Search Love Conference 2017: Think Big, Start Small

There are dozens of Search Conferences around the world & in Europe, from Mozcon to BrightonSEO, from SMX to SearchLeeds,  but honestly, Search Love is a special one not to be missed as industry leaders and search marketers are covering all the crucial topics and a great networking platform is given. Kubix attended Search Love for the first time and in short, the organization and the content were far beyond our expectations. 

Search Love took place on the 16th and 17th of October in London. The conference content covered mainly issues from Search, SEO in particular. The agenda was rich but not boring at all, below you can find a summary of the sessions:

  • Link Building Myths and Fails – Paddy Moogan
  • Beyond the Reach of Keyword Targeting – Samantha Noble
  • Reverse Engineering Google’s Research – Rob Bucci
  • The New Era of Visual Marketing – Jes Scholz
  • Mobile-First Preparedness – Jon Myers
  • Social Content Masterclass – David Levin
  • Content Distribution – Ross Simmonds
  • Using Power BI to Bust Silos – Wil Reynolds
  • What To Do When Your Content Fails – Kirsty Hulse
  • From Website to Web App – Emily Grossman
  • Tales from the Charity Frontlines – Cheri Percy
  • The Why and How of Creating Video Content for Search – Justin Briggs

Understanding the User's Intention

In the changing world of SEO, not the search engines but the users are our main focus, so the user's intent is defining our SEO strategy. As Rob Bucci said, there are 3 key stages of search intent when making consumer searches online: informational, commercial, transactional. 

In order to be there where the searcher is looking, we need to understand their intent. So, intent beats identity, immediacy beats loyalty. Taking a deeper look into most popular informational search queries: Query ”best” wants to see snippets; Query “compare” wants to see videos.

We all agreed that especially with google’s new (very much extended) snippet features getting organic CTR’s are even more challenging. And thanks to AI, Google is better at understanding the intent. Therefore for the organic CTR and high positions we are not only competing with our peers anymore but competing with Google. So, we should understand and act towards user intent.

DEMOGRAPHICS DON’T HELP US UNDERSTAND, SEARCH INTENT IS THE NEW DEMOGRAPHICS
SearchLove London 2017 | Rob Bucci | Reverse-Engineering Google's Research on What Searchers are Looking for from Distilled

To understand what motivates them we should hear what Purna Virji said, personally my favourite who excited me a lot:

"We have to be emotional, should show empathy. Empathy, compassion and starting the right conversation can differ you. We should have EQ and IQ in the same place. IQ gives the best answer, but EQ gives the right answer towards search intent."

AI gives us super powers by true data mining. We should divide data into meaningful actions. Personalized messages, dynamic pricing, showing the right product and content type at the right time will lead to more profit. 

SearchLove London 2017 | Purna Virji | Go East, Innovators: Strategies From Asia the Rest of the World Needs to Adopt from Distilled

In 5 years you will be selected by your AI service rather than brand name. Rating of your company will be your ability to read AI. Therefore like Samantha Noble and others said, understanding consumer behaviour will become much more important to compete with Google’s snippets and AI. 

We should combine what we know from PPC and what we don’t know from organic. The conversion and search term results of PPC is one of the best ways to show the user's intent. So take your converting PPC and focus on that on organic.

Video and Image Optimization

In the transactional stage, which is the buying decision, user reviews are more effective. Benefit more from video to describe your product, embed them into your pages where possible as images and videos provide great user experience. Don’t forget: Millennials prefer videos.

Justin Briggs emphasized the importance of video. He gave us good tips about Youtube SEO and video optimisation.

Here are couple of his ranking tips:

  • It is all about watch time.
  • Youtube’s search works as exact match.
  • Cowatch is important. Use playlists to improve cowatch and benefit from cowatch to improve watchtime.
  • Treat your Youtube content just like your other content and distribute it accordingly.
Video SEO in 2017: How to Rank Videos Higher in Google & YouTube from Justin Briggs


Jes Scholz underlined the importance of image SEO within the latest Google snippet effects. Google keeps improving its image search options. With similar style options and different image base ad options a person who is looking for a specific shirt may never enter the search funnel. And Google is educating and promoting us to shop in these platforms. So try to enter the funnel even before the search occurs.

