A special report from the Search Engine Strategies 2001 Conference, November 14-15, Dallas, TX.
As any search engine marketer will tell you, one of the best ways of learning what works in this industry is to study successful sites. And that was the focus of this fascinating session: case studies in search engine marketing.
Jamie Lowe of All-Outdoors Whitewater Rafting and SearchEngineMarketing.com opened the session with a discussion of his rafting site.
The All-Outdoors site recently won several of the 2001 Inc Web Awards, including the Best Small Business Site in America, Winner of General Excellence, First Place in Customer Service, and Second Place in ROI.
Lowe pointed out that white water rafting is a high expense, low profit market. Because white water rafting is a small industry, they have to be creative with their ad budget. So, they put money into the Web versus magazine articles.
The company had two goals for their Web site: for the site to be displayed prominently, and for them to be able to compete for the best Web experience for the user.
How did they begin to accomplish this? All of their pages are focused and optimized for specific keywords. They use HTML links and link text along with image maps. And, they spread out the work over the course of several years.
To prove the power of search engine marketing, the company can trace $760,000 to search engine referrals in the year 2000.
Lowe's recommendations? "Don't obsess over rankings. Concentrate on content, because it will be indexed and will have lasting results."
The next panelist was Gregory Markel, Founder of Infuse Creative, a Web design and marketing company with mainly entertainment clients.
Because search engine marketing is such a "fluid environment" with things changing all the time, Markel recommends not focusing on just one thing. For example, "Never ignore secondary keywords," he said.
Markel then discussed several of his clients' sites, beginning with Finalfantasy.com. He rated the site's difficulty factor a 10 out of 10 because of the massive competition and lack of link popularity. Plus, the site is 100% Flash.
The company created 300 pages for the site and did not use cloaking strategies. Instead, they used frames with
After optimization, the site now has several #1 rankings. In fact, $75,000 was spent in the online marketing budget, with only 7.2% on search engine marketing. But, the search engines accounted for 25% of all online traffic.
Like Markel, Holly Dorland with JUMP Internet Marketing feels that users are desensitized to paid listings. So, she cautions not to forget your SEO stats.
"If you are not marketing your site or driving traffic to your site, you are not going to have an effective Net presence," said Dorland.
Her philosophy for search engine marketing includes:
1. Strategies to get targeted traffic to site;
2. Strategies to encourage viewer interaction and input; and,
3. Strategies to get return traffic.
Dorland added, "Know the search engines and how they work, and know that a #1 can change."
One of her client's, TulsaTubeBending.com, is an industrial client with a very narrow audience. They wanted a cost effective marketing avenue.
Their goals were:
1. Increase sales leads on the Net;
2. Obtain a larger share of the viewing audience;
3. Outposition their competition; and,
4. Increase qualified traffic.
How did her efforts pay off?
After 7 months, the site boasts a 575% increase in page views;
- 203% increase in user sessions;
- 250% increase in internal page views;
- 614% increase in targeted SE keywords;
- 55% increase in conversion rate.
The company sold $100,000 in products directly attributed to Net leads in one month.
By studying the strategies of top ranking sites and experienced search engine marketers, you'll learn valuable tips that you can apply to your own site.
Gregory Markel, Founder and President, Online Marketing Division, Infuse Creative
Holly Dorland, Director, JUMP Internet Marketing.
Robin Nobles is Director of Training for the Academy of Web Specialists (http://www.acws.com).
Google Introduces Catalog Search
Google has launched a beta version of Google Catalog Search for products contained in more than 700 popular mail order catalogs. To create this new service, Google has collected print catalogs and scanned them into a JPEG format. From there, Google runs OCR (optical character recognition) technology over the JPEG, which extracts the text and converts it into a readable web page.
This means that you can both view original catalog pages as they were published, and take advantage of Google's sophisticated search technology to find the products you're interested in, either within a specific catalog or across all 700 catalogs in its database.
Google has created a nifty new navigation bar that helps you easily maneuver through catalogs, and that provides useful information about the catalog, such as publication date, catalog code, merchant phone number and so on.
As with most of its beta initiatives, Google welcomes your feedback. Consumers and vendors are invited to send in print catalogs to be included in Google Catalog Search. Vendors also have the option of choosing not to be included.
NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.