In case you missed it, last week was Pubcon Las Vegas. As always, it was full of great information and networking. I know that there are already several posts out there talking about main takeaways from the conference, but I figured it was still worth mentioning a few things that stood out in the sessions that I went to.
Separate Brand and Non-Brand Terms in PPC Campaigns
This idea was pointed out by Craig Danuloff from ClickEquations. Here’s the problem: branded terms perform a lot differently than non-branded terms. If you mix the two in the same ad group or campaign you won’t be able to really see what’s going on. For example, brand terms can make a group with non-brand terms look like it’s performing better than it would be if you separated them out.
So in order to better keep an eye on what’s working and what isn’t you need to separate the two. He also recommended doing a negative match for your brand terms on all of your non-branded groups and campaigns to really make sure that you can really make sure that you’re separating the two.
Before Increasing Spend, Improve Your Quality Score
This one isn’t revolutionary, but still a really good reminder. Brad Geddes from bg Theory talked about the importance of improving the quality score for your keywords. If you look at your quality score and it is in the 4-6 range you should spend more effort improving your quality score before you just increase your bid.
The problem is that if you just increase your bid you’re just going to spend more. But if you increase your quality score first you’re going to end up spending less for a better position. In order to increase your quality score you need to focus on your click through rate, relevance of the ad to the keywords, and relevance of the landing page to the keywords.
There was a lot of talk about the new search engine Blekko at Pubcon this year. For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, Blekko is a search engine that is working to be much more transparent about their ranking factors.
So what does this mean to the SEO community? Easy competitive intelligence. If you find that the listings in Blekko are closely related to Google then you can use their information to study your competitors and gain some valuable insights.
Michael Gray (graywolf) pointed out that you can even use Blekko to find out what sites are running the same Google Analytics or AdSense code. This can be a great way to see what other domains your competitors own.
Cluster Your Organic Listings
This takeaway is short, but still worth mentioning. Craig Paddock talked about working to get secondary listings to the first page so that you can have a very good chance of Google clustering your rankings together. For example, if you are ranked #3 and #16, but get your second listing to the first page Google will likely cluster them so you have #3 and #4.
Spend some time going through your rankings to find the keywords with two listings, then work on getting that secondary listing to the first page.
Make Your Data Sexy
Joanna Lord recently wrote a great 3–part series about being an analyst, and as part of it she talked about making the data sexy with charts and graphs. I’ve been doing this a lot the last couple of months, but Tom Critchlow drove the point home in his Pubcon presentation.
It’s not enough just to put the data in graphs, but the kinds of graphs you use are just as important. Tom recommends never using stacked graphs, and only use pie charts if there are 2-3 variables max. The problem a lot of us run into is that we try to cram too much data into one chart.
For segment trend lines, it’s better to just break them up into separate graphs so they can be represented on the correct scale for each one.
Why is this important? Because whether you work in-house or for clients you need to be able to communicate what’s going on. If you or the decision makers can’t understand the data you can’t make good actions on it.
New Tools Galore
One of the great things about Pubcon and other conferences is all of the extra tools that you hear about. I already mentioned Blekko, but here’s a list of a bunch of others that I’ll be experimenting with in the near future:
There were a lot of other really good things that were said at Pubcon that I’m not listing here. I’m sure you can get a good summary of them from a lot of the other summary posts out there.
If you were at Pubcon and had a major takeaway that I haven’t mentioned, please leave it in the comments below!