Friday, September 12, 2008

Section 2: Around the Net in Search Marketing

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Beyond Search: Boosting Conversions With Testimonials and Media Coverage
MarketingSherpa's latest case study goes a bit beyond search to show how one Web site owner used testimonials and targeted media coverage to boost conversions. After all, getting visitors to your page is one thing. Getting them to sign up, subscribe or make a purchase is another. And for the, snagging conversions in the crowded photo-sharing and scrapbooking market was key.

The Web site first targeted non-techie publications and media outlets to get the word out to its audience--30- to 50-year-old women who weren't particularly tech-savvy--and followed up by snagging endorsements from well-known brands like Adobe and Dell. Then, they gave testimonials prominent placement. "They labeled testimonials with a customer's first name and last initial, home city, and details about their subscription," the Sherpa team says. displayed the reviews in an automatic, scrolling section of the homepage, and in the headers of subpages, exposing visitors to the testimonials wherever they were. As a result, free-trial conversions increased nearly 20%. The company also dated the reviews, and added new ones each week, keeping the content fresh. Together, the combination of integrated media coverage and highlighted testimonials helped the team increase subscribers by 304% in one year. - Read the whole story...

Are You Guilty Of Perpetuating The Black Hole?
SEO Book
Aaron Wall poses the concept of "black hole SEO," or a Web site that attracts as many inbound links as possible but doesn't share the love by linking out. "Increasingly, top-tier sites are becoming cagey about linking out," he says. "They are more than happy to be linked to, of course, but often the favor is not reciprocated."

He lists the New York Times as the prime offender, but also Wikipedia and TechCrunch as examples; arguing that each company has essentially created a black hole by garnering tons of inbound links and only linking to internal pages or no-following the outbound links they do create. "The result is a link-love black hole," Wall says. "Sites using such a strategy can dominate the rankings, if they are big enough." - Read the whole story...

Still More SEO Tips From Google
Small Business SEM
Matt McGee piggybacks on a recent Google Webmaster Central blog post highlighting some of the top questions posed in the forums, and highlights the answers most relevant to SEO.

For example, did you know that sitelinks are displayed dynamically? According to Maile Ohye: "In some search results, the sitelinks displayed are determined algorithmically based on the user's query. So, while Webmaster Tools may show 8 sitelinks for your verified site, it's possible that search results show only a subset." The content of each link (i.e. the title and page it directs users to) can also vary depending on the query.

Meanwhile, Google is increasingly pulling images into the core search results, but every image doesn't get crawled or indexed alike. The ranking of the page where the image is hosted can actually determine whether a picture gets indexed and how well it ranks for a given query--even if it's more relevant than a picture from a more authoritative site. "In other words, images placed on your strong/authoritative pages should have a better shot at being found in image search," McGee says. "Something to keep in mind if you rely on traffic from image search." - Read the whole story...

NPR, News And Search Musings
Rimm-Kaufman Group
Alan Rimm-Kaufman digs into some topics discussed on NPR during his morning commute, including Google's launch of Chrome, the Feds' Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout and the United Airlines bankruptcy debacle; managing to tease out the search marketing insights gleaned from each one.

The pros, cons and advertising angles of Chrome have been hashed and rehashed, so we'll get right to the Fannie/Freddie bailout. Though the mortgage giants' bank accounts have been secured, 30-year mortgage rates plummeted. "What's the paid search angle?" he says. "For PPC advertisers, the conversion value of traffic on terms like 30 year mortgage likely just changed significantly, and it did so extremely quickly."

Rimm-Kaufman says that this highlights the need to have a human oversee any automated bid management system, since the programs have likely been crafted on algorithms that don't respond to such dramatic marketplace changes. As for UAL, the fact that the airline's stock tanked on recycled bankruptcy news is one more example of the "terrifying speed of the web, and the implied authority conferred by [the] top spot on a Google SERP," he says. - Read the whole story...

Lookup Page: Manage Your Personal Brand On The SERPs
Big Oak SEO
Lookup Page is the latest online reputation management tool, and it's free and simple to use. Once you sign up for the service, enter some personal and professional info (complete with followed links) and hit save, the platform publishes your personal Web page and--in the best-case scenario--gets it to the top of the SERPs.

Udi Drezner reviews Lookup Page, noting that the company isn't trying to be a social network like LinkedIn. Instead, the service aims strictly to get users prime placement for their names on Google. Drezner says that a person's Lookup Page can dominate the SERPs for a number of reasons, including the fact that it contains highly relevant and up-to-date info and is built on a free-standing personal domain (i.e.

Drezner also says that the page is "optimized for name search" and uses "smart link building," though a further review of Lookup Page's SEO strategies may have yielded more specifics. - Read the whole story...

Search Insider - Around the Net for Friday, September 12, 2008


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