Search Engine Strategies San Jose Contextual Track: Domaining and Address Bar-Driven Traffic
Speakers: (Moderator) Detlev Johnson, VP, Director of Consulting, Position Technologies Jon Lisbin, Chief Strategist, Point It Andrew Beckman, President, SearchAdNetwork Monte Cahn, Founder and CEO, Moniker Sean Moriarty, Director, Business Development, Yahoo! Search Marketing
Detlev asks how many people are at their very first SES. (At least half the hands in the room are up.)
A lot of businesses depend on traffic that comes from people typing addresses and words directly into the address bar. The browsers have an advantage because they can deliver whatever content they like to
First Speaker: Monte Cahn
Before I get started… how many people have ten names or less in their portfolio? 50 names or less? 100 names or less? (hands raised are fairly evenly spread out)
We’re going to talk about direct navigation, which is traffic that comes directly from addresses typed into the browser’s address bar.
Domain Marketing Became an Extremely Profitable
- Domain revenue sources were not originally known - Revenue = Search revenue, PPC, CPA programs, affiliate sites, and selling domains - Annual advertising revenue estimated to grow to more than $1 billion in 2007
The Industry is Healthy
- A record 128 million domain names are now regged, a 31% increase year over year for Q1 - 10.7 million new domains were registered during Q1 of 2007, an increase of more than 25% - By 2010, domains worldwide will top 240 million - Today, 87% are live (standard and parked), 76% renewed, 45M
What makes a good domain?
- Natural Generic Brand (search volume = mindshare) - Easy to remember (radio test) - Clear, Concise and Descriptive (what does it say to the user) - Commercially Oriented (existing search bids) - Industry Segment (is the industry hot/cold, new/old) - Visually pleasing (what will it look like on a business card?) - Existing Type In Traffic (marketing benefit) - Back links, Page Rank, Alexa Rank, age of domain, etc. - Mistypes? (generics vs trademarks) - Previously registered and how long (not available through registration) - Publicly sold (value previously established) - Double Meanings (e.g. therapistfinder.com)
How Do Domains Generate Revenue?
- Domain traffic (direct nav) – ad rev from CPC, CPA, CPM, Selling Traffic directly to companies or advertisers - Domain Sales – sale of domain names directly or portals - Domain Development – individually or in partnership domain owners add content, diversify advertising and build web networks. - Vertical Dominance – to monopolize groups of domain names in category verticals. Dominance means more power and relevance. - Other sources of $$$ -- leveraged value for financing/loans, charitable donations/tax deductions
Domain Traffic – Recent Articles, Studies, Facts
- Growing market – 70% of Internet surfers use direct nav, up 53% from four years ago (WebSideStory). Rest use search engines. - Direct Nav projected to be a $1B business this year, on track to surpass $1.2B (Susquehanna Financial) - Direct Nav comprises 8-10% of the US and UK search advertising markets – projected to be at least $2B by 2010. - At more than 4.2%, direct nav traffic converts at double the rate of search traffic (WebSideStory) - VeriSign indicates approx. 12-14% (approx. 100,000 per week) of its new domain registrations are likely related to pay-per-click advertising. 24% are parked. - Domain values have increased 20% on average over the last 3 years.
Domains in Europe - At 32 million, Europeans have more domains registered than any other world region. The next highest region is North America at 31 million - Country Code TLDs grew at 33% year over year as of March 2007. - Although there are 240 ccTLDs, the top 10 account for 64% of all domains.
(Shows example of a PPC landing page – Home.net, Spades.com)
Landing pages are very linguistically targeted now. No more random, unrelated links on parked pages. The links are relevant to the keywords in the domain, and therefore the
Creating Your Own Portfolio
- Who? Anyone w/ moderate capital, intelligence, patience and time - Where? Aftermarket domain web sites, WhoIs, search databases, trademark exclusion tools, search bidding tools, creative thinking, expired/dropped names - When? Today, you are little late, but not dead. - Why? Growth is incredible, high return on capital employed, advertising revenues are escalating.
