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Friday
Mar052010

99 takeaways and top tips from SES London 2010

The Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in London was once again a great success and I've collected no less than 99 tips, ideas, statistics and memorable quotes from various speakers, panelists and a man in the bar.

These top takeaways are mostly from the sessions I attended myself but I’ve also drawn from others’ blog posts and give credit below where that is the case.

Improving Conversion Rates

1) Test absolutely everything, including page copy, images (do some convert better than others?) and navigation (do different sized or colored buttons convert better?)
Jamie Smith via Targetstone

2) Don’t test everything. Conducting tests has an opportunity cost. Use a process to create what’s most likely to respond. Then test.
Bryan Eisenberg

3) Establish trust by adding testimonials, awards and security images in prominent positions.
Jamie Smith via Targetstone

4) Build a relationship and engage with your customers and don’t just try to make the hard sell.
Bryan Eisenberg

5) Your website sucks because average conversion rate is 3% but some sites convert at 10% or higher.
Bryan Eisenberg

6) Make your UVP (unique value propositions) and UCP (unique campaign proposition) clear. Easyjet’s 'Europe's leading low cost travel website' is a UVP. 'Free delivery' is a UCP (and a good one, as it happens).
Bryan Eisenberg

7) 'Free delivery' can double response.
Bryan Eisenberg

8) Make your offer (UCP) clear everywhere on the site, including (especially) on the checkout page.
Bryan Eisenberg

9) ‘Scent’ is the concept of consistent message, look, feel, images and logos as a user passes through your site. Maintain scent from off-site promotion through landing pages, pages linked to from landing pages to buying page. Don’t let your BPU – Business Prevention Unit (i.e. your techies) – spoil scent.
Bryan Eisenberg

10) First impressions count and you have 8 seconds to make a good one to a new visitor.
Bryan Eisenberg

11) Use User Generated Content (UGC) to increase conversion. Figleaves.com increased conversion by 35% with user reviews and ratings.
Bryan Eisenberg

12) Let users search by ‘most reviewed’ and ‘highest rated’. This can increase response by over 20%.
Bryan Eisenberg

13) Use persuasion principles such as scarcity e.g. ‘Offer Ends Soon’.
Bryan Eisenberg

14) Provide point-of-action assurances e.g. ‘Guaranteed response within 1 hour!’
Bryan Eisenberg

15) Appeal to these four personality types: Spontaneous, Methodical, Competitive, Humanistic.
Bryan Eisenberg

16) Use UGC in promotions, e.g. in emails. Good for SEO too.
Bryan Eisenberg

17) A new lead loses its effectiveness by six times for every hour that passes. So once you have their details, make your best offer to new leads immediately with the page you send them to.
Bryan Eisenberg

18) Get cheap and quick user testing at usertesting.com
Bryan Eisenberg

19) For images, place your products in a scene. Like a dinner set on a table in a room and not just a dinner set with a white background.
Bryan Eisenberg

For a great example, check out IKEA.

20) On checkout, show pictures of the products being bought.
Bryan Eisenberg

21) Do not make buyers register before buying. Let them do it afterwards.
Bryan Eisenberg

22) Let users see their shopping cart in a pop-up so they don’t leave the page.
Bryan Eisenberg

23) Prioritize by resources (cost) and impact (return).
Bryan Eisenberg

24) Learn to execute rapidly. E.g. two hours after Michael Jackson’s death, Amazon had revamped their MP3 site. Many competitors took a week.
Bryan Eisenberg

25) Three words from Bryan made Dell over $25 million. “Learn more” was changed to “Help me choose”.
Bryan Eisenberg

26) Navigation is paramount. Big menus with lots of categories in dropdowns reduce the number of clicks needed to find what’s wanted. Less clicks means more conversions.
David Fairhurst

Analytics

27) Anyone who doesn’t feel frustrated that they’re not doing well enough is not doing their job properly.
Avinash Kaushik

28) Advanced web metrics is about doing the basics well and applying it in a clever way.
Avinash Kaushik

29) Break down data to discover hidden patterns and trends. New ‘custom filters’ on Google Analytics are an excellent way to reveal useful findings.
Avinash Kaushik

30) Data analysis should always be the starting point for building an overall SEO strategy as well as individual tactics.
Avinash Kaushik

31) The Keyword Tree from Juice Analytics turns your Google Analytics keyword reports into a visual ‘tree’ that shows relationships between keywords. See image below from Avinash’s presentation.
Avinash Kaushik

32) Go beyond conversion to show the economic value of actions taken on your site. E.g. what is a collected email address worth? Measure ‘macro conversions’ (big things like sales) and micro conversions (smaller actions like ad clicks, report downloads, photo uploads). In your analytics packages, attach these values to tracked goals and report their worth not just numbers. Revenue = Good. Economic Value = God!
Avinash Kaushik

33) Go beyond the top 10 rows of your analytics reports. But use tools to filter the thousands of rows of data. E.g. find your highest converting keywords.
Avinash Kaushik

