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PubCon Part 2: Social Media & Landing Page Optimization

Part 2 of this 3-part series covers take-away points from PubCon sessions on landing page optimization, social media, Twitter for PR, and other issues. Since there were over 100 sessions at the PubCon conference we recently attended in Las Vegas, we are summarizing the points that should prove most valuable to anyone optimizing their webpage content and social media strategy for a global audience.

After reviewing this blog you may wish to review PubCon Part 1: Google’s Matt Cutts shares his SEO vision and PubCon Part 3: Google Caffeine, Keywords and Blekko.

SEO and Landing Pages Trends

Global Search Strategy

The panel of experts for this forum made several sensible recommendations to improve your search results for content in multiple languages:

  • Don’t simply translated English keywords, ensure that locale issues and meaning are addressed.
  • For keywords, consider pluralized and singular inflected versions.
  • Include keywords with commonly dropped accents, common misspellings and broken compounds.
  • Be sure to consider dialects and linguistically diverse terminology.
  • Be sure to use native speakers who reside in the target locale when localizing keyword search terms.
  • Also make sure that local keyword search tools are used and consider the various advantages of ccTLD, subdomains and subdirectories.
Best Tactics in Landing Page Optimization

A panel of experts agreed that (a) any page on your website found by organic search is a “landing page”, (b) analytics are crucial to determine why you may have a high bounce rate on pages with high search rankings, (c) user testing may be warranted if past strategies for landing pages have failed. Recommended tools included,

Landing pages should include:

  • An area of visual interest (graphics)
  • Relevant content
  • Navigation near the bottom
  • A call to action “above the fold”, or in the first visible screen

The call to action link or button is often overlooked or not visually compelling. Note that 76% of webpage clicks occur above the fold; most website visitors only scan screens of content below the fold, rather than fully reading the content.

The “About Us” page is critical and should be peppered with relevant keywords.

Users can form an impression of your landing page (based on visuals) in as little as 50 milliseconds.

New developments from Google and other Search Engines

Optimizing for Universal and Personal Search

As of late October, Google search results are now blended with maps data, technically, Google Place results. With the new Google, organic and local search are tied together more than ever before. Greg Boser observed that 30% of sites ranking in the top ten searches are localized (place) sites.

Video SEO tips:

  • create unique pages and add targeted phrases
  • use unique URL
  • choose pages and titles carefully with:
    • descriptions
    • video tags
    • video sitemaps
    • easy optimization of video content

Image SEO tips:

  • use keyword rich image file names
  • use Alt text
  • surround images with keywords
  • use targeted keyword in web page URL
  • use keyword rich captions
  • use jpeg and gifs with good quality
  • use an Image sitemap

Tips for Optimizing Twitter and Social Media

Twitter: Targeting Retweets and Influentials

Brett Tabke (@btabke), the founder of PubCon, gave an intriguing case study on how PubCon pumped up conference attendance in the midst of the 2008 financial meltdown, when nobody was signing up for conferences. PubCon targeted key “influencers” on Twitter, and got them to provide “credibility” for the conference, because the influencers were attending. Just 10 Twitter influencers were responsible for over 250 attendees signing up one month before the conference. Tweets and word of mouth for the 2008 PubCon were so successful that over 700 attendees signed up for PubCon 09 by late January 2009. (Note: attendance at PubCon 2010 was estimated to be over 2,000).

Take away message: leverage your trusted sources, who can provide you with credibility to influence your consumers.

Tracking your Tweets and followers — Tabke recommends the following Twitter tracking tools:

Science of Social Media Marketing

Dan Zarella, Viral Marketing Scientist for shared a number of do’s and don’ts for Twitter:

  • having no personal photo will limit your followers
    (it is very difficult to get followers for an “unbranded” company logo image)
  • talking only about yourself (e.g. limit Tweets to corporate announcements) will also limit and lose followers
  • Tweets to individuals can also increase following
  • find and target your influencers on Twitter

Reputation: Tweet information that will help your followers look smart or “cool” when they Retweet (e.g. fresh content.)

Twitter and Social Media from the PR Experts

New media Public Relations mavens shared tips and success stories for using Twitter and social media to propel your marketing message. One speaker noted that “if you are not talking on-line now, you will be shouting at the wind later.”

Twitter Tips: Think of Twitter as your PR feed. Limit Tweets to 120 characters, so there is room for “RT @xxxx”, letting followers retweet and give you credit.

Many journalists do research on Twitter, so it is a great way to create awareness around your “story”. If you are attempting to get your message into traditional news media, 84% of journalists still prefer email pitches, although 58% of them are using Twitter.

When scheduling Tweets (via Tweetdeck or Hootsuite), keep messages relevant, and don’t schedule them too close together. A retweet of your Twitter message with a URL in it is the quickest way to get indexed by Google; retweets with URLs are index in about 80 seconds.

Real World Winning Tactics for Content Creation and Marketing

Panelists shared strategy for creating content, from blogs to landing pages, optimized for high search rankings. All speakers emphasized that you should research to find what topics users are interested in. Use Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn, Facebook to see what people are talking about. Then, create your content around the issues that users are discussing in those forums.

Make sure that your content adds to the user conversation by being unique, informative, entertaining and relevant. Buyers are seeking content that will make them smarter. Video and infographics both make your content more compelling, likely to be shared and dramatically increase your search rankings. Don’t forget that older content can be reused if it is refreshed and distributed through a different channel of social media.

Good distribution channels for your content are: case studies, community forums, eBooks, eNewsletters, online Quizzes, podcasts and traditional white papers. Find out who your customers are and where they come from; discover their pain points and write about solutions. Create a customer “persona” and visualize that persona while you write blogs or other content.

Create a schedule for content creation and review it (like a journalist). When extracting information from internal subject matter experts (SMEs), make sure that those stakeholders are aware of how critical your content deadline and marketing missions are.

Content Creation Hints: Submit a brief, one paragraph blog posts to social media sites (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook), promoting your main, corporate blog, when relevant. A cool tool to use is PIXELPIPE, to connect all related blogs and video with social network sites.