Monday, March 8, 2010

Search Marketing Success Stories

Search Engine Optimization covers a huge range of tactics - all of which can bring direct benefit to a website. In this post, I've shared examples of different tactics used at different websites, and the effects that have been seen. If you're considering an SEO campaign for your site, or are trying to persuade someone else to invest in internet marketing, I hope this post will help demonstrate the potential of internet marketing.
The post includes real screen shots from Google Analytics (click any of them to enlarge) but the sites and data have been anonymized.

Target Your Target Terms

Remember that post about building a page with perfect keyword targeting? SEOmoz wasn't kidding around.
A website that sells homewares had issues with site structure and on-page targeting. Their category level pages were at subdomains such as
whilst each sub-category was back on the main subdomain at:
Category and sub-category pages had a distinct lack of semantic HTML or term targeting.
Getting appropriate H1 tags onto each page was a quick job, improving title tag structure took a bit longer, clean & friendly URLs and internal links with appropriate anchor text were also added.
The site saw ranking improvements across the board, which brought new traffic through head, mid and long tail terms. Can you guess when the changes were made? ;-)

Getting sorted in Google Local

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of ranking factors for Local Search, dead simple tactics, etc, it's important to get the basics right. A large chain of restaurants created a 'bulk upload' file with the correct data for each one of their locations. After uploading the file, they applied for it to be reviewed and 'whitelisted'. Local data that's been uploaded by the business owner and whitelisted is treated as authoritatively as locations that have been manually verified by postcard.
Despite various issues (Google's best practice guidelines still aren't quite the best solution in some cases) the traffic generated by visibility in Local Search has been significant and valuable. (The uploads were verified in late November when the traffic begins its steady rise.)

Architecture of Change

A current affairs magazine wanted to get more from their website. Because of falling advertising revenue, the publication was at risk of being closed down. They'd seen some growth from SEO already, but wanted to prove that the website had greater value.
Although the site had a good brand and some great content, it suffered from similar problems to many news-type websites, including badly archived content, duplicate issues and a CMS that hampered keyword targeting or promoting individual articles. Recommendations were made to improve the site's architecture and migrate to the new structure.
The effect of the changes was immediate growth which took the organic traffic to 257% in three months. A month later, the magazine's owner explained that the falling revenue from print advertising meant that they couldn't continue to lose money publishing the mag, and closed it down.

Hook, Line, Sinker

An office cleaning company wanted to improve the profile of their site through SEO. Amongst other tactics, a member of staff spent a day writing a 'linkbait' post to publish on their blog. This generated huge amounts of traffic from social media sites (dwarfing their regular daily visitors) and was subsequently linked to from dozens of sites. This post, along with other content published on the site to attract links, helped the site grow in strength and authority, and it now ranks position 3 for 'office cleaning' in their country.

Paid In Full

This is SEOmoz, but I'd like to share a graph from a PPC colleague working on a site that sells scooters. They were initially bidding on very broad terms (scooter, scooters, buy a scooter, etc) but the campaign was adjusted to target more long tail terms, including descriptions, specifications, etc.
Over a period of around six weeks, the cost per click was reduced by 30% and the more targeted traffic converted increasingly well - this allowed the site owners to increase their ad budget and generated more sales than their paid search campaign ever had before. If you're new to SEOmoz and this post has inspired you to get involved in search marketing for your site, do browse the site for the PRO & free SEO guides and the SEO blog. If you're a regular, do share any stories you're particularly proud of in the comments

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Keywords Research for Online SEO Applications

Keywords Research for Online SEO Applications Have you ever wondered why that really good looking website that you thought had all the perfect information on it to get tons of traffic doesn’t rank anywhere near well on the search engines? Sure it’s great looking, but who can tell if they can’t find it? And how about your web site? Are you working hard hard on your web site SEO (search engine optimization) to improve your search engine rankings and conversions, but doing that manually yourself turns out to be too confusing? There are many online SEO (search engine optimization) applications which can help you analyze and measure your web site’s rankings and conversions potential. Even if nobody knows the exact algorithms that the search engines use, they still can be very helpful if you are not afraid to use your intelligence and common sense. If you would do a search with search engines to find such kind of applications, which keyphrase would you type in the search engines search box to find them? Please help giving your vote in the poll below. For more Details SEO Company India, SEO SERVICES India , SEO Services Bangalore, SEO Company Bangalore

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Advance LInk Building Tips - How to Productize Link Acquisition and Dominate Your Niche -

Strategic Link Building: How to Productize Link Acquisition and Dominate Your Niche

This week, despite still being seriously under the weather (see this week's sad WB Friday), I flew down to SMX West to speak on the Link Building Strategies panel. Although I'd wanted to put more work in and deliver a better presentation, I received some very kind words afterward and requests from folks to share the deck via the blog. Before I embed the actual deck, though, I need to provide some context (as this isn't a wholly self-explanatory presentation).

Link building has, classically, been a tactic slapped on to a marketing campaign or website post-launch. I believe that those companies/sites that treat link acquisition as an afterthought, rather than building it into the product, will always lose out to those who treat link building strategically. In the deck below, I walk through a number of examples of sites, primarily startups, that have done this. These include:

Twitter - every user of Twitter has an incentive to link to their profile so more people will follow them. This is also true of sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, DeviantArt, Etsy & others.

Vimeo - nearly everyone who uses Vimeo appreciates the beautiful aesthetic they've created. The embeddable versions of Vimeo videos look and feel more professional and high quality than nearly any other player, hence they get embedded (a lot). This embed action automatically drives links back to the video on Vimeo's site, Vimeo's homepage and the user's profile, all with targeted anchor text.

Urbanspoon - not only do they give badges to restaurants like Yelp and have started an online reservations system like OpenTable, Urbanspoon also features reviews from bloggers and foodies, who are then incentivized to promote their inclusion on the site. - the widgets users embed on their site to share their favorite music automatically creates links back to the service.

SurveyMonkey - a truly viral product (anyone who's surveyed is automatically exposed to the site), SurveyMonkey is inherently link acquisitive through the product. In order to use the service, you need to link to SurveyMonkey's site, where your form is hosted.

Scribd - just look at the embed and the link below; 'nuff said. - possibly the greatest link building strategy ever devised. The Chinese government requires that all websites in the country link to this site in order to operate legally; not too shabby, eh?
Here's the deck:

As you can see, I've put in a shameless plug for Open Site Explorer at the end. If you haven't seen the new features launched yesterday, you're missing out. Tons of the data is completely free, and top pages is just about the easiest way to find traffic and link opportunities ever built (not that I'm biased or anything). :-)

Look forward to your comments about the presentation and the concept of productizing link acquisition into a site.

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