After some nightmare traffic chaos in Dublin that added an extra 11/2 hours on to my journey I managed to arrive at SMW 2007 about 20 or so minutes late and stumbled into Danny Sullivan’s basic introduction into Search Engine Marketing. Fairly straightforward and nothing new.
Danny touched on the long tail concept and the importance of ‘less important’ keyword terms. He also discussed how crawlers work, Google being the most important browser, the importance of the title tag, design layout, link analysis, age of the site, clickthroughs and the neighbourhood your site is in.
Danny also discussed the Nike website which underperforms compared to less known brands suchs as Zappos. He used the Nike site to emphasize the importance of avoiding splash pages, flash and euphemisms. Some of his information was a little dated, might have been nice if he had had more current and up-to-date stats. Somehow I got the feeling that he had done this talk before!
One other thing, if you want guarantees then buy an ad. That’s a line I must remember for my customers.
After that talk I headed to grab some breakfast and managed to arrive late again to the talk on ‘Writing Search Engine Optimised Content’, which meant standing at the back of the room and being unable to see the speaker Chris Sherman. Again there was nothing revolutionary, but it did reinforce the important of using unique title tags and dispelled a few myths that you might see on one or two forum postings. SEO does need some effort and thought and sloppiness won’t be rewarded.
A question was raised at the end of the talk as to the importance of keywords in your domain name, Chris suggested that on the whole they were beneficial and certainly wouldn’t do any harm. In my experience I’d have to agree with that, and if you can get a keyword or two naturally into your domain then go for it.
Next I ended up in the great hall for the talk on the future of search. “The mobile internet will be the next big thing in 2-5 years”, as long as the killer application comes along. So in short the mobile internet will be big when the killer application comes along. Anyone got any ideas as to what the killer app will be?
I was looking forward to the Google Adwords talks, though I was somewhat disappointed that the talks were almost the same apart from maybe 5 mins or so of content. The advanced talk didn’t really go that far, and for those even fairly acquainted with Adwords it was a case of nothing really new. Tightly themed keywords, repeat your keywords in the text and calls to action were the order of the day. Include special offers, prices, locations and specifics that set expectations.
Improving your quality score would result in paying less for your ads and raise your ad up the listings against your competitors. One other thing mentioned was to run split tests on ad campaigns. The two talks were fairly standard stuff that you would find mentioned on most marketing boards.
Next it was Keywords with RingJohn, and again nothing new. John was very dubious as to the quality and number of searches alot of these keyword suggestion tool counted. His theory was that to test the number of searches for your possible keywords, it was best to get the credit card out and run an adwords campaign. That would let you know in no uncertain terms and hopefully not break the piggybank.
Finally after a long day I decided to relax a bit in the Click Fraud talk. That was rather interesting, one of the speakers suggested that Click Fraud wasn’t that big an issue, but he had all the Google Badges and no doubt makes a handsome sum from Google advertising so I’ll take his comments with a pinch of salt.
Ghosemajumder from Google assured the listeners that Click Fraud was under control and that Google took proactive steps to lessen the impact by discounting ‘invalid clicks’ and leveling everything out. Not too sure about that but he did seem very confident and competent to his credit. Would have been nice to hear from Yahoo and their efforts to tackle the issue.
After that it was back to the bus station and back to Belfast. It was a long day that had begun in the very early hours. The traffic jam chaos had thrown me off course and next time I’ll probably learn from that and get down the night before. Neverthess it was very enjoyable, nothing grounding breaking but well worth the time and effort invested. Just to say that the venue was superb and well done to the organisers.
Oh and to the taxi man that told me the internet was shite and Irish websites were crap because he couldn’t find a spare part for his car, well he provided the entertainment!