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Five Ways To Amp Up Holiday Shopping Season Results

Despite indications that the U.S. economy is starting to turn around, low consumer confidence will undoubtedly have an impact on retail sales this holiday season, making every consumer's online search, browsing and buying experience more critical than ever. The challenge for online retailers is not only to get shoppers to your site, but keep them there and entice them to make a purchase. Niraj Shah recently gave helpful search marketing tips for the holidays, and Stephan Spencer shared advice on SEO during the upcoming shopping season. Both stress the importance of strategic search engine m [...]


5 Social Media Lessons For Paid Search Landing Pages

Can you apply the spirit of social media to other marketing channels? At this year's SMX East, after my presentation on Landing Page Usefulness—emphasizing a "usefulness" mission over "usability" tactics—it struck me: great landing pages can bring many of the ideals of social media to paid search marketing campaigns. Here are five principles of social media marketing that can energize your landing page program: 1. Engage in specific conversations, not generic one-size-fits-all talk. When a company engages in social media, the worst thing it can do is echo canned, cut-an [...]


Five Rules For Running A Successful Pay-Per-Call Campaign

Although it's been around for years, pay-per-call advertising may be finally hitting its stride. Greg Sterling, a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land, recently wrote: We've long known that calls are much more valuable than clicks to small businesses in particular, but also to many larger entities with call-center sales operations. However... it's taken PPCall much longer to get going than I originally anticipated. Sterling sees pay-per-call growth in traditional media and mobile. He also notes that pay-per-call programs are now increasingly being used in print Yellow Page dir [...]


How To Use Google’s Sidewiki For Maximum SEM Benefit

Google's Sidewiki is here and it's not hard to see that it could be big, that it could change the way we use the internet. However, it has some frankly scary implications for website proprietors. People can visit your pages and leave messages, whether you want them to or not. Dell Homepage with Google SideWiki - Image credit: Flickr I think the best description I've seen to date was on Econsultancy, describing it as "a way to graffitti websites." How can we web marketers respond? Have we lost control of our own websites and those of our clients? There have already been several inst [...]


Landing Page Testing: Choosing Between A/B Or Multivariate Approaches

There are quite a few testing techniques available in the market. In this post I will dwelve into the two commonest testing methods: A/B tests and Multivariate tests. What is the difference between them? How can you choose which one best fits your needs?


Attributing Value To Phone Calls: Dynamic Number Insertion Can Help

Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) technology allows advertisers to track the specific search engine, web page or keyword that generated an inbound phone call using tracking numbers. Advertisers are using DNI to measure the performance of their online advertising campaigns and the impact on call volume. At the most basic level, DNI seamlessly replaces select contact phone numbers on a web page with call tracking numbers, which allows advertisers to measure volume. Combined with pay per click programs, DNI can help complete the online advertising performance picture by clearly outlining the results [...]


How To Construct Rational Landing Page Tests

All landing page tests are not created equal. What you test on your pages—and what you learn from those tests—can better inform tactics and strategies throughout your entire marketing program. Here are four kinds of landing page tests that can help you learn about your market. Beware butterflies and magic bullets How much can you learn from landing pages? Some landing page optimization experts will warn you about reading too much into the results of a particular landing page test. There are often multiple factors at play in a given experiment, and it can be difficult to pr [...]


Practical Points For Perfecting Press Releases

The rise of the web has revolutionized the simple press release, which has gone from being copy you post to journalists to being yet another form of online information, accessible by both the media and the public. However, while this means press releases can be extraordinarily useful, it also means the world is utterly swamped with them and it can be hard for them to rise above the general clamor. That's true despite the huge number of sector-specific online magazines and news sources that include press releases in their offerings. If a company succeeds with a sound online press release [...]


8 Dimensions Of Excellent Landing Pages

Are your landing pages feeling tired? Is your conversion rate stagnant? Not quite sure what to try next? To re-energize your post-click marketing, it can help to step back and evaluate your approach from several different perspectives. Here's a quick exercise, the Landing Page Wonder Wheel—as in, "I wonder how to improve my landing pages?"—that can give you fresh inspiration. The Landing Page Wonder Wheel consists of eight dimensions on which you rate your current landing page creative and management capabilities, on a scale of 1 to 10. A 1 means you're not doing very well there, [...]


Affiliates: Trusted Allies Or Conniving Cannibals?

It is not uncommon for businesses to find that the relationship they have with their affiliates is one of the most difficult to handle. On the one hand, affiliates can be valuable partners that provide leads and sales for your company. But on the other hand, they are independent entities which require compensation for their services and have their hearts equally divided between your best interest and their own. But if you stop and think about it, this is not an unusual situation: your business probably relies on a number of providers and suppliers with whom it has built a relationship of trust [...]


