On Tuesday we attended the Search Engine Journal and Searchmetrics summit in London at the Ham Yard Hotel. We were greeted with breakfast and refreshments before we started off the summit with talks from some of the industries leaders, including Pierre Far, Webmaster trends analyst at Google
The talks were focused around SEO, PPC, Content, and Social Media. The talks were all structured to offer three actionable takeaways. This made the summit feel extremely informational and inspirational as we could go away and adapt some of those actions into our own strategies.
Here are some of our favourite takeaways from the SEJ summit:
Keep a good neighbourhood and healthy relationships
David Naylor, founder and director of digital at Bronco, talked about the importance of your website being in a good neighbourhood, meaning that you want to be where your customers are and you want to be far away from the ghetto (i.e. spam). To do this you need to cultivate healthy relationships with people that will keep you in that good neighbourhood, i.e. journalists wanting to help promote you.
SEO can influence many business areas
Nick Wilsdon, lead SEO at Vodafone, talked about how to make strong SEO business cases if you work with in-house SEO. He also talked about how SEO can influence many other areas of your business as SEO’s have access to huge amounts of data that can be used for business development in lots of different areas. There’s no need to go to a data analyst, you can just gather the data yourself and create a strong case of why it would be good for the business as a whole and you can get your SEO projects signed off!
Don’t provide keywords, provide answers
Our favourite quote and takeaway was from Marcus Tober, founder of Searchmetrics. One of his three takeaways from his Content Evolution talk were “Don’t provide keywords, provide answers”. He showed some of his own research regarding how Google interprets keyword queries and it was clear that Google now understands the user better than ever before. This means brands need to focus on providing answers, not just stuffing pages with keywords (some people actually still do this!). Pages that used more keywords relating to the topic, not just the keyword repeated, were the better performing pages. This is where a strong content based and user focused content marketing strategy is key!
Make it bleed
It’s not as morbid as it sounds, as Andrew Girdwood, media innovations director at DigitasLbi, explained in his talk. It’s about making your content reach a larger audience. Sometimes it’s hard to push a brand message out through your normal channels and it just stagnates, but it’s about finding ways to make your content bleed into new audiences where it can get some really good reach. One example he used was using your affiliates to distribute content that might potentially get picked up by larger publications as opposed to trying to pitch it directly to the online publications.
Extend the life of your content by converting it & pushing different formats
Kelsey Jones, executive editor at Search Engine Journal, talked about ‘Thinking outside the text-box’ and she made some really interesting points about extending the life of your content and also increasing interest in your content. Take the written content on your blog for example, is there anything else you could do with it to make it more appealing to different people? Some people will engage more with the content if it is visual, as with video content. You can also create flipograms of pictures if you don’t have video footage, or create new video footage from the text. If you do vice versa, it’s important to remember to transcribe the video for those who are not able to see the video (including Google!). Another great tip she gave away was to maintain old content and find ways to re-use it. For example, maybe an old blog post on your site is the most read blog post of all time, then that could be worth a mention and a share on social media to generate new readers!
In general, there was a lot of emphasis at the conference on the future of mobile and how that will impact businesses and the online marketing industry. Also, the importance of content that is user optimised as opposed to search engine optimised was very clear. We left feeling inspired and also confident that Zeal is a very progressive agency and already doing many of the things mentioned. We had a great day at the Ham Yard hotel so a big thank you to them and the organisers over at Searchmetrics and Search Engine Journal for having us!