Bend WebCAM Attracts Search Marketing Luminaries
I had the honor of speaking at the 4th annual Bend WebCAM conference in Bend, Oregon October 25th and 26th where I enjoyed one of the best conferences in the search marketing industry. Bend WebCAM is not as well recognized among search marketing conferences as others. Did you know that Bend, Oregon is recognized as the birthplace of SEO? That is largely credited to John Audette’s online agency Multimedia Marketing Group in the mid 1990s located in Bend. Audette was the first to coin the phrase search engine optimization. His work influenced others and spread quickly among other internet marketers in Bend and around the U.S. and the world. The Bend WebCAM annual event is put on by Mark Knowles, CEO of Pixelsilk. Mark’s relationships run deep in the SEO industry because he has created a content management system in Pixelsilk that is built from the ground up to be SEO friendly. Many of the search marketing industry’s best minds have provided input to make Pixelsilk the most SEO friendly CMS in the market. Indeed, Find and Convert has embraced Pixelsilk as we regularly recommend Pixelsilk to our clients.
Key take aways from Bend WebCAM 2012
Danny Sullivan: Opening Keynote
Danny is recognized as one of the pioneers of search marketing. His opening keynote delivered on both substance and form. Danny has a “boy next door” style that has made him very popular because he is so authentic and knowledgeable in search marketing. Among many key points Danny made are:
Search 4.0 is personalized search
Key ranking factors include: location, social interaction by your network, especially in Google+.
There is no such thing as “normal” search results anymore due to local results dominating.
When someone you know has shared or +1 a listing, you will see that ranking over other rankings.
People answering questions on Quora also show up on SERP listings.
Social is the best opportunity for clean link building. It’s natural and easy when people like content in social.
Paid inclusion is back in Google’s Shopping results engine.
The future of search (it’s here already) is verbal search (think Siri) followed by content or maps or both.
Facebook Marketing: Marty Weintraub
Marty is a very high energy, entertaining speaker with the content to back it up. He delivered an amazing presentation on Facebook marketing. Marty literally wrote the book on Facebook marketing. Among his many tips include:
Think of Facebook as an email list. Always be building it.
Some of your posts should be promoted using Promoted Posts and Sponsored Posts to increase visibility with fans.
Advertise a post with highly targeted demographics. Test ads targeted to “likers and friends of your page.” Target ads at people who work at specific companies with relevant posts.
If you don’t get 3% to 5% CTR on content posts, your content isn’t relevant to your fans.
Clean up your posts by editing descriptions copied from other sites and removing the URL from the post. Remove the URL of links in Facebook posts! Always use an image in a post!
Use Alltop.com to find content on desired topics to share with your Facebook fans.
Google Analytics: Caleb Whitmore, Analytics Pros
Caleb Whitmore is one of the top Google Analytics Certified Partners globally. Caleb has been working with Google Analytics and the team at Google since launch of the product in 2005. He regularly contributes to the official Google Analytics blog and speaks at industry events. Below are a few of Caleb’s tips on use of Google Analytics.
The 7 Causes of Digital Analytics Failure
- No strategy
- No plan. Need a plan to execute the big idea.
- Bad implementation.
- Data overload – analysis paralysis.
- Distrust of data (different data results across diff analytics tools)
- Barriers to reaching data – if don’t get it out to decision makers.
- Lack of action after insights
Rather than ask a question about a metric, ask the business question that drives the value in the metric. Then, focus on the correct data.
Google Analytics Team Skills Needed:
- Business analysis
- Data miner
- Analysis ninja
7 Essentials in Google Analytics.
1. Implementation: Google Analytics has more than 55 settings for the tag alone. Cookie domain, campaign anchors, x-domain linking, etc. If these settings are not set up properly, data will not be accurate. E.g., your own website shows up as a referring site. Use tools: Analyticscheckup.com, Observepoint.com
2. Goal Setting Set up a range of goals, e.g., viewing pages that lead to a conversion. A range of goals in Google Analytics gives you a spectrum of metrics to study
3. Campaign tagging Tag email campaigns, landing pages, etc. When you don’t tag campaigns, it gets reported as direct traffic. Ad tracking parameters. See GA Help for explanations.
