Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2007
It’s been an extremely hectic week so far, and today is no exception. I’m currently sitting in a great session “Linkbaiting & Viral Search Success” – so I thought I’d give a run-down of the other sessions I’ve hit so far this week.
Monday: Long story short – missed my flight Monday morning (wasn’t entirely my fault), so I only got to see the afternoon sessions.
- Personalization, User Data & Search: Covered the trend towards personalized search results, and the impact on search engine optimization (SEO). Some takeaways:
- Excellent content from Gord Hotchkiss @ Enquiro showed that personalized search results pages caused users to scan more results from the page.
- User behavior will drive personalized search results. Stats that search engines may be paying attention to: click through, time to return to the search engine, type of query
- Personal pagerank will drive results. users will have a value assigned to them based on their search behavior, and more influential users will drive search rankings
- Group data: people with common bookmarks, search behavior, & visits to similar sites will impact rankings
- How to influence? designing for users over keywords, content & site stickiness & usefulness will matter more than ever. Getting visitors to stick around or to visit other sites via your links will help your site rank higher. You don’t want them going right back to the search engine
- Searcher behavior research update: I was hoping for lots of stats related to search engine usage, queries, etc. What I got was pretty good though.
- More proof that appearing in search results improves unaided brand recall (brand awareness & association)
- Bidding on the same terms that you have organic rankings for is useful. Study shows: 16% lift in brand recall when in top organic and sponsored listings, an 8% improvement in purchase consideration, 10% increase in purchase intent
Monday Night: First, hit the speaker networking reception on the convention center patio, then went to dinner with Scott Orth & his peeps from GTS, Matt McGee & Darcy from Marchex, Stoney DeGeyter & the PolePosition gang, David Wallace, and a few others. Despite best efforts, we tried to rally for a bar-crawl but downtown San Jose conspired against us – everything was closed, so I called it an early night.
- Ad Testing Research & Findings: introduced a lot of best practices. Too many ideas & suggestions to list here, but some quick & easy ideas: separate branded & unbranded keywords when performing your test (these searchers behave differently), test ads by match type, and again – buying ads for branded queries generally improves conversion even if they don’t drive traffic
- Images & Search Engines: great session & very useful. As search engines move towards “blended” search results & incorporate images, video etc – optimizing for image & video search results becomes much more important. There were some fantastic tips in this session – so great in fact, I couldn’t take notes fast enough. You can check out SEORoundtable.com for a transcript
- Video Search Optimization: many of the same things apply to video as images. Some great tips for optimizing video on your site, and how to leverage upload services (youtube etc) for success. Again, see SEORoundtable.com for a transcript
Tuesday Night: First, hit the networking reception in the exhibit hall. Google Dance @ the GooglePlex. Better t-shirts than last year, the food wasn’t as good, the music & activities were better. I’ll add a link to photos & video of some of the karaoke antics @ the party. After the ‘dance’, we headed to the bar @ the Fairmont Hotel which was COMPLETELY packed. It was 3:30 AM when my head hit the pillow…
Update: here’s my pictures from Google Dance on Flickr
Generally speaking, I’m pleasantly surprised at how productive I still find SES to be in terms of spurring ideas and making personal connections. I’ll hit you with another update after my session on Thursday. Wish me luck!