One of the most frustrating things for me, as a business owner, is online marketing. Purchasing search engine keywords and optimizing my site to obtain higher search rankings have both been equally painful. I understand the basics, but I truly am horrible at implementing changes. I have tried doing search engine optimization (SEO) or using Google Adwords, but I have never seen great results. While I may not be good at either, I do recognize the importance of succeeding in both. Having a full time employee to manage these areas or hiring consultants can be pretty expensive. Also, most of the software out on the market to help is pretty technical and not user friendly. That is, until I found out about Yield Software.
A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to have an interview with Matt Malden, who is the CEO and co-founder of Yield Software. He gave me a look at their upcoming software that is, in my opinion, going to revolutionize SEO and online marketing. Matt used to be a Vice President at Siebel Systems which was acquired by Oracle in 2006. So, what exactly is Yield Software? Well it is a hosted solution (SaaS) that is aimed at helping your company with SEO, conversion, and spending your marketing dollars effectively. I will go into each below.
Yield helps with SEO by analyzing your pages and recommending keywords. These keywords are recommended based on content of the page, volume of search engine queries for each keyword, and the amount of competition for those keywords. Yield also has a library of best practices that they test each page against. Yield will then let you know where you are passing or failing these tests and make recommendations to help you fix them. Yield can even auto fix some issues that are not meeting the best practices. The service is constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing rules used by the search engines. Sometimes you could be doing something that Google may be penalizing you for and you may not even know it. Yield can catch these issues and proactively notify you about them.
According to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) , search engine marketing is estimated to grow from 9.4 billion in 2006 to 19.6 billion by 2011. Pay Per Click (PPC) represents 86% of that total and is extremely important to the marketing success of many companies. It really takes a full time person to manage some campaigns. Yield steps in and helps make this process much easier and more productive. Instead of guessing which keywords might be the best, the software will see which search engine is producing the best results for each keyword at each time of day in each geography. The system will auto adjust your marketing budget to give you the best return on your investment. Unlike most software which just counts click as a measure of success, Yield can also optimize your spending based on conversion rates and conversion values (how much profit each conversion will generate). Probably one of the most interesting things Yield showed me is how the software can actually analyze which position drives the most value. For example, maybe less users click the third listing than the first, but they are more qualified and as a result drive more conversions at a lower cost. One thing I liked about Yield was the ability to aggregate PPC campaigns and results from the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and MSN) to bring everything into one place. This cost-saving feature alone makes the product a great investment.
The last thing Matt showed me was conversion and landing page optimization. Yield displays your web page in their software and allows you to visually select regions of the site and create trials of different content for each region. For example, maybe you want to test how different headers affect conversion rates or clicks. You can add two or three of these variants and let Yield track how successful they are. In the demo, I was very impressed with the interface to accomplish this. Yield can actually decide which is the best performing scenario and will automatically use that variant more often. This is nice so you don’t have to come back a week later and move that into production on your site. Again, Yield will test your landing pages against a library of best practices to help you optimize it even more.
I asked Matt why he started Yield Software. He replied that he saw a real need in the industry for user friendly software to help small and medium businesses optimize and manage marketing and SEO. Current solutions are too convoluted and difficult to use. I can attest to how easy Yield was to use. While I am under an NDA and cannot show you pictures of their user interface, I can tell you it was elegantly designed and very easy to use. We all know what a stickler I am for a good user experience and I think Yield hit the mark in that category. Matt said that marketing has traditionally been mostly an art form. But now, we can apply scientific methods to do it better. Yield does not use a standard rules algorithm, but uses a more-advanced Bayesian method which allows the software to learn and adjust to situations.
There was a lot I did not get into because this article was getting a little long. But, Yield has the opportunity to change the industry and help small to medium size businesses be more successful online. I was pretty much in awe when watching the demo because I saw how powerful and useful the software was. They are currently running a private beta and, if you are interested, you should head over to their site and apply to be a part of it.