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Posts from the ‘Search Engine News’ Category

11
May

Google Doodle: It’s Back

Google Doodle is Back!

Google Doodle is Back!

The Google Doodle Entries

If you have a child in K-12, then the deadline for a “What I Wish for the World” entry ends this week.  Last year there were some amazing entries from kids of all ages, and this year is no different.

Vote For the Google Doodles

Check out this years online voting entries. And remember to vote for the kids.

12
Apr

Build A Great B2B Search Engine Marketing Campaign

Indispensable Tips For B2B Search Engine Marketing

The Scenario:
The elephant in the room that everyone is talking about: the economy’s taken a dive; it’s down for the count. Your B2C clients, while realizing that search marketing is a cornerstone in any successful campaign, have cut back their spending (drastically). It’s the ultimate domino effect, and it finally hit you. There’s a corporate brainstorming session. The one big idea (a no-brainer, really); let’s get business we have never bothered with: B2B.

B2B Search Engine Marketing

B2B SEM: A Pig on the Wing

Why you haven’t bothered with B2B until now:

  • They don’t spend as much money as their B2C counterparts (not by a long shot)
  • They are fairly reliant on traditional media spends in extremely niche markets (a publication dedicated to people interested in better ways to investment cast)
  • Experience suggests they expect an amazing bang for the buck (a.k.a. mind-blowing results every time out of the gate)
  • Not surprisingly, there are very few Search Marketing Firms and SEOs out there willing to take them on.  It’s not exactly a gold mine, not by any stretch, but it is a relatively virgin segment. For those with patience and moxy, it can be a very successful venture.

    1) Build The Right IA

    Most B2B companies want/believe that their website IA should accurately reflect what already exists in print or a catalog. Wrong.  To construct the “right” IA, it takes a two-fold effort:

    a) You, as the SEO/SEM, really have to TALK with them.  Not simply let them tell you what they want to see represented, but consider their products and industries they serve.  It may not change the main buckets of product engagement with the user, but you may find/add another way to engage users.

    b) It’s got to be a team effort.  As I mentioned before, the majority of B2B is very niche.  They, whether you believe it or not, know their customers well.  What they don’t know, is how to engage them outside of their traditional media, and you do. These two knowledges clash: in some cases violently.

    Each side has to be willing to make a concession or two in order to get an IA that’s going to be able to target trafficked keywords, convert users, and that all parties are happy.

    2) Keyword Targeting

    You know, as a seasoned SEO, that the keyword and keyword phrase targeting has to lean more to the longtail.  The client, however, thinks the most general terms are going to bring traffic (which they will). For example: the client makes “Micro-Perforated Tubing”, but believe that “Tubing” should bring in all the traffic.  Beyond the fact that there are dozens of terms associated with “tubing”, even if we did target the term, what are the chances we’d be driving the most qualified and viable traffic ready to convert?  Low to none.

    When keyword researching and targeting for B2B, it’s essential as an SEO/SEM to understand that traffic volumes, in the majority of cases, are going to be low, so setting the expectation for the client is paramount. They need to understand that targeting uber-general terms (i.e. “automotive oil”, or “tools”) is not where they’re user base is.

    Sure, their consumers may start with these general terms, but the SERPs they get (sites they have no use for) will teach them to refine the searches with more longtail keywords.

    So that’s where you as an SEO/SEM need to be: in the mid-longtail and longtail keywords to get the most qualified traffic and those ready to convert.

    3) PPC Campaigns

    Of course it’s an extra expense. And, yes, they can get costly. The fact is they are a must for B2B; it’s a necessary evil. Why?  Because organically, it’s going to take time to get position and traffic for keywords. Consider all the link building that’s got to be done and the onsite optimization, and relying on that alone will take 6-8 months before good movement and results appear.

    Consider this effort an “adrenaline shot” for your search marketing.  You get instant exposure in the SERPs, you get traffic to deeper pages on the site: ergo telling Google your pages should be considered important, and, most importantly, your SEO/SEM gets instant keyword search query results.  They won’t have to guess as to which term(s) are most popular among your consumer base.  That, in itself, is worth its weight in gold.

    B2B PPC Tips:

    • Target a small selection of general terms in your campaign. The CPC is high for these terms, not to mention, competitive, so you’ll blow through your daily budgets quick.

    • Work a big variety of mid-longtail and longail words

    • Get a good list of negatives to make sure your budget is maximized

    4) Get Local

    It’s seems so common sense, but I can’t tell you how many B2B’s I’ve seen with no shred of locality at all.  Now that the Google Algorithm has changed to show local results for general queries based on IP Address of the searcher, it is more important than ever to make sure your company show up for local.

    What B2B Local You Should Have Been Doing:

    11
    Jan

    Is it the Links, the Traffic, or What?

    Is Linking the End-All-Be-All of SEO?

    We all know that Google Personalized Search is coming: Search 4.0 (if you’re keeping count).  And, we are already seeing instances of it surfacing within the SERPs.  Or if you need the skinny on it, check out Danny’s post on Search Engine Land.

    Knowing all of this, SEOs must still work to optimize client sites.  With a bear economy, companies have begun shrinking marketing budgets, as well as personnel, giving SEOs, in most cases, smaller budgets to work with.  Our management and maintenance fees aren’t shrinking, so we’re left with finding the few essential services that need to be done in order to keep our clients converting and feeding the funnel to keep the potential conversions coming in.

