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Videos de Human Level Communications en Search Congress Valencia

En este post iré añadiendo algunos videos que grabamos durante el Search Congress Valencia, celebrado en el Oceanográfico de la Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias de Valencia, los días 1 y 2 de octubre de 2009. Puedes ver todas las presentaciones del Search Congress Valencia 2009 aquí.

En este primer video, Massimo Burgio (SEMPO) y el organizador del Search Congress Valencia, Ouali Benmeziane, introducen al primer ponente, Miguel Orense (Kanvas Media).

Parte de mi ponencia “Posicionamiento en buscadores de grandes portales de contenido” en el Search Congress Valencia.

SMX Madrid 2008: un balance MUY positivo (para variar)

Carlos Chacón y Fernando Maciá en SMX Madrid 2008Hace ya una semana de mi último post. Entonces estaba preparando mi intervención en el seminario Clínica SEO en el SMX Madrid 2008 y estaba bastante intranquilo por el hecho de tener que enfrentarme a hacer un análisis SEO de una web en vivo, en directo y sin herramientas, y contando como partners en el evento a Ismael El-Qudsi de Havas Digital y Nuño Valenzuela de Muchoviaje.com. Comenzaré diciendo que el reto se solventó de mejor forma de lo que sospechaba en ese momento y que mi balance del SMX Madrid 2008 es, contrariamente a la opinión de muchos asistentes que ya se han expresado en su blog, muy positivo.

Como ya ha habido quien, con más ganas y tiempo que yo, se ha dedicado a recoger lo esencial de las ponencias, remitiré a quien esté interesado a los siguientes blogs:

  • Exhaustivo y tropicalizado, el resumen que ha hecho SEO Charlie de las distintas ponencias a las que asistió, amén de un buen repaso a aspectos de la organización y logísticos que han conllevado su traslado desde Costa Rica para asistir al evento. Muchas gracias, Carlos, por tus fotos del evento. Creo que la que nos tomó el amigo Miguel Orense (Adesis) con tu cámara es la única muestra gráfica de mi paso por el SMX ya que por uno de esos errores que uno tiene cuando el cansancio le puede, perdí las fotos que hice con mi propia cámara.
  • Excelente detalle el que han tenido algunos ponentes como el propio Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz), Lakil Essady (Nurun), Estrella Álamo (Red Karaoke) y Miguel Orense (Adesis) al colgar online aquí, aquí, aquí y aquí, respectivamente, los PPT de sus ponencias, algo que debería haber previsto, en mi opinión, la organización (Rafael Tamames promete aquí que se enviará un acceso por e-mail a los asistentes) para haber tenido antes acceso a ellas.
  • Simpáticas y para no perderse las fotos que ha publicado Jorge Quintas (Tanta), en su blog y Lakil Essady (Nurun) en el suyo. y hablando de fotos sobre el SMX Madrid 2008, en www.agentesdelanoche.com recogen una buena muestra gráfica del congreso. Por cierto, que parece que estuvieron ausentes de la Clínica SEO porque no he encontrado ninguna fotografía mía, de Ismael o de Nuño en su amplio reportaje.
  • Amplia cobertura, como no podía ser de otra manera, la que dedica searchengineland al desarrollo del SMX Madrid 2008, con especial enfoque en las dos estrellas del congreso: Rand Fishkin y Danny Sullivan.
  • Coincidencia absoluta de todos los comentarios en que entre lo mejor del congreso han estado las intervenciones de Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz) quien, aunque no desvelara el secreto del Santo Grial, creo que estuvo muy claro, concreto y generoso en sus explicaciones tanto en público como en privado (según han elogiadom entre otros, Estrella Alamo (Red Karaoke))
  • Encantado de conocer personalmente a Fernando Muñoz, quien ya está organizando un “seorao” en Marbella y Eduardo Garolera, dos alumnos del programa Master Online en Buscadores de la Universidad Pompeu-Fabra que realizarán prácticas en Human Level Communications este verano, junto a otro alumno, Adrián León.
  • Estupendos comentarios adicionales sobre el SMX de David Martín y de Jordi Oller.
  • Ácida la crítica del SMX Madrid 2008 que llega también de algunos asistentes, como Lino Uruñuela.