34) Look at the size of the long tail of keywords in search. E.g. Avinash’s own small blog has a long tail of over 20,000 keywords used to reach his site. Traffic and conversions from the tail should dominate that from your few most popular keywords.
Avinash Kaushik

The image below, taken from a Google Analytics report shows what Avinash means (he showed a similar image from his own site). It takes 43,000 different keywords to get 92,000 visits.

long-tail-keywords-report

35) Focus on the long tail keywords and not just the big phrases. Remember long tail visitors often convert better because they’re searching for something more specific.
Avinash Kaushik

36) Be thoughtful, be skeptical, be objective.
Avinash Kaushik

Link Building

37) When assessing a link prospect, look at the quality of the site’s own links. Avoid those using black-hat techniques to get their own links. Google’s trust in your site is affected not just by quality of the sites that link to you but also by the sites that link to them.
Jim Boykin via State of Search

38) Use tools like Majestic, Yahoo and Linkscape to find the sites linking to your competitors and try to replicate those links for your own site.
Jim Boykin via State of Search

39) Online press releases offer value but the power of each link is reduced because they are all coming from pages with duplicate content.
Jim Boykin via State of Search

40) Assess authoritative websites (such as those ending in .gov and .edu) to see the kind of places they link to. This will help you develop your own ideas for content that attracts links from reputable sources.
Jim Boykin via State of Search

41) A link from a blog post will often increase your site’s rankings initially, but the power will then fall away as the post drops off the homepage of the blog, so expect a drop in rankings.
Jim Boykin via State of Search

42) Great content attracts great links.
Dan Cohen via State of Search

Social Media

43) The first step of a social media campaign should be to determine the goal or objective. What do you want to achieve? Brand awareness? Traffic generation? Link generation? Conversions?
Lisa Myers

44) The key to successful participation in social media is to listen first, sell later.
Lisa Myers

45) Social networks provide an immediate audience and you don’t have to wait for search engines to find your content.
Lisa Myers

46) #hashtags are great for sharing your Tweets with a wide, targeted audience.
Lisa Myers

47) IM (Instant Messenger) is a social media tool, as is email.
Mel Carson

48) Blogging is increasingly taking a backseat to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which offer greater opportunities for interacting with followers.
Rand Fishkin

49) Gauging the success of a Twitter campaign by the number of ‘retweets’ you’ve received is foolish. Just because something is retweeted, doesn’t mean the message is consumed.
Jim Sterne

See Chris Turberville-Tully's post on Jim Sterne's SES presentation.

50) Twitter is a cheap, effective method for handling customer service requests.
Mike Lewis via Targetstone

51) Twitter is excellent for building customer relationships and securing repeat business.
Mike Lewis via Targetstone

52) Handled incorrectly, Twitter can cause serious damage to a brand’s reputation (such as the Vodafone example).
Mike Lewis via Targetstone

53) Twitter is great for finding and attracting new business leads.
Mike Lewis via Targetstone

54) Don’t just create accounts on social networks, integrate Facebook and Twitter with your own site by using tools such as 'Facebook Connect' and Tweetmeme.
Lisa Myers

SEO v PPC

55) PPC is something you can control. SEO is something you can affect.
Matt Bailey

56) SEO is becoming more popular and will eventually overtake PPC and become the primary method of online marketing.
Rand Fishkin

57) SEO is risky and there’s always a chance you can get banned or suffer a significant drop in your rankings. The same risks do not apply to PPC.
Paul Mead

58) PPC is useful for testing e.g. the popularity of certain keywords, the conversion rates of certain keywords, etc.
Rand Fishkin

59) The cost of PPC is rising and Google in particular is inflating prices.
Dave Naylor

60) PPC is better for new domains as it guarantees immediate visibility.
Brian Lewis

61) Whichever is most cost-effective there’s certainly a place for both PPC and SEO.
Dave Naylor

International Search

62) Having a domain such as .co.uk or .fr will give you an advantage in those particular regions but isn’t the only significant factor in determining your ranking.
Peter van der Graaf

63) Links from 'local sources' will allow you to rank in any country, even if you don’t have a regional domain.
Peter van der Graaf

64) One way to get 'local links' without needing to know the language is to find local directories to submit to.
Peter van der Graaf

65) Content is king. Ensure all content is translated properly and reads just as well in every language. Don’t just use Google Translate!
Bill Hunt

66) Just because you’re getting traffic from a specific area, doesn’t necessarily mean you should move into that market.
Andy Atkins-Kruger

67) Be wary of duplicate content in same language but different country sites, e.g. US and UK.
Crispin Sheridan

68) Meta descriptions should be tailored to the market (country and language) they’re appearing in.
Bill Hunt

Mobile

69) Applications from the iTunes store are beginning to rank in Google’s results.
No original source but comes via Tug Search

70) In 2009, 240 million web-enabled phones were shipped and only 200 Million laptops.
Tug Search

71) A major shift of ad spend from fixed to mobile platforms is expected by Google. Are you ready for that?
Ken McGaffin

SEO

72) Google reportedly makes over 400 changes to their algorithm each year.
Maile Ohye

73) Don’t even try to keep up with 400 changes.

