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Old 03-03-2005   #1
rustybrick
 
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What is Content? - SES NYC 05

I figured since the "What is Spam?" session was so popular, I would attend the "What is Content?" session. Spam and Content are basically the same thing. Ok enough with humor.

Chris Sherman mods up this session, for you forum junkies, Jensense is on the panel. Chris said that content really works, "content is king."

Kent Lewis from Anvil Media Inc. explains what content can do. He will give a case study on some pharmaceutical company that hired him. So he created a content site on melanoma condition and its an objective resource site, they are not pushing a sale or a specific treatment. But the client does offer services to treat the condition. Unfortunately the projector is not working at this moment, so bare with me. He said he had to deal with a lot of legal loopholes. Now his own computer went blank so we took a moment for the speaker to dance on the stage, while waiting to get things back online (I would describe his dance but, I am not good with those types of adj.). So what they did was speak with people with this condition, and they can up with a FAQ to use. Then they organized their content into seven basic categories and then further organized it into sub categories. They did a ton of bolding, hyper-linking and underlining. They did not yet get to go live with custom title tags yet, due to politics, but he hopes it to come. He then showed (in words) what a site map was, and he recommended using that as your custom 404 page (but I like to make it a variation of the site map, not exactly like the site map). They have a FAQs, "What is melanoma? Melanoma is..." good keywords. In the end, they ended up with, a reasonably strong visibility percentage. They are #1 for melanoma in Google and #4 in Yahoo. They are in the top 10 and 20 for most words without unique title tags, impressive (he didn't say anything about links). Keyword research he said is key, when you talk about each page, each page needs a theme with stemming. Finally, someone pushed in a cable and the projector popped on. So now he slides back and shows us what he so eloquently described in words. Ok back on track... Balancing objectives with optimization, he rather have a number 5 spot that reads well versus number 1 listing with a site that reads like gibberish (he adds he is a white hat). Source code optimization is important but you can get #1 placement without it, like this site. Leverage content, syndicate to boost link pop. Top performing content types: press releases; articles, FAQs, blogs, directory listings, and glossary.

Jennifer Siegg from Jensense.com, she has a cold she said. She said she has a lot of web sites in all types of web sites. She generates content to make them work, basically. Content Creation Tools: statistics program (give you great ideas), customer service requests and questions, copywriting books, dictionary and thesaurus and professionalism. Don't always focus on the competitive things; dont go after just the primary keywords - look for the secondary words you can capture a ton of traffic from it. She then showed showed some examples of Google searches on primary versus secondary keywords. Seasonal topics, such as "cashing out your 401k can be expensive" and lots of referrals came in so she added more content. She said catchy titles work: "I've been bad in Google, now what? it creates an action for people to click from the SERPs to go to your site. Article length, good content doesn't mean you need to have 3,000 words, all you need is 250 - 300 words. Content ideas; look at your emails and customer service requests, she added what may be basic for you can bring in bring in good traffic. Message boards as content, people write it for you, just make sure its search friendly, watch your forum referrals fly. If you find a particular forum page is very popular, create an article on it or something. Bam, the projector went blank again, they are messing with the same cable, but doesn't seem to be working, so she continues without the PPT. Things she found did not work well were; submitting your content for free content areas but what she found was that the people who were taking the content and not linking. She had an other issue with the duplicate content filter issue and it seems to be a big issue these days. You need a lot of time to track people down, send out letters, contact hosts because Google ranked the content thieves above her - all writers have this issue. She recommends that you take an 10 word abstract and put it in quotes and then search on it. It will bring up all the sites that took your article. To know if you have been dup filtered, just click on that link in Google that says something like "some results have been omitted from the results to see them all...." something like that.

