#SESTO 2012 Day 1 – Marija

Yesterday was the first day of another fantastic year at SES Toronto!  It was a great experience being surrounded by so many Search Engine Strategy experts – I have learned so much and I’m so excited to share all the information!

Below I have highlighted some of the most important points from yesterday’s sessions:

Introduction to Search Engine Marketing

The first session I attended was presented by Matthew Bailey who is the president of Site Logic Marketing and is also on the SES Advisory Board.

-       Motivations and intentions are given to you based on the visitors search

-       Three ways people search:

  • Artillery – someone who gets a phone call from their doctor and searches the diagnosis he/she was given – ranking doesn’t matter but the content does
  • shotgun – concept of something they need and search it immediately, this search leads to more search engines – if we are going to Disney land we have to figure out where we are staying, where we are going to eat, what we are going to do etc. – looking for lots of related information on your page to keep them engaged and moving through the process of finding answers for their questions
  • sharpshooter – east patient people because they already did the research and know exactly what they are looking for, most likely to hit the back button if you don’t provide the information right away

-       Decision making cycle: interest – gather – research – exclude – commit

-       Keyworddiscovery.com – shows you all the types of searches with the specific keyword you search

-       “The long tail” – bigger is not always better. The #1 search term is going to give you 20% of your business and the rest of the keyword variations are going to bring you 80% of conversions due to the amount of competition of keywords

-       Construction and phrase of a word is more important than the actual keyword, it’s also important to have a pattern – example of using a pattern is a suffix and prefix of your keyword. Example: family vacation suffix will have destinations while the prefix will have types of vacations, prices etc. Plural gets you more traffic but fewer sales

-       Traffic can go down because searchers stop searching – for that you should try Google Insights, it gives you a comparison of keywords on a time graph.  This tool will also show you how important singular and plural is and how much of a difference it can make in your searches

-       The page title is the most critical important aspect of your site – it displays in the search engine results so this is the most persuasive way you can bring searchers to your page.  The meta description is also very important because the search engine takes a snippet of your meta description in the search results

-       Every single page title for every single search engine is limited to 65 characters to persuade the searcher to click on your site

-       The structure of your page is vitally important because of scan-ability – 79% of users scan a web page.  Scan-ability includes:

  • headlines
  • sub-headings
  • bulleted lists
  • bolds
  • hyperlinks
  • big buttons such as subscribe
  • Best example is a newspaper; they have been targeting readers for decades by using headlines.

-       Typography, layout, font size and the color scheme – are the four key elements to credibility of a website

-       Alt attribute; if an image does not load on your page the alt attribute of your image will notify search engines what it is!  This means that your picture can also rank for that specific search

-       http://bit.ly/mb-linkdex – this will help manage your site in context, it will teach you how to evaluate your rankings, compare to your competitors, which links your competitors have that you don’t etc.

-       Rankings are not a measure of success – three vital questions to answer with your analytical data:  What did the visitors what?, what did they see?, what did they do?

-       It depends if you send your visitors to your homepage or the product page based on a certain set of keywords, it can change the conversion rate

-       Google Analytics can help you differentiate between a rank and a valued visitor

-       “Long tail” keywords are usually worth more than the keyword itself

Social Media 101

Judith Lewis, Head of Search, Beyond presented the second session I attended on the first day of #SESTO.

-       Twitter can create more buzz through social media in comparison to Facebook

-       There are seven types of social sharers:

  • altruists (share to help)
  • selectives (relates to a friend)
  • passionates (has an interest)
  • connectors (share to make friends)
  • trend –potters (share because they are always on top of everything that’s new)
  • provocateurs (they want a reaction)
  • careerists (share for their business)

-       People communicating with the brand through social media are more likely to make the purchase

-       It is recommended that despite of so many social media outlets to only open accounts, which you will be active on, if you are not going to be completely committed and active it looks worse for your company

-       Image sharing through social media is a great way to engage with a specific community and also end up in image search results

