Whitey - 4:44 am on Dec 15, 2012 (gmt 0)
I've been across one of the usual multi channel strategies necessary to compete in the SERP's and other channels, including direct brand access by visitors. It seems to go against the Google mantra " build sites for users".
To compete successfully in the SERP's the site concerned had to significantly alter it's UI in favour of elements deemed to comply with the Google's algo. The SERP strategy is pretty pretty clumsy and retro for users, but is the best compromise the site owners could come up with. Conversions suffered in pursuit of traffic.
On the other hand, to obtain better conversion rates, with pages harnessing traffic directly and external to the SERP's, the site had to rely on a streamlined approach. Most of the on page elements required for SERP success were deleted.
Maybe it's time we put this myth to bed that sites need to be built for users in the SERP's, if you want traffic via the SERP's. Popular sites with good UI don't always rank well because of it.