Friday, February 01, 2008

What is the Second SEO Question?

When engaging with a new client that has contracted you for search engine marketing services, there are important questions to be asked right away. These questions are not necessarily about technology or products, or structure of websites. They certainly aren't about domain management, file naming, redirects, tools, pagerank (oh man don't get me started), content, linking, or even keywords at this point.

The first SEO question I proposed in a previous blog entry was 'What would the first page of search results look like if you could dictate them to Google?' This pulled information out of the client about their pain points and attempted to get them to talk about expectations no matter how much you are going to tell them rankings don't count in direct marketing later in the project process. [Notice I didn't ask about keywords again as this is a great opportunity to see what words they pick without being prompted.]

The second SEO question should be something like this: 'What do you want a searcher to do when they visit your website'. Now this may seem like an obvious question but is amazing how few can answer this succinctly, and this is critical for any search marketer to know. Is it lead gen, is it sales, is it getting them to tell their friends, is it to get them to review and comment? Answers to these questions lead to other questions about what are the success metrics for the SEO project, how do you measure ROI from search visitors (or do you measure), is this about direct marketing or awareness/brand marketing?

Stay tuned for my thoughts on the third question that should be asked.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 1:32 PM     Permanent Link

Sigh...One Less Search Advertising Opportunity

While everyone else is thinking about the benefits of having Yahoo's user base merged with MSN's, I just see it as one less media outlet for advertising. Maybe I should say one half less as I could envision the integration of Yahoo and MSN search distribution outlets create maybe one and one half (1 1/2) the reach that they do separately. In the pure search advertising world, no matter how low the traffic volume, we need more opportunities, not less.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 1:25 PM     Permanent Link

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reality Check - Social Media Advertising

I was lucky enough to moderate a panel on Social Media Advertising at the jam packed Web 2.0 Conference hosted by WebGuild Silicon Valley in Santa Clara today. The speakers were realistic and at the same time excited to talk about the opportunities for traffic generation (either through the social site or through organic search results that are an end-result of the social advertising activities) and online sales.

Cam Balzer - VP of Emerging Media for DoubleClick/Performics. Cam covered the traffic stats of sites like youtube and facebook. (Did you that 25% of Canadians have a Facebook profile? No jokes about being snowed in with nothing else to do please). He also talked about the targeting of specific people based on keywords, groups, applications of FaceBook; showing the ease of the user interface and encouraging all to try it.

Rajiv Parikh - CEO, Position2; a Search Engine Marketing company engaged in what was called 'viral' or 'buzz' marketing, now called social media advertising. He gave two excellent examples of video, facebook usage, myspace usage and article placement to help gain visibility and traffic for a site called EffinFunny. The work Position2 did for this client helped gain high rankings - above the competition - in organic search results.

Kent Lindstrom - CEO, Friendster. As one of the pioneers in social media Kent talked to the real reality of monetizing social media members. He felt that even with targeting groups or personality traits people on social networks are not there to buy. He feels the ad models are still evolving and it is worth a dabble but don't bank your company on social media advertising.

I talked about the breadth of social media sites and peer review sites that are worth at least joining or monitoring to see what how ads are being served up: Digg, Technorati, Linked In, Friendster, Facebook, etc. I mentioned the fact viral marketing (free submission of videos, articles, blog postings, etc) is extremely time consuming. Buying ads on sites such as Facebook currently has about 1/10th of the return of Google Adwords, less even than Google Adsense or other contextual networks. Still no clear answer to whether social media advertising will work for B2B companies.

It was a great session and I believe the audience walked away with lots to think about and some things to go to the office and play with. Thanks to WebGuild for a great conference.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 4:26 PM     Permanent Link