Here is the final instalment of our recaps on today’s Search Leeds conference, complete with key points, top tips and actionable and tangible takeaways for you.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Mobile First Index: What, why and, and more importantly, when!
Jon Myers @jondmyers – DeepCrawl
Since the first mention of the Mobile-first index in Nov 16, there has been lots of hype, opinion and talk about the mobile first indexing. Users who have had a bad mobile experience are 60% less likely to return to that site in the future. This talk discussed the history of devices including the history of mobile and the history of mobile SEO configuration.
Our key takeaways are:
- It has to be a tested and refined process. There are a number of tools available that test if your site is ready for mobile and give you best practice features.
- It will not be a separate mobile index, it is the same single index.
- Desktop pages will be phased out where there is a mobile alternative.
- There must be crawlable and indexable content on site.
- Internal linking: Be mindful of orphaned pages or increased levels in site depth which could be keeping search engines away from your content.
Important checks for mobile first:
- Make sure important resources are not being blocked e.g.: images.
- Check for legacy issues.
- Check that the vary header is in place.
- Get the correct 301 redirects in place.
- Test robots.txt files.
- Mobile should be your number one priority position.
- PWAs, Progressive Web Apps, are the future.
Creating Knockout On-Site Content by Simply Understanding Your Consumers
Dave Freeman @davefreeman – Treatwell
Dave believes that everything about SEO is directly or indirectly related to content: how we attract, engage and convert consumers is centred around good-quality content. This session explores how to grow your bottom line by creating effective on-site content that delivers on both traffic and conversion.
Our key takeaways are:
- Everything in SEO is directly or indirectly related to content. It’s fundamental to everything we do. Content attracts, engages and converts them.
- Create content that attracts, is designed for a range of devices, is engaging and actually converts. The consumer will bounce if the content is poor, or never click on your content in the first place if it didn’t come up in SERPs.
- If you haven’t got a dedicated on-site content strategy, you need to create one; if you have one, analyse what’s working and re-shape appropriately to achieve the best performance gains. Content needs to be multi-faceted and tailored across differing products and site sections.
What’s new in PPC
Holly Ellwood @Receptional – Receptional
Let’s get introduced to new search trends and the latest releases as Holly takes us through all the new and exciting things coming for PPC. She also highlights some areas that aren’t being used as much to let us see some new opportunities in paid.
- Ad copy – 30% have just one ad in an ad group. Ideal is around 3 in each ad group and this is rewarded with a better Quality Score and Click Through Rate (CTR). Dynamic Keyword Insertion is showing improved response rates. Countdown functionality also improves performance, particularly for e-commerce sites. Don’t rotate your ads indefinitely but trust Google to show your best performing ads.
- Responsive search ads – In beta at the moment. Can upload 15 unique headlines, higher character limit for descriptions and Google will optimise them for you. Can work better on some accounts so test, test, test!
- Audiences – Only 24% use audiences in their campaigns currently. This functionality is getting better and better and should be used so much more! Customer match, similar audiences and YouTube audiences are all quick wins to boot your engagement. Don’t forget about demographic data too, as this can be invaluable to get your ads to the right people. Life event targeting such as engagements, graduation and more are coming out later this year.
- Mobile – Still cheaper for now. Look at extensions that are perfect for mobile such as Message Extensions. Lots more extensions are coming out later for mobile as mobile first becomes more important. Keep your eyes out for these.
- New AdWords Interface – Get using it and get used to it as it will be forced upon us soon. Some new features exclusive to the new interface are Promotion Extensions and Showcase Shopping ads. So, get exploring the new interface and see what you can do.
- Voice Search – Optimising for voice search will require a new search strategy. Think about answering questions and keep an eye on search term reports to see what new searches are coming through.
How to SEO the S*** Out of Your Internal Site Search
Luke Carthy @MayflexUK – Mayflex
Passionate Luke is here to tell us about site search and how to make huge gains to your site with some fundamental changes. He covers internal search functions, SEO deep dives, category and product pages.
Our key takeaways are:
- Size up your search URL issue
- Identify ‘link juice’ to search URLs
- Apply 301 redirects to URLs with worthy backlinks
- Identify search URLs with good organic traffic and conversion
- Prepare to lose/de-index all other search URLs
- Don’t forget to nofollow, noindex search filter URLs too
- Change out internal links pointing to search URLs
- Monitor, Measure and Tips
- Keep tabs on levels of organic traffic
- Check in on number of URLs in index
- Keep a close eye on core SKPI factors
- Watch redirect and serve logs closely
- If an alternate landing page doesn’t exist, make one
- Refrain from adding in a robots.txt condition
- Don’t be afraid to massacre millions of search URLs at once
- Monitor future search backlinks and action
The International Paid Search Playbook
Matt Holmes @MattHolmesXX – Distrelec
Here, Matt shows us his top 5 strategies for running great PPC campaigns. He combines his passion for the NFL with his passion for PPC to demonstrate winning ideas that really work.