Después de leer los comentarios que se han hecho en la blogosfera sobre el SMX Madrid 2008, se me quedan varios titulares:

  • WIFI, más WIFI: todos los asistentes han coincidido en sus críticas a la falta de acceso WIFI, algo que debería considerar la organización para futuras convocatorias.
  • Rand Fishkin: considerado por aclamación como el ponente más valorado del evento.
  • Opiniones diversas sobre la comida: la comida gustó, en general, aunque no tanto comer de pie. Yo conseguí interactuar con mucha más gente a la hora de la comida y los cafés por el hecho de estar de pie, así que voto por mantener el esquema actual. Sentado, sólo habría conocido a dos o tres personas.
  • Nada nuevo: si llevas meses o años trabajando en esto y asististe al SMX pensando que en una hora descubrirías el Santo Grial, estabas muy equivocado. Precisamente las enormes expectativas motivadas por la talla de los asistentes (y el precio de la asistencia) han provocado un cierto grado de decepción. Ni Rand, ni Danny ni ningún otro de los que salimos al estrado te podíamos decir nada que no supieras ya. Si has sabido descubrir tres o cuatro perlas de entre todo lo hablado que puedas aplicar a tu trabajo diario, bien por ti.
  • Relaciones personales: junto a Rand Fishkin, lo más valorado por los asistentes han sido las relaciones que han tenido oportunidad de establecer a lo largo del evento con otros participantes. Por mi parte, el networking ha sido enormemente valioso y gratificante, así que doy cada momento dedicado al SMX Madrid 2008 por bien empleado.

Por mi parte, doy por excelentemente empleado cada minuto dedicado al SMX Madrid 2008. He encontrado mis tres o cuatro perlas, he conocido a muchísima gente estupenda y he tenido ocasión de saludar a los colegas de SEMPO España: Guillermo Vilarroig (Overalia), Massimo Burgio (SEMPO), Ibón Orrantia (Azalpen), Miguel Orense (Adesis), Soraya García (Internet Advantage)…

Measuring and improving the performance of a website

The return on investment (ROI) for the implementation of a website is directly related to the level by which the website is able to achieve its objectives. Even though this concept may sound trivial to the majority of business owners, establishing a series of objectives for a website and putting in place a methodology for measuring how well these goals are being met typically become more challenging tasks.

Traditional business managers and economic strategists have always had at their disposal a variety of methods for measuring and evaluating the degree of success of business objectives. For example, an increase in productivity, cost reduction initiatives, meeting certain sales goals, or the impact of an advertising campaign are all objectives that can be methodically measured and directly linked to a quantifiable level of success within a specific timeframe. Then, as businesses successfully accomplish their short-term goals, they are able to establish and pursue mid or longer term initiatives.

When those same business managers and strategists that are used to operating in traditional environments, and therefore are very familiar with managing and classifying clients, calculating penetration ratios, measuring profitability and forecasting sales, are now faced with the new paradigm of a virtual business, they seem to forget that most of what they already know and do, including the use of common sense, is equally applicable to an online economy. However, in many cases, it is very difficult to see how a company’s website aligns with its general business strategy and in extreme cases, a website’s only purpose is to provide the company with a presence on the Internet.

This reality is even more paradoxical if one looks at the fact that the Internet, due to its technological foundation and highly interactive nature, provides the ideal ground for quickly testing new ideas, inexpensively measuring their results, and effortlessly obtaining direct customer feedback to guide future changes or improvements. Let’s therefore take a look at some factors that will allow us to measure the performance of a website in terms of its ROI, and also at some strategies that our traditional business managers will have to establish to guarantee that the same level of success that they are accustomed to is also achieved in a virtual online economy.

1. A website must be fully aligned with the corporate strategic objectives

The objectives for a website must closely follow the general strategy for the company, as established by their executive management. Therefore, when the term website is used, it should not be interpreted as a piece of the company’s Information Technology (IT) or computer systems. Instead, the term website should trigger and be identified with concepts such as Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, Customer Service, Product Support, etc. In other words, if IT is the department responsible for your company’s website you should have plenty of reasons to worry.

2. A website must establish tactical objectives

After the general strategic planning has been completed for the website, each department must then establish the objectives for their own area of responsibility as an integral part of the overall plan.

For example, a department responsible for customer support could help alleviate the load of their customer-calling center by adding to their website a section that contains frequently asked questions (FAQs), or by simply implementing an e-mail based help page where customers’ questions could be answered during non-peak periods. As a matter of fact, many people would rather fill out an e-mail form with their question than waiting on hold for 25 minutes listening to the same melody or sales message.

In the above example, the objective is clear: to reduce the workload of our customer-calling center and improve customer satisfaction. We should be able to measure the performance of this objective by tracking the ratio between the number of calls experienced by the call center and the number of customer inquiries registered by the website.

As another example, the department responsible for buying pre-owned properties in a real estate agency would like to concentrate their efforts in purchasing those properties with the highest customer demand. The objective of that department, in this case, would be to optimize and adapt the agency’s property portfolio to include those profiles with higher customer appeal. This objective could be measured by calculating the percentage of successful inquiries experienced by the website’s property locator.

3. Identifying the Key Performance Indicators

Once each department has established their own tactical objectives, a web-based methodology must be implemented to measure the degree of improvement experienced. Although it might be interesting to know the overall web traffic statistics of a website (items such as unique visitors, pages visited, referrers, etc.) it is pretty obvious that special attention must be given to those visits that directly contribute to the success of the established objectives (buying, asking for an estimate, soliciting information, setting up an appointment, etc.)

