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 SEOPPC 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.