74) Quality content is the most important thing for SEO.
Maile Ohye and Dan Cohen

75) Don’t just link down your (flat) site hierarchy, also link across it to related pages. This avoids link power getting siloed inside your site structure, e.g. continent > country > region > town.
Richard Baxter

Richard explores this idea in his blog post Solving Site Architecture Issues.

76) I think this article works well with Richard’s point: Are your Superman Pages trapped in a basement full of kryptonite?.

77) Google likes SEOs. The new ‘server response time’ algo factor and feature in Webmaster Tools came from feedback at SES London last year.
Maile Ohye

PPC

78) Use the Google Search Query Tool to see the exact keyword search your ad appeared for rather than the keyword in your account that it broad matched you to. How did they respond? If well, consider adding the keyword as exact match. If bad, consider for new negative keyword. This will increase reach but will also drive lower CPCs.
Jon Myers

79) 20% of all search queries each day are new in a 90-day period. You can’t reach these searchers with exact match as you can’t second guess. Broad match accounts for one third of worldwide clicks and conversions. Successful Broad match bids need accompanying negative keywords (find them with the Query Tool).
Jon Myers

80) Use AdWords local search placements to target local searches. Simple!
Jon Myers

81) Use Sales (conversion) figures and CPA (cost per acquisition) to optimize AdWords. Not just CTR (clickthrough rate). Good CTR does not mean good conversion to sale.
Jon Myers

82) Schedule your ads for the days and times that respond. E.g. do your response rates change at the weekend? At night? Friday evening? Lunch times?
Jon Myers

Email marketing

83) Drop your fear and self-loathing about sending emails. Those on your list chose to receive your emails and they can opt-out if they don’t like them. Trust your audience – they know you are not spam.
Dela Quist

84) When scanning our inbox, we are using our highest cognitive abilities to quickly choose between spam and wanted emails. Those on your list will know you are not spam. Also, your email may not have been opened but it was seen. (See 86 and 87 below.)
Dela Quist

85) Everyone can send one more email a month and response will increase.
Dela Quist

86) Email response is seen in more than open rates and clickthroughs. You’ll see it in brand searches, PPC clicks, later response when users are on your site. Even unopened emails can sell. It’s the ‘nudge effect’ – influencing behavior without specific instructions.
Dela Quist

87) Use your brand and a message in your email’s from and subject line.
Dela Quist

88) Research: long subject lines – less opens, more response; short – more opens, less response. You’re going to have to do your own tests for your list.
Dela Quist

89) Before segmentation, the pot (your list) is big. After segmentation it is small. Do the math: response = numbers x response rate. Response is more important than response rate.
Dela Quist

90) Beware of some much-quoted research on segmentation. One Forrester report showing increased response (from increased response rates) as mailings were segmented assumed that segmented lists were the same size as the original non-segmented. In practice this doesn’t happen.
Dela Quist

Google news

91) Google’s universal results might show news, local, product, music, images, videos and now real-time results on the first page. There’s often not much room left for a standard listing. Each type of listing has its own algo.
Brent D. Payne

92) When assessing your site, Google considers hundreds of factors that can be grouped into Popularity, Authority and Relevance.
Brent D. Payne

93) For news sites, the following become more important than on other sites: social media buzz, clickthrough rates, link structure, freshness, content expertise, authority, newsrank, local coverage, domain mentions.
Brent D. Payne

94) Google has slowed down the speed with which ranking factors are transferred with a 301 redirect.
Brent D. Payne

This doesn’t always happen as, for example, we’ve recently done 301 redirects for large sites and had an instant transfer of ranking factors.

95) Canonical tag is working well when on-page factors like title tag and h-tags match.
Brent D. Payne

96) Google follows nofollow links if they are on any of the following: 1. powerful social media profiles; 2. heavily retweeted tweets about topical subjects; 3. high PageRank sites with topical and high-volume (on the day) search queries in the link.
Brent D. Payne

97) Keep your first paragraph close to your h1 tag. Don’t break up code within that paragraph with other HTML. All pages must have at least a paragraph of text.
Brent D. Payne

98) Social and search are merging. For example, see Google’s social circle search which searches your personal social network.
Brent D. Payne

Quote of the show

99) Despite competition from expert communicators like Bryan Eisenberg, Avinash, Dela and Brent, my quote of SES London goes to Lisa Myers who, looking for volunteers, asked: "I'm sure I can find a PR Horny SEO".

Addendum: Even more takeaways

100) (On job sites) Allow your job search results pages to index, but only to the point where you have a min of 5 jobs per category.
Allan Stewart

101) Load 150 items into site search results pages but use CSS/Java Script to cater for pagination and number of items the user sees. This is fast for users as they only load the page once and great for getting vacancies indexed.
Allan Stewart

102) Add current and relevant microformats to your build markup to inprove CTR in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Allan Stewart

Source:http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/ses-london-takeaways - Mike Nunney

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Reader Comments (1)

Google Adwords propose Ad Innovations dans six nouveaux pays

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April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStéphane

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