Note from Ann: SMX Advanced 2010 London was quite some time ago but I found this article an awesome report – especially useful for those who couldn’t make it to the event. Enjoy!
Since 2007 London has already hosted three SMX conferences of general level, and perhaps, organizers thought the audience had at last got ready for more serious event – Search Marketing Expo Advanced conference, and we want to bring a report about this event to your notice.
- SEO Ranking Factors In 2010
- Amazing New PPC Tactics
- Link building outside of The Box
- Keyword Research: Beyond The Ordinary
This time event took part at comfy halls of Grand Connaught Rooms, not far from Kingsway (Soho district).
The organizers have divided all the reports into two streams: Advanced Organic Track (search engine optimization) and Advanced Paid Search Track (PPC management) on the first day, and Social Media Track (social networks marketing) and Analytics & Conversion Track (web analytics and conversion) on the second day.
Of all famous personals and companies, whose reports were presented during the event, we consider necessary to mark out Rand Fishkin (SEOMoz), Dixon Jones (Majestic SEO), Rob Shepherd ( Ask Jeeves), Barry Lloyd (Unica), Tom Jones (iCrossing), guests from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook, comScore, 97floor and others.
Before the beginning of the conference, during salutatory coffee, a master-class from Andrew Davis (Utalk Marketing, former Myspace) took place in a specially equipped place in the main hall. Master-class was named “Using analytical techniques to improve your ROI”, and its subject was using instruments of analysis in order to increase conversion.
During his master-class Andrew shared several interesting ideas about processing data in MS Excel, particularly he demonstrated abilities of Pivot Tables in Excel 2007 for quick report building.
One of interesting and quickly implementable ideas is using “Concatenate” function in Excel (i.e. =E3&”?utm_source=”&B3&”&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=”&C3&”-”&D3) for quick automated campaigns marking in PPC systems to track them in Google Analytics up to keywords level.
As a result, it’s possible to quickly mark huge number of links for PPC and to see conversions up to a keywords level.
Besides, Andy told a little about statistical accuracies calculation. In many niches it’s difficult to gather number of conversions needed to conclude believability of gathered data.
In this case you may divide queries by semantic attribute and analyze these groups of queries separately.
SEO Ranking Factors In 2010
After greetings, the participants have dispersed to their sections; the majority took their steps to SEO Ranking Factors In 2010 section. Rand Fishkin (SEOMoz) was the first man to speak.
Some interesting moments from Rand’s report:
During their development, search engines have evolved to more detailed link accounting, as the user differently perceives different types of hyperlinks (footer/header/content/menu/sidebar/images…).
Recommendation: the best are links inside main content. Exactly they are mostly needed.
Also, Rand expressed his confidence in a fact that “Twitter matters” – in other words, undulating increase of twits mentioning one or another page/subject, finds its reflection on search engine result pages.
It’s quite possible that brand names mentioned in twits are accounted like hyperlinks.
Besides, Rand demonstrated evidence about correlation between keyword’s position in Title meta tag and its influence on rankings for this keyword.
Tags H1-H4 are rather inessential for ranking.
Other page factors – keyword presence in ALT tag is also more essential than its presence in the text, but anyway it is not so important.
Also, to get texts that will completely match your target queries, Rand recommends using search engines’ data about semantic relations, for example, Google Wonder Wheel.
Generally, it was very, very meaty report.
After Rand there was a report by Rob Carrey (Ayima, Australia).
One of interesting moments in Robs report was a statement, according to which 301 redirect doesn’t actually bring link weight to another domain, but it does, if redirected is within the same domain.
And here are several recommendations from Rob on how to reduce risks when moving the site to another domain:
Besides, a couple of words were said about recent update in Google’s algorithm, primarily affecting large projects. Generally, their ranking lowered, and currently it’s not so easy to rank well with just a strong and trustful domain and optimized categories pages.
The report by Michael Svendsen (deMib) didn’t deliver any useful information, so we’ll not talk about it at all.