    The list for most of us looks something like this:

    1. On-Site Optimization: meta-data, optimized URLs, link juice sculpting, and optimized anchors
    2. Link Building: via directories, link baiting strategies, social media linking strategies
    3. Reporting

    It’s pretty safe to say that #1 and #3 are indispensable, but is link building really the answer to SERP ranking issue?  Is this really a major part of the algorithm and a determining factor of placement?  For years we’ve been professing that a solid linking strategy will, in fact, create solid ranking within the result pages because the Google Algo, which revolutionized the SERPs based on this factor of trust, spawned copy-cats through Yahoo, Live, and a majority of others.  But there are other factors outside of on-site optimization that we also believe to be at work; factors that may actually play a larger role in determining where you place in the SERPs.

    A) Site Traffic and Bounce Rate

    B) Domain Age

    With the advancement of SEO tools available, we’re able to see exactly what’s driving search results for particular queries (under the assumption you don’t have your own personalized searches on) and get glimpses into the algorithm.  Of course there are other factors that do influence the site’s SERP position, trust, and relevance, such as number of 301 redirects, C Class, and others, but we really want to look at major influences for this session.  Which is not to say that those factors could not cause a site’s SERP position to crash dramatically, but they’re less of an issue for the majority of sites.

    That said, let’s look at some data I pulled for what I think would be traditionally consumer and B2B searches.

    B2B Data

    Search: “belt conveyors”

    SERP Page 1 and Data for each Site:

    belt_conveyor_serp1

    When you examine the data, the links don’t really give us an indication that they have influenced the position of a particular company; for example, the 10th position company has quite a few more links than any other company on this SERP (excluding, of course, the directory sites).  It would seem reasonable then that this company should be in the first position, or at least in the Top 5.

    However, it could be that this site’s on-site effort is not good at all and the linking effort alone has catapulted it to the first page (there are subjective items that cannot be taken into account through this data). Yet this data does not clearly indicate linking as a sole factor for position, so we move on to Traffic Data to determine if this is the factor that placed the company on top?

    Traffic Data:

    qcindustries.com 709
    thomasnet.com 960,230
    dornerconveyors.com 3,312
    directindustry.com 98,740

    This does not really clear up the SERP position picture either. Based on linking data and traffic data, there is no reason that qcindustries.com should retain the top position for “belt conveyors”.  The only advantage this site has over the other companies (not directory sites) is that its domain is older, and not by much.

    The answer comes when we look at the site.  The entire site is dedicated to “belt conveyors”, multiple types of belt conveyors.  So the site’s content and keyword density for the term “belt conveyor” make it the obvious choice.

    QC Industries Text Only

    QC Industries Text Only

    Conclusion:

    Based on the data above, it can be concluded linking and traffic did not directly influence this site’s SERP position. And, I think with more targeted, keyword-rich optimization, this site could potentially “box-out” competitors for this keyword for a long time to come.  Let’s check the B2C search term.

    B2C Data:

    Search Term: “search engine marketing services”

    SERP Page 1 and Data for each Site:

    "seach engine marketing services" SERP[/caption]

    When you examine the data for the “search engine marketing services” SERP, on the surface the links appear to a guiding indicator. But then you see bruceclay.com. And again the simple theory of “more links = better rank” fails us.

    Bruceclay.com has the oldest domain on the list, the most links (outside of Google itself), and the most high quality links.  Everything says this should be the most trusted site for this particular query right?  Well, then it must be a question of traffic; bruceclay.com must not get nearly the traffic marketingleap.com or highrankings.com gets.  Let’s see.

    Traffic Data:

    marketleap.com 65,392
    highrankings.com 98,723
    submitexpress.com 111,266
    mannixmarketing.com 6,481
    bruceclay.com 102,679

    The traffic does not really clear up the SERP position. Based on linking data and traffic data, marketingleap.com should not be in the top position for “search engine marketing services”.  This site does not have any comparable advantages over those sites listed below them.  Could this be another case of onsite optimization

    marketleap_text_only

    Conclusion:

    In my opinion onsite optimization leaves something to be desired as well.  So if it’s not the links, the traffic, or the onsite optimization efforts, what could possibly have this site ranking as well as it does?

    In my opinion it is a test slot for a company or URL.  I have seen this happen in several other highly competitive search terms, which leads me to believe this is the case.  In this manner Google can “see” if this site is worthy to hold the number 1 spot for this highly competitive search term.  Is it possible that this site has hit the precise number of backlinks, has the exact right keyword density, and accumulates the right amount traffic to warrant a first position slot for this search term?  The odds are astronomical as well as improbable.

    Overall Conclusions:

    The data above leads me to believe that onsite optimization is inherently the most important thing a site can do to increase it’s visibility within the search engines, particularly Google.  Within highly competitive terms, I would recommend that link building be an essential task.  However, having said that, competitive research must be done in order to gauge the amount links needed to enter the first SERP.

    It makes very little sense to pile on links for keywords, if your competition has weak link building efforts.  The site being optimized should garner a “comfortable gap” of link-separation between its competitors.  There’s no need to get 10,000 additional links if the competition is holding steady around 500 – 600 links.  In this case, it might be more “normal” to Google if the your client site built 1000 links over the next 6 to 12 months.  It will have the same effect, i.e. showing site relevance and trust, without drawing attention to the site.

    Traffic may certainly play a factor within the SERPs, but it does not seem to effect a site already within the top 10 positions.  Traffic may be a  factor for sites on the cusp of first SERP, but once there, it seems to have very little direct implication.  The only thing that would seem to matter is that the traffic stays steady: no large dips and peaks.  We’re looking for a nice x-axis upward slope.

    I think link building should still be a recommended measure to include within any optimization campaign, but don’t expect it to be the savior.  It can be concluded from the data above that inbound links do effect placement within the SERPs; however, the main focus should still remain on onsite optimization of targeted content, link juice sculpting, and optimized link anchor text.

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