Anthony Garcia Future Persuasion Officer for FutureNow, he is short so his first joke was that "yes I am standing up." You literally can not see his face over the podium. He has been involved in the Internet community for less then a year. Bryan and Jeff Eisenberg, sitting on my right, work with him. Most people write content to reach the masses. Persuasive online copywriting is different, your audience is one single reader, its easier to write in that style. How can SEO non expert optimize content? Its a process of knowing your customers, a customer centric methodology. He brought up Leo Shachter, the number one diamond brand in the world, he showed that the page has one link in and it ranks well. He showed a beer machine site and the site has been live for 11 months and ranks well for home made beer or something like that. Search engines love deeding us relevant content. The major search engines are eager to deliver the most relevant content. Algorithms will change, not the search engines end goal. So work with that in mind and it will work. Content is not king when it exists for its own sake, when it attracts unqualified traffic, etc. Content informs, persuades and relevant content does both. He then showed examples of how content query searches drive the next action after the click. How do you start writing this copy? He said its about knowing your customers and walking in their shoes (persona). They gather data on topographics, psychographics and demographics. They developed 5 user persona for Leo Shachter. He showed examples of 2 of those 5. One was of a nice guy making 32k named David Commonsense, and the other was of a girl named Ms. Goldigger (the name says it all). How can they create the pages of content that work for those two people? Description words appeared on the page 72%. There are two types of actions they plan for (1) macro actions are the end goals and (2) micro goals lead to the macro actions. There are two types of hyperlinks (1) call to actions and (2) point of resolution. Optimize relevant content. They map all the click throughs for each user persona, very detailed. They have a process for keyword research, but how they differ is they map keywords and phrases to their implicit intent. For David Commonsense, they wanted to help him learn about diamonds and how to buy it online. So he showed us a page on "how to pick a diamond" "how much to spend on diamonds" etc. They also have a "find a jeweler" page, on how to find a reputable diamond. Goldigger is a bit differ, they target "perfect diamond" taking you to a page "which is the most perfect diamond he can GIVE me?". "Diamond settings" and they have #1 and 2 ranks for these types of keywords. Secret forumlas for call to actions. What is the micro action I want them to take, what person wants to be persuaded and what do I need to persuade them?

Good session...
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Old 03-03-2005   #2
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Interesting concept... “Future Persuasion Officer”.
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Old 03-03-2005   #3
Robert_Charlton
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There are two types of actions they plan for (1) macro actions are the end goals and (2) micro goals lead to the macro actions. There are two types of hyperlinks (1) call to actions and (2) point of resolution.
Barry - Another excellent presentation. It would be great if you (once you've caught your breath), or someone else who was there, can expand on these terms in the above and how they're used. The goals and actions sound intuitive, but "point of resolution" in the hyperlinks does not. I suspect it's a useful idea.
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Old 03-04-2005   #4
bragadocchio
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Hi Robert.

While I didn't attend the "What is Content" presentation, I did attend a couple of presentations from Bryan Eisenberg, and he also touched upon those concepts during his presentations. During the "Converting Visitors into Buyers" presentation, and "Measuring Success Overview" he also considered those topics, from a slightly different perspective.

In the "Measuring Success Overview" he mentioned the importance of paying attention to not only to "macro conversion" rates, but also "micro conversion" rates.

Macro Conversions are the fulfillment of larger goals of the site, such as producing a lead (if the site exists as a lead generation site) or making a sale (If the site is intended to produce sales) or either, if the site has more than one purpose, which it can.

Micro conversions are the smaller steps along the way, separated possibly by page and time, that one takes to fulfilling the larger goals of the site.

It might be better to point you to some articles from the people at Futurenow that cover some of these concepts than to attempt to paraphrase what he said. You'll probably get a closer sense of the way those terms were used by them that way.

This article from Jeffrey Eisenberg captures how those conversion terms were used in those presentations:

http://www.frugalmarketing.com/dtb/v...es-ratio.shtml

As for the different types of links, "calls to action" and "points of resolution", those involve an understanding that there may be a couple of different goals and tasks that need to be taken along the way to making a conversion.

