This year, several members of the periscopeUP team attended SearchLove, Distilled’s (distilled.net, @distilled) SEO conference, in Boston, MA on April 7th & 8th. Here are our team’s thoughts and action items.
Dan Kaplan, Co-Founder
For several years now, SearchLove has been my favorite SEO conference because it has been filled with practical advice that I can use in campaigns, immediately. This year, besides many nuts and bolts ideas, there were also several theoretical presentations, perhaps since SEO is blending with content and social marketing.
My main takeaway was that periscopeUP needs to continue to grow our content marketing and social media practices by hiring more PR skilled people. We then teach these new hires SEO skills along the way.
It has never been more important to build relationships with client industry influencers, and the easiest place to start is with existing networks. This post is an example. We will reach out to each person mentioned in this post and ask them to share it.
Keywords have become less important as Google gets more sophisticated in answering two key questions:
- Who are you?
- What is your search intent?
I imagine that in 5 years, search will be ubiquitous and anthropomorphic — think of interacting with Siri in a way that you would chat with a professor. Or asking your car where the best Yelp-rated sushi restaurant is in town. Keywords will take a back seat to search intent and what Google knows about you, your friends, and your preferences. (I still think Facebook may one day create a better search tool than Google simply because they know more about you…hence Google+).
These were my favorite speakers, takeaways, and things I’ll be implementing with our team:
Matthew J. Brown, MOZ (@MatthewJBrown)
- Who is talking about you? Reach out to them and continue the conversation.
- Google Glass should make you think about “non-html results.”
- Are you indispensable/exclusive? Challenge: Google has stats showing snow conditions in search results which steals clicks from ski resorts. Solution: add an exclusive slopeside webcam.
Rick Bakus, CPC Strategy (@CPC_Rick)
- Search URL on Twitter to see who’s tweeting popular posts and ask them to contribute to your next post.
- Beautify calls to action. Add graphics and/or images to attract attention. For example.
Slide from Rick Bakus.
Joanna Lord, (@JoannaLord) The Big Door
- The consumer is more important than your tactics.
- Are you empowering consumers?
- At the moment they discover you, build loyalty. Don’t wait. Give love and reward at every step.
- Find a way to get everyone to register when they discover you, not only when they buy.
Jessica Srinivas, Outreach Coordinator
The SearchLove conference provided great insight into where search is heading, and useful tips and suggestions that I look forward to implementing. Here my favorite takeaways:
Local Search – Darren Shaw (@EdmontonSEO), Whitespark.ca
- Customer reviews are currently believed to be the most important.
- Factor in ranking for local search.
- Obtaining reviews can be time consuming, so aim for “highest value and lowest effort” – start with Google+ and Yelp and then move on to others, such as YellowPages or Citysearch.
- Use a “barnacle SEO” strategy with reviews – build out well-optimized profiles on a few directories that rank highly for local search in your industry/geographic area.
- Aim for at least 5 reviews on Google+ in order to get a star ranking.
- Without actively soliciting reviews, make reviewers aware of your Yelp profile. Yelp is more likely to publish reviews written by an active “Yelper”, and may “hide” reviews by a new reviewer or one without any Yelp connections.
- Most suggestions regarding citation building for local search (such as squashing duplicate listings and submitting to data providers), we already include in our own process. Here’s a couple of new tips:
- Explore student discounts, sponsorships, and event participation as ways to secure authoritative links.
- Verify client name and address on Google Map Maker and correct inconsistencies. Remove incorrect/duplicate listings.
- Set-up Freebase accounts for clients and get them to appear in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Content – Stephanie Chang (@StephPChang), Distilled and Margot Bloomstein (@mbloomstein), Appropriate, Inc.
- Think about what you are working toward, not what you’re working on.
- We are “drowning in content”; content needs to be personalized and match viewer intent.
- Content affects the user’s perception of an experience.
- Are you publishing or persuading?
- Use content to slow visitors down and to speed them up.
- Target your blog to specific personae.
- Amplify content from bands already targeting your personae.
Content Sharing/Outreach – Rob Toledo (@stentontoledo), Distilled
- Bloggers like to find the content themselves, not have it handed to them.
- Don’t ask people to share your content. Instead “plant the seed” and “think outside of the box”:
- Find out where where influencers spend time (e.g. Twitter, forums, industry sites)
- Generate ideas for a high quality piece of content that would be interesting to this group (proprietary data, anecdotal story about your business, new product/service, interviews with high level employees)
- Don’t be afraid to “get exclusive” – get your idea in front of several influencers and mention that you are “shopping around”
- Reddit – set up an account, choose 2 channels and share consistently
- Snail Mail – Forwarding an interesting item by postal mail can be a way to grab attention.
- News jack a story as a hook to grab attention.
Eric Kronthal , Co-Founder
Surprisingly, Distilled’s SearchLove Conference was not as focused on SEO and PPC tactics as I would have thought. This is yet another signal to search marketers: stop looking for tactics or short-cuts providing only a temporary lift to your campaigns. Instead, focus efforts by targeting customers/clients with high-quality content. Google rewards this approach.
Rick Backus of CPC Strategy had the most sobering presentation. He stood in front of the audience and shared the fact his writers do not strategically consider keywords before writing. They do not spend time optimizing headers for search engines. Instead, they start with customer profiles and then tailor content to satisfy these targets. They measure success in the form of leads and then expand on the best performing content.
CPC Strategy is committed to their process. It’s not SEO; it’s content marketing. And, its working:
SEMRush.com report showing number of SERPS CPCStrategy ranks for.
Jacob Evans, Webmaster
Coming from a technical background I took away more than I had originally anticipated at this year’s SearchLove Conference in Boston. Among many great speakers, in my opinion, Distilled saved the best for last.
For video production and marketing, I usually think of money and skills. Chris Savage (@csavage) Founder of Wistia (@wistia) says otherwise, “You can make production value videos with an iPhone 4”. Chris had me wanting to pull out my phone and make a video on anything and everything. He showed a few short clips from their learning center which helps even novice technical persons make a good video. Click here to get his awesome slideshow from the conference.
People hear video hosting and think only YouTube. I was one of those until I learned more about Wistia. Wistia has a great list of features on their product page. The takeaway from Chris’s presentation was not “we are better than Youtube” or “we have videos on how to make videos”, but that Wistia is there to help their customers in anyway they can when it comes to video.
This year’s SearchLove revolved around the customer/user Experience. Every presentation had its own spin on how to make the customer/user happy or on how to connect. Taking this to heart, I’ll be pitching Dan and Eric on ways to use Wistia’s great features and learning tools at periscopeUP.
SearchLove 2014 was a success, and it has already changed how periscopeUP is serving its clients. If you have something to share, leave a comment below. Or feel free to contact us with any questions regarding content marketing and strategy. We’d love to hear from you.