Domain Purchase Potholes - Do trademark searches - Consider having a valuation done for high value domains - Use a domain escrow service for transactions - Financing is available - Domain stats – artificially inflated? - You may have to stealth acquire to avoid artifical inflation
Second Speaker: Jon Lisbon, Domain Parking & PPC
About Domain Parking - Est. 15% of web traffic is type-in traffic (wash post) - Domain parking industry could be worth “a little under $1B” (Red Herring)
There’s a dark side of domain parking and PPC… there is a significant problem with click fraud in today’s market that comes directly from bot networks and MFA parked domains. Other “dark” areas include trademark and typo squatters.
One way to determine if you’re suffering from click fraud is to examine your Referrer Reports. If you see that your ads are appearing on a lot of sites that generate clicks but no conversions, you should probably opt out of the content network and stay solely in the search network. At the very least, put the zero conversion sites into your exclusion list so that your ads don’t appear on those little/no value pages.
Third Speaker: Andrew Beckman -- Positive Domain Driven Traffic
You should be using a web analytics and/or conversion tracking tool on all of your domains to monitor the traffic levels, the click through rates, the conversion rates and the referrer sites/links. That information helps you determine where you’re having successes and where you’re losing money on your CPC campaigns. To supplement your information, Google has launched a placement report that allows us to dig further and see exactly where your traffic is coming from. There’s a lot of information available, but I’m just showing the clicks and the average CPC here. So, between your own conversion tracking tools and analytics, and the reports available via Google, you can take that information and utilize the exclusion feature in AdWords to keep your ads from appearing on low converting sites.
Yahoo also has a similar reporting tool and they’re about to release domain blocking feature.
I’d like to see the domain parking companies fine tune the parked pages better, and make them more useful and relevant. The reality is though that your parked pages really need to be developed. The search engines know if a page is parked and they’re not included in the indices. If they’re truly developed, they can be indexed and therefore organically ranked. Your conversions will be better, period.
Regarding direct navigation, a lot of big companies are starting to get into buying up the generic domains and either 301’ing them to the “real” sites, or they’re developing them as sites in their own rights.
Check the search volume on keywords you’re interested in and then go to one of the aftermarket sites to see if you can get a keyword rich domain that contains keywords that are getting a good amount of search volume per month.
Fourth Speaker: Sean Moriarty, About the Yahoo Domain Channel
What is the Domain or Direct Nav Channel? Is essentially a user behavior, whereby, a user types the keywords or guessed url directly into the address bar, rather than doing a “normal search”
Advertiser Experience. In the past 7 or 8 years, parked domain pages have evolved from non-useful “Coming Soon” pages to general link pages and now to keyword targeted more user-friendly links with graphics. In some cases, like domains that are zip codes for cities, the parked pages might have maps, hotel ads, dining ads, etc. The goal is to increase the likelihood of conversion.
Yahoo filters domains out of the contextual network by examining conversion rates, domain suitability (tobacco domains, trademark infringements, etc are excluded), trademark typos are excluded. All designed to protect the advertisers.
Questions and Answers
Q: What percentage of the network traffic comes from parked domains and how does the conversion rate compare against “real domains”? A: SM – We generally don’t comment directly on those types of question, but I think if you look at the previous speakers slides, there is a significant amount of traffic being generated by type-ins. As for conversions, they’re strong.
Q: In general, how do you value a domain? A: MC – Today, it’s a lot more sophisticated than just “is it a .com/.net/etc”. Now we look at a number of factors… search volume for those keywords, popularity, average bids for those keywords, etc.
Q: We’re ready to buy several domains. How should we go about it? A: MC – It’s generally not advisable to directly approach the seller because they could find out who you are/why you’re interested/etc. and may artificially inflate the price based on the potential buyers perceived ability to pay and level of desire for the domain. Third party “stealth acquisition” companies will go out and act as the intermediary to protect your identity from the seller to avoid artificial inflation.
Q: Where do you draw the line at acquiring TLDs of your brand/company name and misspellings? How many of them do we need to register? A: For generic keyword phrases, you can probably stop at the .com/.net versions, but for your company/brand names, you should get every variation you possibly can.