Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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SES San Jose Spotlight: Around The Search World
Top Rank
Do you know the way to San Jose? The path goes through China, Japan and Latin America, at least, that's the route that part one of the "Search Around the World" panel took.

T.R. Harrington tackled both the challenges and opportunities search marketers face with China--namely the fact that the PPC interfaces are not nearly as sophisticated, but the sheer volume of searchers warrant at least thinking about an international strategy. "For organic search, the wide range of differences across the Chinese provinces can prove difficult when trying to effectively translate search terms for which to optimize," Harrington said. Monitoring the success of SEO is also difficult, as analytics tools are still in their early stages.

Japan's market is a bit more sophisticated, according to Motoko Hunt, though the most opportunity stems from mobile search. "There's more access to Internet through mobile than PC in Japan," Mokoto said. Still, linguistic challenges await Japan-leaning search marketers as well, since "with four sets of interchangeable letters and characters, multiple spelling variations and no spaces between words, sites in Japanese can be difficult to optimize," he said.

Alicia Morgan stepped up to the plate for Latin America, acknowledging that the Latam audience is much like the Hispanic audience in the U.S.--but search can't be your only channel for reaching them. "Search is another tool in your box, but not the sole thing that's going to make it happen for you in reaching this market," she said. Morgan said that banner ads still work well. And of course, the dialect differences in each country present unique PPC ad challenges.

Author's Note: In honor of SES San Jose (and those of us who weren't able to attend) I'll be highlighting panel recaps and other coverage as it rolls out this week. Enjoy! - Read the whole story...

The Ins And Outs Of Competitive Search Intelligence
Search Engine Land
Eric Enge offers examples of how to use third-party services like Hitwise to run competitive intelligence and figure out how/whether your competitors are hijacking your branded terms.

In the case of Orbitz, the travel aggregator seems to be doing well, garnering about 83% of the traffic stemming from the keyword "orbitz." But what about the remaining 17%? Clearly, competitors like Travelocity and SmartFares are brand-jacking, snagging about 2% of the missing traffic each. "That's really pretty significant, since the user has probably started this search with an intent to go to the Orbitz site," he says. "All in all, you'd prefer to get 100% of that traffic if it's your brand we are talking about."

Digging further, Hitwise finds that bidding on competitor's terms is a clear part of SmartFare's strategy, as they garner nearly 5% of all of their site traffic from the Orbitz brand name--not to mention other brands like Cheap Tickets, Expedia, Travelocity and even Southwest Airlines. - Read the whole story...

SES San Jose Spotlight: Anything But Google For PPC
Search Engine Journal
The panel's title says it all: "Everything But Google: Alternative Search Marketing Options," and Darrell Long provides sound bytes as well as a bit of analysis of the session.

First up was Sage Lewis, who advocated buying articles from bloggers (pay per post), as well as Quigo (a niche PPC engine), the Facebook business center, as well as traffic on Ask and Superpages.com. Meanwhile, ContextWeb's Jay Sears said that the key is to target content--not just search terms. "When you're targeting content you want to go wide versus search where you want to be as specific as possible," he said.

Looksmart and Ask reps were also on hand. While Looksmart's Jonathan Ewert acknowledged that it's hard to compete with Google for reach, the alternative engine offers comparable geotargeting at much lower prices. Ask's Dustin Kwan said that many marketers are underutilizing the engine's fabulous tools, including dynamic insertion codes, a keyword prospecting report and run of category targeting. - Read the whole story...

Penalty-Free Keyword Stuffing
This reader-generated article focuses on keyword stuffing--and how a page that has been pumped with 254 iterations of the term "worlds greatest SEO" has still not been penalized by Google. In fact, the page ranks #1 for the term "worlds greatest SEO," which highlights the ambiguity within Google rankings.

Darren Slatten developed a Web site as a gag, aiming for top rankings for the term "worlds greatest SEO." "I chose this phrase because it amuses me... plus it has virtually zero search traffic, and therefore, zero competition," he said. "In other words, simply using that phrase in my home page's title tag was enough to get into Google's top 10."

But somehow, his SEOmoz profile began ranking higher for the coveted term than the site, and so Slatten sought to sabotage his profile through keyword stuffing. The goal was to get the profile penalized and purged from the rankings--which would propel his Web site back into the top spot. Problem is, there's been no penalty thus far. And while the premise of Slatten's experiment is silly, it does call into question just what makes one site worthy of being banned over another. - Read the whole story...

SES San Jose Spotlight: Video Search Optimization Tips
Search Engine Roundtable
Barry Schwartz (aka RustyBrick) recaps the video search optimization panel, which was filled with stats and examples from case studies. For instance, Greg Jarboe found that maximizing a video's usefulness on YouTube stemmed from making it both searchable and shareable--as well as tweaking the videos that surround it.

Jarboe alluded to a recently posted Allen Iverson workout video that had garnered nearly 37,000 views as of August 8--only 13% of which came from search. The majority of the other views came from somewhere else. "In this case, they came from related videos. People don't watch 'a' video, they watch batches," he said. "They are addictive. They came from other Allen Iverson videos--they came and saw more. This is 'related video optimization."'

Other panelists included eLocal Listing's Stephen Espinosa, who advocated building a landing page for every video that you post/produce. "Optimize the page with the tags, content keywords and file name," he said. "Use a constant video description that is keyword rich across all sites." - Read the whole story...

Search Google Sans Google-Produced Results

Search Insider - Around the Net for Tuesday, August 19, 2008


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