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5 Action Items from SES San Francisco

August 30, 2010

You know what it’s like: You go to a good conference and you soak up all of these great ideas, information and tips that you just can’t wait to jump on as soon as you get back into the office. Then reality hits, and it’s back to the grindstone of cube life and catching up on all those Emails that have piled up during your time out.

One valuable lesson I’ve learned is not to let the day-to-day slog get in the way of moving things forward. Give yourself a week to catch up, then start putting those ideas into action whilst it is still fresh in your mind: Make an action list and chip away at them.

Here’s my to do list from SES San Francisco that I’ll be working on now that my inbox is (sort of) under control:

1. Scale Up SEO

SEO needs more than one part-time person to do well. Focusing on just the “fat head” of searches and other low hanging fruit is just not good enough when 20-25% of all Google searches are unique, and the tail continues to get longer.

The first step in taking SEO seriously is to invest in at least one full-time dedicated SEO resource in order to:

  • Expand out your keyword set
  • Conduct pro-active site audits
  • Provide ongoing education and training to your content providers
  • Secure dollars and resources focused on building out content and links
  • Give SEO the time and love it deserves

Use the information you learned to put together a business case and fight for that extra resource. Now is great timing for those companies who work by calendar year since the planning process for next year is about to begin (if it hasn’t already). Make sure you get in there early and support your case with numbers that speak to missed opportunity.

2. Focus on Video SEO

When Rand says that video is the most underserved area in the the SERP, you act on it. For me, this was a huge take-away. Video is your best bet in ranking high in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and pushing others below the fold – particularly for those really competitive keywords that are difficult to rank high for.

Get together with your content creators now, and work your SEO magic to build out your content and optimize video for the search engines.

3. Data, Data Everywhere

The saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” but without a good data analyst, you can’t act on it. Whilst high level data is pretty, it’s not immediately actionable. So it’s time to take that “big picture” data, slice away at it, and drill down into actionable details.

Just like SEO, this is not a part-time job. For me, Eric Peterson put it best at SearchFest 2010: Data doesn’t analyze itself. You need people. The question is not “Do we need…?”, but “How many…?”.

4. Content is King, but UGC Rules

If you’ve shied away from User-Generated Content (UGC) in the past, it’s time to get your bum in gear. UGC helps strengthen your SEO performance by keeping content fresh. Swanson Health Products saw a 163% increase in search traffic from user comments. UGC is also great at helping to capture those long-tail searches, even the really obscure ones.

In addition, it works wonders where your online store is involved. It helps to:

  • Increase conversion
  • Increase average order value
  • Reduce returns

So get with the program: UCG is no longer an option.

5. Don’t Forget About Onsite Search

When someone tells me to improve conversion, many things come to mind: strong call-to-actions; big, promotional buttons; shorter forms; targeted dialogs; headline and copy testing; bribes… the list goes on. I guess my point is, onsite search is not the first thing I think of when it comes to conversion. Big mistake.

Search (be it organic, paid, or internal/onsite) is an online shopper’s best friend, so it’s important to get right. 42% of online buyers say that the first thing they do when they get to an e-commerce site is to type the product name or category directly into the site search box. Therefore, you need to make sure that your onsite search results are helping (not hindering) the buyer:

  • Have no dead ends
  • Show just enough
  • Provide search suggestions
  • Use synonyms and misspellings
  • Keep it simple

From → Search Marketing

  1. Simon Pickles permalink

    Thanks for the tips. Video is the future.

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