As I mentioned yesterday, we have just returned from theÂ recent SMX London search marketing conference. Below is our roundup of the best hints, tips and links that we picked up over the two days.
There are also some fantastic posts over at SEOptimise and Distilled that are well worth a read.
The State Of The Search Industry
The search industry must focus more on, analytics, holistic search and education for senior management. Cooperation between companies is required in order to grow the industry.
During the keynote, Brian Fetherstonhaugh from Ogilvy One pointed out that although search marketing is seen as the holy grail of marketing by the top 1000 CEOs, this still only occupies around a 1.5% mindshare. Search marketers should focus on how search can ad value to existing advertising mediums and can be sold as a research tool.
The US has a greater buy-in from senior management. This could be due to an increased understanding/awareness of the technology, or better and more organised education.
Integrated search is set to be a huge growth area, both in the form of integrated digital campaigns (SEO, PPC, Digital PR) and also increased synergy between online and offline PR.
32% are spending a minimum of Â£100,000 on paid search.
55% of companies predict an increase in SEO spending despite current economic conditions.
SEMPO research indicates a shift from paid search back into natural search.
SEO is increasingly being used for branding as well as direct response advertising being driven by an increase in local, video and news results visibility.
Keyword Research Tips And Advice
Download the Microsoft adCenter Excel Add-In for keyword research. This will help to quickly build keyword lists and give additional demographic information.
Don’t just use traditional tools for keyword research. Initial brainstorming with client sales teams is usually an untapped resource for potential keywords, as well as looking at internal site search queries.
The credit-crunch has altered search behaviour. Consumers are searching more, researching more but buying less.
There has been a 3-fold increase in informational and a fall in navigational search queries. Less brand searches, more price-led queries.
Optimise category pages for plural search keywords, product pages for the singular.
Use Google Trends to find and keep ahead of topical search terms in your industry.
Wordle is a great tool for finding which keywords a site/page has been optimised for.
Using a keyword site:domain.com query you can find the most important pages on your site for a specific keyword.
Mis-spellings can be targeted using a glossary or a ‘similar searches’ widget.
Before releasing online PR/link bait you must understand the reasons that people link to pages. If your content doesn’t encourage people to link in some way, then it isn’t linkbait.
A successful linkbait article has an average of 2.7 seconds to grab a bloggers attention. The solution to retaining this attention? A Great Headline. These great headlines should be continued into the subject of the text, and should also be continued into the headlines of whichever social media distribution channel you choose (Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon etc).
Websites Don’t Link to Websites- People link to other people’s work. To improve the response from your linkbait, look into the mindset of the blogger reading your piece- why would you link to it if it was your blog?
Discussion sparking content – Create content that can spark controversial discussions. Not everyone in your industry will always have the same view, and providing content that sparks such discussions allows readers to get involved in the discussion. Invite other bloggers to get involved in the conversation (subconsciously inviting the blogger to link to the discussion and make a comment on the discussion on their own blog).
Actively promote your own content. Build a directory of targets and inform them when you publish linkable content to increase the take-up rate.
Link your articles with current affairs, topical news stories, or hot topics in your industry to increase the chances of publication.
Link building is very much dependant on the kind of website you’re working on. Big brands can get away with a far lower link quality than smaller companies and brands.
Analise the current inbound links- Big brands should have a range of authoritive links, meaning less authoritive links with optimised anchor texts can help when optimising for a particular phrase.
Install ‘Links From Images’ Plugin on WordPress. People still hotlink images… why not provide them with the HTML code and include a link back to the page the image.
Where possible, remove all social media buttons (‘tweet this’ buttons etc) on linkbait articles- remove the option for visitors to share the content on other networks to encourage linking to the article instead.
Six degrees of seperation works online… target the bigger sites in the industry that the smaller bloggers will read to get links from both the bigger and smaller blogs (and scraper sites!)
Build a Promotion Network-
Research sites in the industry and see what they link to
Create an email list
Create the linkbait article
Social media promotion- this is mainly for show- the more powerful links will come from the bloggers you email directly
Send a personal email to the bloggers on your email list informing them of the post ahead of the buzz
Watch the links come in
Show gratification- thank the bloggers and show gratification (Tweet/Stumble/Digg their post in return)
Social media is now sending significant amounts of traffic to many sites, for the right industries/demographics it’s crazy to ignore it.
Utilising Facebook connect and the Twitter API is an excellent way of encouraging your visitors to interact on social sites and linking that interaction with your brand.
Use the RIOT principal – Relevant Interaction = Optimised Traffic – Massimo Burgio
Bear in mind the 4 P’s of social media – Passion, Proactively, Perseverance and Patience
Twitter may well become more important in the search engine world as it starts to index the content of links in tweets and starts to rank these.
There are several basic strategies for dealing with negative listings in the search results. 1) Legal action 2) Purchasing the offending site 3) Organic strategies to push other listing above it 4) Paid listings to argue your case/divert attention5) Hacking – not recommended!
Resort to legal action only if sure of your legal footing and as a last resort. It’s very easy for aggressive tactic to blow-up in your face.
Sometimes authority domains that have negative listings may also contain positive pages that can easily be used to replace the negatives.
Reputation management shouldn’t just be thought of in crisis situations. Effectively monitoring and managing online reputation before a crisis occurs can save time and money later.
Bear in mind that if people want to look hard enough for negative stories and articles, they will find them.
SEO is not a ‘free’ medium – everything has an ROI that should be measured.
When monitoring the performance/conversions of large groups of keywords, separate them out into groups for more manageable analysis – Top 10, Top 100, Top 1,000 and 1,000+
Brand engagement can easily be worked out using BE = #brand searches + #direct visits / #search visits + # direct visits
Another metric worth measuring is the % of pages yielding search traffic. Consider replacing or amending under-performing pages.
Use the 2nd page traffic filter to spot keywords sending you traffic from the second page of search results. Pushing these phrases onto the first page are your low-hanging fruit.
Use multi-touch tracking to find the initial referrer for a sale rather than the final one. Often a sale initially comes from a long tail search query, then possibly a branded search or PPC ad which then incorrectly gets the credit for the sale.
Get Known- build a brand, attend conferences, seminars and other industry engagements. Comment in forums and become a noticed resource.
Build a Platform- Speaking slots, interviews, trade shows. Announce your presence at these industry events ahead of time
Find industry news and get on it
Presentations/Write-Ups Currently Available Online