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FEATURE: SEO and the Conversion Funnel

The conversion funnel is a visualization of the conversion process. Online, a conversion is the accomplishment of a goal on your site. A conversion can be anything from the purchase of a product to the download of a whitepaper to the sign-up of a newsletter. Basically it's any action that represents a goal of your site.

From landing page to final conversion, tailor each step in the conversion process to the information needs of a visitor in that stage of the conversion. And take advantage of tools that help you recognize stumbling blocks along the path to conversion. Through information and action, an SEO can streamline each step of the conversion funnel and optimize site performance overall.


BACK TO BASICS: Writing Great Web Site Content (for Users and Spiders)

Content is what the Web is all about. To attract visitors and impress search engine spiders, your Web site needs good text content and plenty of it. That's why we placed content at the foundation of our SEO Hierarchy of Needs. Building a strong foundation takes work. To make your content development goals a little bit easier, we've put together these tips for writing good content that can help you create text that's both readable and rankable for your Web site.


Search Engine Optimization All-In-One for Dummies Now Available

SEO For DummiesBruce Clay, Inc. partnered with For Dummies Publications to produce the all-in-one desk reference guide for SEO. The Search Engine Optimization All-In-One For Dummies by Bruce Clay and Susan Esparza is now available for $39.95 from major booksellers and comes with a free $25 AdWords coupon.

The all-in-one desk reference is intended for those wanting to do search engine optimization themselves, providing many tips and hints necessary to optimize and operate in today's online market. But it is also a useful tool for any professional SEO out there needing any extra help. The Search Engine Optimization All-In-One For Dummies is currently available on Amazon.com, Borders.com and BarnesandNoble.com, so be sure to grab a copy today.

Already have the book? Leave a review or drop us a line! We'd love to hear from you. Share your thoughts, comments, questions or critiques.


Hot Topics

SMX East Logo New York City welcomed Search Marketing Expo East this month, and with it, thousands of Internet marketers seeking out the latest announcements from the search engines and cutting-edge tactics from the experts.

There were two search engine announcements that got lots of attention.

Cross-Domain Canonical Tag

During the session Duplicate Content Issues: The Search Engine Edition on the first day of the show, Joachim Kupke, senior software engineer of Google's indexing team, made a "premature announcement" that by the end of the year the search engine will offer cross-domain support of the canonical tag.

Panel moderator Danny Sullivan recalled the announcement in an interview with Mike McDonald of WebProNews, adding that he and other webmasters had been eager for such a solution for some time.

Meta Keywords Tag Does Not Affect Yahoo! Rankings

The following day, Yahoo!'s senior director of search, Cris Pierry, surprised the audience during the Q&A panel Ask the Search Engines: Best Practices Edition. In the past, Google and Bing have not used the Meta Keywords tag as a ranking signal, and Yahoo! has. But in response to a question from the audience, Pierry announced that several months ago Yahoo! stopped using the Meta Keywords tag at all.

However, Yahoo! later clarified that it indexes the Meta Keywords tag and that the tag receives the "lowest ranking signal" in their system. Therefore words that are unique to the Meta Keywords tag and are found nowhere else on the page can still be used to recall that page.


Shuffles

Google's CEO announced the company's expectation to buy one small company a month following a period of limited acquisitions due to the global recession. One such acquisition by Google is the CAPTCHA technology company reCAPTCHA. The technology comes with the added benefit of helping Google to improve its machine reading abilities for text scanning projects.

In August, Bing recorded its first decline of U.S. search market share since Microsoft launched the search engine this past June. Bing's market share in the U.S. dropped from 9.64 percent in July to 8.51 percent last month. Yahoo!'s U.S. search market share fell from 10.5 percent in July to 9.4 percent in August.

Auction site eBay is considering switching its contextual ad service from long-time provider Yahoo! to Google. The move would reduce Yahoo!'s earnings by almost one percent and could start a chain reaction of defections costing Yahoo! $1.5 billion in gross revenues per year.

After officially shuttering its controversial ad system Beacon, social networking site Facebook rolled out a new ad product in partnership with Internet activity monitor Nielsen. The product, called BrandLift, utilizes demographic targeting and claims to measure network impact metrics like purchase intent and brand affinity.

Market research company comScore and Web analytics platform Omniture announced an audience data swap partnership intended to relieve concerns among publishers and advertisers who doubt inconsistent audience data.

Computer maker Dell, expanding upon its core hardware business, acquired information technology company Perot Systems in a $3.9 billion cash deal.

Paid search expert and founder of Clix Marketing David Szetela joined the Market Motive training faculty. Online marketing and analytics experts Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg announced plans to leave the online optimization company they co-founded, Future Now, to pursue new projects.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), technical coordinator of the Internet's domain name and addressing system, was granted autonomy by the U.S. government, which originally established and was formerly charged with oversight of the organization.


Sound Bytes

If you like what you've read in the SEO Newsletter, there's more Internet marketing expertise where that came from. Check out SEM Synergy every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern and noon Pacific on WebmasterRadio.fm.

Bruce Clay and the other hosts discuss industry news, SEO tactics and marketing trends, while expert guests share their insights on methods, best practices and upcoming events. Check out the show schedule below for a look at recent shows and upcoming topics.

