Tech Archive

IPN Searchfest 2005 Summary

{memo for the boss that I composed}


This event was a bit smaller than expected, but the material presented was excellent and current. Blake Vawter joined me, and we later met up with John Tompson from eCampus as well. Blake and I were in the midst of a budget adjustment related conversation with Admissions in reference to SEM, so it was very timely to be able to attend this event when we did.

The seminar focus was to introduce and reinforce SEM/SEO strategies and execution. MSN was on hand to talk about their new online search marketing engine, and the seminar was hosted by Anvil Media in Portland. Anvil is an SEO/SEM/Pay-per-click specialist and was the recognized expert at the event.

Anvil Keynote Address

Kent Lewis, Anvil founder, opened the day with a barrage of statistics, hints, and advice:

  • Organic search results are those which are displayed in order according to search engine algorithm. Paid placement ads are a direct result of paid placement bidding.
  • Fortune 500 companies spend only 6% on online advertising vs. other media advertising.
  • The average user spends only 6.5 second analyzing a search results page before moving on. Very important to have your site above the fold in result listings.
  • Top 3 results returned are perceived as market leaders.
  • Only 50% of users notice paid placement advertising.
  • 50% have no idea that they’re paid placement links.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can cost any where from .10 per click to over $2. Currently lawyers are paying over $2 per click for people searching on Mesothelioma, a chronic disease developed by overexposure to asbestos.
  • SEM leads customer acquisition costs across channels: $8.50 vs. $20 Yellow Pages, $50 banners, $60 email, $70 Direct Mail
  • New area of SEM: International Marketing
  • Yahoo can serve up content/ads based on registration information and account history.
  • The next evolution in the web evolution is what Kent described as democratic content. Content that others recommend as being that of the best, or authoritative content. (Previous evolutions were content that was found based on links between sites. The next evolutionary step was search based content. Next is that of online communities.)
  • Kent said that Google is adding lots of search engine features because Yahoo was actually pulling ahead with it’s feature suite.

Winning SEO Methods – Stanford David, Straight On Internet Consulting

Stan is a one man show SEO consultant in the Portland area. His presentation was about 70% familiar. Here’s new information I gained from his presentation:

  • He strongly suggested for a low cost, first starting place for Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) analysis. As little as $7-8 to user per day. $250 for a year membership.
  • New sitemap technique emerging that is structured via XML.
  • Integrate a sitemap link into a custom 404 message. Helps search engine try to determine new location of page it had indexed.

PPC Strategies and Tactics – Hallie Jannssen, Anvil Media

An excellent introduction into what PPC is all about.

  • A/B landing page testing. Swapping a landing page with another for a period of time and examining not only web analytics but where the landing page appeared in search results, as well as how well it was received.
  • Buying competitor’s keywords and search terms to ensure you always appear higher in the listings, locking out their organic search opportunities. {I thought of the keyword ‘OSU’ immediately}
  • MSN’s upcoming online placement advertising will allow demographic targeting based on information harvested from Microsoft Passport accounts, Hotmail accounts, etc…
  • Part of the MSN advertising service will include Site Analyzer, which provides the analysis of your site versus your competitors and identifies keywords, SEO opportunities, etc…
  • Day Parting – Allows for greater utilization of online advertising dollars by limiting advertising to be displayed/utilized during specific time periods (days, months, hours) to avoid paying when you visitors aren’t likely to be searching.
  • Second tier search engines can provide very low PPC rates while giving the advertiser time to fine tune the paid placement campaign.
  • Geographic targeting available from Yahoo and Google only currently.
  • Negative keywords: Portland Oregon vs. Portland Maine.
  • Dynamic keyword search can be provided by major search engine, which adjust your keywords based on the search input! Frequently used for eBay listing currently.
  • Signing up for Google’s Quick Start is only $299 and they provide a full starter kit. In addition, the $299 is deployed in it’s entirety towards your online marketing budget!
  • CPM – Cost per thousand.
  • Bid Management – Desire #1 position, but can only afford X. Ad will be placed in best location at time when higher bidders aren’t being displayed.

SEO for a World-Wide Web – Steve Kemper, Ion Global

Ion global is a web services firm focused on internationalization. A very good presentation about being successful in a global website venture, with specific code suggestion strategies. The presentation was largely based on international web practices, but did prompt thought about our own international site and how we could apply these techniques.

Best Practices Panel

All the presenters, as well as a few quick testimonial speakers, were asked to assemble for an open forum of questions and answers:

  • Marqui is a Canadian online marketing firm that decided to change it’s name when it established it’s US firm. They used blogs to spread the word about their company, paying bloggers $800 a month to say whatever they wanted to for 20 months, just as long as they talked about Marqui. And naturally, people spoke their mind. This caused an enormous buzz about the company and it catapulted them to the forefront of the industry. Furthermore, once it was exposed as an obvious abuse of blogging popularity, they were at first blasted for their underhandedness. Now it’s being seen throughout the industry as a stroke of genius.
  • Rather than just present information, make the topic and content available for discussion. An emerging trend in all popular websites and services.
  • Tagging – linking content, media, objects with meta data that identifies it. Making media available with your tags attached.
  • Google Juice – something that is hot and fast moving on
  • Podcasting was discussed as something that is a must have if you have an audience members predominantly under 35 years of age.
  • Business Blogs:
  • Establish leadership (perceived or otherwise).
  • Engagement.
  • Not necessarily blogging about the product, but about the industry as one of it’s leaders.
  • Humanizes the entity.
  • Blog are indexed more frequently.

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