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Search Engine Strategies [SES Chicago Rundown (2013)]

I share some of my learnings and key take-aways from the SES Chicago conference (#SESchi). SEO, authorship, SEM / Paid search, B2B social media.

Kevin Lee, Daina Middleton, Adam Singer speaking at SES Chicago

Here I share some of my learnings and key take-aways from the SES Chicago conference (#SESchi). I tried to capture the most interesting tidbits for the sessions I attended. SEO, authorship, SEM / Paid search, B2B social media were some of my key interests for this conference.

Kevin Lee, Daina Middleton, Adam Singer speaking at SES Chicago
Kevin Lee, Daina Middleton, Adam Singer speaking at SES Chicago

Marketing and The Age of Participation [keynote]

Diana Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer, Performics

  • Consumer is participant
    • Brands should inspire participation
    • Dialogues for brands feel scary
    • Marketing through participation– mobile, real time actions are important
    • The participation way– discover (human desire for knowledge) – empower – connect with others = increased participation
    • Ads for content– this is a fair trade
    • “Nurturist” Marketer– your work starts when the campaign launches
      • Is your company nurturist friendly? What percent is test and learn? Do managers champion innovation?
      • If you see something that works, scale it
      • 30% of budget is testing and learning for progressive companies right now
      • Embrace failures in the pursuit of results
      • Innovate, don’t perfect– big mentality shift from past marketing tactics
      • We (marketers) are no longer the great persuaders
      • Persuasion marketing in its purest form is dead
      • Substitute word participant for consumer (to change the thinking)

Next Generation Paid Search: Reaching the Consumer in an Omni-Channel World

Mark Canabou, Vice President, Global Search Business, Yahoo!

  • Seen huge increase in mobile traffic
  • Search is cool again – lots of innovation based on where the users are going
  • Future of search is mobile – will be as big as PC display
  • Shopping activity is fragmenting and are more complicated
  • Super Bowl was only 20% content – ads, halftime show, and other  content made up the rest
  • Yahoo saw mobile and PC traffic spike during the superbowl
  • You must have integrated marketing
  • Review sites matter when users research purchasing decisions
  • Search still most important to complete a shopping transaction
  • Rise of native ads is important – integrated Facebook ads
  • Integrated ads perform better – 38% vs 28% for regular display ads (like on yahoo.com)
  • In-feed ads noticed as much as content
  • Will be difficult to measure ROI
  • Actions
    • Good ad copy matters – be fun, bold, up-to-date, entertaining, interactive
    • Ad extensions greatly increase engagement “super huge gains”
    • Site link extensions, call extensions, location extensions
    • Combine extensions to gain performance
    • Marriage of old and new tactics

Bill Mungoven, Director of Product Strategy, Advertising Solutions, Adobe

  • What drives search?
  • New trends
    • Infinite scroll ads (yahoo.com)
    • Convergence of paid owned, earned
    • The new super channel
    • Unified data repository – get all your data from online and offline
    • Make Analytics work for you
    • Capture device with URL parameters
    • Report on mobile vs. non mobile
    • Shopping ads– Product Listing Ads (PLAs)
      • PLAs Spike during holidays
      • PLAs perform well
      • Participate in PLAs
      • Bid at most granular level for best performance
      • Include good promotional text / ad copy
      • Email still works great as a channel
      • Last click attribution will go away – we will get smarter

SEO in the Boardroom: Leveraging Relevant Metrics

Alan K’necht, Partner, Digital Always Media, Inc.

  • Know your audience
  • Consider their needs- understand their motivations, bonuses etc.
  • Don’t throw out technical acronyms – “reduce cost per acquisition” increases their bonus
  • Keep talks simple
  • Use a treasure map – major milestones on the map, where we are, what is the goal – ROI?
  • Talk to financial department to get real ROI numbers for company investments to make comparisons. Also, the HR department can get cost per employee.
  • Be concise. Set realistic expectations. Why should they care?
  • C-suite might be skeptical. You might need data to back up your claims / presentation.

