I was recently at an all day search conference. Most of the speakers were broken out into social media, natural search, paid search and analytics. What struck me was how the information was broken down and delivered for each of these subjects.
Social Media – The Rock God
There is no doubt the world and indeed marketers have gone crazy over social media. This has spread through sites like Myspace, LinkedIN, Bebo and for the most part Facebook. Each social network has provided new spaces where you can gain access to your target market and ease drop on them like never before. The huge interest in Twitter has only added to this frenzy. There is also no doubt that Social Media has a lot more rock like qualities going for it. The talks on this were “cool”, centered around lots of sexy buzz words, campaigns and new web applications. The speakers were extremely confident, funny, informative and delivered strong presentations. There was a lot of new information presented because social media is spreading so fast.
Natural Search / Paid Search
The talks on natural search and paid search were disappointing. They were the ABC of search. For the most part they discussed well written titles, putting descriptive text in alt tags and doing the “best practise” type of stuff. They were delivered in a pretty standand manner i.e. top benifits of search, mistakes made in search kind of stuff. It was really as if search was social media’s boring uncle who really didn’t have much to say or at least anything new. He is still talking about what it used to be like back in his day and hasn’t attempted to move on.
All but one of the analytic talks was basic information. How to set up a report, how to look at a report, how to print out a report etc etc. The talks were basic and presentations were basic. It made analytics seem like a chore. This was the grandad of the group. He started to speak about his interests and the room fell asleep, longing to be with the young crazy social media guy who was setting the next room alight.
Although it must be noted I did not see all presentations on search, social media or analytics. Those I attended seemed to follow this routine.
It may be true that search / analytics does not change as much as social media or present such interesting data. But the method in which these are used in conjuction with each other do provide huge opportunitues and in some respects a lot more opportunitues than through social media. Search + Good Analytics + Landing Page Optimization can give you huge results in any campaign you are running. In a lot of cases it’s not about getting more traffic, it’s about optimising the traffic you already have.
There are huge possibilities when you take a more holistic approach to how these tools are used. PPC is one of the best research tools available when fine tuning your organic campaign and looking to optimise your landing pages / conversion funnel. It allows you to throw a much large net out to attract a large portion of your target market and fine tune your site until you are getting optimium results. This is also providing you with great usability data on your site. In Google Analytics you can segment your users and watch how they travel around your site. Look to see what areas they find the most important, what goals they convert on and how long they stick around. All of this information is priceless when it comes to choosing what keywords to select for your organic campaign.
This is a little bit of a rant. But really information around search + analytics needs to move on from what was being discussed 10 years ago. If people are not tagging their title page, then maybe there is no hope for them. There is lots of exciting things to discuss when we look at the whole package, Traffic Optimisation, rather than each one in isolation.
So perharps your company does not need a facebook page, bebo page, or to twitter its life away, perharps it simpy needs to do better with the traffic its already getting or fine tune the process …