SMX Sydney 2010: Site Clinic

And now for the most enjoyable session of SMX, at least to date. The legend-ary Site Clinic.siteclinic1

Team Motherwell is up first, consisting of @motherwell and @lucasng who are reviewing

Issues found:

– graphical text – all keywords embedded in image

– no H1 tags

– links lead to another site entirely

– there’s no custom 404 error page

– canonicalization issue – need to fix in GG Webmaster Tools. This will consolidate your links.

– need more links – try getting links from Aussie directories

– the online store needs some work done – price should be next to the image of the product. No call to action.

– use breadcrumb navigation to help searchers find the categories / pages they are actually looking for. Also helps people to know where they are in your site.siteclinic2

– weird title tags that need tidying up

Next up is Team Google with @gregable and Jim Sterne. They’ll be reviewing

– I want to buy a stroller, but can’t find them. Bye!

– On the product detail page, no price and no obvious way to purchase

– Maybe “Where to Buy” link will help. Ah…. no. HELP! (Jim hands over to @gregable)

– Greg will be viewing the site as googlebot.

– Greg is trying to find a specific type of child car seat but can’t.

– Very little information about the product. Really wants a detail page, not lots of the same data on similar pages.

– Home link is on the right hand side of the navigation. Why?

– Uses a grey-on-grey link nav at the bottom of the page which isn’t helping.siteclinic3

– Some non sequitir link titles e.g. *4 Reasons*

– Greg says the site has some nice GG friendly URLs

Team Boser is next, featuring @gregboser and @oilman. They’ll be reviewing

– Sell box sets of DVDs and similar products

– Todd and Greg spend some time trying to get the display right and during the tense silence, the site owner takes the opportunity to promote his DVD box sets “Avatar, available now for $44.95”. Gets a big laugh from the audience.

– There are too many links on many of the pages.

– There’s no need to keyword stuff every single internal link on your site. Google already knows you sell DVDs, you don’t need to hit them over the head with it, says @gregboser

– Trim down your categories and stop loading up your footer with irrelevant links about DVDs, especially in nearly black font on black background, says @oilman.siteclinic4

– Use your movie reviews for content. If you have to, produce clever mashups of pages that are algorithmically unique, but still made up of content elsewhere on your site, says @gregboser.

– Rotate through your content and create mashups that will give you better links in Google.

Next up is Team SEOmoz with @seomom and @dannydover to review

– Gillian starts by asking who in the room are SEOmoz PRO members and proceeds to give some of us a beer! Cute.

– Danny says the site looks good – clean and sharp.  Nice to see categories and images on the home page. Also the brands are front and center on the HP.

– The text nav at the bottom is a bit dodgy, but the payment options/logos at bottom are fantastic.

– No custom 404 error page – Why not? Boring. Gillian says she wants to see some options and some fun on the custom 404 page.

– Enormous home page – 1.6MB in size but should be 150-200 kb. A faster loading site is a better performing site in both engines and sales. Flash file is the major problem.

– Looking at the page as googlebot shows LOTS of links, but no text content. Give people who don’t have Flash an option, preferably text.

– Used to look at the site (SEOmoz plug)

– 301 issues galore due to switching domains.

– ridiculous number of links from small number of domains = BIG spam signal to Google. Clean it up says @seomom

– keyword analysis shows very good keyword density, esp long tail.

– Danny points out that if you do a search in and you can’t find any results, the 404 page will eventually redirect to a search in Bing for same query.

– Gillian points out that the Call to Action buttons are too passive. Use “Email Me If…” option with drop downs like “if my product is in stock”, “if refrigerators go on sale” etc.

– Use Buy Now rather than Add to Cart

– Use A/B Split testing to confirm findings.

SMX Sydney 2010: Not Your Father’s AdWords – The New Google Ad Formats

At the podium now is Frederick Valleay, AdWords evangelist at Google, to talk about the new and exciting Google ad formats.frederick-podium

Frederick explained the background of the new ad formats. They put together the AdWords New Ad Formats initiative – a project to include richer types of information within AdWords ads. It has two themes:

1) Ad Extensions

– Help users find information they want by enhancing standard text ads with additional relevant information

2) New Ad Models

Help users find answers to problems by enhancing with rich media.

