SEMPO Atlanta Educational Event at Emory

SEMPO Atlanta held its first education event on Friday with four acclaimed, internationally recognized leaders from the online disciplines of Paid Search, SEO, Analytics and Social Media.  This was the first event of its kind in the Atlanta area, and the attendees were highly engaged and enthusiastic.  Search Discovery is a proud sponsor of Sempo Atlanta.

The first speaker was David Szetela from Clix Marketing.  David’s strongest recommendation for Google AdWords is to test out the conversion optimizer.  Within the advanced options, you can set targeted CPA bids, as opposed to maximum CPA bids, which will allow for better optimization.  He was sure to point out that you should not judge the performance of a campaign using the CPA optimizer with only a week’s data.  It takes several weeks for the engine to build up data and utilize the power of the algorithm to maximize conversions.  David also focused on tactics such as retargeting, display network strategies, and segmenting users on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Stephan Spencer of Covario spoke next about a wide array of SEO tactics and shared some ideas and nuances that were both compelling and thought provoking.  Stephan first took a look into some conventional wisdom of keyword research and how companies often target the industry level vernacular instead of the search terms that actual customers might use.  Simply changing keyword focus can have a great affect on SEO success and the acquisition of quality traffic.

Another point Stephen made was that PPC is a great way to test for SEO.  PPC campaigns can be created in minutes and are a great way to test the conversion rate or validity of keywords before the effort is made to build out SEO content around a new set of keywords.

One of the most interesting arguments Stephen made ran counter to some conventional wisdom that has been touted over the years at Search Engine Conferences.  It has been stated over the years that when PPC and SEO are both present in SERPs, that overall click through rates and conversions increase as users gain “trust” in a website based on the double reinforcement.  Stephen says that taking away PPC will actually increase the clicks to the single SEO link in SERPs.

Matt Bailey of Site Logic was next and he offered a humorous, compelling look into Analytics.  He shared many ways in which most companies fail to properly use Analytics information.  Right off the bat, Matt took a jab at the typical dashboard view of Analytics software.  Because these pretty dashboards appear on the default page of the Analytics program, it is assumed by most to be the most important data points.

Matt pointed out that the default view of Analytics programs is an aggregate and (wrongly) assumes that every visitor is just like every other visitor.  He stressed that segmenting data was the only way to understand the behavior of real groups of people.  Understanding how specific groups of searchers behave allows a clear story to be told.  At the end of the day, Analytics should help business owners understand how to make more money.

Matt used the “red shirt phenomenon” in Star Trek to illustrate his story.  In Star Trek (the Captain Kirk version) people who had on a red Star Fleet outfit (as opposed to blue or gold) always seem to get killed.  Understanding the “why” took some segmentation and Matt apparently took a deep dive into every Star Trek episode to better understand the data.  No judgment here.  Apparently, Star Fleet personnel who beamed down to an alien planet with the Captain and had on a red shirt had over a 50% chance of getting killed, unless Kirk developed a relationship with a lady on said alien planet.  Under those conditions, the chances of getting killed (converted) decreased to 16%.

Personally, I much prefer Captain Piccard and the Enterprise, but the point of the illustration was that segmenting the different conditions in which website users visit (where did they come from, what was their query, etc) is the only way to find actionable data.  It is actionable data, after all, that creates the means to make more money.  And making more money is the reason Analytics exists in the first place.

Adam Proehl of Nordic Click Interactive was the last speaker and really took a deep dive into Social Media and shared some ways to begin to measure the impact of Social Media campaigns.  He discussed the reasons why people bother to become fans of corporate Facebook pages – primarily discounts and promotions.  He noted that feeds that become overly active can become annoying and can be hidden with the click of a mouse.  In other words, fans are not always “engaged” fans as many simply hide a feed.

Adam also stressed that Social Media should not be put in a “silo” but should be integrated with other divisions within the organization – Marketing, SEO, Email Marketing, etc.  When Social Media sets expectations and those expectations are not unilateral across an organization, the effort can backfire.  Adam shared over 30 different tools to measure Social Media and some of the names are Twitter Sentiment, Crowdeye, Twittrratr, Montionmap, Twilert, Tetweetist, Openbook, Itstrending, Booshaka, Kurrently, Addictomatic and many others.

The presentations were over at 12:30 and I must say that it was a great pleasure to have lunch available for those that were suffering because of their tendency to eat lunch at 11:00 am.  Many thanks and congratulations to SEMPO Atlanta.

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