Friday, August 22, 2008

Great Blogs Complement SEO Efforts - Summary of Lee Odden Talk at SES

Most businesses don't realize the value of blogs when it comes to SEO. But - they want to.

"SEO and blogs equal success" Lee Odden told the packed audience at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose Wednesday. "Blogs with great content, that are optimized and promoted, create overwhelming competitive advantages."

By way of case studies, Lee made a strong case for why blogs are an indispensable and valuable tool for business and should be treated with great care and much forethought.

Currently, Technorati tracks over 112 million blogs. According to Lee, of those blogs, 100 million have less than 20 inbound links, 400,000 have more than 20 links, and the top 2,600 have over 1,000 inbound links.

"Think about that," he points out, "to sit within the top 1 per cent of blogs, one thing you'll need to do is get 1,000 links."

Assuming the blog contains quality content, this is achievable. While it may take businesses a little longer to do it themselves, this number of links is attainable by proficient search marketers--easily and within a reasonable time frame.

Take a look at the case studies, and let the numbers speak for themselves.

Case Study 1: Senior housing development company

Strategy
- Create an informal communications platform to present issues important to its target market.
Tactics
- Launch optimized blog and promote unique content via blogger relations, article promotions.
SEO Results
  • Blog top 5 source referring traffic to corporate site
  • Monthly Web site visitors doubled
  • Top 30 SERPs increased from 2 to 20
  • Unique visitors increased 500%.

Case Study 2: Online book/games retailer:

Strategy
- Stimulate online community and book sales by offering brain teasers, puzzles and learning games.
Tactics
- Create SEO'd blog, communities on Facebook, Twitter and promotions on Flickr and StumbleUpon, etc.
SEO Results
  • Unique keywords referring traffic Jul 07: 9,874 Jul 08: 18,809
  • Monthly unique visitors Jul 07: 31,820 Jul 08: 159,138
  • Monthly Page views Jul 07: 77,287 Jul 08: 406,455

Case Study 3: Top Rank Blog

Strategy
- Increase thought leadership, industry visibility, media coverage and lead generation.
Tactics
- Publish a regular schedule of unique content: industry and SEM agency insights, interviews, conference coverage, surveys, blog reviews and blog tools, photos and video.
Results
For 07/01 -07/31 (worst month in 2008):
  • Search: 26,980 visits via 12,653 keywords 95,668 page views
  • Ranking: "online marketing"#2
  • Ranking: "blog optimization"#2, 3
  • Average 4 advertising inquiries/week
  • Average 1 media inquiry/week
  • 4-5 business inquiries/week

Summary

Lee ended his presentation with five takeaways:

1. Goals drive content
2. Automate SEO as much as possible
3. Socialize
4. Measure
5. Refine and repeat

Visit Lee's blog for a more detailed post on SEO for blogs.

Other speakers at this session included (Chris Boggs, Daron Babin and Amanda Watlingon).

Written by: Lid Davis web strategy manager at large for WebMama.com Inc.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 1:34 PM     Permanent Link

Thursday, August 21, 2008

SES Advanced B2B Session Wrap Up

Chock full of pain killers and boiling hot I was still able to provide some useful information about working with an Enterprise Sales Force with search marketing leads; convincing or forcing them to look at the leads as highly valuable. [Barbara Coll, WebMama.com, Advanced B2B Presentation, SES San Jose]

I did add something to the discussion that I think could be a talk into itself: How to manage the distribution of search engine marketing funds and keywords between low-end, low-cost products that are available to purchase directly in an online store and the enterprise product sales. There is no doubt in my mind (and in most of my client's) that in the long run the enterprise products make a company more money. The lifetime value of those customers is much higher and the average selling price huge. The difference could be between an open source free product and a $10000 site license. But the low-end product sale is instantly measurable and provides a compelling case backed up with lots of data. Not an easy thing to do with enterprise sales with direct sales reps involved. In my opinion the company needs to do both of these things:
  1. Look at the lifetime value of the customer;
  2. Do a ton of up selling online and in vigourous follow-up.
There is often a battle between low-end and high-end and it needs to be resolved strategically at the business strategy and sales level - not at the marketing programs level. Keep in mind that this applies to paid search activities and search engine optimization. There needs to be a choice as to which pages are truly the ones that 'should' show up when a searcher types in one of the high converting words for the company.

The SES conference was busy and all the great speakers were there. Sorry I couldn't spend more time but healing from foot surgery is a long process. I even missed the Google Dance for the first time since its inception; my 2001 t-shirt wasn't even taken out of the back of the closest. One comment to the organizers - the rooms were far too big. We had approximately 100 people in the Advanced B2B session and it felt like 10 as they were so spread out across the 300 seats.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 7:23 AM     Permanent Link