Some of the ideas on optimizing pages for conversions that Bryan, and the Futurenow team, presents are based upon ideas of moving people through a site from general to more specific information, gaining confidence along the way as they follow the paths in the site written for them. Many of these concepts are based upon the concept of people following the "scent of information" and finding "trigger words" upon pages (as defined by the User Interface Engineer folks), and providing your visitors with two different types of hyperlinks.

One type are the "points of resolution" which help inform visitors and define products, processes and services by providing critical information. The others are "calls to action," which enable people to take steps along those paths.

Here are a couple of other links to articles from Bryan Eisenberg that define those within the context of actual examples:

The Resolving Door

Map Scent Trails That Lead to Better Conversion

Many site owners seem satisfied with fairly low conversion rates. But they shouldn't. Just as you can try to optimize a site so that it doesn well for search engines, you can work on optimizing a site so that it does well for conversions. It can take quite a lot of work, because you are lookiing carefully at every page, and every item on a page to do so. But, it can reap tremendous rewards by making it much more likely that a visitor will become a customer if you optimize well.

Note the emphasis in the approach on creating personas, rather than just trying to cater to a broad audience. That's part of the process that was also emphasized. Using a number of different personas to understand how different people will go through a site and act, and react to the opportunities to move forward through a site is important.

Last edited by bragadocchio : 03-04-2005 at 01:31 AM. Reason: misattribution of first article.
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Old 03-04-2005   #5
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bragadocchio - Thanks for your introduction and links to the Eisenberg articles. I'm not always fond of methodology articles, but these are excellent. They'll definitely help to shape how I think about constructing marketing content.

A tricky factor with this approach and organic SEO... you don't always know where a visitor might enter a site. While a visitor is perhaps necessarily more likely to find relevant content when entering an organically optimized site than via PPC, there's still the question of building that conversion trail from any entrance point... and for a variety of personas.

Interesting problem... one that I've approached intuitively in the past, but this gives me more to think about.
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Old 03-04-2005   #6
bragadocchio
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You're welcome, Robert.

You raise a couple of excellent points. Most people do enter sites through pages other than the front page of a site.

Trying to make sure that people understand where they are, and where they can go from any entrance point is also an important goal of optimizing a set of pages for conversions. I'm sure that it was raised during the presentations, too. Enabling people to find the right path for them to follow on a site, and giving them the chance to detect that scent of information is part of the whole process.

The idea of this method is to provide us with some tools and concepts to move past an intuitive approach. It was nice to see examples of how some very minor changes made substantial impacts upon whether or not people moved along pathways to sites that were created with them in mind.

The "Measuring Success Overview" session was devoted to tracking tools that you can use to see where people enter sites, and the choices they make as they move through a site.

It appears that Bryan is a great believer in following his presentations with action, which is reflected in this article from him:

The Next Step: The Web Analytics Association

I had a chance to meet the new President of the Web Analytics Association, Jim Sterne, and he left a pretty positive impression upon me of the organization and its goals. I'm going to be looking at this topic, and this new organization with a great deal of interest over the next few days.
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Old 03-04-2005   #7
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Wow, well thanks Bill. That is more then I would have said to answer the question. So thank you for saving me the time.

Great posts.
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Old 03-04-2005   #8
bragadocchio
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Thanks, Barry. My pleasure.

It was also a pleasure to meet you in person. A lot of respect to you for the fine insights you've been providing to everyone who didn't get the chance to attend, and the undocumented snippets you've been feeding to people who did attend.
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Old 03-29-2005   #9
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content=spam

The opening says it all:

"I figured since the "What is Spam?" session was so popular, I would attend the "What is Content?" session. Spam and Content are basically the same thing. Ok enough with humor."

Why do people think that regurgitated content is good for the customer? Perhaps I am naive. Why create something valuable when you can just copy someone else's work and make a few AdWord bucks off of it?
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