Online Marketing Summit Phoenix 2010 - Search and Social Data Mining to Improve Content Relevance - Follow-up

As many of you know, Digital Marketing Strategy was honored last week to be included in Aaron Kahlow's Online Marketing Summit regional conference in Phoenix (Mike Corak - "Relevant Content is King" session, David Hibbs closing keynote panel - email expert).  A great show, and like an avalanche, OMS continues to gain steam with many of the digital industry's best and brightest attending and speaking.  The Phoenix summit was the kick-off of the new Online Marketing Summit tour, a 23 city show with stops across the US and Canada.  If it's coming to a city near you, I definitely recommend checking it out - a perfect mix of local and national insight, with strong networking opportunities.  The Phoenix version featured topics including social media, content strategy and distribution, search, email, usability and loads of case studies presented by tactical experts and communication executives alike.  It appears future shows on the tour will have more of the same - a great formula - fantastic! As a follow-up to my presentation at OMS Phoenix (Relevant Content is King)

I would like to share some of the Q&A generated at the event and directly to me over the last few days:

Q - With Yahoo!'s purchase of Associated Content (slide 14), and the growth of other large content publishers like Demand Media, what can smaller publishers do to compete with these entities?

A - The content production and distribution game will not be won solely through the quantity of content produced, but rather, by the return on investment the produced content provides.  Extremely relevant, link worthy content that results in conversions, more than eyeballs and visits, is what both advertisers and target audiences desire, and what publishers will eventually be held accountable to.  While small publishers may not possess the ability to build content in the same mass and with the efficiency of larger players, they will have the opportunity to outwork and outsmart larger publishers through niche understanding of communities and target audiences, and frankly, creativity and relentless elbow grease.  Let's remember, content publishers don't determine what content is noteworthy - the public does, and by understanding what content is in demand (through search demand research), and what that interest means (through search and social conversation analysis), smaller publishers can get one-step closer to outperforming the competition.

Q: In reference to your navigation naming example (slides 43 and 44), should smaller players that have a harder time ranking for competitive phrases use less popular keywords?

A: No.  While it's tempting to leverage the power of a site's architecture to rank in search for all targeted phrases including less competitive long-tail phrases, you're better off using the most common vernacular in way-finding messaging to ensure you make the most relevant connections possible with the user.  Further, this behavior, along with matching linguistics in titles, meta, headlines and copy, is shown to encourage those linking to your pages to use this common vernacular in their links, helping sites rank for those more competitive phrases over time.

Q: How do you know that consumers use the same language online as they do offline?  Have you seen improved results from this type of research for communications in both online and offline communications?

A: The short answer is that we've tested this theory and it holds true in all online and offline communications.  Why?  Because requests for information and conversations online are conducted by actual real people!    More scientifically, typical offline to online behavior shows that people take interest generated offline to online tools like search engines to fulfill their interest, meaning that data taken from search shows offline content interest by nature.

Any other questions? Feel free to ask them here.  For the record, we're looking to improve the content of this presentation for future speaking opportunities, and would appreciate any feedback you may have.  Thank you as always!