This week’s show is dedicated to behavioral targeting and how the technology is changing the search industry as we know it. Bruce, Susan and Virginia start off the show by looking at how behavioral search may decrease the importance of rankings as the prime metric of successful SEO campaigns, a prediction Bruce shared in an interview with Ralph Wilson. Bruce makes the point that if 50 people search for the same query and everyone gets different results through behavioral search, rankings can no longer be a metric for SEO success.
Virginia then interviews Debby Richman, senior vice president at Collarity, a community-based search technology company. Debby breaks behavioral targeting down into three areas: ads, search, and recommended links. She explains that through Collarity, site owners can see users’ behavior grouped in anonymous buckets segmented by their usage patterns on the site. Information about those users’ behavior on other sites is not reported as it is not highly relevant.
Then Susan and Virginia discuss how to leverage behavioral targeting on your site. Through self-segmentation, you can improve conversions by giving the user what they want. Segmentation encourages engagement, provides opportunities to offer more focused content, and helps with market research. If you do chose to implement behavioral targeting, it’s important to remember that success takes time and that the different media of your online marketing campaign must work together.
Show archive of September, 2008
Visiting the Bruce Clay, Inc. offices, Kevin Ryan, global content director for Search Engine Strategies and Search Engine Watch, sits down with Bruce for a conversation about highlights and lessons from SES San Jose, speaker submissions for SES Chicago, and upcoming webcasts on Search Engine Watch. Kevin also explains how the Orion panels cover high-level strategies, which help in gaining buy in from the top levels of a company.
Susan, Virginia and Michael use Kevin and Bruce’s conversation as a springboard to discuss the difference between strategy and tactics. While strategy is the overall plan devised to achieve a business goal, tactics are the tools used to perform the strategy. Susan uses the analogy of a battle, saying that if the goal is to win the war, the strategy is to send troops, and the tactics include parachuting down soldiers. Strategy is most often overlooked, even though the success of tactics may depend on a sound strategy.
Then the group takes a look at the issue of net neutrality. Net neutrality refers to the claim that everything on the Web (email, videos, Web pages) should be treated equally. Net neutrality advocates argue that ISPs should not be able to degrade or block any content or access to it on the Web. Net neutrality detractors argue that ISPs should be able to manage the Web content as the providers of Internet infrastructure. An instance of where the net neutrality debate is playing out in real life can be seen in the case of ComCast’s blocking of torrent seeding. The little-known issue of net neutrality legislation could have far-reaching effects that include changes in the way the Internet is accessed, how fast it will be, who will have access and what can be accessed.
Google has released its open-source browser, Chrome, to public beta. The quick and streamlined browser got a lot of attention and also raised concerns about privacy and search engine bias. Bruce and Susan take a look at how browsers’ default settings and history storing can impact searcher behavior and affect marketers’ SEO efforts.
Then Virginia talks to Vanessa Fox, best known for her role in developing Google Webmaster Central and expanding the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Vanessa is also author of the blog Vanessa Fox. Nude. and is part of the team behind Jane and Robot. At Jane and Robot, Vanessa writes about the intersection of Web developer issues and SEO. She talks to Virginia about what developers need to remember about Google’s new Flash crawling ability, as well as her thoughts about redirecting the black hat/white hat debate. She also explains what she’s doing to help coordinate developer sessions at SMX East.
Susan and Virginia then discuss the various search engines’ webmaster guidelines in more detail. Along with the search engines’ published guidelines, search engine official blogs, forums and conference coverage also provide excellent sources which clarify and provide further explanation of the intentions and recommendations. Another helpful resource is Feed the Bot, for its straightforward break-down of Google’s guidelines, complete with definitions and examples that shed light on any jargon.
Bruce, Susan and Virginia start off the show with a look at the recent search headlines. Not surprising, most of the news revolves around Google. The country’s number one search engine gained search share in July, according to comScore, and also took the top spot for customer satisfaction in the search and portal category for the American Customer Satisfaction Index. This month, Google also added an Enhance 404 feature to Webmaster Central and changed the calculation for Adwords Quality Score.
Virginia then talks to David Snyder, Search Specialist at JRDunn.com and co-founder of Search and Social. At SES San Jose, David was on two social media focused panels. On the show he shares his tips for where companies should focus their visibility efforts and how to monitor your reputation online. He is currently planning the upcoming Scary SEO mini-conference in Florida.
Following up on David’s social media pointers, Susan and Virginia talk about what individuals and companies alike should be doing to manage their online reputation. The best defense against negative Web content about your brand is a good offense. Provide the best possible customer service and attend to customers’ issues as they arise. If you still find yourself battling negative search results showing up for your brand, create new content to push the negative results from the front page.