The morning keynote was unique and entertaining outlining the Past, Present, and Future of search by Louis Monier. Smartly dressed and charming, he assured us that size does matter– as in the size/quantity of the search results. Search engines have to find content off the beaten path as well as popular sites, not just a large number of sites. Also, how do they know if I want a baseball diamond or diamond ring? (answer: ring) So they need more insight into searcher intent and preferences to be really good at what they do. A great article on this is at seroundtable.com.
Landing Pages and Multivariate Testing speakers varied greatly in their approach. Jonathan Mendez, took a very detailed and analytical approach to testing page elements, while I found Sandra Neihaus a little Zen. She pointed out that people get too hung up on conversation rates, or what is considered a typical conversion rate, forgetting to take another look at their business goals. Her example: Say a business has the goal to increase highly qualified leads. Adding additional fields to the landing page form to help qualify respondents might be a good idea. While this tactic may actually reduce overall conversions because there is more data to fill in, it would provide more qualified leads which are a better fit with the business. Jon Diorio from Google took a back-to-basics approach. He said anyone can conduct a simple landing page experiment, even a 22 year old college grad with relatively no experience. Try testing copy, action link/button, offer, and image. He recommended Google’s Website Optimizer product.
Reputation Monitoring and Management through search was next. No one wants a bad rep. 52% of individuals put trust in what others say about your reputation. I don’t where that stat came from, but next time I get a cold pizza delivered, I know exactly how to use my search powers for evil purposes. To monitor your rep to make sure I am not up to SEM mischief check out:
- Industry news through RRS feeds
- Mainstream media like news.google.com
- News buzz like on digg.com
- Blog posts searchable on technorati.com and Google blog search
- Bookmarks found on delicious
- Tags tracked at keotag.com
- Forums through boardtracker.com
In the Paid Search Roundtable PPC session, one of the topics we touched on was the impact of a possible recession on search. Advertisers would be crazy to give up search considering:
- It has a measurable ROI
- It’s a cheap online vehicle
- You can manage spend real-time
- In a recession, people may be searching for more (cheaper?) options which translates into more opportunities for advertisers
- Advertisers have confidence in search due to industry growth and reliability.
Google Groove party. Karaoke, free food, free drinks. Need I say more?