Friday, September 5, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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The Power Of Search-Centric Microsites
Kevin Lee extols the virtues of search-centric microsites in this post, arguing that a company's main Web site is often built to serve the needs of various visitors--shareholders, press, casual browsers and even job-seekers--but not to snag searchers with particular products or services in mind.

"If search is important for your business, you should probably stop selling to your search visitors from your headquarters," he says. "Start thinking like them, and design a user experience that balances your need to sell against their desires to select the best solution for their needs."

That means developing a microsite that includes features and functionality geared toward searchers' needs--and excludes all the extras that can get in the way of converting them into clients or buyers. "Microsites eliminate unnecessary navigation, particularly the kind that threatens transforming your selling/prospect marketing site into your headquarters," Lee says. "You can likely dispense with such content sections as 'Press,' 'About Us,' 'Employment/Jobs,' and other superfluous links and navigation, which your prospects will have little interest in." - Read the whole story...

Browser Privacy Modes May Make It Harder To Track Conversions
Noah Mallin weighs in on how the various "privacy modes" of the crop of new browsers may make it harder to track search conversions (both on- and offline) for products with a longer purchase and decision cycle. "In privacy mode, cookies are turned off, so for a longer interaction cycle it can be difficult if not impossible to know that the user who is making the purchase is the same user who clicked through the search ad a month ago," he says.

Of course, the full weight of the impact depends on how many users actually browse while in privacy mode, and whether they do it all the time. "We suspect that in most cases, if it's not porn or pornesque, few people will use privacy mode," Mallin says. "Only the downright paranoid will have it on all the time."

Still, he suggests brainstorming tactics for tracking search conversions regardless of whether users are in privacy browsing mode or not, like using coupon codes, for example. - Read the whole story...

Think Diamonds When You Think Of Good Content
Diamond retailers have long told consumers to think of the "four Cs" when it comes to determining the quality of a stone--clarity, cut, color and carats--and Sonia Simone applies those same traits to quality Web site copy.

Clarity means be clear and simple--but not dumbed-down. "Effective content must be absolutely clear if it's going to persuade," Simone says. "Whether you want your readers to subscribe, to bookmark, or to buy, confusion is the enemy of action." Likewise, cut your copy to remove hyperbole, useless words and make sure you're focused tightly on one (or a few) main themes.

Color is where many Web site owners struggle, as striving for snappy, straightforward copy can lead to trimming all the personality out of the content. "If your readers wanted the facts and nothing but the facts, they'd read software manuals," she says. "Your audience is coming to you for a colorful, lively take on your subject." Lastly comes carats--meaning give your content some weight. Posting funny clips or blog posts is a great way to snag a slew of page views, but you'll need some serious, value-creating content to sustain a reader base. - Read the whole story...

Yotify: Your Own, Personal Search Robot
Alt Search Engines
On the hunt for a bike on Craigslist? Or maybe it's new blog posts related to your hotelier client? Whatever the info, Yotify can scour the Web for you and report back on any new info, sort of like Google Alerts on steroids. "Create a 'Scout' keyed to Craigslist, YouTube,, shopping sites like eBay, blogs, or mainstream media," Rafi says. "When your information is found, the Scout reports back to you as often or periodical[ly] as you'd like, hourly or daily."

You can program scouts to simply search for keywords, or get complex and base one on finding a specific product when it drops below a specific price. Yotify scouts can also alert you to changes on profiles in networks like LinkedIn. "The idea is to send as many scouts out as you want, looking for what you need on the big website hubs," Rafi says. "Hopefully, as the private beta turns into a public full-blown search monster (a friendly one of course), we can all begin sending out our scouting spies and have the engine work for us." - Read the whole story...

Tightening Up An Existing AdWords Campaign
Shimon Sandler
Shimon Sandler takes readers through optimizing a pre-existing (and likely underperforming) AdWords campaign step-by-step, starting with downloading the Keyword report for a previous time period. Sort the data by your chosen success metric (cost-per-conversion, CTR, etc) and then port it to a new Excel spreadsheet. Now comes the keyword-based trimming.

"Only use the keywords that converted from the previous time period," Sandler says. "This is effectively cutting away all the excessive 'no results' keyword spending." Bundle the keywords into ad groups, craft fresh copy for each--with two ads per group so that you can split a/b test. One thing you may not want to change is the CPCs for each term, as you'll be able to see how they're performing and bid manage accordingly.

The rest of the process involves monitoring the ads and shifting factors like spending, grouping, copy and match types as appropriate. - Read the whole story...

AdWords' Geographic Report

SEO: It's A Piece Of Cake
SEO Igloo

Search Insider - Around the Net for Friday, September 5, 2008


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