We are back from the A4UExpo and I have stumbled, wearily I hasten to add, into a new term. Step forward “EXPO LAG”, far, far worse than jet lag in my opinion and highly confusing considering the majority of the two days was spent sitting down listening to other people. Very peculiar.
I attribute it to not only the after party that happened on the last day of the expo but the constant churning of ideas circulating in your head about how the information you learnt in the sessions can benefit your clients, your company and also what a squirrel has got to do with the people at Conversion Rate Experts. I should ring the R.S.P.C.A.
I must admit the expo was the best I have attended. I went to the expo as a blogger for Search Cowboys, so without them I wouldnt not have attended, so a massive thank you should rightly go to them and mainly Bas van den Beld. The organisation in particular was spot on; there was plenty of time in between sessions which allowed you to walk to the next room with plenty of time to spare. Not to mention great food and drinks all day.
Before I attended the expo I had reviewed the agenda and pencilled out the sessions I wanted to attend and thankfully managed to attend them all. Not just search related either, as I chucked a couple of curves balls in by attending a few affiliate presentations and sessions on how to improve your conversion rates, an important aspect no matter what sector to operate in. I came away from the conference feeling inspired and wanted to get stuck in to some work as soon as possible, after the obligatory drinks of course :0)
So what did I learn I hear you cry? I thought it would be best to summarise everything that I would be interested in hearing if someone else was blogging this, so read on, oh and get comfortable.
• The top 3 ranking websites in Bing are ripped and have Encarta entries. I have checked and this is true. Aggressive optimisation of pages also seems to work quite well in Bing too so test and see what you can achieve.
• Dave Naylor discussed Google focusing on returning results at a faster rate, that they are looking at speed metrics of a site when analysing ranking position. Now, we have felt this for a while but it is nice to be supported by the man himself. So, through webmaster tools start analysing any broken links etc… Start treating the crawler like a user.
• Subfolder Vs Sub Domain debate goes on… A lot of the panellists felt that it completely depends on your situation but all were in agreement that sub domains passed external backlink equity whilst subfolders passed internal link equity. One advantage of a sub domain is that it can be put on a different IP address.
SEO & Search Engines
• Allow http compression, reduce the download time for users and bots
• Organise your content, understand that value is placed on the hierarchal structure of a site.
• MSN Videos will start appearing in Google results pages soon as they have overgone a complete overhaul of their site, reducing the amount of Flash and Ajax.
• New feature from Google webmaster tools that allows you to adjust the return rate of crawlers.
• 25% of queries at present were not seen in the last 3 months. (This was the most astounding quote when you realise the significance)
• Remember to submit video sitemaps
• When content is in the same language but across two sites, for example on the TLDs .co.uk and .ie then alter the copy to reflect the country. Do not leave exactly the same. Use geographical references and symbols (currency) if appropriate.
• When setting up a site is it better to have a keyword rich domain name or a brand name? All panellists agreed that it depends on the competitive nature of your sector. If you happen to be in a niche you can afford to build a brand name whereas if your sector is very competitive a keyword rich domain would help to get you ranked within the search engines.
• Significant factor of success in terms of affiliate sites is obtaining a constant stream of returning visitors.
• A lot of affiliate sites have thousands of pages of content. The key to obtaining traffic from search engines is to ensure this content is unique. Do not reproduce the content on similar affiliate sites as this will be deemed duplicate content and affect your ability to rank effectively.
• Do not write about a subject, write for an audience. Ensure your content is topical and relevant to what the customer wants and this will in turn improve your returning customers.
Conversion Rate Experts – SEOmoz Case Study
• Most important lesson is not to keep chasing new traffic but to improve your conversion rate of existing traffic. This will have a massive impact on revenue.
• How do you treat New vs Returning customers? Build relationships based around their site activity and reap the benefits.
• Analyse every action and the effects this has on the conversion funnel. Plan future steps based on results.
• Multi variant testing is vital to improving your conversion rate.
• Most websites don’t contain enough copy to effectively sell a product or service. If you imagine how long a sales pitch would take and compare it to the copy on your site you will get an idea of the difference. Improve and add copy but ensure you have call to actions throughout for customers that have been converted sooner than others.
Beyond Link Bait
• Backlink analysis should never be overlooked as it can play an important part in link development.
• Two tools that can help with researching backlinks of competitors and process are Linkscape and Majestic
• Panellists stress the importance of not wasting time in approaching websites where the chance of obtaining a link is low. Dedicate your time to prioritising the value of links and the likelihood of achieving a backlink.
• Think about ringing potential link targets as it is more credible. It also increases the actual conversion rate of link requests. Most importantly, it allows you not only to build links but relationships.
• The tone of voice is very important when approaching link targets; review the language used on the site and base your email around it.
• Spend time finding the most appropriate contact rather than just sending an email to info@
• Websites build links over time and the power of the older pages are lost due to broken links and poor site architecture. Link reclamation is a process of reclaiming these links and regaining the power.
Resources to bookmark
• http://www.dwpub.com – Daryl Willcox Publishing. Their tagline is “If you have the story we have the contacts” Using a list of journalist they syndicate newsworthy content.
• usertesting.com, 4Q and SurveyMonkey.com – low cost customer feedback tools
• Google Alerts, serph, Twing, Omgili – free tools to monitor your brand mentions online
• Clicktale.com – watching movies of visitors’ browser behaviour
• www.conversion-rate-experts.com/101ways – how you could improve your conversion rates.