Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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Microsoft Vs. Google: Part Thirteen, The Search ROI Battle
Joshua Greenbaum digs into a new product coming out of Microsoft aimed at helping advertisers determine the ROI of all of their search campaigns, and explains how it might be the software giant's most powerful assault on Google thus far.

"Here's what Microsoft and its CRM team are up to," Greenbaum says. "Coming to CRM Online this fall--and for the low, low price of 'free,' no less--is a new feature that lets Microsoft CRM customers track the success of their search word-based web marketing campaigns. The concept is simple: capture the leads as generated by your favorite search engine, and then analyze how those leads translate into actual sales for your company."

Advertisers will get to see whether their search spend is having a material impact on on- and offline sales, since the CRM Online platform tracks completed orders. "And, over time, you have a pretty accurate picture of how well that search engine you pay your big marketing bucks to is actually performing, in dollars and cents," Greenbaum says.

Greenbaum argues that if the data proved that Google AdWords wasn't as successful as many marketers believed, and that if Microsoft were to anonymize, aggregate and then publish it, the industry could be in for a huge shock. "Because suddenly the myth of Ad Word advertising would be faced with the reality of sales, and, well, I think the results would be sobering for anyone who thinks Google is invincible and a welcome revelation for anyone who thinks there's more to marketing than Google Ad Words," he says. - Read the whole story...

Quick Multivariate Testing Hits With Bryan Eisenberg
Marketing Pilgrim
Andy Beal shoots the breeze with Bryan Eisenberg, multivariate testing expert and author of "Always Be Testing." Eisenberg offers examples of when multivariate testing might be a better choice than A/B testing, as well as the variables that a marketer might want to include in their test.

"A/B testing techniques can work great when you are comparing the results of one page versus the results of a second page," Eisenberg says. "For example, which landing page from your radio commercial converts more customers, the one with the great copy and no pictures or the one with ok copy but a picture of a pretty lady?"

In contrast, multivariate tests deal with multiple variables at the same time (i.e. testing the copy, the call to action, a choice of pictures and the 'buy now' button at the same time). "Multivariate tests are best when you want to test isolated variables on a page," Eisenberg says. "For example, you may want to test 3 versions of your headline, 4 versions of your main image and 6 versions of your call to action to find the best combination for that particular page."

While Eisenberg covers more than 30 testable conversion factors in the book, he suggests that marketers new to testing at least get on board with evaluating headlines, calls to action and trust-building elements. - Read the whole story...

Recap Of Eric Enge's Interview With Yahoo Local Execs
Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local Search
Mike Blumenthal pulls the best tidbits out of Eric Enge's interview with Yahoo local execs Frazier Miller and Shailesh Bhat (over at the Stone Temple Blog) to shed some light on the inner workings of Yahoo's local engine and how marketers should think about optimizing for it.

For example, "Yahoo Local relies very heavily on the licensed feeds that they get through data providers like InfoUSA, Acxiom, and Localeze and these should be the primary sources for maintaing data accuracy in your Yahoo record," Blumenthal says.

There's also quite a bit of human moderation going on--something Google could learn from, Blumenthal argues--as the Yahoo Local team often validates merchant data changes, analyzes trends (i.e. huge influxes of spam), and even checks to make sure submitted URLs are valid. - Read the whole story...

Yahoo, AT&T Connect For Mobile Search Deal
Local Mobile Search
While talks of a Google/Verizon search deal have simmered, Yahoo and AT&T launched a partnership that will give Yahoo oneSearch the default "on deck" search service for upcoming handsets. "This puts Yahoo!'s search and brand in front of a potential 70 million mobile AT&T users," Greg Sterling says. "The deal was announced earlier in the year and is part of the broader, long-term relationship between the companies."

Of course, Yahoo will provide the mobile ads, while AT&T's own Yellowpages.com will deliver the local search listings. But Sterling says the bigger news is the potential market share Yahoo could snag as a result of the arrangement. "The formal launch of this deal could provide a big boost to Yahoo!, which trails Google in mobile search market share in the US," he says.

Nielsen Mobile pegged Yahoo's mobile search market share at 21% in June 2008, in contrast to Google's 62%. Internal research from Sterling's firm pegs both companies' market share slightly lower (Google at 55% and Yahoo at 16%). - Read the whole story...

Gauging The Value of Link Directories
Small Business SEM
"It's been a while since I've gone out on the hunt for links from quality directories, and the experience these past few days hasn't been good: There's a lot more junk out there than not," Matt McGee says. "This can be a problem for the small business owner who may struggle to know how to tell a quality directory from the rest." So he offers some tips for deciding whether a directory is even worth your time.

The first red flag should go up if a directory requires a reciprocal link--as it means the company is likely more concerned about growing its own footprint than delivering high quality traffic. Similar alarm bells should go off if the directory promises a full refund (if your site isn't "accepted'), or offers extra links for an additional fee. Both conditions reek of a paid link scheme. "We can debate paid links until we're blue in the face, but it's reasonable to assume that search engines don't consider this kind of arrangement to be a sign of a quality directory," McGee says.

Other warning signs include pages overrun with ads, as well as poor indexation within the engines. Do some research and see how many of the deeper pages are being indexed, as poor indexation means that visitors may not even find your link during a routine search. Lastly, check to see who your company will be, if you do get a link from said directory. "Search the directory for spammy phrases like 'buy Viagra' and see what results show up," McGee says. - Read the whole story...

Alternative Search Engines In South America
Alt Search Engines

Search Insider - Around the Net for Tuesday, September 9, 2008


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