Therefore;

  • Try to be more generic on alt tags. Because image recognition is improving.
  • Make sure your images reflect the real product in high resolution. Use structured markup.
  • See your image results as the user sees.
SEARCH IS OUT SNAP AND FIND IS IN

It will be like very improved QR code. QR codes didn’t work out well because people didn’t know how to use it. But everyone knows how to take photo.

Tracking The Meaningful Data

As we all know your data means nothing if you don’t track well. Here both Mike Arnesen and Wil Reynolds are saying that it’s not about data it’s about the right data. Don’t try to track everything.

Mike Arnessen emphasized that we should benefit more from cross domain tracking and customer id’s for more meaningful data. So to understand the user intent and give more personalized content customer id’s and cross tracking is very important.

Level Up Your Analytics at SearchLove London 2017 from Mike Arnesen

Apocalypse: Adblock 

Samuel Scott’s part brings up some questions on how we are going to collect data while the number of adblock users is raising. Internet users are becoming more conscious. Especially millennials are more aware of the system now and no one wants to be tracked. Fact: %63 of millennials use either one adblock on desktop or on mobile.

RETARGETING AND ADBLOCK RISES PARALLEL

Users are bored of ads. Without any data how can we be more personalized and how can we optimize or implement anything?

The Day After Tomorrow: 
When Ad Blockers Stop All Analytics Platforms from Samuel Scott

We need to do “integrated quality marketing” to not scare them away any longer. That’s why we need to be more personalized to pull the attention and therefore the data. So how are we going to get the data?

2 ways:

  1. Motivate them to log-in as Mike Arnessen suggested

They need to log in! But as Arnessen said we already scared them to log-in by “why do we want so much information from users. Just give me your name and e-mail, we will talk later”

Therefore motivation to log in is important! Checkout Cheri Percy’s slides here to see how they motivated users and applied tests to see best motivating wordings and content in their cancer awareness campaign.

SearchLove London 2017 | Cheri Percy | Digital Witness: Tales From the Charity Frontlines from Distilled

2. Seeing The External Data Around Us

When user’s don’t give us their consent what do we do? We will use the data where they already gave their data willingly. Where is that? It is the social media of course.

Like Ross and Kirsty Hulse said do social listening: listen to what they are talking. Tinder has your deepest secrets, facebook even knows when will you separate from your partner.

Benefit more from social media insights to see where your true users are, to understand their intent and motivation.

Content Delivery

Lots of information flooding over the internet. So it's getting more important to choose interest areas that grab users attention.

RELEVANCY TAKES THE ATTENTION
  • Be relevant on where your content is published
  • Try to use exact wordings as Cheri Percy said hence people will relate more
  • And show empathy like Purna Virji said
  • Be sure your CTA matches the users’ intent

And as I mentioned before, Google is making it harder to deliver our content thanks to snippets, boxes and graphs. And sites like Wikipedia are dominating majority of the informational queries.

So as Ross Simmonds said;

CONTENT IS NOT THE KING ANYMORE DELIVERY IS THE KING
  • Discovering new channels where your true users are, is important.
  • Benefit more from Facebook audience insights. Understanding them and giving right the message is crucial. 
  • And don’t forget links are the strategy not the goal.
  • Benefit more from people who have traditional PR background. Take traditional PR and apply it to digital and don’t make it look like an advertising (Kirsty Hulse)
  • And as we want our content to be published we should look from the publisher's perspective.
SearchLove London 2017 | Ross Simmonds | Content Distribution: How To Give Your Content More Life from Distilled

Understand The Publishers

Publishers are always looking for new, fresh and extraordinary content. So, if you give a publisher a good story he will publish it. Try to write a press release and let them take the most relevant bits of it, but make sure that your story is clear enough.

And here as Kirsty said, use Academics, mention them, link to them and they will share the good content. Which leads us to the other most emphasized topic. Giving the form of content according to the intention of the user.

SearchLove London 2017 | Kirsty Hulse | The Campaign Flop: What to do When Your Content Fails from Distilled

Focus On Consistency

Consistency and not giving up are the 2 traits Paddy Morgan and Kirsty Hulse focused on.

If it didn’t work out as you wish, go take another look and give another chance to old ones. Maybe its your content maybe its the timing. You don’t have only one shot. Plug in new data or maybe turn it into small multiple ones which supports the big one and try again. Give another chance but still know when to let it go.

