5 Impactful Digital Marketing Takeaways from MNSearch Summit


In order to be an effective digital marketer, it’s imperative that you understand the role that search plays in all of your marketing initiatives. The search landscape is quickly evolving and sometimes what you need is a helping hand from some industry experts to set you down the path to success.

Amazingly, that is just what we experienced at this years MNSearch Summit. Alexis Hall, Evan Prokop, Joel Carlson, Kat Steiner and I took a leap across the river into St. Paul Minnesota for a day filled with actionable information that can be used to improve any digital marketing program.

If you were not able to attend, or maybe didn’t get to see all of the sessions that you would have liked, we’ve provided a helpful roundup of 5 of the takeaways that we believed were most impactful for digital marketers.

Video Interview: Dave Roth of Yahoo

Dave Roth works as Director of Search Marketing at Yahoo. That means Dave is a Search Engine Marketer that works for a search engine. I’ve known Dave for several years and we finally decided to do a video interview. Watch the interview below to learn what a search marketer that works for a search engine does, especially the challenges and opportunities in communications on search marketing performance in a large company.

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Of course, we couldn’t talk to someone like Dave at Yahoo without mentioning the transition of search results to Bing over on the Yahoo site. What does this mean for SEO? What does it mean for Paid Search?  What’s the fate of Site Explorer and where does it fit within Bing Webmaster Tools? Is SEO good or bad for search engines? How much of a signal does social media provide search engines? We discuss these topics and more.

5 Online Marketing Resolutions for 2010

We may already be a week into 2010, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to starting making resolutions.

Resolve to give your online marketing efforts a boost this year by recognizing areas for improvement and putting in place a plan to make positive changes.

To help you get started, TopRank Online Marketing has come up with New Year’s resolutions for 5 different online marketing channels: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media, Email Marketing, Pay-Per-Click and Mobile Marketing.

When is PPC Better Than SEO for Public Relations?

SEO tips for PRWhen search engine marketing enters the conversation in PR circles and vice versa, it’s usually search engine optimization, not pay per click that gets attention. However, there are numerous opportunities to use the on-demand visibility of Pay Per Click as a method to attract visitors to news related content.

nytimes ppc spyfu

Publishers of online news and media use Pay Per Click to create instant search visibility for hot and trending news stories. Here’s an example of the NY Times using AdWords to promote a story about Twitter.  You can also see from this screenshot via Spyfu, some of the topical and time sensitive keyword phrases they’ve bid on to drive traffic to news stories.

SES San Jose: Ads in a Quality Score World

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“Quality over quantity” applies to almost everything we encounter, from the foods we eat to the people we interact with. It certainly applies to pay-per-click ads, in which the quality of your campaigns, from keywords to ads to landing pages, takes precedence over the quantity of money you bid. Your keyword quality scores can be either a barrier of entry to ad rankings or your free pass to the head of the line. This session explores everything quality score, from what affects your score to how to improve it.

Dana Todd, CMO of Newsforce, directed a panel of four industry leaders in quality score, who take the discussion from the basics to detailed, actionable advice.

The Basics of Quality Score

SES San Jose: Search Advertising 101

Search Advertising 101

When performing a search on Google, there are two different types of results that show up: the organic listings and the paid, or sponsored, listings. Organically ranked sites are those which Google finds most relevant for that search query. The paid listings show up because an advertiser is paying money to be ranked that highly for those phrases. When a searcher clicks on one of those listings, the advertiser is charged the cost per click price for that ranking, so hopefully the searcher will convert into a sale for that advertiser.

But what if you don’t know anything about search advertising or setting up a pay per click campaign? What are the best practices behind PPC? And how do you track conversions? This session at the end of Day 2 of SES San Jose goes over the basics of search advertising and how to implement it for success.

5 Tips for Driving Qualified Traffic With Online Marketing

[Note from Lee: Please welcome Ashley Bruce, the newest member of TopRank’s Online Promotions team who is making her first blog post at Online Marketing Blog with this Lionel Richie inspired post about improving  qualified traffic through online marketing tips.]

Internet marketers often have to get creative when it comes to solving client web site traffic and sales problems. Inspiration from friends and family, movies, or even the smooth sounds of the local adult contemporary radio station can be useful.