Ryan Jones, SEO Manager, SapientNitro

  • Some metrics are best left to yourself
  • C-suite does not care about technical metrics
  • Simplify reporting
  • Boss: Am I spending my money effectively?
  • Find out what your boss’s bonus metric is
  • Your job is to get to your boss promoted. Secretly they are thinking, “will this come back to bite me in the ass?”
  • Reporting: what’s the number? Analytics: what should I do?
  • Use storytelling when talking to c-suite
  • Read the room- expand on what’s catching their attention

Conversion Optimization Tricks That’ll Leave You Singing, “Danke Schoen!”

Angie Schottmuller, Director of Interactive Strategic Planning & Optimization, Three Deep Marketing

  • For every $92 spent on acquiring only $1 spent on conversions
  • How compelling are your meta descriptions?
  • Optimize your organic snippets like a paid ad.
  • Rich snippets boost CTR 20-30%
  • Use ratings and reviews | breadcrumbs rich snippets
  • Explainer videos (show how something works) boost conversion 20%
  • Caption images
  • Gather testimonials and proof
  • Google rich snippets can pull out of context information, perhaps to your benefit
  • One page, one purpose for user queries
  • Optimize font sizes for age – point size should be equal to half your target’s age
  • Plan a clear path for goal completion
  • Prove you are the best solution for a problem

Search Marketing Power Tools Set: SEO & PPC

Bob Tripathi, Founder, Instant E-Training

SEO Tools:

Matt Van Wagner, President, Find Me Faster

SEM Tools:

  • AdWords and Bing (Ads Intelligence) have great tools that improve over time
  • AdGooroo – competitive tool
  • Acquisio – bid and budget management algorithms
  • Ad Guardian – saves money when site goes down
  • AdAlysis – notifies you of statistical significance changes in AdWords

Creating Campaigns That Count: The Impact of Converged Media [keynote]

Kevin Lee, CEO, Didit | Daina Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer, Performics | Adam Singer, Analytics Advocate, Google

  • K- consumers influence, not clients
  • D- illusion of control
  • A- technology is not an excuse for bad creative
  • A- brand is becoming performance
  • D- today’s marketing environment is like gardening – must nurture
  • A- example – convert first, then market – get your processes right then generate demand
  • A- diversify sources of traffic – be safe
  • A- it’s easy to measure when you know your users – Google Universal Analytics – move from client side tracking to server side
  • A- stitch sessions together from mobile and desktop
  • A- I think social is better for B2B than B2C because of the nurturing process
  • D- you can’t go into marketing now without math skills
  • A- you need data analysis skills to be in marketing
  • A- ads are useful – the future of ads? They are invisible to the user.

Big Data Uncovered: How to Gather, Analyze, and React to New Customer Behavior

Thad Kahlow, CEO, BusinessOnline | Kevin Lee, CEO, Didit


  • Enterprise value paradigm
  • Greatest company asset – customer relationship
  • Comparison between GM and Facebook – fortunes rise and fall in short times
  • Every marketing dollar must be shown to offer value – this is the future
  • Because barriers to entry are low, customer relationships are paramount
  • Data framework
    • Close sales and marketing loop
    • Attribute success
    • Drive business outcomes
    • If you understand the buyers journey you can see 15-20% lift in sales – Forrester
    • Attribution model type – single touch / rules-based
    • Single touch assigns too much weight
    • Rules based is arbitrary
    • Setup click to chat only for high lead score / interested prospects. On average, $7 a chat
    • Company-level attribution
    • Use Demandbase to get company info via IP address
    • Predictive modeling – use to predict inventories, etc.