Paddy Mogan suggests that we don’t need a big budget to go viral. Consistency is very important. Keep building links to older pieces and proceed to new ones every month.

You don’t need have to have fancy infographics or visuals. That's a myth. Just be related, consistent and patient. The rest will come.

Which reminds us the story of  the turtle and the rabbit. We should be the turtle. Steadiness will definitely win the race.

Link building case studies, myths and fails - SearchLove 2017 from Paddy Moogan

Bounce Rate

What really made me happy about Mike Arnesen’s speech was that he is inline with me as bounce rate is not that important as everybody thinks. 

MEASURE BOUNCE RATE DIFFERENTLY, CREATE YOUR CUSTOM BOUNCE

Having a high bounce rate for your main page or product page is not good indeed, but for content pages especially blogs it is pretty standard.

Important metrics you should be measuring for bounce rate are;

  • How long the visitors stayed
  • How many percent of the content they have read
  • Did they copied the content
  • Did they come back again and preferably converted in 6 months period

So define your own bounce. What is bounce to you and what is a non bounce goal to you. We, at Kubix Digital use different metrics and goals to track the performance of our content and it really works well and our clients now understand the real value of their content rather than just evaluating the bouncing visitors. 

Mobile AMP’s - PWA’s- Responsives

Jon Myers told us the outcomes of Deepcrawl's research from crawling the 1 million biggest sites. The statistics they found are quite interesting, worth to have a deeper look.

AMP's speed is its biggest advantage. And it is not just for publishers. E-commerce benefit a lot from it.

Apparently, PWA sites are more engaging, they increase sales, lower costs and improve conversion rates. What's great with PWA is that it works offline as well. Especially for users who have to take instant action on the go PWA can be very useful.

As Both Emily and Jon Myers said, we should have our other basics first. Before directly jumping onto PWA or AMP, it is crucial to have a mobile secure site. Then you should move step by step. Don’t directly invest on AMP or PWA. 

What Deepcrawl's research found out: Only %22 of those 1 million sites have a ssl certificate.
SearchLove London 2017 | Jon Myers | Mobile-First Preparedness: What We've Learned From Crawling the Top 1 Million Websites from Distilled

Google’s Expanding Features and SEO

First, I was sceptical how a PPC person like Samantha would look at this topic, but thankfully she was looking from the SEO window and saw the challenges towards Google’s SEO attitude.

The most important thing she reminded us was the fact that we should personalize the experience on Ad content, Text Ad and Landing Pages level. Existing costumers, first time visitors or non-converted users will not be in the same motivation or intent. So we should stop showing them the same ads and landing pages.

Social And SEO

David Levin emphasized the importance of Social and its relevance to SEO. Social media is a huge channel growing every year. Marketers should use Social Media marketing platform-specific and therefore should know their platforms well. 

Creativity is on of the most important skillset to grab the users attention. Do social listening and jump into question. This underlines what Ross Simmonds said before about for right content distribution.

Voice Search

Yes, we all heard that voice search is coming. But how should we be prepared for it? Should we get scared? Should we change our strategies?

Well, I was expecting to hear more on Voice Search. Paddy Mogan and Purna Virji were both saying that yes we should keep an eye on the future but should not lose focus on today. We should have a balance between today and tomorrow.

Conclusion

The conclusion of this years Search Love speeches for me was that we can’t rely on links alone. We should make our website link-worthy first, before expecting a hype. Being link-worthy means being relevant and consistent for our users. We have to deep-dive into their intention before setting our strategy. 

The holistic approach - finding and connecting the dots between Social, Paid and Organic is the future of digital marketing. 

To find and connect the dots data can help. If we can manage to collect the right data and define & apply our strategies accordingly, we will get the visitors and turn them to clients.

For me as a "Kubixer" it was great to be sent to this event and it makes me more motivated working towards my personal goals and keeping myself and our company updated with the newest developments on SEO approaches & Stategies.

I have just recently read a post about why companies should send their employees to conferences and Rand Fishkin shared in his post his thoughts about that in "The Case For & Against Attending Marketing Conferences" - that's worth checking it out! Now let's stay connected and keep pushing our limits.

seren
19 Oct 2017

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