Thursday, July 31, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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Digging Into Your Multiple Conversion Rates
High Rankings Advisor
"The question is a rather odd one: 'What's your conversion rate?' The correct response would be another question: 'Which conversion rate?"' says Karon Thackston. "What most people are really asking is how many sales have you made? But the sales process - in almost all cases - takes more than one step."

Thackston outlines the many micro-conversions a Webmaster can (and should) track to gain a more complete picture of how well a given site is performing. The first conversion stems from the page's title and description, as getting a user to click on your result in the SERP kicks off the entire process. If you're not getting organic traffic, then you'll need to tinker with the title and description tags to entice searchers to convert into visitors.

The landing page or home page is the next conversion front, and each contains a myriad micro-conversion points. "You are likely to have numerous conversion rates that result from visitors leaving your home page and clicking deeper into the site," Thackston says. And if the number of users going from the home page to a page for product x is greater than the number heading to product y's page, then you have some questions to ask yourself.

"Compare the two pages," Thackston says. "Are they designed the same? Have similar copy? Whatever the reason, test to see how changes to copy affect the conversions from this page." Once you've waded through the micro-conversions, you've likely garnered some actual sales, and it should now be much easier to determine how and why those visitors became buyers.

- Read the whole story...

More "Transparent" Search Results From Big G
Official Google Blog
Google is offering more insight into the way it uses data like location, search history and past Web site visits to influence core search results. Over the next few days, searchers can expect to see messages in the upper right corner of the search window like: "customized for San Francisco metro area, US." Clicking on a "more details" link will lead to an info page detailing how and why the search giant is customizing results.

Data used includes the searchers IP address and if they're logged into a Google account, previous searches and other Web sites they've visited. There's also the option to see what the results for a previous query would look like without taking all of the extra info into account.

The changes are aimed at bolstering Google's "commitment to transparency," according to Rachel Garb. - Read the whole story...

The Search Dish With IProspect's Rob Murray
SEM Geek
Greg Meyers interviews Rob Murray, president of iProspect, about the agency's research on Universal Search and the practice of integrating search with other marketing channels, among other things.

IProspect released a study in April uncovering how Universal Search was influencing searcher behavior. For example, they found that people were more likely to click on news results than images or videos. Meyers asked whether the research should deter marketers from running ads on the video- and image-heavy social networks.

"Without making a blanket statement on whether it's a good strategy for ALL companies to invest PPC budget on social networking sites, I disagree with the premise of your question," Murray said. "That's because people who are being presented with blended search results-- and are subsequently clicking news results more than images or videos--chose to go to one of the major search engines for a specific reason. A marketer may very well want to show their ads to people who had a reason to visit a search engine AND to people who had a reason to visit a social networking site. The reasons are not exclusive of one another."

Murray also said that while about half of iProspect's clients were integrating at least one offline channel with their search campaigns, "many are not doing so when they first engage with us and need convincing of the wisdom of doing so." - Read the whole story...

Q&A Search Engine True Knowledge Gets $4M
Alt Search Engines
True Knowledge, a search engine developed with the goal of "intelligently answering, in plain English, questions asked on any topic," has raised $4 million in a second round of funding. The European-based engine will use the funds to expand its management team and move to a roll-out within the next 12 months.

Charles Knight argues that True Knowledge stands out from the pack of alternative and even core search engines because of its unique indexing technology.

"Traditionally, search engines use statistical relationships between the words to find documents and web pages that might be relevant to the subject of the search," he says. "But these systems cannot make sense of the content. Rather than try to teach computers to read and understand the thousands of text-based web pages that are produced every hour, True Knowledge neatly side-steps this problem by structuring this knowledge in a way that computers can access." - Read the whole story...

Google Gobbles European Search Spend, Too
The latest third-party search spending report stems from Efficient Frontier, and focused on the European market. And Google trounced all of its rivals in the second quarter of 2008 in terms of client spending--snagging more than 85% of advertiser budgets in the U.K., and over 95% in Europe as a whole.

"Also making modest gains in market share, Microsoft now captures 4% of search budgets in the UK," writes the author. "Both Google's and Microsoft Live Search gains come at the expense of Yahoo."

Efficient Frontier also found that average Google CPC rates increased by nearly 16% year-over-year. Live Search CPC rates also rose by about 6% on average, while they fell by 0.5% on Yahoo. Yahoo however, took steps to improve the quality of its search syndication partners that resulted in a nearly 8% increase in advertiser ROI. - Read the whole story...

Search Insider - Around the Net for Thursday, July 31, 2008


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