Our key takeaways:
- Don’t lose sight of the fact that real people are searching to find something/get something done so match their needs and give them a great experience.
- Across international accounts, make sure you have a different account for each country you are targeting. Then split out your Exact and Broad Match Modifier keywords. Aim for a 70/30 split with 70% coming from exact match and the rest getting picked up by your Broad Match Modifiers.
- Google Shopping price benchmarks are coming out later this year. These will let you compare yourself with your competitors to see how competitive your prices are.
- Analysis can be the difference between winning and losing. Auction Insights is an underused tool that can show you how and why your campaigns are performing well (or not!). Google’s Consumer Barometer is a great tool to give you more insights and data to get your campaigns performing even better.
- Preparation is key but be able to make adjustments – don’t stick to a strategy just because. Make changes, keep testing, experiment and play around with new ideas. Have fun with your PPC accounts!
Retailers… Stop thinking store, start thinking story
Jasper Bell @jasperbelluk – AmazeRealise
This talk discussed the importance of striking a balance between store and story. Jasper mentions the ‘Retail apocalypse’: consumer expectations, acquisition costs and marketplace, private label and store closure are going up. We are also seeing a decrease in attention spans, ROI, loyalty permission and company life span. Shoppers want more and value plays a pivotal role.
57% of consumers change brands from one purchase cycle to the next.
Our key takeaways are:
- Despite this stark reality, ‘store’ thinking still prevails.
- We are seeing lots of content being produced that doesn’t necessarily fit into commerce.
- Story thinking is all about:
- Making a human connection. This means thinking about your customer’s problem in a better and distinct way.
- Creating a narrative that puts the customer front and centre. This means being consistent in your messaging, using automation and offering people choices whilst offering firm recommendations.
- Maintaining the Pace. You want the story to continue and, by doing so, continue your conversation with the consumer.
Conflicting Website Signals and Confused Search Engines
Rachel Costello @rachellcostello – DeepCrawl
DeepCrawl’s Rachel Costello shows us what the most important areas of our sites are and how to ensure that they are given priority when being indexed and shown to other users. Costello looks at canonicalisation, pagination, hreflang and mobile alternates and how not to confuse search engines and subsequently impact performance.
Our key takeaways are:
- When it comes to selecting URLs in the SERPs, Google can get it wrong. It (Google) uses an algorithm for URL selection to make sense of all the chaos out there. So if you sit back and do nothing, Google will do its best to figure out canonicals for you, but the algorithm isn’t perfect and can show URLs that you may not want served up.
- 301 redirection doesn’t ensure the final destination URL will be indexed and shown. The signals Google uses for URL selection are: canonicals, internal linking, parameter handling, sitemaps, redirects and backlinks. The end goal for all of this is to avoid duplicate content.
- John Mueller has confirmed that Parameter handling signals are stronger than the canonical signal.
Three practical and inventive ways of pinching keyword insight from your competitors
Kelvin Newman @kelvinnewman – Rough Agenda
We always need to know how our customers are searching and what keywords they are using. Kelvin shares how to get some great ideas from your main competitors in the SERPs.
According to Kelvin, ‘just write for your users’ is a lazy suggestion – most people won’t be able to create really good content this way. To optimise a page, you need more than just adding key phrases – You actually need to have all the phrases and words they’d expect and are used by other pages that also rank for that term.
3 ways to use competitor keywords:
- Take top 10 results for your query and extract the text using something like textise – then take all copy from all 10 pages and create a word cloud. 80-90% of these words you’ll already be considering but it will bring up some you won’t have thought of.
- Take top 2 results for your query and your own website, extract the text and create a list of all the single words used. Filter out words like ‘the’ and ‘but’ and use Venny to create a venn diagram. Look where competitors overlap, but your site doesn’t.
- Take a key ranking page of a competitor, Textise it and save as a Word Doc. Got to Google Translate and translate it into French. Then go from French to Spanish and then back to English again. The output will be similar but with a couple of words and phrases that are different.
Customer-centric search: Serving people better for competitive advantage
Stephen Kenwright @stekenwright – Branded3
We really need to be looking at the best customer experience overall. Stephen wants us to move on from UX as a ranking factor and helps to explore customer experience with SEO even further.
- SEO has the potential to give the best customer experience as we are showing search engine users results based on their exact search.
- What we should do as SEOs is ensure everything we are doing answers these three questions with a yes:
- Will the business make money?
- Do people want it?
- Does Google like it?
- More searches are moving to YouTube – yes, while 60% of users are looking at cat videos, 40% are using it for ‘how to’ videos and reviews.
- Meta data needs to be thought about – and not then forgotten about. Its purpose is to get people to click through to your site. It will need to be updated and tested to see what works best. Speak with your PPC team about updating copy weekly, or even daily – they can give you tips and you can work together on it.
- “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back to the technology.”
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