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SearchLove, a two day online marketing conference organized by Distilled online marketing agency, took place 19-20th of October in London. Senior Owned Media Consultant Tomi Lattu and Head of Paid and Owned Media Jyrki Salo attended the event. Here are the best pieces of SearchLove London 2015.
Tom Anthony from Distilled opened the conference by talking about the evolution of Search Engines and upcoming SEO Trends.
According to Tom, explicit query signals such as keywords are going to become less important than the growing implicit signals (location, time, identity). We need to understand the needs of the searcher and focus more on the search intent instead of mere keywords.
Moz’s Rand Fishkin presented the 2015 Ranking Factors Study results. It seems that Google’s algorithm is flattening out. Links are still important, but aren’t such an overwhelming factor as they used to be. Engagement and user behavior data is on the rise.
— Tomi Lattu (@TomiLattu) October 20, 2015
Rand also took part in the everlasting debate of correlation vs. causation. Does it really matter if correlation studies don’t reveal us exactly how the algorithm works, as long as it gives us some good ideas to experiment on?
After Google’s statement about HTTPS encryption being a rank signal, many webmasters started migrating websites to HTTPS just to gain rankings. Rand presented Moz’s data on HTTPS-migration: Results are similar to domain migration - short term traffic loss, no significant gain.
Content: Themes, topics and search patterns
One of the common themes in Search Love was moving from single keywords to topics and keyword groups and patterns. This requires a better understanding of people’s search intent and better data analysis.
Anum Hussain from Hubspot advised against creating content to target keywords. Rather target topics, and work on becoming a topical authority.
Linkdex’s Jono Aldersson said to focus on topics and modifiers Instead of last click conversions and single keywords. He also introduced a keyword analysis approach based on patterns and search intent to gain a better understanding on people’s search behavior.
Aaron Friedman from Five Blocks talked from a reputation management perspective and had a data-driven theory that Google works in templates for different industries. Correlation studies and competitors’ search results data make it easier to dominate the first search result page for branded search queries.
Aaron also had an interesting point about Google: “Machines (like search engines) aren't evil by design. They're just machines.”
Probably the most colorful speaker of the event, Lisa Myers from Verve Search, gave us the ultimate content creation advice: “Make good sh*t!” She also gave some good insights to outreaching. Treat every contact like it's the most important one. Build relationships and links will follow.
PPC and the Human Algorithm
One of the biggest challenges many agencies face today is breaking down the silos between PPC and SEO. The slow changes in organic search results can be tested fast in PPC. Paid advertisers can benefit from the comprehensive keyword analysis and improved quality score SEO can provide.
Also the frustration of Google’s ever changing algorithm and new features “stealing” visibility from organic search drives many marketers into re-evaluating their SEO efforts and focus more on chasing the paid clicks.
After 16 years of SEO and a disappointing experience of getting a 5% CTR out of a highly competed keyword’s first position, Wil Reynolds from SEER Interactive decided to learn PPC and psychology. In addition to trying to figure out the search engine’s algorithm, marketers should focus on the human algorithm. Google doesn’t do the purchases on your website – people do.
— Tomi Lattu (@TomiLattu) October 20, 2015
Daniel Gilbert from Brainlabs Digital talked about the synergies of PPC and SEO. He suggested using paid ads to not only test title tags and meta descriptions, but also headlines and images using Google Display Network.
Daniel also stated that you shouldn't advertise on AdWords when you rank first on organic. Incremental clicks are Google propaganda. On Twitter he did agree that everyone should test this with their own business and advertising before making conclusions.
Talia Wolf from Conversioner talked about focusing on the emotional triggers and on how you make your customers feel. Test concepts, not elements.
SEO today is much more than a technical effort or adding keywords to on-page elements. Jono Alderson raised a good question: “Is it SEO to optimize product pricing and to wine & dine bloggers for positive reviews?”
Technology and page speed
Along with creating high quality content and understanding customers better, many speakers addressed the technical problems and usability of modern websites.
Will Critchlow from Distilled suggested using SEO A/B testing and statistical analysis on page groups to find what makes users (and Google) happy. In his presentation Will claimed that mobile operators are making more money on ads than publishers due to crazy download sizes.
— Tomi Lattu (@TomiLattu) October 19, 2015
Speeding up the website was also on Portent’s Ian Lurie’s agenda: “Nothing kills a site’s performance more than slow speed”. He also had a simple approach to improve websites and any form of marketing: “measure the distance from perfect and try to get closer to it.”
One solution to make websites faster is a new open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which aims to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web.