October 20, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Great Sites Beget Great Rankings
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> Tampa Seminar CD Sale
----> SEO Copywriting Combo
----> Using Demographics To Increase Conversions
*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
----> Overture vs. Google Keyword Lists
*This Week's Sound Advice:
----> Optimizing Dynamic Content for High Rankings
----> Stockholm SES Next Week
Lots of info for you today, so let's get straight to it! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Great Sites Beget Great Rankings (We Hope!)++
Today I'm just going to blather on about a client's site I've been
working on through my Search Creative company, as I think there is
some good stuff to be learned from it. I intended to write about
something more specific, but this is what came out as I was typing and
I couldn't stop!
It's been a fun project so far, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be
using what I learn from it as a source for future articles and/or a
case study. Most of the sites I've been working on for the past few
years have been existing sites that were given solely SEO services.
This particular site is brand-new so we're building it from scratch,
which allows me to deal with some different issues than I regularly
deal with. I learn things from every SEO campaign that I do, and this
one will be no exception. So look for some new insights from me as we
get deeper into this campaign.
Right now we've got the keyword research completed, the copywriting
done, most of the editing done, the design templates just about
finished, and most of the programming done. We're a week or so away
from putting it all together on the real server and making it live.
There are a few things I've really enjoyed about this project so far.
The first is that the concept this site is built around has never been
done before in this particular industry. There are other sites that
have a similar technology and functionality, but none of them do what
this site can do. I'm not prepared to give out specifics at this
time, but basically, they offer real-time live searches to their
network of vendors across the US. You type a specific item into the
search form, plus your location, and you're immediately shown all the
places that have it in stock in your area. It's very, very cool.
The second thing I like about this project is that the woman running
the show is smart as a whip and knows her business inside and out.
She is a leader in her industry, and nobody knows more about it than
she does. In other words, we won't be trying to place a site at the
top that doesn't truly deserve to be there. This is a key point. If
you want a site to show up at the top of the heap, it's truly got to
be the best of the best. It can't be run by someone who noticed that
the Internet seemed like a good place to make money, so they slapped
up a site that does what 1,000 other sites already do.
For this particular site, it's not a wannabe, but one that will
literally change how people shop for this particular type of product,
run by people who understand their target audience and every facet of
their business. Will it get high rankings right out of the gate?
Probably not for its most competitive phrases, but it will eventually
because it's the type of site that when you show it to someone who has
a need for what it offers, they'll say, "Cool! That just saved me
hours of research and made my day/week a whole lot easier!"
It's also the type of site that will eventually obtain those
wonderful, natural links I always talk about. The kind of links that
come to you just because you're that good and people want to share
their find with others. That doesn't mean that we won't have to make
an effort to get the word out, however. A big part of this campaign
involves link building. This is partially to let people in the target
market know it exists so they can be wowed by it, and partially to
gain links for the traffic and rankings they'll bring.
We're also working on making sure that there's more than just the cool
search functionality at the site. The owner believes that people will
be interested only in searching for the products, and isn't too
concerned about anything else relating to the site. However, she has
learned enough about SEO to understand that the search engines won't
realize what a time-saving, cool tool this is unless there's some
decent content attached to it. She's willing to provide lots of great
content, but has it in her head that it's only for the search engines.
I disagree, however, and we're definitely not designing the site with
only the search engines in mind. I think she's going to be surprised
how many people flock to the site for the content itself, and how many
link to it for the content, without necessarily even caring about the
live search. Now of course, those people aren't going to make her any
money directly at first, but every site needs its cheerleaders. Plus,
where do you think those cheerleaders will go when they are in need of
the products the site offers?
I guess time will tell how people find, use and interact with this
site, and we'll have to see whether it's able to create and sustain
any type of buzz in the industry. It will certainly be interesting to
see what happens, and we will certainly be adjusting our strategy
according to what we see as time passes.
Now, I realize that not every site that you or I work on is a leader
in its industry; however, if you want it to be a leader in the search
engines, there has to be something unique about your business model.
If you don't currently have a unique selling proposition, you need to
create one right now. Think about what it is that you can do or offer
that is just different enough to make you stand out from the crowd --
then promote the heck out of it! Once the rest of the world starts to
agree that you do indeed offer something unlike anything else, and
you've done your on-the-page optimization correctly, the search
engines will start to take notice and place your site into its proper
place in the results.
Buy Now! Our Tampa Seminar CD - Half Price While Supplies Last!
Listen to the MP3 audio files of our Tampa full-day search engine
marketing seminar from last November -- was $279 now $139.50!
What is covered:
SEO Basics, PPC, Copywriting, Measuring Traffic and Conversions.
Also includes complete PDF presentations from the speakers.
++Using Demographics to Increase Conversions++
Today's guest article was written by Kevin Gold, co-founder of
Enhanced Concepts, Inc., a traffic-generation and
conversion-enhancement strategy company specializing in maximizing Web
businesses' online marketing strategies to achieve positive financial
results. Kevin is the author of FroogleMaximizer(tm)
<http://www.frooglemaximizer.com/>, the first and most comprehensive
Quick Start Guide to Froogle(tm), Google's product search engine.