Quite an interesting fact is that 5 of 6 stands in couloirs were dedicated to analytics instruments, which can help marketing experts to understand projects dynamics better. Thus, your humble servant had a talk with the representatives of interesting instrument, AnalyticsSEO, which integrates data about traffic, rankings, Google AdWords into a single system.
Off topic. Talking about such conferences organization, I’d like to mention that in fact, organizational component of current event was not the way too ideal. A thing I can put as a proof to my words is queue for food during the break :-).
Amazing New PPC Tactics
After the break we are moving to Advanced paid Search Track stream, and to the section with promising name – Amazing New PPC Tactics.
The first man on the microphone was Craig Danuloff (ClickEquations). His report was fully concentrated on questions of correspondence between keywords used in PPC accounts and real user queries. Experienced advertisers will probably agree that the main attribute of successful PPC campaign is presence of a big number of narrowly targeted advertisement groups, which exactly match users’ correspondent requests, and ideally presence of corresponding landing pages as well.
Sharp criticism was received by campaigns, which have keywords like “dog foods” in broad match, which brings ads impressions by totally different queries (“puppy food”, “vegetables for dogs”, “best food for labs” etc.).
The advantages of this approach are concisely described on the following slide:
You can see comparison of different types of keywords correspondence (according to Craig) on the following slide:
Is anyone here who still wants to play with “carefree automated PPC”? :-)
The next important issue Craig has mentioned about is isolation of keywords including brand names in the reports and campaigns. This is important for more in-detail ads setting and better general understanding of conversion, because brand queries always have higher conversion rate. This can disorient when analyzing traffic in general.
Another example Craig showed is the following scheme of PPC campaigns containing brand name.
Besides, the reporter didn’t forget to mention an example of excellent Google AdWords report, which allows quick understanding of “what we are missing” – it’s Impression Share Report. It allows extracting words with the highest conversion level and observing the percent of impressions covered by current ad, and, if expedient, raising the stakes for the keywords which bring a little traffic not because there’s no traffic there at all, but because of the ad’s low quality/low stake parameter. Accordingly, it becomes transparent where to earn more!
Notorious Quality Score has not been neglected either. We all know that its increasing means spending decrease, but there are few who thought – how much? Craig brings a table “for lazybones”:
In a word, excellent report!
The next reporter was Jonathan Beeston from Efficient Frontier. The report illustrated rather evident things – importance of work automation, importance of using product feeds, i.e. automation of ads texts and other rather common things.
Some interesting details from his report – Jonathan once again touched upon a question about campaigns splitting, and particularly showed some examples of segments, on which basis user queries could be divided.
E.g., for automobile niche they are: manufacturer/make of vehicle (Ford, Toyota), models (Escort, Astra), usage (used/new); by customers’ intention – transaction (dealer, auction…), finances (loan, lease, buy…), price (cheap, valuation, part-ex) and so on.
The result of this total splitting was quite curious overall structure of PPC campaigns:
6 keywords in one adgroup! And how many queries are in your adgroups? ;)
After Jonathan’s report, Vic Drabicky, Range Online Media, occupied the microphone.
He put an accent onto growing role of mobile devices and showed evidence to the fact that conversion of mobile users in UK significantly differs from the rest!
Also, Vic once again appealed to deny Broad Match, at least in favor of Advanced Match (I remind you that such keyword format as “+dog +food” is an AdWords directive, that user’s request must surely contain both words – dog, food). Simple moving from Broad to Advanced with other circumstances unchanged has brought twice as many conversions, while cost per click became half as much as before. As a result, income quadrupled!
I can neither tell anything bad about Tom Jones’s (iCrossing) speechification, but nor can I tell anything good :-). At least, after this report there were no new notes to appear in my notebook, and no new photos – in my camera.
Link building outside of The Box
After the break, we are going to visit a section with promising name “Link Building Outside Of the Box”, where we will probably be let in on magical secrets of getting unlimited number of free natural links from trustable resources.
First man on the microphone was Andrew Girdwood, bigmouthMedia and during 10 minutes narrated that the world of links has changed and fouled, and so on.
