Measuring SEO, Create a Content Strategy, and Retargeting 1

I recently attended SES London and spoke on Understanding User Behavior & Increasing Site Stickiness for transactional travel websites. In addition to reviewing the slides, you can read the article I wrote for Search Engine Watch that explains the concepts shown in the presentation. It was a great experience and time well spent.

While I was there, I was able to learn from thought leaders in the SEO industry. Even if you aren’t an online marketing geek like me, there was a lot of great information that can help anyone market and optimize their sites more effectively. It’s impossible to cover everything, but below are three notable topics that I felt were especially relevant to EAN affiliates.

How are you measuring SEO? Look beyond traffic and measure economic impact

Success in SEO has traditionally been measured by increases in organic traffic and rankings. If you’ve worked with an SEO agency, or did the work yourself, those are likely the metrics that were used to gauge the success of the efforts. However, how do you know if those efforts resulted in an increase in revenue and profit? That’s why it’s essential to look beyond traffic and rankings to get an idea of how much return you are seeing on your investment in SEO.

Kevin Gibbons of SEOptimise (@seoptimise) presented on Meaningful SEO Metrics. I liked how he created a simple process that measures SEO like Paid Search (PPC). He created charts like these to put a value on the incoming organic traffic and along with the revenue received:


Organic Visits in February

Avg PPC Cost Per Click

Media Value

Hotels in Los Angeles




Spa Hotels




Extended Stay Hotels






Organic Visits in February

Avg Booked Rate


Conversion Rate


Hotels in Los Angeles






Spa Hotels






Extended Stay Hotels







Just by using charts like these, you can measure how profitable organic search is for you today. You can now answer questions like: Are you making money from your SEO efforts? Is your agency providing an acceptable return on your investment? Should you invest more in SEO?

However, this is just the beginning of understanding the true return of your SEO efforts. To get even better analysis, I highly recommend reading Kevin’s full presentation. There you will learn to go beyond how you are doing today and how to measure your can perform in the future. You will be able to analyze your competitors’ performance, measure growth potential in organic search, and have the necessary data to create an actionable project plan to get there.

Create an Optimized Content Marketing Strategy

I believe the biggest area of opportunity for our affiliates comes from the benefits of creating good content. To be more specific, it comes from writing valuable, interesting, unique, and actionable content. Good

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content accomplishes many things including establishing your niche, building links, improving your social presence, and even increasing conversion.

Krista LaRiviere of gShift Labs (@gShiftLabs) spoke about how having a content strategy is crucial to succeeding in social media.

Krista approximates that 8-10% of Google and Bing’s search algorithms come from social signals, and predicts that’s only going to grow as the gap between social and search continues to narrow. This means if you are not actively participating and building your network on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Youtube your site is already losing relevancy.

Having a content strategy should be a top priority and this is why:

1. Your buyers research on the web. If your content reaches them during this process then it gives you a much greater chance in earning their business.

2. Content gives you the opportunity to become an authority. If your site’s niche is hotels in Japan, then it would be to your advantage
to become the authority for hotels in Japan.

3. Good content levels the playing field. Your site may have less traffic than your competitors, but if you can write better content and do a better job of reaching the right people then you will have a competitive advantage.

4. A good content strategy will never go out of style. Google will never penalize you for writing fresh, relevant, and optimized content. Even better, Google will reward you for having fresh content.

You can read more on this subject from Krista by reading her blog article on Why an Optimized Content Strategy is Crucial for Social & Search.

Have you considered retargeting?

As PPC gets more competitive and less profitable, it’s important to look for additional streams of revenue.

Retargeting is another way to advertise online, but instead focuses on bringing the customer back to your site after they left. This is how it works:

1. A user visits your site and receives a tracking cookie

2. The user leaves your site and visits other sites

3. A banner ad shows on those other sites reminding the user about your website

4. The user clicks on those ads and returns to your site

Retargeting can be especially effective in the travel space since the user is unlikely to book while they are in the research phase. Having a retargeting campaign will remind the user about your site and hopefully bring them back so you can get the transaction.

Guy Levine of Return on Digital (@returnondigital) gave an easy to understand presentation on Google Remarketing.

He goes into more detail in how retargeting works, what your options are in getting started, and what you need to know to be successful, including these tips:

1. Start building your remarketing lists now even if you don’t plan to remarket right away (if you drop the cookies on your users computers today then you will have a larger audience to remarket to once you decide to start).

2. Use several creative designs so you don’t upset your audience by using the same ad over and over again.

3. Cap the amount of times a customer sees your ads to avoid over-exposure.

4. Create ads with a low call-to-action in order to

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build branding (works best on a cost-per-click model like Google Remarketing).

5. Build a stronger social following by remarketing visitors to your Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ page. This will give you the chance to engage with the user over a longer period.

As you can see, there was a lot of great information at SES London! Which of these areas do you see benefiting your business in 2012 and beyond?


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