4. Segmentation There are 6 ways to segment data in GA.
5. Geographic analysis Look at visits and engagement in geo locations.
6. Technology analysis Study browser reports to see how people view your website. Study screen size report. Shows heat map of how people see your site on different monitors.
7. Entrance Point Analysis The Home page is not always the most common entrance. Study the long tail of entrances to understand the content that attracts visitors. Product pages are usually the most common entrants, especially on commerce sites.
Pinterest Marketing: Andrew Melchior and Matt Siltala of AvalaunchMedia.com
Andrew and Matt gave an insightful presentation on how to market using Pinterest. Below are some of their tips.
70% of the Pinterest user base is female with 81% between 25 and 55 years old.
Geographic location of users are primarily in middle America.
Pinterest ranks #3 in retail referring traffic:
- Facebook 26.4%
- Twitter 3.61%
- Pinterest 3.6%
A Bizrate study reflects compelling insights into how people are using Pinterest:
70% use Pinterest to get inspiration on what to buy.
Only 17% of Facebook users do so to get inspiration on what to buy.
43% of Pinterest users associate with retailers or brands they follow.
Ways to use Pinterest:
Destination brands: boards with pics of places, things to do.
Agency: highlight recent campaigns.
Nordstrom: releases new products on Pinterest before they launch it on their website to drive pre-orders and increase demand.
ZAGG features products, gadgets and related things that surrounds their products.
Create boards around gift ideas.
Link your Pinterest account to Twitter and Facebook.
People on Pinterest want DIY and “how to” images.
Optimizing images for Pinterest:
- Don’t use Flash based images
- There are plugins available for WordPRess and others
- Have the keyword in the file name
- Link the image to a web page
- Add a description with keyword
- Replace e-commerce images if they are too small
- 554 pixels wide max
- 5,000 pixels in length max
- PinReach (possibly no longer available)
- Pinerly (similar to GA for Pinterest)
SEO Marketing Tips: Marshall Simmonds of Define Media Group
Marshall is one of the most widely recognized SEO experts in the U.S. His background includes five years overseeing the search strategy for the New York Times. Marshall shared soooo many tips, I couldn’t capture most of them. Below are a few I was able to capture.
“16% of queries typed into Google every day have never been used before.” Avinash Kaushik, Google
“Every page on your website is a home page.” Caleb Whitmore, Analytics Pros
Optimize Title tag (based on KWs people actually search),
Use Rich Snippets where appropriate for reviews, ratings, ingredients to differentiate your listing from other SERP listings.
Embed YouTube video on web pages optimized with relevant keywords. Optimize images for image search with links back to your site.
Conduct a reverse image search to find people who have downloaded your image. Ask them to link back to your site from the image instead of asking for a cease and desist.
The Google+ influence on search results is huge! We don’t have to like it. He recommends we use G+ and try to get +1s on content. Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz ran an experiment on a URL. He asked for +1s and no other form of social sharing. He found the URL ranking #1 in Google for the main title within a few hours.
The last session of the event was a panel comprised of five local beer breweries discussing their marketing plans with questions and engagement from the audience. Naturally, beer samples were provided. The panel also included Tim Mather, founder and CEO of UNTAPPD, a mobile app which is credited for having a positive marketing impact on the beer brewing industry. My biggest take away from this panel is how the breweries recognize that growth of the micro brewery industry benefits everyone (the rising tide lifts all boats effect). So, they work together to rise the beer tide.
Our Little Secret
The BendWebCAM digital marketing event flies under the radar of many in the search marketing industry. It doesn’t receive the buzz that other events receive. In one sense that’s good because this event is very intimate with approximately 200 people in attendance. Don’t share this blog post with your friends. Bend WebCAM might become more popular in 2013 as a result. 😉