Now doing movie ads – started only a few days ago and only available to a few advertisers.

Some new ad models include real time data e.g. mortgage rates are updated right there within the ads, if relevant. Another model works on a Cost Per Acquisition model where the advertiser only pays when a conversion occurs. Ad sitelinks is a recent model proving very successful.

“Ad sitelinks is the single most effective change we’ve made to our account” says Dell

What can be done with Ad Sitelinks?

– you have several links in your text ad instead of just one

– increase your click through rate

– pushes your competitors down the page

– more links = more potential for clicks

– also more relevant because it gives users 5 options to go to on your site – meaning they find what they’re looking for faster

– with ad sitelinks, leverage the value of branded queries to direct users to multiple high value pages.

Showed example of Saks Fifth Ave who uses sitelink ads to promote short term sales. Timely offers work great with sitelink ads.

User segmentation

– ad sitelinks can help you segment your users before they reach your site. e.g. Dell uses this to segment business vs home users.

Brand segmentation

– your core brand may have several sub brands. You can highlight those sements and leverage your core brand to promote sub brands e.g. The Gap promotes their other brands like Old Navy.

Most Valuable Pages

QVC does this very well. Uses sitelink ads to direct people straight to their highest value categories like fashion, jewelry, etc.

Product Lines

Ad sitelinks can help you direct users to tailored landing pages based on the product category they are most interested in.

Make Links Unique

Redundant links in your ad narrow the appeal and can have a negative impact on your CTR. Make a clear distinction between your product channels using several different links.

Writing Link Text

Clear calls to action – use the link text to make it obvious what you want them to do.

Use landing page language – carry the scent – prominently display the language from your link on the associated landing page so users are more likely to stay on the page and explore their options.

Tracking and Measurement

With a few additional steps you can track and measure what works best. Tag your links – tagging links lets you view the unique query and link that prompted the visit. Use analytics to analyze and report on results.

Location Extensions
Why use Location Extensions?

– Make all your ads location aware
– display your local footprint
– deliver effective local ads at scale
– benefit from rich ad formats (shop locator, click to call ads etc.

Transform your text ads into location ads. Ads show up with your location underneath. They also show up on Google maps via sponsored links. They see street view, photographs, logo, street directions etc.

Location Extensions are now on mobile.

If you  are the biz owner for the locations you want to advertise on, go to Google Places (prev google biz center). You can verify your biz via phone or postcard.

If you are not the biz owner of the locations, you should enter your addresses directly into AdWords. Can’t be done via Google Places.

Use location extensions if:

– you want yto use same ad text for all biz locations

– you want to direct all ads to same landing page

– you want to create a lot of ads quickly

Interaction Reporting

-interaction reporting is available for your ads whether you set up extensions for your campaigns or your ads

– see how users interact with each link in your ads when they appear on Google maps

– gain insights about your ads ROI and ability to capture user interest

– Click Through to your website will be listed as usual in your Adwords account – a place to learn what’s new, what’s coming soon in the ad space

[email protected]

SMX Sydney 2010: Real Time Search

We’re now into Day 2 of SMX Sydney and I finally have power so can get back into the live blogging.

Greg Grothaus from Google’s web spam team is up now to talk about Real Time Search. Greg starts by talking about Real Time Search and shows examples of what it looks like. He says events like the Iceland volcano are perfect examples of how RT search is relevant. People who are tweeting from airports about flight delays etc.

Challenges to RT Search

– Speed

– Volume

– Relevance

What makes a relevant query? Things like:

– was that an earthquake?

– did a celebrity just die?

– is Greg’s talk worth going to?

Relevant Query Signals

– model of query frequencey spikes

– modell of update frequen cies

– language models

– spam bot traffic models

If you want to see trends in RT Search, go to Google Trends.