Air Date

Segment One

Segment Two

Segment Three

October 7
(Listen Now)

SMX East Rundown

Craig Danuloff

Mike McDonald

October 14
(Listen Now)

Search News

Heather Lloyd-Martin

Meta Keywords Tag

October 21
(Coming Soon)

Rising Long-Tail

TBA

Setting Expectations: SEO vs. PPC

October 28
(Coming Soon)

Bruce's Crystal Ball

TBA

SEO Super Hero Powers

Got something to say? Contact the SEM Synergy team and share your thoughts, comments and questions. You might even hear your question answered on the show.


Shindigs

Bruce Clay, Inc.'s SEOToolSet Training is making very special stops across the globe throughout October.

On Long Island, NY, three-day, standard-level SEOToolSet Training will be presented October 20-22.

In Australia, one-day, standard-level SEOToolSet Training will be offered in Melbourne on October 20 and Sydney on October 29.

In Italy, the three-day standard and advanced SEOToolSet Training will be presented in Milan from October 26-28.

Standard and advanced SEOToolSet Training will return to Simi Valley, CA, from November 16-20.

eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit will take place in Washington D.C. October 20-23 and in Mexico November 11.

In New York City, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Domain Conference & Expo is presented October 26-29. The following week, ad:tech New York takes place November 4-6.

Chicago hosts PPC Summit November 4-5.

SES Chicago takes place December 7-11, with Bruce Clay, Inc.'s SES SEO training course presented December 11. Attendees will receive a 20 percent discount on the cost of conference and training registration with the code 20BCLAY.

PubCon West lands in Las Vegas November 10-13.


Attaboys

The Dow Jones Sustainability Index named mobile phone manufacturer Nokia the world's most eco-friendly technology company.

A new Labs feature in Google Webmaster Tools called Fetch as Googlebot allows webmasters to view the HTTP response the server returns for any page of the site.

A new hangout for the search community is setting up shop next week. The SEO Dojo follows the credo "We're all teachers and we're all students" and allows for the collection of search related research and community interaction.

Facebook now boasts a community of users that is almost as large as the number of people living in the U.S. The number of users doubled in the last nine months and Facebook now claims more than 300 million users.

Over the last six months, technology stocks have performed better than the broader market average and the pace of acquisitions within the technology industry seems to be back on the upswing.

Yahoo! launched an upgraded search format, which includes the new ability to refine queries by related concepts and more prominent Search Pad and Search Assist features. As part of the makeover, Yahoo! began a $100 million re-branding campaign.

Despite mounting pressure to monetize the two-year-old company, microblogging site Twitter will remain ad free through the end of the year, according to a company co-founder. In the latest round of fundraising, Twitter is expected to draw in at least $100 million.


Word on the Wire

According to research by Harris Interactive, 53 percent of adults in the U.K. are shopping online more often than they used to, but 77 percent of survey participants reported experiencing issues with e-commerce sites in the last year.

A study by comScore and Starcom offered a startling statistic. The number of people clicking on display ads online has dropped by half in less than two years, and 85 percent of all clicks are attributed to just 8 percent of all Internet users.

Two potential FCC rules under review and endorsed by the FCC chief would add new mandates in support of network neutrality. Net neutrality is a proposed limitation of the ability of network operators to discriminate against the types of data traveling through their systems.

Various categories of mobile phone applications achieve varying levels of loyalty and frequency of use, according to Flurry, a company providing analytics data to mobile, game and application developers. News applications see the highest retention rates and frequency of use, medical applications see high retention rates and low use frequency, books see high frequency of use with a short period of retention, and entertainment applications see both low retention and frequency of use.

Widespread adoption of video viewing on mobile platforms is expected to face a number of challenges, including limited reach of necessary viewing technology and high user churn rate. These findings have led analysts to the theory that mobile video viewing adoption will follow a gradual, linear path.

In September, Microsoft unveiled a proof-of-concept prototype, tentatively named LookingGlass, that allows companies to track, participate in and analyze social media content.

Yahoo! released a ground-up redesign of the Yahoo! User Interface Library, an open-source JavaScript library for building interactive Web applications. The improvements include being selector-driven, syntactically terse, self-completing and sandboxed. Yahoo! also announced that it is closing its paid inclusion programs, Search Submit Basic and Search Submit Pro, at the end of this year.

Ask.com launched a new search service, Ask Deals, compiling millions of online savings deals and coupons from across the Web. The launch may be in response to Ask's observation that searches for coupons rose by almost 50 percent within their engine.

Google, as always, remained busy in the last month. Within Webmaster Tools, PageRank data was removed while a new feature called Parameter Handling lets site owners indicate which URL parameters to ignore.

Google Fast Flip is a new product launch that visually displays Google News. Google Sidewiki is a new feature of the Google Toolbar that lets users write comments about any page on the Web.

The search engine and Internet services company also proposed a new standard for making AJAX crawlable. The company also announced the launch of DoubleClick Ad Exchange, which will integrate advertising solution provider DoubleClick (an acquisition of Google) into the AdWords and AdSense platforms.

Additionally, a Hot Trends feature, which provides insights into topics of real-time popularity, has been integrated into Google search results, and Google will soon be crawling and indexing Google Docs that meet the specified criteria.



If you have any questions or comments on any of the above Internet marketing news items or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, Inc.

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