Fine Tuning Your Search Campaign To Today’s Economic Environment

It is no surprise that the recession has affected online consumer spending habits. In lean times, people are more apt to curb spending and seek out the best bargains. From a search perspective, it is now more important than ever for marketers to adapt their campaigns to these changes in consumer behavior to better optimize performance. As consumers modify their spending patterns, their search behavior—the keywords and terms they use to locate products and services—also change. We recently culled over half a million search terms containing a certain modifier. For instance, queri [...]


Search + Display Advertising = Reduced Cost Per Acquisition

There have been numerous reports published over the years by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft that attempt to prove how the use of display advertising, when combined with search, can increase your overall campaign performance. A recent report published by iProspect, Search Engine Marketing and Online Display Integration Study was featured in an article for MediaPost titled Study Confirms Display Ads, Paid Search Work in Concert. Robert Murray, iProspect's CEO is quoted in the article, saying "Internet users are more likely to engage and/or eventually make a purchase from brands with which they a [...]


How To Get Resources (And Buy-In) For In-House SEO Efforts

With most large organizations, a number of key stakeholders must offer their buy-in for an in-house SEO effort to be successful. With various groups all tasked with a variety of other objectives, how do you get everyone focused on the common goal of optimizing your organization's organic search efforts? Make a sandwich, of course. Think of this sandwich as having three layers (top, middle, lower). Each layer plays a pivotal role, so don't let folks get focused too much on which layer they belong to. A closer look at these layers will reveal the following: The top layer: executives [...]


Recovering From The Blue Screen Of Death As An SEO

Last week I was jolted by booting up my computer only to see the blue screen of death. The computer was dead, dead, dead and I had to replace it with a new one, going through the painful process of restoring all of my software, tools and data. The old computer was using Windows XP, while the new one had Windows Vista, which made the transfer of data a bit less easy than I had hoped. I had most of my data backed up externally via Carbonite and via a 64GB Kingston flash drive. Unfortunately, my new hard drive was in a different format than the old one. It turns out the flash drive was able to [...]


A Google Alternative For Small Business: Breadcrumbs & Business Directories

So, you’ve junked your day job and made the commitment to your shiny new startup business. You’ve created your website, and what’s the first thing you do now?  Like just about every other startup business person you do the search on Google for your business name. At this point, two things might happen: You discover you "own" the first page of Google results and you feel satisfied that you’re now on the map, or Your business is nowhere to be seen, and you lapse into a state of abject depression OK, so it’s not quite as binary as that, but you get my point.  What we’r [...]


Paid Search: Building Brand Loyalty Two Seconds At A Time

There's no question that the vast majority of brand loyalty is created post click—once consumers are brought to a landing page with relevant offers and other brand messaging.   However, what happens in that 2-3 second window prior to the click?  A lot more brand building than you think. First impressions count Search marketers spend countless hours figuring out how to connect consumers to a brand/product, and then articulate that in an ad that won't get more than a mere glance.  But despite its short lifespan, an ad must be truthful, deliver value, and resonate with consumers. [...]


The Armchair Sleuth: Competitive Intelligence Via Search

Would you like to have a heads-up any time your competitors are about ready to launch a new product? In many cases you can get good advance warning with clever use of search. There are specific competitive intelligence tactics that make this relatively straightforward. But first, take a step back and think about the things that you do when you are readying for a brand new product or new ad campaign.  I think it goes something like this: Step 1: Get in a meeting room and brainstorm names, slogans, and ideas. Step 2: Register the new brilliant name and new catchy slogan with the United St [...]


Tips For Optimizing Your Local Business Listings, Courtesy of SMX West

In last month's column, I highlighted the need for search marketers, search engines, and data providers to reach out to small business owners to increase their awareness of the free opportunities to claim their businesses online.  Well, the two excellent Local Search panels at SMX West, put together by Search Engine Land's own Greg Sterling, did just that. It's just a shame there weren't more small business owners in attendance! So for SMB's reading this column, I thought I'd highlight a few key takeaways related to maximizing your presence via local business listings. In the first pane [...]


Google Analytics On The iPhone: 3 Apps Reviewed

You're already using your smartphone to search and surf the web. You're using it to read and write email. You might be using it to tweet, post to your blog, or network on Facebook. If your smartphone is an iPhone, you can also use it to keep an eye on all the sites in your Google Analytics account. With the recent launch of Analytics App, there are now three primary apps that bring Google Analytics to the iPhone; myAnalytics and Analytics Pro are the others. Analytics Pro also has a "lite" version. But are they any good? After using each of them during the past week, I can answer that qu [...]


How To Track Keyword-Based Tweets Within Your Twitter Stream

With our SMX West search marketing conference happening this week, I wanted to keep track of the real-time buzz for SMX on Twitter. I knew how to do this manually by checking Twitter Search, but was there a way to have this flow into my regular Twitter stream, along with posts from people that I normally follow? Thanks to suggestions from people on Twitter, there was! Ideally, I wanted Twitter itself to let me create a "person" that was really a search term, so that I could follow that person and have the matching posts appear in my stream. I still think that's an important feature [...]


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