-       54% of Facebook users have less than 100 friends

-       11% of people occasionally tweet about a product

-       Twitter: research tool, promotion, dialogue, first line of defense for customer service

-       Social Media Top 10 Tips:

  • Define your outcomes
  • Find your voice
  • Be interesting
  • Give back
  • Timing is everything
  • Be personal
  • Balance
  • Engage
  • Promote
  • Offer added value

-       31% of people are prompted to make a purchase after communicating on social media

-       Klout is used as a rough assessment of your influence through social media

-       Don’t buy followers because you can see a downfall in the future with your followers.  It’s more important to keep followers engaged instead of having a larger amount of followers.(Quality vs. quantity)

-       Relauthor.com has a huge importance on Google+ and blogging

Spy vs. Spy: Competitive Analysis

The third session I attended was presented by Matt Van Wagner, President of Find Me Faster and Jim Yu, Founder & CEO of BrightEdge.

-       Your search competitors are very different from your industry competitors.  It’s important to identify your search competitors and how often do they come up in search results

-       Going through your competitors page is a great way to figure out their page descriptions and meta tags, that way you can understand what they are trying to rank for and eventually map out your own ranking factors

-       Once you know what your competitors are doing you can predict what they are going to do and do it faster and better than them!

-       How to use competitive analysis:

  • 1. Benchmarking
  • 2. Forecasting
  • 3. Forensics

-       You can study your competitors by their text ads, display ads, landing pages, tracking & analytics and the scheduling habits.

-       Learning from ads: How many ads are they running? How many different message/offers? Are they using best practices? Are they testing ads now? How often do they present new ads?

-       Learning from competitor’s websites: How many different URLs are they using? Are they testing landing page variations/offers? How frequently do they update landing pages?

-       Forensic Intelligence:

  • Ad double serving
  • Illegal trademark use in ads
  • Not playing by rules
  • Quality score sniffing (your competitor may send a site to bring you lots of traffic so they can measure the metrics through the site)
  • Duplicating your content

-       Tools and resources:

  • DomainTools.com
  • Link analysis tool

-       Other tools:

  • Search on your competitors URL and terms
  • Keep an eye on your competitors Twitter
  • Conference presentations

-       Interesting things to discover for free:

  • Competitors preparing a whole new site (link analysis)
  • Profitability on paid search (press release)

-       Don’t obsess too much on competitors – worry more about bettering yourself!

-       Competitor Tools and Resources:

  • AdGooroo,
  • MixRank
  • SEMRush
  • SpyFu
  • Keyword Competitor
  • Compete
  • Search Metrics

Content Marketing Optimization

The last session of #SESTO was presented by Krista LaRiviere, CoFounder & CEO of gShift Labs, Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board and CEO of TopRank Online Marketing and Jennifer Slegg, CEO of JenSense

-       Content Marketing is the newest and oldest form of marketing; it is definitely becoming a cornerstone of all marketing techniques

-       Content marketing + SEO + Social media = optimized content marketing

-       Panda updates shows the importance of optimized content

-       Hierarchy of Web Presence Optimization

  • SEO Fundamentals are always at the bottom of the hierarchy and the foundation of your website

-       Pinterest is the third top social media currently used, after Facebook and Twitter.  There are now 91% of new users, which gives a huge opportunity for companies to take advantage of this

-       Repurpose your content, because you never know when you will get extra credit for it.  If you don’t have ideas you can always see what your competitors are doing or here are a few examples:

  • Twitter tips
  • Videos
  • Make an infographic

-       Who gets to decide what is “great” content? You should differentiate your best and worst customers before you can provide valuable “great” content for your customers

-       PR, Social and search is used across the customer lifecycle

-       Make a Content Marketing Plan:

  • Who is your customer good/bad?
  • What do they care about?
  • What stories will connect you?
  • Make it easy to find and share

-       Make sure all of your content is connected; it’s good to repeat types of postings you do such as a survey or an interview, don’t do it only once but constantly rotate your posting patterns

That’s all for day 1 at #SESTO, looking forward to another great day – stay tuned for more key points from the SES experts!

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