The digital world of SEO, UX, PPC, Paid Social and much more never stands still.
The Google algorithm, alongside new developments and the way that people interact with the web, is always changing. BrightonSEO is a biannual celebration of digital activity and search marketing and an opportunity for the digital marketing industry’s greatest minds to get together and share new observations and ideas.
BrightonSEO April 2019 – Our Top Ten Takeaways
1. Rich Snippets are changing how we search
With information readily available on Google’s search engine results pages through Google’s own dataset records, there’s no need to click through. Try searching “How tall is The Eiffel Tower?” and see for yourself.
With user behaviour changing as a result of information becoming even easier to find, your SEO strategy needs to adapt – be sure to effectively research target search terms and make sure you’re not wasting effort by ranking for search terms that won’t get clicks – be sure to check your Search Console.
2. The gap between SEO and PR is narrowing
Backlinks are vital to SEO performance, but even the world’s greatest digital marketer would struggle to gain them without strategic content creation and an awesome PR or marketing campaign. PR is essential for gaining the attention of stakeholders, publications and influencers who can provide these inbound (FOLLOW) links.
Similarly, PR can’t truly thrive without SEO’s ability to effectively leverage backlinks and turn search performance and intention into clickthroughs and conversions. It’s essential to use both disciplines as part of an integrated strategy.
3. Link building scalability is layer-based, not size-based
If you want bigger results, consider the individual components of your current campaign – what is your ‘micro’ missing that your ‘macro’ could include? How can you scale up the campaign without sacrificing personalisation?
Should you find the addition of ‘layers’ (additional tasks) too substantial to one campaign, consider creating another, complimentary campaign to target new audiences.
4. Publisher websites are an Ad Remarketing goldmine
Building relationships with industry publications is vital to delivering effective PR campaigns and it can also be leveraged to maximise audience targeting within PPC campaigns.
By obtaining user data from relevant publications, you can tap into their organic audience and readership through remarketing. This is extremely powerful for getting your adverts in front of relevant users and can be utilised with great effect in paid brand-building campaigns.
5. Search is becoming even more user-focused
Google’s user-centric approach to search is certainly nothing new – although the extent to which it is now serving up results based on search intent and ranking by value to the user is growing.
It’s more vital than ever to ensure your content is designed with the user’s needs in mind as well as the crawlers. It’s often the case that the best, most relevant answer is considered the best result. Similarly, consider your page performance and responsive design, as these also influence user and crawler perception. Think about using Google’s Lighthouse audit more for top line scores and recommendations on improvements you could make.
6. Competitor keywords are fair game
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is unique in the way it allows marketers to target any keyword that they think potential customers could be searching for – this includes your products and services, and perhaps more interestingly, your competitor’s brand, product and/or services names.
There’s nothing, either in the law, or Google’s own terms of service, that suggests you can’t bid on your competitor’s trademarks, meaning you can effectively utilise your competitor’s brand building efforts to boost the quantity of high-quality clickthroughs.
7. In-store shoppers price check with mobiles
Understanding user behaviour is complex – there’s the risk of categorising users into group “X” or “Y” without considering the human factor. Some people shop online, some people shop in-store, but many do both. In fact, 80% of in-store shoppers use their mobile phones whilst inside a shop! Could they be price checking against one of your competitors for a cheaper cost?
By combining physical location geotargeting PPC with an effective content marketing strategy, you can target your competitors’ customers as they browse and shop, potentially poaching them at a critical conversion point. For maximum effect, you could also look at combining this strategy with discounts and offers on popular products.
8. Paid ads dominate the SERPS
85% percent of ‘above-the-fold’ real estate on Google search engine results pages is occupied by paid search advertising. Did you know that Google make around $100,000,000 a day from PPC? With users continually seeking a more convenient solution to searching and browsing, there’s naturally a far higher proportion of clicks for paid search than organic, in fact, organic listings only count for 35% of clicks across Google and Facebook.
Similarly, in the case of Facebook advertising, paid adverts are displayed more prominently than organic posts (especially after Facebook’s algorithm update for company page reach). This fact, combined with the ability to pinpoint target audiences, means adverts are both standing out against the crowd, and specifically formulated to maximise clickthroughs and engagement.
9. Establish your authority for backlinks
The only way to succeed in gaining backlinks is to audit well and audit regularly – don’t stop at your own website as your competitors’ own backlinks could be a treasure trove of high-value inbound links from press publications.
If you’ve seen an article citing your competitor as a source, with that article providing a backlink, contact the journalist/author responsible and position your own business as a more reputable source – if you’re persuasive enough, you may well become the next port-of-call for articles related to your market or industry. This is where SEO and PR teams can work effectively together.
10. Google isn’t above lying
The SEO industry has many myths. Fairly recently, a claim has circulated that clickthrough rate is a ranking factor for Google. Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes has claimed that this is untrue in a Reddit AMA, whilst another Google article counters this, saying, “Google considers your click through when ranking that result in future queries” .
This is certainly not an isolated instance of Google providing multiple pieces of conflicting information. This is because Google needs to remain the dominant search engine by upholding the integrity of the service it offers. If everything were black-and-white, SEO would be far too easy to manipulate, and search results wouldn’t necessarily reflect the quality of information on offer, therefore leading to a poor user experience.
Use internal links to distribute equity
Whereas external links gain equity, internal links work to spread equity across your site. Don’t neglect making the effort to formulate your internal linking strategy, and give consideration to placement, anchor text and value to users.
Strategise how you deal with competitors
Much of your SEO performance relies on your competitors, and with the very nature of SEO being formulaic and logic-based, it’s important that you minimise the factors left to chance. Your strategy should include keyword tracking, rank analysis, content outreach and topics/trends to stay on top of your competitors.