Some Of The Best Points From SMX West
Last week I was out at the SMX West show, where, as always, there were many great nuggets of information to glean from some fantastic speakers. Here’s a brief recap of some of the best points I heard.
How Schema.org, Rel=Author, and Meta Tagging
The first question many people might have is whether webmasters should bother with semantic marukup, like schema and rel=Author. According to Dennis Goedegebuure, one of the speakers on this panel, rich snippets and rel=Author can improve your click-through rate on organic listings by as much as 38%, and AJ Kohn, another panelist, indicated that rel=Author can improve CTR by 36-400%!
The four ways to implement rel=Author are (you only need to use one of these):
1. Put your name and email address on every post.
2. Implement a Google+ badge.
3. Use the ?rel=author parameter.
4. Use the “three link monte,” which entails:
o Linking from the post to the author’s bio on your blog
o Linking from the author’s bio on the blog to his/her Google+ profile page
o Linking from the author’s Google+ profile page to his/her blog author bio page using the “Contributor to” link section.
Google Webmaster Central and Bing Webmaster Tools
Vanessa Fox spoke on behalf of Google Webmaster Central and Duane Forrester spoke for Bing Webmaster Tools.
The main takeaway from Fox’s presentation was to categorize your XML Sitemaps. She pointed out how the categorization of Sitemaps can help you quickly identify potential crawl issues with categories of your site --especially helpful if you have a lot of content or a large site.
Forrester dropped somewhat of a bombshell on everyone when discussing 301 redirects vs. 302s. He confirmed that if Bing crawls a 302 redirect five times, it begins to treat the 302 (temporary) redirect as if it were a permanent redirect (301). Forrester also emphasized to everyone that Bing will stop indexing your XML Sitemap if it finds more than 2% of errors in the Sitemap. So make sure your XML Sitemaps are clean and correct!
Solving Problems in Google Places
If you have a local-based business, Google Places is clearly important to you. But often companies face problems with incorrect data in their listings. Google pulls some of its Places data from third-party sites, like the Yellow Pages, InfoGroup USA, and others. How can you fix the incorrect data? All of the speakers emphasized that you have to ensure that your NAP information -- name, address and phone number – is correct and consistent across all of the sites that feed Google Places.
Ecommerce and Search
There were some fantastic recommendations by this panel on how to improve your organic search visibility for ecommerce-based sites:
- Alex Edelstein recommended working on title tags and search-friendly URLs. He presented a case study where, working
with Target, he rewrote 236 title tags and URLs with long-tail keywords. The average keyword jumped by 20 positions in Google, and in Bing/Yahoo, it was an average position change of 40
positions! If this work is too much for you to do alone, he recommended outsourcing it through crowdsourcing options like CloudCrowd.
- Edelstein also recommended adding keyword content to category pages. Many category pages are simply image-focused, but adding text helped improve rankings for category pages as much as 37%.
Retargeting and Remarketing
Have you tried retargeting (also known as “remarketing” in Google AdWords) yet? Retargeting allows your ad to essentially “follow” a visitor around until he/she completes a goal or until the ad deadline has passed. Brad Geddes offered some great tips on how to remarket effectively:
1. Segment your website. Show ads appropriate to what the visitor has been investigating on your site.
2. Determine the average days to purchase so you can determine when you should start remarketing to someone.
3. Align your segmentation and days to purchase with pageview data. Google requires that you have at least 500 page views during the cookie duration.
4. Create ad groups around the segments.
5. If you have a shopping cart, consider segmenting those who bought from those who just added to their carts.
6. Remarket to converters. For instance, if someone purchases flowers on Valentine’s Day, there is a high likelihood that he/she will want to purchase flowers for Mother’s Day.