Gavin Hirst - Tuesday 26th May 2015

SMX Sydney – Day 2 Review – OK Google, International SEO and Monetising your content

Behshad Behzadi – Google

After a pretty full on first day, we were excited to get going on Day 2 of SMX Sydney 2015 and in true Digital Marketing fashion, the day started with a Google Hangout call with Behshad Behzadi from Google who had kindly stayed up until 2am to give us a run down of the future of search which mainly involved a demonstration of ‘OK Google’.

In addition, Behshad also talked about the changing nature of search results ad how often an app will now be displayed in the results as this may give the user a much better experience. If for example someone is searching for hotels, they may see the TripAdvisor app appearing in the search results so they can easily access reviews through the app.

Demonstrating OK Google, Behshad also talked about the importance of using long tail keywords as search becomes more conversational and highlighted the challenges that we face to tap into this area of search as it is going to continue to grow.

Benj Arriola – Internet Marketing Inc

Next up we saw the return of Benj Arriola after a very engaging talk on day 1. This time Benj was talking about content marketing from strategy to execution and talked about some key elements along that journey – these were the key points to take away:

  • Make sure you have decided on specific goals as part of your strategy and you have methods to measure your progress to achieving these goals. A strategy without goals is just a plan
  • Develop a content calendar to map out your content ideas, planned distribution and other key information
  • Know how and where to write content by creating specific user personas (something we are very keen to advocate) – these help to set more specific, audience focused goals and go beyond keyword research
  • Carry out influencer research – who is going to go to battle for you and share and engage with your content – make sure you identify these people and build a relationship
  • Promotion is crucial – make sure this is part of your strategy as without it, it’s like having the best car in the world with four flat tyres
  • Measurement is also vital as it informs future strategies and lets you know if what you are doing is working

Jeff Preston – Disney Interactive

Following on from Benj, we welcomed Jeff Preston from Disney Interactive back to the stage to talk about International SEO, something that is particularly pertinent to such a huge global brand like Disney. Although this was a fascinating session, it was not that relevant to Digital Hothouse and our clients at this time but you never know what the future will hold.

Tori Cushing – Moz

Next up on the main plenary stage was Tori Cushing from Moz showing how to find and share actionable SEO insights. For us, this was a really reassuring session to see that huge companies like Moz are tracking SEO in just the same way as us – with a series of spreadsheets, formulas and pivot tables. For us at Digital Hothouse, detailed reporting and analysis is part of what we do to help our clients gain a better understanding of what is working and what needs changing – ensuring that our clients achieve their goals. Tori has very kindly shared her slides too which you can find here

Gary Illyes – Google

Meanwhile over in the breakout session, Gary Illyes from Google was back talking about the importance of the Hreflang tag and geotargeting, something that is very important if you are targeting customers/prospects in different countries.

This works well is you have targeted content that is specific to a particular country. For example you may have a specific landing page for Spanish speaking customers so by adding a hreflang tag ‘es’ to the page, it lets search engines know to serve out the Spanish version of the page to those who access the site from what appears to be a Spanish speaking country IP address.

This all gets a bit techy so we won’t go into too much detail here but basically, if you have content that is specific to certain countries, talk to us about the implementation of hreflang tags as this can make a huge difference to your bounce rate and conversion rates.

Jonas Weber – SEO Consultant

On the main stage, Jonas Weber was back to talk to us about competitive research, highlighting an examples from three German shopping sites and how they dealt with the Panda algorithm update. Jonas had some really useful tips, especially if you run an ecommerce site to help you to rank better for targeted pages which in turns drives more traffic around your site – here are some of his top tips:

  • Focus on your category pages and making sure they have high quality content – the content on these pages does not change as often as product pages making it easier to get and maintain rankings – focus on less pages but high quality
  • Look at your pages load speed across all your pages – halving your page load speed can triple the number of pages Google will index
  • Potentially triple your visits by using paid and organic together

One other point that Jonas made was keeping a close eye on duplicate content, especially on product pages where information like shipping and returns can be the same across a vast number of pages. TripAdvisor are dealing with this in a great way by showing the most recent reviews or those from top users, keeping the content fresh and unique.

William Sears – Disney Interactive

Meanwhile over in the breakout session, William Sears from Disney Interactive was back talking about monetising your content. William talked about the importance of analysing demand – what ar people searching for and do you have content that meets their needs? If so, how do you align the content with that demand or if you don’t, what content can you create to meet those demands. At Disney, they carry out very comprehensive keyword research to see what people are searching for and align their content with these keywords.

Once you have either aligned or created new content, then it’s time to look at the monetisation potential. Many companies are creating vast amounts of content which are not driving sales. The purpose of content marketing is of course to raise brand awareness, build relationships, provide people with information that they need etc but at some point, there has got to be a drive towards sales. Make sure that you are including links within your content to your product pages where relevant without ramming a sales message down a user’s throat.

The final two sessions of the day saw a panel discussion including Gary Illyes, Dr Pete, Jeff Preston, William Sears and Ian McAnerin which threw up some interesting debate, mainly around directories with no clear outcome on that one!

The final session was the SMX Site Clinic in which the SEO experts paired off and analysed four lucky sites. It was interesting to see the process each pair went through when analysing a site from the obvious stuff like backlink profile and html structure to the really useful stuff like making sure you have canonical tags on all your pages to let Google know that this is the page they should index and any other variant is just that. For those who had their site analysed, there was much to take from the session and it was an insight into what we are SEO professionals can do in a relatively short space of time with the right tools and knowledge.

All in all, it was a tremendous day with lots of ideas to take back to Digital Hohthouse Towers. Make sure you check out the review of the final day and the SEO workshop.

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