of it (be it the title, the keywords, or the content it was running against) and apply it to a new campaign. - Read the whole story...

Get Smarter About Link Building
The Link Spiel
Debra Mastaler serves up two link building scenarios for a fictional "Smart Car" company, to illustrate the power of originality and incentives in the link acquisition process.

In the first example, Smart Cars Inc. offers to pay a blogger or other Web site $20 for link placement, suggests a reciprocal link scheme, and also tries paying for a product review. In the second, the company also ends up paying for a link, but labels it clearly and also lists the linker as a promotional partner within their sales collateral and on their Web site. Mastaler dubs that "promotional product placement."

Smart Cars Inc. also tries to garner a full article placement--not just a link--by submitting their content to a blogger, telling her why it would fit with her audience, and even including a $10 gas card as a way to say thanks.

"From my experience, the second set results in more responses and links secured," Mastaler says. "Why? Because the second set of tactics sounds more professional, conveys authority and gives the perception the end user is getting the better end of the deal. Waving incentives and reinforcing benefits will usually result in more open and response rates." - Read the whole story...

Using SEO To Cope With A Reputation Crisis
If there's a blog or Web site that's ranking prominently for your client's company name, branded terms or coveted keywords, and it's spewing out negative (or even untrue) info, then you've got a Web reputation crisis on your hands. Marty Weintraub shares a set of SEO techniques to help.

First, evaluate the page that has attained the listing according to stats like PageRank and inbound links, using tools like Yahoo Site Explorer. Then, think before you send a "cease and desist" letter or other legal pressure. Call in a friend or legal consultant who's familiar with trademark and copyright laws to ensure you've got a solid case--if that's the route you choose.

Analyze the social media impact of said blog post or Web site rant. Check to see if there are discussions about it in niche forums or on sites like Digg, and then choose whether to refute the untrue claim outright, or develop better, more efficiently optimized content that addresses it indirectly.

And don't forget paid search. "When weighing the cost of PPC to circumvent damaging organic results, paid search is often an attractive 'lesser of all evils' option, especially in the short term while waiting for other solutions to come online," Weintraub says. "Google's content network, in the hands of a site-targeting expert, can be a highly effective channel--especially when clarifying or refuting mainstream damage in news, niche and social channels." - Read the whole story...

Search Insider - Around the Net for Friday, July 11, 2008


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