Search Engine Strategies - Milan

On Weds 30th May, I had the pleasure of attending SES Milan for the first time. I started my career with web development and SEO back in 1997(!), so over the years I have been to many of the SES events. Its great to observe that the search market has evolved since those “smoke-n-mirror days” as well as discover country/regional differences around the world.

As a pan-EMEA manager I am ashamed to admit that my language abilities are poor – just English and a small amount of Russian (I am always amazed at how some people can simply switch between languages – both in thought and speech. Or do they always think in their native language I wonder?). Of course SES events are held in their local language and Milan was no exception. So many thanks to Sante Achille (SES moderator) who found the time to summarise the Measuring Search Marketing Campaigns presentations in English for me.

Summary of the Measuring Search Marketing Campaigns session:

  • Over the past 12 months there has been an increased interest in web analytics in Italy
  • There is a growing awareness of the importance and understanding of what is happening on your web site
  • The different web analytics systems presented (ConversionLab, Imetrix, Atlas) all converged on the fact that there is a need for common standards. The lack of standards leads to macroscopic differences in results due to different interpretation of information – for example unique session ID, unique IP access, bounce rates, etc.
  • Imetrix made the point that measuring conversions is often very black and white – the visitor either converts or does not. However, thought should also be given to measuring partial conversions e.g. add to cart page, even though the visitor may not go on to convert.
  • Atlas showed some interesting data on keyword path tracking. That is, tracking all the search engine keywords that lead to a conversion – not just the last one, which is the industry standard at present. The conclusion was that generic keywords that are perceived to be poorly performing (if only the last keyword is tracked on conversion) are in fact driving repeat visits for more specific keywords.

    Very true – don’t chop off the head that feeds the tail. I will post on the options available for tracking keywords within Google Analytics in the near future.

During the Q&A discussion, the feeling was that Google Analytics is used by many web site owners in Italy and in fact its availability was catalysing interest for more detailed analysis. It would be interesting to see if a Google Analytics case study is presented at the next SES Milan event…

If you were at SES Milan, or have an opinion on any of these points, please share your thoughts by adding a comment.

(Grazie Mille to Laura Paxia and Giuseppe Fragola for a signed copy of their book – the first Italian book published on web analytics. Now where is my Italian dictionary…?)