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Coping with Google Instant: Tactics & Data

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by ipopbb, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    Coping with Google Instant: Tactics & Data

    What we started with:

    [​IMG]

    What we did:

    We migrated the stores into the content sites.

    • A.com became 1.com/shop/
    • B.com became 2.com/shop/
    • C.com became 3.com/shop/
    • D.com became 4.com/shop/
    • E.com became 5.com/shop/
    • F.com became 6.com/shop/

    • We gave 301 redirects from the stores to their new content site URLs.
    • We updated canonical tags to reference the new content site URLs.
    • We upgrade our internal and external linking to use the new URLs where possible.
    • We got extended validation SSL certificates for the content sites.

    The effects

    The PR of the content sites is unchanged. The PR of the store splash pages at the /shop level jumped up to the full PR of the content pages at the / top level.

    [​IMG]

    Why we did it:

    Google Instant lets short tail searches steal traffic from long tail searches. If a shopper was going to search for sterling amethyst earrings then by the time they have typed sterl they are seeing results for sterling. By the time they type sterling am they are seeing results for sterling amethyst. The net effect is that a good portion of the traffic that used to go to sterling amethyst jewelry is now being usurped by sterling and sterling amethyst.

    To compensate we are going to aggressively focus on high competition keywords. This is a radical departure from the long tail strategy we have used with tremendous success for the better part of a decade. Re-organizing our network of sites will let us make the most efficient use of our PR for competing on those short tail keywords.

    The next step is to rethink our on page tuning for optimal short tail... We used to target 250,000 keywords in our space. Now, we need to reduce it down to 50-200 that we can compete for at a very high level. I'll go into more details on those tactics and results when we get there. It has taken almost 2 months to safely jump through all the hurdles to pull off this change without adversely effecting existing revenue. It may take a similar amount of time or more to complete the process.

    Cheers,

    Ted
     

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  2. thedorf

    thedorf Senior Member

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    Nice as an introduction to your ideas. Google is always changing the game. Social is another area impacting rankings that I've personally seen.
     
  3. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    Very true. We used to acquire customers at about $10 each from AdWords campaigns. We currently acquire customers at about $1 each by investing in initiatives to grow our fan pages and market to them in meaningful and beneficial ways. It is a completely different marketing channel with different factors, strategies, target intentions than organic SEO. Which is why it wasn't part of my coping strategy.

    You are totally correct that sites could use social instead of traditional SEO factors for organic traffic. I still want both so my intention with this thread is to find ways to migrate from long tail which is now severely crippled to working within the context of Google Instant and thriving at an enterprise retailer scale.

    I am in total agreement with you, just clarifying my intent to succeed with Instant and not just instead of it.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  4. snwbrdstylee

    snwbrdstylee Registered Member

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    Out of curioisity, how much of a decrease in traffic did you see resulting from the "instant" change? I am guessing it was quite noticable to drive you to consolidate your sites like this.
     
  5. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    It's really the combined effects of Caffeine and Instant. According to Net-Neilsens ... 50%. According to our internal logs (we've never lost so much as a penny in our data in the history of the company)... 30-50% varying from site to site. We lost a full point of PR across the board. Hit like a ton of bricks in the second week of february this year. We started to turn the tide on Caffeine because it was the most easy to exploit incarnation of google search ever... then we discovered why when instant rolled out. Most of our competitors did exactly what google wanted and jumped over to AdWords and started driving up the already high online retail product and category words. We discontinued our $1.5M adwords spend and discovered the ridiculous benefits of using facebook as a marketing channel. Within 3-4 months we were pulling similar numbers in sales to our 1.5M PPC spend with less than a tenth of the budget.
     
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  6. flaktrak

    flaktrak Power Member

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    Thanks for this info. Once again one of your threads has helped me with my stuff! My store sites are going to get a slow migration :)
     
  7. TheTRUTH

    TheTRUTH Regular Member

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    :eek::eek:

    How does your company do its facebook marketing..?Fan Page with status updates? Social Rewards..?
     
  8. ipopbb

    ipopbb Power Member

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    yes, yes, and apps, and like us buttons... anything and everything... the trick is doing it in a way that isn't spammy. People want "feel good" and "fun" and "happy vibes"... if you can deliver on those in a fashionable way that makes them look good to their friends, families, and co-workers then you can turn it into a cash engine. Obviously I won't share everything, but I'd bet you know what gives you "happy vibes" that is socially acceptable to divulge publicly and there are probably a lot of people in the world who are the same. Figure out a way to dial it into an honest offer that people will tolerate to continue getting their several times a day dosage of "happy vibes".
     
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  9. schnibitz

    schnibitz Registered Member

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    Really great information. Although I can't really provide empirical data to back this up, I haven't seen a drop in traffic because of "instant". Then again, all my sites are "content" sites, and seeing as though your content sites seemed to do fine, I imagine that may be why.