  • Many faces of big data
  • Big data helps to move the odds in your favor
  • Increase conversions / larger purchase / etc.
  • Google search network with display select
  • Google hummingbird is an example of Google using big data
  • Use big data to create inbound links
  • My current mantra is audience
  • Bid more based on market – higher basket amount, I can bid more. Knowing your audience gives you the edge
  • Google using personalized search – should you change your site based on this? Device, location, etc.
  • Google using structured data for paid ads: sometimes more relevant than organic results
  • Facebook graph – people volunteer data you can leverage

Rethink B2B Marketing / How to Turn B2B Social into a Lead Gen Machine

Michelle Killebrew, Program Director, Strategy & Solutions, Social Business, IBM | John Lee, Manager, Brand & Social Marketing, Webtrends


  • Personas help
  • Focus your content – meet their needs
  • Show not tell – video webinars, interactivity, sharing
  • Use pre-populated tweets to share – make it easy for your users
  • Hash tags for campaign names


  • Only 5% of brands are happy with their social
  • 6,000 tweets / second. Your content can get buried
  • Too much self-promotion – users will tune you out
  • It’s not about you
  • Plan all your steps after the first click
  • Twitter can work for lead gen
  • Twitter Lead Gen Cards
    • Tweets with photos get 3-4x clicks
    • Tweets with CTAs get 13% more clicks
    • Auto lead capture – no leaving Twitter
    • Slight problem – users don’t use corporate email address with twitter
    • Raw leads increased 996%
    • CPL decreased 500%
    • 3x ROI vs. Facebook and LinkedIn with same content
    • Put tips in the content – not “here is a new white paper”
    • Encourage immediacy
    • Be clear about how users will get their information / asset
    • 200% higher open rates on twitter lead gen cards emails to leads
    • 4x improvement in CTRs

Social Media and the C-Suite: Building a Compelling Business Case

Michelle Stinson-Ross, Director of Social Marketing, Digital Always Media | Jasmine Sandler, CEO, Agent-cy


  • Get your CEO involved in the brand voice
  • What can we do to make their life easier
  • Audience of one -CEO
  • Is your CEO concerned about maintaining the company’s reputation?
  • Demonstrate how social media can cut costs with customer service


  • Why lack of c-suite buy-in?
    • No clear ROI
    • Identify the social media team
    • Social can build brand lift
    • Measure sales from social
    • When you have leads, you can sell social media to your CEO
    • Analyze what your competitors are doing
    • $100-200k /year – social media is a real investment
    • 60% of online corporate buying decisions are influenced by the CEO brand. CEO must be involved – branding themselves helps the company

Reaching More Customers, Higher in the Search Funnel

Jordan Koene, Head of SEO & Content Development, eBay

  • Users consider 3-5 brands during the purchase process
  • How do you find users in the research phase?
  • Customers love reviews. Amazon has reviews- eBay needed to compete with them and their high rank
  • What did eBay do?
    • Create long-form content
    • eBay Guides – new creation to build content
      • Asking users to write 250 words. Big investment ask from people.
      • eBay incentivizes users to write guides
      • Internal links do make a difference for traffic
      • Reducing bounce rate will cause a rise in search ranking pages
      • Use SearchMetrics tool to gauge performance
      • Iterate on your experience – constantly change
      • Think mobile, get links

Joining the Dots: Maximizing Marketing Returns in a Socially Connected World [KeyNote]

