I'm looking at the latest Search Marketing Standard, and it exceeded my expectations.  No, that's not just because I'm in it :)

Anyway, I'm pulling out a few gems from the magazine as a whole and posting it here.  My comments are denoted by italics:

0. My unabashed recommendation to avoid those ugly deformed-looking beasties of dynamic URLs.  I focused a bit too much on the SERPs aspect of the URL, so I elaborated on it hereFor one, key phrases in URLs function as the sole call to action when the URL is also used as the actual anchor text — quite often.

1. Eric Ward states " … sites can buy their way out of the sandbox via links from second- and third-tier directories."
This has not been my experience at all, but Eric Ward is much more of an authority on linking than I am.  Interesting.

2. Kevin Gold states that in order to combat the perpetually rising costs of PPC, even in niche markets, you must employ tactics that maximize conversions.  The higher the perceived relevancy, the higher your conversion rate will be.  "You compete through employing … landing pages."  He also cites some dramatic increases in conversions as a result of site layout.  This is not terribly surprising, but it's a friendly reminder to do your A/B testing.

3. Nick Usborne states "a single column vertical sales and copy path will, in our experience, always outperform any other kind of layout."  He also mentions "too much attention is paid to making pages look good," and that the best looking pages often convert the worst.  MFA spammers know the latter point well.

4. Nick Usborne warns against asking for too much personal information too soon.  He says you should "never ask for more information than you absolutely need … "  I totally agree with this, as I've waged a few little wars with others in organizations to get my way.  It has paid off (and I didn't even get fired).

5. Dan Thies' "The Search Engine Marketing Kit" is really as good as their review says.  I also express the same sentiment, however, that the binder is unwieldy.  My copy is sitting on the shelf right here — it's so big, how could I ever move it?  Sometimes I even do some curls with it before going to the gym.

Anyway, I recommend that everyone get their hands on a copy of this issue.  It's even better than the last one.

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