This concept is very easy to explain by analyzing the behavior of visitors inside an online store. From all the visitors that access the homepage of an online store, only a portion will use the site’s product locator. Out of that group, only a few will add products to their cart, and from those, only a percentage will eventually complete the online payment process. The relationship between the total number of visitors that accessed our site and those that successfully completed a purchase can provide our website’s client conversion ratio. It goes without saying that the higher this ratio the better the performance of the website will be. This ratio is therefore an excellent Key Performance Indicator (KFP) for an online store.

But even if a website is not an online store, other KFPs, just as easily identifiable and measurable, can still be defined to evaluate the site’s objectives. For the customer-calling center objective mentioned above, the percentage of visitors that access the customer help page after having visited the FAQs could be considered a KFP. In other words, the fewer inquiries the help center page registers the better the FAQ page is probably performing and the less work the customer-calling center is therefore receiving. In the case of the real estate agency objective, a good KFP could be defined as the percentage of successful visits registered by the website’s property locator. Other effective KFPs for that website could be defined by measuring the number of visitors that access property specification sheets, or by calculating the percentage of visitors that eventually set up an appointment to tour a property, for instance.

4. Measuring a website’s performance

The identification of Key Performance Indicators allows us to implement two fundamental processes that will improve a website’s performance:

  • A “translation” of the website’s traffic statistical data into concepts and values that can be easily recognized by the individuals in charge of a department or area;
  • A “transformation” of that data into knowledge that will allow a department head to make decisions and take actions.

Let’s look at each process separately. Web traffic statistics, in general, contain technical information in a highly specialized language, and they measure an endless set of parameters, most of which lack any relevance to a department business lead. That is why, typically, this information is only accessed by IT professionals or webmasters, and even then, only sporadically.

If, on the other hand, we were able to identify only those pieces of information that are needed to calculate and measure the KFPs that have been identified to appraise the performance of a website, we would be “translating” the vast set of traffic statistics into a language that department heads could easily recognize and relate to. For example, someone in charge of a customer service department would not see that http://www.mydomain.com/customer/client_form.aspx has registered 23,547 hits. Instead, the information presented to that individual would convey that the number of users that submitted an inquiry to the customer help page has decreased by 10%.

By only serving to each department the data that is relevant to calculate their own KFPs, the task of decentralizing a website’s huge traffic statistical data and converting that information into a series of executive summaries, customized for the each department head, becomes a much simpler endeavor.

Implementing the translation process described above also guarantees a higher degree of involvement on the part of those responsible for each department. By providing familiar and recognizable data, these individuals will be equipped with the information necessary to “transform” the data received into knowledge that they can use to propose changes or improvements. This process will be most effective if the KFP changes are monitored over short periods of time (e.g., every two to four weeks.) It is in this manner that the executives will be able to observe trends, anticipate changes and notice the effect of recently implemented improvements. By providing this constant feedback, these decision makers will be kept involved and motivated, supporting a continuous improvement process.

5. Improving a website’s performance

Once the Key Performance Indicators have been identified, the gauge for each KFP is thought of being reset to zero. From that moment, each department is free to propose and develop strategies that will improve the performance of their own area. Since each department has a set of KFPs and a methodology to consistently and continuously measure their performance, they have the necessary tools to “test” new strategies and evaluate their positive or negative effects almost immediately. At the same time, this feedback will stimulate new decisions and/or actions for implementing improvements in each area. Finally, the changes measured by the KFPs will be excellent indicators for determining the level of alignment between our website’s objectives and the global strategy of the company.

Conclusion

The performance and ultimate success of a website is for the most part based on the efforts of individual departments working together towards a common set of corporate goals. It will be the improvements made by those individual groups, in order to achieve their own objectives that will drive the overall increase in Internet performance. If we then establish a relationship between the cost associated with each of the proposed improvements and the return expected from them (for example, in terms of a workload reduction, or an increase in the customer conversion ratio) we will be able to not only measure the ROI for our entire corporate website initiative, but also collect the necessary data to justify future Internet investments. After all, the World Wide Web is just one more avenue for conducting business. An avenue, nonetheless, that still requires us to establish objectives, measure their achievement, and act when necessary to provide improvements. We must also be aware that those same principles that we have so heavily relied upon in a traditional economy still apply in this new virtual business world.

Do-it-yourself: Improve your web site positioning in 8 simple steps.

Digital marketing, based on the utilization of Internet search engines, is a complex science that requires specialized knowledge in the field of Internet searching. Experts study how search engines evolve, their performance and behavior with particular search concepts, and their popularity at any given time. Armed with this intricate information, these specialists are able to provide advise to web owners on how to improve the performance of their web sites. Nonetheless, there are a few things that all of us can do to advance the positioning of our web sites without having to resort to the subject matter experts or without the need to write complicated code. The following eight steps, along with some familiarity of your market space, and a pinch of common sense, will allow anyone to increase the rankings of their web site on the most popular search engines.

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