Nick Burcher, Head of Social Media, EMEA, MediaCom

  • The world is getting less bored
  • Google searches triggered from TV watching
  • Two types of audiences- passive and active
  • Original communication model needs updating sender -> receiver
  • Feedback loop is expanding
  • APIs enabling personalization
  • Use social listening to listen to consumers
  • Patterns in the social data can help planning – “shopping” spikes on Sunday
  • Listening goals:  what – where – which – who – when- worth
  • Paid owned and earned coming together – paid boosts owned and earned
  • Super Bowl TV ad can supercharge owned and earned
  • Use paid when the time is right – but have the pump primed
  • Use hashtags and link call to action
  • Content acts as social fuel
  • Why would they care and why would they share it?
    • Bring value to others
    • Define ourselves to others
    • Grow and nourish relationships
    • Self-fulfillment
    • Get the word out about causes or brands
    • See NY Times “psychology of sharing”
    • Tell the story in different ways – use the strengths of the channel
    • Create the content calendar
      • Top-line – lists all significant POE marketing activities
      • Rolling content calendar site underneath- more detailed and more responsive
      • Create a social brand voice – be human / approachable
      • Tap into cultural moments – coke capitalizing on royal baby
      • Product placement in content – Avicii music video / Sony / Ralph Lauren
      • The challenge is getting noticed
      • Little chains pass content now – not one huge network anymore
      • Native advertising – non-interruptive – relevant – visually integrated
        • Enables quick response
        • Social and data is now in everything – always on
        • See the big picture
        • The more connected your business, the better

Author Rank: Getting the Credit You Deserve

Eric Enge, CEO, Stone Temple Consulting | Shari Thurow, Founder & SEO Director, Omni Marketing Interactive


  • You can use email address as validation for author linking with Google+ in addition to standard methods
  • Use structured data testing tool
  • Only use authorship markup for articles
  • Can increase CTR 38% – take with grain of salt
  • Google in-depth articles section will move around in the SERP
  • In-depth articles seems to be driven by PublisherRank
  • Build your authority with humans on the web
  • The company you keep matters – authority of the publisher matters to you and your article
  • Authoritative people sharing your content gives it juice


  • No authorship unless you’re not connecting to Google+ – some authors don’t care to be on Google+
  • Keywords are most important and snippet – not perceived link attractiveness
  • Keep a clear and consistent labeling system
  • Easy access
  • Validation – authoritative people connected to the content
  • Title, URL, and headings should support each other
  • Spell out your abbreviations
  • Accessibility: shortest URL, no funky characters
  • Don’t restrict access to content
  • Link to related content – like academic articles
  • You add more links to an article when you have more content
  • Huffington post archives a good model for archiving content – pagination, snippets
  • Link development still best vs. social signals
  • Authorship can negatively affect rankings – it’s markup and at this time does not factor into the Google search algorithm
  • Be the expert – people can sniff out fakers

Mobile Targeting: Using the Right Aggregate Data to Reach Your Target Audience

Lauren Moores, VP of Analytics, Dstillery | Ambrish Verma, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft


  • Mobile is like display for search
  • 59% of smartphone users made at least 1 purchase
  • Location can create context
  • Creative – audience segmentation
  • Segmentation
    • People who travel to airports
    • Time of day, etc.
    • Use location for intent
    • Local search
    • Change content and messaging based on location
    • Find a segmentation and scale it – use cross-channel
    • Visualization – create heat maps to better understand the data


  • Mobile is driving discovery and decisions
  • 84% of mobile users use phone in store to make decisions
  • Categories drive mobile searches – some more, some less
  • Mobile users looking to save time money and hassle– but the users offer more
  • Device targeting – segment devices – they are different
  • Click-to-call drives higher engagement
  • Site link extensions provide ease of task completion
    • Shorten conversion funnel

Using Social PPC Content Distribution to Dominate

Marty Weintraub, Founder & Evangelist, aimClear

  • Targeting is not the problem anymore
  • Psychographic targeting / human life cycles for deeper funnel entry
  • Want: insulation from harsh SEO updates
  • Content is many things – Facebook post / Twitter post / Etc. – you can link build for these because they have public URLs for the content
  • Content and distribution are two different things
  • Conversion, SEO, friendship – what we want from content
  • Paid organic amplification
    • Amplify what works organically
  • Facebook ads can be very effective when highly targeted with good content
  • Psychographic – interests, cultural, tech, heart & soul
  • Drive traffic to Google+ page to get SEO benefit from friends of your target

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