• Digging Into Your Multiple Conversion Rates
    "The question is a rather odd one: 'What's your conversion rate?' The correct response would be another question: 'Which conversion rate?'" says Karon Thackston. "What most people are really asking is how many sales have you made? But the sales process - in almost all cases - takes more than one step." Thackston outlines the many micro-conversions a Webmaster can (and should) track to gain a more complete picture of how well a given site is performing. The first conversion stems from the page's title and description, as getting a user to click on your result in ...
  • More "Transparent" Search Results From Big G
    Google is offering more insight into the way it uses data like location, search history and past Web site visits to influence core search results. Over the next few days, searchers can expect to see messages in the upper right corner of the search window like: "customized for San Francisco metro area, US." Clicking on a "more details" link will lead to an info page detailing how and why the search giant is customizing results. Data used includes the searchers IP address and if they're logged into a Google account, previous searches and other Web sites they've visited. ...
  • The Search Dish With IProspect's Rob Murray
    Greg Meyers interviews Rob Murray, president of iProspect, about the agency's research on Universal Search and the practice of integrating search with other marketing channels, among other things. IProspect released a study in April uncovering how Universal Search was influencing searcher behavior. For example, they found that people were more likely to click on news results than images or videos. Meyers asked whether the research should deter marketers from running ads on the video- and image-heavy social networks. "Without making a blanket statement on whether it's a good strategy for ALL companies to invest PPC budget ...
  • Q&A Search Engine True Knowledge Gets $4M
    True Knowledge, a search engine developed with the goal of "intelligently answering, in plain English, questions asked on any topic," has raised $4 million in a second round of funding. The European-based engine will use the funds to expand its management team and move to a roll-out within the next 12 months. Charles Knight argues that True Knowledge stands out from the pack of alternative and even core search engines because of its unique indexing technology. "Traditionally, search engines use statistical relationships between the words to find documents and web pages that might be relevant to ...
  • Google Gobbles European Search Spend, Too
    The latest third-party search spending report stems from Efficient Frontier, and focused on the European market. And Google trounced all of its rivals in the second quarter of 2008 in terms of client spending--snagging more than 85% of advertiser budgets in the U.K., and over 95% in Europe as a whole. "Also making modest gains in market share, Microsoft now captures 4% of search budgets in the UK," writes the author. "Both Google's and Microsoft Live Search gains come at the expense of Yahoo." Efficient Frontier also found that average Google CPC rates increased by nearly ...
  • Digging Deeper Into Google Analytics
    Going past the top-level "dashboard" data in Google Analytics can yield tons of "juicy moneymaking data" according to Brendan Regan. But many search marketers avoid digging deeper into the numbers for fear of getting "buried in minutia," he says. So he offers some tips for digging deeper into the stats without getting bogged down. First, try exploring extended date ranges. Go beyond the "last 30 days" view and compare traffic over the past three months. Regan also suggests looking at a particular date range from the previous year (if the data's available) to gauge growth (or deceleration). ...
  • The Ultimate Usability Test
    When it comes to e-commerce, even the most thorough paid search campaigns can't make up for a flawed purchase process. All the traffic that comes in from an ad will likely bounce, making it seem like the search campaign isn't effective. In the case of the MoreVisibility team, a previous client in the cookie business was stumped by sales that weren't meeting ROI expectations. "Their search engine marketing campaign was great but their cookie sales weren't increasing," says the Campaign Manager. "After some extensive research, my EVP pulled out her credit card and attempted to buy some cookies ...
  • How Cost-Effective Are Your SEO Efforts?
    While SEO may seem like a "free" marketing tool when compared to its increasingly costly cousin paid search, Paul Burani notes that the time and effort it can take to optimize a site can end up being quite expensive--particularly for advertisers that are outsourcing the work. And in some cases, the costs may actually outweigh the benefits. For example, Burani says that if you haven't gained any insights from running PPC campaigns (i.e. conversion-inducing keywords, strong traffic sources, etc.) then your ensuing SEO efforts may not be as cost-effective. Burani suggests a number of ways to determine ...
  • Drafting Search-Focused Press Releases
    Press releases and SEO go hand in hand. And as Mark Jackson notes, there are three simple steps to optimizing press releases for maximum search visibility. First, create the release with SEO in mind. That means trying to include a relevant keyword or keyphrase in the headline as well as in the body copy. Makes sense, given that the company name or product is likely the focus of the release, but also try to include said keywords in the anchor text of links within the release. There are many release distribution sources, including Business Wire, PR Newswire, PR Web ...
  • Comparing Loans Via Google, Not A Bank Web Site
    Today's Google search innovation is a new loan comparison widget masquerading as an AdWords ad. Barry Schwartz discovered the tool while running a search on Google.co.uk for "secured loans." The query triggered the Google Merchant Search loan widget (in the top spot, no less), with a drop-down menu that lets users choose their loan amount, as well as the potential APR from four banks. After clicking on the "compare" button, Schwartz was taken to a separate page that featured a number of banks, their credit rating, the typical monthly payment, loan fees and APR range. Users can click "Get ...
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