Dixon Jones, MajesticSEO, was the next man to report. Let me tell a couple of words in favour of excellent tool, MajesticSEO, which is a great alternative to similar tool from SEOMoz, and allows analyzing links to competitor sites in-depth. Like SEOMoz, MajesticSEO possesses its own robots scanning the web and storing information about backlinks to internal database.
Strictly speaking, Dixon’s report was a review of MajesticSEO capabilities. E.g., the reporter offered the following ways to get links by means of MajesticSEO:
- Exporting all found URLs, checking their status, and emailing to where this link had once been, but now the page returns code 302, 404 or another code different from 200.
- Analysis of links to the competitors’ sites which have appeared recently (MajesticSEO indicates time when the link has appeared for the first time).
The next reporter was SiteVisibility representative, Kelvin Newman. In his report he mentioned quite strange interesting methods of getting external links:
- Coming in personal contact with bloggers;
- Providing discounts for students in exchange for links;
- Writing positive materials about universities (the editors of university newsletters always seek for publications about their universities);
- Student parties sponsorship;
- Participating in inter-industry events as a guest guru (if you have a site about dressmaking, it can make sense to make a presentation about site promotion at a dressmaking conference – what if everyone will be intrigued – author’s note);
- Creating real/fake vacancies on all sorts of sites;
- To get links from government sites try to create… a community, government sites enjoy linking communities;
- Create the site of a charitable organization;
- Organize some kind of event;
- Launch some sort of campaign (“I love myself”, “I love sea urchins”, “Won’t let Google conquer the world” and so on);
In a word, plenty of opportunities, isn’t it?
The last in the section was John Straw (Econsultancy), unassumingly advertising his own tool almost similar to MajesticSEO.
Main talking points from the report:
- Google Webmaster shows not all links to the site;
- Main link builder’s purpose is to get the list of sites which can be in use in the future (in other words – a list of projects appropriate to be asked for a link);
- It’s much easier to get links in blogs;
- It’s not enough to specify the blogs, it’s also necessary to determine, which of them are naturally active (filter the spammers, who post dozens of posts per day);
- And all of it, by the way, is performed by InfluenceFinder tool (working with a demo version didn’t impress me at all).
Keyword Research: Beyond The Ordinary
The last section for I visited this day was Keyword Research: Beyond the Ordinary, dedicated to know-how in the field of keyword research.
Christine Churchill (KeyRelevance) was the first to report. As a person from mass media world, Christine offered a robust idea about a calendar of users’ interest bursts and prepublication of optimized content. In other words, it’s possible to create events calendar (e.g., St. Valentine’s Day, 8th of March, Mothers Day, Thanksgiving Day etc.), and publish content like “What phone to choose as a gift to my girl on 8th of March” or “Mother’s Day gifts” (simultaneously promoting it with links), in a short time before the event happens, according to this calendar.
Apart from this quite obvious idea, Christine told about something more exotic. Many mass media companies define user interest bursts to one or another niche.
Let’s say we have an online store. It’s possible to find and determine, that, for example, there will be users’ interest growth in such subjects as “Computer security” and “Telecommunications” in August. We always can determine it by means of authoritative editions like Editorial Calendar (it is published regularly for advertisement sales).
Well, it’s possible to get ready to it by early publishing of content like “7 software packages to make work in your local network safe”, or “Top 10 telephones with built-in Skype clients”.
There was nothing revolutionary in a report by Barry Lloyd (Unica), while Sam Crocker of Distilled LTD brought several interesting ideas about keyword list extension, e.g. if you promote video, you can get new keywords in a result of analyzing user tags to video clips on various video hostings:
And at last, the report by Andy Atkins-Krueger (WebCertain) was to end this quite stressful day. The reporter was rather picturesque:
However, the report itself was not. Again there were many trivial phrases about accounting regionality of search queries, using Google Insights, correspondent settings in Keyword Tool, and so on.
So, that was the first day of Search Marketing Expo Advanced conference, London.
To be continued!