Take it away, Kevin! - Jill
Using Demographics To Increase Conversions
By Kevin Gold
During conversations with web business professionals about
pay-per-click search engines, "traffic volume" is always a hot topic.
Over the last year or so, Google Adwords has emerged as the
pay-per-click (PPC) search engine most enamored for driving "traffic
However, successful web marketers understand that "driving traffic
volume" is only a means to an end -- the "end" being website
Website conversion is when a visitor takes action (ideally your most
wanted action) on your website after clicking on your ad. It is
important because it leads to financial results for your web business
and generates a return on your advertising spend (ROAS).
Every web business consists of unique characteristics created by their
market demographics, psychographics and product/service benefits. A
PPC search engine that generates visitors who convert well for one web
business may fail miserably for another. Therefore, when developing
your PPC strategy consider the search engines' "usage demographics."
Usage demographics are the profiles of Internet users who prefer one
search engine to others based on their perceived functionality,
content, and search result placement and relevance. By understanding
usage demographics for the search engines that Google AdWords and
Overture supply paid listings to, a web marketer can develop a
relevant message and target an ad placement that most effectively
connects and converts their most qualified buyers.
Although Google AdWords' and Overture's partner networks consist of
thousands of content- and search-based websites, the highest
percentage of their traffic originates from the five most popular
search engines. Among these, Google AdWords supplies paid listings
(i.e. Sponsored Results or Listings) to Google Search, Ask Jeeves, and
America Online (AOL) while Overture supplies Yahoo! and MSN.
Below are the primary search engine usage demographics to consider
when developing your PPC strategy:
A. Gender: Male vs. Female
A May 2004 study by Hitwise showed that "55% of women prefer MSN
Search while a majority of men favor Google Search." Yahoo! Search
was split even on gender with a greater focus on people 18-34 in age.
A 2004 MarketingSherpa study indicated that MSN's user profile
consisted of time-strapped, married females who searched less
frequently yet performed greater e-commerce searches, while Google
Search was favored by professional males who performed greater news,
media, entertainment, and education searches with a lesser intent to
For AOL and Ask Jeeves, AOL is favored by women with less buying
intent than MSN Search, while Ask Jeeves is preferred by children.
Furthermore, an April 2004 iProspect study uncovered that "women found
paid ads to be more relevant than men did when searching across
Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL."
These statistics are startling when considering their influence on
your PPC strategy, since women represent roughly 75% of major
household purchases -- and (as stated in a Women.com study) control
80% of all purchasing decisions.
B. Relevancy: Paid vs. Organic Listings
Another usage demographic to consider for your PPC strategy is
"perceived relevancy" of paid versus organic listings. Ads perceived
as having greater relevancy lead to higher website conversions.
The iProspect study referenced earlier also discovered that "Internet
users are more likely to click on an organic search link on Google,
and a paid search result on MSN." Organic listings on Yahoo! were
considered 61% more relevant than paid listings, while AOL was split
C. Age: Youths vs. Adults vs. Seniors
A third usage demographic to review is age. Preferences among the top
five search engines are fairly mixed among age groups; Yahoo! is a
strong favorite with 18-34 year olds, while MSN and AOL have a
stronger preference among the 35-55+ age group. As stated earlier,
Ask Jeeves is favored by teens and adolescents -- whose buying power
is growing within American households, as stated in a recent
BusinessWeek research study.
So what does this all mean for your PPC strategy?
First, it is highly recommended to run Google AdWords and Overture
campaigns concurrently using keyword-level tracking systems to
determine which PPC search engine generates the most cost-effective
and best-converting visitors. Usage data generated from your website
is the best market research.
Second, consider your writing style. By understanding the common
characteristics of your customers and writing PPC ads best suited to
the search engines' usage demographics, you will increase your
probability of connecting with your audience and improving your
website conversions. Also take special note that women have a
stronger propensity to buy AND a higher "perceived relevance" for paid
listings on MSN Search.
Third, although Google AdWords accesses a larger traffic pool,
Overture's partner network, mainly MSN Search, has the highest
perceived relevancy for paid listings and the highest propensity for
purchasing. Although counter-intuitive to current conventional
thinking, Overture may deliver better "converting visitors" than
Here are some links to the studies and articles mentioned above:
Clickz.com, "Google Gains Overall, Competition Builds Niches"; June 2,
Clickz.com, "Searching for Balance"; April 30, 2004
MSN Audience Profile
Ask Jeeves Key Metrics
In closing, a greater focus on the search engines' usage demographics
when writing your PPC ads, targeting PPC channels, and developing
corresponding landing pages will enable your marketing strategy to
ultimately achieve stronger financial results for your web business.
Enhanced Concepts, Inc.
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~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~
++Overture vs. Google Keyword Lists++
++Optimizing Dynamic Content for High Rankings++
(This audio recording changes each week.)
That wraps up today's issue! Next week is the SES Stockholm
conference, so there will be no newsletter. Will catch you in two! -
P.S. Go RedSox!