Friday, August 1, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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Content Development: Are You Using The Right Voice?
Search Engine Guide
In part six of a seven-part series on building a "destination Web site," Stoney deGeyter dives into the topic of the "voice" of a site's copy. "One of the easiest ways to set yourself apart from your competitors is by creating a distinct voice through your written content," he says. "Whether you realize it or not, every website has a voice."

The problem is, most of the time the voice is that of whoever wrote the copy--which can sometimes be a number of people including a Webmaster, a copywriter, and SEO specialist, or even the marketing team. Varying inputs can give one site a jumble of different voices, or pumped full of dry, clichéd marketing-speak.

So deGeyter suggests determining what kind of voice the copy should have--be it humorous, whimsical or brutally honest--and adhering to it throughout the site. And the voice can shine through regardless of the subject matter, as he offers eight examples of voice-tinged copy about car batteries as an example. - Read the whole story...

Yahoo Still Monkeying Around With Search Results
Yahoo has now integrated various Search Monkey enhancements directly into the SERP, eliminating the need for users to click on and choose their own specialized results. For example, a search for a person's name may turn up snippets of their LinkedIn profile (if its updated), including their location and current job.

"Try a query that's likely to turn up information from LinkedIn, Yahoo Local, or Yelp," says Doug Caverly. "Sometimes this works, and sometimes not, but you may be shown a specially formatted, extra-informative enhanced result."

Caverly also notes that Yahoo has expanded Search Monkey internationally, offering searchers in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico the option to customize their results with third-party developer widgets. - Read the whole story...

Google/Yahoo Funnel Nearly $1.4 Million Into DC Lobbying
Search Engine Journal
Together, Google and Yahoo have spent $1.36 million on lobbying for various issues in D.C., and that's just for the second quarter of 2008!

Of course, one of the primary causes was their proposed paid search deal, but both giants also pushed to support more altruistic legislation. Google, for example, spent some $730,000 on causes ranging from measures designed to protect children from online predators, spyware crackdown proposals, as well as net neutrality. It's worth noting that Big G spent more on lobbying in the first two quarters of 2008 than in all of 2007.

Meanwhile, Yahoo spent $630,000 to help fight the dramatic increase in royalties that online radio stations were forced to pay to the Copyright Royalty Board, and to help make it illegal for U.S. companies to be forced to give Internet users' info over to governments in countries that restrict Web access. - Read the whole story...

Small Business SEO: The Perils Of A 'Hands Off' Approach
John Andrews digs into Marchex's latest announcement that it is now offering small business owners comprehensive local online marketing and lead generation services--including paid search and SEO'd site development. He throws up the caution flags however, arguing that handing all of said business over to one company (or two, if you include the agency that initially creates an SMB's Web site) is foolish.

"You must own your website and your lead gen channel, or at least own a point of leverage for that channel," Andrews says. "You must control your public profile, and you must own the revenue stream from your search marketing."

Entrusting the breadth of one's online marketing efforts may seem like an ideal situation for SMBs, but as Andrews uncovers, it can also result in lackluster campaigns and poor ROI. As an example, Andrews follows up on the example that Marchex cites in its own marketing materials, a dentist in Washington State.

"If you look more closely at the dentist website, you see it has been 'optimized' for local search via keyword stuffing of alt tags and title tags," he says. "The content has clearly been 'made accessible' to search engines via readable text HTML versions, but those are presented via techniques which fail usability tests - the intent apparently to satisfy search engines, not users." Lastly, Andrews also says that the dentist's original site wasn't optimized properly to start with, so the SMB could likely have increased leads without resorting to another third-party. - Read the whole story...

A Dozen Landing Page Tips
The E-Consultancy team plucks a page from their "Paid Search Marketing Best Practice Guide" to offer a dozen landing page creation tips. The tips range from crafting relevant pages with clear headlines and easy-to-scan blocks of text, to providing the right balance of product detail and brevity.

Meanwhile, menu and navigation decisions will depend on whether you want to give visitors the option to delve into other areas of the site. "This is debatable; removing menu options can increase conversion rates since users have a smaller choice of where to click, but this will prevent visitors who don't respond from going to other sections of the site," the team writes. "One compromise is to limit the menu to top level options only."

And provide a way for the non-converters to contact you if they change their mind, both on- and offline, if applicable. Lastly, landing pages should also be constantly tested, and if they're tied to seasonal products, should eventually be removed (or orphaned -- and users redirected to more appropriate pages) until the season rolls around again. - Read the whole story...

Search Insider - Around the Net for Friday, August 1, 2008


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