– regular / frequent updates, stuff that matters

– unique content: RT less interesting than original

– updates point to useful links

– followers matter less than interaction

– Content, not hashtag soup #OMG #SMXrocks #mytweets #readthis #omnomnom

Gave the example of a power outage in Palo Alto, where people have no PCs so pull out their phones and do searches in Google for “power outage Palo Alto”. Google RT Search can show them instantly information the cause of the outage etc, therefore RT search is very relevant.

Get Indexed

– make sure your tweets FB Buzz are public

– blogs – rss feed, ping API

– websites – use an XML sitemap (see, specifically <lastmod>, <changefreq>

Social Search

– type in a search query and you can see what people are talking about right now about that subject.

Social Media Impact

– Global web usage is up, up, UP

– Australia has the highest time per person social media usage In.The.World. 7 hours per week??

– The impact of social media can no longer be denied and marketers need to be paying very close attention.

– Your customers are interacting more with their social network.

– Less about optimizing your content, more about getting your users to write/communicate about your brand or products.

– Think of Google Trends – use the information to your advantage.

SMX Sydney 2010: Checkout Process Optimization

Gillian Muesigg – CEO of SEOmoz is up now to talk about checkout process optimization. gillian-podium

[Editor note – I probably got more out of this session than any other at SMX Sydney 2010. Gillian is a dynamic speaker and her industry knowledge makes you question how your existing online sales procedures EVER worked before you heard her speak].

Landing pages. Don’t focus on what doesn’t work, focus on what DOES work. For example – if your child gets 4 A’s and a D on their report card. Don’t focus on the D, look at how they achieved the A’s.

Look at the big boy’s sites e.g. Amazon. They’re getting it right. Copy them.

Successful landing pages use Black or Red. Those are the colors we see first. We don’t read green, blue, or yellow. Humans see baby’s faces, then other faces, then other items. Use human images, people respond better.

Showed eBay page – focus is on price and time left in auction and buy it now. Images of the product! Make it clickable so you can see the product in detail. Buy It NOW works much better than Buy It.  Use Red with White because red with black can be seen as same color by those who are colorblind.


– Bookstore or library
– What do you want me to do?
– When?
– Where?
– How often?

Send me to the checkout NOW says Gillian. I’m in a hurry. Dog needs walking, Kids are crying. I just wanna buy and get out. Help me do this.

Ask for the MINIMAL amount of information possible.

Gillian showed the SEOmoz landing page that scrolls FOREVER. They hate it, but it works. The long sales page CAN work. Company who developed this was Conversion Rate Experts.

Add a countdown to make it seem like a limited offer.

Separate your traffic.

Give people the ability to save their session in case they’re not quite ready to buy right now.

Email me if…. very powerful. Gives you rights to spam….er… CONTACT the customer later.

Use Game Dynamics – e.g. free shipping if you purchase more than one item.

30 day return policy is ok BUT 60 day return policy means 30% less returns!!

Get it Once – make it easy as possible for people. Get their info so when they return you have their data. – small data sets

Gillian mentioned Conversion Rate Experts (Stephen Pavlovich). [These are the guys who optimized the SEOmoz Pro landing page so successfully].

PERMIT people to visit your home page from your landing page, but don’t ENCOURAGE it.

Make the contact details easy to find. Make the HELP button easy to find.

Make people feel they are in control of the shipping and handling – reduces their risk and increases their trust.

* photo of Gillian from SMX Singapore courtesy of

SMX Sydney 2010: Use Transcient PPC Campaigns to Support Branding Efforts

Now Marty Weintrub is talking about transcient PPC campaigns.Marty Weintrub of AimClear

Marty starts by saying that Sydney is blowing his mind, especially coming from Duluth, Minessota.

Real World Transient PPC Mash Up Scenarios

He says transcient PPC campaigns are like “Whack a mole” game.  Working for a large corporate is Cluster _uck. So many depts to go through

– partitioned strategy and channel tactics

– SEO cppc PR, ORM, social

– Easy to ruffle feathers

What is a transicent PR Incident?

– positive and negative short-lived incidents

Key is to Minimize Damage and Maximize Benefits, says Marty.

Wow, have realized I have no hope of keeping up with live blogging now at the rate Marty is moving through the slides. Will abandon live blogging this and update this post with the benefit of Marty’s slide deck later.