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05 February 2012

DOMAINfest Highlights: Part 1

I’m writing at an altitude of 35,000 feet somewhere above Kansas and Oklahoma (thank you, Virgin America wi-fi). My week at DOMAINfest was amazing, but it was hard finding time to write with all of seminars, parties, and meetings – hats off to Morgan Linton, who managed to elevate multitasking to a near-Olympic level by posting as the presentations were going on.

There was a lot of debate leading up to the conference about whether this year’s program (which was heavily weighted toward SEO and development) could be of any use to domain investors. The beauty of domaining is that there’s no “cookie-cutter” way of doing things, and I think this year’s conference acknowledged that.

Rather than rehash the entire three-day event, I figured I would cherry-pick the information and action items I found the most helpful. I took A LOT of notes, and some of the seminars were better than others – I’m only going to focus on the data that was the most useful.

This will be split into two parts. Action items are listed after each bullet point so you can implement these ideas into your own portfolios, campaigns, and websites.

1. Mobile is Taking Over

This is a no-brainer, with more people browsing on their smartphones than ever before.
Oversee.net stated that 12-13% of their traffic is mobile, and mobile ad revenue is expected to grow from $3.3 billion to $20.6 billion between 2012 and 2015, more than doubling each year.
If you specialize in local search, think about this: 50% of mobile queries have local intent.

Use responsive layouts that are mobile-ready, optimize display ads & geo-targeted landers for mobile platforms, “click-to-call”

2. Social Networking

Ok, we know social media is important, but check out these stats:
1 in 5 minutes online is spent on social networking
15-24 year-olds are abandoning email in favor of text messaging, Twitter, and Facebook
Women, as a whole, are more active on social networks, and Latin America ranks highest for engagement worldwide
5% of all ad impressions in the U.S. are “socially-enabled.”

What This Means: Tie-in PPC campaigns with social ads, make sure your websites have associated accounts (Twitter, FB, Google+, etc.)

3. Keyword Research = Understanding Visitors’ Intent

This is huge for optimizing landing pages, PPC campaigns, and parked pages. Ultimately, a successful page delivers EXACTLY what the visitor is looking for. Anything less than that results in a “bounce,” or the dreaded “Back” button. You may think you have the world’s greatest “pet food” domain, but the reality is that nobody searches for “pet food”…they search for “dog food, “cat food,” and breed-specific products.

One example was an SAT test prep site that wasn’t getting very many conversions. They discovered over 70% of searches had nothing to do with “test prep.” Instead, people were searching for “What time is the test?” and nearby testing locations. Solution: Rethink the company’s model and provide a page of test dates and locations.

Prioritize keywords (focus on the ones that make the most money) – have a landing page for every Tier 1 keyword. Reverse engineer ads and pages to marry user intent + content.

4. PPC: Work Smarter, Dig Deeper

I use Google Adwords to advertise my music business to wedding clients throughout the year, so I found this particularly helpful. Jeff Ferguson of Fang Digital Media spoke about “digging deeper” into PPC campaigns. Too many people set their keywords and target area and spending limits, and forget about it. Jeff and his team found out that if you study your clicks and ROI over a month, patterns would emerge showing which days of the week were most cost effective for your ad (taking into account holidays and industry-specific factors).

Spend more on the days with the most views and clicks, and less when ROI is down. Clarify who you’re selling to – if it’s “Enterprise-level SEM,” specify that.

Use Google Ad Scheduler and “Optimize my Rotation” to optimize ads. Avoid ad text that is too broad.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my DOMAINfest highlights, which will cover landing pages, Google’s ever-changing algorithm, and why the old “parking” model of domain investing may be facing extinction in the next few years.

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About Nadia

Nadia is the editor of DomainSushi. Her love affair with domain names and web development dates back to 1998, and she is passionate about educating the tech community, small business owners, and laymen about domain name strategy. Follow her on Twitter: @DomainSushi.

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4 Comments

  1. AcroFeb 6, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Great summary, glad you had a good experience at Domainfest.

  2. NadiaFeb 6, 2012 at 3:31 amAuthor

    Hi, Acro! Good to see you – we missed you in Santa Monica! I almost snapped a picture of Natalia Velez with my phone to send to you, but the lighting was so dark where they were doing the “photo op” that it wouldn’t have turned out.

    I met a lot of great people…I saved the real nitty gritty of Part II of the write-up for tomorrow’s post!

  3. Jeff EdelmanFeb 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    It was a pleasure meeting you at DomainFest! Good luck with everything.

  4. NadiaFeb 7, 2012 at 6:02 pmAuthor

    Thanks for stopping by, Jeff! It was great meeting you, too (especially after having heard your name for so long), and best of luck with the new development plans this year!