Take this longstanding frustration: Online marketing efforts can sometimes produce an increase in website traffic that is not accompanied by a corresponding increase in conversions. While more traffic is almost always positive, it does little good if the majority of site visitors aren’t seriously interested in the products or services being promoted.

Top Ten Online Marketing Tactics

Online Marketing Tactics

Earlier this week we started a poll on what online marketing tactics our readers would use most in 2008. The polling plug-in allows for only one choice and over 100 people have responded so far. We’ll keep the poll running for another week or so, but here are the top ten tactics rankings so far out of 35 listed and the percentage of votes for each.

With the vote count at over 150, I’ve updated the top ten as of 02/13/08:

  • Blogging (27%)
  • Email marketing (16%)
  • Search engine optimization (14%)
  • Pay per click (9%)
  • Social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn) (5%)
  • Blogger relations (4%)
  • Online public relations (3%)
  • Viral marketing (3%)
  • Free content (white papers) (3%)
  • Corporate web site (3%)

SES Session: Managing PPC For Multiple Clients

Managing Multiple PPC Accounts at SES Chicago

“Managing PPC for Multiple Clients” had for me the pleasure of being a “slow-burn” of a session at SES Chicago.

For those unfamiliar with a term I may or may not have created, it means that it did not leave an immediately strong impression on me, until I later was fortunate enough to review the notes I had taken.

The session, moderated by the always exceptional Kevin Ryan featured a panel of:

  • Joe Rosza, President of SEO Columbus
  • Matt Naeger, VP & General Counsel for Impaqt
  • Christopher Upkes, Director of Agency Business Development for Adapt Technologies
  • Craig Macdonald, VP of Marketing for Alliances & Product Management

So what was is it that resonated with me most about this session upon further reflection?

Reader Poll: Best SEM Email Discussion Lists

reader poll

Threaded email discussion lists are a bit old school communications in contrast to the rise in popularity of blogs and RSS. However, there are several of these channels that serve as a sort of digital watering hole for some of the most experienced search marketers who dispel invaluable insights.

For large segments of the internet community, email remains a preferred discussion tool. The platforms most often used for such lists these days seem to be Google Groups and Yahoo Groups.

One of the best known and now out of commission lists was the I-Search Discussion List, which I’ve written about before. In fact, there are remnants of the I-Search list in at least three of the discussion lists in this week’s poll, which hopes to both find out what lists OMB readers prefer as well as draw attention to some great sources of search marketing information.

The Lame PPC and SEO Debate

In yesterday’s interview with Andy Beal, I made reference to comments in a DM News article that cited SEO as on the way out and that SEO is “simple”, positioning PPC as “better” etc. Andy’s response, which I think was not entirely without a sense of humor, invited an interesting response from Richard Ball.

You don’t have to look far to find commentary about PPC vs SEO, some good humor and lively debate.

In a recent article on ClickZ, “Think Organic, Act Paid” Kevin Lee, whom I know and respect as a marketer, talks about how he thinks PPC results will eventually become more relevant than organic results. (Good luck with that) He also makes this interesting comment, “SEO spammers don’t care if they manage to get a high position for keywords and keywords phrases that are less than perfectly relevant…”. I was actually surprised to see the only reference made about SEOs was in combination with the word “spammer”. His position is pretty clear.

Yahoo Panama – Interview with John Slade of Yahoo!

Spotlight on Search: Interview with John Slade of Yahoo!

John Slade
There has been quite a bit of buzz on the paid search marketing front with the launch of the new Yahoo! Search Advertising platform aka “Panama”. At the WebmasterWorld Pubcon conference in Las Vegas, Yahoo! announced the launch during a sponsored lunch. Dan Zarrella did a good a review of that session here.

Our YSM account recently went through the upgrade and we’re going through the process of getting familiar with all the new platform features. After talking to my contact at Yahoo PR as well as Mona Elesseily from Page Zero who has written a book about the Yahoo Search Marketing program, I thought it would be good to get some insight directly from Yahoo for Online Marketing Blog readers. John Slade, Senior Director of Yahoo Global Product Management was kind enough to field a few questions for me.